Monday, August 31, 2015

KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BLACK: FREDERICK DOUGLASS - ONE OF THE GREATEST MEN WHO EVER LIVED

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BLACK: 
FREDERICK DOUGLASS - ONE OF THE GREATEST MEN WHO EVER LIVED
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HE LIVED TO LOOK DOWN UPON THOSE WHO ENSLAVED HIM
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America's Independence Day:
"A thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace
a nation of savages!"
You think Malcolm was militant in the 1960s? in 1852 - nine years BEFORE the Civil War - back when even "nice" White folks would lynch a brother if given sufficient cause, Douglass told America that he considered their Fourth of July celebration a "mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages!"
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Born in February of 1818, escaped from slavery, and self-educated, he became one of the most prolific and sought after orators and writers of his time. Douglass was what many brothers of today pretend to be. He epitomized what it meant to be cool, but with one big difference - it wasn't contrived, and he had a powerful, focused, and very serious mind to go along with his suave demeanor. He, this former slave, had the kind of powerful intellect that would allow him to sit with presidents as a peer. He wasn't just against slavery, he did something about it. If you're Black, this man spoke up on your behalf, and he was also a fierce defender of women's rights.
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"Mr. Douglass was a regularly-enrolled member of the National Women's Suffrage Association, and had always attended its conventions. It was probably with a view to consistency in this respect that he appeared at Metzerott Hall. Although it was a secret business session of the Council, Mr. Douglass was allowed to remain, and when the meeting had been called to order by Mrs. May Wright Sewall, the President of the Council, she appointed Miss Susan B. Anthony and the Rev. Anna H. Shaw a committee to escort him to the platform, where most of the delegates, not more than fifty in number, were sitting. Mrs. Sewall presented Mr. Douglass to the Council, and contenting himself with a bow in response to the applause that greeted the announcement, he took a seat beside Miss Anthony, his lifelong friend."
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Douglass was way ahead of his time, a 21st century man living in the 19th century. If you're Black, or a woman, he was fighting for your interest long before you were born - and he wasn't just respectfully whining for a little justice; he was out for a pound of flesh  He convinced Abraham Lincoln to enlist Black troops into the union army, and he helped to organize the famed 54th Massachusetts Regiment for a little pay-back over the brutality or slavery.
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THE 54TH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT
MEMORIAL
". . . the 54th was widely acclaimed for its valor during the battle, and the event helped encourage the further enlistment and mobilization of African-American troops, a key development that President Abraham Lincoln once noted as helping to secure the final victory. Decades later, Sergeant William Harvey Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for grabbing the U.S. flag as the flag bearer fell, carrying the flag to the enemy ramparts and back, and singing 'Boys, the old flag never touched the ground!' While other African Americans had since been granted the award by the time it was presented to Carney, Carney's is the earliest action for which the Medal of Honor was awarded to an African American."
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Douglass was both a musician, and a ladies man, and he was sought after with affection by many of the sophisticated and highly placed White women of the time. Historian and scholar Playthell Benjamin describes Douglass in his, Commentaries On The Times, as "six foot four and over two hundred pounds, with a the well muscled body of a blacksmith and the handsome countenance of a leading man of the theater, a gift for language – historian and biographer Benjamin Quarles says Douglass seemed incapable of writing a bad line – and blessed with a marvelous vocal instrument which, when wedded to his mastery of rhetoric, had the power to move masses to action in behalf of his cause, a cause that included the emancipation of women, Frederick Douglass was a sexual magnet to the ladies, especially educated white ladies."
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He told racist America, "This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine." Indeed, he says, to ask a black person to celebrate the white man's freedom from oppression and tyranny is "inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony."
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And he had a little something to say to the jackleg preachers of the time as well. ". . . the church of this country is not only indifferent to the . . . [bad treatment of] the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the . . . [defender] of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent . . . [preachers], who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world . . . [as] Christianity."
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THESE ARE THE EYES OF A FREE BLACK MAN.
ARE THEY YOUR EYES?  WILL THEY BE THE EYES OF YOUR SON(S)?
So what we have in Douglass is a handsome, suave, and debonair Black man, living in pre-Civil War America, yet, had the knowledge and intellect to command enough respect to live life the way he saw fit. He counseled the President of the United States, he 'dated' who he felt like 'dating' (Black or White), and he had the courage to tell White America that their celebration of the Fourth of July was "a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages!" But in spite of Douglass' in-your-face outspokenness, which certainly would have gotten a lesser Black man lynched, he received several presidential appointments.
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So Douglass was one hell of a guy, and young Black men of today could learn a lot about what it means to be a true Black man by studying his legacy. In order to command the kind of respect that Douglass enjoyed during a time when other Black men were looked upon as scarcely more than animals, he had to be a unique man among men, and have some serious 'street creds.' Because he lived life the way he wanted to live, and said exactly what he wanted to say - and without looking down at his feet. He dealt with every man eyeball-to-eyeball, and he didn't care who they were. Yet, he had no posse, no crew, and absolutely no backup. It was just Fred, and his manhood, against the world. But obviously, that was enough.
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So one of the important lesson that today's young Black men can learn from Douglass is what it MEANS to be a Black man. Today, many of our young men are all swagger and no substance, while Douglass was all substance and no swagger. That's what it means to be a man. Swaggerin' is a device designed to hide a LACK of manhood, so you'll find a wimp behind most swagger. Douglass didn't have to swagger. He had knowledge, resolve, and a serious sense of purpose that the world could see in his eyes, and again, that was enough.
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Douglass's first autobiography, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," published in 1845 (When he was 27 years old). At the time, some skeptics questioned whether a black man could have produced such an eloquent piece of literature. Within three years, it had been reprinted nine times, with 11,000 copies circulating in the United States. It was also translated into French and Dutch and published in Europe.
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Frederick Dougalss died at 78 years old on February 20, 1895. He was living in a sumptuous manor on Cedar Hill, looking down upon those who had enslaved him.
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OBITUARY
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 20--Frederick Douglass dropped dead in the hallway of his residence on Anacostia Heights this evening at 7 o'clock. He had been in the highest spirits, and apparently in the best of health, despite his seventy-eight years, when death overtook him . . . (MORE)
http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0207.html
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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, August 25, 2015

