The Gospel or Blasphemy?  

Posted in Guest Commentators, On the 2016 Presidential Election with tags , , on October 16, 2016 by playthell


Donald Trump: God’s Flawed Instrument?

 On The Pulpit and Politics: Negotiating the Fine Line

During the last election here in Canada, I often stated from the pulpit that it was not my place to take a party line and tell people how to vote. Rather, as a spiritual leader, it was my job to remind the congregation of the basic tenets that should form our world view, our decisions and our actions as Christ-followers. In other words, if Christianity is based on what Jesus walked around showing us, then we should choose our political candidates in terms of who’s supporting those tenets.

So what are the things that were most important to the one we say that we follow? It’s quite simple, really; caring generously for the vulnerable, the weak, the poor, the sick, the anxious, the mentally ill, the victims of natural disasters, war, famine, political prisoners and children, peace rather than violence, and the radical inclusion of all people of all races and cultures. Jesus taught us to live as if everyone else in the world is just as important as we are. Quite simply, everyone belongs – every created being deserves to have life’s basic needs met, and they deserve dignity and respect.

But what is an authentic relationship between religion and politics? In the early part of the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine made a ruling for tolerance of Christianity, a moment in history which many have considered a disaster for Christianity. Religion and politics got into bed together in a relationship that would become complex and corrupt. The Church gained power on the playing field, at a great cost to its basic teachings. Just watch The Borgias to get an entertaining look at how that worked. But all through the centuries, there were always Christians who spoke up from the edges of society against both systems to call for a return to the heart of Christianity. The monastic communities set themselves apart from society in order to remain true to their faith, and to be a voice calling out to mainstream Christian leaders and to the political leaders, constantly challenging them to remember the vulnerable.

Over the centuries, the Church has gradually lost its public status and power, as we’re now living in an age we call “post-Christendom”. This is partly a very good thing, when one thinks of some of the atrocities carried out in the name of God and the Church, not to mention the way in which some (not all by any means) Christian missionaries have bullied various cultures, thinking they were civilizing them.

But this loss of power has not stopped certain evangelical leaders from publicly endorsing conservative political candidates who make a lot of noise about being Christians; regardless of what they stand for. During George W. Bush’s time, Christian author Jim Wallis wrote God’s Politics (2006) wherein he challenged evangelicals for blindly jumping on the Bush train simply because he claimed to be a Christian, when his policies were so far removed from basic Christian teaching that it was hard to make the connection.

And now, my neighbours to the South, you have Trump. And so far, the evangelical right has flocked to the Trump Tower to genuflect in awe and wonder. The constant flow of information about how he has stiffed many of his own workers, is currently involved in over 3,500 lawsuits (some involving accusations of sexual assault) the many lies in which he’s been caught red-handed – none of this seems to deter them from blindly following the one who will punish women for having abortions, and keep to their conservative agenda.

But today I was encouraged by an article in the famous magazine of the Bible Belt called Christianity Today (October 10, 2016) wherein Executive Editor Andy Crouch, in response to the lewd tape of Trump in an Access Hollywood bus, hit evangelical America with a bang in his article, Speak Truth to Trump. (See link below) Crouch says, “Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump’s blatant immorality.” Crouch was surprised at how long it took evangelicals to use the “…same critical judgment when it [came] to the Republican nominee…” that they’d used on Hillary Clinton.

He went on to describe the ways in which Trump was a blatant example of the kind of lifestyle the Bible warns us about; “…sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). Crouch ended with a challenge for every evangelical, warning of the folly of allying themselves “…with someone who violates all that is sacred to us.” Trump’s hope for the continuing support of the evangelicals is clearly compromised since this latest display of lewd behavior.

I’m not an evangelical in the general identifying sense of the word – I’m a mainline Anglican. I would not express things in a way that would please Christianity Today. But I applaud Andy Couch for having the courage to ask the vast membership of the Bible Belt to think clearly and critically about what kind of leadership they want, and to take care in their decisions for this election.

As a spiritual leader, I will never tell people what party they should support, or who they should vote for. But I would be falling down on the job if I failed to join those desert fathers and monastic communities in reminding both the church and the political arena of what the Christ followers are looking for in a political leader – someone who will commit to caring for the weakest members of our society – someone who will work for peace instead of war – someone who will take a stand for justice – someone who will agree that everyone belongs, regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or economic position.

What good is it if we gather on Sunday to hear these teachings and sing about them, if they don’t influence the decisions and actions we undertake? If Jesus modeled radical inclusion, justice and peace, then that’s what we should seek in candidates at election time.

Rev. Susanne
October 16, 2016
Click on link elow for artile in Cheistanity Today


An Open Letter to a Black Friend

Posted in On the 2016 Presidential Election with tags on October 13, 2016 by playthell
at-bills-place-104Samaad and Playthell chillin at Bill’s Place in Harlem

Listen Up Black America!

Recently an Afro-American friend told me he was not going to vote in the coming Presidential election.  It was a shocking revelation coming from the thoughtful and intelligent he had otherwise demonstrated himself to be.   The reasons he gave for his decision seemed to be reasonable at first glance, but when subjected to rigorous critique they reveal themselves to be transparent sophistry – which is to say they crumble when confronted with political reality.  While his argument was full of suitable examples to prove my point, I will point out just a couple that I think are sufficient to expose the foolishness of his decision not to vote.  For instance he argued “! I see a woman who DESPERATELY needs the Black vote.”  And he buttresses this point with the following: “But she has not made any promises or a single concession in her platform to address the ACUTE needs of African Americans.”   And based on this he concludes: ” I would say undoubtedly that the PRACTICAL AND SENSIBLE thing to do is vote for Hillary UNLESS you simply cannot bring yourself too, I personally cannot!!”   This is my response below.

