Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Retrospective Against GOP Revisionism

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

A Retrospective Against GOP Revisionism

I hate to base an entire article on an ad hominem, but the GOP is proving to be such an manipulative, disingenuous, and petulent bunch that it’s virtually impossible to discuss their machinations without using terms like plot, un-American, and collusion. Any attempt to describe their politics without doing so renders the writer disingenuous as well. A good rule of thumb when trying to understand GOP motives, therefore, is to always remember that whatever they accuse their opponent of, is more often than not, exactly what they’re engaged in.

One of the founding fathers of conservative thought was Alexander Hamilton. He was an aristocrat who advocated that poor and middle-class Americans should be relegated to second-class citizenship, and the GOP has fully embraced his agenda. Hamilton said the following:

“All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people.... The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government.”
Debates of the Federalist Convention (May 14-September 17, 1787).

While Hamilton’s position was resoundingly rejected by the vast majority of the founding fathers - whose primary reason for coming to America in the first place was to get away from the European class system - there were many of Hamilton’s ilk who chose not to recognize the American ideal that “All men [and women] are created equal.” Then they were later joined by Southern Dixiecrats, or social bigots, who also rejected the ideal of human equality.

These are the people who currently run the modern day GOP - corporatists and social bigots who tend to believe that America belongs to them, and the rest of us are simply tolerated due to their “good will and Christian charity.” This is the primary reason that the Republican party’s platform is fiercely hostile to education (‘elitistism’), labor unions, and ‘big government.’ That’s also why they’re such strong advocates of state’s rights.

The corporatists within the GOP are hostile to education because they don’t want the “lower-class” social bigots within in their ranks to realize that they’re being duped into working against their own interests - like healthcare reform, for example. They’re hostile to organized labor and big government because both institutions also tend to protect the rights of the poor and middle class. And they’re strong advocates of state’s rights because the social bigots within their ranks blame big government for usurping the rights of the Southern states by ushering in integration and civil rights.

Thus, the GOP is a party that’s made up of oil and water. The corporatist agenda of those who control the party is diametrically opposed to the interests of their lower-class soldiers who they depend on to stay in power.

The corporatists, for example, want to import as many undocumented workers into the country as possible in order to lower the wages of the American middle class, while many of their socially bigoted soldiers don’t even want legal Hispanics in the country, much less undocumented.

So for many years, in order for the corporatists to make their extremely unpopular agenda palatable to the American people they have had to constantly engage in campaigns of disinformation, conflation, the ‘isms’ (convincing the people that anything that doesn’t cater to the rich and ‘wellborn’ constitutes the un-American‘evil of socialism’), and other divisive tactics that keep the American people engaged in knee-jerk emotionalism instead of logical thought.

Their tactics are clearly transparent. Take the term ‘Obamacare’ for example. The term was coined to keep those who hate that we have a Black president focused on Obama rather than the merits of the program. And the same is true of the term ‘Islamofascists.’ The term was coined in order to promote endless war (and war profits) because it suggests that the war is not just about terrorists, but all Muslems.

If we carried that rationale to its logical conclusion, however, we would have to also condemn all Christians, since those who lynched Blacks in the South and committed genocide against Native Americans were of the Christian faith.

In my article, Ode to a Bleeding Heart , I point out how they used conflation to demonize liberalism:

“When you consider how methodically the conservatives went about mounting their assault on the liberal agenda you can't help but recognize that it was a stroke of genius. Ironically, the conservatives took the Democratic Party's strength and made it a political liability. First they took the party's penchant for being concern with the plight of the downtrodden and coined phrases such as ‘bleeding heart liberals’ and ‘tax and spend Democrats.’ They then played on the frustration of the middle class by tying civil rights legislation, welfare, and crime into one neat bundle as the source of middle class woes; then they attributed all of these problems to what they called the Democrat's tendency to be ‘bleeding heart liberals.’ Once the connection was made between minorities, welfare, crime, and the liberal agenda, it was just a matter of repeatedly hammering the message home.