BLACK LIVES MATTER - DON'T LET YOURSELVES BE PLAYED AND MISS THE BIG PICTURE

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree


BLACK LIVES MATTER - DON'T LET YOURSELVES BE PLAYED AND MISS THE BIG PICTURE

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RM,
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I know you're a big supporter of the "Black Lives Matter" movement, and as a Black man myself, it's easy to understand why. They reflect our frustration at repeatedly seeing Black people shot down, beaten, choked to death, and possibly even lynched while in police custody. And then if that's not bad enough, we're being forced to endure juries and agencies across this country treating these heinous crimes as though the alleged perpetrators are performing a public service. It's unconscionable and almost more than one can stand. So I'm definitely in full support of BLM's "professed" agenda.
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But I'm also quite concerned about how BLM is going about trying to achieve their objectives, and whether or not they've been infiltrated by right-wing operatives who are instigating a level of stupidity that's not only sabotaging BLM's professed agenda, but is allowing the organization to be used to undermine other progressive activists - So far, Bernie Sanders, Al Sharpton, and Mike Malloy - activists who should be considered allies. They settled for a quiet little chat, behind the scenes, with Hillary Clinton. Hmmmmm . . .
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Writer and political commentator,  , describes the the BLM takerover of Bernie Sanders' Seattle event as follows:
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"We'd been waiting for nearly two hours by the time he finally took the stage. We'd been approached by a few dozen petition-circulators, button-sellers, pamphlet-distributors and sign-holders. We'd heard a few songs by a group called the "Raging Grannies." And we'd listened to the usual array of warm-up speakers, local candidates and activists gathered for this event at Westlake Center in Seattle. Now, it was finally time for the man of the hour--or the two hours, actually. Until all of a sudden it wasn't.
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"Just as Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was beginning his speech, protestors representing "Black Lives Matter" took the stage, screamed at Sanders and commandeered the podium at what was supposed to be a celebration of the birthdays of Social Security and Medicare. I watched all this occur in real-time, but I was also capturing it on video. And I am glad I did, because not enough has been said of the insulting manner by which these individuals addressed everyone within earshot.
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"Demanding to speak, and to do so before Senator Sanders, Marissa Janae Johnson, a self-described co-founder of the Seattle group, began by telling us all "You guys are full of bullshit with your black lives matter!" Even though the crowd had cheered earlier speakers who'd mentioned the movement, Ms. Johnson seemed distraught that some people were chanting "Bernie!, Bernie!" after she'd taken over the stage.
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"Why was the crowd chanting "Bernie! Bernie!"? you might ask. Because they came to see Bernie Sanders speak about Social Security and Medicare.
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"This was when Ms. Johnson reprimanded the crowd even more--a crowd whose average age was easily more than twice that of her own--by announcing "You're never going to hear Bernie speak unless I get silence here now." Yes, she was scolding people of her parents' and grandparents' generations who had come to hear about how we might make lives better for the poor and elderly. And now she was also holding Senator Bernie Sanders for ransom." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-k-pinaire-phd/feel-the-bern_b_7963688.html)
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So again, RM, while I share your frustration, I'm greatly concerned over BLM's behavior, because nobody can be as stupid as they've been by accident, and  as a child of the sixties, I learned very early in life to never allow myself to be blinded by circumstances. No matter how frustrating and unconscionable the situation, we must always remain vigilant for hyper-ideologues engaged in reckless and unnecessary stupidity.  CointelPro 101.
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The minute I witnessed what BLM did to Al Sharpton and Bernie Sanders I cringed, because it was like "deja vu all over again." It was immediately clear to me that behavior such as that is the primary reason we're still fighting the very same battle 50 years later.
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Both Sharpton and Sanders were on the right page and using the perfect tactic - educating the people and gaining their empathy and support. Then hot-heads professing to be from BLM jumped on stage using exactly the wrong tactic - snatching the mic and shaking their fist at the very people who they should be trying to recruit as allies. They weren't scaring nobody; they just pissed people off - including me, and I'm an old-school revolutionary.
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People are tired of publicity-seeking fist-shakers creating public distractions and wasting our time. Fist-shakers are generally just looking for applause, so they should go somewhere and learn to tap dance and get it legitimately. We're looking for thinkers who can seriously, and effectively, address our problems, not overbearing and obnoxious, "look-at-what-I'm-doing" type entertainers. This situation is much too serious for such self-serving and childish behavior. All they've done is become a distraction. Instead of talking about how Black lives truly do matter, all we're discussing is BLM's childishly disgusting behavior; and instead of promoting the perfect declaration - again, that Black lives matter - whenever thousands of people hear the phrase, the first thing they'll experience is their anger over BLM's silly antics. Our enemies are dead serious, so this is no time to jump on stage auditioning for fame.
