Sunday, November 25, 2018

ABOUT DONALD TRUMP’S BRAND OF MENTAL ILLNESS

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

EXCELLENCE IS THE KEY TO BLACK LIBERATION

ABOUT DONALD TRUMP’S BRAND OF MENTAL ILLNESS
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A BLUSHING BRIDE SHE'S NOT
A commenter wrote:
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“Is what we are seeing actually mental illness, or is it a result of being born into a family that requires nothing from the child? Trump was a millionaire at age 7. He was given everything, worked for nothing and learned how to con. I am struggling to see this as mental illness.” 
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Response:
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Being rich can contribute to mental illness just as easily as poverty. Those very conditions you described can lead to a bratty and dysfunctional personality so pronounced that it led to Trump never having a real friend or anyone who really cared about him in his life. The loneliness and desperation to prove himself worthy resulting from that can lead to his becoming the narcissistic sociopath that he is.
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All through life Trump's had to convince himself that people hated him because he’s so brilliantly special that the average person is incapable of understanding him. He HAD to indulge in that delusion just to maintain his self-esteem. That’s why he’s always bragging and promoting himself, because for Donald Trump, the only thing important in life is trying to get the world to embrace his delusional vision of himself, or who he'd like to be - even if he has to bring down America, and the entire world, to do it. That explains his intense hatred of Barack Obama. Barack represents everything he's always wanted to be - and rubbing vinegar in the wound is, he's Black.
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OKAY, DONNIE, LET'S PLAY PRESIDENT. LET ME FIX YOUR TIE.
Just imagine going through life where every single person you ever came into contact with hated your guts (the guy's wife doesn’t even seem to like him). He's so arrogant, delusional, and self-absorbed that he's just not the kind of guy that anyone can like or want to be around for any extended period of time. Can you imagine being his friend and having to agonize through endless stories about how wonderful and brilliant he is all night? It must drive Melania absolutely insane.



So, even his so-called supporters and staff don't really like him; they’re simply opportunists like himself - that's why his White House leaks like a sieve. He's just a useful idiot who allows his "supporters" to promote their own agendas - bigotry for some, and power and greed for others. But in private, they talk about him like a dog – an ignorant and incompetent dog, who could either inadvertently, or in an attempt to save face, destroy America and the world.

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There are many ways to segregate people, and the color of their skin is only one of them. But what makes human beings human is their intelligence and ability to think, and in the final analysis, that's what bigots are most afraid of. Many ignorant White people see the writing on the wall. They know they don't have the creative intellect to compete with many non-White people so they’re afraid of being humiliated and left behind – that’s why they’re so enthusiastic about building a wall (notice that there's no clamor to build a wall along our Canadian border where White people come into the country illegally). That's also why they hated Barack Obama so intensely, because he proved that White superiority was a myth, and the primary reason they love Donald Trump so intensely is because his ignorance in office is proving that he’s one of them. That's why they stick with him in spite of his proven incompetence. The more incompetent he is, the more they love him.
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So, Trump is not simply standing up for White America, he’s standing up for ignorant White America. His reign says, “Attention, all idiots with white skin! I got your back”.  It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship. They’re the only thing that keeps Trump’s head above water, and they need him desperately to promote their attempt to hold on to White privilege. 
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But Trump is so delusional that he's blind to that fact. He assesses himself based on the size and optics of his crowds - "I had the biggest inaugural
OBAMA                                        TRUMP
crowd in this country's history", clearly another falsehood. So not only does Trump casually corrupt the truth in service of his grandiosity, but he never stops to ask himself why the crowd that he does have is actually there. He can't afford to, because that would force him to face the truth about himself.
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The same is true with respect to his so-called business acumen. In spite of his 6 bankruptcies, he’s convinced himself that he’s a “stable genius” who's loved and respected throughout the world, and anyone who challenges his delusion can get prepared for childish spitball attack over Twitter. And again, it is those very delusions that explain why Trump caters so passionately to his dysfunctional base. He's finally found a group that he's convinced himself cares about him. While that's also a delusion, they do serve as enablers who are essential to his ability to maintain his distorted view of reality, and he'll do absolutely ANYTHING to maintain that delusion, so he can drench himself in the "love" he's been seeking all of his life.
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The danger is, Trump has an equally irresponsible GOP egging him on and that’s allowing him to place other corrupt and incompetent individuals in key positions throughout our government. And at the same time the results of the Mueller investigation looms large and the Democratically controlled House is using it to place his back against the wall. As a result, we’re experiencing a constitutional collision. So, Trump literally has to win the 2020 election to both maintain his delusional house of cards, and, to avoid becoming the first President of the United States to end up in an orange jumpsuit, taking his children to prison with him, and losing every penny he's got. That's what makes him so dangerous. He’s not only facing international humiliation, but allegations of governmental misconduct, and both civil and criminal liabilities, including  the rape (along with Jeffrey Epstein) of a 13-year-old child. 

