Friday, November 17, 2017

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S TREASONOUS AND UN-AMERICAN HISTORY (REPRISE)

Beneath the Spin*Eric L. Wattree

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S TREASONOUS AND UN-AMERICAN HISTORY (REPRISE)
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Here's Why Our Grandparents - Who We Referred To As "The Greatest Generation" - Wouldn't Let A Republican Anywhere Near The White House. 
But The GOP Hopes That Our Generation Has Forgotten That Lesson, So They're At It Again. 
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It's always a bad idea for a writer to overstate his or her case or deal in hyperbole. It causes readers not to take the writer seriously, so let me choose my words carefully. The Republican Party has morphed into a fascist, bigoted, un-American, and completely inept and irresponsible threat to world peace, with a pronounced tendency toward treason even as they wrap themselves in the American flag.  I could go on, but I want to be careful to remain "fair and balanced." 
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The GOP's thoughtless, greedy and uncaring policies toward the American people have been troubling since before the Great Depression. The only thing that keeps the GOP viable is once they're voted out the public tends to forget their previous atrocities during the four to eight years they're out of office. But our grandparent's generation, the generation we refer to as the "Greatest Generation" - those who suffered through the Great Depression and fought WWII - didn't forget. They wouldn't let Republicans even go NEAR the White House. There were two reasons for that. First, back then they had a functional educational system, and secondly, they suffered so horrifically at the hands of the Republicans that they couldn't forget. 
CHILD LABOR DURING
THE GREAT DEPRESSION
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In 1921 - eight years before the great depression -  Republicans took over the helm of this nation for 12 years. During that time there were three Republican administrations. The first of which was the administration of Warren G. Harding. History remembers Harding's administration for one thing more than anything other - scandal. It was during Harding's presidency that the Teapot Dome Scandal erupted. His administration was considered the most corrupt administration in the history of the United States - until Nixon's, then Reagan's, and finally Bush's.
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Next, in 1923, came Calvin Coolidge, the president that Ronald Reagan is said to have most admired. Coolidge's policies of large tax cuts, allowing business a free-rein, and his encouragement of stock speculation contributed greatly to the impending stock market crash and the great depression that was to come. 
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Then in 1929 Herbert Hoover came to power. During his administration the stock market crashed, starting the great depression. In spite of the fact that by 1933 the unemployment rate was at 33.3% with 16 million people out of work, Hoover and his Republicans just sat, thinking that the economy would eventually rejuvenate itself. After all, they could afford to just wait it out; they weren't suffering, they could wait it out in comfort.  But during Hoover's administration 15,000 WWI veterans marched on Washington demanding that they be paid what they were owed by the government. Hoover responded by calling in federal troops to throw these ex-servicemen off government property. 
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Finally in 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a liberal Democrat, was elected overwhelmingly. He immediately surrounded himself with a group of the finest minds in the country, including Columbia professors Adolph A. Berle, Jr., Rexford G. Tugwell, and Raymond Moley, known at the time as the "Brain Trust." After assembling these men and others he went about the business of developing a" New Deal" for the working class people of this country. 
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The New Deal had two components - one to help the economy to recover from the effects of the great depression, and a second component to give relief to the American people and to insure that they would never be placed in a position of total destitution again. To help heal the economy Roosevelt created programs that regulated business, controlled inflation, and brought about price stabilization; to bring relief to the people he signed The National Labor Relations Act which guaranteed workers the right to collective bargaining, and he created the Social Security Administration to guarantee workers some sort of income once they became too old to work. He also signed the Fair Labor Standards Act which protected workers rights and set a minimum wage for workers. But every since the New Deal was enacted, the abolishment of every one of its programs has been the Republican Party's reason for living.
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During the Great Depression there was no such thing as Social Security, so when a person became too old or weak to work they had no income so they had to depend on their children for support. That meant instead of a husband and wife only having to support themselves and their children, which was tough enough during those times, they also had to support their parents. So there was often three generations of a family in one household - and in many cases, the parents of both the husband, and wife, lived with the family.
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In addition, there was no such thing as Medicare or Medicaid, so when one of the grandparents became ill the medical costs would devastate the entire family. These conditions kept lower and middle-class families in such dire need of funds that they had to accept whatever crumbs the business community chose to throw at them - and remember, at that time there was no Fair Labor Standards Act or unions to protect a worker’s rights or a minimum wage, so businesses could treat the worker anyway they wanted, and pay them whatever they wanted.
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They could work you 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no overtime, no paid vacation, and no sick leave, so workers had to choose between staying in bed with the flu, or feeding their families. In addition, since there was no child labor laws, if your boss didn't think you were being productive enough, he could insist that you bring your children in (as young as 9 years old) to assist you if you wanted to keep your job. Then if you protested, he could fire you on the spot, in which case, your entire family - sick grandparents and all - would be thrown out on the street, because there was no such thing as unemployment insurance.
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As a result, in many cases the entire family, including the children, had to work long, hard hours under sweatshop-like conditions in coal mines and the like, which in many cases led to the death and/or maiming of young children. So in a very real sense, Great Depression era workers lived under a form of slavery - the one difference was, they had to go out and find their own housing.
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Think back to the "Little Rascals" we used to watch as kids, and how ragged they were, or the cartoons we use to watch, where a landlord would come to the door (always portrayed in a black suit) and would tell a begging and crying mother that she had one more day to come up with the rent or she and her family would be thrown out in the snow. That was an accurate portrayal of the way people lived in those days, and those are the conditions that the conservative Republican agenda would restore in America today. Those are the conditions that they’re FIGHTING to restore today.
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But by putting his "New Deal for the American people" in place, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this "bleeding heart liberal," not only led this country out of the worst, Republican generated, crisis that this country has ever faced, but he went on to lead the free world in victory over Hitler in WWII. He then ushered in the most sustained prosperity that the world has ever known. 



