Wednesday, October 11, 2017

RITA EDMOND AT PASADENA CITY COLLEGE

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

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


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

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EMBRACEABLE YOU - RITA EDMOND

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HERE'S TO LIFE - SHIRLEY HORN

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HERE'S TO LIFE - RITA EDMOND

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IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING - KING PLEASURE

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

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YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT LOVE - RITA EDMOND

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SUNNY - RITA EDMOND

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

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

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YOU'VE CHANGED - RITA EDMOND

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SPEAK ON IT, RITA!!!
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Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
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Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Thursday, October 05, 2017

A TRIBUTE TO OBAMA

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

A TRIBUTE TO OBAMA
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During this era of chaos, dysfunction, and confusion, America is beginning to realize what a very special president we had in Barack Obama.  The man can’t even stop to buy a hot dog without cars honking at him on the street, and people stopping to applaud him - and with good reason. In the entire eight years of his presidency, there was not a hint of scandal, no childish bluster or idiotic pronouncements, and his entire family was a perfect reflection of American values.  Barack Obama brought competence, quiet dignity, and the respect of the world to the American people - and he did his own people proud in the process.
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He's everything that Donald Trump has always longed to be but lacked the personal assets to attain. Those assets include competence, intelligence, and the strength of character to be embraced by the world.
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Thus, so much for Black inferiority.
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SO HERE’S A TRIBUTE TO ONE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST PRESIDENTS 
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FIRST LADY
MICHELLE OBAMA



GIVE IT SOME THOUGHT, MICHELLE.  AMERICA NEEDS YOU.


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

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

TRUMP’S CHILDISH AND UNPATRIOTIC JEALOUSY OF PRESIDENT OBAMA

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

TRUMP’S CHILDISH AND UNPATRIOTIC JEALOUSY OF PRESIDENT OBAMA
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The problem with Trump is he desperately wants to be an Obama, but he just doesn't have Obama's character, eloquence, or intelligence - and he knows it, and that's driving him crazy.  So instead of trying to compete, he's trying to tear down Obama's legacy.
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A PATRIOT!!!?  PLEASE!
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He is so jealous of Obama that he's depriving millions of Americans of healthcare just to try to sabotage President Obama's accomplishments.  But his efforts may a blessing in disguise, because they serve to reveal the GOP's true colors - they don't give a damn about the American people.
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WHY AMERICA HAS BEEN SLIDING DOWNHILL EVERY SINCE
IT’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH RONALD REAGAN
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A Lesson in Republican Hypocrisy and Distortion
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Is the modern Republican Party really “the party of Lincoln,” and responsible for freeing the slaves? I don’t think so. But the GOP regularly, routinely, and with a straight face makes that claim. One Republican recently confronted me and stated the following:
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"It was Republicans who beat Democrats in the Civil War, thus freeing the slaves. It was Democrats who started the KKK as its military wing to intimidate the Republican party who were running the south after the war. Can a leopard change its spots?? Are the Democrats now the party FOR the black people after being against them for so long? So many of you are duped by the Devil's trickery. a few table scraps from massa's table and you run right back to his side. The Democrats are the racists."
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The above assertion is a prime example of how many Republicans can take a kernel of truth and create a banquet of lies. The truth is, while Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, and so was Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King, since the Civil War the Republican and Democratic parties have completely changed their relative political positions. So relative to their current political philosophy, the modern Republican party bears absolutely no relationship to its predecessor.  If we were fighting the Civil War today, the Republican Party would be the Confederacy.  Thus, we're dealing in semantics.  We shouldn't think in terms of Democrats versus Republicans, because parties change their polarities. We should think in terms of liberals versus conservatives, they don't.
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Prior to the Civil War the Republican Party was made up of big business interests and Northern aristocrats, and the Democratic Party was made up of Dixiecratcs and Southern agrarian interests - farmers and slave owners. Thus, the Republicans were relatively progressive liberals and the Democrats (or Dixiecrats) were Southern conservative slave owners, but a transition began to take place during the Great Depression due to corporate greed and a complete lack of empathy for the plight of the American people.