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His only allies are two of the most dysfunctional groups in America - the GOP establishment, and his undereducated and mindless base, and if the 2020 election is any indicator, he's going to lose the GOP control of the senate - and his presidency - in the next election. That's going to leave him completely vulnerable to prosecution, and without anyone to pardon him. That's why speaker Pelosi is dragging her feet with impeachment; she doesn't want Mike Pence around to pardon him. She wants Trump in prison and without anyone to come to his rescue - and Trump knows that. That's why we’re experiencing the most dangerous episode in American history.
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In its article reviewing the book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” Psychology Today pointed out:
.
IF TRUMP WANTED TO MAINTAIN HIS PUBLIC FARCE,
BECOMING PRESIDENT WAS THE WORST THING 
THAT EVER HAPPENED TO HIM.

“John Gartner, Ph.D. is the founder of ‘Duty to Warn’ an organization intent on warning our country that we are in dire trouble due to our president’s mental instability. More than 60,000 mental health professionals have signed John’s petition, which states:
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‘We, the undersigned mental health professionals, believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’”
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In addition, he’s a paranoid coward.  In spite of all his big and haughty talk here at home, there's every indication that Donald Trump is the very same coward he was as a young man when he dodged the draft in order to avoid going to Vietnam. According to a report in Newsweek, “President Donald Trump has told aides and White House officials that he was afraid to visit U.S. troops in war zones, and didn’t back war in Iraq and Afghanistan. ‘He’s never been interested in going,’ one unnamed former senior official told the Washington Post. ‘He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill him.’”
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So that just about says it all about "President" Donald Trump - he's a narcissistic sociopath  who feels that his entire life is under the gun due to "deep state," and so paranoid that he's afraid of being killed if he visits our troops in a war zone.  This is the deeply flawed guy that we must rely upon to lead this nation and the world. America is in dire straits. 
.

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Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
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Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Monday, November 19, 2018

THE 'SLANDEROUS' BILLBOARD IN THE HOOD

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

THE 'SLANDEROUS' BILLBOARD IN THE HOOD

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

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*
THE HOOD RAT
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Baby,
I’m sure you know that I love you.
You’re everything I need.
You fit the bill of all my desires,
a perfect match for all of my dreams.
From the moment I first laid eyes on you,
You were everything I craved -
that luscious vision from across the tracks,
that delicate flower, beyond my blade.
*
But what you ask is foreign to me.
You need something that I’m not.
You said, just tweak my nature a little bit,
and you’ll give everything you’ve got.
*
But that "tweak" you need is who I am -
it’s my essence, can’t you see?
How can you speak of loving my soul, but
not the hood rat that is me?
*
While "hood rat" may seem trite to you,
it’s the essence of my being.
So forget about what all the other’s say,
here’s what it means to me:
*
I’ve been brutally dragged through the pits of hell,
yet, managed to survive,
well educated and fully functional,
when I came out the other side.
I scrounged the lessons taught at Harvard,
because knowledge, I found, was free.
But they’ll never obtain the lessons I’ve learned,
or the knowledge that makes me, me.
*
While the "elite" may have heard a mournful Trane,
or Miles muted in the night,
but not in the context of hunger and pain,
or hopelessness, hatred, and blight.
*
So while I've lived the life of a hood rat,
I’ve reaped a knowledge that money can't buy;
a knowledge passed on to my son and daughter,
which has greatly enhanced their lives.
*
Thus, I wouldn't change a single thing in my life -
I’ve faced Hell and passed the test.
I have a PhD in adversity,
that's made me much more,
rather than less.
*
So unlike the people at Harvard and Yale, who
try to buy intellectual clout,
they only study the genius of Miles and Trane,
while I'm who they’re blowin' about.
*
So when snobs try to slur me as "just a hood rat,"
I say, "thank you," and don’t take offense.
I take great pride in surviving the travails in my life,
That’s what gives me my confidence.
*
The Ivy League degrees of those of means
are only paper compared to mine;
while they have a "receipt" for knowledge obtained,
my knowledge is ETCHED within my mind.
*
I can teach philosophy to Aristotle
with the adversity that I’ve endured,
so any snob who tries to match my wit,
will come up short, and that’s for sure.
*
Snobs walk about quoting Socrates and such,
through their "education" they're prone;
but while they’re spewing the thoughts of various dead men,
I spend my time developing my own.
*
Never give the thoughts of ANY man
priority over our own;
You must collect the facts, and think for yourself,
that’s where Harvard and Yale have gone wrong.
*
Preacher, politician, potentate,
whatever their point of view,
God didn't bless them with any knowledge
that he didn't also bestow on you.
*
And being seen as a hood rat has its advantages
against racists of limited wit;
I simply quietly wait for their condescension,
then show ‘em that they ain’t shit.
*
While God made birds to fly and fish to swim,
he made man to think, that's the key.
So any man who claims to be superior
will have to PROVE his wit to me.
*
Because knowledge is the key to set us free,
no matter what the people say,
and there’s nothing more formidable than
a knowledgeable hood rat, and
that’s what you’re looking upon today.
*
Yet, these are the things you want me to purge,
and spurn the life I’ve led,
but I’m sorry, my love,
as much as I love you, the soul of a
hood rat is my edge.
*
*
Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
.
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, November 14, 2018

