EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, admittedly it’s not a very original title, but it IS accurate. William C. Henry is better known to me as ‘Uncle Bill.’ He’s always been a man of strong opinions and a persuasive argument-maker, but I was a little surprised to learn — after re-connecting with him after a prolonged period of radio silence — that his current perspective so closely mirrors that of Phawker. Which is refreshing, to say the least, since most (white) people seem to turn into Fox News zombies when they get to be his age (early 70s, FYI). Not Uncle Bill. It is often said that Democrats — including our president — need to grow a spine. Well, Uncle Bill is spine incarnate. He’s not afraid to rock the ALL CAPS. Although he does bleep out his own F-bombs, because he’s old school, and that’s how people used to curse back in the day. Be that as it may, I invited him to weigh in from time to time, a la Lewis Black, on whatever is getting his goat at the moment and this is what he had to say…
ON MOST THINGS: I’m going to confess right off the bat that I find this a really tough subject to comment on in any way even approaching a well-reasoned manner. I mean, where do you start when you’re dealing with TROGLODYTES? How do you deal with someone whose whole approach to a particular subject is based ENTIRELY on pure unadulterated BULLSHIT! What’s the game plan when it comes to rebutting outlandish exaggeration, murky obfuscation, purposeful pandering, simplistic fear mongering, and total avoidance of anything even resembling honesty, fairness, or fact? Well, here goes. MORE
ON HOMELESS CHILDREN IN AMERICA: Do you know that we’ve spent over $500,000,000 (and that’s just SO FAR!) on our little foray into Libyan affairs, but we can’t find the wherewithal to prevent children from sleeping on our sidewalks! Do you know that with the money we have spent to date in godforsaken Afghanistan we could have written a check for $14,000.00 to every Afghani man, woman, and child (on the men’s part alone that would cover about 4 YEARS of average earnings – most women aren’t permitted to work), but we can’t offer an alternative to thousands of families having to raise their children in TENTS or cars or God knows where else! So, once again I ask you, where the hell is the goddamn OUTRAGE?! Christ, can anyone out there spell “p r i o r i t i e s”?! We live in a nation where a large segment of its political representation deems it not only acceptable, but truly fair and honorable, to grant unconscionable tax breaks to billionaires, all the while knowing that many American moms and/or dads will once again be tucking their kids into dirty little sleeping bags in some “there’s no place like home” f _ _ _ _ _ g TENT or car or ditch somewhere for yet another truly FORGETTABLE night! In 2008 it was “conservatively” estimated that 3.5 million people (of which 1.3 million were children) were homeless in America. That was three years ago. If you think those figures were exaggerated, I’ve got a home mortgage scheme (allusion intended) I’d like to talk to you about. MORE
ON AFGHANISTAN: For all of our wasted treasure (both human and monetary) we’ve ended up with the single most CORRUPT government on the face of the earth! Literally hundreds of Afghan politicians and bureaucrats have become overnight multi-millionaires. Well, golly gee, isn’t that coincidental! Oh, by the way, did I mention that the Afghan president’s brother is one of the biggest drug traffickers in the entire region?! Oh, yeah, did I also mention that, in addition to the “hoards” of al-Qaeda, we’re also fighting some other stone-tool fundamentalist assholes who call themselves the Taliban. They’re those courtly fellows whose respect for women falls about one level below that for sewer rats. But, wait! Now that these gallant rogues have killed and severely maimed literally thousands of our bravest young men and women, the “best and brightest” appear to be considering yet another sure-to-succeed course of action. Maybe we should just sit down and talk to them, try to get to know them a little better, discuss their possible “integration” into Afghan society, maybe even nudge them into a little governance “sharing” with their totally CORRUPT competitors down in Kabul, or, at the very, very least, and failing ALL of the above, maybe we should explore just flat out “buying the bastards off”! I mean, it’s the f _ _ _ _ _ g American way, right?! But, enough of the good news, you say. Surely there must be SOME way to bring an end to this debacle. Like Bush I, why the hell don’t we just declare victory and go home? Well, brother, you just hit the 34- billion-dollar-1,532-American-lives nail right on the head! That is EXACTLY what we should do. So, why don’t we do it? The reason is disgustingly simple: There is no politician in a position of significant power or influence in Washington with the GUTS or common DECENCY to stand up and state publicly that the time has finally come for the nation to swallow its pride and be willing to trade face saving for the sake of American lives, limbs, and livelihoods. MORE
GOVERNMENT SPENDING PRIORITIES: Now, with respect to priorities, let us consider this rarely publicized (and, by God, you can sure as hell understand why!) gem: We spend as much on OUR military as the NEXT 18 COUNTRIES COMBINED!
