Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dr. Boyce Watkins Announces His Withdrawal from Cornel West Controversy

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree 
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Dr. Boyce Watkins Announces His Withdrawal from Cornel West Controversy
DR. BOYCE WATKINS
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In the recent video, "Dr. Boyce: My Two Cents on Michael Eric Dyson," released on Black Like Moi!, Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University announced his retirement from the Dr. Cornel West controversies. In the announcement Boyce indicated that "this battle between black scholars was not productive" - a point that I disagree with, by the way.
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But even as Watkins was walking away, it was clear that he just didn’t get it. Watkins indicated that the criticism of Cornel West based on his "critique" of President Obama was unfair, and everyone was jumping on West without examining the validity of West’s criticism.
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In response, what Watkins is clearly not getting is that the piling on directed at West is his own fault. Contrary to the claims by most of West’s defenders, the outrage directed toward West had nothing to do with his so-called critique of President Obama. On the contrary, West is being criticized because his comments toward Obama wasn’t a disciplined and scholarly critique.
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Cornel West is the victim of his own serious miscalculation. Being the publicity whore that he is, West thought that he was going to be greeted with a standing ovation for his courageous willingness to stand up to power. But he made the serious error of engaging in a gross, street-level slander of the first Black President of the United States, and then repeated the offense in his comments toward a high-profile Black female scholar, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry. That didn’t constitute standing up to power -what it actually was, was an arrogant grandstand play and selfish attempt to manipulate the Black community that seriously backfired.
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If West had been a White man with the audacity to called the president a Black mascot and puppet, and Dr. Harris-Perry a liar and a fraud, we would have called him a virulent racist who was grossly disrespecting the Black community - and in spite of the fact that West is Black, that’s exactly what we did in this case. After all, since Black people are a product of the very same racist environment as White people, many of us are just as racist toward other Blacks as any Hillbilly, and West’s behavior clearly demonstrates that fact.
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So again, what brought many of us into the conversation wasn’t just a scholarly critique of President Obama. We were enraged by the hypocrisy and blatant disrespect embedded in what amounted to Cornel West’s racist slander of the first Black President of the United States. Even though West has made a career of telling anyone who will listen how much he "loves his people" - in fact, he generally prefaces his virulent comments with the hypocritical endearment of "my good brother" - but he then went on to say things that were so disrespectful of President Obama, and later, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, that it carried the obvious implication that it’s alright to disrespect these people because, after all, beneath their titles they’re just two more insignificant Pickaninnies. I don't recall West ever showing such blatant disrespect toward Bush or Cheney.
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Thus, it’s my personal opinion that both Tavis Smiley and Cornel West (I mention them both since they seem to be attached at the hip) are two petty, self-serving egomaniacs who specialize in putting their own personal agendas ahead of what’s in the best interest of both the Black community, and the nation.
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Clear evidence of that is the fact that they both know full well that the GOP used the Iraq War to ravage the U.S. Treasury in order to justify attacking the entitlement programs put in place by the New Deal. Abolishing the New Deal has been the GOP’s main reason for being for over 70 years now. But the programs that they’d like to abolish - such as Social security, Medicare, and the Fair Labor standards Act - are much too popular among the American people to attack head on. So they purposely tried to bankrupt the nation as a pretext to preclude the funding, and/or, support of these programs. That agenda, along with regaining power, gives the GOP a vested interest in keeping America miserable, angry, and poor. So if Tavis and West were really concerned about the poor, minorities, and middle class, that’s what they’d be ranting about instead of helping the GOP bad-mouth Obama.
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They’re out there constantly criticizing Obama in spite of the fact that the GOP is clearly out to destroy the poor, minorities, and middle class in this country. So the obvious question is, if Obama’s so bad, who do they suggest that we vote for, Romney - a man who enjoys firing people, and think of families being put out of their homes as simply collateral damage in the further enrichment of Wall Street? Santorum - Who wants to abolish public education, thinks higher education is snobbish, and wants a government small enough to crawl up a woman’s uterus? Or maybe West thinks we should vote for Gingrich, who wants to fire the heads of households and put their kids to work for slave wages.
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But instead of fighting these domestic enemies of the American way of life, and educating the public to their agenda, Tavis and West are going around telling any and everybody who’ll listen that we should be so disenchanted with Obama - who they portray as the Bogeyman - that we should elect the Devil. West did the very same thing when he teamed up with Ralph Nader in the 2000 election and helped get George Bush elected. How did that help either the poor, middle class, or Black community? It didn’t. In fact, it’s the very reason that we’re in the situation that we’re in today, and that West is now trying to blame Barack Obama for not correcting fast enough.
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But if you bring up that point to the Nader/West supporters, they’ll immediately begin to obfuscate and engage in intellectual gymnastics in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the horrific fate that they brought upon this country. They’ll say things like, "It’s not our fault that Gore lost. He just didn’t fight hard enough for a recount." But by using such arguments what they’re actually saying is, "Gore just didn’t fight hard enough to undo the damage that we’d done." Because the bottom line is this – Gore lost the 2000 election to Bush in Florida by 537 votes, and the Nader/West coalition peeled off 97,488 votes from Gore in Florida alone. So don’t take my word for it – you do the math. And the unbelievable thing is, West is currently trying to team up with Nader again to undermine the people in this election!
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But before West supporters try to characterize me as an Obama cheerleader, I’d like to point out that just a cursory Google search will show that I’ve written several articles critical of Obama. But when I’m critical of the president, I make it issue-specific, I'm always respectful, and I never lodge a blanket attack against the president’s overall character. Thus, I only have one agenda, and that’s to promote truth, common sense, and logical, independent thinking. And in that regard, I think that it is incumbent upon everyone with common sense to do everything they can to keep the GOP out of office. Because, entrusting our nation and economy to the Republican Party would be like entrusting our children to convicted child molesters.
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So in closing, I’d like to say to Dr. Watkins that I am indeed gratified to see him extricate himself from this debate, because while I don’t always agree with him, I’ve always seen him as a sincere advocate of the people. But I’d also like to point out to him how important it is not to confuse the public rant that West lodged against President Obama with a critique. You can’t simply call a person a hypocritic, egomaniacal, lunatic, and call that a critique. In a critique you have to explain why you’re call him a lunatic. Thus, with respect to my good brother, Dr. Cornel West, this, is a critique.
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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, February 25, 2012