WE NEED TO KEEP DONALD TRUMP AT HOME

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

WE NEED TO KEEP DONALD TRUMP AT HOME
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HE HAS NEITHER THE CHARACTER NOR INTELLIGENCE
TO ENGAGE IN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY 

Every time Donald Trump leaves home he manages to embarrass the United States. He’s so self-absorbed, narcissistic, and delusional that he thinks the world and our allies are looking up to him with admiration, but actually, the world looks upon him with disgust. He’s seen as a crude, primitive, and unsophisticated hick. Yet, he struts about the world like he’s an emperor. That makes all of America look stupid. After all, “What kind of nation would elect such an ignorant buffoon?”
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All of America’s longtime allies are beginning to line up against him, because we’re, literally, sending a thin-skinned, sociopathic Hillbilly all over the world to represent us, and he’s doing tremendous and long-term damage to the standing of the United States all over the world.

How can our allies have any faith at all in a nation capable of electing such an unqualified ‘buffoon?’ And how can the world have any confidence in any agreements entered into with a man who routinely reneges on agreements simply because he got up on the wrong side of the bed, or he thinks it would serve to titillate his undereducated supporters at home?
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And his judgment has also proven to be atrocious. Even as he was trying to negotiate a nuclear arms agreement with Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, he unilaterally reneged on a carefully thought-out international agreement identical to it with Iran, and that was in spite of the fact that all of our allies agreed that Iran was in strict compliance with its terms. But all that was meaningless to Trump - all he was concerned with was the agreement reflected too well on the competence of his Black predecessor who embarrassed him once at a White House dinner. In addition, a clear example of the depth in which Trump contemplates world affairs was reported by nymag.com. The report indicates that a European diplomat said that "Trump will ask: ‘Did Obama approve this?’ And if the answer is affirmative, he will say: ‘We don’t,'" (http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-putin-russia -collusion.html).
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Trump is also completely ignorant of the significance of American history. During his recent trip to France in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the end of WWI, Trump failed to attend the ceremony honoring our fallen troops. That’s a prime example of just how ignorant and self-absorbed he is. In spite of all of his claims to love our troops, and all his attempts to present himself as some sort of super-patriot, just that one snub was a slap in the face of every veteran who ever served this country. No other president in the history of this nation would have missed that ceremony - even if they had to be rolled out on their deathbed.  Yet, Trump dishonored those fallen troops on just a whim. The reason for that is, he’s so ignorant and self-absorbed that he has absolutely no sense of history. Trump is completely incapable of seeing anything beyond himself as having any importance.
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As a former Marine, I, along with hundreds of thousands of other former Marines have a USMC
“Devil Dog” tattooed on our forearm. That tattoo is in honor of those very fallen marines that Donald Trump so casually dishonored due to rain. The reason that marines so proudly sport that tattoo and are referred to as Devil Dogs is because of the ferocity in which the Marines at Belleau Wood fought and died for this country.  The name, “Devil Dogs” was given to those brave men by German soldiers to describe the United States Marines who fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918. The Germans said those Marines fought with the ferocity of  "Dogs from Hell." 
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So the very first thing a marine learns when he enters Marine Corps boot camp is about the battle of Belleau Wood, because these brave men set the standard for what it means to be a marine. Yet, Donald Trump, a goddamn draft-dodger, casually dismissed them on the ONE-HUNDREDTH anniversary of their sacrifice due to rain. But in response to his unconscionable snub of our fallen troops Trump got immediate blowback:
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Nicholas Soames, a member of Britain’s Parliament and grandson of Winston Churchill, tweeted, "They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen.” 
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And former Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted, "President @realDonaldTrump a no-show because of raindrops? Those veterans the president didn’t bother to honor fought in the rain, in the mud, in the snow - & many died in trenches for the cause of freedom. Rain didn’t stop them & it shouldn’t have stopped an American president.”
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LT. ROBERT MUELLER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
So America should never forgive Trump for dishonoring our fallen warriors, because to do so would be to dishonor them ourselves. They stood up and died for us in the face of the enemy, so we must stand up for them in the face of Trump. And it goes beyond just these fallen heroes. If what Trump did in Europe wasn’t bad enough, when he returned to the United States he also failed to make the two-mile trip to attend the Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery. That’s a tradition that every president in recent history has adhered to, but not Trump - “To hell with ‘em; I got my own problems.” 
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Thus, it’ll be interesting to see the response of Trump’s flag-waving supporters to his snub of some of the most heroic warriors in America history. Is it really patriotism that motivates these supporters, or something much more sinister?  We'll see. It’s easy to wrap yourself in the flag and claim to be a patriot to promote your political ambitions, but what’s not so easy is living up to the hypocrisy in your daily life while under pressure, and Donald Trump has clearly failed to meet that test. 
.
What’s actually going on here is quite clear. In spite of Trump’s claim that the recent midterm elections were a Republican success, the blue wave in the House represents a disaster for him, and a clear repudiation of his presidency by the American people.  In addition, with Democrats in control of the House, every facet of his alleged criminality is going to be thoroughly investigated, and just the thought of that prospect is causing him to implode.
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The Los Angeles Times reported in its article, Trump, stung by midterms and nervous about Mueller, retreats from traditional presidential duties, “[Trump’s] mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6. With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources.”
.
That explains why Trump was so sullen in Europe and missing in action with respect to his presidential duties. The pressure’s on, and he’s personally under the gun so the flaws in his character are coming to the fore. And what that means when it comes to Donald Trump is, “To hell with the fallen troops, they’re already dead. My ass is on the line now, and that’s all that’s important.” So Draft-Dodgin’ Donnie is back, and in full, and self-serving effect. It's just too bad that Trump wasn't as fixated on our fallen vets as he is the Mueller investigation. If he'd thought there was someone at that cemetery who could block the Mueller investigation, a hurricane wouldn't have kept him away - even if he had to fly the helicopter himself. 
.
Our founding fathers are undoubtedly turning over in their graves over this guy, and American history will never forgive the GOP for propping him up, and neither should we. Republicans have done many unpatriotic things in the past in pursuit of their greed and narrow interests, but after this stunt the GOP has revealed itself for exactly what it is - a party of greedy, bigoted, and misogynist pigs who couldn’t care less about America - so we should leave no stone unturned to send the entire party, along with Trump, to the waste bin of history. 


