THE DONALD IS A PUNKASS CRY BABY!!!!!

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

AND MAYBE A COKE HEAD TOO!!!

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” athttps://commentariesonthetimes.me/…/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

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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!!!!

 

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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

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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.

Commander-In-Chief

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
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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-nuclear-submarine
A waste of wealth and technological
Double Click on link to see video and Transcript of CBS Report
 http://www.cbsnews.com/live/video/60-minutes-the-new-cold-war/
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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

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Setting an Afro-Centric Standard of Beauty

Max and Abbey

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

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

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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!

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Vanity!

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A Regal Beauty

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The Source: Where Big Bootys Come From!
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Elegante

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 Academy Award Winning Actress

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Miss Ghana!

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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

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 Dottie Dandrige
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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

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Raphsody In Blue

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Need I say More?

A Study in Elegance

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Day or Night….She’s the One!
***See Video on the elements of hers her Style below)
https://youtu.be/UzrvKIHWfDk

Jackie O

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 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!

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Black, Brown and Beige Beauties!

The Girls of Sugar Hill Today

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Makeda Voletta
 Sports Scientist and Former Athlete
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Dancer
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 Photographer’s Model

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

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A Sexy Senior Citizen pushing 70!

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

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Lovely Leana Horn: Triple Threat!
Pick yo Flava

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Beautiful Bodacious Bootys
A Chocolate Delight 

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Oshun’s Daughter
A Pecan Tan Brivk House!

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 High Yellow

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Teasing Brown

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The Queen B!

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The Blacker the Berry

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a-very-special-ebony-beauty

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a-stunning-ebony-beauty

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a-stunning-beauty-in-pink

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 black-afrodite

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real-black-beauty

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The Goddess Oshun

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 A Movable Feast of Many Flavas!

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Dangerous Curves!

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Actress Meagan Goode

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A Stunning Bronze Afro-Amazon!

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Cafe Au lait

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 Mahogony Fine II

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Cinnamon

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a-misteasing-brown-fox

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a-pecan-tan-dol

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a-chocolate-beauty-in-a-hat

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black-beauty

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Poet Jessica Care Moore
Black And Fantasies

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

Hillary Speaks to the Vets

Posted in Playthell on politics, The 2016 Presidential Race with tags , , on September 2, 2016 by playthell
Hillary Clinton at American LegionCiting her long involvement with military matters as her qualification for CIC

 Making a Pitch for the Military Vote

 Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop at an American Legion convention in Ohio on Wednesday, a pivotal state in the coming presidential elections.  Although she faced an audience that was staunchly Republican and neither warm nor welcoming – blase skepticism and frosty reserve would more faithfully characterize their demeanor – she nevertheless took to the podium and commanded their grudging respect with a combination of passionate patriotism – recounting tales of military heroism told by her ex-soldier dad – and unimpeachable knowledge regarding the anatomy of war, peace and diplomacy.  Even the Five Blind Boys could clearly see that Hillary’s credentials for the gig are heads and shoulders above anything that blustering real estate huckster from Queens can muster.

The quality of the Democratic candidate’s speech depends upon the criteria one employs to evaluate it.  As a political oration designed to win votes it was perfect for her audience and thus must be judged a rousing success…that is to say it went as well as possible.  She touched all of the right bases she needed to touch to hit a home run.  Yet as a statement of political reality and astute realpolitique – which is to say a proper assessment of the relationship of political forces in the world and where our real interests lay – Hillary’s stance on foreign relations left much to be desired.  Since I have made this case elsewhere, re-litigating it here would be akin to reinventing the wheel.  Hence I shall refer the reader who cares to fathom the issue to: “The World According to Hillary” at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2016/04/03/the-world-according-to-hillary/.

As I argue in the essay cited above, in order to fully comprehend Hilary’s view of the world, and the role of American power in the international order, one must first take into account the fact that her basic views were molded in the heat of the Cold War era.  It is a measure of how bad Trump is that even when he is clearly right he can be dismissed out of hand.  Given that the game of politics is a system by which relationships of power are created and maintained alas, and considering the monumental issues that will be decided by this election that demand Democratic leadership, I hesitate to speak frankly of the folly of certain of Hillary’s bedrock views regarding foreign policy…even when they offend my sense of reality.

These are no picayune issues of which I speak; they are at the very root of why the US remains in a state of perpetual war at a great price in blood and treasure!  For instance, Hillary gained big brownie points with the Vets as she vociferously attacked Trump for suggesting that the concept of “American Exceptionalism” was “an insult to other nations” and that it is unreasonable to expect them to accept our vision of the world.

