Should We Respect Dirty Donald?

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , , on April 20, 2018 by playthell

Does the Trick Really Have All the Fun?
Respect for Devious Donnie, and the Presidency, is an Oxymoron

On the face of it Donald Trump is a compulsive liar, a brazen braggart, a foulmouthed bully, a racist, a serial sexual predator, a swindler and a megalomaniac.   He is the kind of man you don’t want your son to emulate and your daughters to avoid.  And these flaws are just the ones that easily meet the eye.  For those who care to take a deeper look a real horror show awaits their gaze.  But, if your standard for presidential leadership is honor, integrity, respect for women and non-white peoples, a public servant rather than an autocratic ruler, respect for democratic process and the institutions that make this possible, we need look no further to answer the question posed by this essay.

Donald Trump clearly does not meet this standard.  Hence those who argue that we ought to respect Trump because he was elected President, and we should respect the office, are standing on intellectual and moral quicksand.  I would remind them, yet again, that Adolph Hitler was elected too!  And I use the example of Hitler purposely, because as much as it enrages his supporters, Devious Donald and Adolph have much in common.  But since I have explored this question in five previous essays I shan’t relitigated it here. *  Yet to the astute and careful observer those similarities will be all too obvious. In fact, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who has just published a book titled “Fascism” has warned us about Trump’s fascistic tendencies.

However, it is enough to point out Trump’s myriad transgressions against the prestige and dignity of the American presidency through his odious personal behavior, embarrassing ignorance of the critical issues facing the nation and assaults on the constitutional norms he has vowed to uphold.  After covering Trump’s presidential campaign, Matt Taibbi, the crack investigative reporter with Rolling Stone magazine, wrote a book summing up his view of Trump entitled “The Insane Clown President.” Alas, those who though he was being hyperbolic will have to think again.  Now that we have gotten a good look at Trump in the Oval Office, the objective observer must confess that Taibbi nailed him.

From the outset his un-presidential posture was a source of embarrassment to the Republican Establishment and an odious offense to the party’s intelligentsia.  At first his candidacy was dismissed as a joke. But when he began to prevail over the crowded field in the Republican primaries and they began to take the possibility that Dirty Donald could actually win the Party’s nomination, it suddenly became no laughing matter. The longtime Republican stalwarts who were vying with Trump – a Johnny Come Lately –  to represent the party in the presidential election began to say what they really thought of him in an effort to warn their members not to vote for Devious Donald.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio declared in no uncertain terms that “Donald Trump is a con-man!”  This charge was echoed over and again by other candidates.  Mitt Romney, the past Republican presidential candidate, trashed Trump’s business acumen:” A business genius he is not!”  An able businessman with a Harvard MBA, Romney knows whereof he speaks.  No matter what you think of the Equities business, and there is much to criticize on moral grounds, there is no question that one must be astute in business matters in order to survive – let alone thrive as Romney has done. Trump on the other hand, had been the defendant in 3500 civil suits growing out of incompetent or unethical business practices, and was recently ordered to pay 25 million dollars to students who were swindled in the Trump University scam.

Jeb Bush, a Former Florida Governor – who had been all but anointed by the press and party leaders, being the son and brother of US presidents and possessing the traditional qualifications for President –  warned early on: “Donald Trump is a chaos candidate, and if he wins he will be a chaos President!”  The prescience of this warning qualifies Jeb for the honorific “Prophet Jeb.” As Trump’s presidency has been distinguished by unrelenting chaos!

As harsh as the criticisms of his political competitors were, they did not rise to the level of the vitriolic critiques coming from the Republican intelligentsia, who banded together to form a “Never Tump!” movement. Led by the likes of George Will and Bill Kristol – the intellectual heirs of those formidable conservative polemicists William F. Buckley, Norman Podoretz, Irving Kristol, et al – banded together and launched the “Never Trump” movement.  They saw that the election of Donald Trump would be the end of the Grand Old Party that they had committed their lives and careers to.

Tim Miller, who had been Jeb Bush’s Communications Director before he dropped out of the race, had this to say about a possible Trump victory:” “It is disturbing seeing him even in the ballpark of being president…I think it’s a bad sign of our republic that we are this close to electing a complete buffoon and fraud, because he encapsulates the worst qualities of a human.” John Podhoretz, a right-wing commentator and the son of Neo-con icon Norman Podhoretz, spoke for many long time Republicans who detest Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump in equal measure, when he wrote in his New York Post column: “Since I want everybody to lose…I’m going to be pleased and horrified in equal measure no matter what happens.” 

Long time columnist, author and a leading theoretician of the Republican party George Will, would declare Trump a dunce “who doesn’t know what it means to know something.” Will magnified his point by sarcastically observing that Trump has the advantage over him in Twitter exchanges “because he can say everything he knows in 145 characters and I can’t.”  He then quit the Republican Party rather than be led by Trump.

I believe that future historians studying this period will consider these dissenters heroes.  While the party apparatchiks are making a deal with the devil, because they feel they have a clueless dupe who will sign any legislation they put in front of him so long as it is opposed by Democrats – the ideal president in the view of anti-tax radical Grover Norquist – some of the party’s leading intellectuals are taking principle stands because all the observable facts suggest that although Trump may be good for the agenda of their party, he will be bad for the health of our republic.  And they have chosen to place country over party.

During the year since Trump was elected, he has realized all our worst fears.  He has never evolved into the “presidential” leader we were promised by his handlers. Alas, Dirty Donald has remained the same crude, ignorant, potty-mouthed, lying charlatan that he was during the campaign.  He has routinely called everybody who criticizes him dirty names – hence my tagging him “Dirty Donald” – and called the free press an “enemy of the People.”

He has hidden his tax returns from public scrutiny like a dope dealer, and repeatedly violated the “Emoluments Clause” in the constitution forbidding a sitting President from accepting money from foreign governments. A case against Trump for this violation has been filed by Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, an authority on Constitutional Law, and his co-attorneys.  Trump has trashed the authority of the courts, threatened nuclear war against North Korea on Twitter, and is the subject of multiple investigations, federal and state.  As I write he is involved in a messy scandal with a porn star, and his former Campaign Manager and personal lawyer had their offices and homes raided by the FBI with no-knock search warrants.