So the people of the "Greatest Generation" elected Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt into office an unprecedented four terms, from 1932 until he died in office in 1945. Thereafter, Republican nominee, Thomas E. Dewey, had to push for the Twenty-Second Amendment creating presidential term limits for a Republican to even get a whiff of the White House, and even then, a Republican wasn't elected until Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 - and he was only elected because he was the allied commander credited with winning WWII, and he was a Republican in name only.  He signed the 1957 Civil Rights Act, and sent troops into Little Rock Arkansas to integrate the schools.
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 In addition, as President Eisenhower's very last act of office he warned the American people of the military/industrial complex, or people like Dick Cheney and the kind of Republicans we have in office today. He described them as a threat to our democracy. Ike was nothing like the Republicans we see today. He would have summarily shot Dick Cheney had he been in office when Cheney allegedly outed CIA operative, Valarie Plame.
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So the "Greatest Generation" understood what we're only now finding out the hard way about the Republican Party due to the GOP's systematic dismantling of our information and educational systems - that their pronounced greed and lust for power has rendered them prone to being reckless, irresponsible, without limits, and a danger to our democracy.  We've had the opportunity to see all of these malevolent characteristics in graphic detail recently in the GOP's invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu, a foreign leader, to come thumb his nose at our President before a joint session of the United States Congress - and never once did one of them tell Netanyahu, "You lie." 
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The GOP also demonstrated reckless irresponsibility with the unprecedented act of  DIRECTLY intervening in the President's nuclear arms negotiations with Iran when 47 Republican senators signed a letter to the government of Iran essentially saying, "Don't pay this guy [THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!] any attention." That's the reckless, petty, and immature behavior of irate children who cannot be trusted with any sort of power.  They're either too dumb to understand, or too reckless to care that this nation has ALWAYS lived by the axiom that "Politics end at the water's edge." These 47 senators are in direct violation of the Logan Act and are guilty of treason. The Logan Act specifically state the following:
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"Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

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In the 1936 Supreme Court case United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. Justice Sutherland wrote in the majority opinion that:
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"[T]he President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it."
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In a 1793 letter from Thomas Jefferson to Edmond Charles Genet, Jefferson points out the following:
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"He [the President of the United States] being the only channel of communication between this country and foreign nations, it is from him alone that foreign nations or their agents are to learn what is or has been the will of the nation; and whatever he communicates as such, they have a right, and are bound to consider as the expression of the nation, and no foreign agent can be allowed to question it, to interpose between him and any other branch of Government, under the pretext of either’s transgressing their functions, nor to make himself the umpire and final judge between them."
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So to have 46 senior Republican senators to follow the lead of a freshman senator - who's only been in the senate for a matter of weeks - in violating tradition, protocol, and Constitutional law, betrays a level of recklessness, lack of statesmanship, ignorance, and pure stupidity, that's astounding!  Yet these very same people claim that we should give them the power to run the nation!!!?  The American people would have to be complete idiots.  

