An American Treasure

Posted in Cultural Matters, Music Reviews, Wynton Marsalis on CBS Sunday Morning with tags , on May 12, 2020 by playthell

Maestro Wynton Marsalis after Performing at U-Cal Berkley

CBS Sunday Morning Celebrates the Musical Marsalis’s 

This feature story from the vast archives of CBS television is a priceless treasure. It is a segment from the feature stories on Jazz hosted by the late GREAT Dr. Billy Taylor on CBS Sunday Morning, which introduced a largely unknown musical genius named Wynton Marsalis to the world.

A virtuoso on the piano and a composer / arranger, who also held a PhD, Dr. Taylor was the ideal impresario to present Wynton, a musically ambidextrous virtuoso of the trumpet who at 20 had mastered the two great traditions in western music: European Classical Concert music, and the modern Afro-American complex instrumental music popularly known as “Jazz.” While there have been other musicians who could ably perform in both traditions – flautist Hubert Laws, bassists Richard Davis and Carlos del Pino, trumpeter Miles Davis, percussionist Max Roach, pianists Herbie Hancock and Chucho Valdez, to name a few – none has achieved the level of success that Wynton enjoys.

Looking back at this interview, conducted in the inimitable style of Dr. Taylor, a combination of weighty erudition and cool hipness, with an elegant style accompanied by a beguiling smile, we can see how prescient he was in forecasting greatness for young Wynton. Although barely past his teenage years at the time of the interview, Wynton spoke with the wisdom of a learned elder and played with the technical virtuosity and musical gravitas of a master!

This was no accident, as we learn when we meet his father Ellis Marsalis, a brilliant pianist, influential teacher, and splendid father who, although a quintessential modernist, embodied the entire tradition of Jazz in his playing; beginning with the great musicians of his home town New Orleans, where Jazz was invented at the turn of the 20th century.

It is Ellis who gave Wynton his name, honoring his favorite pianist Wynton Kelly, who performed with andmade great recordings with the virtuoso trumpeter and imaginative innovator Miles Davis. Alas, this splendid man and great musician, was recently taken from us by the Corona-Virus plague…I believe if there is a heaven out there somewhere beyond the rainbow, where good souls go when they die, Ellis Marsalis is jammin with Gabriel in a celestial orchestra.

I knew Billy Taylor, and I first saw Wynton perform when he was around 20 years old in a concert with the great Herbie Hancock VSOP band. I had only vaguely heard of him from a few gigs he had performed around the Big Apple with the great Art Blakey’s “Jazz Messengers,” an iconic band in the history of Jazz, that had caused a buzz among aficionados.

From the moment I heard him play I knew Wynton was special and would become one of the greats. As a failed trumpeter who abandoned that extremely difficult instrument in a fit of despair during 9th grade, after I heard Clifford Brown play “Delilah,” accompanied by the quintessential modern percussionist Max Roach, in a quintet they led, I could easily recognize the brilliance of Wynton’s playing. Just like every failed basketball player can instantly reognize the greatness of Lebron James.
We would soon become good friends and over the years I wrote about him in a variety of publications from the Village Voice and the Daily News, to the Manchester Guardian – now the Guardian Observor of London – the Sunday Times of London, and Commentaries On the Times. I have an essay coming out in a new book of essays on Jazz, edited by the distinguished Jazz critic Willard Jenkins. It is titled “WYNTON IS THE GREATEST!”

This treatise on the art of the trumpet makes the case for Wynton’s place in the history of the instrument, and was originally published as a multi-media essay at:  Commentariesonthetimes.wordpress.com.
This CBS SUNDAY MORNING feature is a wonderful blast from the past, if you are inspired by brilliance, especially rarely celebrated Afro-American brilliance, despite the fact that it is EVERYWHERE, check this out! it will make your spirit dance in these dismal times of myriad trials and troubles.

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Click on Video

 

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
In The Time of the Great Plague
May 11, 2020

An Open Letter to the Flim Flam Man

Posted in Guest Commentators, On Donald Trump, The Great Plague with tags , , , on April 10, 2020 by playthell

Bullshittin bout the Vrius

Some Straight Talk For Dirty Donald

by:Guest Columnist Craig Allen Wilkerson

Dear Fucking Lunatic,

At your recent press conference – more a word salad that had a stroke and fell down stairs, you were CLEARLY so out of your depth you needed scuba gear. Within minutes of going off air your minions were backpedaling faster than Cirque De Soliel acrobats… In India a week ago, I couldn’t get past the bit about your being the most popular visitor in the history of fucking india — a country of a BILLION human souls that’s only 3000 years old, give or take.!!! Trust me – Gandhi pulled CROWDS.. You pulled a cricket stadium and half WALKED out…

Do you know how fucking insane you sound, you off-brand butt plug? That’s like the geopolitical equivalent of “that stripper really likes me” — only 10,000 times crazier and less self aware. You are fucking exhausting. Every day is a natural experiment in determining how long 300 million people can resist coring out their own assholes with an ice auger. Every time I hear a snippet of your Queens-tinged banshee larynx farts, I want to scream! We are fucking tired. As bad as we all thought your presidency would be when Putin got you elected, it’s been inestimably worse.

You called a hostile, nuclear-armed head of state “short and fat.” How the fuck does that help? You accused a woman — a former friend, no less — of showing up at your resort bleeding from the face and begging to get in. You, you, YOU — the guy who looks like a Christmas haggis inexplicably brought to life by Frosty’s magic hat — yes, you of all people said that. You attempted — with evident fucking glee — to get 24 million people thrown off their health insurance. You gave billions away to corporations and the already wealthy while simultaneously telling struggling poor people that you were doing exactly the opposite. You endorsed a pedophile, praised brutal dictators, and defended LITERAL FUCKING NAZIS!

Ninety-nine percent of everything you say is either false, crazy, incoherent, just plain cruel, or a rancid paella of all four. Oh, by the way, Puerto Rico is still FUBAR. You got yourself and your family billions in tax breaks for Christmas. What do they get? More paper towels? Enough! Enough! Enough! Enough! For the love of God and all that is holy, good, and pure, would you please, finally and forever, shut your feculent KFC-hole until you have something valuable — or even marginally civil — to say?

You are a fried dick sandwich with a side of schlongs. If chlamydia and gonorrhea had a son, you’d appoint him HHS secretary. You are a disgraceful, pustulant hot stew full of casuistry, godawful ideas, unintelligible non sequiturs, and malignant rage. You are the perfect circus orangutan diaper from Plato’s World of Forms. So fuck you Mr. President! Fuck you forever!

Oh, and Pence, you oleaginous house ferret. Fuck you, too. You’ll be as useful as a chocolate teapot against a medical crisis you Bible thumping cock socket.

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The Obsequious Ass Kisser in Chief

A Great White Dope!

Craig Alan Wilkinson
Melborne Australia
April 10, 2020

 

Apocalypse Now!

Posted in Eyewitness to the Great Virus Plague 2021, The Great Plague with tags , on April 3, 2020 by playthell

Nowhere to Run…Nowhere to Hide…

Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Behold the Pale Horse of Plague

Living in the Shadow of Death…

The Whole is in trouble
…and the Danger one is everywhere!

Living in New York today, one experiences a nagging feeling of life on the edge of catastrophe, like the proverbial sinner who is hanging over hell’s fire by an eyelash, with their foot on a banna peel. As I write, my city is Ground Zero for the Corona virus plague, and I am witnessing scenes reminiscent of the Civil War, as the US military erect field hospitals in Central Park and the massive Javitz Center, while dead bodies are being stacked in refrigerated trailer trucks outside of hospitals as the death tool rises daily and city morgues are full. Yet for health care professionals this plague is worse than war, because they too are under assault by the virus; which is not restrained by the Red Cross that protects medical facilities under the rules of warfare.

