Saturday, January 31, 2015

PREDICTION: GOP TO STUMBLE BADLY IN 2016 ELECTION

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

PREDICTION: GOP TO STUMBLE BADLY IN 2016 ELECTION

As I’m sure most of you know, the GOP is far from a bastion of intellectual giants. So winning the 2014's midterm election could be the worst thing that’s happened to the GOP in the past six years, and it could be the best thing that’s happened to the Democrats since Barack Obama’s 2008 election.
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Now that the GOP has taken over congress, I suspect that they’re already beginning to recognize that their new role of congressional leadership is not quite as easy as their old role of irresponsible obstructionists. In the last congress, all Republicans had to do is sit back and come up with a pretext for saying no to everything. Then when things began to fall apart as a result of their irresponsible behavior, the American people blamed it on President Obama and the Democrats. But now, they have a responsibility to perform, and to initiate legislation to help move the country forward. That’s an entirely different ball game. Now they're going to be held accountable.
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The GOP is also going to have to deal with the fact that their corporate supporters are now going to fully expect tons of favorable legislation heaped their way in return for the tons of cash they funneled into the GOP. Then, when you add to that, the virulent, and still growing, antipathy of the American people toward corporate greed, and the GOP’s long tradition - and what's become a conservative obligation - of trying to undermine every program designed to protect the average citizen, they’re between a rock and a hard place.   
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In addition, conservatives tend to lack a sense of limits, in any event. So it’s not even a gamble to predict that they’re going to overreach and incur the err of the American people with their excesses, just like they did during the Civil Rights movement when they attacked civil rights marchers with dogs, brutality, and fire hoses on the street. I predict they’re going to repeat that mistake, but this time, instead of hosing down marchers in the street, they’re going to attempt to hose down the American people as a whole by unleashing the conservative dogs of greed and brutality attack the American middle-class safety net.
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Due to their devastating defeat of the Democrats during the last election the GOP is more than likely going to misread the meaning of the election.  I doubt that they recognize that they won the last election due to the partisanship of undereducated voters in little towns and fiefdoms across America, not because, as they tend to believe, the American people actually agree with their pro 1% agenda. So they’re already started attacking the middle-class safety net, not realizing that nothing wakes up an undereducated partisan voter like being hit in their own pocket. Such voters tend to be all for the conservative agenda as long as it doesn’t have an impact on the security and comfort of their own lives. 
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Another problem that Republicans have created for themselves is they seem to have brought out the warrior in President Obama. If the GOP had lost the midterm election, Obama probably would have continued to try to compromise with them in an attempt to get things done. The reason he was so intent on trying to compromise in the past is because he didn’t want to look like a bully who was just rolling over conservatives because he won the election. He’s free of that concern now. In addition, his legacy is on the line, so we’re beginning to see the Obama that many progressives have been calling for, and expected, when he was first elected.
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So the GOP may very well become the classic victims of unintended consequences, because their behavior is going to change the image of Barack Obama and the Democrats in the eyes of many conservative-leaning partisans from "reckless socialists," to that of defenders of the people. As a direct result, it’s very likely that even as the GOP is hemorrhaging support by incurring the wrath of the American people, President Obama and the Democrats will be gaining support - and just in time for the 2016 election. 
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Thus, Democrats shouldn’t be depressed over the results of the 2014 midterm election at all. On the contrary, they should be jumping with glee at this point, because they’re going to be in a great position for the 2016 Presidential election. Whoever is the Democratic nominee is nearly certain to become the next President of the United States, and I hope that ticket includes Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, in whatever order - and I predict that it will.  
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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, January 27, 2015

About Knowledge, Intellect, and Critical Thinking

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

About Knowledge, Intellect, and Critical Thinking

I was just sitting here thinking about my good friend, Playthell Benjamin. While I’m a firm believer in becoming one’s own hero, I really admire this guy, almost to the point of jealousy. I think he’s one of the great, and most under-recognized, writers and historians of our time (if you’re not familiar with him, look him up on Google). The reason I enjoy reading Playthell is because his writings always contain a wealth of information. That’s his brilliance. Regardless to what the subject, he’s a literal reservoir of information, and I’ve undoubtedly become a better writer as a result of reading him. Reading his writings have taught me to scrupulously avoid superficiality, and to look beneath the carpet of my subject matter to drive my points home.
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But we have a fundamental difference in the way we view the White academic establishment. He’s in awe of it (after all, it produced him), while I have a very critical view of contemporary academia, especially with respect to Black intellectual development. That’s one of two subjects that we never miss an opportunity to fight over. The other is the impact of sports on the Black community.
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Like most Black intellectuals, Playthell fully embraces the White academic establishment and considers being anointed by it what it means to be truly educated. I don’t. While I understand, and respect, what the White academic establishment has achieved in the physical sciences, I find it to be hugely flawed in what I consider the "Speculative Arts" - history, philosophy, politics, economics, and such. What it tends to produce is a bunch of establishment-serving clones. While the knowledge is definitely there - and every Black person alive should leave no stone unturned to avail themselves of it - it should be consumed with two boxes of salt, because it tends to be skewed toward promoting the prevailing interest of the establishment.
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Thus, we cannot trust the academic establishment to tell us who’s "brilliant," because the people who it anoints as brilliant are those who tend to embrace the establishment’s mindset. While these people often have opposing views on any group of facts, they all tend to base their thinking on the same philosophical assumptions. For example, the assumption that the White establishment’s water is wetter than everyone else’s.
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For that reason, I firmly believe that Black people should establish their own intellectual traditions, and we should put brutally critical thinking at the very root of that tradition. We should critically scrutinize EVERY fact that we’re exposed to before we accept it as a part of our data base, and any "fact" that doesn’t stand up to logical scrutiny should be unceremoniously discarded, and that's regardless to whether it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside or not. 
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For example, we shouldn’t accept the contention that Dr. Brainchild is a brilliant man simply because he taught at Harvard. We should ALWAYS listen to what Dr. Brainchild has to say, and make the determination on whether he’s brilliant or not for OURSELVES. And we should never assume that if he doesn’t seem to make sense, or if he speaks in convoluted sentences that cause us to forget the subject matter before he gets to a period, that we simply don’t understand him due to our lack of intellect or education. If we fail to do that, we’re allowing the establishment to tell us who to listen to, and that allows us to be played. We should never give anyone else's ability to think priority over our own.  Both the GOP, and Fox News', very existence is based on people's willingness to allow others to think for them, and we're all paying a huge price for it. So if Dr. Brainchild is indeed as brilliant as the establishment claims he is, he should be able to communicate clearly, logically, and on a level that anyone can understand. If he can't, we should immediately write him off as just another academic lip flapper living on dubious credentials - and there are plenty of them out there.
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Black people, and Americans in general, need to understand that knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence are very different things from merely obtaining a degree. Malcolm didn’t even go to college; he got his education in jail, but who do you think was the more profound thinker, Malcolm X, or Cornel West?
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While I’m a great proponent of formal education, we must never forget that knowledge started with individual and independent thought, and only then, were educational institutions established to disseminate that thought. Thus, we don’t get knowledge, wisdom, and intellect from institutions - they get it from us. So we should never assume that because an individual has a "receipt" from Harvard that his thinking is any more profound than our own. After all, George W. Bush has a receipt from Yale.