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So again, because it can't be repeated often enough, the GOP has clearly demonstrated that they are much too petty and dangerously irresponsible to be trusted with power. When they're in the minority they pout, throw tantrums, and leave no stone unturned to obstruct democracy when they can't get their way, and when they're in power they act with the reckless abandon of ravenously deprived children turned loose in an all-you-can-eat chocolate factory.  But unfortunately, it's always America who ends up with the belly ache. 
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The closest the GOP has come to dismantling the New Deal 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 then not only help to bring down the deficit, but also subsidize the tremendously high defense budget. It's exactly the same plan the Republicans in congress are pushing today. But when the plan was first floated, even George Bush Sr., 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 - which led directly to the Great Depression. And as we saw in 1987 under Reagan, and the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, these Republican policies led to the very same result.
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Under Reagan, instead of taking the money and investing it into creating new jobs as the American people were promised, 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 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 capitol gains tax cut - for the rich.
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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. Bush.  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. The scandal was very similar to the one that played out on Wall Street in 2008. McCain was one of a group of senators dubbed "The Keating Five" involved in a scandal by the same name.
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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 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 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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Also interesting, considering their deep "concern" over the national debt, is the estimated $4 trillion Bush tax cut for the rich. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Considering  both the direct costs of the tax cuts and the associated increase in interest payments, the tax cuts would increase deficits by nearly $4 trillion between 2005 and 2014."
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1811
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So the fact is, what they really wanted prior to the 2012 election was to maintain the status quo, and make sure that the American people remained miserable, hungry, and divided until the elections so they'd have a better chance to regain power and raid the treasury again. Republican Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, was frustrated and reckless enough to say it out loud - "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, the Republican agenda shifted to making sure that President Obama was not successful, which is politispeak for making sure the American people continued to suffer.  The rationale behind their agenda is, if they allow President Obama to bring relief to the American people, and then you combine that 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. That's why that's why the GOP is out to create a corporate feudalist society as soon as possible. They see time as running out on them, and that's what makes them so dangerous.
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The Middle Class Slide Since the Reagan Administration
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"In 1982, Forbes magazine began its now much-read annual list of America’s richest men and women. At the time of the first list, there were 12 billionaires in the country and fewer than 200,000 millionaires. By the year 2000, there were nearly 300 billionaires and about 5 million millionaires. Smith’s account of the rise of the rich and super-rich tells the story of five types of individuals: entrepreneurs, dealmakers, investors, tycoons (corporate executives, who are distinguished from
entrepreneurs), and entertainers."
http://www.beardbooks.com/beardbooks/the_rise_of_todays_rich_and_super_rich.html
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"No matter how you slice it, when it comes to income and wealth in America the rich get most of the pie and the rest get the leftovers. The numbers are shocking. Today the top 1 percent of Americans control 43 percent of the financial wealth (see the pie chart below) while the bottom 80 percent control only 7 percent of the wealth. Incredibly, the wealthiest 400 Americans have the same combined wealth as the poorest half of Americans — over 150 million people.".
A recent Princeton study Shows that America is no longer a democracy. We are now an Oligarchy, controlled by the rich. So it is essential that we wake up. Racism is no longer the war; racism is now merely a TOOL of war. We are now knee-deep in a CLASS WAR, and the American people are losing badly - ALL of the American people.
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Here’s the game that we're allowing the corporatists to run on us. They’ve convinced America that if we give the rich enough money, they’ll use that money to create jobs for the poor and middle class. Now, I don’t claim to be an intellectual giant, but it doesn’t take a great mind to understand that demand fuels supply, not the reverse. 
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If I made my living selling Gucci Bags, for example, I don’t care how much money you give me, I’m not going to hire anyone to produce any more Gucci Bags than I have in stock if I'm being forced to sell those bags in a homeless shelter. It wouldn’t make sense, because in a homeless shelter no one would have the money to purchase my product. The only way that you’re going to get me to hire people to produce Gucci Bags is if you gave that money to the people in the shelter so they’d have the money to buy my merchandise.
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That's exactly what's happening in America today. Corporate profits are at record highs, and the information and charts above clearly show that corporations and corporate executives are currently making more money than they've ever dreamed of in the past. So there's no reason for high unemployment. The rich are not putting that money into creating jobs; that money is going into offshore accounts, and we never see it again. That's why the rich are getting so much richer, and the middle class so much poorer.
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On the other hand, if the Republican congress would allow President Obama to create jobs to repair American's infrastructure - repair bridges, dams, and interstate highways and the like - that money would create jobs, just like it did when it brought us out of the Great Depression. Then, Americans would have money to spend on goods and services. They would go on vacations, so hotels and restaurants would have to hire people to accommodate them, and the food industry would have to hire people to process and serve their food. They would also buy bicycles and toys for their children, and that would create jobs, and they would buy more clothing, gas, and make needed repairs to their homes, and that would create jobs. And as a result of all those jobs being created, more revenue would come into the government in taxes, which would allow us to pay down the national debt.
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Again, think about it - the business community is making more profits than they've ever made in their history, so there's no logical reason for unemployment in America to be so high. The reason that unemployment is so high is because it's being kept high on purpose.
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Consider this. In the sixties, Howard Hughes was famous for being one of the richest men in the world.  He was considered so incredibly rich that they made movies about him. But compared to today's billionaires, he'd qualify for food stamps. Howard Hughes only had $4 billion, but today, Bill Gates has $79.1 billion, David Koch, of the infamous Koch brothers has $41.3 Billion, and even the young man, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, has $29.9 billion.  So there is absolutely no reason for the American people to be suffering so severely, and for unemployment to be so high - yet, they have us hating and pointing the finger at one another as the cause of our misery, when as pointed out above, the wealthiest 400 Americans have as much combined wealth as the 150 million poorest half of Americans.
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So it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see where the wealth of middle-class America has gone. It hasn't gone to "illegal aliens," or people requiring food stamps. Corporate welfare is nearly double the cost of all social programs. About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent nearly 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.  http://thinkbynumbers.org/government-spending/corporate-welfare/corporate-welfare-statistics-vs-social-welfare-statistics/
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The GOP's supposed concern for the national debt is only a pretext to block spending and keep unemployment high. They are purposely trying to turn America into a homeless shelter, because the GOP and its corporate cronies have a vested interest in keeping us angry, miserable, and divided.
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The GOP's motive is political - by keeping unemployment high and the American people miserable, it makes Obama and the Democrats look bad, and they're hoping that the resulting anger and division in the country will help them to get elected in a demographic that's shrinking to the GOP's disadvantage. And the corporatist are trying to squeeze the middle class. They’re trying to lower the American middle class standard of living to a level that conforms to the other countries in the global economy, where in many countries people make less per week than some middle-class Americans spend on lunch per day. So they're trying to squeeze the middle class to the point that it lowers our expectations, and we'll feel grateful for less.
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Their ultimate agenda is to turn America into a corporate feudalist state, where the American people are totally dependent on corporations for their survival. That will greatly enhance corporate profits, and essentially, allow them to control this nation. That's why the GOP is attacking unions, our educational system, and all social programs that prevent us from being totally reliant on the business community. They want to have complete control over our lives.
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GOP politicians just tend to lack common sense. Republican President Richard M. Nixon lacked the common sense to recognize that the President of the United States should not become an accessory to a common, street-level burglary, or place American citizens on an "Enemies List." Republican President Ronald Reagan lacked the common sense to realize that it was inappropriate to commit the treasonous act of going behind President Jimmy Carter's back and making a deal with a foreign enemy that was holding American citizens hostage to continue to hold those citizens hostage for political gain. Reagan also lacked the common sense to realize that it was inappropriate to flood America's inner cities with crack cocaine in order to finance his illegal war in Nicarauga. It was ruthless, immoral, and unconscionable, in spite of Nancy Reagan's warning to Black children to "Just say no." Republican President George W. Bush lacked the common sense to recognize that it was inappropriate to lie the nation into a multi-trillion dollar war with Iraq, killing over a million Iraqi citizens, and killing or wounding thousands of American troops for political gain and the enrichment of Dick Cheney's Halliburton Corp.  And Dick Cheney lacked the common sense to recognize that it was an act of treason to reveal the identity of an American CIA agent for spite, and that Americans don't engage in torture.  Thus, the Republican Party is turning America into an ugly place.  They're making America itself, un-American.
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Republican politicians and their cronies have a long history of pettiness, greed,  poor judgment, and a tendency to continually drag America down a rat hole to satisfy their selfish lust for wealth and power.  Thus, America needs to wake up and see these people for who they are, because 2016 is going to be a pivotal election. If the Republicans win they know that the demographics are against them, so they'll never relinquish power again - regardless to WHAT they have to do.  Think about the ramifications of that.
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And if you're a White social conservative who takes comfort in those ramifications, don't, because the rich, fiscal conservatives, don't care any more about poor and middle class White people than they do Muslims, minorities, or gays. You're only being used to keep the working class divided, because the GOP's agenda is so toxic to the American people that their very viability is completely dependent upon maintaining hatred, animosity, and strife among the poor and middle class. So if they win, looking into your dumb faces is going to be the only thing gratifying 
about it.
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Eric L. Wattree 
Http://wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
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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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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

