Tuesday, December 11, 2018

ABOUT GOD, RELIGION, AND INTELLECT

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

ABOUT GOD, RELIGION, AND INTELLECT
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I'm a freethinker, but logic causes me to lean toward believing in a supreme force. For me, whatever force is responsible for existence and the creation of the universe is God. Something caused the universe to come into existence, and whatever that something was, I call it God. So for me, God is whatever force, entity, or process that’s responsible for what we refer to as existence, regardless of whether God is a he, she, it, or the universe itself. That’s all we know, and it’s all we need to know - and any preacher who claims to know anything more is lying. 
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But I don't think God is sitting around watching everything we do to decide whether to punish us or not. The concept of God being preoccupied with us is only a reflection of man's arrogance and exaggerated sense of self-importance. The concept of God sitting around preoccupied with trying to get man to worship him is the equivalent of man spending all of his time trying earn the respect of the germs under his toilet seat. That would be stupid, and I doubt very seriously that God is stupid.
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thus, neither do I believe in Heaven or Hell - that’s just a concept created by man to get you to dig deeper in your pocket when he passes the collection plate. The entire concept just reeks of man’s tendency to threaten and/or bribe other men into subservience. If God was indeed watching and evaluating us, he would have hit the delete button long ago.
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We can only know God’s will by what he has done, and as I’ve said many times before, he made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. He anticipated our needs when we were created, so he gave us the intellect to answer our own prayers and to live the kind of life that would create our Heaven right here on Earth, if used properly. If used improperly, we also create our own Hell, which we seem to be doing as I speak. So God doesn’t require a Pat Robertson or T.D. Jakes as his Special Envoy and Chief of Staff, nor do we need the Bible as a user’s guide to dictate how we should live our lives any more than fish need a swimming coach or birds need a compass to know which way is South or a calendar to know when to head in that direction. So as far as I'm concerned what we call "The Scriptures" are simply the superstitious rantings of 3000-year-old dead men. These men didn't know any more than we do - in fact, if they truly believed in talking snakes, they knew a lot less.
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That leads me to the concept of good and evil. Good is to use common sense, and what most people call evil, I call ignorance. It’s as simple as that. So, the key to living a good life is to be an independent thinker and to have the good sense to ignore the ignorance of other men. I've boiled it down to one sentence - Never give anyone else's ability to think priority over your own, because God uses common sense to whisper in your ear.

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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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Monday, December 10, 2018