As I write former FBI Director James Comey, whose abrupt dismissal by Trump – who admitted that he did it to stop the investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents on national television – prompted the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, is about to publish a book telling his side of the story after months of vilification by Trump.  On Sunday April 15, Comey appeared in a special interview on the ABC television network to discuss his new book, and he rendered a devastating critique of Trump’s leadership of the Nation, and expressed the view that Trump is definitely unworthy of due to his moral failings alone.

Although Trump is having a Twitter tantrum calling Comey a liar, when it comes to a test of credibility Trump’s chances of prevailing are about equal to those of a butterfly from a hatchet blow.  After all, fact checkers at the Washington Post have identified over 2000 lies told by the president of the USA during his first year in office, the all-time record!        

Despite his desperate thrashing about in protests against his accusers, it is hard to see how Trump will survive to the end of his first term.  From the look of things based on rumors, leaks and publicly announced indictments the blow that lays him low can come from anywhere –  laundering dirty Russian money; obstruction of Justice; Perjury; campaign finance laws; converting the White House into a profit center for the Trump Organization; collusion with Russian military intelligence to steal the presidential election, or tax evasion.  All seem plausible.

Added to his legal problems, is the potential for blackmail due to Trump’s moral laxity.  For instance, the fact that he has his “fixer” posing as a lawyer, Michael Cohen, paying off women with whom he had adulterous sexual liaisons, exposes the President to Blackmail. According to intelligence experts, the Russians probably know all about Trump’s sexual peccadillos.  Some believe the Russians have film of Trump’s misadventures on his visit to Russia to promote a beauty pageant.

If so, that would explain why Trump trashes everybody but Vladimir Putin. His refusal to implement sanctions imposed on Russia by Congress, sanctioning them for interfering in the last US presidential borders on Treason!  Some will argue that “Treason” as defined in the Constitution can only occur if the nation is at war.

Well, considering that “Cyber Warfare” has been recently added to the list of offences warranting a nuclear response, one could argue that technically we are in a state of war!  In any case, Trump’s behavior has so befouled the White House debased the presidency, it is impossible to respect that high office and respect Dirty Donald too!



Playthell G. Benjamin,
Harlem, New York
April 19, 2018

Vote No on Pompeo!

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , on April 13, 2018 by playthell

Senate Hearings Exposes Dangerous Constitutional Ambiguities

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s confirmation hearings for Mike Pompeo, who Donald Trump has chosen for Secretary of State, the chief diplomat of the USA, often sounded like a tower of babble as they attempted to define the Constitutional limitations on executive war making powers. The confusion centered on which branch of government has final authority to commit the nation to war, and the debate magnified the ambiguity of constitutional mandates that on the face of it seem beyond question.  For instance, the language of the Constitution places the war making power squarely in the hands of the Congress in Article I, Section 8, Clause 11.

It states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives…The Congress shall have power to…provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States… To declare war…To raise and support armies… To provide and maintain a navy.”  And Article II, Section 2, names the President Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. But he is empowered to order troops into combat only after the Congress has declared war: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…”

It is no wonder that questions regarding which branch of government has the ultimate war making authority was a major theme in the discourse between the Senators and Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo.  This was no academic exercise, as President Trump has threated to bomb Syria any day now.  Hence the Senators were anxious to know how Pompeo, as Secretary of State, would advise Devious Donald.  Especially since Trump has already stated the view that he does not need authorization from Congress to rain bombs down upon the Syrians.  However, when this question was put squarely to Pompeo by Senator Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, Mike seemed as slippery as a greased pig.

Although he looks like a Mafia enforcer from central casting with his husky physique and wise guy Joe Palooka smirk, Pompeo has a sterling academic pedigree.  He graduated first in his class at West Point – which is harder to gain entrance than Harvard – and later earned a law degree from the Harvard Law School, which Senator Coons said in a self-effacing manner he had been rejected and was forced to attend Yale. In an attempt to evade answering the Senator’s question, Pompeo used the occasion to show off his academic chops by citing a gaggle of academic debates on the War Powers question in a transparent display of obfuscation.  He concluded by saying that so many precedents have been set by Presidents ordering military strikes without consulting with Congress it was impossible to say with certainty that it was unconstitutional.

Pompeo fared no better in terms of clarity when he was asked whether he agreed with Trump that Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation into Russian meddling is a fraud…a “witch hunt” and should be fired.  He spouted some spurious Mumbo Jumbo about the legal issues being so complex that he couldn’t offer an opinion on the matter.  Refusing to accept that mealy mouth prattle for an answer, one Senator asked him point blank if he would stand up to the President, and even resign, if he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Assistant A. G. Rosenstein, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in order to stop the investigation into Russian attempts to subvert our democratic process, Pompeo said he would probably remain at his post taking care of the nation’s business, just as other Secretaries of State had done when the president they served was in trouble, he would stay steady at the wheel and guide the nation through troubled waters.  This too was an obvious dodge.

However, the most dangerous liability of Mr. Pompeo, which would preclude me from voting to confirm his nomination as Secretary of State, is the charge made by some members of the National Security establishment that he “politicized intelligence” in his recent position as head of the CIA.  This is especially dangerous because Pompeo is on record as having opposed the nuclear deal with Iran; he favored “2000 bombing raids” to destroy Iranian nuclear capability instead.  And his belief that a land invasion of North Korea is a feasible military option marks him as an unthinking fanatic.  Sixty years ago, when the North Korean communist revolutionaries had fought invading US forces to a standstill, General Douglass McArthur, conqueror of the Japanese Empire, observed: “Any American President who commits American troops to a ground war in Asia needs their head examined!”