PORTRAIT OF A RIGHT-WING CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

PORTRAIT OF A RIGHT-WING CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN
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IF GOD LET PEOPLE LIKE THIS INTO HEAVEN, IT WOULDN'T BE HEAVEN, IT WOULD BE HELL.
This is exactly why I restrict my spirituality to a love of God, and keep all of man’s religious Voodoo all the way out of my life.  Religion is the root cause of 99% of all of the hatred, bigotry, murder, and mayhem in the world - “My god is better than your God, and he only loves people who look, think, and act like me.”
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One sister who commented on the above video completely missed the gross bigotry and religious hypocrisy in it and focused exclusively on the bigot’s property rights, and as many of us tend to do, blamed the victim, and said that the video wouldn’t change a thing - as if sitting on her ass would.  This is my response:
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“Kim, the sister's video was not for the benefit of the bigot, it was to educate people like yourself who take the position that we should just ignore this kind of behavior for another 400 years. Your attitude serves to both accommodate, and validate, the disrespect and abuse of Black people. This bigot thinks his behavior is just between himself and this sister, but she made sure that it wasn't.  He may have friends, neighbors, and business associates who will see the video on social media and not appreciate it at all. He may be ostracized by many people whose faces he's grinnin' into every day, and that works for me. How do you know that he doesn't own a business that's dependent upon Black customers? This video wouldn't bode well for either him, or his business. And he's supposed to be a Christian, what is his fellow church members going to think?  Even though they may be just like him, at least they have sense enough to maintain the Christian façade.
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“So Black people have got to learn to stop just sittin' on our asses and sayin', ‘Oh well, that's just the way it is.’ Yeah, that’s the way it is, because that’s the way we allow it to be.  We've got to learn to fight back - but with intelligence, and that's EXACTLY what I intend to do. As we speak, I'm writing an article using this video as a weapon against Trump and his fellow right-wing bigots. While it may not change the way THEY think, it may very well change the way other people think about THEM.
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“There are many White people who don't want to be portrayed in this way, just like we don't want to be portrayed as lazy pimps, thugs, and dope fiends, so this very video may cross their minds when they're in the voting booth and have an impact on the way they vote. So I wish ALL Black people would flood the social media with this kind of content, drag people out of their delusions, and help them to see America through our eyes, without all of the whitewash and self-serving spin. American bigots have a vested interest in keeping things like this under wraps in order to maintain the farce that America is ‘A shining light on the hill.’  But videos like this one clearly demonstrates that the only thing great about America is its public relations office, but we do have enough well-meaning people in this country, who really do want America to be great, to change that.
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“And another thing, Kim, if you look at the video you'll notice that she was no longer at his door. She was on her way off this man's property and he followed her running his mouth. And you asked what did she get by placing her life on the line. She got this video that we can display to the world as an example of American bigotry and hypocrisy. Don't forget, there are many White folks who claim that racism is a thing of the past - and they believe that, just because it's now considered bad form to lynch Black people in the public square. This video will help to show them that they're living in a fantasy.
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“But what's amazing to me, Kim, is how casually you're taking this example of blatant racism.  I was so curious about that, that I went to check your profile. Thereafter, everything began to come into focus.  You're from Little Rock, Arkansas, so maybe bigotry is so common there that it's just a way of life for you. But Black people from the North don't look at blatant racism in the the way that you do. It's not a way of life for us. What we see in this video is a racist bigot, and a sister standing up and confronting him. We don't see a scared-ass "nigga" who don't have sense enough to run for her life. Most of us were raised to stand firm when confronting a bigot, just like this courageous sister did - and if YOU and your family are ever ALLOWED to "overcome," it's gonna be due to the actions of Black people just like this sister, not from scared-ass "niggas" trying to blame the victim just because she didn't haul ass the minute some old ass bigot raised his voice at her. This sister didn't do a thing wrong, she simply knocked on this bigot's door - which had a huge "JESUS" sign on it - and she probably had a Bible in her hand.
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“And finally, did you know that many Southern ministers told Martin Luther King the very same thing that you're saying, and criticized Rosa Parks for not giving up her seat on the bus? They accused them of stirring up "unnecessary trouble." Thus, bigots depend on the attitudes of people just like you to keep Black people on their asses, and 'in their place.'
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“This courageous sister obtained one of the best case-closed examples of White hypocrisy that I've EVER seen - a blatant bigot, being a blatant bigot, with a huge ‘JESUS’ sign on his door.  So she performed a public service. I'm just glad it was her on the scene instead of you, because you would have just hauled ass. Then all we would have had to rely on regarding the incident would have been your word, instead of the solid evidence that this sister provided - and nobody would have taken your word for this, because it’s next to impossible to believe that anybody, even an ignorant bigot, would be stupid enough to indulge in that kind of hypocrisy with an oversized "Jesus” sign on his front door.
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THE ‘RELIGIOUS’ RIGHT LIVING THEIR TRUE FAITH -
THEIR FAITH IN ROY MOORE, A BIGOT AND CHILD MOLESTER
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THIS IS THE KIND OF "GOD-FEARING" HYPOCRISY THAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE "RELIGIOUS" RIGHT
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Eric L. Wattree
Wattree.blogspot.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
Ewattree@Gmail.com
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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, October 23, 2017

BLACK PEOPLE: LET US MAKE KNOWLEDGE THE NEW 'SOUL'