TELL ME,
HOW IS THIS GUY EITHER PRESIDENTIAL, A LEADER, OR QUALIFIED TO ENGAGE IN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY?
HE’S AN IGNORANT BUFFOON WHO DOESN’T EVEN HAVE THE CLASS
TO RESPECT THE VERY WOMB OF OUR SOCIETY.



Eric L. Wattree
Http://wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
.
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Friday, November 09, 2018

ABOUT STANLEY “TOOKIE” WILLIAMS - JUST FOR THE RECORD

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

ABOUT STANLEY “TOOKIE” WILLIAMS - JUST FOR THE RECORD
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Tookie was a very sensitive and intelligent brother. He started the Crips at Washington High School as a defense against bullies, and then it got out of hand. Others started perpetrating crimes in his name, and he was held responsible for the deeds of others. That put a target on his back and forced him to become violent just to survive. 
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Tookie was an ambitious brother, but his reputation prevented him from pursuing the ambitions he held so passionately. The first time he came to the house I asked my wife was she crazy, inviting a vicious murderer to our house? I felt that she was placing our family in danger. But Val never saw him that way. Right up until her death, she saw him as the nice young man that became her friend at Washington High School, and as time went on and I began to recognize his intelligence, I began to see him in the same way - in fact, I started looking forward to seeing him so we could kick-back and talk.
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After I became more comfortable with having him around, at first I saw him more like a project, because my major was psychology in school, but as I got to know him better, I began seeing him much like Val. So when he would come over to visit, we would sit in my den and just talk about life. When he would come by he would completely drop his bad-guy persona and just get real. I think he craved the opportunity to do that with someone, and since Val was 2 years older than he was, he saw her much like his older sister, and eventually, once he got to know me, he saw me as an extension of Val. I also think that Val brought him comfort, because she reminded of the days before his life became so complicated. He once told me that he would do anything to have the life I led - a wife, family, future, and not having to worry about getting his brains blown out at any moment. He said, "That's why I like coming around here, man,  because it gives me a chance to experience normalcy." And then he laughed and said - “and chow-down on Val’s enchiladas” (Val would make them for him every time he came by).
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So Tookie wasn’t struttin’ around tryin’ to be Mr. Big Stuff.  He hated his life. I suggested that he leave the state, but he told me, “That wouldn’t do no good.  I have a target on my back all over the country, by people who don’t even know me. Man, I don’t know how this happened.”
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The last time I saw him and Val together was at a party we gave. He came up missing so I went around the house looking for him. When I peeped in my son and daughter's bedroom, I saw him sitting in the glow of a red nightlight watching them sleep. He had tears in his eyes.  I didn't want to embarrass him, so I sent Val in, and the last time I saw them together she was hugging him, and he was weeping like a child.  When I covered his state-sponsored murder for the Los Angeles Sentinel, as I looked down into his coffin and upon his lifeless body, I thought about that moment, and it’s stayed with me ever since. They both died in 2005.

*****************************
Tookie’s major crime wasn’t murder, per se - mere murder is routinely a part of the American ethic. Tookie’s major crime was allegedly committing murder in promotion of his own agenda, rather than the agenda of Haliburton and Exxon/Mobile.  We hand out medals for committing murder in their interest.
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People like Bush, Cheney, and Donald Trump have turned the American military into nothing less than the Crips with a dental plan. The United States is the biggest exporter of murder, and the means to murder, in the world. Our entire economy is built upon it. Tookie merely took the American ethic - in which he’d been indoctrinated all of his life - and applied it to his own environment. As far as he was concerned, he was America, and everybody else that didn’t see things his way, was the USSR. 
.
No, I’m not trying to be an apologists for the murder and mayhem Tookie left in his wake, but I do want to put it in perspective.  Yes, Tookie killed people, but only people who were trying to kill him.  On the other hand, George W. Bush is responsible for the deaths of over a million innocent people in Iraq, and they built him a library.
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Thus, the existence of the Tookies in the Black community is our fault, because we’re so busy watching BET, MTV, ESPN, partying and having a good time, that we're failing to educate our own young people in OUR own values. We're allowing them to take on the very values that were responsible for our enslavement - and I'm not speaking as a detached academic from an office atop Mt. Olympus, I'm speaking as a hood rat . . . just like my late friend, Tookie.