A man who harbors such irrational beliefs and is also willing to “politicize intelligence” is dangerous.  After all, we have seen his like before, and they proved to be mid-wives to catastrophe.  Both the disastrous wars in Vietnam and Iraq was the result of politicized intelligence.  In his revelatory book “Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA,” Ralph McGhee, one of the first CIA agents on the ground in Vietnam, provides us an inside view of how we stumbled into one of the most costly wars – in blood, treasure and social turmoil – in US history.

It all began when the CIA was persuaded to cook the intelligence product to a prescribed recipe; so instead of providing Congress and policy makers with objective information they fed them ideologically tainted propaganda.  This is the same way Dick Cheyney, Donald Rumsfeld and their fellow neo-con ideologues in the Project for a New American Century – whose policy papers directed Bush’s foreign policy after the 9/11 terrorist attack by Islamic Jihadist – convinced a clueless George Bush to invade Iraq.

I wrote an extensive analysis of the process by which they took over Bush’s Foreign policy, see: “How the Iraq War Was Spawned in a Think Tank,” on this blog.   The intelligence products they fed the Bush Administration led General Colin Powell, a highly decorated combat veteran, to disgrace himself and cut the fool before the world; giving false information in a speech before the United Nations.

Pompeo was an enthusiastic supporter of the Iraq War. And despite the fact that he is a Sunday school teacher, he is also a highly trained military officer and such a transparent coldblooded war monger he couldn’t be more obvious if he had on fatigues and bandoleros, holding an assault rifle on his lap!  When we realize that Pompeo, like virtually all of the Senators, views the world from the distorted perspective of “American Exceptionalism,” a malignant myth that holds The United States of America above other nations – strains of Deutschland Uber Allis – we have a deadly mix of militarism, nationalism and self-righteousness!

Perhaps the best measure of the impoverished state of our political discourse is revealed in the fact that the wisest and most candid voice among the august Senators was Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky.  An eccentric anti-imperialist Libertarian, Senator Paul reminded me of the great 19th century writer Mark Twain as he delivered a scathing assault on the warmongers who believe they can remold the world in their own image through the promiscuous use of military power.  Not only was Paul vehemently opposed to further American military adventures in the Middle-East, but he thinks all US troops should be pulled from Afghanistan and Iraq; he offered Trump the same advice Henry Kissinger had offered President Nixon during the protracted war in Vietnam: “Just declare victory and come home!”

Rand Paul
Giving Pompeo a Dose of Reality

This is also sage counsel for formulating American policy toward North Korea. Alas, this advice was infinitely more profound than anything I heard from Mike Pompeo who, despite his tough guy persona, is a spineless jelly fish when in the presence of Trump. The only sign that he has a bit of a back bone was when Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire  asked him if he agreed with Trump that our present problems with Russia are caused by the Mueller investigation, and he dissented. Pompeo also pledged to implement the sanctions imposed on Russia by Congress, which Trump has refused to do.

Yet this is the exception that proves the rule.  Many observers – this writer included – suspect that lips to posterior is his natural posture in dealing with the President, hence Pompeo is too busy genuflecting to stand up and speak candidly to Dirty Donald on critical issues.  Now is no time for unprincipled suck ups because Trump’s incompetence and amorality has thrown our nation into serious crisis. This is why Pompeo must never become our Secretary of State!  Let’s see if the Senators can muster the balls to kick this cad to the curb.


(Click to See Mike Pompeo Stonewall Senator Mendez’s questions)



Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 13, 2018


Big Ups To Playthell “Samori” Benjamin!

Posted in Samori Goes to the J School with tags , on April 3, 2018 by playthell

Intrepid Sports Reporter Interviews Hall Of Fame Yankee Reggie Jackson


 The Columbia University Graduate school of Journalism is the top of the food chain in the profession; it is recognized around the world as the best in the business! For journalism it is the equivalent of the Harvard Business School for those going into corporate management.  The graduates of both schools are expected to become leaders in their profession.  And more often than not they fulfill this high expectation.

In the world of journalism the J-School’s Master of Science is as prestigious as the Harvard MBA. The applicant pool for both schools represent the best and the brightest strivers from around the world; so gaining admission is quite an honor! A degree from the J-School will open all doors in your journey to the top as a sports reporter, which has been your life-long dream.

You are entering the J-School with years or solid work as the Sports Editor at WBAI FM here in New York, where you have reported on Football, Baseball and Basketball; producing wonderful highly original features on women in sports – athletes and reporters, creating a valuable archive of testimonies from the world’s greatest athletes told in their own voices. Although this great listener owned station on the Pacifica Network was not able to pay the big bucks offered by commercial media, you chose to labor on survival jobs in order to take advantage of the freedom to be creative and do your own thing that WBAI offered.

Your position at WBAI – a fifty thousand watt station broadcasting from the heart of the greatest city in the world – heard throughout the metropolis and surrounding areas, provided you the opportunity to attend professional games and gain access to the locker rooms. And you have made the most of this opportunity with on-air reports, posts on, and writing a highly original book on the rise and fall of African-Americans in Major League Baseball – “Where Did Our Love Go?” – which will be published BEFORE you enter the J-School in September!   This book is a labor of love, inspired by your life long love of Baseball, which began when you played in the Harlem Little League as a boy.

At the Batters Plate

Slugging in the Harlem Little League
At the World Series Victory Celebration!

Drenched in champagne in the Yankee Clubhouse

While your admission to the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism is the reward for all the work you have put in mastering your craft, it symbolizes something more in our family. First of all, it honors the memory of Uncle Jimmy Strawder,who was denied admission to Columbia University, where he wanted to study journalism, BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK!

A talented writer who edited his high school newspaper, and wrote witty articles and commentaries, some of which I have read thanks to his classmate Ms. Barbara Vickers, who preserved the clips and sent them to me, Uncle Jimmy applied to Columbia after returning from World War II. He was drafted into the racially segregated US Army as an enlisted man, from the racially segregated town of St. Augustine Florida, where white supremacy was proclaimed and practiced in law and custom.

One of the brightest bulbs in any box, Uncle Jimmy was soon selected for Officers Candidate School which he successfully completed and became the first BLACK COMBAT OFFICER in the pacific theater, assigned to the Australian Army. He was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant with Battle Decorations!