“In addition, conservatives used such tactics as spitting out the word ‘liberal’ as though they were saying rapist. In that way they not only implanted a negative attitude toward liberalism in the mind of the voter, but it was said in such a way that the implication was made that it went without saying that all the negative stereotyping of liberalism was true. In other words, their attitude seemed to suggest, ‘I could substantiate what I'm saying about liberals, but I don't think it's necessary, since we all know what they're like.’ And in the election that spawned the ‘Republican revolution’ the voters said, yes, we do."

But now the GOP has come upon interesting times. Now, in order to finalize their ultimate objective - to transfer what’s left of the nation’s wealth to the rich, and lower the standard of living of the American middle class - they’re going to have to show their true colors, just like they’re currently doing in Wisconsin.

Injustice and hunger has a way of opening the people’s eyes, however.  So it won’t be long before the people begin to see that the GOP, in collusion with the corporatists, purposely drove America into a ditch by using the Iraq war to ravage the treasury. They then sent our jobs overseas to purposely create high unemployment to restore the GOP to power and depress incoming tax revenue to give themselves an excuse to attack the poor and middle-class safety net.

Eventually the people are going to ask themselves a couple of questions. First, if the GOP is truly concerned about the national debt, why did they give a tax cut to the top 2% of the population that will add an additional $3.7 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years? And secondly, why didn’t we hear a peep about the debt, while we were losing our homes and jobs, and congress was voting themselves a $93,000 raise, over and above their salaries, in ‘petty cash?’

Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Is Our Competitive Spirit Helping or Hurting America?


Is Our Competitive Spirit Helping or Hurting America?

We accept a lot of so-called truisms simply because we've been told that they're true all of our lives. Take competition for example. From the day we start school most Americans are taught that our competitive spirit is what makes America great. But is that really true? Is competition really the most productive model for promoting human progress? I don't think so. While recently discussing this issue one gentleman said the following:

“Personally I don’t mind competition. It has brought us better roads, better cars, better airplanes, better vacations, better medicines, longer life spans, and in many cases, except for us damaged Vets, better health.. I don’t see honest competition as dysfunctional at all. Profiteering is okay also, as long as it is honest and based on productivity, job creation and boosting the human spirit. Why shouldn’t I be motivated by money, a bigger house, a nicer restaurant, to create the next Penicillin, the next Salk vaccine, the next aspirin, and all the jobs and opportunities these inventions have provided.”

I’ve heard this argument a million times, but we have absolutely no evidence that any of the things mentioned above are a result of competition. Neither do we have any evidence that suggests that competition is a more powerful motivator than the simple pursuit of excellence. The fact is, competition caters to the very worst in human nature - selfishness, hostility, and greed. Competition is only truly productive when we compete against our last best personal effort.

It's more likely, therefore, that human accomplishment has actually been stifled rather than enhanced by our childish need to be competitive. How much more might we have accomplished if instead of duplicating their efforts in pursuit of competitive greed, drug companies shared their knowledge in an effort to cure disease, or instead of the nations of the world spending trillions of dollars in global competition, that money was being used in a cooperative effort to enhance the plight of mankind?

The mere thought that man's primary imperative is in pursuit of conflict and greed - and that's essentially what competition is - is counterintuitive. The fact is, our tendency to be competitive rather than cooperative is man's primary dysfunction.

It would be interesting to see the results of an experiment where they took two footballs teams and trained one in the traditional way, and trained each member of the other team to focus on nothing but improving on their last best effort. I'm virtually certain that the latter team would prevail if all other things were equal.

And consider what life would be like if as a society we rewarded ourselves on character and intellect instead of how many “things” we could accumulate; if we rewarded our young people for creativity and scholarship instead of how often they could get a ball to go through a hoop; if teachers and scientists were the superstars in our society instead of self-absorbed dysfunctionals. Try to imagine the benefits to our society if young men aspired to getting into the best universities with the passion that they currently dream of getting into the NBA or NFL.

One of the immediate benefits of such a society would be a more informed citizenry. We would also neutralize the negative impact that money is having on our political system, because no matter how much money a corporation spent they wouldn't be able to pull the wool over our eyes by appealing to our emotions over our intellect. We would also have far less crime, since there would be no motive to obtain “things” to gain stature in society. And since character would be the coin of the realm, it would promote family values, because a father who abandoned his children would lose stature in the community. In such a society he would be looked upon with the kind of disdain that we currently look upon shiftless bums.