THE ISRAEL ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT - A BRUTAL ASSAULT ON THE 1ST AMENDMENT

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

THE ISRAEL ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT - A BRUTAL ASSAULT ON THE
1ST AMENDMENT
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With all of the attention focused on Trump and the Mueller investigation, a horrendous bill sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin threatens to quietly sneak it's way through congress. Cardin's bill makes it illegal to even ask for information about boycotting Israel. It's absolutely un-American - and especially considering the fact that Israel is among the most repressive abusers of human rights in the world today. Israel DESERVES to be boycotted and condemned, but this bill makes it illegal to even bring the subject up.
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According to the ACLU, the Cardin legislation would “bar U.S. persons from supporting boycotts against Israel, including its settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories conducted by international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations and the European Union. It would also... include penalties for simply requesting information about such boycotts. Violations would be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison....This bill would impose civil and criminal punishment on individuals solely because of their political beliefs about Israel and its policies.”
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Ironically, Sen, Ben Cardin seems to want to strip American citizens of our 1st Amendment right of free speech and turn America into Nazi Germany just so Israelis can steal land and murder Palestinians with impunity? That’s ridiculous!!! What we actually need to do is join the United Nations and the European Union in their condemnation of the Zionist state and withdraw any and all aid and support to Israel - and any politician in America who supports the Anti-Boycott bill should be voted out of office, because they’re either too stupid to understand the 1st Amendment, or too corrupt to care.
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Considering Jewish history, every Zionist in Israel should be walking around looking down at their feet, because as many thoughtful Jews recognize, the sheer hypocrisy of what’s going on in Israel is astounding! It’s absolutely unconscionable. There’s nothing Godly about Zionism. It’s nothing but racism and greed cloaked in religious propaganda.
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The Palestinian people didn’t do a thing to the Jews, it was the Germans who killed 6 million Jews. So why didn’t the Zionist tear off a piece of Germany for their homeland?  I’ll tell you why, because Germans are White, and they weren’t as easily victimized.
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Zionism is a perfect example of how humanity uses religion for corrupt and evil intent. Zionism isn’t anything close to a Godly movement - in fact, it’s evil and self-serving greed, and America’s collusion in this Zionist atrocity makes a mockery of everything the United States is suppose to stand for. What we’re witnessing is The Manifest Destiny II - or, flat-out robbery and genocide, and Netanyahu has clearly demonstrated that at another time, and another place, he could have been one of Hitler’s most valued lieutenants. He’s also doing a gross disservice to ALL Jews and Judaism itself.  Nazis and anti-Semites all over the world are pointing at Israel and saying, “What did we tell you about THOSE PEOPLE?” Of course, all Jews are not Zionists, but since when have bigots cared about truth or accuracy?
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The fact is, evil doesn't come in any particular race, creed or color; evil thrives on power, greed, and opportunity, as we're seeing in Israel today. The atrocities we're seeing in Israel today is just as evil as the holocaust, it's just happening a little more slowly, and under the guise of defending the nation against the horrendous threat of women and children throwing rocks at Israeli tanks.
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And with respect to U.S. collusion in this atrocity, consider this - if Cardin’s bill passes I could be fined a million dollars and jailed for 20 years just for writing this comment (I could get a lessor penalty for murder!). Is that America? Where are we getting politicians who would even consider such a bill, and where is this nation headed!!!?  It clearly shows that we have a White House and congress filled with fascist idiots, and it’s time to weed them out - before it's our turn to be erased.
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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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Saturday, December 08, 2018

THERE'S A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL FOR EVANGELICALS WHO CLAIM TO PRAISE THE LORD WHILE WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE BEING GASSED