ON BRADLEY MANNING & WIKILEAKS: Enter Bradley Manning. He’s the persecuted young American hero who allegedly exposed some of the army’s previously “unkept” secrets to the world by turning the information over to Wikileaks […] I say “unkept” because these so-called SECRETS he exposed were already accessible to somewhere between 500,000 and 3,000,000 other pairs of eyes! You see, we’ve become a society divided between the security clearance haves and the have nots. What Bradley Manning (allegedly) did was erase that line. Here’s the kicker, folks. Despite ALL the dire predictions, ALL the fretting, All the fuming, All the wringing of hands, ALL the sky-is-falling CRAP — the only thing that’s fallen is some of the Middle East’s most despicable tyrants! Nobody’s death or torture has been tied to the exposure! Widespread embarrassment? You betcha! And what about the hypocrisy of the media’s unwillingness to stand up for Manning and Wikileaks, despite the fact they they constantly parrot — and make money off that parroting – every newsworthy revelation from the reams of Pentagon and State department documents that Manning/Assange (allegedly) took it upon themselves to declassify. Where’s the debate about re-calibrating the ratio of transparency and accountability in the name of national security? Where’s the national conversation about the threats that state secrecy poses to an open society? Where’s congressional hearings on the abuse of government secrecy?! Where are the people in the streets and public squares demanding less official secrets and more official truth? Oh right, that is happening — in the Middle East. MORE
ON DONALD TRUMP’S SUDDEN OBSESSION WITH THE PRESIDENT’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE: If you’re reading this you are likely too young to remember another bucket of sh _ t by the name of Joseph McCarthy. He’s the long dead (God, what a glorious day it was when that slimy bastard finally succumbed!) U.S. Senator from Wisconsin (1947-1957) who “proudly” initiated and sustained what remains to this day one the most despicable, fear ridden 10 year periods in all of American history. I suspect that Joe is all but forgotten now, but given the state of American politics these days, his is a memory that positively BEGS for resurrection. If you’re not familiar with him and what happened back then, I want you to research it. It’s not just important that you know, it’s IMPERATIVE! You see, we never believed that something like that could happen then either, and when it blessedly ended we certainly couldn’t imagine it ever happening again. Then along came The Donald. So, over the course of the next year and a half, whenever you see or hear the name Trump, I want you to remember that this is the race-baiting, fear-mongering, truth-trampling, con artist cow pie who believes he can pimp, pander, and prevaricate his way to the highest office in the land. Consider yourself warned. MORE
ON GETTING BIN LADEN: So, we finally got the scumbag. Am I happy? You bet your sweet ass I am! The only thing that could have made me happier would have been his being taken alive, shipped back in a cage, tried in a New York courtroom, found guilty, and publicly hanged (televised worldwide) at Ground Zero in front of a jeering crowd made up of every living relative and friend of every person who lost their life or suffered any harm as a result of the 911 attacks. I’d also have wanted a specially placarded “guests of dishonor” section reserved for all the government officials, including President Bush, who had ignored the literally dozens of verbal and written al Qaeda intercepts divulging the fact that terrorist attacks within the U.S. were imminent, and airplane hijackings were at the TOP of the list of probable means! The FRONT row would have been saved for those who were provided, and chose to ignore, SPECIFIC factual details about six Middle Easterners who had enrolled themselves in flight schools here and notified the instructors that they were interested ONLY in “in-flight” piloting training! But, alas, as is the case with almost ALL internal government investigations whenever an embarrassing “exposure” raises its unwelcome head, we’ll never know any of the disgusting details surrounding THIS particular chapter of unbridled hubris and inconceivable criminal incompetence either, because the in-depth CIA investigative report identifying the bastards was NEVER made PUBLIC!. Can you spell C O V E R Y O U R A S S G O V E R N M E N T S E C R E C Y again?! Anyway, I think the “guests of dishonor” thing would have been a nice touch. MORE