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In response you said, "Since the NYPD is using COINTELPRO against BLM, doesn't that make BLM legit? If BLM is COINTELPRO,  did Obama authorize the operation?"
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You're missing the point. When CointelPro is mentioned, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is the exact same government-initiated program that it was during the Civil Rights Movement; what I'm suggesting is BLM's attack on Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rev. Sharpton (both allies) struck me as CointelPro-LIKE.  During the sixties Howard Hughes was world famous for being considered one of the riches men on Earth as a result of his $2.5 billion fortune. But today's billionaires could leave that kind of chump-change as a tip. So today the Koch Bros., ALEC, and their billionaire friends can finance programs that not only rival CointelPro, but much more - and they often do.
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In today's world there is no such thing as a group being "legit" or "illegit".  I'm sure that the 99% of the people involved in BLM are perfectly legitimate and their primary concern is protecting Black lives, but how can we prevent the Corporate/GOP Alliance, with all of their vast wealth and resources, from sprinkling illegitimate infiltrators among BLM's ranks to instigate ill-advised - in fact, stupid - behavior that not only sabotages BLM's agenda, but also undermines other progressive activists and/or candidates?  The fact is, we can't. So again, all we can do is remain vigilant for inappropriate behavior and be discrete, but thorough, in monitoring and looking into the background of people who are over-the-top and who suggest such behavior. People like that are either Judas goats, or not level-headed enough to be in positions of responsibility.
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That's why it's so important for the the working class to come together and pool our political resources instead of going our separate ways as single-issue, fanatic-prone, factions. We cannot win this CLASS WAR by trying to fight it as single-issue factions. Black people, at 13% of the population, are going to be crushed trying to fight injustice by themselves. The same is true of union workers, women, gays, or undocumented immigrants, because the Corporate/GOP Alliance is going to use their vast wealth to manipulate us and turn us against one another. They're going to turn Blacks against immigrants, union workers against non-union workers, and Christians against anybody who doesn't look, think, and act like their particular denomination.  In short, we're going to continue to see repeat performances of the way BLM turn on Bernie Sanders while he was TRYING to tell us what we were up against: "Aw man, Get off the stage! We don't want to hear all of that. We want to know what you're going to do about Black injustice!!!" The fact was, he was trying to tell 'em, but the hot-heads among them weren't listening - or thinking. They didn't understand what any mildly competent chess player knows - sometimes you have to address an issue through a circuitous route.
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You see, many people tend to be so blinded by anger over their single issue that they fail to see the big picture. So the Corporate/GOP Alliance will stirrup anger among Black people, and then do the same thing with other factions - women, gays, workers, immigrants, etc - to keep us so focused on, and fighting over, whose single issue is going to be given priority that we're completely oblivious to the fact that they're hard at work cutting ALL of our throats.
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Factional injustice is merely a distraction to keep us angry, frustrated, and divided. The end-game is actually about abolishing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, The Fair Labor Standards Act, etc.  In short, they're trying to lower the standard of living of the American middle class to a level that coincides with third world countries of the new global economy, where many workers make less a week than many middle-class Americans spend on lunch per day.
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Thus, it is absolutely essential that we wake up and stop being so blind and single-issue oriented. Yes, absolutely, we should continue to be aggressive in addressing issues of injustice, but we must organize and address all  matters of  injustice AS A CLASS, and not as a multitude of fractious and undisciplined factions. Currently we're trying to fight a class war against the most insidious domestic enemy in the history of the United States as a multitude of clueless platoons, each headed up by a corporal, and without sufficient resources. The Corporate/GOP Alliance, on the other hand, is a well funded and organized army headed by a four star general - and he has a bird's eye-view of the entire field of battle. That's unacceptable, and it's political suicide.
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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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Sunday, August 23, 2015

RACISTS DON'T REALLY HATE BLACK PEOPLE - THEY FEAR WHAT WE REPRESENT

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

RACISTS DON'T REALLY HATE BLACK PEOPLE - THEY FEAR WHAT WE REPRESENT
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A Discussion On Race Between Interracial Peers  

DURING SLAVERY THE ONLY BLACK PEOPLE WE KNEW WHO SPOKE
"PROPER" ENGLISH WERE HOUSE SLAVES, AND MANY OF THEM
LOOKED DOWN ON FIELD SLAVES. AS A RESULT, MANY OF US
EQUATE INTELLECT WITH "TRYING TO BE WHITE," SO WE HAVE AN
AVERSION TO, OR REJECT, OUR OWN NATURAL INTELLIGENCE.
 