Another positive impact that such a philosophy would have on our politics would be, in a society that valued character over wealth a politician wouldn’t be assessed based on his longevity or on his ability to obstruct the opposing party. He or she would only be able to gain stature by what he was able to accomplish during his time in office. And the kind of destructive rhetoric that Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin engage in would be nonexistent. Instead of Democrats and Republicans arguing over what’s wrong with one another, each party would be engaged in showing how and why their respective positions would be more beneficial to the people. The fact is, with corporate profit removed from our politics, political differences would be far less pronounced.

Our need to compete is a misguided attempt to raise our personal feelings of self-worth by impressing others with superficial accomplishments, often in connection with some group or organization that we use as an extension of ourselves. That's why people like Dick Cheney, Limbaugh, and Beck are so fixated on the concept of American Exceptionalism, race, and "us against them." You can literally draw a profile of these kind of individuals. The lower their feelings of self-worth, the greater their need to feel a part of something "special" - a race, team, country, etc. They try to use it as an extension of themselves.

That's also why people of this ilk hate Barack Obama so intensely. Obama's character and natural intellect is a direct challenge to their delusions of grandeur, so they've dedicated their lives to trying to prove that he's just as flawed as they are.

Thus, in our misguided attempt to find personal self-esteem, we’ve collectively incorporated competition into our body politic, a flaw in our character that has become a direct threat to human survival. The only thing competition is good for is administering to our delusion of grandeur. And no matter how often we claim to be the best, or how loudly we proclaim American exceptionalism, both our collective and individual inner-selves will always know who we really are beneath our strutting veneer - just another group of flawed individuals, though, a little more arrogant than most.

Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Corpo-Political Scamming of America


The Corpo-Political Scamming of America

Our political class is failing us miserably - both Democrats and Republicans. The Republicans are leaving no stone unturned to further enrich those who are already filthy rich, and the Democrats are throwing us crumbs while the middle-class standard of living is being aggressively chipped away to conform to the standards of the new global economy.

The GOP calls any program that helps the poor and middle-class socialist in nature and an intolerable waste of public funds. Yet when it comes to helping the rich and corporate class, no expenditure is too great. Now, I'm generally not one to buy into conspiracy theories, but there comes a time when if you fail to take council from your lying eyes you're simply a fool, and I think we've reached that point.

I have a friend and fellow vet in Texas who's a confirmed teabagger. The only thing we agree upon is that we like and respect each other, but other than that, we come from two different planets. Previously, I could simply write off Teabaggers as ignorant and insincere racists. But I happen to know for a fact that Tom is neither ignorant, insincere, nor a racist, so he represents a profound philosophical problem. What box am I supposed to drop him into? I haven't been able to find one. So since I have no box to conveniently dispose of his position, I have no choice but to seriously examine his concerns.

After agonizing over the dilemma for several months, I've come to the conclusion that both the left and the right - at least, the rank and file liberals and conservatives - are correct in their anger, because both are being manipulated by the political class system.

The answer is quite simple. The corporatists and their political cronies have us so busy hating one another that we're too distracted by that hatred to see what's being done to us all. And since liberals and conservatives have been led to believe that our respective miseries are a direct result of the other, it's become self-perpetuating. We've come to hate one another so much that we eagerly embrace anything negative placed in the mix by our manipulators.

So when Tom and I get into a debate, it rarely comes down to assessing the facts. It invaribly degenerates into who's worse, liberals or conservatives, and that what's going on across America.  But the fact is, this country is engaged in a struggle that has nothing to do with liberalism or conservatism. We're engaged in a class war, the corporate class against the poor and the middle class. So while they have us busy fighting the last war - racism on the left, and communism on the right - the corporatists are busy cutting all of our throats.

And while we've been distracted, our politicians who are supposed to be protecting our interest, have become a class unto themselves. They've become the political class, which is an essential part of the corporate class, and I'll be further addressing below. When viewed from that perspective, there's no wonder the nation is so divided. The bottom line is, we're depending on those who are exploiting us to protect us from exploitation. So like Houdini, they have us looking at their left hand, each other, while we should be looking at their right hand, them.