Dear Friend

Your position represents the worst sort of self-righteous, self-defeating, pious piffle! As a political analysis it is madness. What we must understand my friend is that we are a MINORITY in the US – if you want to have the advantage of living in a country with a black majority I’m afraid you will have to move to the Caribbean or Africa, although you must have noticed that vast numbers of citizens of those countries are desperately trying to get here. Thus as a minority we cannot achieve ANYTHING politically on our own. Furthermore, in a country where millions of whites are also facing desperate economic conditions why do you think they would support an agenda aimed solely at black folks?

You obviously have not asked yourself this question. Do you know that the demographic with the fastest rising mortality rate – from drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide, etc – is the WHITE working and lower middle classes! And you think these people want to hear about an agenda that is designed to address only black problems? We are beyond that:NOBODY CAN WIN THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY RUNNING ON SUCH A PLATFORM!!!!

Anybody running for president must advocate programs that address the needs of all Americans, and we need to think more in terms of CLASS rather than race!!!! The so-called black “progressives” who always wanted president Obama to engage the Republicans in an argument about race failed to understand that this was also what the Republicans wanted because once an issue becomes racialized we ARE GOING TO LOSE! One does not have to be a profound thinker to recognize this: IT IS A MATTER OF SIMPLE ARITHMETIC!!!

Hence we must fight for things like single payer medical insurance, free college tuition and full employment. Beyond these, in the face of the growing robotization of the economy we need to fight for a living wage with benefits for everyone who cannot find work. All of these things will benefit Afro-Americans as much -if not more – than any other community! We must also fight for laws to check climate change and nuclear disarmament. Some black people talk as if we live on another planet so the fate of this one is of no concern to us. The term that I use that you can’t quite remember is :POLITICS IS THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE!!!

You need to sit in a corner and recite it until it is burned into your brain because without understanding this concept you will be like Jack the Bear: “Makin tracks but getting NOWHERE! You talk like the generals who are planning for the LAST WAR not the next war. The worst thing that Hillary Clinton could do is come out strongly with a specifically “black agenda” when Trump is aiming his message at a white working class electorate who is already scared, outraged, abysmally ignorant, and convinced they have been screwed at the expense of “minorities.” So my question to you is are you interested in defeating Trump or just letting off steam in a public temper tantrum?

You are far too emotional; success in politics requires a cool head and a calculating strategy based on the political realities of the moment. You say that Hillary is “desperately in need of the black vote” but the fact is whether Hillary wins or loses she will still be Hillary Clinton – a rich and famous white woman who remains a powerful presence in American politics and a speaker in demand world-wide for generous fees. BUT WE WILL BE FUCKED!!!!!!!!!!

So who needs whom the most? You seem to believe that it is a wise course of action to use our position to force her to adopt a losing strategy….which is damned foolishness. So calm down and THINK realistically; promote a strategy for victory instead of sabotaging our ally in this race!. I have no interest in dying for any cause…I want to live and WIN!!!!


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 13, 2016


The Saint Louis Blues

Posted in On the 2016 Presidential Election with tags on October 11, 2016 by playthell


Starring: Hillary Clinton Droppin Science….
…and Donald Trump
___trump_31451956090Shameless Charlatan, Arrogant Ignoramus and Verbal Arsonist!

On the Second Presidential Debate: Hillary vs Donnie

This debate proved several things: Hillary Clinton is eminently qualified to be president; Trump is a shameless bullshit artist who cannot restrain his contempt for women even in a presidential debate; the commentators are intellectual light weights! I am listening to MSNBC, which has some of the smarter commentators in broadcast media, and the conversation is mostly mindless BLATHER!!!!!!!

Again it proves that if you are white in America you can be mediocre and still get over like a fat rat in cheese factory on a holiday! Already Trump’s camp is claiming victory. The amazing thing is that they are grading the candidate’s performance mostly on STYLE NOT SUBSTANCE! Hillary Clinton gave precise answers while Trump trafficked in lies and scandalous invective that dishonored the high office he seeks.  On the other hand Hillary avoided personal insult – far too much for my taste considering “The Donald’s” thuggish behavior: He demonstrated once again that despite his abundant coin he remains not a jot or tittle more than white trash with money!

I am not arguing that Hillary should have stooped to Donnie’s level – “get down in the gutter with him” as the old folks used to say when I was a boy.   But when he kept declaring “Bernie Saunders says you have bad judgement,” which he repeated about five times,  she should have replied: “Yes but Bernie – who is enthusiastically supporting my candidacy – also said on my worse day I will make a far better President than you on your best days! And your fellow Republicans, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, says anybody who has declared bankruptcy as often as you is no business genius and that you are in fact a con man. And unlike me and Bernie they are NOT supporting you!  So I’d remind Donald that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But enough of the name calling, I’d rather engage in a substantive discussion of the issues; which my opponent understandably wishes to avoid since this is the area where he has the least to contribute.”

Then she should have kept on DROPPIN SCIENCE ON HIS IGNORANT ASS!!!!!