*******************
ODE TO TOOKIE
*
Tookie?
Yeah,
I knew Tookie;
I WAS Tookie,
And I knew his pain.
*
I knew the pain of a child
That the cold, smirking
Eyes of society
Peered down upon;
Of being caught like
A doe in the headlights
Of unbridled hatred
For nothing more than
Just . . . being;
Of being
Under-acknowledged,
Under-appreciated,
And under-educated,
By a society
Intent on robbing me
Of the innocence
That is every child’s birthright.
And I know the churning, agonizing,
And unfocused anger
Of a youth
Who knows anger
Much too soon.
*
So,
Tookie?
Yeah,
I knew Tookie;
I WAS Tookie,
But I ain’t going out like that.
*
Because some the greatest minds
I’ve ever known
Held court while sitting
on empty milk crates
In the parking lot
Of ghetto liquor stores;
And at their feet I embraced
The love of knowledge,
And through their tutelage
Defined self-worth
In my own terms.
*
These were the "Eulipians"—
Writers, poets, musicians, painters,
And uncommon drunks—
Those shade-tree philosophers who
Contemplated the fungus
Between the toes of society;
Who danced with reckless abandon,
Unfettered by formal inhibition
Through the presumptuous
Speculation of the ages.
*
Yes, the Eulipians,
Who lived in county jails,
Cardboard boxes, alley ways,
And luxury apartments.
Seemingly insignificant
Here in Great Bruteland,
But of ultimate significance
In the eyes of God.
*
While these obscure intellectuals
Stood well outside the mainstream
Of academy,
I watched with astonished delight
As they sang, scat, blew, and scribed
Their various philosophies into the
Mainstream of human knowledge.
*
Tookie?
Oh Yeah,
I knew Tookie;
I WAS Tookie,
*
But I met the Eulipians,
Who, from their ragged podiums,
Put forth the proposition
That knowledge was free, thus,
Would transcend attempts to be
Contain through barriers of
Caste and privilege - and even,
Institutionalized murder -
Leaving man's innate thirst
For knowledge free to overwhelm
His lust for stupidity.
*
So,
Tookie,
Yeah,
Yes in deed, I did know Tookie;
I WAS Tookie,
But I choose a different tact.
While I refuse to lunge
Against your saber
In a glorious and defiant act,
Look into my eyes, my man -
I still got my brother’s back.
*
You thought you had him,
While facing death,
But he went down like
Like Trojan -
Leaving your silly asses,
With your silly smiles,
Standing there
Shocked and frozen.
*
"What’s up, baby,
Can’t find a vein?
You been beggin’ to do this,
So let’s us do this thang.
But if y’all
Waitin’ around
To see some pain,
I ain’t the only one gon’
Die here,
You jive ass, lame.
*
"Faint of heart?
Give it here,
I’ll stick the damn thang for ya;
I’m a man of the hood
And strong of heart,
So I'm goin' down
Like a warrior.
*
"Naw, my man,
You don’t see no fear;
You really look surprised!
I’m gon’ honor my people
As I leave here,
So just stick me,
So I can close my eyes and die.
*
"You schemed and cheated
To take me out,
So let us get this on;
You can still my body
And take my breath,
But my heart
Will still live on."
*
So,
Tookie?
You mean
THAT Tookie.
Yeah, I knew Tookie,
We’ve planted his heart
Within the hood;
So what you saw as dirt,
We see as soil,
To sow this tragedy,
Into something good.
*
Tookie,
Oh yeah,
I KNEW Tookie,
But I ain’t goin’
Out like that.
*
Stanley 'Tookie' Williams - An All American Boy
http://wattree.blogspot.com/2013/11/tookie-williams-all-american-boy.html

Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
.
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Thursday, November 08, 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE - RIP

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree
LIFE WITH VAL
(The Party)
by
Eric L. Wattree
.