The Hood Rat


Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

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The Hood Rat
I’m sure you know that I love you;
You’re everything that I need.
You fit the bill of all my desires,
a perfect match for all of my dreams.
You’re everything I’ve always craved,
that luscious vision from across the tracks;
that delicate flower,
just beyond my grasp, and
now here you are at last.
*
But what you ask is foreign to me;
You need something that I'm not.
You said, if I'd tweak my nature, just a bit,
you’ll give everything you’ve got.
*
But that "tweak" you need is who I am;
It's my essence, can't you see?
You want to abolish the hood rat from my life,
the very thing that makes me, me.
*
While a hood rat may seem trite to you,
a hood rat’s what you see;
So forget about what 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 Harvard can't teach the lessons I've learn -
that knowledge is unique to me.
*
While they've heard the sounds of a mournful Trane,
and Miles moaning in the night,
not against the backdrop of hunger and pain,
or injustice, hatred, and blight.
*
Yet, these are the things you want me to purge,
and spurn the life I’ve led.
Well, I’m sorry sweet thing, as much as I love you,
the soul of a hood rat is my edge.
*
A Message to the Hood
Some people take umbrage with my defining myself as a hood rat. They say that by doing so, I’m not only demeaning myself, but I’m also demeaning other Black people in the process. But people who think like that are violating one of the most important principles in life - that we should always seek to be independent thinkers. That entails being self-defining, never giving the thoughts of others priority over your own, and never allowing others to define your terms.
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Thus, people who see the phrase "hood rat" as demeaning have been brainwashed. They no longer think for themselves. They've allowed the attitude of others to take priority over their own, and they've also allowed society to define their terms. As a result, they've embraced the belief that people with their background are somehow less than others.
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I take pride in challenging that contention because the fact is, I grew up in the hood, so that's what makes me who I am, and since God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man think, in order for anybody to contend that I'm less than human, they're going to have to demonstrate that they can out-think me. You see, it's not enough to merely SAY, "I'm Black and I'm proud." We must put enough work into our intellectual development to say it, and mean it. Therefore, I proudly embrace the phrase hood rat as symbolic of my challenge to society to come SHOW me that I'm inferior, since it's my contention that it's society that's guilty of flawed thinking, not I.
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A perfect example of the flaw in society's thinking can be found in the fact that attendant to the negativity that society assigns to the term "rat" is the false assumption that a rat is something nasty, and therefore, beneath man. But the fact is, man himself is the nastiest animal on Earth. While a rat may leave droppings in his environment, and one might consider that nasty, man is so prolific with his own droppings - in the ocean, in the air, in space, and within the Earth itself - that he threatens the very survival of everything on the planet. So what’s nastier, a rat, or man?
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That illustrates why it’s so important to clean man’s droppings from our minds, and become independent thinkers. Because much of what we think of as true, is actually the corruption of truth that we’ve been taught by other men in order to promote their own self-interest.
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So while others are scrambling among themselves in an attempt to service their corruption and greed, it presents the Black community with the perfect opportunity to spend that same time becoming independent thinkers, and reassessing the mores that we've inherited from this corrupt society. Thereafter, we should replace the meaningless pursuit of the "American Dream" (bling), with the pursuit of character, wisdom, and knowledge. Because since knowledge is power, one invariably leads to the other, and much, much more.
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I’ve been fortunate enough to obtain a small measure of the American dream, but it was certainly not as a result of any kind of pursuit. I only stumbled upon it while on a mission to educate myself, because along with education comes skills. But also during my educational process, I found that what I was actually looking for was not so much the American dream, but happiness and self-fulfillment. Yes, I wanted to live a comfortable life, but along with a TRUE education, you tend to develop a new definition of what that entails. And one of the things that I learned was that the American dream is only the illusion of happiness, since the mere acquisition of "things" can bring you neither happiness, nor fulfillment. True happiness and fulfillment can only be found in becoming the best that you can be. Our failure to understand that is the primary problem that we have as a nation - we're in much hotter pursuit of riches than we are of character.