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

THERE'S A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL FOR EVANGELICALS WHO CLAIM TO PRAISE THE LORD WHILE WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE BEING GASSED
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Going to church allows people to live in a fantasy rather than face reality, and “The Scriptures” that preachers are so big on spewing are merely the superstitious ranting of 3000-year-old dead men. God communicates with us through common sense, not scriptures. That's why he gave us common sense in the first place, so we’d have sense enough not to go around believing in talking snakes and walking dead men.
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You can't pray away your sins or enhance your life in any way by enriching some preacher who doesn’t know any more about God than you do. God already did his part when he gave us a brain, so the rest is up to us.
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When you sin it's on the record, period - and all the praying in the world is not going to take it off, because the damage is done. And neither is it going to help to pay some preacher to do a spoken- word concert every Sunday morning, because there’s nothing the least bit Godly about being whipped up into a mindless frenzy. So you might as well come out of your fantasy world and face the fact that you can't abuse people Monday through Saturday and then think you can wipe the slate clean by being humble and repentant on Sunday. The bottom line is, if you were really a Christian or a man or woman of God, you'd be up in arms over women and children being gassed at the border, Black kids being shot down in the street like animals, babies being taken from their mothers and put into cages, and the people who commit these crimes.  If you're not, regardless to what your preacher says, you and Jesus are definitely not on the same page.
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"AND, DADDY, I ALSO WANT A . . ."
I saw these simple truths as a kid, that's why when my son and daughter were children I didn’t take them to church one time in their entire young lives. Instead, I bonded with them by taking them to the beach, shopping, and to the show on Sunday mornings. Instead of giving my money to some preacher, I spent it on my kids, and instead of teaching them about talkin' snakes, I taught them about character, morality, and ethics.  We have a responsibility to teach our children to THINK, not to just believe what soothsayer tells them. As a result, today my son and daughter are more moral and have more character than any Bible-thumper I know, and they believe in logical thought, not Mother Goose. So they don’t go around quoting the Bible, instead, they simply treat people the way they want to be treated. If everyone did that, there would be no wars and no hatred and bigotry.
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Some of the most hateful and judgmental people I know are always going around talking about Jesus - I know, because I was raised in the church, and even as a kid I used to debate these issues with E.V. Hill, the man who baptized me. He confronted my grandparents one Sunday and asked, “Where is this kid getting this stuff!!?” If he had asked me instead, I could have told him - I got it from the common sense bestowed upon me by God. Snakes don’t talk, and just because a person doesn't look, think, and act like me doesn't make him a heathen, or hated by God. That's stupidity, but that's exactly the kind of narrow-minded nonsense that's being spewed from pulpits all across this country.
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My grandparents were devout Christians, and much of what I said scared them to death, but they couldn’t help but see the logic in much of what I was saying. At first, they convinced that I was going to Hell for the things I was saying, but I told them not to worry about that, because I place my faith in what I hear from God, not man, and they accepted that. In fact, even they began to embrace my philosophy.
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NONSENSE
I told them at the time that God has absolutely nothing to do with man's religions. God is whatever force, entity, or process that’s responsible for what we refer to as existence. So if we exist, God exists, regardless of whether God is a he, she, it, or the universe itself. That’s all we know, and that’s all we have to know. So at 14 years old, if I didn't get that from God, where did it come from?  And I'm no one special. God speaks to us all, we just have to listen, and not allow man to convince us that common sense is the work of the Devil.
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My grandfather, who was something of a comedian had this running joke. He said, Rev. Hill sent the assistant pastor to talk to me and they haven’t seen him since. I don’t know how true that was, but ever since I was a 14-year-old child and left the church never to look back, it has been my position that going to church is nothing but a way to live in a fantasy and feel good about being lazy-minded, hypocritical, and stupid - and that wasn’t taught to me by any man, God whispered it to me as a child. 
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You don’t have to believe in Mother Goose to praise the wonders of God and live a Godly life. After all, God knows you don’t really believe that nonsense for a minute, because he’s the one who gave you the common sense not to. So if you truly love God, stop trying to lie to him.