Today, November 8, 2018, is a very special day in my family’s life. It’s the birthday of my late wife, Valdie LaVern Wattree, who died during the early morning of April 27, 2005. But to my entire family it seems like she passed just yesterday, because she left such an impact on all of our lives that we still haven’t managed to lay her to rest. I wrote the piece below while Val was still alive, and kept me scratching my head.
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Valdie was an amazing young woman. I met her when she was 14 and I was 16 years old.  But in spite of our youth, the first time I looked in her eyes, she made me feel significant. The only reason I'm even capable of writing this piece is because of her encouragement. Ever since I was a child I loved to jot down my thoughts, and even before I could write, I would draw my thoughts using little stickmen.  Val recognized that tendency in me when we were kids, while I just saw it dooddling. But after she dragged me in off the street and married me on Christmas Day, when she was 19 and I was 21, she began to push.
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This one’s for you, baby. Since you’ve passed, I’ve found that life can go on, but not without you in my heart. So as I promised on the day we were married, and again on your headstone - Until Death Do Us Part - and Beyond.
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Val and I are 44 and 46 years of age, and we've been married for 25 years. We were married on a Christmas morning, and she’s been an ongoing gift in my life ever since. We have two kids - a 23 year old daughter, Kai, and a 21-year-old son, Eric, Jr. They both graduated from college last month (Eric, on my birthday).
.
I met Valdie when she was 14, and my life hasn't been the same since. I'm sort of a laid-back, ‘cerebral’ kind of guy who refuses to make a move without thinking it through. You know the type - the kind of guy who people aren't really sure about until they get to know him. Val, on the other hand, is a totally spontaneous, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person that everyone loves on first sight. But she's SO spontaneous that the kids and I have to keep an eye on her to keep her out of trouble.
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In both high school and college my son was the school basketball star, and before each game countless kids would congregate at my house waiting for Val. Others would go to the gym early to save seats in the bleachers, waiting for her to show up - and when she did, the party was on.
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The kids used to call the section where Val sat "The Dog Pound." More than once a player on the other team would miss free throws or plays because they were laughing so hard at something Val might have said about one of the referees or opposing players - and the funny thing was, in spite of that, the referees and the kids on the other teams loved her, and they all called her by her first name - though some of the kids called her "Nani" (baby-talk for mommy).
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Kids who were scheduled to play our team would come by the house and say, "Now Val, this is just a game. Don't be doggin' me on the court next week." And she'd say, "I ain’t gon have to, my son's gonna do it for me - and get out of my refrigerator. Don't Ruth feed you?" Sometimes after a game my son would say, "Momma, you know you were a bad girl at the game today, don't you?" And she'd say, "What? His toupee was on crooked!" Sometimes I seriously wonder was the Whoopie Goldberg movie, "Eddie," loosely based on Val's Antics.
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She is so out there. She lives in her very own universe. I tell her sometimes, "Val, if WWIII broke-out, you wouldn't even know it until you heard the blast. And it's true. Val is so oblivious to the things that the rest of us worry about that it verges on dangerous. In spite of the fact that she is well known as one of the top Property Administrators at Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo, Ca., she manages to leave all of her business acumen in her desk at work. One day, for example, she saw a very expensive household item that she wanted to buy. So she came to me and asked if it was alright for us to purchase it. At the time, we were sort of strapped, so I told her that we didn't have the money. She looked at me with deep disappointment and said, with total sincerity, "What do you mean we don't have the money? You have a box full of checks in your desk drawer." So, needless to say, I handle the family finances - and that's in spite of the fact that she made $37,000 a year more than I did, and I'm a government employee.
.
Once when we went to have our taxes done and the tax preparer looked up at me and said, "I know you shame."  But I wasn't.  On the contrary, I was proud of my woman because she's the very best at what she does. Huges aircraft literally stole her from Rockwell International.  She's the only Black person I've ever known to have a corporation contact her and make her an offer to come to work for them.  Several years later I worked on a project with her and they even offered me a job, but I've always been a political person and I'm a union rep for the postal service.  I've only lost one case in over a decade, and I thoroughly love kicking them in their ass.  But Val wants me to be a "suit," a corporate executive, and she's convinced that I'll shoot right up the ladder.   But I pointed out to her that everyone doesn't see me in the same way that she does,  so that's been was one of the biggest fights we've had in our marriage. She also suspects that it's a male ego thing. She claims I'm just afraid that they might make me work for her. She never should have brought that up, because I'd never thought of that possibility until she mentioned it.  But now that she had . . .
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It's Val's disarming personality that makes her so successful, and it's also helped us out of a number of uncomfortable situations. About ten years ago when we moved from Los Angeles to Covina, California, we were one of just a few Black families in the area. Not being used to that sort of situation, we - make that I - was more than just a little uncomfortable. And to make things worse, one of the neighbors had a huge Confederate flag spread across one entire inside wall of his garage - and the garage door was always open, so whenever we drove down the street his blazing Dixie flag hit us right in the face. I felt uncomfortable with it, but hey, that flag was draped across that wall long before we moved into the neighborhood, and besides, the man has every right to be a bigot - the only thing I hate almost as much as I do a racist is a person who comes into a situation and thinks everyone else should rearrange their lives to accommodate him. So I just learned to ignore it, as I THOUGHT Val had.