The Great Depression
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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 the 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 and had no income, 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, were living with the family.
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But that began to change during the Great Depression when Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came out against the corporations and to the aid of the poor with his "New Deal for the American People." With the “New Deal,” Democrats ushered in workers’ rights. They created Social Security so the elderly wouldn't have to go to the "Poor House" or become a burden on their children when they became too old to work.
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The Democrats also created unemployment insurance so people would have something to fall back on if they lost their jobs, and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set rules of conduct for corporations that allowed workers to work with some semblance of dignity. The new law set a minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor standards, and many other regulations protecting workers.
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Prior to the FLSA corporations could work employees for as many hours as they liked, and they often set wages so low that families had to send their children to work just to survive - and many of those children were maimed or killed because they had to work under the most horrific conditions, such as in coal mines and the like.
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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 an employee 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no overtime, and no paid vacation. In addition, since there were no child labor laws, if your boss didn’t think you were being productive enough, he could insist that you bring your children in (as young as 9 years old) to assist you if you wanted to keep your job. Then if you protested, he could fire you on the spot, in which case, your entire family - sick grandparents and all - would be thrown out on the street, because there was no such thing as unemployment insurance.
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As a result, in many cases the entire family, including the children, had to work long, hard hours under sweatshop-like conditions in coal mines and the like, which in many cases led to the death and/or maiming of young children. So in a very real sense, the 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, and as we speak they are well on their way to accomplishing.  At this very moment the Republican majority in congress is trying their very best to take healthcare away from the poor and working class in order to finance a massive tax cut for the rich.
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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 working class caves in and accepts a lower standard of living.
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Keeping unemployment high served a valuable and useful purpose, both back then, as it does today. The scarcity of jobs not only gives the rich business community leverage over the working class, but it keeps us divided and at one another's throats.  In addition to that, today it provides an endless supply of young American men and women to be used as canon fodder for military adventurism. What do you expect them to do? We certainly can’t expect them to send their children to foreign lands to die for the country.
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Dying for this country is no longer for the "rich and wellborn," that’s for the "little people." Then,
when 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 when most of the GOP - like Dick ‘five-deferment’ Cheney, and Donald Trump, who also got five deferments - were called upon to serve the nation, they evaded the draft to avoid having to fight in Vietnam. The GOP only love our troops as long as they can carry a weapon.  Yet, they're always waving the flag.
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That's why after President Roosevelt brought relief to the people with what Republicans refer to as “big government, socialist programs,” the Democratic Party began to become associated with the common man, and the Republican party embarked upon a single-minded mission that has lasted to this day, to reverse those "bleeding heart liberal" policies and return America to what had previously been the status quo - suffering and abuse.
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The True Conservative Philosophy

In order to understand the GOP’s true motivation, you have to understand the philosophy of the establishment conservative as oppose to the sanitized philosophy that they present to the American people. Alexander Hamilton was one of the founding father’s of fiscal conservatism. He said the following during the Federalist Convention of 1787:
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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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In short, Hamilton suggested that if you weren't "rich and wellborn," he didn’t think you should be able to either vote or hold office, and many people who control the GOP today are still of that mindset. So what many rank-and-file Republicans and social conservatives fail to understand is, they’re being used. The corporatist (or fiscal conservatives) don’t care any more about them than they do Blacks, Hispanics, women, or gays, and when they are done with them, they’re going to discard them like a soiled Tampon, because the GOP’s ultimate goal is to turn America into a corporate feudalist society and lower the American middle-class standard of living to conform to that of the global economy, where workers only make as much a week as many upper middle-class Americans spend on lunch per day - and that goes for whether you’re Black, White, liberal, or conservative. If you’re not "rich and wellborn," you’re the enemy.  So contrary to popular opinion, we are currently knee-deep in a class war - and the working class is losing badly.
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But since the majority of the founding fathers chose to establish a Democratic Republic as oppose to a Plutocracy as Alexander Hamilton advocated, those who were of his plutocratic mindset had to keep a low profile in order to preserve their political viability, but they continued to work to change the system to their liking through their wealth, political clout, and ultimately, their employment policies. That’s one of the things that led to the horrendous working conditions for the average American worker prior to and during the Great Depression, and the "Citizens United" decision by our conservative-led Supreme Court has sent us trotting right back down that road.