His performance in the military, which test the mettle of a man as nothing else, established his measure as a man in terms of courage, character and intelligence – since selection to Officers Candidate School was based on standardized competitive exams. And if the white boys who weathered the Great Depression, fought and defeated the Fascist menace, then came back home to build the country were “The Greatest Generation,” then African-Americans like Uncle Jimmy WERE THE GREATEST OF THE GREATEST GENERATION!!!!!

For the Black soldiers returned home to the country from which the German NAZI’s had borrowed their Master Race theories, and against whom the Japanese went to war because they believed white Americans planned to subject them to the treatment they imposed on their black citizens. The black heroes – who were young, gifted and Black – kept their souls in tack and kept moving on up! And against all odds yet did they rise!

You need only sample  the subsequent careers of some of these black officers after the war to recognize the myriad ways their contributions enriched American life.   I think of men such as as the progressive innovative Mayor of Detroit Coleman Young; college president Dr. Roscoe Brown; Harlem lawyer and successful businessman Percy Sutton, the great pioneering journalist who became Director of the powerful United States Information Agency Carl Rowan; the magnificent Blues Philosopher, novelist, cultural critic and prolific author Albert Murray, and Dr. Randolph Bromery. A fighter pilot with the all black Tuskegee Airman – a crack squadron that never lost a bomber under their escort – Bromery went on the become one of the nation’s most distinguished geologist and was selected to study the rock samples gathered on the moon.  He would also become the first black Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  In a recent documentary film on Afro-American Officers in the second World War, Uncle Jimmy’s service was honored, he watched it with the family and was deeply moved.

Uncle Jimmy, filled with the optimism of a young man who was handsome as a movie star and swift on the cap. And had served with distinction in the great war to “preserve freedom and democracy,” was certain that he was Columbia University material. And his performance on the entrance exams proved it!

However, The Columbia University Admissions Office decided otherwise. In a terse and patronizing letter that added insult to injury, they congratulated Uncle Jimmy on his outstanding war record and his excellent performance on their entrance exam, part of which was in Latin! Then they informed him that his application was rejected BECAUSE “COLUMBIA COLLEGE HAS ITS QUOTA OF NEGROES.”

There was no shame in these cultivated northern crackers game! just like that they crushed his dreams. As he was already married with a child, he went to work. However you really can’t keep a good man down forever because cream will eventually rise to the top of the barrel. Uncle Jimmy remained married to my beautiful Aunt Nita for over half a century until she danced and joined the ancestors; bought a beautiful Brownstone in Brooklyn; became the CEO of Hamburger Heaven, a popular white owned restaurant chain in New York in the 1950’s – an unheard of accomplishment for a black man at the time – raised four wonderful children of their own and adopted several others, and ended up a successful restaurateur as owner of “FERRY BANK,” a beautiful high end restaurant in Brooklyn Heights in which Spike Lee shot scenes from two of his movies.

If any of you New Yorkers ever dined at that fabulous eatery, the handsome, elegant, man who strolled about graciously greeting guests was my Uncle Jimmy: A great man who lived into his nineties! He was the most important male role model in my life after the untimely death of my father – Uncle Jimmy’s best friend – when I was only four years old. I have traveled far and wide in my life and time, met a lot of impressive people – poets and players, wise men and fools -spoke to everybody twice, but I have never met a better man than Uncle Jimmy.

Since he believed that success was the best revenge against those who would destroy your dreams, Uncle Jimmy took the position that Columbia University owed our family degrees, and urged those coming behind him to collect them. Well thus far his son, Jimmy Strawder Junior took a degree in architecture, and went on to become an award winning architect. His grand son Monsour also took a degree and now heads a law firm and investment bank in South Africa. Monsour’s son Jabari – a world champion Rubix Cube solver – is now pursuing a degree in Computer Science. My daughter Makeda- Samori’s twin sister – did graduate work in Nutrition, and my son will be entering the Graduate School of Journalism in the fall…FULFILLING UNCLE JIMMY’S DREAM!

This is the legacy you will carry with you when you enter the J-School son. Although I am not a religious man Samori, I believe that if there is a place somewhere out there beyond the rainbow, where great souls go when they die, your adoring grandmother Queen Elizabeth – that elegant dusky daughter of Dixie – and Uncle Jimmy are joined in a spirit dance of jubilation!

Uncle Jimmy at his 90th Birthday Party

He Still Retains the Paternal Touch

As for me, I can conjure no words to express my love and admiration for you, who has always done the right thing and never caused me and your mother a moments trouble. You deserve EVERYTHING good that will come to you in this life.  So, My Son, I shall say to you what the great black Florida writer Zora Neale Hurston’s mother said to her when she left Eatonville to attend Barnard, Columbia’s women’s college, nearly a century ago: “JUMP AT DE SUN!” I have no doubt that, like Zora, you will make the most of this rare opportunity and distinguish yourself as one of the great sports reporters of the 21st century.

This is assured. For, as is evident in the forthcoming book, your work is guided by the broader questions posed by the great Trinidadian writer/political philosopher C.L.R. James, in the opening of his seminal book on the game of cricket, Beyond a Boundary: “What do they know of cricket…who only cricket knows….”

Going to the Source

Getting the Story of Afro-Americans in the Major Leagues Today
 In Miami Reporting on the Knicks

Taking a Break on South Beach!
At Madison Square Garden: The Mecca of Basketball


Covering the New York Knicks
Graduation Day at SUNY!
Receiving the Bachelor’s Of Science in Broadcast Journalism
A Native New Yorker

Reporting on the Stars in the World’s Most Exciting City
An Athlete and Veteran Reporter at 12!

Hangin in da Club with Knicks Star Forward Anthony Mason 

Samori began writing /Presenting Sports Commentary on My WBAI  Show  at Nine
And Grew Up to Become Sports Editor!

Columbia is Getting a Great Candidate



Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York,
April 4 2018

Rush Limbaugh on Stormy Daniels

Posted in On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators with tags , on March 29, 2018 by playthell

There’s no Shame in this Girl’s Game

“She Didn’t Make Me Horny!”