Finally, after much superficial prattle, the level of the discussion was dramatically elevated by the two black analyst: Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and Associate Editor of the Washington Post, and MSNBC reporter/commentator Joy Reid – who was brilliant! But to reduce my assessment of the debate to its simplest terms: Hillary is hot and Trump ain’t squat!

Trump’s wife Melania looked like she would rather have been ANYWHERE but by his side! And why shouldn’t she, after the whole wide world has listened to her husband bragging about harassing another woman for pussy while she was sittin home pregnant with his child! I’b bet if she had a good pre-nup she would get in the wind faster than Hop-along- Cassidy could draw his guns! Melania’s expression and body language was perfect for the airline commercial that asks: “WANNA GET AWAY?”

Furthermore “Dirty Nose” Donnie’s surrogate Rudy Giuliani is a shameless charlatan! How dare he come on national television acting all high and mighty criticizing Bill Clinton when millions of New Yorkers – the present writer prominently among them – vividly remember that he DUMPED HIS WIFE Dona Hanover, a highly respected television journalist, for another woman who he even banged in Gracy Mansion when he was a married Mayor!

Rude Bwai Rudy’s own children said they would vote for Barack Obama when their daddy was briefly the leading candidate for President in the Republican Primary race. They issued a statement saying “Our father knows NOTHING about family values, everything we know about family values we learned from the our mother!”

Furthermore his constant touting of his experience as a federal prosecutor, which he claims gives him special expertise in determining the Hillary Clinton should be charged with federal crimes, yet during his tenure as Federal Attorney for the Southern District of New York he could not find a single case of racial discrimination…although it was so prevalent even Stevie Wonder could see it!

I was an Editorial Page columnist for the New York Daily News when Rudy was elected Mayor and I watched him as closely as the FBI watches terror suspects.   Hence I know whereof I speak.  He was the most racially divisive Mayor I have seen in the decades that I have been an observer of New York politics.  And he used his experience as a Federal Attorney to systematically destroy the records women and minorities would require as evidence in order to fire class action discrimination suits against the city agencies by ordering those agencies not to keep records of contracts they awarded by race and gender!

Reactionary Rudy was a disgrace to his office in more ways than one, and it is no surprise that chose a mobbed up sleazebag like Bernard Kerik to head the Department of Homeland Security.   It was the FBI investigation into Kerik’s fitness for this critical job that exposed his mob ties.  And this is the guy who wats to stand in judgement on Hillary Clinton’s character…this deeply flawed cretin…this goombah in a lawyer’s disguise?

Added to his myriad sins and odious transgressions, Rudy also dishonors his position as a member of the legal profession by pronouncing Hillary Clinton guilty of crimes in the absence of even an indictment, let alone a conviction, for a crime.  What happened to the presumption of innocence until a jury finds you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

This a a fundamental right guaranteed by the US Constitution!  While we should not be surprised that a verbose foul mouthed ignoramus like Donald Trump does not understand this – since he has previously demonstrated that he don’t know shit about the Constitution – it is inexcusable in a former US Attorney charged with upholding our constitutional rights.

Rudy Giuliani is a man without honor, a 21st century Dr. Faust who is all too willing to barter his soul with the Devil to remain in the limelight and retain the trappings of power.  If he had any sense of decency or shame Rudy would take his silly old pie-face racist ass and fiendish shit eatin grin, go sit down somewhere, then STFU!!!!!

Rudy Guiliani

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani gestures during his speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Rabid Rudy a Shameless, Souless hypocrite!

Predictably, the fact checkers gave Donnie Dimwit a sound drubbing the day after.  Politi-facts even gave him a “pants on fire “rating, which is their most severe grade – as in the old children’s ditty “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!”  But during interviews with some of Trump’s hardcore followers conducted after the debate, some of Trump’s acolytes conceded that although he bombed in the debate – a refreshing concession to reality – they said they were still going to vote for him.  Herein lies the crux of our problem as a society at this moment in history. There was little serious discussion of policy, but when there was such as all too brief discussions of tax policy; Obamacare and Syria.

As I write it has come to my attention that claims are being made that an American Naval vessel, a destroyer class Man O war has been fired on by missiles from the tiny nation of Yeman, which is controlled by revolutionary Shiites aligned with Iran.  The report says they missed the massive ship…we should thank out lucky stars that Donald Trump is NOT the Commander-In-Chief just now!   This is a man who recently aid that US Naval Ships illegally traversing Iranian waters should have fired on Iranian patrol boats because the Iranian sailors made some rude gestures toward “out beautiful American ships.”  No shit; he actually said that!

It does not take a great strategic thinker to see that Herr Trumfp is a man that can be easily baited into starting a war.  Hence he must NEVER get into the Oval Office!  It takes a seasoned stateswoman to guide us through the perils of the contemporary world.  The assessment of the candidates by this writer was echoed today by the Editors of Foreign Policy Magazine, the canonical text on the subject.  They say that Trump is the most dangerous candidate for President ever nominated by a major political party, and Hillary Clinton is the best,  so there we have it.

Too bad the format of the debate, which was town hall style where the audience asked the questions, did not afford her an adequate opportunity to fully display her qualifications for Commander-IN-Chief.  And while I have some serious disagreements with Hillary’s foreign policy views – See: ‘The World According to Hillary” on this site – she displays Solomonic wisdom when compared to the scatterbrained view of the world envisioned by Donald Trump.