Let's keep it real and stop trying to emulate our oppressors. The BLM movement needs to tone down their militant rhetoric because they don't have the resources to back it up. Black people are only 13.2% of the population, so if they turn off the rest of the public and find themselves without allies, they can't win one battle alone.  In addition, the modern Black man doesn't have a heart for laying his life on the line. That's why we've been abused for the past 250 years. 
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But there's a reason why we're no longer warriors.  It's because the adversity that we've endured over the centuries have made us MORE rather than less, and we've evolved into the people of the future. The murder and mayhem of battle is an animalistic, brain STEM activity that lower animals used prior to developing a cerebral cortex, or higher intellectual brain function. They all had the instincts of a snake. They didn't have the ability to think, so their first response to any problem was to attack.
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But again, due to the adversity that Black people have endured over the centuries, we've evolved and adapted to overcome that adversity. As a result of having to deal with both overt and covert racists every day of our lives, we've developed an intellectual muscularity that has made it possible for us to out-think our enemies. 
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What we refer to as "Soul" is Black creativity straining to burst forth and be utilized. The very same creativity that goes into the making of a Ray Charles, an Areatha Frankiln, or John Coltrane, can easily be redirected toward math, science, politics, and engineering. That's why racists hate Barack Obama so passionately, because he's using the knowledge that he's gained from the Black experience to make them look like idiots. You see, he's utilizing a source of knowledge that they can't obtain at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, and Black people as a whole have got to learn to draw on that unique source of creativity as well. We've got to get away from the brain stem mentality and limitations of our oppressors, because racists are the people of the past, while we're the people of the future. Our history lies before us.
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BLM  IS MAKING THEMSELVES LOOK LIKE
THE BLACK COUNTERPART TO THIS GUY.  DOES HE LOOK
LIKE SOMEONE YOU'D WANT TO TAKE SERIOUSLY?
Racists tend to be the mediocrity of White society, so they try to use the fact that they were born White to define themselves and to compensate for their lack of personal value. Their entire sense of self-esteem is based more upon group association than individual value and accomplishment, and their entire claim to personal significance is, "Well, at least I'm better than them." 
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That's what's driving radical conservatives so crazy about President Obama - he's walking, breathing, evidence that they cannot claim superiority by virtue of the color T-shirt they were born in, and that simple fact alone is causing them to suffer a severe attack of cognitive dissonance before the eyes of the entire world. That's also why they're so determined not to allow President Obama to be successful, even if it means destroying the country - and international corporatists are using the social division inherent in those sentiments to lower the standard of living of the American middle class. 
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Thus, this entire nation, and the future of our children, is being threatened by the desperate attempt of a handful of insecure bigots to maintain their delusions of superiority, and as far as they’re concerned, if the country has to be sacrificed for that cause, so be it.
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FELLOW AMERICANS, DON’T LET OUR IGNORANCE DESTROY US
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The racist animosities that are running rampant among ALL segments of the American people are playing right into the hands of the those who are our most insidious enemy – the global corporatists. These people are intent upon enslaving us all. The only difference between literal slavery and what they have in mind for us is we'll have to provide our own housing.
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These people are no longer Americans; they are now globalists, and America is just a virtual cotton field to them. And as long as they keep the poor and middle class fighting and hating one another, we’ll be powerless against their social and political manipulation. So "illegal aliens" and others are far from the biggest threat to the American way of life – the global corporatists are. 
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If Al Qaeda represents a rattlesnake in America's garden, the corporate/GOP alliance represents a python under our bed. Al Qaeda can only destroy buildings, but the corporate/GOP alliance wants to destroy our entire way of life and replace American democracy with a system of corporate feudalism, where corporations, literally, control the nation. So it is essential that every man, woman, and child who is a part of the poor and middle class begin to recognize that fact, put our petty hatreds aside, and come together to fight our most insidious enemy - the global corporatist.
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Suzette Sommer
AMEN. Damn, Eric, you covered so much TRUTH!
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I grew up in a tiny racist town with Sunset Laws... I grew up with people who hated non-whites and gays and anybody "different."
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I escaped at 18 - ended up in LA, and finally began to know the real world - a multi-racial multi-cultural world.
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I am almost 65 so I have watched our society go through a lot.
We are making progress though not nearly enough. The younger people give me hope!
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But more and more what I notice is the brilliance of our Black citizens... and I have been thinking the same thing: the reason some whites hate blacks so much is they do not want to compete with them because they know they will lose.
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Not only in sports and feats of coordination and strength, not only in musical or performing talent, but also in feats of mental brilliance - look around and see how many are outstanding despite every obstacle society puts up - given even a tiny opening, so many black Americans reach and achieve. Just read that black women are the most educated segment of our society now.... and we now see leaders - black leaders and achievers everywhere.
EVERYWHERE.  Science, medicine, business, space, media, ballet, arts, engineering, on and on and on. It is no longer "rare." All from 13% of the population and despite how many in poverty? And I agree, the strength comes from deep in the heart and soul.
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Wattree
Thank you so much for this, Suzette.
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With you're permission I would love to use your comment to compliment this piece. You present a powerful and inspirational message that I think many young people need to hear. They need to understand that "God" made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. Thus, the essence of our being is what we THINK not what we look like. So our true brothers and sisters are those who THINK like we do, not those who merely LOOK like we do. In short, you're much more my sister than Clarence Thomas is my brother. Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, and Sarah Palin are of a different breed than we are, and it goes much deeper than just racial attitudes. You, myself, and Donna, who commented above, are the same kind of people. The color of our skin is superficial.