About a month or so after we moved in, however, the lady from across the street invited us to a party that she was having. Again, being the laid-back kind of guy I am, I felt uncomfortable about the prospect. I don't like parties as a matter of course. You have to stand around laughing and smiling when you really don't feel it and discuss issues that you really don't care about (How about those Dodgers?). It's not my thing - it makes me feel phony - and I had the feeling that this party would be all that multiplied by a thousand - especially, not knowing anyone, and being the only Black couple there - "Hey, Bubba! Guess who’s comin’ to dinner?"
.
But Val immediately lit-up. The lady had said the magic word - PAAAAAR-TAY! Before I could say a word, Val took the ball and ran with it. "I'd love to! Hey, can I be the bartender? I make the best...." The lady ended up at our house all afternoon laughing and talking with Val. By the time she floated back across the street, under the influence of a quart of Val's "sample" Margaritas, Val was up on all the neighborhood gossip, and the two women had forged an unshakable "Most Favorite Neighbor" Treaty.
.
This was going to be more complicated than I thought - it had become serious. We had just moved to the area, and already, life as we were just coming to know it was about to come to a screeching' end. I could just picture this nice, quiet neighborhood under the influence of Val and her notorious mixed drinks. Once the neighbors came down from their hangovers they'd never forgive us. I could just see the headline of the next day’s San Gabriel Valley Tribune now - "BLACK CHICK CORRUPTS COVINA!" - and knowing my woman, there was no doubt in my mind that’s exactly what was about to happen.
.
Val has a real knack for mixing drinks in a way that masked the liquor. She can blend various juices, fruits, and crushed ice with more artistic flair than a Renaissance master. If she could pull-off the same thing with paint and canvas we'd be instant millionaires. She can mix these drinks so well, and make them so pleasing to the taste, that people generally forget about the gallon of liquor that's in them. We'd have parties where I'd here non-drinkers saying, "Ah, Val, can I have another "slush," please?" I'd think, "slush," my ass. The only thing that's going to be slushed is you, in about five minutes." Val got a real kick out of it - and now she was about to do it to our new, unsuspecting, highly conservative, neighbors.
.
The night of the party I wasn't as uneasy about it as I'd been previously, because by then I'd had a week to get to know both Rose, who seemed to have made Val her closest friend on the block, and her husband, Al, who was really a nice, henpecked, guy. But I still wasn't passionate about the prospect of being paraded about as the new Black guy on the block to a lot of people that I didn't know. So I begged off with a cold that I had made it a point to cultivate three days prior to the event.
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The night of the party I kissed Val on the cheek and told her to have a good time. But as she was leaving I held on to her hand and reminded her, "but not too good of a time." She promised to be good, and she was off.
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I then got comfortable and settled into the bedroom to watch television for the night, but I kept the window open and the blinds open so I could keep an eye - and ear - on the party.
.
By 12:30 a.m. the party was going full blast. I could hear the laughter and the faint sound of music playing in the house, but by 2:00 a.m. I began to hear the sounds of Val working her magic. A couple of guys who I recognized as two of my more conservative neighbors were in front of the house arm-wrestling on the hood of a brand new Chrysler, and another guy was calling out to a woman who was struggling down the street barefoot in an evening gown. So I decided I'd better drop in on the party and rescue these people from my recklessly fun-lovin' woman.
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When I walked in it was clear that Val was in full control of the festivities. It was also clear that I didn't have to worry about uneasy small-talk, because everybody in the house was about as loose as you could get - and still stand up. Val walked up and hugged me, saying, "Hi, honey! Hey everybody! This is my Nu-Nu, Eric." I heard various drunken responses:
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"Hi, Eric!"
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"Hey, Nu-Nu!" 
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"What's his name? Nu-NU!!!?  What the Hell is that, Swahili?"
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"Big, ugly rascal, ain't he? Just kiddin', don't beat me up, brother!"
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Then this one guy walked up and said, "Hi, I'm Stewart. I live down the street. This is quite a lady you've got here."
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"Yeah, I know," I said. "I hope she's been behaving herself?"
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"Naw, I can't say that she has," the man said, in a Southern drawl. "First, she done got everybody drunk - but I can't fault her for that, because that's what I came here for - but then, she called me a Commie."
.
I said, "what!?"
.
Then Stewart's wife chimed in. Between the booze and her laughter, she could barely get her words out. She introduced herself as Sue, and said, "No, she asked my husband, 'Are you a communist or something?' And my husband said, 'No, I ain't no damned Commie. What made you say that?' Then Val said, 'Well, why you got that Communist flag in your garage?'" Sue went on, trying to talk through her laughter, "Then Stewart said, 'That ain't no damned communist flag! That's Old Dixie. We from Georgia.'"
.
With that, someone else took up the story. "Then your wife told him, 'Same thing.'" With that, everybody fell out laughing all over again - even me, because I knew Val was serious - as Stewart stood there pretending to be incensed. But everyone knew that while the joke was supposed to be on Stewart, we were actually laughing at the childlike innocence in which Val viewed what should have been a very uncomfortable subject - especially in the current situation. But it turned out that Stewart had been receiving a lot of ribbing over the flag for quite some time, and Val's remark just put the icing on the cake.
.
But it turned out that both Stewart and Sue were really nice people. Stewart is quite an intellectual, and believe it or not, he ended up becoming my closest friend in the neighborhood. We'd get us a 5th of Scotch and spend hours together debating everything - and the more lit-up we got, the more animated the debates became.  He'd say,  "Okay, I admit it. I’m a Southern bigot - I think we should lynch anybody who roots against Georgia Tech, but you're a radical revolutionary - and you're a bigot too." Then he'd raise his glass  and say, "So here's to two jive-ass bigots!" Then we'd laugh and continue getting our heads bad.
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But by this time both Stewart and I knew better.  We had long since agreed on one thing - since the essence of our being is what we think, and physical attributes are purely superficial, it makes more sense to define ourselves according to the way we think, rather than how we looked - and if that is true, then our preoccupation with race was an exercise in stupidity.  And Stewart had the last laugh in that regard.  The first time he invited me to his house I jokingly asked, "You don't have any  Poplar Trees in your backyard, do you?" He laughed and said, "Very funny. But you don't have to worry, I'm fresh out of rope."  But when I walked into his den I immediately felt ridiculous, because the first thing that smacked me in the face was two huge portraits, Miles Davis on one wall, and Charlie Parker on the other. So it turned out that I was the one who had prejudged him.  He had a larger jazz collection than I did, and I've been collecting jazz albums since I was 14 years old. I had to admire him, because by that time we had been drinking buddies for a couple of months, and even though he knew I played saxophone, he hadn't mentioned a word about being a jazz lover. He'd set me up, and that was the day I learned to never underestimate him.  He said, "You thought I was into Merle Haggard, didn't you?  So now, who's the presumptuous bigot?"
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I really liked that guy. He had also quietly taken down his Confederate flag. When I asked him about it he said, "To me it's just a regional symbol, but I can understand how it might be offensive to you, so what the hell?" If it hadn't been for Val I probably never would have met that guy, and I would have been poorer for it, because I learned several lifelong lessons during our friendship. But Val brought many other things into my life as well. I discovered my love for the mechanics of writing as a direct result of recognizing that I didn’t write well enough to answer the long love letters she used to write me while I was in the Marine Corps. Prior to that time I always loved jotting down my thoughts, but I only did it one thought, or one paragraph, at a time. But when I was faced with having to respond to her letters, it turned out that I had a problem with stringing my thoughts together in an organized fashion. So in order to get around that shortcoming, I would let her letters guide me. I would respond to her letters by writing a response to each paragraph one at a time. Within a year I was doing all the writing for my battalion commander. That became my job.
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While I was in the Marine Corps Val was working for the Department of Motor Vehicles, and in spite of the fact that she was still living with her mother, when I came home she came by my mother's house to greet me and asked me to go for a ride with her. She had rented me a fully furnished apartment a block away from one of the top jazz clubs in Los Angeles.  She moved in 3 months later, on Christmas Day after we went to a Justice of the Peace and got married. She was 19, and I was 21. About a year later she encouraged me to quit my job and go to college on the G.I. bill.  Then several years after I'd finished college and had become a published writer for various publications, she came home one day with a newfangled gadget she'd bought me called a Commodore 64 Computer.  I still have it in my garage. So, while living with Val can indeed be challenging, I can’t imagine life without her.
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I could go on and on about this woman, but I'll put it all in a book one day.  But I’ve got to go now -   it’s time for me to mount a campaign for dinner.
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"Oh, Sugar Lips!"
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"Sugar Lips, my ass. Hit the microwave, Buddy!"
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EPILOGUE
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Well, it turned out that I would be forced to live without her, and every day of the 13 years since she's been gone has been agony. In spite of the fact that my educational background is in psychology, I just can't manage to move on.  I know it's dysfunctional, but everything I do has her fingerprints on it.  When she suggested that I take writing more seriously, I remember telling her, "That's a White thang," but she told me, "You can do this, baby."  Then when my book was published, she threw a big party to celebrate, and then suddenly died just one week before the publisher sent me my first copies.  I still have the box . . . unopened.