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

BLACK PEOPLE: LET US MAKE KNOWLEDGE THE NEW 'SOUL'
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NEW BLACK DOCTORS
The current NFL controversy clearly demonstrates that far too many White people can't get past the idea that they have a RIGHT to control Black people, and Black people have helped to promote that attitude by our behavior, because far too many of us have a hostility toward knowledge. 
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Too many of us believe that the serious pursuit of knowledge is a “White thang,” and the role of Black people is to simply be cute, cool, and have 'soul'.  So on those occasions when we do decide to demonstrate our ability to think, some White people, like Trump, assume they can just slap us on the wrist  and tell us to go sit in the corner and shut up. 
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The problem is, as a direct result of our conditioning during slavery, many of us feel that Black people have a moral obligation to remain ignorant and intellectually remote in order to prove that we take pride in being Black. That attitude, held by many Blacks, causes a hostility toward other Blacks who take learning and knowledge seriously, because they’re perceived as “selling out,” or “trying to be White.”  That, in turn,  causes many brilliant young Black people to shun the pursuit of knowledge, and/or even HIDE their intellect, and that's become a vicious cycle that's led to Black people not being taken seriously. 
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As a result, many in this society perceived Black people as being nothing more than a mindless group of children with rhythm. That causes some White people to believe that they are the adults in the room, and they have an OBLIGATION to tell Black people how to think and behave in order to prevent us from destroying THEIR great national values. These people lack the insight, however, to recognize that what they're so desperately defending as their "national values" are nothing more than a collection of myths, and a bowl of fried ice cream that they've been brainwashed into believing in the first place. 
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For example, how can you disrespect the flag by taking a knee, when the flag itself is a symbol of the right to free expression? You can't. The flag SUPPORTS the demand for justice. So those who want to DENY that right are the ones who are being un-American and disrespectful of the flag.  But these so-called "patriots" lack the intellectual insight to see that, because they lack a grasp of syllogistic logic.  For them, logical thought goes something like this - "All dogs have fleas, and my cat has fleas; therefore, my cat is a dog." So from their illogical point of view, anything that they disagree with is seen as un-American, just by virtue of the fact that they disagree with it. That's what allows them to get all up-in-arms over disrespecting a piece of cloth as unpatriotic, yet, not have a word to say about Trump - a draft dodger - disrespecting the widow of a soldier who's given up his life for this country.  So it's all a matter of gross hypocrisy, and an attempt to force Black athletes to salute White supremacy and become compliant wimps to the so-called 'patriots'' conservative point of view. If you listen carefully, they actually say it! - "We've made you millionaires, so how dare you worry about our killing a few worthless coons on the street!!!?"
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WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THIS
YOUNG BROTHER WOULD BECOME ONE OF OUR
GREATEST PRESIDENTS?
But these Black athletes (at least, those who are Black conscious) see right through that, because another thing that many White people fail to understand is, contrary to popular belief,  Black people tend to be quite brilliant - in fact, they are much more intelligent than many of them are - and it is precisely that intelligence that has allowed them to survive in this uniquely hostile environment.
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The adversity that Black people have been forced to endure in this racist society has served to make them MORE, rather than less.  Because having to deal with racism, both overt and covert, every single day of their lives, from the time they wake up in the morning until they close their eyes at night, is like going to the gym every day.  It has caused Black people to develop an intellectual muscularity that most of us simply take for granted.  Most Black people assume that everyone has their intellect and perception, but everyone doesn't have it.  So Black people must learn to appreciate their unique insight and ability to think rather than shun it, and learn to utilize their intellectual muscularity in order to move forward, rather than hide it.  Having a keen intellect is nothing to be ashamed of, and it certainly doesn't make you less Black. Was Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, or Frederick Douglass less Black?
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Recognizing that fact is the only difference between Barack Obama and the brothers hanging out on the block - and let there be no doubt about it, Barack was one of them, in every way, right down to getting his head bad - he's high in the photo above, look at his eyes.  Yes, Obama is special, but he's not unique among Black people. There are tens of THOUSANDS of Barack Obamas in the Black community.  It's just a matter of what the community rewards - do these young people get more immediate recognition from the community for learning to think, or for shooting a jump shot; for trying to become Barack Obama, or for struttin' around trying to rap like Snoop Dogg?  These are the issues that are serving to define the Black community.
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The very same creativity that led to the development of Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, and Aretha Franklin can also be applied to math, science, engineering, and social development. The only thing Black people have to do is want it, focus upon it, and refrain from defining the very womb of our culture as “bitches” and “hoes,” because we ARE what we think.
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And the social engineers within this White supremacist society know that; that’s why they pay a handful of Black idiots handsomely to negatively profile the Black community, lead our young people astray, and drag our image through the mud - and as a direct result of how well they carry out their assignment, rogue cops are allowed to shoot our children down in the street like dogs with complete impunity.  Yet, we continue to flock to the movies and music venues to support these ignorant turncoats in huge numbers. We've got to stop that.  We've got to start focusing on excellence instead of ignorance, because ignorance is neither cute, nor cool, and it's, literally, killing us. Look at the video below - the vocabulary, the message, and the mindset.  This is the kind of thing that makes rogue cops think they can eradicate us like rodents.  No, it's still not right, but nevertheless, we're giving them a helping hand.
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What we call 'soul' is creativity, and creativity is intelligence. So the only reason that Black people seem to have so much 'soul' but our special abilities seem to lean primarily toward music, dance, and the arts, is that was the only areas in which we were allowed to freely engage during and after slavery. The White man recognized the intellectual capacity of Black people early during slavery, so after the Civil War his number one priority was to contain the Black intellect. That’s what 'Jim Crow' was all about, holding the Black man down - or, “keeping him in his place.”  That’s also why Barack Obama was, and is, hated so intensely by White conservatives, because he clearly demonstrated the latent potential of excellence that lies dormant within the Black community. Barack Obama took on the entire Republican Party single-handedly, and saved the world from a second Great Depression in the process, and without bustin' one sweat bubble. That's not just excellence, that's greatness, it was political genius!  He managed to drag this nation forward, in spite of the fact that White conservatives were hanging on to his ankles kickin' and screamin'.
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As I pointed out in a previous article,
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“The problem with Trump is he desperately wants to be an Obama, but he just doesn't have Obama's character, eloquence, or intelligence - and he knows it - and that's driving him crazy.  So instead of trying to compete with Obama's accomplishments, he's trying to tear down his legacy.  He's so jealous of Obama that he's not only trying to sabotage a nuclear arms agreement that's benefiting  the entire world, but he’s also trying to deprive millions of Americans of affordable healthcare in a futile attempt to erase President Obama from history. That's the problem with having an immature and self-absorbed narcissist as president, he places his own needs before the needs of the country, and even the world.  But Trump’s malevolent efforts may be a blessing in disguise, because they serve to reveal the GOP's true colors, and the fact that they don't give one bit of a damn about the American people.”
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So this nation isn’t as divided as it seems, it’s just that the bigots are louder.  What we’re witnessing is Jim Crow’s final gasp, and the conservative blowback from eight years of frustration over a nation that embraced and loved our first Black president so much that they elected him twice.  They’re also frustrated over Obama’s overwhelming success as a president.  Prior to the Obama era there was a raging debate going on in this country over whether or not Black professionals were as capable as their White counterparts.  But if you'll notice, since Obama, we hear nothing of that debate any longer. Obama made the job of being president look effortless during one of this nation’s most trying times. So thanks to Barack Obama, the bigots lost one of their most cherished delusions - the delusion of superiority.  Therefore, instead of becoming frustrated ourselves and descending to the level of the bigots, we must out-think them, and embrace the honor of delivering Jim Crow his final blow - and we can do just that.
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Black people are natural educators, and we've already demonstrated that we have the ability to influence the world.  In spite of our second-class status in the united states, and our being deprived of attending the great music conservatories of the world, we took washboards and makeshift instruments and created jazz, the greatest, and most complex, musical innovation in the history of mankind.  We made the Roaring Twenties roar, jazz serenaded America to victory over Hitler during WWII, and today you can get a PhD at any university or musical conservatory in the world for just being able to explain what Charlie Parker was doing over sixty-five years ago.  We also demonstrated to the world that we weren’t the mindless Stepin Fetchits in which we’d previously been portrayed, and we produced a president who was certainly one of America's greatest, who was beloved and respected around the world, by friends and foe alike, and who saved the world from a second Great Depression. So we've already proven that we have much to offer this nation, and the world - my closest friend is being applauded and having roses thrown at he feet by the people of Russia even as I speak.
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She sent me a message saying, "Everything is good. We had a 1200 person standing ovation the other night.  Last night after the show I went out in the lobby and the people stood around me and applauded. Their faces were filled with glee and my heart was full.  It was a happy heartfelt memory moment.  I signed autographs and people wanted to take pictures with me. One little girl kept coming over to take pictures. It was so funny, so I said, 'Okay, this one is just in case you loose the other three.'"
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JAZZ SINGER RITA EDMOND
IN RUSSIA
So it’s time to set aside all pettiness and, ironically, to focus our creativity on saving this nation that's treated us so harshly, from itself. The bigots want America to believe we’re in a race war, but instead of getting as ignorant and angry as they are, we must help this nation to understand that we are not in a race war, but knee-deep in a CLASS war - race is merely a very potent weapon being used as a divisive distraction - and we can do that with just a little bit of intelligence, foresight, and creativity.  So let the bigots act a fool while we quietly morph into reasoned and thought-provoking educators of the American people. Because we're engaged in a war of ideas, philosophy, and intellect, not idiocy.  So it's time to let the cat out the bag, and show the world, once again, who we REALLY are.
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Even some of the most thoughtful and well-meaning White people - White people who recognized and fully support the Black community's potential - even they fail to recognize who we really are as a people, because we keep it under wraps - even from ourselves in many respects. Thomas Jefferson said the following:
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“They [Black people] are more generally gifted than the whites with accurate ears for tune and time, and they have been found capable of imagining a small catch. … Whether they will be equal to the composition of a more extensive run of melody, or of complicated harmony, is yet to be proved.”
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LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN 
That is EXACTLY how many, but far from all, White people feel about Black intellect. But Thomas Jefferson, a musician himself, has been proven to be grossly in error in his attitude toward Black people with regard to our musical capabilities, just as many of today's White people are in error regarding our intellectual capacity.  Without even having to address the debate over whether or not Beethoven with his Moorish heritage was Black, let Bach try to compete with the "melodic run" or "harmonic complexity" of John Coltrane or Quincy Jones below - as great as he was, he'd be blown out of the water. I know there are many musicologists who would be absolutely shocked that I would even THINK such a thing, and GOD FORBID, say it out loud, but that's only due to their educational brainwashing. But I present the facts below. Just imagine, if you can, Bach trying to keep up with this - and I'm being compassionate here by not dragging out Bird:
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AND WITH REGARD TO ORCHESTRATION - OVER 55 YEARS AGO WHEN QUINCY WAS NOT MUCH MORE THAN A KID:
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MEET THE MOST BRILLIANT FAMILY IN THE UK