Unable to get the protective gear they desperately need, despite the fact the one in every four cases in the US are in New York, health care workers are getting sick and dying in front of their helpless colleagues. Just going to work now days is like volunteering for a suicide mission; they are the true heroes of this moment and are worthy of all our praises and respect. Without them life in America today would be an unimaginable horror. That’s why New Yorkers are cheering and singing songs to them as the go to and fro taking care of their soul rending business.

Listening to a nurse describe working conditions in her hospital on television this morning, a seasoned journalist burst into tears! Hundreds of cops are infected at the same time that hundreds of convicts are being released from prison, and it is too disturbing to contemplate the fate of firemen – whose work requires them to live in very close quarters. The state unemployment bureau has been overwhelmed and it looks like benefits will not be paid quickly. Thus hunger will soon become a reality for some New Yorkers, who were doing fine before the plague engulfed New York while Agent Orange, the Moscow candidate who accidentally became President, fiddled. Some of the predictions that are being made by various experts increasingly sound like a psychedelic version of hell…

As we witness the prolonged talks on the Plague from Bill De Blassio, Mayor of New York City, and Mario Cuomo, Governor of New York State, those with a sense of history conjure up memories of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legendary “Fire Side Chats,” in which the Democratic President soothed the nation’s anxieties and calmed the fears of Americans by his cool, calm, although candid, talks about the nation’s problems in a time of crisis and put forth plans to solve them.

FDR’s performance of the duties of his high office as leader of the American people was a Tour de Force, as he masterfully took the helm and guided the ship of state through turbulent waters troubled by World War and the worst global depression in history. Alas, Deranged Donald Dimwit, who presently befouls the Oval Office, is no FDR. Rather than take command and confidently guide the ship of state through the troubled waters that poses a clear and present danger to the fate of our nation, Duplicitous Donald is behaving like Captain Kleeg, in Mutiny On the Bounty. Kleegs incompetence, delusion, narcissism, and paranoia forced the crew to remove him from power and take command of the ship! Democrats in the US Congress voted to impeach the incompetent buffoon in the House of Representatives, where they are the majority, but the Republican controlled Senate, in a shamelessly corrupt cover-up, refused to convict him on the evidence; which by any objective standard of guilt, was overwhelming!

Hence, due to this moral corruption, the Republicans in Congress, at the insistence of their supporters, who are all fanatical members of Dirty Donald’s personality cult, the “Trumpanzees,” adopted amoral political expedience as their guiding principle. And now we are all payin a devastating price for the Senate’s dastardly dereliction of Duty. Despite Devious Don’s attempts to re-write the history of his myriad blunders in regard to the present plague, openly declaring himself free of “any responsibility” for the disaster that has befallen the nation, Trump’s decisions have played a major part in enabling the plague to spread.

From dismantling the government agency tasked with identifying pandemics and devising policies to defeat them, to ignoring the advice of scientists and medical professionals who warned him of the severity of the Corono-virus months before he finally decided to act, Dirty Don bears a huge responsibility for the deadly plague. The fact that he flatly refuses to accept any responsibility is a clear manifestation of his mental maladies: Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia, and how they endanger our national security. We see it in his absurd attacks on professional journalists – who dare to present the Sunshine King with gloomy or unpleasant facts that contradict his rosy narrative – his compulsive lying, and inability to show any real empathy with the victims of the virus.

When Donnie Dimwit was first presented with the facts about this infectious virus – which he seems to think he can make disappear by calling it “The Chinese Virus,” or at lest shift any blame away from him – he dismissed the gravity of the problem and openly ridiculed the press for presenting unpleasant facts to the public warning that the Federal government, which means him, was failing to take the necessary measures to contain the spread of the plague. As I write, Devious Don tha Con is shamelessly telling outright lies to the American people to try and cover up his tsunami of errors that has led us into this colossal mess. But the Boston

I am watching a clip from yesterdays Republican Follies, featuring Don tha Con, and he is blatantly misusing statistics in an effort to prove that the US is the most efficient nation in the world at containing the virus. What it actually proves is the old adage: “Statistics don’t lie…but liars can use statistics!” Speaking to the world at his televised press conference, he claims: We have tested over a million people, the best in the world by far!” But that is a false conclusion alas. It is based upon his use of the overall number of test given, rather than the per capita number which tells the real story. In fact, several countries are way ahead of the US based on percentage of their population tested. Many epidemiologists argue that the reason Germany has a lower infection rate than most countries is that they started early and got out ahead of the problem.

One of the most puzzling aspects of Trump’s Corona-virus policy is his response to New York – his home town where he was born, raised and found fame and fortune by virtue of his daddy’s big bucks and contrived media hype – but is now the most infected Hot Spot in the world. He has appeared at times deaf or indifferent to the incessant and increasingly desperate pleas of Governor Cuomo, begging for supplies that are critical to the continued ability of our hospital system to treat patients who will surely die if left untreated.

This is as serious as it gets, yet there are long time observers of Demented Donald who believe that he is shorting New York on vital aid because he is pissed that Governor Cuomo has criticized his inept response to the spreading plague! Which is further evidence, if such be needed at this point, of Demented Donald’s mental illness. All the symptoms – compulsive lying, self-aggrandizement, delusions of Grandeur, the inability to feel genuine empathy for the misfortunes of others, and persistent feelings of persecution – are prominently on display for the world to see even as the US press plays down or ignores it.

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There are rumors abroad that should Joe Biden arrive at the Democratic Convention lacking the required delegates to win on the first ballot, Governor Andrew Cuomo will be placed in contention for the nomination. I believe that would be a good move considering how the country is getting an opportunity to compare the leadership styles and abilities of the two men, who very much reflect their upbringing and life’s experience in the world of work.

Donald Jiveass Trump was raised by a father who was a money grubbing sexist bigot with a Darwinian view of the world and the business ethics of a pirate. And his son Dirty Donald followed in his foot steps, calling his wretched dad “the wisest man I ever met!” Governor Andrew Cumo is the son of Mario Cuomo, a silver tongued humane progressive public servant who was also governor of New York. Like fathers like sons! It’s an easy choice, even Denny Dimwit could figure out who is better equipped to be President.

As a result of Trump’s blunders and procrastination a bad situation has been made far worse. Life in New York just now is a lot like a protracted game of Russian Roulette. Alas, just going about the normal activities of daily life such as a trip to the grocery store; riding mass public transportation; catching a cab, taking a walk, sitting on a park bench, or taking an elevator in your apartment building, all seem like recklessly tempting fate in a macabre dance with the grim reaper.

It is a mind boggling experience unlike anything I have seen in almost 80 years on this planet, and lord knows I have seen some troubles. As I look out over the city from my crib on Sugar Hill, which affords me a view of several streets, bridges and highways, I have never seen things so quiet in the 40 years that I have gazed out upon this grand view. Inside, as I go about my daily routine of study and writing, all seems well, until I turn on the News at New York 1 and peep out the window.

The scenes from downtown Manhattan, one of the busiest spaces in the world crammed with visitors from around the globe 24/7, looks like scenes from the 1959 movie “The World, The Flesh and the Devil,” starring Harry Belafonte. It may have been the first post-apocalyptic movie. Made at the height of the Cold War, when nuclear holocaust seemed a clear and present danger, we were given a glimpse of what things could look like after an atomic disaster. Except this was not the result of dropping a nuclear bomb that blew everything up as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, rather it was a deadly radio-active atomic cloud that had been unleashed on humanity. So it just killed people and left buildings standing, much like some of the low blast high intensity radiation bombs that sinister weapons designers have come up with and are now part of the US nuclear arsenal.

Belafonte plays a man who had been trapped underground in a mining disaster in Pennsylvania, and he was the sole survivor. When he emerges from the mine he found all the people had disappeared. As there were no newspapers or broadcasters he does not understand what has happened, so he hops in a car and drives to New York City, where he is certain he will find people. What he found was an eerie empty City. That’s what downtown Manhattan looks like today.