Clear evidence of that is while both political parties agree that bringing down the deficit must be one of the nation's top priorities, they both also seem to agree that the only way to address the problem is by placing the burden of sacrifice on the backs of the poor and middle class, while they continue to live high on the hog.

In addtiton, in spite of the "dire effects" of our national deficit, neither party seems to be the least bit concerned about the two billion dollars a month that we're paying for the nonproductive wars that we're engaged in?  No expense is too great in that regard. The reason for that is because they're so profitable to the corporate class.  They're forcing the poor and middle class to both fight the wars, and pay for them. But of course, their families are not impacted. The rich are no longer expected to die for this country - that's the job of the "little people." Ask Dick Cheney.

Yet they claim that the deficit is so severe that they're "forced" to cut part of the safety net from under poor and middle-class Americans, programs like medicare and social security, while at the same time they insisted on giving the top 2% of the population a tax cut, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, is the least efficient use of the nation's revenue.

According to the Center for American Progress, "The Congressional Budget Office evaluated a variety policies earlier this year based on their ability to boost overall economic growth and employment. The number one thing Congress can do, according to the report, is to increase aid to the unemployed. Other efficient ways to give the economy a jolt include additional investments in infrastructure and more aid to states. The least efficient? Extending the tax cuts."

CAP goes on to point out, "In its January report, 'The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2010 to 2020,' the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] projects that a full extension of the Bush tax cuts, plus a permanent fix to the Alternative minimum tax, will cost $3.7 trillion over 10 years, not including debt service costs."

Thus, our political class has convinced us that if we give Gucci enough money we can get him to hire workers to produce Gucci bags that he's limited to selling in a homeless shelter. That's counterintuitive. Why would Gucci throw away perfectly good money to produce a product that he can't sell? He's only going to take that money overseas and produce his bags in a market where people have the money to purchase them. Thus, the only way to stimulate the economy is to put money in the pockets of the people in the homeless shelter. That's the only way we can provide Gucci with a market of people with the resources to purchase his goods.

Another glaring example of gross political hypocrisy took place just last year. While this nation was drowning in the second worst economic crisis in its history, and American citizens were losing their homes and jobs, congress voted themselves a $93,000 a year raise, each - and not a raise in salary, but in "petty cash," to spend anyway they see fit. And then, of course, there's Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.). He should go down in history as the quintessential example political hypocrisy. Rep. Harris is the newly elected, Tea Party supported congressman who ran on the abolishment of "Obamacare." But in spite of that, he began demanding his governmet run health care before he was even sworn into office.

So I'd like to address this to my good friend, Tom. Let's lay that socialist thing to rest. The entire socialist controversy is nothing but conflated politispeak designed to get you to work against your own interests. If we ever want to control our own destiny, it's incombent upon us not to allow ourselves to be manipulated through knee-jerk emotionalism. While you might say that rabid socialism is bad because it led to communism, I could just as easily argue that rabid capitalism is bad because it led to slavery. So we've got to learn to engage in nuanced thinking.

Social Security and Medicare are both socialist programs, yet I don't know of any average citizen - either Democrat or Republican - who want to give either ofthem up. So Tom, it's true. We do need to take our country back, but not from one another. We need to take our country back from those who are manipulating us both.

So I have a suggestion, instead of fighting one another, let's make a deal - you handle your hypocrites on the right, and I'll handle mine on the left. Then let's all come together and handle the corporatists who are pulling all of our strings. After all, these are not Americans - they're globalists, with a vested interest in making us hate one another.

We're bein' played by the oldest political ploy in the book - divide and conquer.

This is the one who's dangerous 
Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Old-School Hipster


Old School Hipster

Pass The Bongos, Ginsberg,
as this scrapple from my Apple
takes a whack at Kerouac
and the Hip Hipster of Hipness
hiply hip you unhip lames
to what it truly is to be hip to the
very hip hipness of that which is truly hip:

To be hip is to embrace that which is hip
based purely on its hipness
rather than merely because
it is hip for a hipster
to be hip.