Rush and his Boo

While surfing through the wonderful world of You Tube in search of interviews with Stormy Daniels, a red-hot mama and shameless hussy who may yet cause Dirty Donald’s presidency to crumble, I stumbled upon a segment of the Rush Limbaugh show titled “What I think of Stormy Daniels.   While I have long since turned a deaf ear to Rush’s rants, cause its usually SOS i.e. same old shit, I though it might be amusing to hear what the star talking head on “Trump News” had to say. 

From the outset he tells us that Stormy didn’t make him horny.  I was taken back and thought it a strange confession; especially since Rush strikes me as the kind of lecherous old horn dog that would to bang a bear if he could get it up, they bound her claws, muzzled her mouth and somebody held her head.  Alas, knowing the Rotund Rush  is a forked tongued charlatan, whom every woman I know considers an unappetizing tub of lard, I seriously doubted that he would kick stormy out of the bed.

Rush’s confession made me wonder what his wife looked like, so I googled her.  The first thing that caught my eye was an article titled Rush Limbaugh: Sick Secrets Of $470 Million Divorce: Wife’s keeping a stable of studs!”  And it was published in his President’s favorite newspaper, the National Enquirer, a scurrilous scandal sheet Trump once publicly inquired in wonder as to why they had not won a Pulitzer Prize.  Dumb Donnie was sure it was the result of a conspiracy among the purveyors of “fake News” like the “failing” New York Times and the Washington Post.

Normally I avoid exposing myself to the Enquirer; not because it isn’t sometimes amusing, an entertaining break from contemplating unpleasant realities, it’s just that I have better employment for my time trying to keep up with the hurly burley cascade of events and write thoughtful erudite commentary on the most important them.  But after hearing Rush trash the journalistic integrity of US News and World Report, by referring to the publication as a “failing” outfit that published “fake news,” I figured that publications like the Enquirer would down with him, they had his back.  Not so!

With such a provocative headline I couldn’t resist perusing the article, and I confess that I am always down to hear some dirt on Rushbo because he is such a dirty MOFO and soulless fraud.  So, I dived into the risqué expose and I was not disappointed.  The Enquirer claims “Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wife is cheating on him with hunky young athletes and setting the stage for a big bucks divorce that could humiliate the right-wing Icon.” The Enquirer claims that family members told them that “Kathryn – a 40 year old blond stunner – is two timing the media motormouth with a married man…She’s taken Rush’s plane to meet men – and even cheated while visiting her cancer stricken dad in Massachusetts.”  

The article goes on in that fashion, painting Rush as a fat tired old man that can’t satisfy the voracious sexual appetite of his hot young wife, who was always in it for the money, just like people say about Melania.  Although how much Rush and Donnie’s wives have in common is open to question, the fact that Rush and Donnie share the same “Trick” mentality is obvious. Both of these men rely on money and status to attract women.  As several of the women who had affairs with Trump testified, Doophus Donald offered them cash after a roll in the hay, which confused and angered them because of what it implied regarding his view of them.

Rush Limbaugh may be nauseating but he ain’t stupid, he knows the only way he is gonna cop a lay is to pay for it.  And it is widely rumored about that Rush was in such a hurry to hook this hottie and fetter her freedom her with the manacles of matrimony that he married her without a prenup!  Say what?

Whether any of this is true or not alas, it serves Rush’s rotund rump right, for he has been a champion of fake news.  If it is true, so much the better, perhaps the wily wife will take the boisterous, bumptious, belligerent blowhard to the cleaners; which is a good place for a down and dirty dog.  Alas, viewed from this perspective, Rush’s unsolicited confession that he didn’t get it up, remaining cool calm and collected while watching Stormy on 60 minutes, takes on a different dimension.

Since the program was not about whether Stormy made Rush horny, but whether she banged The Donald, methinks the bodacious buffoon doth protests too loudly.  The question, where rush is concerned, is whether his hot wife makes him horny and can he rise to the occasion when called upon.  A custom document from a recent trip to the Dominican  Republic shows that Rush had a generous supply of Viagra, but his wife was not a part of his all-male travelling party.* And since it is rumored abroad that randy young Cocksmen have “leapt betwixt his sheets and is doing his office,” as Iyago was told about lusty Moor Othello, Rushbo should spend all his spare time watching over his own yard.  And since wifey is rumored to have a yen for athletes, there is always the chance there is a lusty generously endowed blackamoor hiding in the woodpile!

Since Rush’s penis envy for black athletes is well known, he shares the agony of Iyago who confessed: “The very thought of which is maddening.”   As for Stormy’s credibility, which Rush has trashed, the tawdry tales she told about Dirty Donald’s deeds comes across as far more credible than Rush’s claim that she doesn’t make him horny.  If I was a bettin man, enticed by games of chance, I’d bet my bottom dollar Rush would pay for Stormy to rain golden showers upon his bulbous hog head faster than Hopalong Cassidy could draw his guns.

** The custom’s Document
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York

Can the Student Anti-Gun Movement Succeed?

Posted in The Student Anti-Gun Movement with tags , , on March 25, 2018 by playthell

The Houston Police Chief and Mayor March the Students

Yes!  And Here is How to Do It!

The massive demonstrations in Washington and around the nation over the past two weeks announces the arrival of some new and powerful voices speaking out in the debate about the role of guns in American society. High school students, whose life chances are being impacted by the recurrent incidence of mass shootings of teachers and students in their schools, are speaking out and will not be intimidated into silence by cynical talking heads in mass media, NRA fanatics, or spineless politicians.

No thoughtful observer can witness the gains this movement has already achieved – getting state lawmakers in the gun crazy state of Florida to pass restrictions on gun ownership after only a few weeks of activism, and now the Attorney General’s decision to ban gun stocks the convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic fire arms -can fail to be impressed by the intelligence, maturity and courage of the student activist, especially those from Douglass High, nor the vast potential of this movement.   Politicians will ignore it at their peril!