Scenes from the Apocalypse

42 Street Near Times Square
On a Normal Day

The Lights are out in Broadways Great Theaters

And no one can say when the will be back on alas…

However it is not a good idea to binge on news reports just now, the way I usually do, because the constant predictions and reports of gloom and doom could throw you into a depression or induce panic attacks. You will be far better off listening to your favorite music, making love, watching good movies and reading books about happier times. Of course, it could prove fatal to ignore the news, so check in periodically to stay abreast of vital information. Just don’t concentrate on it 24/7.

As horrendous as it is, the destructiveness of this plague is not confined to health issues alas; it is also causing major economic disruptions that could prove quite devastating for our society. For instance the Federal Reserve has issued a forecast predicting a rise in unemployment rates as high as 33%, which exceed the unemployment rates during the Great Depression of the 1930’s by 8%! When we reflect upon havoc created during the Depression in the absence of a plague, we can only speculate on the trials and tribulations that await us. I do not wish to be alarmist, just tell the unvarnished truth in the belief that the truth is better than a lie…especially when your life may well depend upon getting your facts straight.

If there is a silver lining in the storm clouds enveloping us, it is that this plague has exposed the inadequacies of our predatory Darwinian economic system; where greed is glorified, and the unequal distribution of wealth is a sin, shame, and odious crime against humanity. And it has placed our profit based model for health care delivery on trial, where it has proved dangerously unequal to the challenges confronting us. Instead of being able to requisition the materials required to save our hospitals from collapse, states find themselves in a market where profit, not human need, is determining the price of the product…and its rising fast. And since we are the greatest capitalist nation on earth, a system whose raison d’eter is the accumulation of profit, imagine how absurd we would look to the Chinese trying to embarrass them about price gougeing.

Before the crono-virus crisis, the right to universal health care was treated as a philosophical issue. But now we know that during a major epidemic of infectuous viruses we are all at risk of sickness and death! Unless everyone is treated that need treatment. Perhaps after this trial by fire we will finally recognize that health care for all is not just the right and Christian thing to do, although it is surely what Jesus would have done; it is also a matter of national security and personal survival for all classes and races of Americans.

The Book of Revelations in the Bible speaks of the Four Horseman of The Apocalypse that will ravage the earth in the last days in time, clearly the Pale Horse of Plague is running wild, but since I am a secular humanist who believes in the agency of mankind in determining our fate, perhaps we can arrest the progress of the other destructive horseman and buy some time.  Let us hope…and for believers who are so inclined…PRAY for better days.

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Playthell George Benjamin
Eyewitness to the Plague
Harlem,New York
April 3, 2021

Videos of Deranged Donald Trump and Franklin D. Roosevelt

Lying Republican Buffoon vs. A Great Democratic President…

Donald Trump’s Blatant Lies and Disinformation about the Plague

 

Thank the Gods for Videotape!

This is How a Real President Handles a Crisis!

https://www.c-span.org/video/?298210-1/president-franklin-roosevelts-fireside-chat

President Franklin D. Roosevelt Explains the Banking Crisis 1933

 

Truthful Erudition vs. Sophistry and Lies

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags , , , , on January 23, 2020 by playthell

The Three Principal Players: Pelosi, Dirty Don and Moscow Mitch

Notes on The Impeachment Trial Of Dirty Donald

“The Constitution is not a suicide pact,” so sayeth Adam Shiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; as he presented his powerful, eloquent, opening argument in the Impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump aka “Dirty Donald Treasonous Trump,” for abusing the power of his office. The Chairman’s declaration was in response to the bogus arguments of Republicans that claimed the Constitution allowed to President to resist the oversight of the executive branch by the US Congress.

It is an argument learned in the law and constitutional history, and tis a pity that too few Americans are actually LISTENING to it. After a brilliant illuminating analysis of the context in which the Articles of Impeachment Chairman were crafted, Chairman Shiff systematically laid out the major charges that prompted the charges in the Articles, the events that necessitated the impeachment of Dirty Donald. It was a lesson on the theory and practice of proper governance in a Constitutional Democracy that could make up for your poor education in Civics.

I am listening to the Republican response as I write, and just like the opening statement from Senate majority leader “Midnight Moscow Mitch,” it is a shameless exercise in sophistry, which is a genteel term for BULLSHIT! In the Republican advocates for the President, we see the weaknesses of this process; for they are telling blatant lies, with no pretense at objective truth.

Rather they are committed to constructing a counter-narrative that serves their client. There several dangers in this amoral approach to such a serious matter. First of all, most Americans are at work now, and will learn what happened later through news reportage. And given our bifurcated mass media alas, the Republicans will get their summation of these proceedings from FOX, a right-wing propaganda outfit which is a burlesques on serious journalism.

Without the voluntary constraints exercised by serious journalists laboring under the ethical rules necessary to objective reportage, FOX presents vulgar propaganda screeds. Repeating the damned lies of the Republican advocates verbatim, they aim to inflame the untutored impassioned mob that comprises the “Republican Base.”

These wounded souls whom Trump has promised to make whole, are armed, dangerous and dumb enough to believe the hysterical charge that Democrats are conducting a coup against an innocent President, in order to overturn their choice, because Dems are elitist who think they are too dumb to pick a president. Ironically, the most effective propaganda is that which contains strong elements of truth. And the truth is that the are too dumb to pick a president and they suspect that we know it. This suspicion fuels their rage.

Hence the danger of wide-spread internecine violence is ever present. Yet beyond this there is a greater danger to the survival of Constitutional democracy in America. This danger arises from the fact that to the general public much of these complex legal arguments sound like incomprehensible Mumbo Jumbo! A tower of babble!

In their frustration and confusion they turn away from the democratic process and drop out. Standing on the sidelines, convinced that the process and everybody associated with it is corrupt, they shout:A CURSE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!!! And thus Benjamin Franklin’s statement to the delegates that had just crafted the US Constitution at the Philadelphia convention of 1787, takes on a fresh relevance:”Well gentlemen. you have got yourself a Republic, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT!”

This question aquires a special urgency just now, when eleven motions by Democrat house managers to introduce evidence in the form of witnesses and documents in presenting their case against the president was defeated by the Republicans in a series of party line votes, 47-53, to table the motion. It was an act showing indifference to truth and contempt for the Constitution.

Anyone who listened to the arguments presented by Chairman Shiff and the members of the Democratic Management team, cannot but be impressed with their eloquence, erudition and fidelity to fact. Nor can they fail to notice the bombastic sophistry and lies that the Republicans offered in response.

It is all too obvious that they are once again working from a calculus that takes into account the ignorance of the Republican electorate, who are political cultist bewitched by the “Great Leader” Dirty Don tha Con! The spell that devious Donald has cast over them terrifies the Republicans in Congress, who are ever aware that a vicious tweet from Trump can end their political careers.

It is the just desserts for those who made a Faustian Bargain: In exchange for passing their reactionary political program they were willing to sell their souls to the Devil. Viewing the Impeachment process, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of the bargain may well be the demise of our constitutional democracy.

Alas, from the look of things, the Republicans in Congress are engaged in a wholesale effort to cover-up the crimes of Dirty Donnie. Their leader in the Senate, “Moscow Mitch” McConnell, has publicly announced that he has no intention of being “impartial” in judging the evidence against the President, but is taking his marching orders from him. Should the Republicans succeed in this cover up, and Dirty Donnie gets re-elected, millions of Americans will be outraged.

And in the very unlikely event that he should be removed from the presidency by the Senate, millions of Americans many of them armed and dangerous, will feel that their choice for president has been overthrown in a coup conducted by Democrats! As absurd as it sounds, that’s how the untutored mob in the Trump cult will perceive it, and perception is for them reality.

Added to this chaotic situation, the system of checks of balances arising from the separation of power into three co-equal branches of government will be rendered dysfunctional. Like Humpty-Dumpty our political system will have taken a great fall. The Republic will be broken, and who knows if we can put it back together again given the precedent that will be set. Yes we have a Republic for the moment…the question is can we keep it!