The specific example she used to highlight Trump’s foreign policy blasphemy was his comment that “If you are in Russia might not view America as Exceptional.”  Hillary acted as if Trump had voiced some unspeakable heresy that alone disqualified him for the US Presidency.  She looked into the cameras and said with all of the indignation she could muster: “Just because Putin does not recognize it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”  That kind self-righteous messianic view is a dangerous way to understand the role of the US in the community of nations.  The late Senator J. William Fulbright from Arkansas published a book about this attitude in 1966, titled “The Arrogance of Power.”

Fulbright, who was the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, presented an argument that Hillary Clinton needs to consider just now. For although a half century has passed, Senator Fulbright’s argument is as relevant now as it was then.  At the time the US was in a protracted war in Viet Nam, fighting to “contain the communist menace,” a threat that has now been replaced with the “Radical Islamist menace” from which we are now called upon to save the world.  Senator Fulbright, a thoughtful man who was a Rhodes Scholar, offered the following observation:

The attitude above all others which I feel sure is no longer valid is the arrogance of power, the tendency of great nations to equate power with virtue and major responsibilities with a universal mission. The dilemmas involved are preeminently American dilemmas, not because America has weaknesses that others do not have but because America is powerful as no nation has ever been before and the discrepancy between its power and the power of others appears to be increasing….”

Senator Fulbright went on to analyze how the arrogance of American power shaped our mission in Vietnam:

We are now engaged in a war to “defend freedom” in South Vietnam. Unlike the Republic of Korea, South Vietnam has an army which [is] without notable success and a weak, dictatorial government which does not command the loyalty of the South Vietnamese people. The official war aims of the United States Government, as I understand them, are to defeat what is regarded as North Vietnamese aggression, to demonstrate the futility of what the communists call “wars of national liberation,” and to create conditions under which the South Vietnamese people will be able freely to determine their own future. I have not the slightest doubt of the sincerity of the President and the Vice President and the Secretaries of State and Defense in propounding these aims.

What I do doubt and doubt very much is the ability of the United States to achieve these aims by the means being used. I do not question the power of our weapons and the efficiency of our logistics; I cannot say these things delight me as they seem to delight some of our officials, but they are certainly impressive. What I do question is the ability of the United States, or France or any other Western nation, to go into a small, alien, undeveloped Asian nation and create stability where there is chaos, the will to fight where there is defeatism, democracy where there is no tradition of it and honest government where corruption is almost a way of life. Our handicap is well expressed in the pungent Chinese proverb: “In shallow waters dragons become the sport of shrimps.”

Since she is likely to become the next President of the USA, and Commander-In-Chief of the most destructive military force ever assembled on this planet, I can think of several aphorisms that would serve as wise council to Hillary Clinton. As one who voted for her and worked to convince others to cast their votes for her, I feel at liberty to suggest the following: “A hint to the wise should be sufficient,” and I would buttress that sentiment with the philosopher George Santayana’s warning: “Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes!”

Old Soldiers Paying close Attention

Hillary at American Legion

Click on link to view Hillary’s Speech

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See Report on Hillar voicing the view that Putin is comparble to Hitler
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/opinion/stanley-hillary-clinton-hitler/?iref=obinsite
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
September 2, 2016

Freedom Music that Inspired South Africans

Posted in Cultural Matters, Music Reviews, You Tube Classics with tags , , on August 19, 2016 by playthell
Maz and Abey IIRevolutionaty Music: Background sound to the Liberation Movement

The Sound Heard Around the World!

The videos posted below  brings to mind the role both Max Roach and Amonata Moseka played in the arts movement of South Africa. I say this because I got to know about Max and Amonata as a very young boy. What they did for African Americans, they also did very effectively for the arts and music in South Africa. I actually learned and got to see Max’s influence in many drummers of the early fifties and sixties in South Africa, like Gordon Mfandu, Early Mabuza, Louis Mofolo, and countless drummers who collected his music, and played like Max, emulated and refined some of his licks and so forth;

Then there was the ladies who sang in the sultry notes of Aminata  Moseka, singers like Dolly Rather, Dorothy Masuka, Thandi Klaasen, and of the younger generation, Sibongile  Khumalo – daughter of Khabi Mgoma who was the conductor of the Ionian Choir of Africans in South Africa.  He would go on to become the Director and curator of Dorkay House, lcated on Elloff Street in Johannesburg.   Dorkay House was the Hub of African Jazz musicians and music students Dorkay House was situated next to BMCC, where all the artist – painters, poets, dramatist, et al were practicing their artistic endeavors.

Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln

Max and Abbey

Father and Mother of the Black Arts Movement

These institutions were very influential in spreading what Max and Abbey were doing for the arts and music world in the USA. Max’s 78 rpm’s and LPs were exchanged amongst the artists, and we, the children of some of these musicians, were encouraged to go to BMCC to learn about up and coming painters and sculptors. Some of my young friends took piano, drum and other instrumental lessons in Dorkay House.

Khabi Mgoma, after his creation of the Ionian Classical Music choir, went on to teach in Natal. But before he left he served as the Director of Dorkay House, and this was frowned upon by the Apartheid Goons who wanted to suppress any sign of modern cultural nationalism among blacks. We children from the townships who loved Jazz got to listen to and watch our African Brothers and uncles practice the new licks from Max Roach, while hanging out with many artists like Dumile Feni, Fikile Magadlela and Solly Bobela, and so forth.

They all came out of that mix.   BMCC played a major role in churning out these young musicians and artists.. Dorkay House was also a hangout for the Musicans /Artists, etc  who played Billiards at BMCC.   It is from such settings that I got to hear and know about Max and Amonata Moseka.

Musicians played his LPs on their gramophones and newly acquired Hi-Fi Radio system. Although we grew up listening to the great drummer Philly Jo Jones and other contemporaries, Max topped the bill for our listening pleasure. This was long before there were the Jazz Clubs that have become a staple since the coming to Power of the ANC. For us, Jazz clubs during my teenage years was hanging out with all types of artists and musicians, and it was from such esteemed people, that I developed a reverence for Jazz that has stayed with me to this day.

As For Leroi Jones, I got to know him from his book, “Blues People”, but I will reserve my comments for now regarding this book. Anyway, we did not read Jazz, only form Magazines like ‘Down Beat”, but the experience of living with, hanging out, and  listening to musicians from a very young Age.  The intoxicating sound of Jazz reaffirmed the oceanic connections that we had with our African bothers, specifically in the US.   I know the influence of the “African Jazz Art society” was certainly felt in South Africa because I remember that my father used to get information on them.

Living within the Jazz Milieu of Apartheid South provided a kind of spiritual refuge…where our souls could dance freely, transcending the physical oppressions of the House of Bondage that our beautiful country had become. Thus the powerful race conscious music of Max and Amonata – such as the “Freedom Suite: We Insist Freedom Now”- made life worth living for many of us here in South Africa.

Those who fought and defeated the apartheid regime are still affected by their cultural contributions more than I can put into words. Max and Amonata was it for us, especially my Age group.   I am older now, but I still listen to my pristine Vinyl recordings of their music and am still inspired by the art of the politically conscious Jazz Giants.  All one need do to understand why is to check out their performance on the videos below.

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Freedom Day!

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Cosmic Freedom Sounds!

Max Roach and South African Pianst Dollar Brand

May the Circle Remain Unbroken!

The Struggle Continues….
Skhokho 
South African Revolutionary
August 1, 2016

Donald Trump’s Economic Plan: SOS!

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags on August 13, 2016 by playthell

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers an economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Charlatan at Work

Trump’s Message is same old Republican Shit

It is both accurate and charitable to say that Donald Trump’s new economic plan presented before the Detroit Economic Club last Monday is just old Republican wine in a new bottle.  He may try to change the label and brand himself a bold innovator – which is not the only illusion he confuses with reality – but it really is the same old Republican babble.   As has been noted by more than a few political wise guys, except for his anti-free trade protectionist rhetoric – which is heresy to the Republican establishment – Trump’s speech could have been given by any run-of-the-mill Republican politico!  This is because it was a script written by professional party propagandist and delivered by Trump.

The major distinction of Trump’s speech – aside from repudiating much of the dream that he has been selling the impassioned but woefully untutored mob that form the foundation of his support – is his tendency to tell blatant lies that can be easily disproved by a simple fact check, even when speaking in venues where the press is omnipresent. Although the Republican Party has thrived on lies and mass disinformation over the last 20 years, “The Donald” has taken it to new heights.  And since this arrogant churl constantly bullies the press, they will be sure to point it out every time he tells a whopper.

In the present speech fact checkers have pointed out at least 16 outright lies involving a range of issues such as Clinton’s tax proposals and her husband’s role in passing NAFTA, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.  PolitiFact, one of the more reliable sources, gave Trump a “Pants on Fire” rating – their most severe rating for liars – about his claim that Clinton promised to raise taxes on the middle class in a public statement.