Few issues conjure up the intense passions which characterize the gun debate, and rightfully so; it’s a life and death matter. Many Americans believe they have a Constitutional right to own and carry military assault weapons.  But the highly intelligent and articulate students who turned out at the protest demonstrations across the nation demanding gun control legislation have called that belief “BULLSHIT!”

Unfortunately, despite their intelligence and righteous anger they have not yet recognized that there can be no solution to the gun plague so long as there is a constitutional right for citizens to “keep and bear arms.” However, they will be educated on this issue as they struggle to get effective gun legislation and are faced with the malicious machinations and amoral duplicity of the NRA and their shills in government and media.

Since I have made the case for repealing the Second Amendment elsewhere I shall not re-litigate it here.  But these students must be educated on this issue because they will soon be voters; some of them will be voting this year.  Fortunately, unlike the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which declared itself “above politics,” as the widely influential documentary filmmaker/activist Michel Moore put it, most of the student leaders like the Afro-American students in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, understand that politics is the vehicle by which they will achieve their goals; turning rhetoric into law.

Yet while good intentions and a passionate belief in the justice of your cause may appeal to a lot of people, it is not enough to affect change.  What we are witnessing is the embryonic stages of a mass movement, a spontaneous eruption orchestrated on social media.   But to bring about sweeping political changes that will finally rid us of this gun plague, the growing ranks of enraged activists must be organized around a workable plan of political action.  If this burgeoning protest movement is to become transformative, several things will have to happen.

First, the students will have to understand that this is a protracted struggle, which is not an easy point to make in the age of Twitter and Facebook when masses of people can be mobilized across the country within days. They must gain a sense of historical perspective which will enable them to understand that it was four years from the time the first Afro-American students challenged legal segregation by sitting down at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1960, to the passage of the Omnibus Civil Rights Bill that outlawed de Jure racial separation in 1964.  To learn the lessons movement history can teach, student activists must be willing to consult with, and be instructed by, veteran organizers who know what they are doing.

An excellent instructional manual on the art and science of political organizing is the documentary film “The Organizer,” which explores the life and work of Bayard Rustin -who organized both the March on Washington and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, iconic events in the great Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.  And the recent television documentary airing on MSNBC tonight, “The Media and the Movement ” – which examines the role played by television in the success of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the southern Civil Rights Movement – will help them to better understand the advantages that social media provides them today; how it has enabled them to organize a movement capable of getting masses of people out in the streets virtually overnight.  They must also understand the down side to this enormous power when exercised by people who are politically unsophisticated.  Hence the first task of their advisers is to help these student activists understand that all motion is not progress.

For instance, running around in circles is motion but not progress.  They must understand that progress implies forward movement and to move forward you must have concrete goals and objectives. These are the beacons by which a movement can measure its progress.   But to define specific goals they must first decide what they are struggling for, the strategic objective, because that will determine what your specific demands will be. To popularize their demands they must develop power packed slogans that effectively convey this often-complex vision to masses of people.   If I were advising them I would argue for the slogans “Stop the Blood Bath!”  “Repeal the Second Amendment.”  One is a general demand, the other is specific.

This could become a very effective chant with the call and response pattern that has proven so effective at mass demonstrations and rallies around the world. The chant of student demonstrators “Throw them out!” is a powerful slogan which will certainly get the attention of the legislators, but to translate this into effective legislation they must be given specific demands. And if the demand to abolish the Second Amendment gains traction, they can win many tactical concessions on gun control laws that their Republican elected officials have heretofore refused to even consider.  We are already witnessing this.

If I were advising these students I would tell them that as they debate their goals they need to form a national student organization dedicated to a protracted struggle to achieve them.  And to be effective this organization must have a means of getting its message out on a widespread basis. And I would emphasize that in social media they have the most powerful mass communications vehicle any movement has ever had in world history.

Both the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street Movement were creatures of the Internet: “Facebook Revolutions.” When the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, SNCC, began its struggle to transform the American South they only had mimeograph machines – some hand powered – and leaflets.  That was true of the Southern Civil Rights Movement in general, but they destroyed the legal racial caste system and transformed the Nation.

I would point out to these students how Slogans like “FREEDOM NOW!” Effectively mobilized the black masses and “BLACK POWER” radicalized that demand and made many of the reforms white politicians had rejected suddenly look much more reasonable. Just as a demand for the repeal of the Second Amendment will make many of the demands that are being rebuffed or ignored now will suddenly become more palatable.  I would tell the students that all successful movements have some way of financing their organizations – usually through membership dues and contributions from the public, including Foundations in the US.

So they should appeal directly to wealthy Americans – such as Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates and the entertainment community. And I would show them how all successful mass movements must produce Charismatic Revivalists – fearless eloquent voices that rise up from the people and effectively speak truth to power.  Student leaders who survived the Parkland Florida shootings like David Hogg, and Emma Gonzales – whose six minutes of silence at the Washington rally was deafening – are poignant cases in point.

Emma Gonzales

David Hogg

It is these spokesmen who personally take the movement’s message to the masses and inspire them to action.  This was the role played by Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, and Jesse Jackson in the Civil Rights Movement; Adolph Hitler in the Rise of the Nazi’s, Gloria Steinem in the Feminist Movement et al.  I would explain that it does not matter what the ideology of the movement is – religious or secular, right or left – all successful movements produce these spokesmen who appear to embody the aspirations of the aggrieved. Here, the new student movement enjoys an embarrassment of riches; the student orators at the rallies – of all colors and ethnicities – are marvelous representatives of their cause and will inspire their peers to take action.

They also have an abundance of the other two elements critical to the growth and development of a successful mass transformative movement: people who are willing to engage in face to face recruiting for their organization, plus real and visible enemies.  The enthusiasm of these students will make them willing and effective recruiters, because the mass shootings will continue, and the more Republican politicians and right-wing media talking heads denounce them the more effective they will become with their target audience!