RELATED MATERIAL
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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, January 24, 2015

FLAWED THINKING - THE PRIMARY PILLARS UPON WHICH WHITE SUPREMACY RESTS

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

FLAWED THINKING - THE PRIMARY PILLARS UPON WHICH WHITE SUPREMACY RESTS


FLAWED THINKING:
1). All dogs have fleas. My cat has fleas. Therefore, my cat is a dog
     1. All dogs don’t have fleas.
     2. Dogs are not the only animal that has fleas.

FLAWED THINKING:
2). Billy is brilliant. Billy went to Harvard. Therefore, Harvard produces brilliance.
     1. Billy may have been brilliant before he went to Harvard.
     2. Willie also went to Harvard and he’s an idiot.
     3. Harvard may seek-out brilliance to make themselves APPEAR to be responsible for Billy’s brilliance.
     4. Congress is filled with Harvard graduates, yet, it is the most dysfunctional institution in America.

FLAWED THINKING:
3). Dick went to Princeton. Dick is highly respected in academia. Therefore, Dick is a brilliant academic.
     1. As shown above, the fact that Dick went to Princeton is meaningless.
     2. The fact that Dick is highly respected must also be taken with a grain of salt, since the people who PROCLAIM Dick’s brilliance have yet to be individually evaluated.

SOLID AND LOGICAL THINKING

1). Larry is a critical thinker. Critical thinkers cannot accept hearsay as evidence. Therefore, Larry MUST make his own assessments regarding truth, knowledge, and wisdom.
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Once you gather the facts, ALWAYS connect the dots for yourself.

We Must Never Confuse Education With Intelligence
 
When we consider all of the problems that we have in the Black community, if anyone asked me what we are in most dire need of to resolve those problems, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second - I’d say education. Education is the key to resolving high unemployment, because it would enable us to create our own jobs; it is the key to reducing crime in the community, because if we educate ourselves properly we’ll become enlightened enough to recognize that simply gathering the most material "things" is not what makes life worthwhile; and finally, with the proper kind of education we’d stop worrying about what other people think of us and start focusing on what we think of ourselves.
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But with that said, it is also important to never confuse education - which I define as the science of efficient and independent thought - with indoctrination, the mere ability to regurgitate the thoughts of others - and it’s our tendency to do just that, that is the source of many of our problems, in not just the Black community, but in society as a whole.
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Our universities and various institutions of higher learning are great when it comes to teaching the science of technology - math, engineering, medicine, and other technical pursuits - but they fall far short of the mark when it comes to educating students in the pure, efficient, and independent ability to think. That’s why we have so many Ph.Ds running around saying things that essentially amount to, "Obama is un-American - he’s engaged in a socialist plot to protect my family." These people are unable to differentiate between the theoretical - their emotional, and thereby, erroneous, association of the word "socialist" with evil - from the practical - society's need to put policies in place that will promote the overall needs of the people, and the nation as a whole.  A given policy may be the perfect solution for one of the nation's biggest problems, for example, but because someone labeled it socialist, many will fight it to the bitter end, because they've been told that the solution constitutes socialism, and socialism is evil - even though, with all of their education, they can't explain what makes it evil.
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Thus, many of the people who we accept as "experts" in what I call the "speculative arts" - psychology, philosophy, sociology, political science, economics, etc. - routinely engage in reckless and unwarranted speculation as though it’s fact. That’s why we can’t assess, predict, or control human behavior with the precision that we can land a spacecraft on the moon. If a physicist, biologist, or medical doctor engaged in the kind of reckless speculation that these people routinely do, they’d be run out of the profession.
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One of the primary reasons that many of these people are so reckless in their thinking is, while it is true that these "highly educated" individuals have spent years in various classrooms, they haven’t been educated in the area of efficient and independent thought. Instead, they’ve spent their entire educational careers being indoctrinated into embracing the beliefs of long-dead White men. Now, that isn’t to say that the thoughts of the thinkers of the past shouldn’t be reviewed, but their thoughts shouldn’t be idolized and considered superior to our own, which is generally the case. As a result, many of our so-called intellectuals come out the other end of our most prestigious universities not as powerful independent thinkers, but as celebrated, but shallow-minded, regurgitators of other people’s thoughts.
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A perfect example of how our educational system is failing society in its responsibility to prepare the leaders in our society to think can be seen in the case of Rep. Michelle Bachmann. In 1988 Ms. Bachmann received an LL.M in tax law from the William and Mary School of Law, and she worked as a tax attorney prior to entering congress. Now, I don’t know what kind of tax lawyer she was, but I’m confident that most of the people reading this document will agree that a deep and independent thinker this lady is not. The very same is true of not just many, but the majority of people that we accept as "educated" based on their resume and credentials alone. If that were not the case, with all of the Ph.Ds being conferred across this country every year, one would think we'd live in a much more enlightened society.  George W. Bush is a product of Yale. Granted, he's not a Ph.D, but still . . .
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My point is this - the primary way that the establishment manages to control and bamboozle the people is by trotting out selected people that they want us to listen to, and then offering up their resume and credentials as justification for why we should hang on to their every word. And since most of us have been conditioned to be in awe of the reputations of the various prestigious institutions of higher learning - Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. - the establishment can simply attach the name of one of these institutions to the person they're promoting, and more often than not, we’ll simply suspend all reason and critical thought and blindly accept whatever the person says as gospel. And in many cases, even when our common sense says, "Hey, what he just said doesn’t make sense," we’ll often simply chalk it up to our not being "educated enough" to grasp the nuances of his or her reasoning. That’s exactly how we get played, and we often pay these people ridiculous speaking fees for the privilege of being played.
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You can go into many courtrooms across this country and routinely witness two so-called experts taking completely opposite points of view on almost any subject, because they're saying what they're being paid to say. That's a flaw of human nature. So if you want to be enlightened, never blindly accept other people's points of view. Take the time to do the research and connect the dots for yourself.
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We should never give anyone else’s ability to think priority over our own. Simply because a person has more degrees than you do, that doesn’t mean that he or she is more intelligent than you are. If we take a brain surgeon with an IQ of 120, and a high school dropout with an IQ of 140, while the brain surgeon may have more knowledge at his immediate disposal than the high school dropout, he’ll never be as smart. Thus, in a situation where all things are equal, the high school dropout will be able to connect the dots much more efficiently than the brain surgeon every time. Dr. Ben Carson is an excellent example of that. The guy is a celebrated brain surgeon, but I know many high school dropouts who could pick his political ideas apart on one brain cell. He's obviously been taught WHAT to think, not HOW to think.
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So while we should always attempt to enhance our education, if circumstances prevent us from attending an institution of higher learning, we should always remember this - knowledge is free, and there’s just as much knowledge on Google, or at the corner library, as there is at Harvard University. So we should dedicate our lives to obtaining that knowledge, because once we have it, it doesn’t matter where it came from. In fact, while Harvard can expose you to knowledge, it cannot educate you. Education is a solitary pursuit, so the only one who can truly educate you, is yourself.
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Thus, whenever you begin to feel self-conscious over your lack of formal education, you should remember that Socrates - the father of modern thought - was a hood rat.  Look it up, and begin to educate yourself.
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THE EULIPIANS
Some of the greatest minds I've ever known
held court while sitting on empty milk crates
in the parking lots of ghetto liquor stores.
At their feet I embraced the love of knowledge,
and through their tutelage learned to