A "New Deal" For the American People

In 1933 - after 12 years of Republican governance, and 4 years into the Great Depression - the very aristocratic, but quintessential "bleeding heart liberal" Democrat, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was elected - and he walk through the door coming to the rescue of the American People, and setting a Democratic tradition in stone in the process. So you see, the Democratic Party was the party of the people long before that had anything to do with Civil Rights. It's just that when Civil Rights became an issue, the party remained true to its tradition and embraced the cause of the underdog.
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That tradition was firmly established by FDR during the Great Depression. As soon as he took office he immediately surrounded himself with a group of the finest minds in the country, including Columbia professors Adolph A. Berle, Jr., Rexford G. Tugwell, and Raymond Moley, known at the time as the "Brain Trust." After assembling these men and others he went about the business of developing a" New Deal" for the working class people of this country, who at that point, were starving in the street. So it says much about the cynical character of the GOP that they could take the American penchant for justice and human compassion and turn it into something to be frowned upon with disdain. That's not who we're supposed to be as a people, so by definition, the GOP attitude toward the common man, is un-American.
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The New Deal had two components - one to help the economy to recover from the effects of the Great Depression, and a second component to bring relief to the American people and insure that they would never be placed in a position of total destitution again. To help heal the economy Roosevelt created programs that regulated business, controlled inflation, and brought about price stabilization; to bring relief to the people, he created job programs (much like the ones the GOP is blocking today), signed The National Labor Relations Act which guaranteed workers the right to collective bargaining, and he created the Social Security Administration to guarantee workers some sort of income once they became too old or sick to work. He also signed the Fair Labor Standards Act which protected workers rights and set a minimum wage for workers.
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With his New Deal in place, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this "bleeding heart liberal," not only led this country out of the worst Republican generated crisis that this country had ever faced, but went on to lead the free world in victory over Hitler in WWII, and then ushered in the most sustained prosperity that the world has ever known.
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"In the 1944 election, during World War II, Roosevelt won a fourth term but suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died in office the following year. Thus, Franklin Roosevelt was the only President to have served more than two terms. Near the end of the 1944 campaign, Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey, the governor of New York, announced support of an amendment to the Constitution that would limit future presidents to two terms. According to Dewey, "Four terms, or sixteen years, is the most dangerous threat to our freedom ever proposed" - Yeah, and it wasn’t working very well for the Republicans either.
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But as a direct result of their experience with the Republican Party, our grandparent’s generation - the generation that went through the Great Depression, fought WWII, and who we now refer to as "The Greatest Generation” - wouldn't let a Republican anywhere near the White House, and we're seeing why right now with Donald Trump. They re-elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt 4 times, and again, the Republicans had to push for a Constitution amendment to force term limits on the presidency just to get back into the running  - and even then, they ended up getting Ike Eisenhower, who was a Republican in name only, and by today's standards would be considered a liberal. In 1957 he sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to desegregate Little Rock High School after Arkansas governor, Orval Faubus, blocked the entrance against the “Little Rock Nine,” and as his last act of office Ike warned America to beware of the military industrial complex.

The Republican Agenda And Strategy
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During Civil Rights Movement the Republican Party began to regain some traction as a result of literally millions of racist "Dixiecrats" migrating to the GOP.  So the modern Republican Party is now a coalition of three separate constituencies with confluent interests. The first group is made up of traditional conservatives. These are highly patriotic Americans who believe in limited government, the primacy of the people over government, and fiscal responsibility. But the other two groups that have coalesced within the GOP are much more malevolent - international business interests (fiscal conservatives), and social conservatives (the social bigots).
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It is the former of these two, international business, that controls the GOP. It's largely made up of wealthy and single-minded individuals with huge amounts of monetary resources, and thus, political influence - and they use every bit of that leverage to manipulate what has become their citizen army - the social conservatives. These are the people who hate any and everybody who doesn’t look, think, and act like themselves.
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SOCIAL BIGOTS
The social conservatives are the people we see armed to the teeth at presidential speeches, disrupting town hall meetings, and fighting against their own interests. In short, these are the "Joe the Plumbers" of the world who are being deluded by corporatist propaganda. Also among their ranks are the diehard racists who are still fighting to promote a segregationist agenda. The GOP has found these people easy to manipulate by simply appealing to their emotions.  This is currently Donald Trump's base.
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With the huge migration of social conservatives into it’s ranks, the leaders of the GOP formulated a new strategy - divide and conquer. They use their social conservative army to create anger and division among the working class, and that allows the GOP to attack popular safety-net programs by alleging that it’s being abuse by one group or another that the social bigots hate. Here’s an example of how that tactic works:
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Conservatives have taken the Democratic Party's strength and made it a political liability. First they took the party's penchant for being compassionate toward the plight of the American people and coined phrases such as "bleeding heart liberals" and "tax and spend Democrats." They then played on the frustration of the middle class by tying civil rights legislation, welfare, and crime into one neat bundle as the source of middle class woes; then they attributed all of these problems to what they called the Democrat's tendency to be " bleeding heart liberals." Then once the connection was made between minorities, welfare, crime, and the liberal agenda, it was just a matter of repeatedly hammering that message home.
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In addition, conservatives use such tactics as spitting out the word "liberal" as though they were saying rapist. In this way they not only implant a negative attitude toward liberalism in the mind of the voter, but it's said in such a way that the implication is made that it goes without saying that all the negative stereotyping of liberalism is true. In other words, their attitude seemed to suggest, "I could substantiate what I'm saying about liberals, but I don't think it's necessary since we all know what they're like." And since the GOP has been engaged in a brutal assault our educational system for the past 35 years, very few people know enough about past Republican atrocities, or the illustrious liberal tradition, to know the difference. So many of the electorate simply believe what they’re being told by FOX News, and they have absolutely no idea that they’re dancing with the Devil.
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Through these strategies conservatives accomplished three goals with one ingenious stroke - they defined minorities as slovenly criminals, they define liberal Democrats as "soft on crime," and they allowed themselves the freedom to place these thoughts in the American psyche without having to substantiate their facts. Moreover, they accomplish all this in every sound bite, and without seeming to be blatantly racist with the use of just one word, "liberal." In fact, conservatives have been so thorough in their disparagement of liberalism that at this point the word "liberal" is treated like vulgarity, and simply referred to as "the L word." And that is indeed ironic, considering what liberals have done for this country - and more likely than not, for the very grandparents of many of the most rabid liberal haters.
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That’s why we hear remarks from conservatives like, "Black people are wedded to the Democratic Party because they’re being bought with welfare checks," or that "Black people saw Obama as the Messiah." Such statements betray their ignorance, because they obviously have absolutely no knowledge of the Republican Party’s atrocious history, nor the parallel in history between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Barack Hussein Obama - FDR save America from the Great Depression, and Barack Obama prevented a second one from happening.  That's why Donald Trump and the Republicans are trying to undo everything that President Obama put into place and erase him from history, but it's not gonna work.  In the end, they're just going to destroy themselves, because conservatives have a history of not being able to govern.  They're only talent is in obstruction.