The final bit of advice that I would offer these bright and eager student activist is that they should continue to broaden their ranks to include more non-white students from disadvantaged communities – who were well represented at the rally – that face the threat of death by gunfire every day on the streets of their neighborhoods. And take the long view of their struggle because, when considered in historical perspective, the time frame is amazingly short for this magnitude of change they seek.

In just three years everybody who is now attending high-school will be eligible to vote; if the movement persists and becomes more inclusive they will have the numbers to throw the rascals out who refuse to support their gun proposals and transform this nation into a civilized society where mass slaughter by firearms are no longer common fare.   In fact, it will become as rare as “White” and “Colored” at public water fountains on rail road waiting rooms.  These are the paramount lessons I have learned from over fifty years of activism and studying the history of successful mass movements.

Since my predictions about the fate of the “Arab Spring” and “Occupy Wall Street” movements proved true – see: – I am confident in the analysis I now offer the Students fighting gun runners and their apologists in the right-wing media, the White House and Congress.


Witness student Survivors from the Florida Mass Shootings Speak Out

See Davis Hogg’s speech at March for our Lives

Hear Emma Gonzalez Speak!


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
March 25, 2018


Black Panther: A Cinematic Marvel 

Posted in Film Criticism, Movie Reviews with tags , , on February 25, 2018 by playthell
The Wakandans 

 The Movie is the Message

When I was a boy growing up in racist segregated Florida, where white supremacy was a fact in law and custom, my grandmother used to say “Boy, don’t pay no attention to those ignorant crackers; cause when the Lord made colored people he was really showing off.”  I thought of her the other night as I gazed at the beautiful people of Wakanda, a mythical African nation, on the silver screen at the Magic Johnson theater.  They struck me as a cinematic representation of Duke Ellington’s classic composition, “A Black and Tan Fantasy.” For my money, just the opportunity to gaze upon the lush ebony beauty of Lupita Nyong’o on the giant screen was worth the price of the ticket.

Lupita Nwong’o

An African Beauty

Black Panther, the latest blockbuster movie from Marvel comics is a cinematic Marvel that is taking the world by storm and raking in grand theft dough. Directed by young Afro-American filmmaker Ryan Coogler, whose debut film Fruitvale Station won kudos at the Sundance Festival, the movie is exceeding all expectations. It returned the 250 million dollar investment – 200 million in production cost and 50 million in promotion – and showed a profit of 177 million within the first four days of it’s opening.

According to a February 20, article in Vanity Fair the movie grossed 242 million domestically and 427 million world-wide. Some film industry analysts are predicting that revenues from this film could reach a billion dollars!   The film’s spectacular box office performance – which is the best ever for a February release – will insure that a sequel will be made. Already young black men have been observed copying the hand gestures of the warriors in the film, and it’s anybody’s guess how big this phenomenon will become.

What at first seemed like a reckless act, investing such a vast sum in a movie featuring black people and set in Africa – 35 million more than Dr. Strange and 25 million more than Spider Man’s Homecoming – has turned out to be a brilliant business decision.  Yet, it was not business matters alone but a good measure of altruism on the part of Kevin Fiege, President of Marvel Studios, who persisted despite opposition within the company, and decided to make this film.  Recounting the reason why he and Director Coogler – who became a fan of the Black Panther when he first discovered  him in a Marvel comic  in an Oakland bookstore at the age of eight – wanted to bring the black superhero to the screen, Fiege told CNBC

“He’s making this movie for his 8-year-old self. Most importantly, you do it for other 8-year-olds, to inspire the next generation the way we were inspired. And in this case, when Ryan was growing up, perhaps there weren’t that many of these heroes to be inspired by that looked like him.”

Director Ryan Coogler

This is a remarkable and admirable departure from the values, commercial and cultural, that has governed the movie industry since the golden days of Hollywood.  As Neal Gabler points out in his path-breaking book “An Empire of their Own: How the Jews Created Hollywood,” the Jewish movie Moguls that built the big studios which dominated movie making were fundamentally businessmen whose principle objective was to provide escapist fare to a mass market for maximum profit.  They were not men on a mission to rescue the Jewish image from anti-Semitic propaganda, but businessmen trying to make money by enhancing the fantasy life and entertain their audience.  It was they who gave us the blond sex goddesses – Mae West, Gloria Swanson, Marylin Monroe, Kim Novak, et al – the icons of Nazi wet dreams.

In view of attitudes like that, which continue to persist, the making of Black Panther was something of a miracle.  The movie’s greatest value lay in the inspirational effect it will have on children, especially black children.   When I was a boy the only images I saw of Africans were mostly in the Tarzan movies and they were always mindless savages who said “ooga booga” and docilely did the bidding of white folks.  This conception of Africa was as much a fantasy as Wakanda, but it was demeaning to black people and amounted to psychological warfare on black children.   I wonder what affect it would have had on my imagination and self-conception –  which was already quite healthy due to my wonderful family and black teachers – if I had seen such a movie as a kid.

However, this is a movie that can appeal to people of all ages people of all ages who are into fantasy and super-hero flicks employing the computer-generated spectacles that are the stock in trade of this genre, will love the movie too.  Yet, the appeal of this movie is not simply the techno-wizardry of the spectacle, but a talented cast that makes this comic book fable come to life – and it has been a long time coming considering the fact that the black Panther was introduced in Marvel comic books 50 years ago.

The cast, composed of African and Afro-American actors, features seasoned veterans such as Academy Award winner Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker, both Afro-American actors, and the West African actor Isaac de Bankole from the Cameroons. They are joined by dashing new comers like the Academy Award-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o, and Afro-American actors Michael B. Jordon and Chadwick Boseman, one of the hottest actors in the game.  A brilliant and compelling actor, Boseman has been compiling quite a resume playing iconic Afro-American historical figures such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall.

There are many messages in this movie, intentional or not. The brilliance, courage and leadership ability of women is assumed as the most powerful General who commands the armed forces of Wakanda and the leading scientist are women. The Wakandans are anti-imperialists who have developed superior weapons because of their advanced scientific development but refuse to use them to conquer others.