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 10th, 2016



Posted in On the 2016 Presidential Election, Playthell on politics with tags , on September 28, 2016 by playthell
donald-trump_0Herr Drumpf in a Manic Mood


There is no end to the myriad absurdities of the Trump Follies. Now Donnie Dimwit has the unmitigated gall to issue a statement expressing indignation at the speculation made by Dr. Howard Dean that he looked like a cocaine abuser during his debate with Hillary Clinton. Donnie’s campaign has issued an official statement accusing Dr. Dean of “crossing the line” of acceptable behavior. SAY WHAT???? If ever there was a clear case of the pot maligning the kettle: THIS IS IT!!!! Donald Trump has introduced a new level of rancorous discourse into presidential campaigning. He has not only “crossed” the line he has OBLITERATED IT!

Herr Drumft – our home grown fascist -is a typical bully; he can dish it out but he can’t take it. He is like the loud mouth bully who is quick to get in yo face sellin selling woff tickets but when you bitch slap him a little whiney cream puff steps out….like the character Terry Crews plays in that Ice Cube flick. Trump is not only a punk ass bully he could very well be a coke head too. Anybody who has ever been around people snorting lines of blow, or did some lines yourself knows they act just like Trump was behaving during the debate.

I speak as one who has investigated the effects of cocaine on the human brain both as a participant observer – a time honored anthropological methodology – and as an objective award winning reporter sifting through the scientific data on the issue of “recreational drug use” during the epidemic of cocaine abuse in New york during the 1990’s. See: This Bud’s For You” at…/10/23/this-buds-for-you/

Hence from the point of view of a well-informed observer on the subject I think that Dr. Dean was right on the money in his description of Trump’s behavior and identifying it as the typical behavior of coke heads! He talks about the obvious sniffling, which in the absence of a serious cold is a dead giveaway for a “dirty nose.” But the behavioral traits pointed out by the Doctor are equally as telling: Delusions of grandeur, bombast and hubris. Donnie looked and acted just like some of the cokeheads I knew back in the day when I used to hang out with that crowd.

Furthermore, Trump fits the profile of one of the main categories of cocaine abusers: The go go business crowd! Blow was the drug of choice among the Wall Street gang, for a while even displacing alcohol, and it fueled the drive and ambitions of entrepreneurs with grandiose visions during the years when “The Donald” was becoming a big man among the affluent Manhattan swinging set.

He was a regular at Studio 54 during the 1970’s – back when Michael Jackson was black – a wild spot that was so popular with A-List celebrities that in order to enter mere commoners had to be chosen from the thongs of star gazers on the sidewalk clamoring to get in; a place where cocaine was consumed by the pound in bathroom stalls! And he loves models, MANY OF WHOM USED COKE TO KEEP THEIR WEIGHT DOWN AND TO GET UP FOR SHOOTS AFTER PARTYING ALL NIGHT!!!! So “The Donald” was immersed in a milieu in which snorting coke was common fare!

Scenes from Studio 54 back in the day








It was a cocaine Fueled Bachanaal!

Donnie Dimwit loves to brag about how he has never had a drink of an alcoholic beverage, and that he does not smoke. But in my experience, that’s just the type of personality that is likely to try cocaine especially if they want to be hip and is around people who are snorting lines. Back in the day cocaine was so expensive that it was mostly consumed by four categories of abusers: Gangsters and Players, Entertainers, rich freaks, and amped up businessmen who don’t know how to relax.

In a television report done on Trump’s lifestyle Ivana, his wife at the time, said “The Donald” never relaxes. In fact, they got a shot of him sitting by the pool in a suit and tie! That’s why he be up Tweeting dumb shit late at night that his surrogates must try to explain away the next day. Donnie Dimwit is a hot mess, a man driven by blind ambition and avarice, who also suffers from the maladies of megalomania and compulsive lying.

It is not at all difficult to believe that such a man – who according to his ghost writer for “The Art of the Deal” has an inferiority complex that makes him seek public adoration – has got a dirty nose. Hence “The Donald” doesn’t just look like a cocaine abuser to Dr. Dean….he looks like a coke head to me too, and I’ve known a few! We should DEMAND that his ass get DRUG TESTED!!!!



Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
September 28, 2016

The End of the World is Near!!!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On Nuclear War, On Sports!, On the 2016 Presidential Election, You Tube Classics on September 21, 2016 by playthell
a-terryfying-nuclear-explosionA Vision of Doomsday

Sixty Minutes Exposes the Doomsday Machine

God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign/No more water/The Fire Next Time!

This is an exceedingly strange political season where the bizarre has become common place.  For instance a New York real estate huckster and transparent con man with no experience in government is threatening to defeat the most qualified candidate in US history for the presidency.  Yet the fact that there is no serious mention, let alone discussion, of the unique horrors of nuclear weapons and the growing probability of an accidental nuclear war is the strangest thing of all.

For despite the false sense of security most Americans enjoy, believing the end of Communism and the Cold War with what was Soviet Russia has removed the danger of nuclear holocaust, it ain’t necissarily so.  It is a comforting but dangerous illusion that could lead to a catastrophe which would put an immediate end to human civilization and eventually all life on this planet.

Far from being hallucinations hatched in the fevered imaginations of nervous Nellies, the danger of nuclear war is as probable today as it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis of the Early 1960’s; the most volotile nuclear confrontation since the introduction of atomic weapons into modern warfare with the bombing of Japan during World War II.

