Thursday, June 22, 2017

WHY AMERICA IS SUFFERING (REPRISE)

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

WHY AMERICA IS SUFFERING
(REPRISE)
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Racists tend to be the mediocrity of White society, so they try to use the fact that they were born White to define themselves and to compensate for their lack of personal value. Their entire sense of self-esteem is based more upon group association than individual value and accomplishment, and their entire claim to personal significance is, "Well, at least I'm better than them."
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That's what drove radical conservatives so crazy about President Obama - he's walking, breathing, evidence that they cannot claim superiority by virtue of the color T-shirt they were born in, and that simple fact alone has caused them to suffer a severe attack of cognitive dissonance before the eyes of the entire world. That's also why they're so determined not to allow President Obama to be seen as the great president that he was, even if it means destroying the country - and international corporatists are using the social division inherent in those sentiments to lower the standard of living of the American people - and our hatred, division, and ignorance is playing right into their hands.
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Thus, this entire nation, and the future of our children, is being threatened by the desperate attempt of a handful of insecure bigots to maintain their delusions of superiority, and as far as they’re concerned, if the country has to be sacrificed for that cause, so be it . . . thus, Donald Trump.
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So "Making America Great Again" is actually racist code for taking America back to when bigotry was the law of the land, ignorant White boys were honored, and women were kept barefoot and pregnant. Thus, what we're Currently witnessing in America is not the GOP's attempt to improve the lives of the American people, but the GOP'S desperate attempt to erase Barack Obama from history (by any means necessary), and the dying gasp of the last vestiges of Jim Crow.
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FELLOW AMERICANS, DON’T LET OUR IGNORANCE DESTROY US
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The racist animosities that are running rampant among ALL segments of the American people are playing right into the hands of the those who are our most insidious enemy – the global corporatists. These people are intent upon enslaving us all. The only difference between literal slavery and what they have in mind for us is we'll have to provide our own housing.
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These people are no longer Americans; they are now globalists, and America is just a virtual cotton field to them. And as long as they keep the poor and middle class fighting and hating one another, we’ll be powerless against their social and political manipulation. So "illegal aliens" and others are far from the biggest threat to the American way of life – the global corporatists are.
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If Al Qaeda represents a rattlesnake in America's garden, the corporate/GOP alliance represents a python under our bed. Al Qaeda can only destroy buildings, but the corporate/GOP alliance wants to destroy our entire way of life and replace American democracy with a system of corporate feudalism, where corporations, literally, control the nation.  So it is essential that every man, woman, and child who is a part of the poor and middle class begin to recognize that fact, put our petty hatreds aside, and come together to fight our most insidious enemy - the global corporatist.
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History is clear. Conservative Republicans don't mind spending money, they just don't want to spend it on those who need it - us. Remember, they're the party of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of fiscal conservatism who believed that only those who owned property should even be allowed to vote - and based on the voter obstruction laws currently being passed in Republican controlled states, they're heading in that direction again. Hamilton said the following:
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"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people.... The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government." Debates of the Federalist Convention (May 14-September 17, 1787).
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Hamilton's views were rejected by the founding fathers, mainly because many of them left Europe to escape the class system. But those who hold Hamilton's view are still among us. They simply have to remain discreet, and they must contrive various pretexts to camouflage their agenda in order to remain politically viable. But the agenda is clearly visible for anyone who takes the time to look. It's simply being disguised and hidden within the fabric of purposely instigated racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of hatred and bigotry. The GOP specializes in using emotion to circumvent clear thinking.
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While they have the poor and middle class distracted by hating and fighting one another, the GOP/Corporate alliance is steeped in the process of undermining us all. Clear evidence of that is, any and all legislation that benefits poor and middle class Americans is labeled "socialist," and the GOP fights it tooth-and-nail as "un-American." But they had absolutely no problem in bailing out Wall Street, even though the source of Wall Street's repeated problems result from their repeated attempts to swindle the American people. But Americans have been conditioned to believe that protecting ourselves is "un-American"; the American way of doing things is handing our wealth over to the rich. The scam is clear for anyone to see, but again, the American people have been conditioned to blame one another.