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Absolutely fine with me. I mean every damn word.
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I adore President Obama and only wish he COULD have a third term. I also consider Michelle our first truly modern First Lady - and I remember Mamie Eisenhower.
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I have almost always lived on the Left Coast... it has only been these last several years of being on FB - making friends all over the place, that I have made friends in the South and TX and slowly begun to get insights into how horrible life in those areas really is for anybody who is not well-off and white.
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The debacle in Ferguson MO was a huge eye opener. The shake down of a whole town by white people.
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Due to social media, I have learned to see what privatized prisons are all about, what our "war on drugs" is really all about, how we will never have "equality" in this country until every damn neighborhood has equally GOOD schools, how there truly is a war on black people, non-white people and homeless and poor people of any color by our police... And how many people are beaten down by all of that.
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Yet how many black Americans are rising up to great success and raising beautiful families despite it all. Things are changing. And the haters are being left behind. They are being exposed, outed, shown. They are raising hell right now.
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But we are at a tipping point. Injustice is being seen. Really seen. And yes... BLM has pissed off some white people. But some of us listen to the rage in it and understand.  Because some of us have been feeling the same way about the police violence in particular: How can this go on!
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I am still in shock about so many events - and they do just keep coming... and it has to stop. We will stop it. Just as in Nazi Germany... "First, they came for the Jews." Corruption touches and endangers us all.  I really do think a lot of white Americans get that.
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David Snyder
One of the earliest white people to get it [regarding Black intelligence] was Mark Twain, regardless of his use of the word "nigger." He realized that once in a while, if he or she trusted you enough, he could get wisdom and insight from black people that didn't exist in whites. A former slave once said to him "You tell me where a man gits his corn pone [cornbread] from, I'll tell you what his '[o]pinions is." After thinking about it, he realized it was one of the most insightful things anybody ever said to him about the human condition.
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Over the years, I've gotten myself into trouble and it's been non whites that have always had the best advice and explanations for me of what made my adversaries tick.

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Wattree:
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When I was a child my grandfather, Samuel Wattree, Sr., gave me some of the most insightful advice that any person could ever get, and it was especially designed to address adversarial situations just like the Black community is facing today. 
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My grandfather was run out of Louisiana after a rich White family, essentially, tried to enslave my grandmother. She was working for the family as a domestic and the people's kids bonded with her, so the family wanted her to live there on the premises. They weren't brutal, or threatening, or anything - at first. In fact they were all syrupy grins, and spewing words of love, and "family" - at first. But the bottom line was, they wouldn't allow my grandmother to come home, and they insisted that my grandfather come live in a shack there on the premises.
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So my grandfather pretended to cave in, and packed up all their belongings (including his gun). Thereafter, he pulled up on the property brandishing his weapon, told my grandmother to get the baby and get into the truck, and they drove off and kept going until they reach Los Angeles.  That was in 1931. They moved into a house a block or so away from the Dunbar Hotel. At that time my mother, their first child, was one year old, so I was born in Los Angeles. 

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But by the time I was a little boy, my grandparents were doing pretty well and they could afford to go back to Louisiana once a year to visit (my grandfather was a master mechanic). I was attached to my grandparents at the hip because while my mother was in college they essentially raised me (My mother and I were more like sister and brother). So every year when my grandparents started packing to leave for Louisiana, it was all the way on. I raised hell from the moment I caught wind of the fact that they were leaving, until an hour after they walked out the door and the car was out of sight.  We went through the same ritual every year.
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On one of such occasion, however, when I was about nine years old, my grandfather decided to use the occasion as a teaching moment and drop a little wisdom on me. He said, "You're right, you're not a baby anymore, but there's another reason we can't take you to Louisiana with us now - you talk too much and you could get us killed. You've got to learn to listen to what's on everybody else's mind, and never let anyone know what's on yours, because if you tell the next man everything that's on your mind, he'll then know everything you know, plus what he already knew, and that'll make him smarter than you are. So that's why you have to stay home - because we can't afford to let those White folks down South know more about us, than we know about them."
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And that's the primary problem that I have with BLM.  They talk too much, and too recklessly. They don't seem to think things through, and they tend to shoot from the hip. They also seem to have far too many people among them who are so anxious to gain their ten minutes of fame that they're falling all over each other to jump in front of the cameras.
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They're missing the point. The point is to gain America's support, and thereby, enough political allies to give us the clout to obtain our objective, not to shake our fist at the American people. That's a losing battle. So all they're doing is flapping their lips and giving the White establishment the ammunition to demonize the entire Black community by portraying us as a raging and reckless beast, a threat to America, and potential terrorists. 

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Some may say that's ridiculous, but the more thoughtful among us recognize that the White establishment are experts at demonization - ask any American Muslim, or ask the parents of Trayvon Martin, who's son the White establishment converted from a child who simply went to the store to get some candy, into a violent gangster with a ravaging case of the munchies. By the time they were done they had demonized Trayvon so thoroughly that they convinced the jury that George Zimmerman had performed a public service to America by stalking, and then killing, a perfectly innocent child. They claimed that Zimmerman simply acted in self-defense, but how could he be acting in self-defense when HE was the stalker?  Trayvon was being stalked on a rainy night by a strange man who had a hundred lbs. on him. What about Trayvon's right to stand his ground?
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George Zimmerman should be in prison today, but the simple facts above are the kind of things that get lost in the shuffle when everybody is screaming and hollering and nobody's thinking. So BLM needs to learn a lesson from that, a lesson that informs them of when and how to speak, about considering what they're going to say - BEFORE they say it - and when to keep their mouths shut and simply listen. And just as important, they need to learn to NEVER attack an ally. If the USSR and the United States hadn't learned that lesson during WWII we would be goose stepping today.
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So as I've said many times before, while I agree with the overall objective of protecting Black lives - in fact, protecting ALL lives - the BLM is going at it like a raging beast without a brain, and by letting emotion trump serious and logical thought, they're going to end up causing even MORE Black lives to be lost.