ON GOLDMAN SACHS: Has there ever been a more contemptible crew of con artists in the history of mankind?! Clearly Goldman Sachs has molded financial flimflam into an art form even John Myatt couldn’t envision. From deceptive foreign debt transactions to spurious mortgage-backed securities sales, this unprincipled pack of predators has left a trail of half-eaten carcasses stretching from the pillars of the Parthenon to the cul-de-sacs of suburban California — all the while reaping reprehensible profits for themselves and more than earning the dubious distinction of being Wall Street’s most cunning capitalistic carnivores. In the case of Greece, as with a number of other European countries about to take the Sachs slide down their own slippery slope, GS used fictional exchange rates and phony accounting methods to arrange government bond offerings which would enable client states to secretly obtain far more funds than their actual EU debt limit would allow — all the while pocketing fat commissions while shitting all over the chessboard. The kicker is that they knew from the beginning that these countries couldn’t afford the debt and down the road would have to return for additional infusions (to cover the first ones) at even higher interest rates and fees! I’m tellin’ ya, it’s enough to give “bait and switch” a bad name. Back here in their home country, GS and their ilk managed to bring the entire American financial system to the brink of collapse. Their phony credit default swaps (no, I can’t explain them, either) and bogus mortgage-backed securities bundles (which they continued to ballyhoo while brazenly betting against them with their own money) turned out to be the biggest, most calamitous, criminal fraud ever committed in United States history. Millions of Americans thrown out of their homes, millions more thrown out of work, billions in savings and investments wiped out overnight, and not a single one of the bilking bastards held accountable. MORE
ON ISRAEL & PALESTINE: I just finished reading a column in the New York Times by Stanley Fish titled “What’s up with the Jews?” The article poses the question of whether it’s ever possible for any of us to completely eliminate anti-semitic characterizations of Jews from whatever opinions we may form, or conclusions we may draw, with reference to any particular Jewish affected action or stance. In conclusion he offers this statement with respect to the Israeli/Palestinian situation: “Those who offer the criticism can never quite be sure that their distaste for Israel’s actions with respect to the Palestinians is entirely innocent of the influence of centuries of vilification.” Well, I think I can. The only thing I see that could possibly even remotely effect the scores-old, tried and true, let’s-get-this-whole-thing-sorted-out, flawlessly implemented, Alfred E. Neuman approved, nth degree analytical process of mine might be the somewhat flimsy reasoning I occasionally employ, or the inevitable intrusion of a preconceived notion here or there, all of which sounds pretty fair-minded and bound-to-get-to-the-bottom-of-
ON SLASHING THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET TO PRESERVE THE KILLING MACHINERY OF THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: Let’s be clear about a few things right from the start: 1) In matters concerning budget balancing and deficit reduction, America doesn’t have a “welfare” problem, it has a “warfare” problem; 2) With respect to solutions, one party concedes that all government expenditures must be on the table, the other says the same, but lies; 3) I’d love to argue these points with some really smart, fair-minded right-wingers, but that’s an oxymoron. Here are what any RATIONAL person would have to agree are some altogether indefensible U.S. “warfare” facts:
A) America spends as much on its military as the next 21 countries COMBINED!
B) America spends 6 TIMES as much on its military as its closest rival, China!
C) America maintains over 1,000 military bases OUTSIDE the United States!
D) America maintains approximately 195 military bases INSIDE the United States!
E) Total U.S. defense-related expenditures for 2010 exceeded a TRILLION DOLLARS and will do the same for 2011!
Now that I’ve got your attention, here’s a little surprise: NONE of the figures mentioned above, annual or otherwise, include the costs of actually FIGHTING wars! That’s a whole different ballgame entirely. The monetary costs of fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far total over 1.2 TRILLION DOLLARS and climbing. And that doesn’t include the inevitable cost of ongoing medical care for the wounded, both physical and mental. Those costs are expected to total nearly a TRILLION DOLLARS more! All that being said, and with apparent back trouble in the White House, where does it leave the good guys in the struggle over funding priorities? Hard to say, but for now it looks like the left siders are on their own. I do have a few suggestions, however. Start by dropping the niceties. Get up in their faces (all two of them) and stay there. Loudly expose every lie, omission and obfuscation. Meet fire with a firestorm. Turn the mainstream media into an immediate response MEGAphone. Force these guns-beat-butter bastards to explain to the American people why it’s more important to fill coffins and stretchers building nations overseas than to rebuild rotting infrastructures here at home. Make these wealthfare worshiping warmongers explain loudly and clearly to the American people why it’s more important to maintain a totally unnecessary, unconscionably costly, utterly absurd and archaic worldwide military monstrosity than to provide ALL Americans with affordable health care, a dignified aging process, and food and shelter for the less fortunate among them. MORE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.