REAGANOMICS
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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 not only help to bring down the deficit, but also subsidize the tremendously high defense budget. When the plan was first floated, even George Bush, 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 planed.
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GOP SABOTAGING THE HEALTHCARE OF
MILLIONS OF AMERICANS
Instead of the rich taking their huge tax breaks 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 national debt than all of the other presidents from George Washington to his own administration combined. And what did the Republican Party propose to do about that? One of the Republican proposals was their "contract with America," a capitol gains tax cut -- for the rich.




That scam continues to this day.  After 9/11, fiscal conservatives decided to used the war in Iraq to ravage the national treasury. They gave themselves a $4 trillion tax cut to further deplete the treasury, then they told the poor and middle class, "Sorry, but we no longer have the revenue to fund the programs that you've come to depend upon for the past seventy years. And in the meantime, Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin was hard at work trying to dismantle labor unions and the Fair Labor Standards Act with "Right to Work" laws. 
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So, can a leopard change its spots? Yes it can - and with regard to the Democratic and Republican parties, the leopard has changed its spots in a very big way. But the modern GOP has never been prone to allowing the facts to distort a well-crafted lie. That's why they have such a fierce aversion to a well-educated electorate.  An educated and well informed people is the bane of the Republican Party.  They depend on an ignorant, bigoted, and emotional base for their very survival.
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Thus, the facts dictate that the modern GOP’s claim to have any connection with President Lincoln whatsoever - other than as the enemy of everything he stood for - is not only a gross misrepresentation of history, but a blatant lie. The fact is, if the Civil War was being fought today, the GOP would be the Confederacy.  So don't get it twisted. Conservatives have ALWAYS been this nation's bigots, regardless to what party they were in, and they currently populate the GOP in huge numbers - and that bigotry is not just against race, but class as well.  So if you're a working class White person, to the GOP, you're just like Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, and Omarosa Manigault - a useful coon.
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Do Racism, Conservatism, and Low I.Q. Go Hand in Hand?