*

http://wattree.blogspot.com/2013/01/why-i-love-being-black.html


Eric L. Wattree 
http://wattree.blogspot.com/ 
Ewattree@Gmail.com 
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA) 
.
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Return Of Old-School Hipster

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POETIC
BEBOP FOR LATTER-DAY BEATNIKS
AND OTHER SUNDRY SUBTERRANEANS

The Return of Old-School Hipster


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

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

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

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

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

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

.
Eric L. Wattree 
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

THE THREE COMMANDMENTS

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

THE THREE COMMANDMENTS
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1). Live your life the best way you can; 

2). Help others whenever you can;  

3). And mind your own business.
*


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, July 29, 2015

RE: You’re White and Marched With Dr. King: So What?

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

RE: You’re White and Marched With Dr. King: So What?

To Imani Grandy,

My name is Eric Wattree.  I'm a writer, musician, poet, and old school revolutionary from the 60s (Google me). While I understand your passion, as a former Panther associate (I was never a joiner), I've seen unbridled passion before, and it's ALWAYS counterproductive.
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Your position in this matter not only misrepresents the position of Martin Luther King, but also the realization that Malcolm X came to just before he was assassinated. What made Martin effective was he didn't run off angry and  half-cocked like many of us. He didn't allow his anger to circumvent his intellect.  He understood that Black people couldn't win the civil rights battle alone. He recognized from the outset that he needed to form a coalition by changing the hearts and minds of the American people, and then using the clout derived from that change to apply political pressure on our government. That's how things are changed in the United States.
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Yes, there was a lot of noise and commotion going on during the civil rights movement, but don't be misled. America wasn't afraid of Black people during the sixties, just as no one is afraid of us now. The powers that be have enough experience with Black people to know that all they have to do is call out the national guard and all they'll hear are crickets by nightfall - and besides, no battle has ever been won by flappin' lips anyway. So essentially, all the Netroots stunt was, was somebody's dumb and self-serving idea for a personal photo op.

Again, battles are won by forming political coalitions - yes, political coalitions with White liberals like Bernie Sanders, who you so cavalierly flipped off - and also, inspiring people of every walk of life to embrace the cause of justice - justice for ALL.  Martin understood this, and later, so did Malcolm. But due to Martin's resolve in this matter, and his refusal to see us slaughtered en mass by taking to the streets in violence (as many young hot headed idiots like myself were determined to do), we started calling him Martin Luther "Coon." You see, we were too young and dumb to realize that we couldn't out-scream injustice, and we couldn't out-fight the military. You must out-think injustice, and all those who insist on relying on anger over thought are a liability to both the people, and the people's cause.
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More people are turning out to hear Bernie Sanders than any other politician in America. So all you've done is managed to antagonize thousands of people who you should be trying to gather as allies. So there's only one word that adequately describes such an action - STUPID.
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We're In A Class War - Open Your Eyes

We must never forget that God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to THINK, not to act in reckless stupidity. Thus the attack on Sen. Bernie Sanders was unwarranted, and just that - and act of unmitigated stupidity,  and it was exactly the kind of political stunt that's giving the 1%ers and social manipulators the upper hand against the people. NEVER ATTACK YOUR ALLIES!!! By doing so you only lend legitimacy to the allegations, distortions, and propaganda of your enemy. So if whoever came up with the idea of organizing this stunt against Sanders and O'Malley didn't have sense enough to recognize such a  fundamental reality, neither do they have sense enough to lead the people
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Considering the content of the Republican clown car, and everything that the GOP has been doing, and saying, to undermine and divide the American working class, I find it next to impossible to believe that anyone acting with legitimate intent could be so politically naive and out of touch with reality that they'd believe that staging such a counterproductive political stunt would be in the best interest of either Black people, or the American working class. So I believe that stunt was staged by either a GOP ringer, or a political operative of one of the Democratic campaigns.
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It's my personal belief that Bernie Sanders' long record of civil rights activities - that go all the way back to when he was in the trenches with Martin Luther King and before many of his current critics were born - is clearly resonating with the people, and somebody's been caught off guard, because the people are beginning  to realize that what Bernie's been saying for decades is absolutely true. We're in the middle of a class war, and we can't out-fight the 1%ers, because they control the military, we can't out-scream the 1%ers, because they control the media, and we can't out-spend the 1%ers, because they control 90% of the nation's resources. But here's what we can do - we can out-organize and out-vote the 1%ers hands down, and that's what we must do if we're going to survive as a free nation.
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So the working class needs to wake up and stop dividing itself into factions. ALL LIVES MATTER, and the working class in this country needs to come together and embrace that message. Black people, Hispanics, women's groups, and gays need to understand that none of our various groups can prevail alone. The 1%ers have established a solid front, and we'd better do the same or we're doomed, because our division is their most effective weapon.
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On the other hand, if the people come together as a solid front, we can trump money. No matter how much money the 1%ers pour into their campaigns, if the people stand firm, the 1%ers can't win, because the only thing that money can buy in politics is votes, and we OWN the vote, if we would just wake up and recognize that.
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And finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention your grossly unappreciative and cavalier attitude toward the White liberals who believed so passionately in EVERYONE'S right to justice that they were willing to give up their lives so YOU could have one.  Those were very dangerous times during the Civil Rights movement, as evidenced by the fact that John and Robert Kennedy, Martin, and Malcolm are no longer with us. So I'm simply going to assume that what I can only refer to as your disgustingly cavalier attitude toward the sacrifices of those heroes is a direct response to a gross ignorance of that era on your part.  During that time, White liberals who fought for civil rights were considered traitors to their race. They were hated on a par with Osama Bin Laden, and many were kidnapped in the night and subjected to the most horrible forms of torture and death. Yet, you say, "So what!!!?"
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But today it's about much more than just the hatred of Black people. Today, they're simply USING the various hatreds - of Black people, Hispanics, Muslims, women's rights, and gays - to entice social bigots to keep the working class divided, and to vote against their own interests, and for their own enslavement. It's about dollars, and a lack of sense. It's a class issue, and you're playing right into it. The 1%ers don't care any more about poor and middle-class White people than they do Black people or other minorities.  So it's imperative that we ALL come together on EVERY issue as a CLASS, and stop trying to fight little skirmishes as individual factions. That's a losing battle.  That's why we're still fighting Martin's battle fifty years later, because we have yet to learn that lesson. But it's a lesson that conservatives have learned well:
.
SCOTT WALKER: DIVIDE AND CONQUER