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I wasted literally all of my teenage years - those years between 12 and 19 years of age, when I should have been educating myself - running the street. I spent that time dropping out of school, going in and out of various institutions, and using any kind of drug that I could get my hands on.
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But fortunately, I was arrested as an adult (at 19 years-old), and an insightful cop and a benevolent judge joined forces to get me to agree to go into the military (the army, I thought) in return for not being sent to prison, and the promise of expunging my record if I came out with an honorable discharge. Naturally, I eagerly agreed. But it was only later, to my complete shock and horror, did I learn that they had also managed to get the Marine Corps to ignore all of its regulations against accepting an illiterate delinquent. But once I got in there I found out why - they needed a warm body to use as a close combat dummy in order to train the "REAL MARINES."
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But once the marines finished showing me what a gangster REALLY was, they had me take the GED, and to everybody's amazement, I did really well on it. Although I did a lot of guessing, I scored much higher than anyone expected, especially myself (I'm still convinced it was a fluke). So they sent me to the Army/Navy Academy to get an actual diploma and further my educational development (I'll be eternally grateful to them for that).
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But fluke or not, that's where I learned a couple of very valuable lessons - you are what you think, and that knowledge is power. Instead of being called dummy, I was making a fortune writing love letters for other marines, and later I started working for the battalion commander. I did all of his writing, including the officers' fitness reports, which gave me a tremendous amount of clout ("Come on, Wattree! Why be so formal? There's no one around, so spare me the Captain crap. Just call me Larry."). Later, it was arranged for me to get out 90 days early to attend college - which, by that time, was just a matter of staying awake and filling in the dots.
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But during that process I fell in love with knowledge, and I also began to realize that since what I loved most was free, it couldn’t be denied me. And as I became increasingly more independent of thought, a couple of other things also began to come into focus. First, contrary to our national values, the only mature and productive form of competition is to compete against the person that you were the day before. And secondly, I learned that the only true road to perfect happiness and fulfillment is to dedicate your life to becoming your own hero.
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That’s the knowledge that I would like to pass along to my brothers in the hood. Because our failure to understand those two very fundamental facts are not only the source of most of our misery, but to 99% of all of our problems in general. We rightly complain that we’re deprived of a level playing field, so why not dedicate ourselves to the acquisition of knowledge to equalize that situation? And by the way, that's the message that Tavis Smiley and Cornel West should be preaching, instead of helping to elect Republicans by attacking our first Black president.
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So yes, I’m a hood rat, and I never let myself forget it. But I’m a hood rat with the understanding that the White man's water is no wetter than our own, and his knowledge is no more knowledgeable. In addition, since every experience in life is a source of knowledge, the experience of overcoming the adversity that we’ve endured as hood rats makes us more, rather than less. It's that very knowledge that Obama is killing them with in Washington as we speak. They could probably handle him if he was dealing with them using the knowledge that he pick up at Harvard, because they went there too, but he's wiping them with a source of knowledge that they know absolutely nothing about - the knowledge he picked up trying to survive as a Black man in America. That's a knowledge that's unique to us.
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Thus, the bottom line is this - with very few exceptions, we cannot depend on others to help us, Black or White. We're engaged in a class war, and it's everybody for themselves, so we've got to combine the unique knowledge that we've gained in the hood, with the education and wisdom that we obtain thereafter to become the masters of our own fate. Thus, knowledge, is the key to our survival. Period.
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Think about that.
*