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The Republican Record of Economic Irresponsibility
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During the George W. Bush administration wasn't the first time that the American people had to bailout Wall Street as a result of Reckless Republican policies. As I pointed in my article, "The GOP: A One Hundred Year Record of Swindling The American People,"  due to the continued freewheeling fiscal policies of conservative Republicans, between 1986 and 1989, spanning the presidencies of Reagan and Bush Sr., the FSLIC had to pay off all the depositors of 296 institutions with assets of over $125 billion.
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The GOP's passion to further enrich the wealthy at the expense of the middle and lower classes seems to know no bounds and transcend all logic. From the moment the New Deal safety net to protect the American people went into place, conservatives have been determined to dismantle it. There are two reasons for that. The first is, it sets money aside for the American people that they'd like to get their hands on. The second is, it insulates the American people from being so vulnerable to corporate manipulation. We'll discuss how that works below.
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The closest the GOP has come to dismantling the New Deal started during the Reagan administration with Supply-Side Economics, or, "Reaganomics" - and the battle is currently raging in Washington D.C. as we speak.
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Supply- Side Economics was a scheme hatch by U.S.C. economist Arthur Laffer and the Reagan crowd which was supposed to cut the deficit and balance the budget. The theory behind Reaganomics was ostensibly, if you cut taxes for business and people in the upper tax brackets, and then deregulated business of such nuisances as safety regulations and environmental safeguards, the beneficiaries would invest their savings into creating new jobs. In that way the money would eventually "trickle down" to the rest of us. The resulting broadened tax base would then not only help to bring down the deficit, but also subsidize the tremendously high defense budget. It's exactly the same plan the Republicans in congress are pushing today. But when the plan was first floated, even George Bush Sr., Reagan's vice president to be, called it "voodoo economics."
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Reaganomics, for the most part, sought to undo many of the safeguards put into place during the Roosevelt era and create a business environment similar to that which was in place during the Coolidge Administration. What actually took place, however, was even more like the Coolidge era than planned.
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Instead of taking the money and investing it into creating new jobs, the money was used in wild schemes and stock market speculation. One of these schemes, the leveraged buy-out, involved buying up large companies with borrowed funds secured by the company's assets, then paying off the loan by selling off the assets of the purchased company. This practice cost the citizens of this country its industrial base. In addition, the bottom fell out of the stock market. On Monday, October 19, 1987 the Dow-Jones Average fell 508.32 points. It was the greatest one-day decline since 1914 - 15 years before the Great Depression.
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 And what about Ronald Reagan's promise to balance the budget and lower the deficit? By the time he left office he was not only the most prolific spender of any president, but he also added more to the deficit than all of the other presidents from George Washington to his own administration combined. And what does the Republican Party propose to do about that? One of the Republican proposals was their "contract with America," a capitol gains tax cut - for the rich.
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Then in 1988 Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $1.3 billion. It was headed by Neil Bush, brother of George W. Bush.  The investigation alleged that he was guilty of "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." The issue was eventually settled out of court with Bush paying a mere $50,000 settlement.
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Then there was the Lincoln Savings and loan scandal in 1987, involving John McCain. The scandal was very similar to the one that played out on Wall Street in 2008. McCain was one of a group of senators dubbed "The Keating Five" involved in a scandal by the same name.
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In 1976 Charles Keating moved to Arizona to run the American Continental Corporation. In 1984, shortly after the Reagan era push to deregulate the savings and loan community, Keating bought Lincoln Savings and Loan and began to engage in highly risky investments with the depositors' savings. In 1989 the parent company, which Keating headed, went bankrupt, and it resulted in over 21,000 investors losing their life savings. Most of the investors were elderly, and the loss amounted to about 285 million dollars.
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After having received over a million dollars from Keating in illegal campaign contributions, gifts, free trips, and other gratuities, the Keating Five - Senators John Glenn, Don Riegle, Dennis DeConini, Alan Cranston, and Sen. John McCain - attempted to intervene in the investigation into Keating's activities by the regulators. Later, they were admonished to varying degrees by the senate for attempting to influence regulators on Keating's behalf. Charles Keating ended up being convicted for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy, for which he received 10 years by the state court, and a 12 year sentence in federal court. After spending four and a half years in prison, his convictions were overturned. But prior to being retried, he pled guilty to a number of felonies in return for a sentence of time served.
