Sunday, February 26, 2017


America Is Literally Dying Of A Lack Of Character, Integrity, And Moral Substance.

December 5, 2015 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Most Americans have embraced a philosophy of “go-along-to get-along,” and that’s a philosophy that has never served minorities, or the working class, well. It’s a philosophy that only serves to maintain the status quo. So if you’re at the bottom of the ladder, not being paid a living wage, and being treated unjustly, helping to maintain the status quo virtually guarantees that you’ll remain in that condition. On the other hand, if you’re one of those lucky few who have managed to accumulate a few of the finer things in life, you’re doing a gross disservice to all those people of high moral character and integrity who came before you and made your lifestyle possible.
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Go-along-to-get-along is a philosophy that’s based on self-service, greed, and a disregard for your fellow man, so it not only fosters division within the minority and working-class community, but it negates all of the finest qualities of the human spirit – those qualities that inspired many White men to embrace the ideals of freedom and justice so passionately that they left the love and comfort of their families to go die in the bloodiest war this nation has ever fought.  We rarely see that kind of moral substance today – today it’s everybody for themselves, and everybody chasing “the American dream,” which is rapidly becoming an American nightmare starring the Corporate/GOP Alliance.
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We cannot get through this world alone.  If you’re not prepared to go out on a limb to help be your brother’s keeper, who’s going to have your back when the boots arrive outside your door?  Yes, it’s good to be self-reliant, but there’s a very big difference between being self-reliant and being just plain selfish. But that’s the bill of goods that the social manipulators have sold many Americans – “It’s all about me and my life; to hell with everybody else; that’s the American way.”  By embracing that philosophy we make ourselves vulnerable to social exploitation, because the powers that be can exploit us one at a time instead of having to face an opposing force that dwarfs them in its numbers.
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The concept should be so easy to grasp – the American people are the source of their own misery. Why do we simply sit back and pour billions of dollars into corporations that claim to be patriotic yet send millions of American jobs out of the country to improve their profit margin?  What kind of patriotism is that?  It’s not.  It’s all about their indulging in the philosophy described above – “It’s all about us, and to hell with the American people,” and we’re quietly embracing that philosophy.  The American people are living like Stepford wives.  We’re begging for crumbs from a table that belongs to us.
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Frederick Douglass said, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.” Douglass’ words have proven to be even more true today than when he uttered them. For over thirty-five years, every since Ronald Reagan – the backlot cowboy – found that the American public will accept almost anything if you wrap it in John Wayne’s persona, Republicans have been donning cowboy hats and boots and chipping away at American rights, jobs, and our moral sense of outrage over injustice. It’s gotten so bad that today if we happen to stumble over justice and fair treatment, we consider it a gift rather than a right. I’ve said the following before, but I think it bears repeating:  America-2015
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It’s Time To Enact A Workers’ Bill Of Rights – And Boot out Any Politician Who Refuses To Go Along

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The American people have been sold a bill of goods. We’ve allowed the one-percenters to convince us that completely unrestrained capitalism (or greed) is “the American way.” Says who, the one-percenters? The “American way” should be what’s good for America, not just a handful of industrialists, political cronies, and Wall Street manipulators.
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Think about the average American’s response to the word “socialism.” Corporatists have conditioned us to revile even the mention of the word. Most Americans react to it like Count Dracula reacts to a cross. We’ve been so thoroughly conditioned that it’s used as a pejorative to slur President Obama.  It conjures up images of dictators, Red China, the former Soviet Union, the government taking over our lives, and the loss of freedom, but it doesn’t actually mean that at all. What it actually means is giving the average citizen a fair shake and not stacking the deck against them by promoting unfettered greed.
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Yes, socialism has undoubtedly been used as a pretext to take away freedoms and create closed societies, but that was the ABUSE  of socialism, just like the abuse of capitalism led to slavery and the extermination of over a hundred million Native Americans. So it is not the economic systems that are  evil; it’s the closed-minded and self-serving motives of the people who implement the systems who are evil.
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Thus, with that understood, common sense would seem to dictate that the best system for America would be a democratic socialism that is based on capitalistic principles. That is, we should continue to pursue our current capitalistic system, but with an eye toward not allowing unfettered greed to run so amok that it brings misery upon the American people, as it did under George W. Bush, and continues do to this day
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Entrepreneurs should be free to make as much money as they can manage, but responsibly. So we need  a workers’ bill of rights in this country. If a company wants to do business in the United States it should have to pay workers a living wage and  maintain a level of employment based on, and commensurate with, the amount of profits that they’re pulling from the economy. If the company doesn’t want to do that, they should clear out and go do business in another country.  That will open the market up for others who are willing to settle for a mere one billion dollars in profit instead of a hundred billion.