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
1/23/20

Can A House So Divided Continue to Stand?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2020 by playthell

Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell

Thing Are Falling Apart!

“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Abraham Lincoln declared at the 1858 Illinois state Republican Convention, “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.” This was only four years before Lincoln was elected President and the United States of America fell apart, degenerating into Civil War – the most destructive war in history at the time.

It was the first modern war where industrialized methods were used to produce and transport men and materials, it lasted four years and exacted a price in blood and treasure that devastated the nation. Yet Lincoln could not see it coming, and therein, I believe, lies a critical warning for our times; when Americans are arguably the most divided since the Civil War, and some Trump supporters are openly and increasingly calling for “Civil War” should he be impeached; which is now a fait accompli.

To gain some perspective on the dimensions of this bloody 19th century catastrophe that nearly destroyed the United States, we have but to point out the fact that 51 thousand Americans lost their lives during three days of combat at Gettysburg Pennsylvania, while from 2001 to July 7 2018, 2,372 American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.

Hence over sixteen times more Americans were slaughtered by Americans in three days at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, than were killed in the Afghan war in 17 years! The battle however was a resounding victory for the Union forces, and spelled the beginning of the end for the southern Confederacy which saved the Union.

On November 19th 1863, four and a half months after the Union victory, Abraham Lincoln would stand on the blood soaked soil of Gettysburg to dedicate the opening of a new National Cemetery in remembrance of those who had fought and died there to save the Union. Although he feared his oration of 272 words did not rise to the occasion after following Edward Everette – a Massachusetts politician, preacher and famous orator that spoke for two hours – President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is remembered in history as one of the greatest speeches ever presented on a public occasion in America.

The press praised it widely and Everette even wrote to Lincoln that he felt the President’s brief speech touched the central issues of the war much more profoundly than his wordy oration. In fact, Lincoln’s view of why the war was fought can be summed up in the last words of his oration “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Alas, the question that confronts us today is whether truly representative democratic government shall perish from the USA? And I have referenced these events from our tumultuous past because I believe our understanding of current events can be greatly enhanced by the added dimension of historical perspective. Although it is axiomatic among professional historians that history does not repeat itself, that great American wit Mark Twain made a telling point when he observed “History may not repeat…but it rhymes.”

Hence if we view the fundamental cause of the Civil War as the failure of our constitutional government to peacefully resolve internal conflict, then we may be witnessing a recurrent phenomenon; a class of event that is not unique to America, but can be observed in nations embroiled in internecine conflicts across time and geography.

As hard as it is for many Americans to believe, our constitutional democracy is on very shaky ground. The election of Donald J. Trump as President has proved a grave mistake, a blunder of biblical proportions, and our democratic system of governance is imperiled. From the outset the validity of Trump’s election has been in question. Even as fair minded a man as Congressman John Lewis – an icon of the great Civil Rights Movement who is deeply committed to the democratic process, and once put his life on the line to insure that it worked for all Americans – openly refused to attend Trump’s inauguration, declaring his election “illegitimate.”

And the nation’s capitol saw one of the largest demonstrations in its history when the women marched and chanted “Not my president!” They were expressing their righteous anger, protesting what they viewed as a stolen election that prevented the first woman from becoming President. And to add insult to injury Hillary Clinton was the best qualified candidate ever to run for President, and Donald Trump was demonstrably the least qualified for the office. And that is exactly how he has conducted himself as president.

Not only has Trump been an embarrassment with his crude vulgar rhetoric, amoral behavior and disdain for the dignity of the presidency; he also poses a real and present danger to the national interests with his reckless attacks on the fundamental institutions that make our constitutional democracy work. He has repeatedly referred to highly competent dedicated professionals in the intelligence and foreign service communities as “scum,” accusing them of “treason” for doing their jobs – much of which he does not even understand – and declaring them agents of a mythical “Deep State,” that is orchestrating a “coup” against him at the behest of the “evil” Democrats.

He has called the major journalistic institutions, the newspapers of record that future historians will consult when assessing his legacy, “Enemies of the people!” Through the agency of his Twitter feed the Tweeting Twit has weaponized lies – he has been busted telling outright lies over 14 thousand times by professional fact checkers at the Toronto Star and Washington Post – Devious Donald is seriously undermining confidence in their government for millions of his acolytes.

Yet that is just part of the story. Dirty Donnie has also undermined confidence in our presidential and even senatorial elections by his refusal to admit the massive Russian interference in our last presidential election on his behalf even happened, and taking vigorous measures to prevent it’s recurrence. Indeed, he continues to refer to the Russian intervention, which all 17 US intelligence agencies agree happened, as “a hoax.”

When we consider the fact that former the National Intelligence Director James Clapper says Russian intelligence agencies, at the instruction of Vladimir Putin, posted 157 million disinformation messages attacking Hillary and promoting Fat Don tha Con on the internet, it is virtually impossible for a thoughtful person to conclude that such an effort could not influence 77 thousand votes in three states combined! Contray to the claims of that raging buffoon, Jiveass Jim Jordan, Devious Don’s shameless shill in the House of Representatives, trump did not “win the Electoral College in a landslide.” But it is undeniable that he lost the popular vote by three million votes!

Trump’s transparent lies began when he declared his inauguration was “the biggest ever” and denied the photographic evidence from the US Parks Service that clearly contradicted his bogus claim. Then he invented a bizzare conspiracy theory claiming that “millions of illegal aliens voted for Hillary.” When the extent of Russian meddling began to emerge, first from thoughtful analyst in the intelligence community such as retired spook Malcolm Nance, who wrote a book length treatise on it “The Hacking of America, and the FBI stepped up its investigation into the matter, Trump fired the FBI Director James Comey, and was later heard bragging about it to representatives of the Russian government in the Oval Office.

Alas, blabber mouth thoughtless fool that he is, Devious Donald told NBC Evening News host Lester Holt in a nationally televised interview that he fired Comey to end the investigation into Russian attempts to subvert the will of the American people through a covert cyber-attack. It was this act of stupidity and hubris that sparked the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as “Special Prosecutor,” with a mandate to thoroughly investigate the matter. After interrogating hundreds of witnesses and perusing thousands of documents, Mr. Mueller issued a 400 page report detailing extensive Russian interference in the presidential election to support Trump.

He identified the exact units and agents in the Russian intelligence apparatus that carried out the operation and issued indictments against them. Mr. Mueller explained that although he could not establish a “conspiracy” between the Russian operatives and members of the Trump campaign that would meet the standard of evidence required by the statute, the Trump campaign knew of and welcomed the Russian interference. But since “collusion” is not specifically addressed in the law, he would leave it to Congress to decide.

He also pointed to ten instances that could be construed as “Obstruction of Justice,” which he would also leave it to Congress to determine because of a Department Of Justice regulation prohibiting the indictment of a sitting President. However a thousand former Federal Prosecutors, Democrats and Republicans who served in urban and rural areas, say they would indict and convict a suspect on the evidence Mueller provided. Furthermore, Mr. Mueller clearly stated in his Report and later in testimony before Congress, that his investigation did not exonerate the President.

However, by the time the Mueller Report was released, Devious Donald had replaced Jeff Sessions – who had recused himself from all matters involving the Russian investigation, sparking outrage and charges of disloyalty from from Trump – and replaced him with Bill Barr, who proved eager to to do for Trump what the unethical lawyer Roy Cohn had done for him as a businessman in New York. Barr, who as Attorney General, had jurisdiction over Mueller and thus had access to the Report before the public saw any part of it, helped Devious Donald deceive the American people by misrepresenting the Report’s findings and witholding parts of it from the public and Congress.

Barr simply announced that the extensive investigation by Mr. Mueller “found no collusion and no obstruction of justice.” This pronouncement was quickly seized upon and repeated endlessly on Fox News, a right-wing propaganda outfit posing as a legitimate journalistic institution, and that has become the gospel truth for members of the Trump personality cult, that untutored mob they call “the Republican base.”