Anyone who doubts how close the US and Russia came to destroying the world in their fight for Spheres of Influence – portions of the globe located close to the territory of major powers that claim them as being under their influence – should see Robert McNamara’s film The Fog of War.  McNamara was the US Secretary of Defense during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the US Navy put a blockade around Cuba and challenged the Soviet fleet on the high seas to prevent them from delivering nuclear missiles to that small Island, which had been attacked by the US in a CIA led a covert action intended to overthrow the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro known as the “Bay of Pigs Invasion.”  As a result of this US aggression against Cuba to prevent them from establishing a socialist economy they formed a military alliance with Russia and requested the missiles for protection.

Robert McNamara

PCC-53242 Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. January 12 , 1961. DoD photo by Oscar Porter, U.S. Army. (Released)

He Presided over the Missisle Crisis

The world came so close to destruction by nuclear war as a result of the confrontation the blockade provoked with the Soviet Union that even a half century later Robert McNamara had not come to terms with the part he played in this near catastrophe for mankind.  In his documentary film McNamara tells us how he was ready to engage the Soviet Union in an all-out nuclear war and was obsessed with finding out if his counterparts on the other side were also ready to engage.  When they told him that they were also prepared to launch their nukes McNamara was profoundly shaken and contemplates the madness of it all.  The thing that perplexed him the most was the fact that highly educated sane and rational men were prepared to destroy the world!

The relevance of this frightening tale for us today is that we are on the verge of provoking a similar crisis with Russia through our insane policy of NATO expansion in Eastern Europe; even though the Cold War is officially over and the Communist Party has been banned in Russia. As I write President Obama is giving his final speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations extolling the end of wars between major nations.  Yet despite his lofty rhetoric, soaring eloquence, impeccable logic and Solomonic wisdom the reality of US-Russian relations do not match his heroic optimism.

Even as the President speaks the US and Russia have thousands of Nuclear missiles targeted at the other’s cities and towns,  each armed with warheads over 50 times more powerful than the devastating bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima – the only time such a weapon was deployed in the history of the world.  To just stockpile such weapons is an unspeakable horror, but the fact that they are armed and on high alert – which is to say that they are on line and can be fired by computers – is a monstrous crime against humanity.

General James Cartwright


Warning against the danger of accidental Nuclear War

When we consider the claim made by General James Cartwright, the former head of the US Strategic Command, which has responsibility for deploying our nuclear forces, that attempts by hostile forces to hack into our nuclear weapons system average ten million a day, our present nuclear strategy of keeping our land based Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles – ICBMs – armed and on high alert can only be considered a manifestation of collective madness. Since the hackers only have to get it right once!

This is why General Cartwright has been vociferously advocating disarming them and taking them off alert, pointing out that we are no longer in a cold war footing with Russia, where instant response from these missiles are necessary. The General, who knows what he is talking about, considers this policy dangerous folly that could instantly become fatal for the earth.  Alas, the fact that there is no discussion of this clear and present danger is irrefutable evidence of a flaw in human character that could well lead to the extinction of our species.

Thus the CBS Sixty Minutes feature story of October 18th,The New Cold War, should be viewed as a revelation; a final Wake-Up call to pull back from the brink of extinction; to turn away from the path to doomsday that we are presently trudging.  Done in the grand style of fact based reportage that has characterized the journalistic product of Sixty Minutes, the report provides us an unprecedented look into the command structure of America’s nuclear forces.  It is at once enlightening and frightening, for it allows a look into the abyss and see how the world could end in a bang.

The report begins by taking us aboard the USS Kentucky, an Ohio Class American nuclear submarine, the most destructive weapon in the history of the world.  The Kentucky is twice the length of a football field and is armed with 200 independently targeted nuclear warheads – enough to destroy every major city in the US and Europe!

If it were an independent nation it would have more weapons than Great Britain – which has 160 operational warheads – and only 100 less than France, which is reducing its stockpile.  Canada, our neighbor to the north has none; it dismantled its stockpile in 1984 and repudiated their use in a treaty signed in 1998.  And China has around 260 warheads.  However the US has 14 Nuclear armed subs in the “Trident” class such as the Kentucky.

Alas, the Trident submarines are but one leg of the US Nuclear “Triad” which includes intercontinental bombers and land based ICBMs: Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.  Altogether the US arsenal stockpiles 6, 970 nuclear warheads and is second only to Russia, which maintains 7, 300 warheads.  Yet because of their explosive power the US arsenal is the most destructive force on earth.

In the Sixty Minutes report Captain Brian Freck, Commander of the Kentucky, explains the protocols under which he would launch his doomsday weapons, and he leaves no doubt that if these conditions were met he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot his deadly load. Viewers of this report should pay close attention to the casual way in which Commander Freck talks about taking an action that would set in motion a chain of events that would surely destroy civilization.


President of the United States Barak Obama visited Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory, Iraq April 7. This was Obama first trip to Iraq as commander in chief and took time to talk to the service members and civilians serving here.

Recieving big love from the troops in Iraq

Admiral Cecil Haney
Commander of the US Nuclear Triad

When we leave the Submarine and are ushered into the super-secret operations center of the US Strategic Command, where we are introduced to Admiral Cecil Haney, a very powerful man that virtually no one has ever hear of, including myself, despite the fact that I served in the old Strategic Air Command with a Top Secret security clearance under General Curtis Lemay, back in the day when the B 52 Strato-bombers were the heart of the US nuclear strike force, and I  have been studying and writing about the dangers of nuclear war for years…..often alone among American pundits.  By virtue of my Top Secret clearance I was privy to the war fighting plans of SAC, and serving under General Lemay –whose colleagues on the Joint Chiefs nicknamed him “The Mad Bomber”- during the heat of the Cold War, a hot war seemed a real possibility.