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Then came the George W. Bush administration that caused close to a million people to die uselessly in an illegal war in Iraq, robbed the American people blind, whose fumbling ignited the longest war in American history in Afghanistan, and whose greed came very close to sending the nation into yet another depression.
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Now, after all of their repeated efforts to deplete the national treasury, they're unanimously voting against every piece of legislation that the Democrats propose to repair the damage they created and bring relief to the American people. Then they have the audacity to claim that they're doing it because they're concerned about deficit spending.
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They're against affordable health care for American families; they're against any kind of spending to put Americans back to work, and they're against extending unemployment insurance to relieve the burden of America's unemployed. What's particularly telling, however, is they're also against any kind of strong legislation to prevent the financial community (them) from being able to rob the American people in the future.
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Also interesting, considering their deep "concern" over the national debt, is the estimated $4 trillion Bush tax cut for the rich. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Considering  both the direct costs of the tax cuts and the associated increase in interest payments, the tax cuts would increase deficits by nearly $4 trillion between 2005 and 2014."
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1811
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So the fact is, what they really wanted prior to the 2012 election was to maintain the status quo, and make sure that the American people remained miserable, hungry, and divided until the elections so they'd have a better chance to regain power and raid the treasury again. Republican Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, was frustrated and reckless enough to say it out loud - "Our No. 1 priority is to make this president a one-term president" - not to save America, or to bring relief to the American people, but to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Flag pens in lapels and patriotic rhetoric notwithstanding, that says it all about the GOP's lack of concern for America, or the American people.
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Now that they've lost the 2012 election, their agenda has shifted to making sure that President Obama is not successful, because if he is, and you combine that with the rapidly changing demographic and Hillary Clinton's popularity, that could spell doom for the future of the GOP - and it should, because they're grossly out of touch with reality, and, America's best interest. They're out to create a corporate feudalist society. The government shutdown alone, clearly demonstrates that they have absolutely no respect for democracy.
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The Middle Class Slide Since the Reagan Administration
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"In 1982, Forbes magazine began its now much-read annual list of America’s richest men and women. At the time of the first list, there were 12 billionaires in the country and fewer than 200,000 millionaires. By the year 2000, there were nearly 300 billionaires and about 5 million millionaires. Smith’s account of the rise of the rich and super-rich tells the story of five types of individuals: entrepreneurs, dealmakers, investors, tycoons (corporate executives, who are distinguished from
entrepreneurs), and entertainers."
http://www.beardbooks.com/beardbooks/the_rise_of_todays_rich_and_super_rich.html
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"No matter how you slice it, when it comes to income and wealth in America the rich get most of the pie and the rest get the leftovers. The numbers are shocking. Today the top 1 percent of Americans control 43 percent of the financial wealth (see the pie chart above) while the bottom 80 percent control only 7 percent of the wealth. Incredibly, the wealthiest 400 Americans have the same combined wealth as the poorest half of Americans — over 150 million people."
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A recent Princeton study Shows that America is no longer a democracy. We are now an Oligarchy, controlled by the rich. So it is essential that we wake up. Racism is no longer the war; racism is now merely a TOOL of war. We are now knee-deep in a CLASS WAR, and the American people are losing badly - ALL of the American people.
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Here’s the game that we're allowing the corporatists to run on us. They’ve convinced America that if we give the rich enough money, they’ll use that money to create jobs for the poor and middle class. Now, I don’t claim to be an intellectual giant, but it doesn’t take a great mind to understand that demand fuels supply, not the reverse.
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If I made my living selling Gucci Bags, for example, I don’t care how much money you give me, I’m not going to hire anyone to produce any more Gucci Bags than I have in stock if I'm being forced to sell those bags in a homeless shelter. It wouldn’t make sense, because in a homeless shelter no one would have the money to purchase my product. The only way that you’re going to get me to hire people to produce Gucci Bags is if you gave that money to the people in the shelter so they’d have the money to buy my merchandise.