Since few people have either the time or inclination to actually read a dense legalistic document of 400 pages, and many Republican members of Congress openly declared that they would not read it, while Trump resorted to Twitter, partisan rallies and right wing media to declare himself “totally exonerated” in his hyperbolic style, the Mueller Report detailing the Russian cyber-attack and his crimes of obstruction has become largely irrelevant.

While the meticulous presentation of of the evidence of Russian intervention contained in the Mueller Report has not prevented Trump from labeling it “a hoax,” the new Inspector General’s investigation of the FBI, debunking Trump’s claims that the FBI “spied on his campaign” at the behest of President Barack Obama, seems destined for a similar fate. Attorney General Barr has already disputed it’s findings and has appointed a hand picked Federal Prosecutor to conduct another investigation that will yeild the results he seeks, which is to give legitimacy to Trump’s bogus claims.

Right before our eyes Barr and Trump are lying about the results of the investigation. Listening to them talk, they seem to have embraced the principle of The Big Lie, Invented by Dr. Joseph Goebbles, Minister of Propaganda for the Third Reich, it is a simple proposition that has proved to be very effective with targeted audiences subjected to controlled messages repeatedly beamed into their brains: “Tell the people a lie long enough and they will believe it!”

Dr. Goebbles had control of the national radio net work and the film industry, but Trump has the FOX network and Twitter – a more intimate means of communicating with his followers than Hitler ever had. And there is much evidence showing that the fervent acolytes in the Trump personality cult called the “Republican Base,” only believe what they hear on FOX, or right wing verbal arsonists like Rush Limbaugh on WABC radio, along with Trumps Tweets.

Hence they live in a fact free propaganda bubble that bears little resemblance to the reality that other Americans share by virtue of the reporting from objective journalistic organizations; whose reporters are bound by the ethics taught in Journalism schools, peer reviewed by colleagues and policed by professional organizations. The reporters who are winning Pulitzer Prizes for their careful reportage.

Herein lies the crux of the crisis we are now facing in defining reality: What is truth? One of the basic strategies of dictators in making reality conform to their will is to obfuscate and deny the existence of objective truth, Napoleon Bonaparte for instance, said “History is lies commonly agreed upon!” This is why in the effort to establish a dictatorship the first casualty is truth. We hear echoes of Bonaparte’s claim in Trump’s mouthpiece, Kelleyane Conway, who when confronted with unpleasant facts about Trump said: “We have alternative facts!”

This is a dangerous declaration, because Trump has been diagnosed as a “compulsive liar;” the main symptom of which is the willingness to lie even when you know that your lies can be easily disproven. We see this pathological behavior in Don tha Con all the time, it is his modus operandi. The danger we now face as a nation, is that the Republicans have proved willing to violate their oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” and place their personal and party interests above the national interests. This fact pattern conjures up some of the most dire warnings of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington at the founding of this nation, warnings that now have the ring of prophecy.

In his Farewell Address to the nation delivered on Sept. 19, 1796, President George Washington warned about the dangers of the factionalism promoted by the development of political parties in the new republic:

“I have already intimated to you the danger of Parties in the State… Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party generally. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human Mind. It exists under different shapes in all Governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed… The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities…The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty…It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

Although delivered over 200 years ago, this is a remarkably accurate description of the antics of Dirty Donald and the Republican Follies! One need only witness their attempts to disrupt the impeachment hearings with transparent lies and shameless sophistries, to recognize the willingness of partisans of the Grand Obstructionist Party to disgrace and beclown themselves to please a corrupt, wannabe autocrat, who demands a permanent lips to posterior posture from all who wish to remain in his good graces.

Why do they do it? Why does educated and accomplished elected officials shamelessly genuflect before this vulgar, pompous, ignorant, boisterous buffoon? The answer lies in their careerist opportunism and the ignorance of the Republican electorate who display a cult like devotion to their savior: “The Donald.” All Republican politicians live in dread of offending him and becoming a victim of the terrible tweets of this twisted twit!

For they have seen the ruin that can come to those who fall from favor with him and become the targets of his vulgar verbal assaults. And, like most elected officials, they understand their constituents and therefore well know that they are dealing with an untutored mob mesmerized by a big city bunko artists whose persona was forged on reality TV and a business career without accountability to superiors. To the “Republican Base” alas, Dirty Donald” is everything they hope to be…the stuff of their dreams.

When your head is empty you can even be convinced to go for the okey doke about Trump being “a blue collar billionaire,” a classic oxymoron. Yet this weird love affair between the plutocrat and the plebes cannot be fully understood without recognizing that they do share something fundamental in common, white trash values; Dirty Donnie is white trash with money! That’s why he can so easily con them with bullshit raps like “us against the elites,” when he is the a prominent member of the most powerful elite in America: The Plutocracy!

But perception is reality for most people alas, and when your mind is a tabla rasa incapable of critical thought, you are the perfect patsy for a bodacious bunko artist playing the long range con. This is the danger that Jefferson saw when he warned the nation: “A democracy cannot work with an ignorant electorate, because they will elect and return the worst people to power.”

The millions of Americans who see Devious Donald for the ignorant dangerous amoral lying charlatan that he is are determined to get his treasonous ass out of the Oval Office as quickly as possible. To them impeachment is the logical, legal and most efficient method of accomplishing this; it was the remedy provided by the architects of the Constitution to remove a criminal, incompetent or power crazed president from office. But the acolytes of The Donald, brainwashed by FOX and the right-wing disinformation complex, are just as convinced of his innocence and are certain that he is the victim of a “coup” directed by the “Deep State” and carried out by deluded evil “liberals” supported by “fake news” from the “Lame Stream Media.”

So here we are, one nation with two different views of reality, and a growing suspicion and mutual hostility toward each other. In a gun crazed nation with millions of firearms in private hands, including military assault weapons, where mass shootings have become commonplace, and a Malignant Narcissist in the Oval Office spouting increasingly reckless rhetoric which echos across the Twitter sphere on a daily basis and fires up the mindless Trumpanzees, anything can happen!

People often ask me how the present period compares with the turbulent 1960’s, which despite nation-wide riots and urban rebellions that set American cities ablaze from coast to coast we survived, and went on to thrive. It is a question that I have been giving serious thought lately, because it is a compass that will help us understand where we are now as the ship of state plows through troubled waters. As one who not only lived through the Sixties, but was a part of the black resistance movement that abolished southern apartheid and outlawed de jure racial discrimination all over this land, I suppose I have a unique perspective on the current state of the Union.

One obvious difference is that radical Black Activists viewed ourselves as part of the Third World Revolution, which was breaking out all over Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Islands of the seas. When I started in the movement I was an angry teenager, a 17 year old college student fighting for my constitutional rights.  Three years later, influenced by the writings of Third World Revolutionaries and news reports of their victorious movements,  spurred on by Thomas Jefferson’s talk about the right and duty to overthrow tyranny, I was an armed revolutionary advocating the overthrow of the racist capitalist American government.

However most Afro-Americans, then as now, continued to believe in the promise of equality contained in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by constitutional law. The biggest differences between the 1960’s and now is the absence of bi-partisanship when both parties had liberals and conservatives in their ranks. For instance, civil rights activists and southern segregationists were largely democrats. And major Civil Rights legislation of the period was all passed with Republican support despite the fact that it was authored by Democrats.

And most of all, there was no disagreement on the basic facts in our news media – which was confined to three networks ABC, NBC and CBS – whose reporters all adhered to a universal code of journalistic ethics that dictated the rules of objective reportage. Today the proliferation of propaganda outlets committed to promoting a “news” product determined by political ideology rather than fact based reportage, where the very distinction between reportage and opinion has been obscured, coupled with the internet where there are no journalistic standards at all in much of what is posted as “news,” our public discourse has been reduced to a tower of babble.