defined self-worth in my own terms.
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These are the "Eulipians"—
writers, poets, musicians, painters,
and uncommon drunks—
those shade-tree philosophers who
contemplate the fungus between the
toes of society;
Who dance with reckless abandon,
unfettered by formal inhibition,
or the presumptuous
speculation of the ages;
Who live in county jails, cardboard boxes,
alley ways, and luxury Apartments;
Whose very existence exposes the scam
of Great Bruteland.
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While these obscure intellectuals
stood well outside the mainstream
of academy, I’ve watched
with astonished delight as
they sang, scat, and scribed their
philosophy into the mainstream
of human knowledge;
As they rammed forth the proposition
that knowledge is free 

thus, transcends the collusion
of caste and privilege.
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Bird, Malcolm, Langston, and Trane –
They all sang but one song,
a song dedicated to the proposition
that man’s innate thirst for knowledge
will someday overwhelm his passionate
lust for stupidity.
 
    
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BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD BE CRITICAL THINKERS, AND MAKE THEIR OWN ASSESSMENTS ON TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE, AND WISDOM.
TAKING THE WORD OF OTHERS ON WHAT CONSTITUTES GOOD, GREATNESS, WISDOM, OR TRUTH, ARE THE PRIMARY PILLARS UPON WHICH WHITE SUPREMACY RESTS.
KNOWLEDGE IS FREE, AND OUR WATER IS JUST AS WET AS THEIR’S.
BRILLIANCE IS EQUALLY DISTRIBUTED AMONG ALL HUMANITY.

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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, January 21, 2015

