On Patriotism, Jerry Jones, Dirty Donnie and ESPN

Posted in On Blacks and Trump, On Donald Trump, On Sports! with tags , , on October 19, 2017 by playthell

Old Massa Jerry

Now is the Time Black Players to Flex their Muscles!

ALL BLACK PLAYERS SHOULD TAKE A KNEE…AND THE NFL TO STAND UP WITH THE BLACK COMMUNITY….WHICH SUPPLIES 77% OF THEIR MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR PRODUCT!

Jerry Jones, the hypocritical Trumpanzee creep that owns the Dallas cowboys, has threatened to bench any player who does not stand for the “Star Spangled Banner!” And he consulted with his butt hole buddy Dirty Donnie, “The Insane Clown President” – as crack journalist Matt Taibbi titled his book on Trump after covering his presidential campaign. The two are so tight Jerry gave a MILLION dollars to Donnie’s inaugural ceremonies!

This is setting a dangerous precedent because if he gets away with it other NFL owners will be encouraged to follow his example, which could deeply injure the league by creating a spiraling conflict between the owners and players. Fortunately, the NFL has taken measures to avert this by calling a meeting between representatives of the owners and players in which the NFL Commissioner took the middle ground by saying while the NFL supports the flag and would prefer that players stand for the National Anthem, they are not mandating it…the choice will remain with the individual players. Which means that Jerry Jones is taking his stand on quicksand!

Trump’s angry denunciation of the NFL’s decision is a blatant attempt to silence ALL black protests…which is consistent with him being the racist demagogue that he has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be! While he has called black players who take a knee during the performance of the National Anthem “Sons of Bitches,” he has called Neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klansmen night marchers holding up flaming torches while chanting Nazi slogans: “FINE PEOPLE.”

Trump’s View of White Nazi’s…
……and Black Football Players

Furthermore ESPN, the premiere sports network. has suspended one of its star talk show host, Jemele Hill, for speaking out in defense of the players; calling Trump a “White Supremacist” and suggesting that people who oppose Jones’ action boycott the Cowboy’s sponsors. Trump’s call for Ms. Hill to be chastised – actually fired – is illegal because it clearly violates labor laws prohibiting politicians from interfering in labor management relations! Hence, I await the response from the progressive legal eagles!

Jemele Hill and Dirty Donnie

In the mean-time all-black players should take a knee. For although their right to speak out in the workplace is NOT protected by the Constitution – since the First Amendment” is designed to prevent government not private employers from restraining “Free Speech,” the players still have a powerful weapon in the STRIKE!!! Jerry Jones will poop his pompous pants if all the black players called his bluff and took a knee!

Since Jones cannot legally fire them, he will have to pay them for sitting on the bench while he cannot field a competitive team! The plain fact is that without the black stars Jones is out of business and will lose millions…and a league wide strike would end the football season; which would enrage many fans against the players and the owners. Given the fanaticism of football fans – who live for their “tailgate “parties and witnessing their favorite team wreak Mayhem on their opponents after church on Sundays – chances are they could become an enraged mob.

Many would also turn against Trump, as veterans of America’s wars who resent a rich draft dodging blabbermouth coward like Dirty Donnie purporting to speak for them and called the pootbutt pretender out. Neither Dirty Donald nor any of the men in his family have served in the military, or rendered any other kind of public service to the nation. So, what qualifies him to speak in behalf of those who have.

I am a veteran who comes from a long-line of veterans spanning several generations, and I, like former Navy Seal Jesse Ventura – who says that he NEVER met a single millionaire serving in uniform during his years in the service – deeply resent Trump’s shameless grandstanding on the issue of Patriotism!

Jesse Ventura: Navy Seal

No Fake Tough Guy Like Dirty Donnie

Ventura recalls that when he was governor of Minnesota, the legislature passed a law requiring school children to salute the flag and he vetoed it! “Dictatorships demand the Citizens salute the flag,” said Ventura, who pointed out that in free societies “Governments must win the respect of the citizenry!” He made it clear that he was prepared to fight and die for a free society,” not a dictatorship!

This issue of how Americans should express their patriotism could split the country apart with a vengeance; which would be par for the course for Dirty Donnie: a wannabe martinet who could well be the most Divisive President in American history! Furthermore, as is becoming increasingly clear, much of the problem with trump and his minions is their abundant ignorance of history – American history and the world. For instance, I would wager my last coin on the proposition that none of these ignoramuses know that the Star-Spangled Banner was written during the War of 1812, between the US and Britain. Nor do they have any inkling of the role the American slave trade from Africa played in sparking the war.

Hence, they do not know that the battle of Fort McHenry at Baltimore Harbor – where the lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner as a poem, while witnessing the battle as a prisoner of war aboard a British Man O War – was a fight to defend the interests of a slavocracy, which at that very moment was engaged in massive crimes against humanity! keeping Africans in chattel slavery – selling their children to the highest bidder at public auction, while practicing genocide against the Native American Indians; stealing their lands by force of arms in one of the biggest land grabs in history!