"Twelve year-old twins, Peter and Paula Imafidon, are black children from Waltham Forest in northeast London. Nicknamed “the Wonder Twins,” Peter and Paula are Great Britain’s current highest achievers. At 9-years-old they made history as the youngest children in British history to attend high school. They are now in their third year. The children became the youngest to ever pass the University of Cambridge’s advanced mathematics exam after participating in the Excellence in Education program. They set world records when they passed the A/AS-level math papers. Peter Imafidon, who is also a 100m and 400m relay champ in London, has said that he would like to serve as Prime Minister one day and his sister Paula, a county champion in rugby, would like to teach math. Both students are musicians.
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"The twins joined the ranks of their gifted siblings, Anne-Marie Imafidon, who was the pioneering child among the young genii. Now 23 years old, Anne-Marie spoke six languages and graduated from high school at age 10. In 2003, when she was only 13, she was granted a British scholarship to study Mathematics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Four years later, Anne-Marie obtained her MastersDegree from Oxford University. Anne-Marie was the youngest person to pass the A-level computing exam. Just last year she was called a “serial world record breaker” in the September 2011 edition of “Higher Education Digest.” Anne-Marie has mentioned that she believes in mentoring children to help them succeed. She is involved in the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program to help fulfill the need for math and science female leaders. She is currently working in a high-level position at an international investment bank in the United Kingdom."
http://nilabam.com/blog/meet-the-most-brilliant-family-in-the-uk/
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Black people have held their intellect close to the vest for many reasons.  During slavery and the Jim Crow era, letting the White man know the depth our intellect could have meant a death sentence, and even to this day, letting your employer know that you're smarter than he is can place you in the unemployment line. For these, and many more reasons, my grandfather told me as a kid, "Never let people know everything you know, because then they'll know everything you know, plus what they already knew, and that'll make them smarter than you." That was great advice for my grandfather's time, but times have changed.  It is now time for Black people to let our intellect out of the bag and strut our stuff, and there is a very important reason why . . .
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Knowledge is the bane of the Republican Party. They're wholly dependent on ignorance and stupidity for their very existence.  So Black people must let knowledge and intellect become the new 'soul', and use our creativity to help to educate the American people.  Now is the time for Black people to out our intellect and reveal the depth of who we are as a people.  It's time to show America that we can do much more than just boogie.  We must strut our stuff, and not through screamin' and snatchin' microphones, but through careful thought, wisdom, and intellect.  In today's environment, simply being Black and proud is not enough - we must also demonstrate our brilliance and resolve. The Black community can longer afford the luxury of simply thinking as a hobby, we must make serious and mature thought a way of life.
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Eric L. Wattree
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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, October 11, 2017

RITA EDMOND AT PASADENA CITY COLLEGE

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

RITA EDMOND AT PASADENA CITY COLLEGE
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Clazzical Notes is rising quickly in the Los Angeles area as a powerful reminder of the joy of seeing live music. Under indefatigable guidance of its founder Jerri Price-Gaines, the audience at Pasadena City College was offered multiple musical genres - all spotlighting the talents of very gifted female performers. Gail Deadrick (One time musical director for the late Natalie Cole) introduced each act with graceful, understatement.
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The program promised some no-nonsense jazz. Enter the charismatic Rita Edmond. Putting her own spin on classic songs associated with Billie Holiday and Shirley Horn, Ms. Edmond made these jazz chestnuts entirely her own. Effortlessly scatting when lyrics can no longer express a true jazz singer's soul - the audience could feel a kinship to Ella Fitzgerald's playful side; as well as the soulful, dark longing of Sarah Vaughn in Ms. Edmond's phrasing. Pianist Gary Matsumoto offered heartfelt solos that showed us that no matter how complex jazz can get, it is always accessible to its audience. The combo backing Ms. Edmond proved a perfect complement to Rita Edmond and her shifting tones and mastery of a great lyric.