The Beneficial Yet Harmful Impact of Sports On The Black Community

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

The Beneficial Yet Harmful Impact of Sports On The Black Community
 
I’ve been debating the pros and cons of the impact of sports on the Black community with my good friend, historian, and political commentator, Playthell Benjamin for several years now. Playthell is a huge sports fan and is of the belief that sports have been invaluable in their impact on helping to move the Black community forward. I, on the other hand, see sports as a two-sided coin. While sports have undoubtedly been of great value in helping many young Black people to build character, obtain an education, and financially prosper, in terms of the overall Black community these people represent a limited few. For the greater part of the Black community, however, the lure of sports often serves as a distraction that prevents many from investing in their intellectual development and pursuing more realistic goals.
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I view sports much like I do morphine. In small doses it can be of great medicinal value against pain, but if you overdo it, it can destroy your life, and it seems to me that many in the Black community are about to overdose from substance abuse as a result of its affects, both literally, and figuratively.
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So I’m not against sports, per se, but I do think that sports should be kept in perspective. It’s perfectly natural for kids to want to indulge in games, but while they are indulging in these games it’s very important that the adults in their lives constantly remind them that sports represent the "Toy Department" of life, and that there are many other things in life that are much more important. But due to our mass societal fixation on sports, and the virtual "worship" of sports figures, they’re rarely getting this instruction. As a direct result, we’ve become a society of easily manipulated, undereducated, and totally distracted sports junkies. 
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Many in this country can tell you the starting lineup and various statistics of every football team in the country, but they can’t tell you who their congressperson is, how they voted, or what they voted on. That’s not good, and it’s having a negative impact on not only the Black community, but the nation as a whole.
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What many people fail to realize is how profoundly their thinking can be shaped by social manipulators through the use of sports and other forms of public "entertainment." The passion engendered through sports allows social manipulators to circumvent an individual’s cerebral cortex, or intellect, and exploit a direct line to the fan’s brain stem, or the most animalistic and condition-receptive part of their brain. That allows manipulators to condition an individual’s thinking and attitudes without the individual even recognizing it.
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Thus, it’s no accident that some of the most rabid sports fans are found in the most bigoted parts of this country, and neither is it an accident that Black people were discriminated against in sports until quite recently, and they still haven't been fully accepted. It's only been a relatively short time since Black players were accepted as having the intellectual agility to be a quarterback. There was a huge controversy over the issue, as though it takes an intellectual giant to throw a ball. The actual problem was ignorant, backward, and "tribal-like" thinking (when Rush Limbaugh entered the controversy that said it all). Black people were - and still are, in many cases - considered a part of the "wrong team," or tribe. 
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You see, sports appeal to, stimulate, and feed upon the very worst characteristics in human nature, or what’s referred to as the "Seven Deadly Sins" - wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. "Each is a form of Idolatry-of-Self wherein the subjective reigns over the objective." The very point of sports is to prove that "I’m better than you." Sports also promotes the "Us against them" mentality that’s at the very root of every form of bigotry - racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc.
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Sports are based completely on man’s need to be competitive, and competition has been so deeply ingrained in our societal psyche that many Americans can’t even imagine life without it. Yet, man’s animalistic need to be competitive is the most thoughtlessly malevolent characteristic in man. It’s not a part of man’s higher intellectual development. The need to be competitive is an animalistic brain STEM behavior that’s a throwback to our instinct to be territorial as apes before we gained the capacity for higher intellectual cognition. Thus, it’s not based on anything constructive. It’s based purely on greed, self-centered idolatry, and swag, and it’s serving to kill us off as a species. It’s directly responsible for ALL of the wars in the history of humanity, crime, bigotry, bligotry (Black-on-Black bigotry), and even global warming. In short, it’s complete insanity.
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But most Americans have blindly accepted the proposition that it’s our "competitive spirit" that makes this nation great. But what evidence do we have of that? How do we know that we wouldn’t have been even greater if we’d embraced a philosophy of enlightenment and the pursuit of excellence with the same amount of zeal as we’ve pursued the need to say, "I’m better than you?"  And why must our national motive be to be "the greatest nation on Earth?" We'd UNDOUBTEDLY be much greater if we’d resolved to compete against who we WERE to become the greatest nation that we can BE. How many minds do we have locked up in the nation’s prison systems who may have the unique intellect to solve the world’s problems? Is it possible that due to this nation’s "us against them" mentality that they might have lynched the very person who might have found a cure for cancer?  
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So personally, I believe that our overzealous need to be competitive is both childish, dysfunctional, and less than efficient in moving the nation, or humanity, forward. It would be interesting to see the results of an experiment where they took two footballs teams and trained one in the traditional way, and trained each member of the other team to focus on nothing but improving on their last best effort. They should be trained to forget all about "beating" the opposing team, and simply focus on beating their last best effort. If a given player’s last best effort was gaining 30 yards, he should be exclusively focused on gaining 31 yards in the current game. I'm virtually certain that the latter team would prevail if all other things are equal.
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Now, if you’re a lifelong sports fan, you’re probably reading this and saying, "That’s ridiculous." But it’s not surprising that you feel that way, because your conditioning is so ingrained, and so deeply seated at this point that you can’t even recognize the dysfunction in something that you've embraced and loved all of your life. It's like a religion, or someone raised to believe in Voodoo - sticking pins in dolls seems like a perfectly natural way of life to them. So let me give you an example of how the system works, and how you're being manipulated.
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When a fan goes to a football game, what a fan THINKS he sees are two teams on a football field with the coaches and their staff on the sideline. But what the fan’s subconscious and emotions see are two armies on the battlefield preparing to go into combat, with two generals on the sidelines. And that’s not by accident, because the spectacle is DESIGNED to psychologically condition every male in the stadium to be willing to go into combat and sacrifice his life in a blaze of illustrious glory for "The Gipper" - or The Standard Oil Company. The very same is true of the "All-American" pastime of baseball and other sports.
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Social manipulators also use sports to condition unsuspecting Americans to believe that thinking is for whimps - and this has a particularly negative impact on the Black community. Have you ever noticed how they portray college football "heroes" in the movies? They always show them standing next to their shiny new pimped-out cars, wearing their letterman’s "uniform," and with adoring girls hanging all over ‘em. Then they’ll invariably contrast them with their portrayal of the "intellectual whimp" - or the guy who’s ultimately going to end up the school’s valedictorian - as a nerd. Again, they invariably portray the school’s intellectual as a small little guy wearing oversized horn-rimmed glasses, walking all bent over with a arm full of books, and with his sweater buttoned improperly, or Steve Urkel. That sends an unmistakable message to young boys - thinking’s not cool; if you want to get the women and the best things in life, you should aspire to be a dumb and clueless gladiator who’s willing to give your all on command. That serves two purposes - first, it keeps America clueless and ignorant; and secondly, it keeps the military recruiter’s office full.
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In contrast, look at these young people at George Mason University come together to combine their personal growth, skill and knowledge - a knowledge that they'll possess and be able to call upon for the rest of their lives - to produce excellence.  Then once you've seen it, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions: Who do you think is getting the most funding, this fine band, or the football team? Who do you think is making the big bucks, this obviously talented music professor, or the football coach? And finally, who do you think is contributing more to the intellectual development of the students, the professor, or the coach? Those are questions that our entire society should be pondering.
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Ironically, the tune that the band is playing is called  "Rage Against The Machine."
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Thus, sports are DESIGNED to appeal to the emotions and a man’s most basic, animalistic, and infantile need - the need to be macho, and the need to prove it by showing that he’s better than other men. That’s fine when you’re a kid, because a kid needs to test his or her resolve, and to learn what it’s like to hone new skills, face challenges, and overcome disappointment. So there’s nothing wrong with sports for a kid, as long as they’re being instructed against allowing themselves to be brainwashed, and they are taught that participating in sports is just a MEANS to an end, and not an end in itself. They should also be helped to understand that participating in sports is not about "beating" the other guy; it’s about testing their own limits.  It's merely a dress rehearsal to prepare them to face the REAL challenges of manhood, like raising a family.