ELDER HAMPTON

As a very young child I was fortunate enough to observe the life of a real man of God. I met him when I was about 9 years old and he popped up out of nowhere to visit my grandmother when she was in a body cast after a very serious surgery. My grandmother had never met him, but somehow he’d gotten information about her condition and showed up at our door. He didn’t want a thing. He simply wanted see if there was anything he could do to bring my grandmother comfort. He came by 3 or 4 times a week and would sit at her bedside for hours, so my grandmother took to him immediately and she started sending me to his little storefront church until she could get back on her feet and take me to the “big church” that she and my grandfather attended.
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I'll never forget that little storefront church on 108th and Juniper in Watts. It stood down the street and in the shadow of a huge and elaborately appointed Catholic church, seemingly, as almost an afterthought. It was so small and had so few members that the thought of attracting a true "ordained man of God" was out of the question, so we had to settle for the little, unassuming man that we used to refer to as Elder Hampton. That little church was the closest thing to worshiping in someone's living room as you could get, but to this day, whenever I begin to lose faith in the basic goodness of my fellow man, or even remotely begin to contemplate God, I think of that little storefront church, and that little man.
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If I'd remained at that church, I don't know what I would have been doing today. My young instincts led me to become so close to Elder Hampton that I might have even become a preacher. He used to take me with him to visit the old, the poor, and the sickly in the neighbor. Black, Mexican, young, old, Baptist or Catholic, he didn't care what a person was - if they were sick or in need, they were all a part of his flock.
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Looking back on it, I don't know where he found the resources to carry out his mission. He certainly didn't get it from our little collection plate - we were so poor and so few in number he couldn't have gotten more than ten dollars a Sunday out of us, max. But in spite of that, he was no Sunday preacher. He was a full-time man of God. If you were sick or in need, you could count on him seven days a week. But after my grandmother finally got over her illness, they took me to the "big church"  Elder Hampton's work was done, so he gradually disappeared from our lives, but all these many years later, his essence remains with me.
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The first time I went to the big church I was completely overwhelmed with the opulence of it all. Shortly before I arrived, the church had just imported in a new fireball of an ordained minister direct from Dallas, Texas. He was nothing like the quiet and humble Elder Hampton. He had a big booming voice, wore shinny Florsheim shoes, expensive suits, and a sense of importance just oozed from every pore of his body. When this man walked into a room it sucked all the oxygen out of the place - you just knew you were in the presence of someone significant - or at least, thought he was.
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And God must have loved this magnificent church the minister headed - the choir alone in this ornate house of God was larger by a factor of three than the entire membership of the little church I'd grown accustomed to, and the choir pit was twice as large as the room where we held Sunday school. The parking lot of the church was filled with big, expensive cars, and a limousine was often parked next to the front entrance. City Councilmen and other politicians were counted among its membership, and a well known entertainer, Billy Preston
was the church organist. In a church like this you didn't have to wait to get to heaven - every Sunday you were right there. The only problem was, after services you had to return to reality, which was more often than not, a life of pure hell.
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I've often wondered what Elder Hampton would have done with all of those resources. But I couldn't imagine Elder Hampton heading a magnificent place like this - but since he wasn't "ordained," it wasn't even an issue. He never would have even been considered to head a place like this in the first place. I don't care how Godly you were, stature took precedence there - if Moses wanted to head the church, they'd want to inspect his credentials. But even if Elder Hampton would have been ordained, he was much too humble a man to be embraced by the high-powered people in this membership. With his quiet, unassuming demeanor, even as a member, he would have been a back-bencher - politely tolerated, but scarcely noticed.
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And further, Elder Hampton wouldn't begin to know how to manage the resources of a huge church like this. While he was definitely a man of God, he wasn't a practical man. He probably would have squander all the church's resources on the "no-account sinners" in the surrounding community.
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He was just too impractical. He probably would have setup a soup kitchen and built a dormitory to house the homeless at night, and hired unemployed mothers to start a low-cost daycare center on the church grounds during the day. Then it wouldn't be no time at all before he'd dig up the church's beautiful grounds, trying to put up basketball courts and a recreation building to draw young people off the streets after school. And of course, between the kids during the day, the teenagers in the early evening, and the homeless at night, it would cost the church a fortune just to keep up the grounds and repair damages to the building.
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Much of the congregation would have been in an uproar over the chaos he'd create. And it would go far beyond simply chaos. He would have long since lost most of the influential politicians. Every Sunday he'd be hounding them at church, and calling them at home during the week trying to get them to create Empowerment Zones, and Special Need Zones to establish low-cost loans to help the surrounding neighbors to purchase and fix-up the houses they were living in. It's no wonder he'd drive the politicians out of the church. How could he expect these busy men and women to worship God in peace with him buzzing around like a gadfly trying to get them to help the poor?
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No, Elder Hampton's heart was in the right place, but he'd have been much too impractical to run a big church like this. He was a God loving man, but he lacked common sense. He thought when God said Love thy neighbor, he meant it. What a fool!
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Yeah, Elder Hampton would have been a back-bencher at that church. He would have been the fool sitting way in the back - next to Jesus.

So no, Elder Hampton is no longer a part of our lives, but his influence has remained constant in my life to this day - in fact, though I must admit that I'm never found in church these days, it is his lingering influence that's led me to write this article, and everything else that I write. He didn’t preach, or jump up and down trying to whip us into a mindless frenzy, he simply spoke to us about the importance of living our faith. He'd say, “You can’t talk your way into Heaven, you must live your way in.” That's not what I'm seeing among Christians today, so I pay them very little attention.