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That's exactly what's happening in America today. Corporate profits are at record highs, and the information and charts above clearly show that corporations and corporate executives are currently making more money than they've ever dreamed of in the past. So there's no reason for high unemployment. The rich are not putting that money into creating jobs; that money is going into offshore accounts, and we never see it again. That's why the rich are getting so much richer, and the middle class so much poorer.
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On the other hand, if the Republican congress would allow President Obama to create jobs to repair American's infrastructure - repair bridges, dams, and interstate highways and the like - that money would create jobs, just like it did when it brought us out of the Great Depression. Then, Americans would have money to spend on goods and services. They would go on vacations, so hotels and restaurants would have to hire people to accommodate them, and the food industry would have to hire people to process and serve their food. They would also buy bicycles and toys for their children, and that would create jobs, and they would buy more clothing, gas, and make needed repairs to their homes, and that would create jobs. And as a result of all those jobs being created, more revenue would come into the government in taxes, which would allow us to pay down the national debt.
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Again, think about it - the business community is making more profits than they've ever made in their history, so there's no logical reason for unemployment in America to be so high. The reason that unemployment is so high is because it's being kept high on purpose.
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Consider this. In the sixties, Howard Hughes was famous for being one of the richest men in the world.  He was considered so incredibly rich that they made movies about him. But compared to today's billionaires, he'd qualify for food stamps. Howard Hughes only had $4 billion, but today, Bill Gates has $79.1 billion, David Koch, of the infamous Koch brothers has $41.3 Billion, and even the young man, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, has $29.9 billion.  So there is absolutely no reason for the American people to be suffering so severely, and for unemployment to be so high - yet, they have us hating and pointing the finger at one another as the cause of our misery, when as pointed out above, the wealthiest 400 Americans have as much combined wealth as the 150 million poorest half of Americans.
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So it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see where the wealth of middle-class America has gone. It hasn't gone to "illegal aliens," or people requiring food stamps. Corporate welfare is nearly double the cost of all social programs. About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent nearly 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.  http://thinkbynumbers.org/government-spending/corporate-welfare/corporate-welfare-statistics-vs-social-welfare-statistics/
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The GOP's supposed concern for the national debt is only a pretext to block spending and keep unemployment high. They are purposely trying to turn America into a homeless shelter, because the GOP and its corporate cronies have a vested interest in keeping us angry, miserable, and divided.
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The GOP's motive is political - by keeping unemployment high and the American people miserable, it makes Obama and the Democrats look bad, and they're hoping that the resulting anger and division in the country will help them to get elected in a demographic that's shrinking to the GOP's disadvantage. And the corporatist are trying to squeeze the middle class. They’re trying to lower the American middle class standard of living to a level that conforms to the other countries in the global economy, where in many countries people make less per week than some middle-class Americans spend on lunch per day. So they're trying to squeeze the middle class to the point that it lowers our expectations, and we'll feel grateful for less.
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Their ultimate agenda is to turn America into a corporate feudalist state, where the American people are totally dependent on corporations for their survival. That will greatly enhance corporate profits, and essentially, allow them to control this nation. That's why the GOP is attacking unions, our educational system, and all social programs that prevent us from being totally reliant on the business community. They want to have complete control over our lives. Here's the philosophy behind it and how it works:
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I pointed out the following in a previous article:
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In 1929 during Republican, Herbert Hoover’s administration, the stock market crashed - much like under the Bush Administration - starting the Great Depression, but back then there was no Barack Obama to come to the rescue or mitigate the damage early on. So in spite of the fact that by 1933 the unemployment rate was at 33.3% with 16 million people out of work, the Republican, Herbert Hoover, just sat, thinking that the economy would eventually rejuvenate itself. Much like Republicans of today, Hoover and his Republican Party had absolutely no compassion for either the plight of the American people, or America’s veterans who had put their lives on the line for this country.
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During Hoover's administration, 15,000 WWI veterans marched on Washington demanding that they be paid what they were owed by the government. Hoover responded by calling in federal troops to throw these ex-servicemen off government property.