REAGANOMICS AND THE GOP CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE MIDDLE CLASS

Our economy (for the average worker) is currently depressed because, starting with the Reagan administration, it has been based on unrestrained greed, and the average American is being constantly squeezed by the one-percenters to give up an ever larger share of America’s pie.  The GOP used Ronald Reagan, with his “Aw shucks, Ma’am,” John Wayne-like persona, to convince the American people to buy into “Trickle-Down” Economics – or in other words, “Give us your money and we promise to take care of you.” That was the biggest scam ever perpetrated against the people in American history, and we should be mad as hell about it.
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They not only stole our money, but destroyed our industrial base by breaking up and selling off some of our most important corporations. In addition, they tripled the national debt in the process! As a direct result, the American middle class has been careening downhill for the past 35 years, or every since.
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I’ve related the GOP’s grossly irresponsible economic history in several articles, but the head-scratching result of the 2014 midterm election clearly suggest that the American people are just not getting it, so it bears repeating.
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From the moment that Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt put “The New Deal For the American People” in place to rescue the American people from ever having to suffer the ravages of the Great Depression again, the GOP and conservatives have been determined to dismantle it – even as I write they’re mounting an assault on Social Security, Affordable Health Care, and every other program designed to bring relief to the poor and middle class. The closest they’ve come to succeeding started during the Reagan administration with Supply-Side Economics, or, “Reaganomics” – and the battle is currently raging in Washington D.C. as we speak.
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Supply- Side Economics was a scheme hatch by U.S.C. economist, Arthur Laffer, and the Reagan crowd which was supposed to cut the deficit and balance the budget. The theory behind Reaganomics was ostensibly, if you cut taxes for business and people in the upper tax brackets, and then deregulated business of such nuisances as safety regulations and environmental safeguards, the beneficiaries would invest their savings into creating new jobs. In that way the money would eventually “trickle down” to the rest of us. The resulting broadened tax base would not only help to bring down the deficit, but also subsidize the tremendously high defense budget. When the plan was first floated, even George Bush, Reagan’s vice president to be, called it “voodoo economics.”
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Reaganomics, for the most part, sought to undo many of the safeguards put into place during the Roosevelt era and create a business environment similar to that which was in place during the Coolidge Administration. What actually took place, however, was even more like the Coolidge era than planed.
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Instead of taking the money and investing it into creating new jobs, the money was used in wild schemes and stock market speculation. One of these schemes, the leveraged buy out, involved buying up large companies with borrowed funds secured by the company’s assets, then paying off the loan by selling off the assets of the purchased company. This practice cost the citizens of this country its industrial base. In addition, the bottom fell out of the stock market. On Monday, October 19, 1987 the Dow-Jones Average fell 508.32 points. It was the greatest one-day decline since 1914 – 15 years before the Great Depression.
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And what about Ronald Reagan’s promise to balance the budget and lower the deficit? By the time he left office he was not only the most prolific spender of any president in history, but he also added more to the deficit than all of the other presidents from George Washington to his own administration combined. And what did the Republican Party propose to do about that? One of the Republican proposals was their “contract with America,” a capital gains tax cut – for the rich.
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Heaping ever more money on the rich seems to be the GOP’s answer to everything, and as they’re doing it, they’re telling the poor and middle class that if they had just a little more, the economic conditions in this country will turn the corner for everyone. They’ve been telling the people this lie for 35 years, and the conditions for the poor and middle class is getting ever worse with every day that passes.
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Due to the continued freewheeling fiscal policies of conservative Republicans, between 1986 and 1989, spanning the presidencies of Reagan and Bush Sr., the FSLIC had to pay off all the depositors of 296 institutions with assets of over $125 billion.
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Then in 1988 Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $1.3 billion. It was headed by Neil Bush, brother of George W. The investigation alleged that he was guilty of “breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest.” The issue was eventually settled out of court with Bush paying a mere $50,000 settlement.
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Then there was the Lincoln Savings and loan scandal in 1987, involving John McCain. He was one of a group of senators dubbed “The Keating Five” involved in a scandal by the same name.
In 1976 Charles Keating moved to Arizona to run the American Continental Corporation. In 1984, shortly after the Reagan era push to deregulate the savings and loan community, Keating bought Lincoln Savings and Loan and began to engage in highly risky investments with the depositors’ savings. In 1989 the parent company, which Keating headed, went bankrupt, and it resulted in over 21,000 investors losing their life savings. Most of the investors were elderly, and the loss amounted to about 285 million dollars.