*****
MATTHEW
“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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Elder Hampton, God knew of the good works that you did in secret . . . And unbeknownst to you, he sent a child to record your deeds and to absorb your Godly essence. 
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Click below for an important message

A MESSAGE FROM GOD

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, December 02, 2018

AMERICA NEEDS TO BECOME INFORMED OF THE GOP'S TRUE AGENDA

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

AMERICA NEEDS TO BECOME INFORMED OF THE GOP'S TRUE AGENDA
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One of the biggest problems that we have in the country today is that far too many Americans are less than informed about the Republican Party’s true agenda. Conservatives aren’t simply out to modify public policy, they’re out to completely change our form of government, and that has ALWAYS been the case since the days of our founding fathers. One angry liberal told me the following:
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Comment by Dorian:
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“The problems are not being caused by the GOP only, Democrats have also helped them strip you of your rights.”
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Response:
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Dorian, you're talking politics -You don't like neo-liberalism, and neither do I - but what I'm talking about is a historic philosophy that goes far beyond the intra-Democratic fight between the neo-liberal and Social Democratic factions within the Democratic Party. What I'm talking about is the fact that conservatives have ALWAYS been the domestic enemy of working class Americans. It goes all the way back to our founding fathers. So what the Democrats are squabbling over is insignificant compared to the GOP. The GOP is not simply out to change public policy, conservatives don't believe in democracy as a philosophical concept at all (except among the ruling class), so they’re out to change our fundamental  way of life. The leaders of the conservative movement believe that an aristocratic class should control the nation, and that working-class Americans were only put here to attend to their comfort and needs, and they ALWAYS have. Working class conservatives have just been duped. That's why they're primarily made up of the undereducated.
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Alexander Hamilton, one of this nation’s leading conservative thinkers among our founding fathers believed that the rich and "wellborn" should be given a permanent share in government. He said:
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“All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people…. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government.”
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Hamilton supported a lifetime appointment of the President after being selected by congress (or "the rich and wellborn"), instead of the people as a whole - can you just imagine that, Donald Trump FOR LIFE!!!? But America dodged that bullet during the Federalist Convention that took place between May 14 and September 17, 1787.
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Since most of the founding fathers came to America to escape the aristocratic class system in Europe, Hamilton’s desire to preserve the class system was resoundingly defeated in favor of an unfettered democracy, but that didn’t mean that people of Hamilton’s point of view would quietly go away. Instead, they lowered their profile and continued to pursue their agenda by using their wealth, power, and various strategies to divide the people to achieve their goal, and that’s what we see today. That accounts for why conservatives tend to specialize in obstruction, greed, anger, and division, and that's also why the American people ALWAYS suffer under conservative governance.

CHILD LABOR
So make no mistake about it, there's a huge difference between the Democrats and Republicans. At least Democrats have to PRETEND to believe in equality, but conservatives have NEVER bought into true democracy. That's why they have absolutely no problem with voter suppression, giving themselves a $1.5 trillion tax cut and making the working class pay for it by taking away their Social Security and Medicare, and many other grossly undemocratic policies. Again, they're out to create an aristocratic class and turn the average American into part of a proletariat with the primary function of attending to their needs. Any American who wants to see a perfect model of the conservative vision in action need only look back to the Great Depression, or within the class system of our current corporations.
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This is just a snapshot view of the GOP for those who have short attention spans. For an expanded version of what conservatives represent, click on the link below - and it's not based on an ideological opinion, but the historic record. This writer is neither a Democrat, nor a Republican:
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ATTENTION AMERICA! STANDUP AGAINST THE CONSERVATIVE THREAT
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http://wattree.blogspot.com/2018/07/attention-america.html

 REPUBLICAN SENATE MAJORITY LEADER 
MITCH McCONNELL'S STATE
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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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Sunday, November 25, 2018