The lessons about gender equality, commitment to science as a means of elevating humanity and anti-imperialism are valuable lessons for all youths, male and female.  And the fact that a studio invested a quarter of a billion dollars in a movie featuring black folks set in Africa, and has double their investment in two weeks, shattering all the myths about movies featuring black casts don’t sell well, is a welcome revelation.

However, there is a curious lesson emphasized by the King when confronted by a long-lost brother, played by Michael B. Jordon, challenges him for the throne and denounces him for refusing to arm oppressed black people around the world.  The two brothers are cast as hero and villain, good against evil.  However, when the “good” king explains why he will not arm black people with their superior weapons it sounds like something white folks would put in his mouth, not something a sane black person would say.

Boseman and Jordon

For in the eyes of white Americans no transgression by whites against blacks ever justifies violent retaliation. Which is why white Americans praised the forgiving families of the nine black worshippers gunned down in their Charleston church by the virulent white racist Dillion Root, when they would be screaming for the head of a black man who committed such a crime against whites.  This is how the white power of the purse censor black expression.  Hence, as I listened to the Wakandan king’s explanation, I thought of independent black film maker Tyler Perry’s axiom on the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold rules!”


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
February 25th 2016

Traitor, Narcissist or Fool?

Posted in Did Russia Interfere in the US Election?, On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs with tags , , on February 25, 2018 by playthell

Getting their Heads Together?

On Devious Deluded Donald and the Russians

Watching Donald Trump stroll across the White House grounds, after deplaning from the presidential helicopter, I was puzzled about his state of mind.  He seemed slightly giddy about the contents of a 37-page indictment against 13 Russians for having violated American laws; interfering in the 2016 Presidential election to insure the victory of the Trump campaign and the defeat of Hillary Clinton. The indictment, which had just been announced by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office and can be read online, spells out the criminal violations defendants are charged with:

U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General. And U.S. law requires certain foreign nationals seeking entry to the United States to obtain a visa by providing truthful and accurate information to the government.

Since these indictments prove that the Special Counsel is conducting a real investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election – which Trump has repeatedly call a “witch hunt” and “Democratic ruse” to explain their lost of an election “they should have won” – it is hard to fathom the reason for his glee.  Now that the Russian intervention is an Established fact in the public domain, the world will be waiting to see how the American president responds to this cyber-attack on our democratic process from Russia.

Although there is no specific allegation of Russian government involvement, intelligence experts familiar with Russian covert intelligence methods like Malcolm Nance – author of the prescient book “The Plot to Hack America”–  overwhelmingly agree that an operation of this magnitude could not have happened without Putin’s approval. Mueller’s indictment richly details the extent of the Russian efforts and names Putin’s pal, Yezgeny Peigozin, as a central figure in the Russian disinformation campaign.

A shady character who went from a petty criminal and ex-con selling hot dogs on the street, to a super-rich Oligarch after the fall of the Russian communist system, the indictment fingers him as the money man that financed the activities of the INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC, the major organization that flooded the internet with disinformation that “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

The indictment further alleges “Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants” operations included supporting the presidential campaign of the -candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”  Yezgeny is so close the Russian leader he is known as “Putin’s Chef.”  Hence the chance that he acted without Putin’s approval are about equal to a popsicle’s chances of survival in a pizza oven.

All this puts Trump on the spot, as he is pressured to enact the anti-Russian sanctions that has passed both houses of Congress by a wide margin. Or come up with a plausible explanation for his refusal.  It is a sign of the panic that has beset Trump’s advisors that they are running around parroting the President’s view that the indictments have exonerated him, his campaign staff, and them from the charge of “collusion.”  It is a measure of the accidental president’s depravity that the only thing about these indictments that appear to interest him is that he is not charged with anything, and he claims the Russian activities had “no effect on the outcome of the election.”

The fact that the Russians tried to subvert our elections has failed to provoke any serious response from Trump, let alone sanctions.  According to former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who was a member of the Watergate Committee that voted to impeach President Nixon, Trump’s inaction and apparent indifference to the Russian Cyber-attack on our democratic process is more than ample grounds for impeachment, whether his campaign “colluded” or not, because he has violated his oath “to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.”

Alas, while Trump has yet to offer a single word of condemnation against his pal Putin, he has leveled plenty of criticism and invective at the loyal Americans in law enforcement who are investigating the Russian attack.   Devious Donald has even gone to the extraordinary length of conflating the Mueller investigation of his campaign with the school shootings in Florida. Astonishingly, Trump has the unmitigated gall to blame the failure of the FBI to stop the school shooting on the claim that they were expending all their assets investigating him!   However, this statement reveals both an ignorance of Florida law, and how the FBI works.  First, Cruz had a legally acquired weapon and therefore had violated no laws before the shootings.  Secondly, we do not have preventive detention laws in the US, so what could the FBI have done?

There were already numerous reports to local law enforcement agencies, but nothing was done; yet this is their responsibility.  Trump, a political ignoramus who does not exhibit any observable curiosity about the art and science of governing, fails to understand that the FBI is divided into two operational sections.  One section deals with criminal matters the other with national security.  Hence those agents tasked with Russian election tampering have nothing to do with the agents who would investigate the school shooter.

But then, the truth is a relative thing for this president, who believes in “alternative facts.” And seems to only care about covering his ass.  Alas, one does not need specialized training to recognize the symptoms of “Malignant Narcissism” and “Paranoia,” with which a host of distinguished Psychiatrist and psychologists have diagnosed Trump. Hence while it remains to be determined if Trump is a traitor, he is unquestionably a narcissist and a fool!  His tweets in response to the indictments reveal a disorganized and delusional mind at best.  I think it is past time that we give the opinions of professional shrinks their due.  Amid great criticism they have embraced their “duty to warn” the rest of us about the dangers posed by such a deluded instable leader, who holds the fate of the earth in his hands as commander of the US nuclear arsenal.  We should act on the Doctors’ advice and demand that Congress impeach Devious Donald before it’s too late.



Playthell Benjamin
Harlem, New York,
February 16, 2016