Thus, young Black people need to be taught very early in life that the only mature and constructive form of competition is to compete against the person they were the day before. If they learn that lesson well, they’ll spend their lives investing in THEMSELVES, and becoming their own heroes, instead of wasting their lives trying to live vicariously through the meaningless exploits of some guy on a football field.  If that's what a person's life is about, by definition, they don't have one.
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But I agree with my good friend, Playthell, in one sense - sports can be a very valuable asset to the Black community, but only if we teach Black youth to keep that "one for the Gipper" nonsense in perspective. If we manage to do that, sports can provide the Black community with a great opportunity. We are currently living in a political environment where powerful interests have a vested interest in dumming-down the American people, and one of the Black community’s most valid complaints is that Black people are not afforded the opportunity to "play on a level playing field." Thus, if while the powers that be are hard at work dumming-down the rest of America - and they're using sports among other things to do exactly that - if Black people begin to focus on education, intellectual development, and the power of knowledge, the impact of sports on the rest of America can help us to level the playing field to our advantage.
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So the point is, we can’t out-scream the system, because it controls the media, and we can’t out-fight the system, because it controls the military, but we can out-think the system, and that’s exactly what we should focus on doing, not playing frivolous games in the mere pursuit of some kind of meaningless personal "glory(?)." So yes, we should take advantage of the opportunities that sports represent, but while doing so, we should never lose sight of what they actually are - GAMES.  So in this case, instead of keeping our eye on the "ball," we should make it a point to keep our eye on the big picture.
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Related Material
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"When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What's going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians' brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout."
 

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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.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, January 19, 2015

America Is Suffering Because We've Turned Our Political 'Employees' Into Aristocrats

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

America Is Suffering Because We’ve Turned Our Political ‘Employees’ Into Aristocrats
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I often hear people complaining about how our system has broken down. As a solution they generally propose that we put term limits into place, and/or institute government-financed elections. I’m all for the latter, but I’m totally against term limits because it takes away the citizens’ right to return people to office who represent them well. I’m against any measure that takes away a citizen’s ‘right to choose.’
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But the assertion that the system has broken down begs the question. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the system as it is. WE are the problem, not the system. We are negligently apathetic. Those of us who even bother to vote and keep ourselves informed about what’s going on around us assume that we can simply vote for the politicians we like then go on about our business and allow the politicians to run the country, but that’s not it’s supposed to work.
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The United States is a huge corporation, we’re the Board of Directors, and politicians are our EMPLOYEES, not our leaders - we’re THEIR leaders, and we’re doing an absolutely horrible job of leading. So again, the system is not the problem, we're simply an incompetent board of directors.
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Instead of staying on top of the day-to-day activities of our corporation as any competent board of directors would do, we’re choosing to remain at home watching BET, MTV, ESPN, and allowing our employees a free hand to run our valuable corporation as they see fit, and as a direct result of our gross negligence, our employees are doing what unsupervised employees are prone to do - taking advantage of the situation by giving themselves undeserved raises and perks, doing favors for family, friends, and favored associates, and generally squandering the corporation's assets.
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So we need to get a handle on this, and we can do just that very easily - and without changing one law. All we have to do is decide that enough is enough, and start firing employees. Corporation's don’t control this government, we do. But the problem is, we’re allowing corporations to control us by using their wealth to influence our thinking. That’s the one and only thing that gives money clout in our political system, it’s being used to influence our thinking. So we’re right back to square one - we’re being manipulated because we’re refusing to educate ourselves and we’re ALLOWING ourselves to be. We are, LITERALLY, allowing snake oil salesmen to come into our homes and convince us that we’re un-American if we don’t buy their snake oil.
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We’ve allowed the Supreme Court to tell us that a non-citizen head of a foreign corporation has as much of a right to the freedom of speech in OUR political system as an American citizen, and we're merely accepting that - and virtually, without even a whimper. That is patently a corrupt and ridiculous ruling. So of course the system is breaking down, because we, as the nation's  board of directors, are being stupidly incompetent and unassertive.
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Again, even if we were talking about exclusively American corporations, that ruling is corrupt and ridiculous, and we need to be taking aggressive action against it. Because the fact is, the only reason a corporation is a corporation in the first place is so its members can avoid personal responsibility, and liability, for its missteps. So the members of the corporation can’t have it both ways. If a corporation is a person, then EVERY person that is a part of that corporation should be held PERSONALLY responsible if it pollutes half the Eastern seaboard due to an oil spill, or causes an earthquake due to fracking, or causes devastating hurricanes due to heating up our environment. And another thing that makes the ruling ridiculous is EVERY member of a given corporation ALREADY has the freedom of speech as individuals, so by also allowing them to assert their will, or speak, as a corporation, is by definition, giving them more rights than the average American citizen. While we may shout, this conservative Supreme Court has given corporations, including foreign corporations, a megaphone.

So what can we do to turn this situation around?