ABOUT DONALD TRUMP’S BRAND OF MENTAL ILLNESS

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

ABOUT DONALD TRUMP’S BRAND OF MENTAL ILLNESS
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A commenter wrote:
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“Is what we are seeing actually mental illness, or is it a result of being born into a family that requires nothing from the child. Trump was a millionaire at age 7. He was given everything, worked for nothing and learned how to con. I am struggling to see this as mental illness.”
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Being rich can contribute to mental illness just as easily as poverty. Those very conditions you described can lead to a bratty and dysfunctional personality so pronounced that it led to Trump never having a real friend or anyone who really cared about him in his life. The loneliness and desperation to prove himself worthy resulting from that can lead to his becoming the narcissistic sociopath that he is.
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All through life Trump's had to convince himself that people hate him because he’s so brilliantly special that the average person is incapable of understanding him. He HAD to indulge in this delusion just to maintain his self-esteem. That’s why he’s always bragging and promoting himself, because for Donald Trump, the only thing important in life is trying to get the world to embrace his delusion - even if he has to bring down America, and the entire world, to do it.
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Just imagine going through life where every single person you ever came into contact with hated your guts (even the guy's wife hates him). That's why Trump caters so passionately to his dysfunctional base - he's finally found a group he thinks cares about him, so he'll do absolutely ANYTHING to maintain and drench himself in that love. In addition, he has an equally dysfunctional and self-serving GOP egging him on, while at the same time, the Mueller investigation and a Democratically controlled House is placing his back against the wall. That's what makes him so dangerous. His only allies are two of the most dysfunctional groups in America - the GOP establishment, and his undereducated and mindless base. As a result, we’re experiencing the most dangerous episode in American history.
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In its article reviewing the book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” Psychology Today pointed out:
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“John Gartner, Ph.D. is the founder of ‘Duty to Warn’ an organization intent on warning our country that we are in dire trouble due to our president’s mental instability. More than 60,000 mental health professionals have signed John’s petition, which states:
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‘We, the undersigned mental health professionals, believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’”
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In addition, he’s a paranoid coward.  In spite of all his big and haughty talk here at home, there's every indication that Donald Trump is the very same coward he was as a young man when he dodged the draft in order to avoid going to Vietnam. According to a report in Newsweek, “President Donald Trump has told aides and White House officials that he was afraid to visit U.S. troops in war zones, and didn’t back war in Iraq and Afghanistan. ‘He’s never been interested in going,’ one unnamed former senior official told the Washington Post. ‘He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill him.’”
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So that just about says it all about "President" Donald Trump - he's a narcissistic sociopath  who feels that his entire life is under the gun due to "deep state," and so paranoid that he's afraid of being killed if he visits our troops in a war zone.  This is the deeply flawed guy that we must rely upon to lead this nation and the world. America is in dire straits. 
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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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Monday, November 19, 2018