Hip is the essence
of that which is hip.
Therefore, the hip
don’t Be hip, they Are hip.
Thus, a true hipster is hip
to the very hip fact that hipness
is hip in its own hip regard,
and not merely hip
for those unhip,
who would be hip,
simply to embrace the hipness
of what they think is hip,
for the sole unhip purpose
of being hip to what's hip,
you dig?

So, to a very hip extent,
hip is the intrinsic hipness
of that which is actually hip.
Therefore, one cannot
be hip without being hip
to the fundamentally hip fact
that it is unquestionably
unhip to try to
become hip, or be hip--
since an effort to be hip
is the exceedingly
unhip antithesis of that which
is hip within the realm of hipness itself.

Thus, in the hippest
of the most glibly hip fashion,
allow the Hip Hipster of Hippness
to hereby hiply hip you to
the inescapably hip fact
that so hiply follows:

To Be Hip Ain’t Hip.
Thus, to be hip, or not to be hip
is definitely not the question.
For there is no question
about what is hip.
Simply put,
Hip Simply Is . . .
you hip?

Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

In President Obama's Own Words, the U.S. Postal Service is Guilty of Human Rights Abuse


In President Obama's Own Words, the U.S. Postal Service is Guilty of Human Rights Abuse

President Obama is undoubtedly a very intelligent man, so I'm sure it wasn't lost on him why he found himself walking on eggshells when the Egyptian people rose up against the corruption and human rights abuses of President Hosni Mubarak. The incident demonstrates two points unequivocally. First, we need to stop trying to talk out of both sides of our mouths, because nobody is fooled by it; and secondly, while compromise is generally a very good thing, compromising with the Devil is not compromise at all. It's collusion, regardless to whether we're talking about dictators abroad, or corporatists here at home.

It was embarrassing having to watch the president struggle to find just the right tone for his response, especially after the way we're always foaming at the mouth about freedom, justice, and democracy. Because the fact is, truth has no tone. It's simply truth. So if the United States government is truly in support of justice and democracy as we claim to be, why couldn't the president just say so instead of tap dancing around the issue in order to give cover to a tyrant?  I know that sounds simplistic, but truth tends to cater to simplicity.

The reason for his tepid response is clear. While we love to pay lip service to freedom, justice, and democracy when the spotlight is upon us, we have a long history of playing footsie with people like President Mubarak, and many other dictators around the world, when the lights are out. We've been in collusion with dictators who subjugate their people throughout our history, and now we're in collusion with international corporations in the subjugation of our own people.

Clear evidence of that collusion can be found in the fact that in spite of record profits by major corporations in this country, unemployment remains high. The primary reason for the continuing high unemployment rate is that the corporations are purposely sending our jobs overseas and the banks are refusing to make loans to small businesses in order to get the American middle class accustomed to accepting a lower standard of living. The tactic is also used to restore the GOP to power, and thus, the status quo.

If the American people would simply take a moment to think instead allowing the corporate noise machine to think for them, they would recognize the fallacy in the GOP claim that pampering the top 2% of the population will create jobs and enhance the lives of the middle class. The GOP had thirty years to prove that theory, yet every Republican administration since, and including, Ronald Reagan's have been an abject failure in managing the economy. President Obama has created more jobs in his first two years than Bush did during his entire presidency.

That's why Obama's base is so frustrated. They're disgusted by his accommodationist attitude. While the GOP is aggressively destroying the country by chipping away at the middle class, sending our jobs overseas, passing ridiculous rulings like Citizens United, assaulting our educational system, polluting our environment, and taking over our media, he's talking about compromise. He doesn't seem to understand that some issues are worth fighting for - like the rule of law, for example.

The American people need to wake up, face reality, and stop being blinded by GOP public relations manuals. Here's one example of the gross hypocrisy that's serving to open my eyes. In a speech given in Cairo in June of 2009 President Obama said the following:

But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.

"Everywhere," Mr. President? Why don't we simply start right here in your very own United States Postal Service? Unless President Mubarak is physically torturing his citizens, he couldn't possibly be treating his people any worse than your agency is treating its employees. If what's currently going on in the postal service wasn't so tragic, your words would be absolutely laughable.