Cast from a different mold than the burly, crude, bombastic Lemay, Admiral Haney is an Afro-American officer and gentleman who is soft spoken, slight of stature, and elegant of style and manner.  Yet he is the supreme commander of the entire nuclear Triad, a far more destructive force, and answers only to President Obama; who appointed him to his Command. Like the President, the Admiral has a very impressive academic record.

Haney grew up in Washington D. C. and graduated from the Naval Academy – which is harder to get in and out of than Harvard – and rose through the ranks based upon brilliant performance.  Although he says that President Obama would invite his advice in the few minutes he would have before ordering a nuclear attack, should they disagree he would have no hesitation in carrying out the president’s orders.  “I am a soldier and I will carry out the orders of my Commander-In-Chief,” said Admiral Haney.   After listening to these men who would be tasked with giving the order to incinerate millions of men, women and children discuss their mission with a near cavalier attitude I was reminded of the philosopher Hanna Arendt’s intriguing thesis about “the banality of evil.”

If America’s doomsday weapons were launched today it will be a decision made by two elegant, brilliant, Afro-American gentlemen: President Obama and Admiral Haney. The irony here is thick and obvious.  For most of my life we were told “It’s a white man’s world,” but at this moment in time the fate of the earth resides in the hands of two very wise black men!  It is a dubious honor and a supreme irony that a society still so rife with racism that a morally deformed, intellectually lightweight charlatan and buffoon like Donald Trump could become a serious pretender to the presidency, buoyed on a wave of white racist resentment, could have invested such awesome power in these black men.

It is a power one associates with the Gods.  And what this Sixty Minutes report makes clear is that it is a power only the God’s should possess….no mortal – especially one as fatally flawed as Herr Trump – should hold the power to destroy the world.  Hence the paramount problem urgently facing mankind as I write, is ridding the earth of all nuclear weapons…putting the atomic genie back in the fuckin bottle!

In his acceptance lecture upon winning the Nobel Prize for literature William Faulkner assured us that whatever happens, come what may, mankind will endure.  This faith was echoed on the other side of the globe in a different tongue, by the great Chinese revolutionary poet and philosopher Mao Tse Tung, who led the mass movement that transformed China from a feudal to a modern society.  The Great Helmsman dismissed atomic weapons as “paper tigers” and declared “The Bomb will not destroy man; man will destroy the bomb.”   I hope they are right, and if I were a religious man I would pray.  But being a prisoner to reason and an ardent student of human history….I am not so sure they are right alas.

What I am absolutely certain of is that the mere existence of atomic weapons impeirls our continued existence…and if we do not soon put an end to them they will surely put an end to us!   As things stand at this hour the preeminent experts on the question of nuclear annihilation at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist have their Doomsday Clock set at three minutes to midnight! Which means the end of the world is closer than you think.

The Most Destructive Weapon in the World
A waste of wealth and technological
Double Click on link to see video and Transcript of CBS Report
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
September 21, 2016


African Beauties

Posted in Brown and Beige Beauties, Cultural Matters, Photo-Essays with tags , on September 18, 2016 by playthell
13164291_726953114111349_2926071960629653620_nAfrican Style

Godesses from the Breast of the Earth!

As I select the images for these photo-essays on the beauty of black women – this is the second in a series of four covering the US, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean – I am constantly struck by two things: what an amazing treasure trove I have to choose from, and how Europeans manage to convince so many people of the superior beauty of white women.

Of course the answer to this riddle lies in the fact that by virtue of their dominence in the military, economic and technological spheres Europeans have been able to impose their cultural values on the rest of the world.   In fact, mastery of a major European language has until the last fifty years been essential in order to gain access to the tools a nation needed to achieve modernity.  Simply put, the learned texts that contained the scientific knowledge that is the gateway to the modern world were written in those languages – which also produced a prolific literature that was employed to indoctrinate the colonized populations in the ideas and values of their oppressors including notions of vice and virtue, beauty and ugliness.

The knowledge of modern science was not to be found in Sanscrit, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, or Yoruba. Even our concept of time and place had been defined by Europeans.  The ancient wisdom of the great empires of Africa, Asia and Latin America proved impotent weapons against the onslaught of modern Europe.  This was not because Europeans were inherently superior, as they would claim, rather it was a function of the fact that “The Enlightenment,” an intellectual movement which separated the functions of church and state, priviledging reason over religion, science over mysticism, physics over metaphysics, ushered in the scientific revolution and the Industrial revolution which followed in its wake.

These dynamic developments in European society provided them with the technology to devestate the armies of the Third World and resulted in European conquest of the globe.  In the early twentieth century the little Island of Britian – whose King, George III, had been rebuffed by the Emperor of China as a “Barbarian” in an official rejection of his bid to establish trade relations around the time of the American Revolution in the 18th century – could boast that “The Sun never sets on the British empire” and had the audacity to call itself “Great Britian.”