Lower cognitive abilities predict greater prejudice through right-wing ideology.
Published on April 22, 2013 by Goal Auzeen Saedi, Ph.D. in Millennial Media
*

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer | January 26, 2012 10:29am ET 

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, October 01, 2017

ODE TO A CHICKEN HAWK

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

ODE TO A CHICKEN HAWK

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I can understand Trump not being able to fully grasp the concept of patriotism.  After all,  when it was his turn to fight for this country he applied for, and obtained, 5 draft deferments to avoid fighting in Vietnam - and the very same was true of Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh.  But now that they don't have to put their OWN lives on the line, all of a sudden they've morphed into these "Super Patriots" and want to wave their flags at our troops from the sideline - at least, until the troops come home broken and wounded, then they call them deadbeats and want to deprive them of public assistance.  This has been a pattern with Republicans.  During Herbert 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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CHICKEN HAWK
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Oh,
sweet patriot, square of jaw,
and demeanor of great command,
you fearlessly stand
in defense of America,
and the savior of all God’s chosen men.
Anointed by God as his personal envoy
to all men, corrupt and blind,
and charged with the
swift and brutal destruction
of all heathens of other kind.
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You stand vigilant against all our enemies,
both foreign and imagined within;
You vigorously guard against all that is evil,
and all that you see as sin.
You define God’s needs and precious values,
in the most unambiguous tones,
and never once have you erred on behalf of truth,
to reveal “God’s values” are indeed your own.
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You lead our troops in fearless glory,
challenging Death to “Bring it on!”
Never thrusting your sword on the field of battle,
you fearlessly lead the charge by phone.
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Oh,
sweet patriot, square of jaw,
and demeanor of great command,
how selfless your will to guard America,
while hating the pillars upon which it stands.

                                                                          Eric L. Wattree



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


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ODE TO THE BLACK WOMAN

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

ODE TO THE BLACK WOMAN
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"This should be taken with a grain of salt. So does this mean that the blk woman is responsible for a good portion of the Ills of the blk community? Check mate."
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No, good brother, there are many contributing factors to the dysfunction within the Black community, including racism, poor economic conditions, an underfunded public school system, and absentee Black fathers. If many of us had to depend on our fathers for our survival, a large number of us would have long since starved to death. In addition, your perception of Black dysfunction has been forged by the White media.  The corporate media uses the most dysfunctional 10% of  Black people as a model to portray the entire Black community.  If White folks were portrayed as inaccurately as Black people, we'd think all White folks were barefoot Hillbillies.
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So while some, like yourself, may want to attribute Black dysfunction to Black women, I think the majority of us credit Black women with enabling the Black culture to survive - and prosper - IN SPITE of the atrocious conditions that has been forced upon us. So I'd say your view on this issue has been corrupted by the media, is grossly slanted, and overly simplistic, just like the views of many in the White community
In short, you're falsely profiling your own people.

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Black women have become the most educated group in US | The Independent
www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Americas
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"Jun 3, 2016 - Black women are now the most educated group in US, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Between 2009 and 2010, black women earned 68 per cent of associate's degrees, 66 per cent of bachelor's degrees, 71 per cent of master's degrees and 65 per cent of all ...
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"The percentage of black students attending college has increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent from 1976 to 2012, while the percentage of white students fell from 84 to 60 per cent.
By both race and gender, a higher percentage of black women (9.7 per cent) is enrolled in college than any other group, including Asian women (8.7 per cent), white women (7.1 per cent) and white men (6.1 per cent)."


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ODE TO THE BLACK WOMAN
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I have to scratch my head when I hear young
Brothers calling our sisters bitches and hoes;
the Black woman is our most precious asset.
Sister’s are the very womb of our culture,
and if it weren’t for her, we would have
long since been relegated to the
ash heap of history.
.
Sister’s have been standing by us
to help nurture us into adulthood
and reinforcing our manhood
for centuries.
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When we were helpless,
hungry, and abandoned,
SHE WAS THERE . . .to suffer with us,
and nurture us into adulthood.
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When we were beaten down
and told that we weren’t shit
by the White man,
SHE WAS THERE . . .
to nurse our wounds,
and assure us of our value.
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When we ran the street
in a misguided attempt to seek our manhood,
SHE WAS THERE . . .
to rein us in,
and convince us that we were
more than our vision of ourselves.
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And once we gained the wisdom
to become real men,
SHE WAS THERE . . .
to defined our manhood through
the image we saw reflected in her eyes.
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So "THAT BITCH," and "THAT HOE,"
is our most precious
possession . . .
She's the ONLY thing of value we have
in this world,
and the only one who’s ever
given a damn about us -
and she didn't have to be
taught these things -
she was BORN that way,
and we’d be lost without her.
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So wake up, damn fool!
                                                          Wattree
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DEDICATED TO ALL OF THE BEAUTIFUL BLACK WOMEN IN THIS WORLD WHO PUT UP WITH US SO SILENTLY, STAND BY US SO LOYALLY, AND LOVE US SO PASSIONATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY.
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