In your Cairo speech you said, all people yearn for confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, yet you improperly intervened in the administration of justice by preventing your attorney general from holding Bush and Cheney accountable for their war crimes, rendering them a class above the law. And in your very own postal service, while you have craft employees being fired for accepting one coupon from a customer, you have executives falsifying governments documents to steal millions of dollars a day in wages from gainfully employed workers with complete impunity. In addition, the failed postmaster who reigned over the employee abuse walked away from a nearly bankrupted postal service as a multimillionaire. How does that differ from what President Mubarak is engaged in?

There are those who say you must not know what's going on. I find that hard to believe. I think the United States has simply embraced a new business model in order to accommodate corporate greed. That's why the poor and middle class are suffering while the top 10% are living higher on the hog than at any other time in our history - they no longer even feel obliged to help defend the nation. Dying for our country is a job for the "little people."

Listen to an objective view of what you're allowing to happen on your watch. In his book, Beyond Going, Postal Dr. Steve Musacco, a therapist and organizational psychologist with thirty years experience in the postal service, said the following:

"On the morning of June 2, 2009, a city letter carrier went to work and reportedly fatally shot himself in the head in the locker room at a postal facility in Gastonia, North Carolina . . . Prior to my retirement from the USPS, at a former district I worked for, there were three suicides within a two year period that I concluded were contributed to in significant part by how these employees were treated in the workplace. The third employee, a city letter carrier, fatally shot himself in a postal jeep and left a letter stating that he could no longer take the job. The night before he committed suicide he told his wife he did not know if he would be able to handle his job anymore. How do I know? His wife told me this one day after his suicide.

"In order for the U.S Postal Service to become a safe and healthy organization and thereby prevent future workplace tragedies, which have been at an epidemic level over the past three decades, there is an urgent need for congressional intervention and legislation to address its toxic postal culture. Dr. Gary Namie and his wife, Dr. Ruth Namie, along with their colleague Dr. David Yamada, have for years pushed for such legislation at the state and federal level. In order for national legislation for the prevention of workplace bullying to have the intended impact, it would require sanctions to employers or their representatives who are in violation of a new workplace statute that defines workplace bullying as a harmful and illegal activity."

In another case addressing the postal service's routine practice of falsifying documents to steal pay from its employees, Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge said in her December 2, 2009 decision that “Management’s violations were so egregious over a period of many years that punitive damages were awarded to deter the service from further clock ring violations.”

So, Mr. President, we need to start practicing the virtue of defending human rights here at home before we start lecturing others abroad, because the only thing that rivals the horror of what this United States Government agency is doing to its employees is what it's doing to your stature and credibility in the eyes of people who want very much to respect you.

I suggest that you get out in front of this issue before the GOP propaganda machine latches on to it, because it's an outrageous scandal with the potential to bring you down - and please remember, you heard it here first.

Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011


Well, Taylor,
Well, Trey,
You’re on your way,
To add to the Wattree Clan

It’s my conviction, not hope, you will surely both,
Add a page to the sojourn of man.
You’ll be loved and nurtured to take your place,
In a world you do not yet belong,
But when we’re through, we trust both of you,
Will help make our people be strong.
You’ll be taught that knowledge is the key to life,
And to harvest its essence you’ll strive,
Then combine that knowledge with the wisdom of Solomon,
To help see our people survive.
Think not of what is politically correct,
Seek to be independent of thought,
For group-think, indeed, is not thought at all,
But that of which fools are wrought.
Embrace truth over all as your clarion call,
Make integrity your moral code,
And when life’s so tough you think it’s too much,
Allow God to relieve your load.
Make the God you trust the God of your heart,
And not the God of man,
For the God of man is man himself,
And only just when it suits his plan.
And look to the note that your poppy once wrote,
A withered vine ignored as benign;
Make my words come true, what I said of you,
Make my legacy whisper through time:
"Neither scholar nor the head of state,
The most common of men seems to be my fate;
A life blistered with struggle and constant need,
As my legacy to man I bequeath my seed.
More fertile, more sturdy, these ones than I,
This withered old vine left fallow and dry;
The nectar of their roots lie dormant still,
But through their fruit I’ll be revealed."
Eric L. Wattree
January 28, 1998

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