The parts of the globe that was not controlled by the “conquoring Anglo-Saxons” were controlled by the other major nations of Europe, which exported their surplus populations all over the Third World, changing the physical characteriscs of the indigenous “natives” and implanting their language, literature and religious beliefs among them.  As a result of these historical events European values dominated the psyche of the subject peoples and convinced many of them that Europeans were superior in all things and and thus it was “a white man’s world” and the white woman became the ideal of feminine beauty.

The anti-colonial revolutions that burst out all over the non-white world in the aftermath of the second world war, was spurred by the fact these subject peoples had fought in the armies of their colonial master’s in two global conflicts within a generation and discovered that Europeans were not invincible and could be killed just like them.  Hence it is no surprise that the leaders of the anti-colonial movements in Afica and Asia, as well as the black liberation struggle in the US, were largely led by ex-military men.  This was true whether we are talkig about Franz Fanon and Abdel Gamel Nasser in Africa or Medgar Evers and Robert Williams in the US.

A major part of the liberation struggles of oppressed peoples of color, as the revolutionary psychaitrist Franz Fanon described so poignantly in hyis writings was to reclaim their personalities, their sense of self.  Nowhere was this process more in evidence than among the black peoples of the world – especially in the USA with the rise of a militant black conciousness that inspired the “Black Arts Movement” which challanged European standards of beauty.  I came of age amidst that movement and was an avid participant in promoting it’s ideas.

I was on the scene when the African Jazz Art Society – founded by a collaboration between visual artists and Jazz – that boldly promoted an “Afrocentric” esthetic view that celebrated au naturel hair styles and African inspired dress which accentuated the beauty of African women.  The four cultural visionaries that created AJASS were musicians Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, along with the Braithwaite Brothers: Photographer Kwame and graphic artist/illustrator  Elombe.

The major vehicle through which they promoted the celebration black beauty was the Grandossa Models, who were presented in a series of cutural happenings in which Jazz, especially the Africa concious revolutionary music of the founders Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln – see video clip at the bottom of this essay – Visual Arts, and Poetry readings were also on display.

The Grandossa Models




Setting an Afro-Centric Standard of Beauty

Max and Abbey

Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln
Kwame Braithwaite: Photographer of the Movement


All Creator’s of the “Black is Beautiful” Slogan


A Pan African soldier welcoming Nelson and Winnie to Harlem!

A statement explaining the raison d’etre for the show  billed as “Naturally 62,” held in that year proclaimed it was “created to show Black women (and the world) that our Black skin, kinky hair and full lips were a thing of beauty, not something to be ashamed of.  This photo-essay was created as an extension of that spirit!







A Regal Beauty


The Source: Where Big Bootys Come From!


































 Academy Award Winning Actress
































Miss Ghana!


Click on link to view Max and Abbey perform “All Africa”

 Compiled by: Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 17, 2016

The Most Beautiful Girls in the World!!!

Posted in Brown and Beige Beauties, Cultural Matters, Photo-Essays with tags on September 10, 2016 by playthell

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: Tennis Player Serena Williams arrives at The 2011 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Serena Williams: Ebony Goddess

A Reality Check!

Harlem Sweeties
Have you dug the spill/ Of Sugar Hill?
Cast your gims/On this sepia thrill:
Brown sugar lassie, Caramel treat, Honey-gold baby
Sweet enough to eat./Peach-skinned girlie,
Coffee and cream, / Chocolate darling
Out of a dream. /Walnut tinted / Or cocoa brown,
Pomegranate-lipped / Pride of the town.
Rich cream-colored /To plum-tinted black,
Feminine sweetness /In Harlem’s no lack.
Glow of the quince /To blush of the rose.
Persimmon bronze /To cinnamon toes.
Blackberry cordial, Virginia Dare wine—
All those sweet colors /Flavor Harlem of mine!
Walnut or cocoa, Let me repeat:
Caramel, brown sugar, A chocolate treat.
Molasses taffy, Coffee and cream,
Licorice, clove, cinnamon/ To a honey-brown dream.
Ginger, wine-gold, Persimmon, blackberry,
All through the spectrum/ Harlem girls vary—
So if you want to know beauty’s / Rainbow-sweet thrill,
Stroll down luscious, 
Delicious, fine Sugar Hill.
By: Langston Hughes, Poet Laureate of Harlem

I am absolutely certain that I speak for most Afro-Americans…and some other folks of different ethnicities when I say that I am sick of witnessing the tyranny of the Caucasian female Image ad nauseum!   Ever since I can remember I have been inundated with images of white girls. In my forthcoming novel “Tall Tales from the Life and Times of Sugarcane Hancock: The Phallocentric Memoirs of a Sweet Colored Man,” The central character remembers the experience this way:

“White Girls….they seemed to be everywhere.  They beckoned to me from billboards beside the highways, and smiled from he pages of Sears and Roebuck catalogues inviting me to sample their wares.  They attempted to seduce my mind with carnal desire with their scantily clad bodies in girlie magazines, and attempted to infect me with a high heel and garter belt fetish on the covers of calendars and pin up posters.  They sashayed aroud our sunny Florida town in high heels and short shorts exposing tanned alabaster flesh thay I was forbidden to look upon let alone touch. They winked at me and hungrily licked their lips from the giant silver screens in dark movie palaces on Saturday afternoons; they even descended from the walls and stained glass windows of grand cathedrals and churches on Sundays….even black churches; blond blue eyed angels pointing the way to heaven!”

