Wattree's blog

The Ironies of 911

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

While viewing America's solemn commemoration of the eighth anniversary of 911, I began to reflect upon its many ironies. The very first thing that came to mind was Dick Cheney's claim that Bush administration policies have kept us safe. My second thought was he must think we're crazy - and too many of us are.

When one looks upon the trauma, anger, and pain still etched upon the face of America eight years after the loss of 3000 of its citizens, one can only imagine what the Iraqi people are feeling after the documented murder, by name, of over 101,552 innocent men, women, and Iraqi children. Only after we begin to recognize the gravity of the atrocity that we committed in Iraq will America begin to understand that we will never be safe until we make the people responsible for that carnage accountable for their actions.

Bravo, Mr. President!

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

As I sat back last night and watched president Obama speak before the joint session of congress, I was delighted to be able to say to myself, now that's the man I voted for. He spoke with eloquence, he addressed every relevant issue, and he was inspirational - but most importantly, he spoke with the kind of strength that the American people expect of their leaders.

Beneath the Spin: I Had a Dream

I dreamed that I opened my eyes one morning and all of America was wide awake. I could hear the echoes of the Bush/Cheney consortium desperately proclaiming their innocence from deep within the Hague, but the world had long since stopped listening. I dreamed that Rush, O'Reilly, and FOX News had imploded into a metaphor for latter-day McCarthyism, and the phrase corpo-congressional alliance was a new vulgarity that had become a part of the American lexicon.

Beneath the Spin: America: Are We Really that Exceptional?

 Well, there's that arrogant, xenophobic, and divisive phrase again - "American Exceptionalism."


President Obama is being roundly criticized by many conservatives for refusing to go around the world promoting the conservative vision of American superiority. Their shortsighted idea of effective American diplomacy is for the President of the United States to trot around the globe telling the people of the world that we're better than they are.

Beneath the Spin: Michael Jackson and America's Superstardom

I greatly admired Michael Jackson. I admire anyone who's the very best at what they do, and Michael Jackson was definitely that. I remember when I first heard him. He was doing a tune called "Who's Lovin' You?" He was a mere child at the time, but his talent was so fully developed, and he sang with so much emotional maturity, I mistook the high pitch of his voice to be that of a very soulful adult female. Then later when he did "Billie Jean" at the Motown reunion, he seemed to literally defy gravity as he Moonwalked across the stage. So yes, this young man was, without a doubt, one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived.


But Michael's life - that shooting star that dazzled humanity with its awesome display, only to burn out much too soon - threatens to serve as a perfect metaphor for America itself. The story of the United States parallels that of Michael Jackson. It is also the story of a precocious child star that dazzled humanity with its awesome display. The United States is undoubtedly a superstar among nations, but we must not let hubris allow us to forget that among those very same nations, we are nothing more than a precocious child.


An Open Response to Halliburton

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-06-25 15:51:21 -0400. -- GH

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

An Open Response to Halliburton

Ms. Gabriel,

I’m writing in response to your June 23rd request for an immediate correction to a statement made regarding the Halliburton Corp. in my June 20th article, Healthcare: Why Can't We Get the Congressional Option? Your communication reads as follows:

FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION

The article, “Healthcare: Why Can't We Get the Congressional Option?” posted Saturday, June 20, on The Wattree Chronicle contains information about Halliburton that is completely misleading and incorrect.

Halliburton is not a military contractor. Halliburton is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry, and serves the upstream oil and gas industry throughout the lifecycle of the reservoir – from locating hydrocarbons and managing geological data, to drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion, and optimizing production through the life of the field.

You will note that all of the government services and engineering and construction businesses have been and remain with KBR. To confirm, KBR and Halliburton are completely separate and independent of each other. Halliburton separated KBR from the company in April 2007 (http://www.halliburton.com/public/news/pubsdata/press_release/2007/corpnws_040507a.html.

We respectfully request you make this correction immediately.
Kind regards,

Diana Gabriel
Senior Manager, Public Relations
Halliburton

diana.gabriel@halliburton.com
Office: 713.759.2608
Cell: [Redacted]
Fax: 281.575.5790

While I am always careful to obtain multiple sources for any assertions that I make in my articles, nevertheless, I went back to objectively revisit the facts just in case it was necessary to accommodate your request.

Healthcare: Why Can't We Get the Congressional Option?