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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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, and Boyce Watkins: The Treacherous Trio

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, and Boyce Watkins: The Treacherous Trio
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During these dire times it is incumbent upon the Black community to recognize, assess, and correct the historic flaws in our mores that represent the self-hating and destructive remnants of our past history of slavery. We are now faced with such a moment.
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The insidious intellectual assault on the Black community posed by Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West seems to have gained the able assistance of Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University. So ‘The Dangerous Duo’ have now morphed into ‘The Treacherous Trio.’ While I’m always reluctant to base an article on an ad hominous (corruption of ‘ad hominem’) argument, when dealing with the kind of historically treacherous, petulant, hypocritical, and self-righteous delusions of grandeur that these three individuals represent, it’s impossible to avoid - at least, if one is truly intent on aggressively beating back the gross manipulation of the Black community.
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It was no accident that with the announcement that Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry had been given her own show on MSNBC that Cornel West and Boyce Watkins immediately chimed in with an intense campaign of invective and criticism of Dr. Perry. Their behavior was so predictably transparent that it was like deja vu all over again. It’s a classic case of crabs in a barrel. Both their petulant behavior and motivation is inspired by the exact same petty emotions that’s caused them to brutally attack Barack Obama - bitter envy and the fear of being eclipsed in the Black community.
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There is clear evidence of that. Specifically, while Cornel West is renowned for alleging that all he cares about is what’s in the best interest of ‘his people,’ immediately after the announcement of Dr. Perry’s new show on MSNBC he’s been quoted as saying that she’s "a liar and a fraud." How does such an attack on a brilliant young Black woman’s elevation into the public eye benefit ‘his people?’ Doesn't the Black community benefit tremendously from having America exposed to another intelligent Black voice, whether that voice agrees with Cornel West or not? If West truly believed in the utter nonsense that he espouses the answer to that qusetion would go without saying. So why is West trying to undermine her public image?  Thus, while West contends that he's supportive of the Black community, his behavior reflects otherwise.
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So whether it’s due to intense envy, sour grapes, or the early onset of senility, West has been repeatedly betraying his carefully crafted persona of the selfless Black intellectual of late.  I first began to recognize it on the very day that, then, Sen. Barack Obama threw his hat in the ring to run for President of the United States. West immediately began to criticize Obama's election team, questioned where he was getting his money to run for office, and then he challenged Obama with the question of "How much do you love your people?" That took place before the nation and a grinning Tavis Smiley during Tavis’ ‘State of the Black Union’ broadcast. It appeared to be in direct response to Sen. Obama’s failure to postpone his announcement and appear on the broadcast to kiss Tavis’ ring.
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But West seems to have no shame when it comes to either his own self-interest, or, monitoring which way the wind is blowing, so in spite of the public spectacle that he engaged in on behalf of Tavis Smiley, once it became clear that Obama actually had a chance to win the election, West didn’t hesitate to go on the road to campaign for him.
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But after Obama won the presidency and West failed to receive the goodies that he obviously expected, yet again,West betrayed his image as the selfless Black intellectual - but this time his petulance revealed itself in all of its arrogant, petty, and condescending glory.
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This time West not only criticized the first Black President of the United States as "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats," he then went on to say, "I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men." So not only was West grossly disrespectful of President Obama as president, but then, in the very finest tradition of a common sheet-wearing racist, he publically slandered the president as a Black man as well.
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So if Cornel West’s reckless verbal assault on the President of the United States was not enough to completely discredit him as a public intellectual - or an intellectual of any sort, for that matter - the mere fact that he shot off his mouth without being able to substantiate one syllable of his allegations certainly should have. In addition, his public disrespect for the first Black President of the United States was not only disrespectful of the institution and the president himself, but it was also a disrespectful assault on the Black community as a whole. It seemed to indicate that since Obama was Black, that he didn't warrant the respect of previous white presidents.
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Thereafter, many of West’s colleagues and supporters attempted to justify his behavior by trying to conjure up some higher purpose that his blatantly irresponsible rant was serving.  But their hope of restoring some dignity to his image was dashed when it was revealed that the entire episode - a public tirade that will certainly go down in the annals of historic stupidity - came about for no other reason than the fact that Cornel West felt slighted because he failed to receive tickets to the inauguration, and the future President of the United States failed to return his personal phone calls.
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Then, if that wasn't petty enough, what was really telling was his attitude toward one of the gentlemen who did manage to get tickets to the inauguration. West was quoted as saying . . . "I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration."
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Now, consider the mindset of this man. What makes West think that he’s more deserving of a ticket than the brother who picks up his bags? I don’t know how West supporters feel about it, but that sounds absolutely nothing like a brother who believes so passionately in human equality that he reportedly gets ten thousand dollars a speech to espouse his point of view. Actually, it sounds more like an irate brat who suffers from an intense sense of superior entitlement.
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So am I surprised by West’s unscholarly attack on Dr. Perry’s good fortune? Not at all. I’ve come to expect it from him. In an Ebony article, A Black Woman’s "Life of the Mind" is Her Own: Melissa Harris Perry, Dr. Kimberly Ellis indicates that in spite of the fact that Dr. Perry was recruited to Princeton by West, when she came up for a full-professorship she was denied, and West was involved in the process. So it would seem that while West has a mantra of publically espousing how much he loves his people, when he’s cloistered from public view within the walls of academia his true character begins to surface, a character that seems to be gradually oozing from beneath the ivy covered walls and into the public domain.
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And if you watch closely, you’ll notice that West’s character and poor judgement is becoming ever more pronounced in his defenders and the people who become publically associated with him. I’ve watched that process taking place in Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University. In his article, "A Very Bad Reason to Vote for the Democrats," Watkins says, "If you want my vote, you must address my issues…if you’re too busy to address my issues, then I’m too busy to vote for you. PERIOD."
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While that sounds quite reasonable - at least, at first blush - the logical question to ask in response to Watkins' proclamation is, then who does he suggest that we vote for, the GOP lunatics that even the Republican voters don’t want? Or maybe he’s suggesting that we just sit on our hands and let the lunatics vote themselves into office. Either way, that would be absolutely devastating to the Black community.
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Thus, with so-called intellectuals like these, the black community doesn’t need any enemies.  So, while I was already a fan of Dr. Perry, even if I'd never heard of her before, once any one of The Treacherous Trio began to criticized her, that alone would have served as a ringing endorsement.
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DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT NATIONWIDE IS ON YOUR SIDE?