THE 'SLANDEROUS' BILLBOARD IN THE HOOD

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

THE 'SLANDEROUS' BILLBOARD IN THE HOOD

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Many people in the Black community are up-in-arms about the above billboard because they see it as insulting, and I can understand that.  But personally, I like it, because it speaks a truth that many of us need to hear. If I had my way we'd have billboards just like it all over the hood just to remind us of what we're doing to ourselves, and how we’re allowing ourselves to be perceived by the world. Yes, it's an ugly truth, but it's truth nevertheless, and truth is often ugly, that's why we tend to avoid it. For that reason I strongly suspect that the billboard wasn't paid for by anyone with malevolent intent. I think it was paid for by someone who genuinely cares about the community.
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But even if it was paid for by someone trying to slander the community, I recognized when I was an angry teenager that we do ourselves a severe disservice by allowing ourselves to get all angry and upset in response to the non-physical ignorance of bigots. First, it only serves to reinforce the bigot's pleasure, and secondly, it's a waste of time and energy that could be put to far better use by focusing on what we think of ourselves, and what we can to do to improve our condition.
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As a teenager coming up on the streets of Los Angeles, I decided to use the ignorance of bigotry to better myself. I knew bigots were gonna dig deep to try to point out the very worst things they could think of to say about me. So instead of getting angry, I simply listened, and if I thought there was even a grain of truth in what they said, I’d start working on it to erase that flaw or dysfunction from my resume.
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By that time it had also started to dawn on me that growth wasn’t about defending myself against what bigots thought - I didn't give a damn what they thought. Personal growth was about focusing on becoming better today than I was yesterday. So from then on, when bigots talked shit or tried to insult me, I'd use their stupidity as a guide to help teach myself the things I needed to know that would allow me to stand head and shoulders above who they were.
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Even back then, I knew that knowledge was power, and the best revenge against bigotry is to be able to clearly demonstrate to a bigot that you're his intellectual superior. It makes them die a thousand deaths. That's why bigots hate Obama so passionately, and Donald Trump can't keep Obama's name off his lips, because he's still trying to reconcile himself to the fact that Obama is his superior. It just kills Trump to know that he's intellectually inferior to a Black man. That's why I constantly tell our young people that knowledge is the best revenge.
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Now, whenever a bigot confronts me with his pompous sense of superiority and condescension, I smile inside, because I know I'm about to bring his entire world and sense of self to an abrupt and thundering end. But first, I simply listen. I allow him to enjoy the last moments of his clueless arrogance before I make him personally, and as an individual, pay for 400 years of White oppression. I don't have to shoot 'em, or scream at 'em, or shake my fists in the air, I just crush his self-esteem, and then move on. I routinely do this one bigot at a time and with every opportunity I get.  It's my personal version of payback, and I love it.
.
The reason I know what buttons to push is because I've literally allowed bigots themselves to educate me.  People have a propensity for dealing in projection, so whenever a person tries to denigrate you, the very first things they do is start dragging out all the things they hate most about themselves and try to attribute them to you.  So if, instead of arguing you simply quietly listen to their rant, they'll not only give you a list of all of their flaws, but a litany of their most profound weaknesses. If you need proof of that just listen to Donald Trump. Every time he goes on Twitter or on television to publicly criticize someone, his criticisms invariably describe himself more accurately than they do the person he's trying to criticize. And the same is true of the GOP as a whole. If you ever want to know what the GOP is up to, you need look no further than what they're accusing the Democrats of doing. It's human nature.
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So as a direct result of allowing myself to be educated in that regard, I haven't run across one bigot in my entire adult life (regardless of his or her station) that I couldn't drag through the mud on one brain cell, and I have the bigots themselves to thank for that, because it was they who educated me to their shortcomings - and they also forced me to fall in love with knowledge, as a simple matter of survival. So I owe bigots a tremendous debt, because they made me who I am.
.
So while I don't know who put up that billboard, when I look at it, I don't become insulted at all. My attitude is to say, you know, they've got a point there. Let's get on top of that. Because as Black people, we will never liberate ourselves by trying to out-scream the White man, and by getting angry and shaking our fists in the air we only turn it into a game. We've got to out-think the White man, and out-thinking him entails addressing our shortcomings more effectively than he addresses his.
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As Black people, we must educate ourselves and listen instead of shooting our mouths off and telegraphing our every thought to the White establishment.  We must always seize the bottom line, and ensure that we always have facts and logic on our side.  That places us in a position to utilize the ignorance of others to our advantage, and failing to do so will only serve to reveal our weaknesses and debilitate our strengths. We must also completely ignore all titles, robes, and various accoutrements of power and prestige. They're the most powerful weapons of White supremacy. They’re used as symbols to make small men look bigger than life. Always base your assessment of any individual solely on their ability to think. If they can’t out-think you, regardless of their stature in life, they're not your equal. And finally, we must also stop struttin’, swaggerin’, and always tryin’ to prove ourselves to the White man. We only feel the need to prove ourselves to a superior, so whenever we try to impress the White man, all we're doing is reinforcing his false sense of superiority. So we should keep our mouths shut, quietly pursue growth, and always maintain a strong sense of who we are, then let the White man find out the hard way.
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Smart White men already know the power of Black intellectual creativity. They found that out during slavery. During Reconstruction, Black men went right out of slavery into the two houses of Congress, and Frederick Douglass became one of the most sought-after intellectuals in America. That's why the White man leaves no stone unturned to keep us from realizing our intellectual potential. He keeps us distracted with frivolity, because he knows that the very same intellect that led to the creation of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles, can also create great physicists, mathematicians, and politicians, as we've already seen in Barack Obama, and we're about to see in the young Andrew Gillum.
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Prior to coming to these realizations, when I was a kid going in and out of various juvenile institutions starting at the age of 12, the White man took great joy in telling me how ignorant I was. To this day I can still remember the joy dancing in the eyes of bigoted White adults as they smirked and took what seemed to be a gitty and perverted pleasure in watching my humiliation as a child.
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But I ain't ignorant no more, White boy, and neither are any of my kids. Now I'm the one who smirks as I drag your ignorant ass through the mud in humiliation, and I've seen to it that my progeny will be able to continue that process. My son and daughter are the consummate professionals, my granddaughter will soon be a doctor, and she has 2 brothers and 3 cousins right behind her. So as far as I’m concerned, please, White man, keep telling me I ain't shit, because what you want me to believe is dirt, I see as soil, and the adversity that you introduced into my life has made me MORE rather than less - and your billboard is a constant reminder of that fact.