In such a confusing information environment many citizens cannot distinguish fact from fiction and thus choose the narrative of events that appeals to their prejudices or desires. This fractured view of reality promotes tribalist divisions among the populace. And when a demagogue like Devious Donald Trump tells his tribe that honest journalists, such as was envisioned by the founders who enshrined a free press in the Constitution because they considered it essential to a democratic society based on the rule of law, are their “enemies,” these divisions can threaten the stability, or survival, of our constitutional democracy.

This is what Americans are confronted with as I write, and whether a society thus divided can hang together is the paramount question that confronts us in this moment. And, deprived of the prescience of seers, or the heroic optimism of those who walk by faith, the future looks problematic to me.

***************

 

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

1/8/20

 

 

 

On Dirty Donald’s Letter to Madam Speaker

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2020 by playthell
In Speaker Pelosi The Donald has met the Woman he can’t Dismiss

All Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia

Donald J. Trump the accidental 45th President of the United States, whose candidacy was boosted by covert Russian activities, leading many astute observers to suspect that he may be a “Moscow mole,” says that he penned his letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “for history.” However, like most things outside of real estate, Devious Donald is clueless. What he does not understand is that future historians, far removed from the partisan passions of this moment and subject to rigorous peer review, will consult a wide variety of evidentiary sources.

First among these will be the great reporters at mainstream journalistic institutions who won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting on the Trump presidency and impeachment. Ironically, the very people that Trump routinely demonizes and dismisses as “fake news” will be a primary source of evidence for historians who will delineate Donnie’s dirty deeds, define his character, and shape his image in our history books for America’s posterity.

The historians will also take into account the observations of contemporary scholars, as well the copious records and internal memoranda of the Trump Administration which, although concealed now, will then be public records. The historians will surely give great importance to the analysis of Psychiatrists and Psychologist on the state of the president’s mental health, and all of these sources will determine how they view Trump’s “Letter for History.” If ever there was a situation where the warning “be careful what you wish for” applied: This is it!

There are certain things about this poison pen letter that seems to me beyond question, none of it flattering to Trump. It is a propaganda instrument, and although it expresses Trump’s true feelings he is too illiterate to have written it. It is clearly the product of a sick mind, which speaks to its authenticity. And although the exact nature of Devious Donald’s illness has been diagnosed, the fear of litigation has restrained the nation’s great journalistic institutions from referencing the psychiatric profile developed by the 27 doctors that put together the “Duty to Warn” document, alerting the nation to the fact that we have elected a President who is afflicted with a serious psycho-pathology. The assessments of future historians however, will not be restrained by such considerations.

Donald Trump’s letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supplies abundant evidence to support the diagnosis of the mental health professionals; it is an indispensable road map for exploring the twisted mind of the man who “wrote” it. The doctors warned that the nature of Trump’s pathology posed a clear and present danger to our nation. They diagnosed his condition as “Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia;” the same diagnosis of Adolph Hitler adopted by the US Office of Strategic Services – forerunner to the CIA – during World War II.

Hitler’s diagnosis was based on a psychiatric profile developed by the distinguished German psycho-analyst Eric Fromm, under a contract from the OSS, when Fromm was a refugee from German Fascism residing in the USA. This begs the question: If such psychiatric profiling was valid for a leader who posed a danger to our national existence during World War II, why not now when diagnostic tools and methods are a 70 years advanced?

Since the Duty to Warn analysis was published, it has been endorsed by over 70, 000 Psychiatrists and Psychologists. Among their number are some of the most distinguished scholars and clinicians in the field. However due to the “Goldwater Rule,” which was adopted by the American Psychological Association in response to a suit from Republican backers of Senator Barry Goldwater, mainstream media organizations shy away from citing the conclusions in “Duty to Warn.”

Goldwater’s supporters claimed that his bid for the presidency was quashed by Lyndon Johnson largely because of a published psychiatric profile of Goldwater by a group of Psychiatrist who warned that his cavalier attitude toward nuclear war posed a danger to the world. Their suit argued that since none of the doctors had personally examined Goldwater, it was unethical for them to offer an opinion of his mental state which cost him the presidency.

The APA bowed to the attacks of Goldwater’s supporters and ruled that it is “unethical and unprofessional” conduct for a member of their association to offer a diagnosis of someone they have not “personally examined,” and vowed to sin no more; prohibiting psychiatrists from offering such opinions in the future. This ban became popularly known as “The Goldwater Rule.”

However, the Psychiatrists who have signed the “Duty to Warn” analysis have dismissed this restriction. Their rejection rests on two main arguments: The Goldwater Rule is based upon political expedience not science, and observing Dangerous Donald’s behavior in the public arena as a political actor is far more important method of assessing his character and motivations than having him on a couch in their office. For as anybody who has ever been in therapy knows, you can lie to a therapist during interviews, but actions speak far louder than words…it is deeds that paint the truer portrait of who we are.

I would go even further and argue that the entire factual basis of the Republican claims regarding Senator Goldwater’s defeat is a fiction, conjured up by his apologists to explain away his embarrassing rejection at the polls. Any objective examination of the historical record will clearly show that Senator Goldwater was out of touch with the electorate on a variety of critical issues, and one could persuasively argue the his promise to repeal Social Security was far more important to his devastating defeat.

Lyndon Johnson won in a real landslide election – not the fake “Electoral College landslide” that Republican Congressman and shameless Trumpanzee shill Jim Jordan claims for Don tha Con. In the 1964 Presidential election Lyndon Johnson won 44 of 50 states with 61% of the popular vote and 486 Electoral College votes compared to a mere 52 votes for Senator Goldwater. It was the largest margin of victory in a presidential election since 1820, 144 years before!

By contrast, Trump lost the popular election by almost three million votes and stumbled into the presidency with a mere 77 thousand votes spread over three big Midwestern states which gave him a majority in the Electoral College of 304 to 227 over Hillary Clinton, a margin of 77 votes. When we consider that President Johnson defeated Senator Goldwater by a margin of 434 Electoral votes, it is painfully obvious how deluded Trump’s insistence that he won by a “historic” landslide is.

When we add the claim of James Clapper, who was head of National Intelligence at the time, that Russian intelligence agencies posted 157 million disinformation messages designed to help Trump and hurt Hillary on a variety of internet platforms, the legitimacy of Trump’s election is called into question. That’s why Congressman John Lewis refused to attend the inauguration of Devious Donald – which many Americans, this writer among them, considered a day of infamy for our nation when we installed a Moscow Candidate in the Oval Office – and women staged a massive demonstration in Washington.

This skepticism about his legitimacy is the paramount reason why Trump still denies the magnitude of Russian interference in our election, despite the conclusion of all 17 US intelligence agencies that it happened. He continues to deny this fact even after the exhaustive Muller Investigation, which in a rigorously detailed report of several hundred pages not only identified the exact units of Russian military intelligence that carried out the pro-Trump cyber-attack, but even issued indictments for specific individuals who directed it. In his frenzied fight for legitimacy, Devious Donald has gone to absurd lengths to explain his dramatic trouncing in the popular election – even making insane claims that “millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary.”

Yet in three years, with all of the investigative powers of the American government, Trump has produced no evidence for his fantastic claim. His deranged lies were not confined to this travesty; Don tha Con continues to insist that his inauguration was the most largely attended in American history; even dismissing the photographic evidence provided by the US Parks Service clearly showing that the crowds at President Barack Obama’s inaugural were far larger! It was these claims, along with Trump’s grandiose declarations that “Only I can solve the nations problems” – a claim often made by deluded autocrats like the 20th century Fascists Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler – that sounded the alarm for mental health professionals.

Alas the symptoms of their diagnosis – Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia – are clearly evident in Trump’s letter to the Speaker of the house. Grandiose delusions of self-importance; conflating the interest and destiny of the nation with his own; fact free revisionist history that support his claims of victimhood; inability to express contrition; compulsive lying to get his way; lack of empathy; hysterical feelings of paranoia; are everywhere on display in Trump’s twisted missive to the Speaker.