In order to turn this situation around, we must, first, educate ourselves and change our mindset. We must make pouring tons of money into a political campaign a liability rather than an asset in our political process. If we see that any politician or political initiative is being backed by a huge political war chest of funds, we should simply assume that the politician is in the pocket of some corporation or entity that’s not working in the best interest of the people, and the same is true of any political initiative.
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If the people would simply tune-in to the fact that corporations are trying to buy the government, then vote any politician out of office who supported them, and thereafter, exact a pound of flesh from the corporations in the next congress for even attempting to manipulate the system, we wouldn’t have to change one law - even Citizens United. That is the way this system is supposed to work, and that would make money meaningless in politics. Thus, we should seek out our political information through research and grassroots sources, because ultimately, education is the key to resolving all of our problems - at least, the systemic ones.
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Secondly, we must bring the political perks and salaries of politicians back into line with the median income of the American middle class. As I continually point out, America is currently knee-deep in a class war. A study done by Princeton University declares that America is no longer a democracy; it is now an oligarchy, completely controlled by the wealthy, and easily researched facts bear that out. The top 5% of the people in this country control 82% of the wealth, while the bottom 80% of Americans only control 7% of the wealth. Once that percentage dwindles down to 5%, and then 2%, we’ll be virtual slaves. As I’ve mentioned before, the only difference between the condition we’re going to find ourselves in and actual slavery is we’ll have to provide our own housing.
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Yet, we’re paying the people who "represent" us such huge salaries and perks that we’ve elevated them into the class that seeks to enslave us. We’ve got to correct that situation, because our so-call representatives are doing so much better than we are that even if they wanted to, they can no longer identify with us, and many of them no longer even try. So we need to place a ceiling on their salaries and perks not to exceed the median range of the American middle class, and also attach them to a given percentage above the minimum wage.
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And finally, we need to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in order to curb the flood of demagoguery and disinformation that’s completely overwhelming truth in our political system.
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The Fairness Doctrine provided that if any television or radio station in America broadcasted a purely partisan perspective on a public issue, they had to provide equal time to the opposing point of view. The doctrine’s purpose was first, to keep the American people informed, and secondly, to prevent the demagoguery that we see today on Fox News, and it served its purpose well. It provided endless public debate on every public issue, and that, in turn, served to keep the nation informed of every side of every issue. In addition, a person like Rush Limbaugh couldn’t have existed under the Fairness Doctrine, at least, not without having a liberal sitting right next to him who could challenge every lie he told. But some stations found that too combative, so they simply gave a liberal a show with equal time that immediately followed shows like Rush Limbaugh's.
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Some suggest that the Freedom of Information Act abridges a network's right to freedom of speech, but I contend that no network should have the right to corrupt the system with lies.  That's akin to shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater - or worse, because we're not simply talking about bringing possible harm to a room full of people, we're talking about bringing DEMONSTRATED harm to an entire nation.
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But conservatives found that when the people were informed of the facts, the conservative point of view always fell short. That’s why it became so important to them to abolish the doctrine, so they could spew their lies and propaganda with impunity - and that’s exactly what came to pass. Immediately after Ronald Reagan abolished the doctrine, conservative-leaning corporations began to buy up most of the media outlets across the country, effectively shutting out the liberal perspective from the American people. That monopoly, and the ability to corrupt public discourse, must be brought to an end.
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So the only thing left to discuss at this point is how are we going to get politicians to conform to our wishes. That one’s easy - we vote ‘em out of office if they don’t.
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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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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Religious Hatred and Bigotry: Would A Loving God Do This To Us?