Eric L. Wattree
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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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Are Your Religious Beliefs Simply An Accident of Birth?

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

Are Your Religious Beliefs Simply An Accident of Birth?
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A friend of mine, who's a Christian and a very insightful writer, recently wrote an article that started me thinking about both Christianity and organized religion in general.  In his article he asked a pivotal question that I believe goes right to the core of Christianity - "What if Jesus was merely the teacher of a social gospel and moral philosophy . . .?"
.
 In my opinion, that question captured the essence of what Jesus was all about.  Jesus wasn't a superhuman; he was simply a very intelligent and insightful human being, a philosopher. But after he espoused his philosophy, ignorant, self-serving, and superstitious people - people who believed in talking snakes - took his words out of context and turned him into some kind of superhuman being, and gave him powers that contradicted the laws of nature, the universe, common sense, and God.
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If we hadn't been conditioned all our lives to believe in this counterintuitive nonsense it would be clear to us that the Christian belief system holds just about as much validity as voodoo. Take a moment to ask yourself, how does your religion (regardless to what it is) make any more sense than voodoo?  An honest answer to that question is, it doesn't. The only difference between what you believe and voodoo is you've chosen to believe it. That's why Christians talk more about having "faith," than they do loving their fellow man. Even as Christian racists were lynching Black people, they were preaching the need to have "faith" in God. The only problem was, as their behavior clearly demonstrated, their faith wasn't in God; their faith was in what other men TOLD them about God. That's why their "God" said "okay" when they decided to lynch men who were unlike themselves.
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The fact is,  dead men don't walk;  no man can walk on the water;  no man can tell the Red Sea to scoot over;  and if Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth  and they only had two boys, who did they mate with, and where did the people come from that Cain went to live with after he slew Abel?  Hmmmm . . .  So what Christians believe is just as much nonsense as voodoo or any other cult - and you can take that to the bank.

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Take a moment to consider the following.  All of your religious beliefs are merely an accident of birth?  If you'd been born in Israel, chances are you'd be a Jew; if you'd been born in Iran you'd be a Muslim, or China, a Buddhist.  So your religion isn't so much God-inspired as it is a result of the environment that you were raised in. You were SOCIALIZED into believing what you believe. Thus, if you truly believe that a person born in Israel, Iran, or China is going to Hell because they weren't socialized to believe what you believe, you're delusional. And if you believe that God sent a White Scandinavian with Blond hair and blue eyes to be born in the desert so he could tell people of color how they should live their lives, you're not only delusional, but you're stupid. God doesn't work like that. How do I know?  Because God demonstrates his will by what he has done, and you'll never see a talking snake. God instructs through common sense, and if you believe in talking snakes, you're not using the portion of common sense that you were allocated.  Yet, you look down your nose at voodoo. 
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This is a serious problem, because people are doing more "believing" than thinking. Hoards of people are taking MAN'S word for the fact that the Bible is "the word of God." So they're placing all of their "faith" in MAN, not God - and a very evil man, at that. On the other hand, we KNOW that God gave us our minds (and by "God," I mean whatever force is responsible for the existence of the universe and what we consider reality) so we need to start using it, because it makes absolutely no sense to place more "faith" in what man TELLS us about God than what is obvious that God has done. And man has clearly shown that he has more faith in the words of other men, than he does in the actual deeds of God.
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Take Black people for example. African Americans are some of the most devout Christians in the world, even though they were taught Christianity while they were tied up next to the mules - and every rule, law, and tenet of Christianity was being brutally violated while they were being indoctrinated - yet, they still believe it, that a blond haired, blue eyed Scandinavian was born in the desert with supernatural powers. God forbid that they would point out that if Jesus was born in the desert that chances are he was a man of color; and since they're inclined to lie to us about what the man even looked like, how can we even begin to believe what they claim he said?   
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No wonder so many Black people are finding it so hard to get their act together; they're walking around in a state of zombie-like somnambulism, and it seems that the worse they're treated, the more they cling to that ridiculous myth -  "Oh dear Lord, please forgive the White boy who walked into our church and blew nine of our church member's brains out. He simply doesn't understand your word." What kind of insanity is that!!!?