They are so pervasive we can clearly identify several of these pathologies in the opening passage. The pathological lying; dangerous denial of reality; paranoid sense of victimhood; lack of contrition; are prominently displayed. Yet this is the high point of the diatribe…it goes down hill from here:

“I write to express my strongest and most powerful protest against the partisan impeachment crusade being pursued by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history. The Articles of Impeachment introduced by the House Judiciary Committee are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation, or jurisprudence. They include no crimes, no misdemeanors, and no offenses whatsoever. You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!”

From the most casual reading of this tempestuous tirade two things are obvious: it is far to literate and thoughtful to have been composed by Donnie Dimwit so it was cobbled together by a committee subject to his approval. And it was written as a propaganda screed designed to becloud the real issues and create mass confusion; a smokescreen allowing the Senate to just let Trump walk away in a fog of legal Mumbo Jumbo. There is no other rational explanation for making this putrid letter public.

Banking on their ignorance, anger and irrational cult like devotion to Dirty Donald, the Republicans think they can sell their base any kind of bogus tawdry tale. Furthermore, if one does not have an understanding of what the Constitution mandates, much of the legal polemics sound like unfathomable babble. Unable to distinguish constitutional fact from fiction, they seek refuge in their tribe. The strategy of Devious Donald’s letter mirrors his approach to politics in general; an approach which prizes the “Big Lie” axiom of Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda for the Third Reich:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

************

“To attract people, to win over people to that which I have realised as being true, that is called propaganda…Success is the important thing. Propaganda…is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right…We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths. Those are found in other circumstances…”

One need not be a great thinker in order to recognize the themes laid out by Dr. Goebbels to win the allegiance of the untutored mob, prominently displayed in the in the strategy and political practice of Dirty Donald and the timid automatons in the GOP. All Republican elected officials are terrified of the control Don Tha Con exercises over the “low information” white voters that make up the “Republican Base,” whom he can inflame against them whenever they fail to rigidly adhere to the Trumpist line; no matter if his whacky pronouncements bear any resemblance to objective reality or not.

Like those who flocked to Hitler, Trump’s most passionate acolytes are disillusioned white workers, many of whom are evangelical protestants. Powerless and economically insecure, panicked over the erosion of their “white privilege,” they are convinced that their problems are caused by immigrants, non-whites, traditional elites, and non-Christian elements in the population. And these sordid sad sacks, these pitiful plebes, haven’t a clue that they are being played; that they are the storm troopers advancing the interests of the most reactionary anti-worker faction of the plutocrats!

Hence in their eyes the liberal intellectual elite, Hispanics, black folks; Muslims, Jews, homosexuals etc – their objective allies – are viewed as the enemy. That’s why blatant White Nationalism and the illusion of a return to a golden age – a delusion of grandeur common to all nationalist movements – is so effective in winning them over. To be effective all mass movements must have a power packed slogan that mirrors the hopes and dreams of the disillusioned masses and moves them to action. Trump achieves this with “MAGA: Make America Great Again!” This slogan is so broad and all embracing it can be invested with specific content that make it mean whatever the hysterical Trumpanzees who pack his rallies are told it means.

A fundamental part of Trump’s approach to truth is to quickly accuse his adversaries of the crimes he are guilty of! And sadly, listening to the impeachment debate, it seems as if the GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – has whole heartedly adopted this Trump-Goebbles strategy of persistently obfuscating truth with blatant lies. This is why the Trump presidency is called a “post fact period,” an attempt to destroy the belief in “objective truth” for millions of Americans; a standard practice of all authoritarian dictators and wannabe autocrats.

From the outset we can see that obfuscation of objective truth is the paramount objective of this poison pen diatribe, which Dumb Donald believes is a grand historical document of state. It is as if Dirty Donald and his co-conspirators in the Grand Obstructionists Party are referencing Dr. Goebbel’s dogma the way Catholics adhere to the pronouncements of the pope! And Devious Donald’s putrid, paranoid, self-aggrandizing tirade, posing as a historical pronouncement worthy of a great statesman, is compelling evidence that that suspicion is the truth of the matter.

*************

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

1/7/20

Bearing The Cross

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags , , on November 20, 2019 by playthell

Lying Linsay: Low Life Lackey In Chief

GOP Trash Constitution and Court Disgrace for Dirty Donald

Senator Lindsay Graham is looking increasingly haggard these days, as if he is bearing some great burden and has taken to the bottle.  As a leading Republican in the Senate, perhaps the blues that bedevil his spirit is conjured up from their futile attempt to defend the indefensible: The character and conduct of Devious Donald Trump. A fool’s errand for sure.

Alas, the misguided Republicans have rejected all commitment to truth and honor, as they enter into a classic Faustian Bargain. And as all who are familiar with the legend of Dr. Faust knows, if you make a deal with the Devil he will eventually claim your soul. Alas, even an unchurched heathen like me can see: The soul of the GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – has gone to the Devil!  Perhaps that’s why Lying Lindsay looks like a man who has lost his soul.

Indeed, anyone who watched the witnesses that testified before the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings, and is neither mentally impaired nor morally deformed, cannot fail to see the vast difference in character, intelligence, honor and commitment to service between these career public servants and Donald J. Trump – a pampered pootbutt potty mouth grifter for whom all of life is a con.

Born to wealth, Dirty Donnie Dimwit has never had to struggle for anything in life. And having lived his life as head of a small family owned real estate company masquerading as big business, where he has never had to account to anyone, Teenie Weenie Treacherous Trump has spent his entire adult life cultivating the instincts and habits of a dictator.

To the astonishment and horror of millions of observers at home and abroad, that’s exactly how “The Donald” has conducted himself in the Oval Office. And never has his character deficiencies been more prominently displayed than when compared to the dedicated career public servants, who answered the summons to testify before Congress, that are exposing his high crimes and misdemeanors

But for those who have been paying attention, who have read the tell all books informed by insiders, this came as no surprise. For we have been well warned that Devious Donnie is a compulsive liar, avaricious churl, incompetent blowhard, paranoid pathological narcissist, belligerent bully, mobbed up real estate huckster, wannabe autocrat, racist, sexist, serial sexual predator, and possibly a traitor…Putin’s Puppet as Hillary Clinton called him.

Unfortunately for Donnie Dimwit, his foolish attempt to attack the motives and belittle the character of the witnesses comes across to the thoughtful observer as akin to a knight without armor, riding a lame horse, wielding a dull sword and broken shield, attacking a well armed Calvary mounted on stalwart stallions! It is a horrendous mismatch.

Since Trump is apparently clueless as to what honorable service in the national interests actually looks like –  with no record of public service or philanthropy, his paramount goal is life has always been self enrichment -he was stupid enough to attack Masha Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine and more dangerous stations, during her testimony before Congress!

Since the Ambassador was abruptly removed from her post and inexplicably slimed by Dirty Donnie – despite three decades of distinguished service as a foreign affairs expert and diplomat – in what we now know was a disgraceful abuse of presidential power for corrupt purposes, the Moscow Mole has presented the Congress with yet another charge to add to his Bill of Impeachment: Witness intimidation!

The evidence that emerged from Witness testimony last week make a strong case that Ambassador Yovanovitch, whose career in the Foreign Service spanned thirty years –  was abruptly recalled from her post because she was in the way of a criminal scheme masterminded by Rudy Guiliani – which National Security Advisor John Bolton called “Rudy’s drug deal.” 

A political reprobate and Neo-Con chicken hawk, whose finest hour was as a member of the now defunct Project For A New American Century, the architects that provided the blueprint for the invasion of Iraq, John Bolton has a well earned reputation as a loose cannon  with a fatal attraction to foreign intrigues.  Yet Rudy’s reckless activities scared him, prompting him to warn that “Rudy is a hand grenade that is going to blow everything up!  Would to God that he could have shown such insight in the Iraq fiasco.