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I just thought I’d write and let you know how much I loved the above review of Rita Edmond’s performance at the "Women in Music" concert at Pasadena City College. One of the things that I admired most about the review as a whole is your broad grasp of music of every genre. As a lifelong jazz musician my knowledge is pretty much limited to jazz, but as I read the review I got a very clear sense of the excellence that each performer brought to the table, and as a writer, I greatly admire your ability to help me to feel what you felt. Much like the music you were reviewing, that kind of excellence tends to be a lost art in today’s anti-intellectual society.
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But again, as a jazz lover, I was particularly drawn to your insight into Rita Edmond.  While Ms. Edmond hasn’t come close to getting the recognition that she deserves (at least, in this country due to our Hillbilly mentality), she is my very favorite jazz vocalist in the world today, and I loved the way you clearly recognized her musical kinship to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and in my opinion, Nancy Wilson and Lorez Alexandria. While she’s not a clone of any of these ladies, she brings their excellence, sophistication, and feeling to the table. She sounds like she just stepped off the stage on 52nd Street after singing with Bird, Miles and Monk.  In fact - and she laughed at me when I told her this - if she continues to study jazz theory and perfect her scatting, I think she could very well become today’s vocal version of Charlie Parker, and our culture could definitely use that today. 
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But don’t take my word for it.  Check this out, and how she stacks up to some of the greatest musicians who’s ever lived:
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AN APPEAL TO PRESERVE OUR CULTURE
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When you're writing about jazz (especially bebop and hard jazz) sometimes you feel like you're writing to yourself.  But I never allow myself to forget that this is Black culture that we're talking about here, and certainly one of the greatest art forms that has ever been bestowed upon humanity that the establishment is trying to bury . . . but not on my watch. 
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I’m a lifelong musician who’s been devoted to jazz every since I was a child, and I take great pride in what jazz has contributed to the Black community, America, and the world. I also have a deep devotion for my culture. For both of those reasons I’ve decided to devote much of my waking hours to the promotion of a woman who I’m convinced is highly significant to what Black people represent as a culture and as an artistic force in the world. Her name is Rita Edmond, and she’s come along at just the right time, because the jazz world really needs someone like her now. But due to the dumbing down of America, and our mindless embrace of the frivolous, our elitist media is completely ignoring her, and it’s a slap in the face of jazz.  It’s, literally, like ignoring Sarah Vaughan.
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But this situation is not just a result of the White establishment alone. It’s also a result of what many Black people have allowed themselves to become. It’s sad that I should even have to make this appeal for an artist of this caliber. In the past, jazz flourished because musicians promoted one another.  Back in the day Jimmy Heath would have told a promoter or club owner, “If you like me, you’ll also like a guy by the name John Coltrane. You need to check him out.”  As a result they both flourished, because Jimmy did that in the name of jazz.  He had enough sense, and devotion to our culture, to recognized that by promoting Trane, he was also promoting jazz, and by promoting jazz, he was also promoting himself.  Thelonious Monk even went to jail for Bud Powell to prevent Bud from being barred from playing in New York, because Monk knew that Bud was good for jazz, and at that time the public had yet to catch up with what Monk himself was doing. 
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But today the attitude seems to be, “I've got mine, so you’re just gonna have to struggle like I did.” Many even go so far as to HIDE possible connections - and then we wonder why our cultural traditions simply disappear. The very last thing we should want is for someone like Rita Edmond to be a secret, because she’s not just another singer; she’s without a doubt one of the most significant jazz divas alive in the world today.
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As Black people, we’ve  got to start recognizing our priorities.  Again, this is our CULTURE we’re talking about here, and the failure to promote it whenever, and however we can, only serves to diminish it. Yet, many Black people fail to support the very best in who we are.
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Rita has only one stumbling block in demonstrating to the world the brilliance of our people  - when it comes to the Black culture, the American media has conditioned us to fixate on only one thing, the booty-shacking frivolity of entertainment.  Now, I’m not criticizing entertainment - I love watching Beyoncé shake her assets - but a culture has to be recognized for more than just shaking its booty to gain and maintain the world’s respect. It was the dazzling technical abilities of people like Dizzy, Bird, Monk and Miles that made the world begin to recognize that there was much more to Black people than the slow-minded Stepin Fetchit-like people in which we had previously been portrayed. Thus, it was the seriousness of jazz as an art form that brought the Black culture into the modern world, and today musicologists at universities and conservatories all over this planet are still scratching their heads and trying to figure out what Bird was doing over 60 years after his death. 
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In that regard, people in nations as far flung as Russia and Thailand have thrown flowers at Rita’s feet. Fans traveled to Thailand from as far away as Japan just to hear this lady sing. When she left Russia people met her at the train station with roses, and a young piano prodigy (whose father brought him to several of Rita’s performances, and thereafter, took her to visit the Kremlin and indulged in snowball fights) ran up and hugged her. And in Israel, a quadriplegic, who was paralyzed from the neck down, had them bring him - in his bed! - just to hear this fabulous diva sing.
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The people of these other lands give Rita that kind of love because they appreciate excellence, and they recognize that Rita Edmond is a part of a great tradition.  They haven’t been subjected to America's Trump-like Hillbilly mentality towards Black culture, so they see this woman for what she really is - a world-class talent. Rita Edmond is not just an entertainer . . . she’s an ARTIST - and one of the world’s greatest. But in spite of that fact, the American music industry treats her like she's some frog singing on a subway platform for change. So don't allow some tone-deaf accountant to sit behind a desk and define your culture. Trust your own ears and listen to this fabulous diva for yourself.  Check this lady out!
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SO WHO IS THIS RITA EDMOND?
WELL, I COULD TELL YOU SHE'S ELLA, SHE'S SARAH, DINAH,
OR NANCY WILSON,
BUT INSTEAD OF TELLING YOU, I'LL SHOW YOU.
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EMBRACEABLE YOU - WYNTON MARSALIS

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EMBRACEABLE YOU - RITA EDMOND

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HERE'S TO LIFE - SHIRLEY HORN

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HERE'S TO LIFE - RITA EDMOND

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IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING - KING PLEASURE

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IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING - SARAH VAUGHAN
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IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING - RITA EDMOND
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YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS - DINAH WASHINGTON

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YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT LOVE - RITA EDMOND