SOLITUDE 






There was a little house in Watts, in the back of my grandparents’ home, that sat totally silent just for me. It sat there in complete obedience to fulfil it’s one and only purpose, to accommodate, and give focus to the thoughts of a young and aimless mind. Totally vacant accept for a sofa and a table, there was no furniture to warm the air.  So as I sat in it’s embrace, and quietly drew the thoughts I couldn't express, I could feel the clean, cool air against my face as it locked the noise and confusion of humanity out of that small niche of the universe that I had claimed as my own.
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I loved that house, because it introduced the soul of a child to the beauty of solitude. I would sit there for hours with paper and pencil trying to bring life to my thoughts. I couldn't write back then, so I would breathe substance into my world by drawing the images of crude little stickmen that I would speak to, then patiently awaited the time when they could speak back.
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So all these many years later, I still go there, but only in my mind. I return to escape life’s horrors;  I also visit to celebrate life’s triumphs. I go there to commune with those who left me behind.  My grandparents are there, my mother is there, and my late wife is there to comfort me when I’m lost.  But my manhood is also there to reinforce me, and the depth of my intellect resides there to inform me and to give flesh to the stickmen I'd left behind.
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So, yes, I love that little house, and the perfect solitude that it made all mine. I also love the cool, clean air, and the crude little stickmen, it always brings to mind.
.

Thus, life has come full circle for me. Once again I sit in solitude drawing stickmen.  But this time I  sit with sweet memories of Val to warm the cool, clean air.


Happy Birthday, Baby.
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Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
.
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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