Working in a stealth fashion outside the normal State Department channels, and promoting a policy often at odds with official US policy, Reckless Rudy’s objective was to coerce the new president of the Ukraine into announcing that they were opening an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, while also looking into the bogus Republican claim that it was really the former Ukrainian government, not the Russians, that interfered in the US presidential election of 2016 to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Although, as Ambassador Yavanovitch reminded Trump’s Republican co-conspirators on the Committee that the US intelligence community has unanimously concluded it was the Russians that interfered in out presidential election to help put Trump in the Oval Office!

Central to Trump’s demand that the Ukrainian government announce opening an investigation of the Biden’s, was the threat that over 400 million dollars of desperately needed military aid appropriated by Congress would be withheld, and a promised White House meeting with the US President would be canceled, if the new Ukrainian president did not bow to Devious Donald’s demands.

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as able and honorable an elected official as our nation has to offer, call’s this demand “bribery!” Adopting this plain English word instead of the confusing Latin phrase “Quid Pro Quo” is no picayune matter, because “bribery” is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution as an impeachable offense in Article II Section 4.

However this should not obscure the fact – as the Trump shills in the GOP are trying their best to do – that the grounds for impeachment are much broader than those which are explicitly stated. Gerald Ford, the strait laced mid-westerner who was elevated to the presidency from vice-president following the resignation of Richard Nixon, declared the grounds for impeachment are “whatever the Congress says they are at the time.” Yet it must be remembered that he said this as a president in his party was on the verge of being impeached.

There is more that a little truth in Ford’s observation however, because the Constitution leaves it to Congress to define “high crimes and misdemeanors.” We can get a good idea what the architects of the Constitution were thinking, and thus a better understanding of their intent, by consulting the Federalist Papers. A series of 85 polemical essays on the meaning and importance of the newly drafted Constitution – written as letters to newspapers in 1787 and 1788 by the eminent statesmen and political theorists John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, published under the pseudonym “Publius” – they were later published in a book titled The Federalist.

Hence we now refer to them as “The Federalist Papers,” and they remain our most reliable guide to the thinking of the Founders of the American Republic on the structure and function of government based on our constitutional principles. Confronted with the abject failure of the Articles of Confederation – the first attempt by leaders of the white English speaking colonies at building political unity on a continent that was also occupied by French, Spanish and Native American societies – they were seeking to form “a more perfect union,” as the preamble to the Constitution declares.

The white colonists were also aware of the fact that they were incorporating the seeds of their own destruction by maintaining the evil system of racial slavery; which contradicted the principles they professed, posed the ever present threat of bloody slave revolts, and caused Thomas Jefferson to fear for the fate of the new nation “when I reflect upon the fact that God is just.”

The major problem of the settler colonists was how to establish a stronger central government without creating a despised monarchy, as some of the colonist had begun to suggest. At one point things had grown so chaotic under the dysfunctional Confederation, some people had actually begun to call for the importation of a European monarch to bring order to their fledgling country, a place so shaky disgruntled farmers had taken up arms against the government because they disagreed with tax policy.

Known to history as “Shayes Rebellion,” a group of armed farmers in Western Massachusettes led by Daniel Shayes, a former captain in the Continental Army that had fought in the recent War of Independence against Great Britain, marched on the seat of government in Boston, the capitol of the Bay colony and a cradle of the colonial rebellion against King George III.

Hence all of these matters were pressing on the minds of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787, just a few months after the suppression of Shayes rebellion. That’s why it is the acme of absurdities to suggest, as the moronic gun nuts on the Republican Right are prone to do, that the Second Amendment was drafted in order to arm American citizens against the excesses of a “tyrannical federal government.” Such arguments represent the essence of ahistorical “Bullshit” – as Princeton Philosopher Harry G. Franks defines the concept – masquarading as serious political argument.

However, the arguments presently being proffered by Dirty Donnie’s GOP flaks in Congress – like Lying Lapdog Lindsay, Scurrilous Stevie Scalise,  Jive Ass Jim Jordan et al – regarding the Constitution’s prescriptions for the impeachment of a president who abuses his power, equally trashes historical fact and injures truth! While verbose vulgarians like Jive Ass Jim and that odious California sod buster Duplicitous Devin Nunez, like their “Great Leader,” that clueless clown Doophus Donnie Dimwit, can be dismissed as pugnacious ignoramuses, Lying Lap Dog Lindsay is a learned lawyer, so he knows better than the putrid prattle pouring outta his pie hole.

Lindsay, the senior Republican Senator from the backward boonies of South Carolina, is stinking up the well of the Senate promoting pernicious pootbutt poppy cock. He knows the grounds for impeachment encoded in the Constitution is much broader than criminal charges that can meet the test of evidence in a court proceeding.  But, alas, like the rest of the invertebrate lickspittles in the Grand Obstructionist Party, Lying Lindsay has adopted a permanent lips to posterior posture and his head is buried so deep in Trump’s Rump he can credibly claim to the untutored mob that he can see or hear no evil.

Yet I am so certain that Lying Lindsay knows better than the propaganda he is presently preaching I would yield to temptation and bet my balls, risking castration without hesitation. A very dangerous wager with a white Southern male of his generation, a deeply perverted group with a long history cutting off black men’s balls for fun.  My claim that the grounds for impeachment are much broader than narrow legal issues is clearly stated in Federalist Paper 65, authored by Alexander Hamilton.

In Hamilton’s view there need be no violation of statutory laws; he argues that impeachment is a just remedy for the “misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Hamilton goes on to argue that the impeachment remedy is essentially “political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” 

Ironically, despite his shameless hypocrisy today, when he was a prosecutor in President Bill Clinton’s Impeachment Trial twenty years ago, Lying Lindsay’s argument echoed Hamilton’s:

“You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role,” the politician said. “Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

Today however, when his ace boon coon Dirty Donnie is the subject of an impeachment inquiry, Lapdog Lindsay is crooning a very different tune.  He says he opposes the impeachment because the Mueller report “didn’t establish the he had obstructed Justice.” However that is a willful misreading of Mr. Mueller’s position and Lying Lindsay knows it.  The fact is that the Mueller Report cites ten instances that could be construed as “Obstruction of Justice,” but he explained ad nauseum that since the Department of Justice had ruled an indictment could not be returned for a sitting President, he could not decide the matter and left it for the Congress to resolve.

However Bill Barr – a rotund pie faced fellow who bears an uncanny resemblance to the comic character Fred Flintstone – the highly partisan Attorney General with an expansive view of executive power appointed by Devious Donald, jumped the gun and pronounced that the report had concluded  “there was no obstruction of Justice.”  But the fact that Mr. Mueller made it clear that although they could not indict the President it “Did not absolve him” of guilt.

And when one takes into account that a thousand former federal prosecutors, democrats and Republicans, who had served in all regions of the country urban and rural, concluded that they would have indicted anyone for obstruction based on the evidence against Trump, it is clear that a case for impeachment could have been brought except for the Department of Justice rule.

Now the case for impeachment is being brought on different grounds.  And while I believe the Congress should should return a Bill of Impeachment that is much more broadly based – because as a former history professor I believe all of Dirty Donald’s impeachable offenses should be officially noted –  the unimpeachable testimony given to the House Intelligence Committee under oath, bearing witness to Donald’s Dirty Deeds before a watching world, supplies an embarrassment of riches from which to fashion articles of impeachment.

I am supported in this opinion by Professor Allen Lichtman, a political seer who predicted Trump’s election when all other prognosticators assured us it couldn’t happen.  Author of “The Case for Impeachment,” Professor Lichtman argues that the evidence for Don tha Con’s demise by impeachment is abundant, and Congress does not need to hold further hearings to make their case.  But now Lapdog Lindsay has declared in a hissy fit that he does not wish to see, or hear, the evidence being gathered by the House Committees conducting the impeachment hearings.

Notwithstanding the phony theatrics of Lying Lindsay, Jive Ass Jim, Duplicitous Devin, and their GOP co-conspirators who are bearing the cross for Dirty Donald, hysterically declaring his innocence, I believe he is guilty as sin! We will examine the evidence in the next installment of the Impeachment Chronicles.

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