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SUNNY - RITA EDMOND

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Ms. Rita Edmond -The Contemporary Face of True Jazz Royalty
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So if you’re a jazz lover and want to look upon the contemporary face of jazz royalty, take a moment to go check out Ms. Rita Edmond. She's the jazz world's best kept secret.  She's currently working on her third CD, but even on her first CD, she made it abundantly clear to this writer that she hit the ground fully seasoned as one of the greatest jazz singers alive today. I know, that's a mighty lofty claim to heap onto the shoulders of a relatively new artist, but I'm not given to hyperbole, so I fully intend to back up my assertion with the contents and attachments to this piece.
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Ms. Edmond moves between sultry sophistication, hard driving swing, and childlike innocence without any effort at all. There are many great singers out there, but from the very first bar of anything Rita does, she clearly distinguishes herself as one of those rare individuals who was born to do exactly what she’s doing, and nothing else. She swings with the effortless grace of a Sliver Shadow cruisin' down Pacific Coast Highway, and her ballads are lush with sultry passion, personal depth, and individuality.
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You can't "learn" to sing like Rita Edmond. You either have it, or you don't, and there's only one or two lucky few in a generation who do - but Rita, like Ella and Sarah, is one of those lucky few. But don’t just take my word for it, go check her out for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that she’s a once in a generation talent, and clearly the heir apparent to some of the greatest divas that jazz has ever known.
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Along with this piece I've attached four links to make my point - ‘Here’s to Life,’ ‘Embraceable You' (Live at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) ,  ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’, and 'Sunny' - and each tune shows a different side of her tremendous, and still growing, musical personality.
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‘Here’s to Life’ is a beautiful ballad that’s been done by some of the greatest singers who’s ever lived, yet Ms. Edmond’s version is as good or better than any version of this tune that’s ever been recorded. The soaring passion that she brings to this tune makes it almost impossible for anyone who’s ever had to struggle through life’s adversities to listen to with a dry eye.  Artie Butler - the multi-Grammy Award winning composer (and Barbara Streisand's musical director) - said of Ms. Edmond, "Rita Edmond knows exactly what to do with a song like 'Here's To Life.' She brings the listener into the music as she sings, making you feel she's singing just for you. That's indeed a gift."
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'Embraceable You,' (featuring Harold Land, Jr. on piano) demonstrates the ease in which she can establish the mood of a song and captivate an audience. It also shows an artist who is so comfortable in serenading an audience that it seems like she was born on stage. And after the piano solo, notice the effortless spontaneity in which she throws in a lick that's so exquisite that it sounds like it should have been written into the tune. You won't be able to miss it because the audience places an exclamation point of approval immediately afterward, as she casually, and routinely, moves on to the next phrase, as though it's all in a night's work. 
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Rita Edmond and Phil Woods Protégé
and International
Jazz Great, Robert Anchipolosky
Finally, she does ‘It Might As Well Be Spring,’ a tried and true jazz standard. Not everyone can do this tune well, because it’s such a jazz staple that it’s hard for a singer to put their personal stamp on it, and whenever they try, they either over sing or under sing the tune.  But Rita swings through it effortlessly and makes it her own. King Pleasure himself would smile at her rendition.
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I also wanted to add Ms. Edmond's rendition of ‘This Can’t Be Love’ as an attachment, but unfortunately, it's not available on Youtube. Nevertheless, it deserves a mention. On that tune Ms. Edmond displays yet another part of her musical vocabulary - her growing chops as a scatter and her ability to swing with the best of them. In this case, she scats in unison with yet another powerhouse, tenor sax player Ricky Woodard, and they’re pushed forward by the hard driving rhythms of Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath of the illustrious Heath Brothers on drums - and when it comes to the aristocracy of jazz, they don’t come any more blue-blooded than Tootie. She's also regularly accompanied by Nancy Wilson's keyboard player, Llew Matthews, who has also played with legendary jazz giants such as Jackie McLean and Woody Shaw, and the sweet-struttin' Edwin Livingston on bass.  So Rita is regularly being tested by fire, and she literally dances through the flames with blissful abandon.
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Earlier this year Ms. Edmond toured Russia, bringing the house down with the late Phil Woods' protégé, Robert Anchipolosky, and at this writing she's wrapping up a three month gig at  the luxurious Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, where she's doing her part to show jazz lovers, politicians, and  ambassadors from all over the world what we bring to the table.  She's also just completed a project with  her good friend and fabulous sax player, Dale Fielder, "Resiliance,"on the Clarion Jazz label that's monstrous. While very contemporary in it's concept, the quality of musicianship is a throwback to the way the big boys used to do it. 
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Ms. Edmond approaches jazz like she's been here before. It's like she walked on stage fresh off 52nd Street. For that reason, whenever I hear her sing it makes my eyes moist, because I can here Ella, Sarah, and Dinah,  whispering softly in the background, "Show 'em how it's done, baby girl." And she has a natural musical kinship to Dexter Gordon, whether she's singing a ballad or swinging, and when you're as familiar with Dexter Gordon's music as I am (his family lived two blocks away from my grandparents, and my mother went to Jefferson High School with him), it's a scary thing to watch. Her approach to phrasing and the feeling she evokes is the exactly the same kind of feeling that Dexter had on his tenor.  When I first played Dexter doing "You've Changed" for her, she said, "Hey!  He sounds just like me!"  I had to laugh. I told her, "No, Rita, You sound just like HIM."  But her reaction to the tune is understandable.  Dex recorded "You've Changed" when Rita was a baby, but her father, who started her singing  and dragged her around to sing for anybody who would listen when she was a little girl, was a jazz fanatic, so she might have her Dexter while she was still in a bassinet,  and with her ears, and her affinity for jazz, she never forgot it.  So Dexter has just become a part of her, waiting in the wings to express himself - and he does just that, with every phrase she sings.

Rita with the former Australian Ambassador,
Ireland Ambassador, and the
Portuguese Ambassador
But in spite of her talent, Ms.  Edmond is a very innocent sort, whose emotions are always very close to the surface - I think that may be the key to the beauty of her musicianship - but again, in spite of her unassuming manner, when she picks up a mic someone else emerges.  Just the touch of a mic seems to transform her. It gives her a  tremendous confidence, sophistication, and a unique sense of individualism that serves to produce a flawless musical delivery - a delivery that seems to say, “There’s a new diva in town,” and I say, it’s about time!
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PS: I don't want to get spooky here, but something  just happened that made my blood run cold. I didn't know whether or not it was appropriate to mention it in the context of this article, but it was such a coincident that I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't say something about it.  As I was writing about the kinship of the music of Dexter Gordon and Rita Edmond, before I posted I received a contact. It was from Dexter's widow, Maxine Gordon (or as Dex would call her, "Lady Gordon").  My last contact with her was over two years ago, so that was one hell of a coincident . . . or was it? 
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YOU'VE CHANGED - DEXTER GORDON

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YOU'VE CHANGED - RITA EDMOND

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SPEAK ON IT, RITA!!!
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Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
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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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