A fact check quickly proved that she said the exact the opposite.   But this is characteristic of the veracity of Trump’s comments about Clinton’s tax policy – virtually everything the rascal said has been shown to be a lie by the fact checkers in the Washington Post. Then there is Trump’s constant wail about the evils of NAFTA and how the Clinton’s imposed this treaty on the nation, destroying the American industrial sector. He even claims that act accounts for the jobless rate among the working class whites who once flourished during the period of industrial prosperity when America was a manufacturing giant and huge factories littered the landscape.

However the truth is that Hillary had nothing to do with that, and while her husband introduced the Bill and shepherded it through Congress, it was George H. W. Bush that actually negotiated the agreement. Hence passing NAFTA was a bi-partisan effort.  Furthermore, when the Agreement came up for a vote in Congress the Republicans voted for it in greater numbers than the Democrats!  The leaders of the Democratic majority in the House – Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, and Majority Whip David Bonner – both opposed it!

When the vote was taken NAFTA passed by 34 votes 235 to 200, with 132 Republicans voting for it, as opposed to only 102 Democrats. It passed the Senate 61-38, 34 Republicans vs 27 Democrats.   NAFTA became law on January 1, 1994.  However to listen to Trump talk it was the evil Bill and Hillary Clinton that imposed this monstrous agreement on the US and it is responsible for the present employment crisis in the white working class.  This, like all of Trump’s arguments, is a shameless lie born of ignorance, nurtured on malice and presented with duplicity.

Reduced to its simplest terms Trump’s economic policy is based on the traditional pillars of Republican economic dogma: Sharply reduce corporate taxes, abolish the inheritance tax, and cut back government regulation of business. Since there is nothing in these policies that directly benefit the beleaguered workers who seek their salvation in Trump, as an afterthought he threw in a tax deduction for child care expenses which he claims was the brain child of his daughter Ivana, whom he claims is concerned about the plight of working mothers because she is one herself.

But since few poor working mothers file itemized tax returns this measure will be of no benefit to them alas. Ironically this deduction will benefit wealthy people like Ivana because there is no limit on the costs covered by this deduction. Trump’s economic plan is a rehash of the “Laffer Curve,” or “Supply Side Economics,” which postulates the hokum that if we give more money to the rich i.e. the “job creators,” they will in turn invest in the US economy and create more employment opportunities which will greatly reduce the unemployment rate.

However most jobs in the US today are created by small business, and when I interviewed business owners in New York, Atlanta and LA they all told me the same thing: Tax breaks alone will not prompt them to hire more workers.  That is determined by market conditions i.e. a demand for their goods or services.  Absent that demand they will simply save the tax cut or invest it elsewhere.

This type of  decision is adopted even more so  regarding the big multi-national corporations which are owned by investors all over the world and have no loyalty to nation states. Hence the decisions made by the executives, and corporate Boards of Directors that oversee their activities, are guided by the desire to constantly increase profits, not provide employment for unemployed American factory workers.  To suggest otherwise is a cold blooded deception and nobody knows this better than Donald Trump, who manufactures all of his products in foreign sweatshops lcated in places like China and Vietnam.

It is a transparent con by a megalomaniacal bunko artist and pathological liar who believes he can tell his fanatical blue collar supporters anything and they will believe it. In a moment of extreme hubris he declared: “I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it!”   The truth is that Trump does not have a clue how to solve the problem of growing joblessness.  The guy is an amoral showman who will say whatever will get his act a laugh.  He even treats his wife like a prop.

The Donald and our Future First Lady?

DONALD TRUMP AND OUR FUTURE FIRST LADY

The Donald Trump show….Playing to the Cheap Seats

He has promised to bring the giant manufacturing companies back to the US if elected President, but he fails to explain how he will make autonomous corporations in a privately owned economy do his bidding. The US government does not have the power to tell businessmen where they must locate their plants.

Trump tells us that he can make these corporations do his bidding by slapping exorbitant tariffs on their goods when they try to sell them in the US market. But that will result in a dramatic rise in prices for these goods, which are in great demand by American consumers, unless he also institutes price controls.  He has also promised to “renegotiate” trade agreements like NAFTA.

Although he often talks like he thinks he is running for Benevolent Dictator rather than President, the fact is that no American president has the power to do such things.  In order to carry out these policies “The Donald” will have to gain the approval of Congress and since the Republican Party is committed to “free trade” theology his chances of pulling it off are about equal to a snowball’s chances of survival in hell.

Yet even if Trump could lure these corporations back to the US with extravagant tax holidays, the plants they build will be robotized.  This fact brings us face to face with the real problem confronting the working class; what the great British economist John Maynard Keynes, the architect of the “New Deal” that did much to halt the economic collapse of the 1930’s, called “technological unemployment” and the US autoworker /economic analyst James Boggs called “the cybernation of the economy” in his 1960 book “The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Worker’s Notebook.