.

*
THE HOOD RAT
.
Baby,
I’m sure you know that I love you.
You’re everything I need.
You fit the bill of all my desires,
a perfect match for all of my dreams.
From the moment I first laid eyes on you,
You were everything I craved -
that luscious vision from across the tracks,
that delicate flower, beyond my blade.
*
But what you ask is foreign to me.
You need something that I’m not.
You said, just tweak my nature a little bit,
and you’ll give everything you’ve got.
*
But that "tweak" you need is who I am -
it’s my essence, can’t you see?
How can you speak of loving my soul, but
not the hood rat that is me?
*
While "hood rat" may seem trite to you,
it’s the essence of my being.
So forget about what all the other’s say,
here’s what it means to me:
*
I’ve been brutally dragged through the pits of hell,
yet, managed to survive,
well educated and fully functional,
when I came out the other side.
I scrounged the lessons taught at Harvard,
because knowledge, I found, was free.
But they’ll never obtain the lessons I’ve learned,
or the knowledge that makes me, me.
*
While the "elite" may have heard a mournful Trane,
or Miles muted in the night,
but not in the context of hunger and pain,
or hopelessness, hatred, and blight.
*
So while I've lived the life of a hood rat,
I’ve reaped a knowledge that money can't buy;
a knowledge passed on to my son and daughter,
which has greatly enhanced their lives.
*
Thus, I wouldn't change a single thing in my life -
I’ve faced Hell and passed the test.
I have a PhD in adversity,
that's made me much more,
rather than less.
*
So unlike the people at Harvard and Yale, who
try to buy intellectual clout,
they only study the genius of Miles and Trane,
while I'm who they’re blowin' about.
*
So when snobs try to slur me as "just a hood rat,"
I say, "thank you," and don’t take offense.
I take great pride in surviving the travails in my life,
That’s what gives me my confidence.
*
The Ivy League degrees of those of means
are only paper compared to mine;
while they have a "receipt" for knowledge obtained,
my knowledge is ETCHED within my mind.
*
I can teach philosophy to Aristotle
with the adversity that I’ve endured,
so any snob who tries to match my wit,
will come up short, and that’s for sure.
*
Snobs walk about quoting Socrates and such,
through their "education" they're prone;
but while they’re spewing the thoughts of various dead men,
I spend my time developing my own.
*
Never give the thoughts of ANY man
priority over our own;
You must collect the facts, and think for yourself,
that’s where Harvard and Yale have gone wrong.
*
Preacher, politician, potentate,
whatever their point of view,
God didn't bless them with any knowledge
that he didn't also bestow on you.
*
And being seen as a hood rat has its advantages
against racists of limited wit;
I simply quietly wait for their condescension,
then show ‘em that they ain’t shit.
*
While God made birds to fly and fish to swim,
he made man to think, that's the key.
So any man who claims to be superior
will have to PROVE his wit to me.
*
Because knowledge is the key to set us free,
no matter what the people say,
and there’s nothing more formidable than
a knowledgeable hood rat, and
that’s what you’re looking upon today.
*
Yet, these are the things you want me to purge,
and spurn the life I’ve led,
but I’m sorry, my love,
as much as I love you, the soul of a
hood rat is my edge.
*
*
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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