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The conditions were horrific. During the Great Depression there was no such thing as Social Security, so when a person became too old or weak to work they had no income, so they had to depend on their children for support. That meant instead of a husband and wife only having to support themselves and their children, which was tough enough during those times, they also had to support their parents. So three generations of a family could be living in one household - and in many cases, the parents of both the husband, and the wife lived with the family.
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In addition, there was no such thing as Medicare or Medicaid, so when one of grandparents became ill the medical costs would devastate the entire family. These conditions kept lower and middle-class families in such dire need of funds that they had to accept whatever crumbs the business community chose to throw at them - and remember, at that time there was no Fair Labor Standards Act or unions to protect a worker’s rights, or a minimum wage, so businesses could treat the worker anyway they wanted, and pay them whatever they wanted.
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They could work you 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no overtime, and no paid vacation. In addition, since there was no child labor laws, if your boss didn’t think you were being productive enough, he could insist that you bring your children in (as young as 9 years old) to assist you if you wanted to keep your job. Then if you protested, he could fire you on the spot, in which case, your entire family - sick grandparents and all - would be thrown out on the street, because there was no such thing as unemployment insurance.
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As a result, in many cases the entire family, including the children, had to work long, hard hours under sweatshop-like conditions in coal minds and the like, which in many cases led to the death and/or maiming of young children. So in a very real sense, Great Depression era workers lived under a form of slavery - the one difference was, they had to go out and find their own housing.
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Think back to the "Little Rascals" we use to watch as kids, and how ragged they were, or the cartoons we use to watch, where a landlord would come to the door (always portrayed in a black suit) and would tell a begging and crying mother that she had one more day to come up with the rent or she and her family would be thrown out in the snow. That was an accurate portrayal of the way people lived in those days, and those are the conditions that the conservative Republican agenda would restore in America today. Those are the conditions that they’re fighting to restore today.
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Think about it - while the GOP comes up with various pretexts to explain their actions, they are oppose to the minimum wage, they would cut unemployment insurance, "modify" Social Security, they’re against Affordable healthcare, they’re leaving no stone unturned to abolish unions, they’re blocking every jobs bill that comes before them, and in spite of record corporate profits, their corporate cronies are sending jobs out of the country and keeping unemployment high until the American middle class caves in and accept a lower standard of living.
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IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO MERELY SALUTE OUR HEROES
Keeping unemployment high also serves another purpose - it provides an endless supply of young American men and women to use as canon fodder for neocon military adventurism. But what else do you expect them to do? We certainly can’t expect them to send their children over there to die for the country. Dying for your country is no longer for the "rich and wellborn," that’s for the "little people." Then, IF your children come back home maimed and broken from their service to the country, the GOP has absolutely no compassion for them. Just like with Herbert Hoover, they call them deadbeats and a burden on the nation for having to beg for food stamps, and then throw them off the premises. And that’s in spite of the fact that most of the GOP ran - like Dick ‘five-deferment’ Cheney - when they were called upon to serve the nation. The GOP only love our troops as long as they can carry a weapon.
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I WOULD START THE SEARCH IN DICK CHENEY'S
OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
The GOP/corporatist agenda also explains why they were so determined to send innocent American children to die in a senseless Iraqi war. The poor and middle class safety net put in place by the New Deal enjoys so much support among the American people that the GOP couldn't attack it head on. So they took us into Iraq to enrich their cronies and passed a tax cut for the rich that squandered trillions of dollars and ravaged our national treasury. That gave them a pretext to now claim, "We can no longer afford to fund the nation's safety net." But they could afford to build an embassy in Iraq that was so extravagant that it rivals the Vatican (U.S. Embassy Building will Rival the Vatican). And they could also afford to send so much unaccounted for CASH to Iraq that they could "MISPLACE" 6.6 BILLION dollars without a whimper from those who now want to count every penny that we spend on the poor and middle class.
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So we're being played America, and if we don't put our petty hatreds and prejudices aside and come together to fight this "Domestic Enemy" of the United States, the Tea party, the Klan, the Black Guerrilla Army, and the Mexican Mafia are going to find themselves shoulder-to-shoulder picking virtual cotton on the very same plantation, singing, "We Shall Overcome."