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That racist cracker shouldn't have gotten out of there alive, house of worship or not. But the reason he did is very simple. Black people have been conditioned to believe that no matter how bad they're treated, they shouldn't worry about it, because God is going to take care of them when they die.  OH, REALLY!!!?  Then why is everybody else killing one another trying to get theirs now - including the preachers? So it's no accident that everyone who is willing to believe that nonsense are victims, at the bottom of the social chain, and unless they're very lucky, suffering. Because they're victims of the perfect hustle, where the hustlers (Black and White) don't have to worry about nobody ever coming back to say they're lying. How sweet is that!!!?
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Here's another thing that should be considered. If God HAD decided to put religion on Earth to guide man, don't you think he'd have had sense enough to create just ONE religion so religious dogma wouldn't be the most hate-inspiring, murderous, and destructive forces on Earth? Look around you - here in America, in the Middle East, and literally all over the world - organized religion is THE  primary source of most of the  agony, pain, and misery on the planet. Thus, organized religion isn't a blessing, it's a curse. Would a loving God place a curse like that on  mankind?  I don't think so. God gave us spirituality, which is found within. It's a state if existence that's only between you, God, and the universe. Man has absolutely nothing to do with it, because everything man touches, he corrupts. God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to THINK, not to follow a users guide written by other men.
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Man is much too ignorant, self-serving, and greedy to write anything sacred.  Yes, man says the Bible was "inspired" by God, but he also said that God told him in the Manifest Destiny to slaughter the Native Americans and take their land, and Zionists are saying the very same thing with regard to the Palestinians today.  Do you actually believe that God is telling them to kill children? And what about Boko Haram, do you really believe God is telling them to kidnap young women and sell them into sexual slavery because he doesn't want women to get an education? That's not God saying that; that's self-serving men placing their words and beliefs in God's mouth, and the exact same thing is happening here in this country. Organized religion is man-made nonsense designed to manipulate the ignorance of the masses and promote the prejudice and greed of the elite.  You can trace virtually any form of bigotry in a straight line right back to some form of religious dogma. So again, organized religion is a curse on man, that's been created by man, and it's ultimately going to lead to our destruction - even global warming is being defended in the name of God.
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About the Bible
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The Bible that Christians Worship today was compiled and “bless” by the Catholic Church, not God. Any book that disagreed with the Catholic Church was banned. What Christians call "The Holy Bible," and what these preachers run around thumping, wasn’t even put together until almost 400 years after the death of Jesus. So everything in it is hearsay. In terms of years, at the time the Bible was complied, they were twice as far away from the life and times of Jesus Christ as we are away from George Washington today. So in reality, they didn’t know fact from fiction, any more than we know whether or not George Washington really chopped down a cherry tree:
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"For the first 300 years of Christianity, there was no Bible as we know it today. Christians had the Old Testament Septuagint, and literally hundreds of other books from which to choose. The Catholic Church realized early on that it had to decide which of these books were inspired and which ones weren't. The debates raged between theologians, Bishops, and Church Fathers for several centuries as to which books were inspired and which ones weren't. In the meantime, several Church Councils or Synods, were convened to deal with the matter, notably, Rome in 382, Hippo in 393, and Carthage in 397 and 419. The debates sometimes became bitter on both sides. One of the most famous was between St. Jerome, who felt the seven books were not canonical, and St. Augustine who said they were. Protestants who write about this will invariably mention St. Jerome and his opposition, and conveniently omit the support of St. Augustine. I must point out here that Church Father's writings are not infallible statements, and their arguments are merely reflections of their own private opinions. When some say St. Jerome was against the inclusion of the seven books, they are merely showing his personal opinion of them. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. However, A PERSONS PRIVATE OPINION DOES NOT CHANGE THE TRUTH AT ALL. There are always three sides to every story, this side, that side, and the side of truth. Whether Jerome's position, or Augustine's position was the correct position, had to be settled by a third party, and that third party was the Catholic Church.
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"Now the story had a dramatic change, as the Pope stepped in to settle the matter. In concurrence with the opinion of St. Augustine, and being prompted by the Holy Spirit, Pope St. Damasus I, at the Council of Rome in 382, issued a decree appropriately called, "The Decree of Damasus", in which he listed the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments. He then asked St. Jerome to use this canon and to write a new Bible translation which included an Old Testament of 46 books, which were all in the Septuagint, and a New Testament of 27 books" (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080928064041AATOZUD).
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SO THE POPE HAD SPOKEN, AND THE ISSUE WAS SETTLED. THUS, WHAT CHRISTIANS REFER TO AS "THE HOLY BIBLE" IS NOT THE WORD OF GOD, IT'S THE WORD OF POPE DAMASUS I.
.

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Eric L. Wattree
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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