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

Religious Hatred and Bigotry: Would A Loving God Do This To Us?
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In God We Trust.  REALLY!!!?
Many people who profess to be “of faith” are involved in religion for the wrong reasons. They're not about love; they're about hating everybody who don't think exactly like they do. They use religion to justify their bigotry, as a "God-approved" reason to hate everybody who's not on "their team," or who is different from themselves.
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In fact, religion FUELS every other form of bigotry there is. If you look at ANY form of bigotry, you’ll find religion at its root. As we saw in Paris, France, ORGANIZED religion is the most prolific instigator of hatred in the world. Just think about the irony of a military Chaplain - “Dear Lord, please help us to kill more of them than they do of us. Amen.”
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Would God bestow such a malevolent force of hatred upon man.  I don't think so. When God created human beings, we weren't created to require either a "User's Guide," soothsayers, or other "anointed" men to tell us how to conduct our lives. We were given individual intellect and a conscience to help us navigate our way through life.  As I've pointed out many times before, when my neighbor is at work and his beautiful young wife comes out in the yard and flashes her beautiful smile in my direction, I don't need a book or a preacher to tell me what's appropriate conduct and what's not. The minute my mind goes astray I can hear God's voice - "Now, Eric, you know what you're thinking is not right, so just wave, go in the house, and take a cold shower." And in response, I do just that - problem solved.
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And if you look at nature, even a dog will look over his shoulder before he steals a chicken wing off a table. So even he has a sense of right and wrong. In addition, Whales and other aquatic animals have an innate sense of when to migrate to other waters and where to go to spawn. And migratory birds don't need a calendar and compass to know when to fly South, and in which direction it lies. It was built into their DNA. The same is true of man.
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Man was created with an innate sense of spirituality, and a knowledge of how he should live his life. The problem is, man is in transition. We were created to grow into much more enlightened beings, but at this point in our development the animalistic emotions triggered by our still very active brain stem are in direct conflict with our higher cognitive sense of self and the world around us. As a result, instead of using our growing cognition to seek enlightenment, many of us direct our intellectual energy toward satisfying our more basic, and animalistic needs, or the seven deadly sins - Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony.
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That's where organized religion comes in. It reflects man's attempt to control the minds of other men in order to more efficiently pursue his baser needs. They promote wrath among their fellow men through the use of creed in order to promote their greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. And while I don't intend to become blatantly political here, I'd be remiss by not pointing out that every one of those "deadly sins" are uniquely characterized by the Religious Right and the GOP - especially wrath, greed, and gluttony.
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But of course, not all people of faith are bad. I know wonderful people of many faiths, but they're generally the ones who are more spiritual than dogmatic. But many of these Bible-thumpin’, Amen-Corner kind of people better HOPE that Hell’s a myth, however, because if it’s real, God’s going to be dumpin’ them in there by the church-loads.
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If God intended to hand down religion to guide us, wouldn't he have sense enough to just create ONE religion so his word would be clear and we wouldn't have anything to fight over? Religious organizations were organized by man for the expressed purpose of saying, "We’re Godly, and we’re God’s chosen people. Everyone who's different from us and who don’t adhere to our creed are heathens. They're not of God. They're evil, so we have God's permission to destroy them." It's that attitude that is the source of the world’s hatred and animosity.
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A loving God wouldn't put anything that caused that kind of hatred and division on Earth. It would contradict his purpose, and God's not stupid. He'd know that creating more than one religion would be in direct opposition to the Biblical prescription to "Love thy neighbor." Just imagine what the world would be like if there was no such thing as Christians, Muslims, or Jews, and if all the people of faith in the world were simply spiritual and embraced the wonder of creation. The world would be a much better place, because it would simply be broken down into good people as oppose to bad people, and there would be no creeds for the demagogues to use to divide us. Now, THAT, would be the work of God.   
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So if Americans truly believed in the Bible, they would demonstrate that fact by reading and adhering to ALL of the Bible, and not just those parts that they find convenient. But it's clear that just about every church in America has missed the part below. If they followed the scripture below, there'd be no screaming and begging preachers, and there'd be no Bible-thumping  hypocrites - in fact, there wouldn't be a such thing as ORGANIZED religion, because everybody would simply be spiritual. But don't take my word for it. After all, as many preachers would no doubt say, I could be "working for the Devil."  But here's what the Bible says, in clear, and unequivocal prose:
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“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. When you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward . . ."
Matthew 6:1-34
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Is that clear enough?  So who are you going to believe, your silver-tongued, big car driving pastor, or the Bible?
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God, Creation, And Man
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So does God even exist? Yes, and I can prove it. God is whatever force is responsible for what we define as reality. So if reality exists, God must exists. That definition changes the discussion of whether or not God exists, to one of defining the nature of his existence (I'm simply using "his" as a convenient chauvinistic pronoun to avoid having to struggle with the question of whether God is a male, female, or simply an it). But I don’t believe that God is directly interacting with man, or anything else in the universe that he created. For me, God, Nature, and the Universe are one and the same, so everything in the universe, including man, is a part of God, and we can only know his will by his nature, and what he has done.
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What Does This Have To Do With God?
Thus, what "people of faith" call "faith," is not a faith in God at all, it's a faith in what another man has TOLD them about God, so it's actually a faith in man. What most people have "faith" in is merely a parochial accident of birth. The very same person who has "faith" in Christianity in Georgia, would have "faith" in Islam if he'd been born in Iran, or "faith" in Judaism if he'd been born in Israel. In short, we have "faith" in what we were taught, not God.  God is simply what we use to JUSTIFY our "faith."
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God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to THINK, not to have "faith" in the contrived delusions of other self-serving and/or superstitious men. Every other species on Earth has sense enough to adhere to their nature but man, and if you'll notice, man is also one of the few species who can't live in harmony within his environment. In fact, our idiocy threatens to destroy ALL life on this planet.
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Man is on a huge ego trip. There are over 200 billion stars in just this speck of a galaxy, and even though it is a speck in terms of the universe, you'd have to travel 186,000 miles every second for four and a half YEARS just to get to the next closest star in our galaxy - and again, there are over 200 billion of them, and there are hundreds of billions of other galaxies just like ours in the universe. So believe me - God is not as fixated on man as man would like to believe. In cosmic terms of significance, man is not even one thousandth as significant as one grain of sand on all of the beaches on Earth and beneath the sea.
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Thus, it is only man’s arrogance and tremendous ego that makes him think that God is more concerned about him than he is anything else he created in the universe? Consider this - did he send his "Only begotten flea" to save all the fleas in the world? If not, why not? What makes man think he’s more important than anything else that God created?
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Another thing that betrays man's gross arrogance is our belief that we’re so important that God is going to jump through hoops to gain our favor. God’s not stupid. He's no more going to do magic tricks and jump through hoops to get man to worship him than any man would tap dance and do headstands to get the germs under his toilet seat to worship him. Yet, countless men, women, and children are dying every year in the ridiculous conviction by many that they’re acting on God’s behalf.
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When I was a young kid, I would be walking into trees because I had my eyes closed praying that God wouldn't condemn me to Hell for the common sense - that he gave me - that kept popping up in my head. As much as I wanted to be "a child of God," I just couldn't get myself to believe in talkin' snakes - and I wasn't a big enough hypocrite to try to lie to him about it. So I had a problem. My religious training had me CONVINCED that I was doomed to go to Hell because I couldn't bring myself to believe in that nonsense. But at about the age of ten I said a simple prayer that freed me of that burden: "Lord, Please give me the wisdom to know the truth, and give me the strength and determination to carry it through."  It was a childish prayer, and not very eloquent, but it did the trick. That was one prayer that God definitely answered, because when I opened my eyes, I was free of preachers. It freed me to think for myself, and while you'll never see me in church, I still say that prayer every night . . . if I haven't drank too much gin.  So yeah, I'm flawed, but I'm sure God knows my heart is in the right place, and that's what counts. 
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And finally, before you write me off as an agent of the Devil, you should ask yourself the following - when was the last time that Satan sent a message to mankind to stop killing each other?  And if God indeed "works in mysterious ways," how do you know it wasn't God's will for you to read this message?  And the basic message is short and sweet - we need to wake up, rein in our egos, and come to terms with our gross stupidity regarding God.
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Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
John 8:32
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Related Material 

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Eric L. Wattree
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, January 06, 2015

Why Conservatives Hate Barack Obama So Intensely (Reprise)

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

Why Conservatives Hate Barack Obama So Intensely (Reprise)
 