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After having received over a million dollars from Keating in illegal campaign contributions, gifts, free trips, and other gratuities, the Keating Five – Senators John Glenn, Don Riegle, Dennis DeConini, Alan Cranston, and Sen. John McCain – attempted to intervene in the investigation into Keating’s activities by the regulators. Later, they were admonished to varying degrees by the senate for attempting to influence regulators on Keating’s behalf. Charles Keating ended up being convicted for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy, for which he received 10 years by the state court, and a 12 year sentence in federal court. After spending four and a half years in prison, his convictions were overturned. But prior to being retried, he pled guilty to a number of felonies in return for a sentence of time served.
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Then came the George W. Bush administration that caused close to a million people to die uselessly in an illegal war in Iraq, robbed the American people blind, whose fumbling ignited the longest war in American history in Afghanistan, and whose greed came very close to sending the nation into yet another Great Depression.
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Now, after all of their repeated efforts to deplete the national treasury, they’re unanimously voting against every piece of legislation that the Democrats propose to repair the damage they created and to bring relief to the American people. Then they have the audacity to claim that they’re doing it because they’re concerned about deficit spending.
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They’re against affordable health care for American families; they’re against any kind of spending to put Americans back to work, and they’re against extending unemployment insurance to relieve the burden of America’s unemployed. What’s particularly telling, however, is they’re also against any kind of strong legislation to prevent the financial community (them) from being able to rob the American people in the future.
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The fact is, what they really want is to maintain the status quo, and make damn sure that the American people remained miserable, hungry, and divided until 2016 elections so they’d have a better chance to regain power and raid the treasury again. Republican Senate minority leader (now majority leader), Mitch McConnell, was frustrated and reckless enough to say it out loud prior to the 2012 election – “Our No. 1 priority is to make this president a one-term president” – not to save America, or to bring relief to the American people, but to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Flag pens in lapels and patriotic rhetoric notwithstanding, that says it all about the GOP’s lack of concern for America, or the American people.
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After they lost the 2012 election, their agenda has shifted to making sure that President Obama is not successful, because if he is, and you combine that with the rapidly changing demographic, that could spell doom for the future of the GOP – and it should, because they’re grossly out of touch with reality, and, America’s best interest. They’re out to create a corporate feudalist society. The government shutdown, their repeated obstructionism, and their unconscionable attack on voters’ rights clearly demonstrated that they have absolutely no respect for democracy.
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And this is not just political rhetoric. Here is the activity of the Republican congress who ran in the 2010 election on their claim that their number one priority was to bring economic relief, and create jobs for the American people.
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History is clear. The conservative Republicans don’t mind spending money, they just don’t want to spend it on those who need it – us. Remember, they’re the party of Alexander Hamilton, one of this country’s founding fathers who believed that only those who owned property should even be allowed to vote. He also said:
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“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).
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In 1965, CEOs were paid only 20.1 times more than the average worker. Today they make 231 times the average worker (http://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2012/09/redistribution-wealth-has-gone-upward-not-down-early-80s).  As a direct result, the top 5% of the population now control 82% of the wealth, while the bottom 80% only control 7%. That’s dangerous, and it’s a direct threat to our democracy.  As a matter of fact, a study by Princeton University declares that the American government can no longer be called a democracy – it is now an oligarchy that’s controlled by the rich.
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So again, we need to stop buying into the ridiculous proposition that if we just make the one-percenters just a little bit richer they’ll take care of us. We need to take care of ourselves, and our lower and middle-class workers. Thereafter, when they spend their money on goods and services, they’ll create a thriving economy again. When we put money in the pockets of the poor and middle class it circulates – they go on vacations, which creates jobs; they buy their children toys and clothes, which creates jobs; and they buy new homes, which creates jobs. When we give our money to the rich, it goes into offshore accounts and we never see it again. That’s why the bottom 80% of the people now only have 7% of the wealth.
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We’re being sold a bill of goods.  Corporations are making more profits than they ever made in their history, so there’s no reason for unemployment to be so high. The reason that it is, however, is because the corporatists are purposely keeping unemployment high in order to strangle the American middle class into accepting a lower standard of living that will be more in keeping with the global economy.
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Thus, we need to vote many of these demagogues out of office and vote people in who are willing to pass a Workers’ Bill of Rights. Then we need to inform these corporatists that they’re going to have to dance to a different drummer if they want to do business in the United States. If they don’t want to comply, they’ll have to do business elsewhere and make room for others who will happily take their place, and for far less money.

Staff Writer; Eric L. Wattree
More thought provoking articles feel free to visit; The Wattree Chronicle.

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