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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Friday, February 17, 2012

WHITNEY HOUSTON - HOMEWARD BOUND


Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

WHITNEY HOUSTON


 
HOMEWARD BOUND
*
Open your arms, dear Lord,
on this sacred day,
for your battered young angel
is well on her way.
She carried out your mission,
and now that she's done,
she's on her way home,
for the rest that she's won.
*
Celebrated, honored,
then criticized at times, 
as she carried out your mission
to open our eyes.
Born to suffer,
this great lady of song,
to deliver your message
of how life can go wrong.
"I’m every woman -
it’s all in me,"
A message to victims,
too challenged to see.
*
Then,
Like nothing we’d ever seen before,
She made her departure
for Heaven’s door.
With the rich and the famous
all gathered around,
her chariot arrived,
and she was homeward bound.
*
Dressed like a princess,
all in white;
Her beauty aglow
on this sacred night.
Young and vibrant,
All sickness now gone;
No more
Suffering or pain,
As she rose to move on.
*
Her chariot was swift,
with six
beautiful white horses,
and
the thunder roared
as her chariot departed.
With one final glance
at the ones that she loved,
she was whisked
through the clouds
to her new home above.
*
We’ll miss
her warm smile,
in our own selfish way,
but you’re sweet baby girl
will be back home today.
*
Thank you, Whitney



And We'll Always Love You

Eric L. Wattree

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


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