However even back in the day, when beautiful black female images were banished from the mass media, only overweight Black Mammy’s  – like Hattie McDaniel in the lavishly produced but sappy white plantation fantasy, “Gone with the Wind’ – got the nod.   Yet all of us who had eyes could easily see that it wasn’t so.  But given that the mass media was owned and controlled by white folks the beauties we saw in our daily lives – which were as common as water in black communities EVERYWHERE in America – were never celebrated in the images beamed into the psyches of millions of Americans.

This is the only plausible explanation for why white women are so widely promoted as the universal standard of beauty.  But I never bought the hype….as was the case with most of the black men I knew.  When I was a teenager the White folks said that Elizabeth Taylor was “The Most beautiful woman in the world; I thought Liz was pretty, but she paled like a fading flower when compared to Dorothy Dandridge.  And I also thought that Dorothy Dandridge looked a lot like my girlfriend Harriet Phoenix and was in a dead heat with my mamma…THE REAL QUEEN ELIZABETH!

Liz Taylor


 Dottie Dandrige
dorothy-dandridge-everettFine as Vintage Wine

What was especially grievous about the comparisons of Dorothy Dandridge to Liz Taylor is that Dottie was so much more talented.  In the golden age of Hollywood, when film production was dominated by a few mammoth studios run by corporate dictators popularly called Moguls, every performer longed to be a “Triple Threat,” talented at acting, singing and dancing.  Dorothy was a Triple Threat par excellence.   She was a good actor, a moving singer and a spectacular dancer, who was good enough to appear in Hollywood films dancing with the Nicholas Brothers, the most spectacular dance team to ever appear in movies…the best in the world!   The only reason that she did not become the biggest star in American show business, including Hollywood is because of white racism!

It is amusing – in the sense of laughing to keep from crying – to witness these same attitudes expressed on the part of white Americans today, albeit far less than in my youth, when they seek to compare our beautiful, elegant, First Lady to Jackie Kennedy. Demonstrating yet again the bogusness of white feminist intellectuals who claim that racism is a male malady, that wicked witch of the reactionary right, Anorexic Annie Coulter, drew an invidious comparison between Jackie and Michelle and suggested that any attempt to compare the two in style, elegance and beauty was absurd: Jackie had it all around….hands down.

As is often the case with the pronouncements of this silly skinny amoral skank, when I heard what she said “I got tha ass” as the old folks would say down home in Florida.  And since one of my favorite sports is unmasking charlatans and chastising pretentious white sophist…especially the pugnacious ones, I responded to Crazy Annie with a photo-essay that demolishes her vulgar and tasteless claim.  She should be the last one to speak on this anyway, since she is a skinny booga bear who looks like she was in a gang fight and everybody had a hatchet or a ball and chain but her!  See: “The Best Looking first Lady Ever!” at www.

Michelle….Oh Well!

Portraits of our Stunning First Lady




Raphsody In Blue


Need I say More?

A Study in Elegance


Day or Night….She’s the One!
***See Video on the elements of hers her Style below)

Jackie O


 At the White House Ball
Jackie had Style 

First Lady Jackie Kennedy standing on the grounds of the Taj Mahal during visit to India. (Photo by Art Rickerby/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

But she literally pales beside Michelle

The essential point here is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to my eyes Michelle is a far more strunning figure than Jackie Kennedy.  I love her colorful style which has a special flare when contrasted with her beautiful chocolate complexion.  What ever color Michelle chooses to wear including Jackie’s favorite white, will look better than when it adorns Jackie’s pale skin.  Furthermore, whereas Jackie was a slave to fashion dictators Michelle is a trend setter who chooses clothes from a far wider range of designers…making reputations instead of seeking the safety of choices from the trendy houses of fashion.

Left to my own devices I wouldn’t be engaged in this exercise because I see beauty in all of the world’s women, but some white folks made this an important issue that must be addressed.  The beauty and taste of black women has been disparaged far too often, and like white Americans have always done, they just declare that it is true without presenting any evidence, or even defining a clear standard.

Having consorted with beautiful and refined women of various races and ethnicities, I believe that middle class and upper class black American women are the most stylish ladies in the world.  And I also believe black women, with their myriad complexions descibed so deliciously by Langston Hughes – a task only an able poet with a fertile imagination could hope to pull off  – exotic eye shapes, widely varied facial features, endlessly inventive hair styles, and spectacular bodies  are the most beautiful women in the world!


Black, Brown and Beige Beauties!

The Girls of Sugar Hill Today


Makeda Voletta
 Sports Scientist and Former Athlete
 Photographer’s Model


A Magical Moon Dance comjuring the spirit of Oshun
Queen Makeda!
Actress/Producer Michele Turner
A Sophisticated Lady
Satin Doll
Sizziling in her Sixties!
Black don’t Crack!


A Sexy Senior Citizen pushing 70!


Light Bright to Ebony Black and All the Shades in Between!


Lovely Leana Horn: Triple Threat!
Pick yo Flava


Beautiful Bodacious Bootys
A Chocolate Delight 


Oshun’s Daughter
A Pecan Tan Brivk House!




 High Yellow


Teasing Brown


The Queen B!



The Blacker the Berry


















The Goddess Oshun




 A Movable Feast of Many Flavas!


Dangerous Curves!




Actress Meagan Goode


A Stunning Bronze Afro-Amazon!


Cafe Au lait


 Mahogony Fine II


























Poet Jessica Care Moore
Black And Fantasies







Our women are like a flower garden/You can Choose any color you like”
My Grand Daddy, George Benjamin Sr.
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
Fall 2016