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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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History is clear. Conservative Republicans don't mind spending money, they just don't want to spend it on those who need it - us. Remember, they're the party of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of fiscal conservatism who believed that only those who owned property should even be allowed to vote - and based on the voter obstruction laws currently being passed in Republican controlled states, they're heading in that direction again. Hamilton said the following:
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"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people.... The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government." Debates of the Federalist Convention (May 14-September 17, 1787).
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Hamilton's views were rejected by the founding fathers, mainly because many of them left Europe to escape the class system. But those who hold Hamilton's view are still among us. They simply have to remain discreet, and they must contrive various pretexts to camouflage their agenda in order to remain politically viable. But the agenda is clearly visible for anyone who takes the time to look. It's simply being disguised and hidden within the fabric of purposely instigated racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of hatred and bigotry. The GOP specializes in using emotion to circumvent clear thinking.
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While they have the poor and middle class distracted by hating and fighting one another, the GOP/Corporate alliance is steeped in the process of undermining us all. Clear evidence of that is any and all legislation that benefits poor and middle class Americans is labeled "socialist," and the GOP fights it tooth-and-nail as "un-American." But they had absolutely no problem in bailing out Wall Street, even though the source of Wall Street's repeated problems result from their repeated attempts to swindle the American people. But Americans have been conditioned to believe that protecting ourselves is "un-American"; the American way of doing things is handing our wealth over to the rich. The scam is clear for anyone to see, but again, the American people have been conditioned to blame one another.
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The Republican Record of Economic Irresponsibility
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During the George W. Bush administration wasn't the first time that the American people had to bailout Wall Street as a result of Reckless Republican policies. As I pointed in my article, "The GOP: A One Hundred Year Record of Swindling The American People,"  due to the continued freewheeling fiscal policies of conservative Republicans, between 1986 and 1989, spanning the presidencies of Reagan and Bush Sr., the FSLIC had to pay off all the depositors of 296 institutions with assets of over $125 billion.
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The GOP's passion to further enrich the wealthy at the expense of the middle and lower classes seems to know no bounds and transcend all logic. From the moment the New Deal safety net to protect the American people went into place, conservatives have been determined to dismantle it. There are two reasons for that. The first is, it sets money aside for the American people that they'd like to get their hands on. The second is, it insulates the American people from being so vulnerable to corporate manipulation. We'll discuss how that works below.
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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. What actually took place, however, was even more like the Coolidge era than planned.
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Instead of taking the money and investing it into creating new jobs, the money was used in wild schemes and stock market speculation. One of these schemes, the leveraged buy-out, involved buying up large companies with borrowed funds secured by the company's assets, then paying off the loan by selling off the assets of the purchased company. This practice cost the citizens of this country its industrial base. In addition, the bottom fell out of the stock market. On Monday, October 19, 1987 the Dow-Jones Average fell 508.32 points. It was the greatest one-day decline since 1914 - 15 years before the Great Depression.
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 And what about Ronald Reagan's promise to balance the budget and lower the deficit? By the time he left office he was not only the most prolific spender of any president, but he also added more to the deficit than all of the other presidents from George Washington to his own administration combined. And what does 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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Now that they've lost the 2012 election, their agenda has shifted to making sure that President Obama is not successful, because if he is, and you combine that with the rapidly changing demographic and Hillary Clinton's popularity, that could spell doom for the future of the GOP - and it should, because they're grossly out of touch with reality, and, America's best interest. They're out to create a corporate feudalist society. The government shutdown alone, clearly demonstrates that they have absolutely no respect for democracy.
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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. Here's the philosophy behind it and how it works:
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I pointed out the following in a previous article:

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In 1929 during Republican, Herbert Hoover’s administration, the stock market crashed - much like under the Bush Administration - starting the Great Depression, but back then there was no Barack Obama to come to the rescue or mitigate the damage early on. So in spite of the fact that by 1933 the unemployment rate was at 33.3% with 16 million people out of work, the Republican, Herbert Hoover, just sat, thinking that the economy would eventually rejuvenate itself. Much like Republicans of today, Hoover and his Republican Party had absolutely no compassion for either the plight of the American people, or America’s veterans who had put their lives on the line for this country.
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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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The conditions were horrific. 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 three generations of a family could be living in one household - and in many cases, the parents of both the husband, and the wife lived with the family.
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In addition, there was no such thing as Medicare or Medicaid, so when one of 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, and no paid vacation. 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 minds 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 use 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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Think about it - while the GOP comes up with various pretexts to explain their actions, they are oppose to the minimum wage, they would cut unemployment insurance, "modify" Social Security, they’re against Affordable healthcare, they’re leaving no stone unturned to abolish unions, they’re blocking every jobs bill that comes before them, and in spite of record corporate profits, their corporate cronies are sending jobs out of the country and keeping unemployment high until the American middle class caves in and accept a lower standard of living.
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IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO MERELY SALUTE OUR HEROES
Keeping unemployment high also serves another purpose - it provides an endless supply of young American men and women to use as canon fodder for neocon military adventurism. But what else do you expect them to do? We certainly can’t expect them to send their children over there to die for the country. Dying for your country is no longer for the "rich and wellborn," that’s for the "little people." Then, IF your children come back home maimed and broken from their service to the country, the GOP has absolutely no compassion for them. Just like with Herbert Hoover, they call them deadbeats and a burden on the nation for having to beg for food stamps, and then throw them off the premises. And that’s in spite of the fact that most of the GOP ran - like Dick ‘five-deferment’ Cheney - when they were called upon to serve the nation. The GOP only love our troops as long as they can carry a weapon.
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I WOULD START THE SEARCH IN DICK CHENEY'S
OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
The GOP/corporatist agenda also explains why they were so determined to send innocent American children to die in a senseless Iraqi war. The poor and middle class safety net put in place by the New Deal enjoys so much support among the American people that the GOP couldn't attack it head on. So they took us into Iraq to enrich their cronies and passed a tax cut for the rich that squandered trillions of dollars and ravaged our national treasury. That gave them a pretext to now claim, "We can no longer afford to fund the nation's safety net." But they could afford to build an embassy in Iraq that was so extravagant that it rivals the Vatican (U.S. Embassy Building will Rival the Vatican). And they could also afford to send so much unaccounted for CASH to Iraq that they could "MISPLACE" 6.6 BILLION dollars without a whimper from those who now want to count every penny that we spend on the poor and middle class.
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So we're being played America, and if we don't put our petty hatreds and prejudices aside and come together to fight this "Domestic Enemy" of the United States, the Tea party, the Klan, the Black Guerrilla Army, and the Mexican Mafia are going to find themselves shoulder-to-shoulder picking virtual cotton on the very same plantation, singing, "We Shall Overcome."

 
A Letter to Bush and Cheney From a Dying Vet
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OLD MARINES NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY
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So how do we fight against their control of our political system?
Vote against ANY politician whose money isn’t coming directly from the people. And ALWAYS vote against the issues and politicians whose campaigns are flooded with money.
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LEARN THE ISSUES, ALWAYS VOTE FOR JUSTICE, AND NEVER, VOTE YOUR HATRED, OR IN RESPONSE TO MONEY. 
FOR THE JUSTICE THAT YOU VOTE AGAINST, WILL INVARIABLY, BECOME YOUR OWN. 
 



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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