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

There's at least one thing that Republicans do much better than Democrats, and that's marketing their initiatives. It doesn't matter how regressive the idea, Republicans manage to frame it in a way that if you oppose it you look like you're either degenerate, or at the very least, un-American. For example, instead of accurately calling themselves "The Order of Religious Bigots Dedicated to Shoving Our Version of God Down America's Throat," they market their insanity as "The Moral Majority," and instead of being honest and calling themselves "The Public Vagina Brigade," they call themselves "The Right to Life" proponents (even though they're willing to let that very same life starve to death after it's born). Conservatives get a lot of milage out of their creativity in this area, and progressives would do well to follow suit.

The initiative to legalize same-sex marriage would have been much more marketable, for example, if it had been dubbed "The Right to Love."  And the same is true of healthcare reform. Proponents of a public option for healthcare could make life a lot more difficult for opponents in congress if instead of calling it "The Public Option" they simply dubbed it "The Congressional Option" - that way the issue would be self-explanatory. It would force every member of congress who placed the interest of the insurance industry over the welfare of his or her constituents to explain why they want to deny the American people the opportunity to opt into the exact same plan that congress and their families enjoy.

But I only bring this issue up as an introduction to a much more serious problem - demagoguery. All of the public manipulation above is symptomatic of a system that's out of control. It's a clear example of how politicians who are suppose to represent the people, are using marketing and public manipulation to feather their own nests.

The Moral Strangulation of America

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

The Moral Strangulation of America 

In my last article I pointed out that the character of America is being fundamentally changed. In less than two generations we've gone from citizens who were politically engaged and socially aware, to zombies who simply accept what we're being told by our favorite demagogues. We've gone from citizens who held our politicians' feet to the fire, to a group of cattle who allow our politicians to dictate what is, and what isn't, off the table - in spite of our instinctive clamor for the simple adherence to the law. We've allowed politicians to go from representatives with the single mandate of do our biding, to so-called leaders who dictate to us what's in our best interest. As a direct result, the script has been flipped - we now define what's in the people's best interest, by what's in the best interest of the politicians who are supposed to defer us.

Carrie Prejean: Are Progressives Becoming as Intolerant as Conservatives?

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-05-07 13:44:37 -0500. -- GH

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

Carrie Prejean: Are Progressives Becoming as Intolerant as Conservatives?

I've always been proud to consider myself a progressive, because being a progressive meant that I was open-minded, willing to assess every issue on its own merit, and I'm tolerant of varying points of view. But it seems that many of today's "progressives" have corrupted the term. Though many of these people call themselves progressives, they are not progressive thinkers–they are progressive in name only. Over the years they seem to have somehow lost their way, and as a result, have managed to redefined the term "progressive" to simply mean, not conservative.

A case in point is the unconscionable way in which the so-called progressive community has demonized Carrie Prejean after she indicated, almost apologetically during the Miss America Pageant, that she thought marriage should be between a man and a woman. Why in the world did she say that?!! Thereafter, she was called a bitch, seminude photos of her have been posted on the Internet, and she's been generally, dragged through the mud. It is unbelievable that people who call themselves progressive could do that to that young woman.

GOP Underestimates Conservative America

 

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-04-10 18:28:19 -0500. -- GH

 

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

 

GOP Underestimates Conservative America

While President Obama is going about his valiant and statesman-like attempt to rescue America and restore our image at home and abroad, the GOP politics as usual, diehard operatives are acting like spoiled brats determined to undermine the president–and America's–effort. But in their blind attempt to regain power they seem to have forgotten one important fact–the vast majority of true conservatives are fiercely loyal Americans, and don't share their view of power at any cost.

While "true conservatives" have a vastly different view from "true liberals" regarding the policies that make America great, the two groups have one very important thing in common–both groups understand that even as we indulge in our sibling rivalry, we are all Americans--family–which means the viability of our nation and proud American traditions must come first.

Bishop Joe Simon Sings the Blues Over Rappers and Ministry

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

I call this column "Beneath the Spin" because it's dedicated to an honest search for truth, an attempt to stimulate thought, and an earnest effort to clear up the trough of pure bullshit served up to us on a daily basis. I generally deal with political demagogues in this context, but due to our current economic crisis I'm going to expand my attention to anything that doesn't smell quite right–and the fumes emanating from my current focus, seriously suggests that demagoguery is far from exclusive to Washington D.C.

While I'm normally not one to defend the rap industry, I have several problems with a claim being levied against it by former rhythm and blues singer, and now ordained bishop, Joe Simon.