A Letter to Bush and Cheney From a Dying Vet
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OLD MARINES NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY,
AND WE CURRENTLY HAVE A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WHO IS CLOSER TO THE RUSSIANS THAN HE IS THE CIA AND THE OTHER 26 INTELLIGENCE SERVICES WHOSE JOB IT IS TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.  AS AN OLD MARINE, I HAVE A SEVERE PROBLEM WITH THAT. WHAT COULD WE POSSIBLY BE THINKING!!!?  I NEVER THOUGHT I'D LIVE TO SEE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TOLERATE SUCH A THING.
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So how do we fight against their control of our political system?
Vote against ANY politician whose money isn’t coming directly from the people. And ALWAYS vote against the issues and politicians whose campaigns are flooded with money.
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LEARN THE ISSUES, ALWAYS VOTE FOR JUSTICE, AND NEVER, VOTE YOUR HATRED, OR IN RESPONSE TO MONEY. 
FOR THE JUSTICE THAT YOU VOTE AGAINST, WILL INVARIABLY, BECOME YOUR OWN. 
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SCOTT WALKER: REPUBLICAN STRATEGY
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Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
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Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

AN APPEAL TO PRESERVE OUR CULTURE



Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

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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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

MORE THOUGHTS ON WHY THIS BLACK MAN HAS NO SYMPATHY FOR BILL COSBY

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree



MORE THOUGHTS ON WHY THIS BLACK MAN HAS NO SYMPATHY FOR
BILL COSBY

When Bill was flying high and deluding himself into believing that his money and fame made him an honorary member of the "White Elitist Society," he said the following in his infamous "Pound Cake" rant:
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"Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! And then we all run out and are outraged, 'The cops shouldn't have shot him!' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"
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Well, maybe he was hungry, Bill. Does that warrant the death penalty? On the other hand, you were stealing something of a lot more value than pound cake, so let me ask you the same question - what the hell were you doing with Quaaludes in your hand? So don't try to look all sad and put-upon now, because you're the one who set the standard by which you're now being judged.
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It's now being asked would you be in your current position if you were White?  Well, maybe, and maybe not.  But that’s not the issue here.  The issue is whether or not you actually committed what you're alleged to have done to these 60 (count ‘em - SIXTY!) women - period.  If you’re found guilty of this crime - and personally, I think you are - that’s a form of bigotry as well.  It’s called sexism, or misogyny, so you're in no position to be whining about discrimination.  If you were a White homosexual accused of abusing 60 Black men in the exact same manner, the narrative would be completely different.  There'd be demonstrations all over this country screaming for your head.  So why should we be any less outraged over what you’re alleged to have done to these women?
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America really needs to wake up - and especially Black people.  Sexual bigotry is just as disgusting as racial bigotry. In spite of the fact that if many of us had to depend on our father's to stand by us as children we would have long since starved to death, women are not only discriminated against as Black people, but as women, and not only by the White establishment, but by America as a whole - and that includes the Black community.  While we no longer tolerate the use of the "N-word" in this society, we don't hesitate to put out videos that are disseminated all over the world calling Black women "bitches" and hoes"as entertainment - and these are videos created by Black men!  So I don't want to hear a damn thing about you being discriminated against, not in this case, because if you're found guilty of the charges lodged against you, you're just as much of a bigot as the Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan. You're just a different kind of bigot.
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Think about this, Bill. What if some perverted bigot did the exact same thing to your daughter?  I don’t know about you, but as “America’s favorite dad” I’m sure you’ll understand when I tell you  that if  you’d abused my daughter in that way, you wouldn’t have even made it to court.  So if you’re found guilty of these serial RAPES (and let’s call a hat a hat, that’s what it was), I hope they throw your perverted ass UNDER the jail, “America's favorite dad” or not, “good brother.”  You deserve it, because on top of what you did to these women, you’re a hypocrite, and a pig of a husband as well.
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Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.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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