Ironically, Boggs was a resident of Detroit when he penned this text, and Detroit was one of the world’s leading industrial centers.  Viewed from historical perspective both of these writers have proven to be prescient thinkers because there predictions have come to pass. The workers rendered obsolete by the advance of technology have vastly increased just as Keynes warned, and Detroit has turned into an economic wasteland as industrial work disappeared.

It is worth noting however, that neither Keyes nor Boggs foresaw the creation of the internet, which has been the midwife to the expanding phenomenon of globalization that has exported those manufacturing jobs that still exist  to the underdeveloped countries where workers are so desperately poor they will work for a fraction of what unionized workers demand in the advanced economies of the US and Europe.

All of these factors help to explain why the US economy emerged from the devastating Bush Depression yet left seven million workers who were employed before the crash unemployed.  Far too many politicians and policy wonks treated the economic collapse under Bush as if it were the same class of event as the Great Depression of the 30’s. But the persistence of unacceptably high unemployment after the “recovery” is caused by different forces.

The present crisis of the working class is not due to the traditional “boom and bust” of the business cycle, but to permanent changes in the structure of the US economy.  While our government planners refuse to look this problem squarely in the face and respond to what they see, there are other thoughtful analyst who are pointing to the real problem in books like “The Rise of the Robots” and “People Get Ready,”

In a review/essay on the book for the New York Times, Barbara Ehrenreich, who has written so perceptively about the problems of finding employment at a living wage in the contemporary American economy, noted that the disappearance of work has not been given the attention it deserves because the educated classes considered it a problem that only affected unskilled workers.  Then she issues a note of caution.

But, as Martin Ford documents in “Rise of the Robots,” the job-eating maw of technology now threatens even the nimblest and most expensively educated. Lawyers, radiologists and software designers, among others, have seen their work evaporate to India or China. Tasks that would seem to require a distinctively human capacity for nuance are increasingly assigned to algorithms, like the ones currently being introduced to grade essays on college exams. Particularly terrifying to me, computer programs can now write clear, publishable articles, and, as Ford reports, Wired magazine quotes an expert’s prediction that within about a decade 90 percent of news articles will be computer-­generated.  It’s impossible to read “Rise of the Robots” — for review anyway — without thinking about how the business of book reviewing could itself be automated and possibly improved by computers.”

This is the reality that political leaders must address because the nature of the solution required cannot be left up to the investor class. It is not in their interest to solve this problem; they are only interested in maximizing their profits.  We know from in depth sociological studies of the dire consequence of widespread and prolonged joblessness such as “When Work Disappears,” by Harvard sociologist William J. Wilson, the absence of honest work at a living wage for large numbers of any community affects everything.  Homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse; crime and incarceration rates; suicide and marriage rates, and the number of out of wedlock births, are all affected by widespread structural unemployment.

This is what’s driving the alarming rates of all these pathologies among the white working class, which has the fastest rising death rate of any demographic in American society.  The high incidence of opiate and alcohol addiction is a sure sign of extreme stress among them.  Interestingly, black men have been suffering from these maladies for decades but most Americans – especially working a lower middle class whites – never connected this to the stresses resulting from the absence of employment opportunities.

It is no small irony that many of those who benefitted from the institutional  racism that kept black men – and women of all races – out of the good jobs in manufacturing and the trades are these same white male workers.  Having been born into a society where just being a straight white male gave them a built in advantage, they cannot cope with a transformed social order.  In today’s economy employment discrimination based on race and gender is a crime, and the educational demands of the economy take precedence over race or gender.

Hence unskilled white industrial workers are gradually discovering what non-white workers have been experiencing for a while: they are an anachronism…..DonTrump othe odd man out.  They are lost souls, insecure in the present and pessimistic about the future.  And that makes them easy pickings for a fast talking charlatan from queens, who honed his salesman skills as a real estate huckster in Manhattan and a TV reality show host.

What can be fairly predicted from the facts at hand alas, is that The Donald has sold them a dream that would quickly become a nightmare if he were elected President.  His plan for a massive tax giveaway to the rich; tacking tariffs on imported goods; loosening regulation of the business and financial sector; scrapping the Affordable Health Care Act, while introducing a large scale American military force back into the Middle East quagmire, is essentially the same formula that brought on the bad old days of the Bush collapse!

Hence we can safely predict that the angry white mob that revere Trump will find no salvation in his economic plans for America.   It’s the same old shit!

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
August 2016