These Euro-American settler colonialist thieves, mass murderers and enslavers of their fellow human beings had no shame in their game. Their iniquity and moral Turpitude is celebrated in the original lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner – which, ironically, was set to music of British composer John Stafford Smith’s “To Anacreon in Heaven,” written as the theme song for a London based men’s social club the Anacreontic Society.

Francis Scott Key

The Racist Slaveholder that Wrote The National Anthem

Note these lines from the third verse of the white nationalist war song that became the US National Anthem in 1931, one hundred and thirteen years after it was written: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/ From the gloom of the grave/And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave/ O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” The apparent contradiction in the last lines of this verse demonstrate the length and depth of white American self-deception, as Key talks about the land of the free yet endorses slavery.

However, when we take into account the fact that Francis Scott Key was a rich slaveholder from a family of lave holders, we can see that this willful self-deception about the racist oppressive practices he was defending sprang from his need to defend an economic system he knew to be evil but profited from it.

This contradiction between the professed egalitarian ideals of this country and their oppressive racist practices began with the “Founding Fathers.” For instance, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were all slaveholders. Frederick Douglass – who Trump recently discovered on his trip to the African American Museum in Washington and apparently thought was still alive – was born and raised in slavery in Maryland.

Fredrick Douglass…Escaped Slave

Writer, Editor, Orator, Abolitionist

On a 4th of July Celebration in 1856, held in Rochester New York, as the nation was hotly debating the institution of slavery, Frederick Douglass told white Americans what he thought the existence of slavery said about their society and the ideals they preached but never practiced:
“Your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

However, like the great-majority of his white countrymen, the author of “The Star- Spangled Banner” was a notorious racist who defended the barbarous slave system by denying the humanity of black people and asserting the superiority of whites. This assertion is promoted by many of Trump’s followers today…their racist arguments have changed but slightly in the 161 years since Douglass spoke. To Francis Scott Key, African Americans were: “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community.”

This is how Key resolved the contradiction between his professed love of liberty, while denying it to millions of his county men. This attitude toward black people and the slaveholder’s desire to maintain the slave system, fueled white American hatred toward the British who were attempting to to end the African Slave Trade by stopping American slave ships on the high seas and confiscating their slave cargoes, was the spark that ignited the war of 1812. Just as the desire to maintain slavery amongst the white settler colonialist population led to the American “War of Independence” from the “Tyranny” of the British Empire.

These facts, while unknown to most Americans, are no longer a matter of contention. They are well documented in the path breaking scholarship presented in works such as “Slave Nation,” written by the Baumgartens, two law professors who are husband and wife, and “The Counter-Revolution of 1776, by Dr. Gerald Horne, a former lawyer and law professor who is now the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of History and Black Studies at the University of Houston.

Alas that verbose airhead Donny Dimwit and his Confederacy of historical dunces haven’t a clue about any of this…that’s why they are quick to pick a fight on this question. If they understood the facts of American history they would think twice about starting an argument that will bring these shameful issues to light.

Aside from his innocence of real knowledge of American history, it is obvious that Trump fares no better in his knowledge of the Constitution. Alas, his attempt to throttle free speech among black football players and their white allies – whose numbers are few by comparison – comes perilously close to violating his oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” He is stepping all over the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment, as was pointed out in a statement from Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, who asked in a October 11, Tweet:” Mr. President. Are you recanting the Oath you took on Jan, 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment?”

Dumb Donnie Dimwit has opened a putrid can of worms that could infect the body politic with a virulent malice between races. classes, and people of different political opinions. By raising such a fuss over the National Anthem and denouncing the removal of Confederate monuments on the orders of local officials, Trump has initiated a discussion about scandalous sinful facts of American history that white government officials, in tandem with much of the mass media, have labored ad infinitum to suppress.

Indeed, the major reason why the “American Exceptionalist” crowd oppose the teaching of disciplines such Black, Native American and Hispanic Studies, is because one cannot honestly tell their story without seriously assaulting the Master Narrative, i.e. National Myth, that defines who we are. Hence Clueless Donald has brought these conflicting narratives of the American experience out in the open. And the facts are on the side of African, Hispanic and Native Americans! That’s why this is a conversation that the “American Exceptionalists” of all stripes do not wish to have

To add insult to injury, Donny Dumbass is leaning on broadcast companies in trying to silence Afro-American journalists who criticize his reckless racist provocations. He has been openly calling for ESPN to fire Jamele Hill, who is an excellent sports reporter and sharp social commentator! Trump’s behavior reveals the instincts of a racist dictator, he thinks that the niggers should be happy to make millions in the sports industry and STFU!  It is the worst sort of racial paternalism and Afro-Americans must not accept it. All sports fans should send letters of protest to ESPN, and even picket their headquarters over their treatment of Ms. Hill!

NOW is the time for black NFL players to exercise their power and take a knee in solidarity with those who are fighting racist attacks – often fatal – against unarmed young black men JUST LIKE THEM!!! The case of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett – who suffered Las Vegas cops putting a gun to his head in a false arrest during the Floyd Mayweather vs Connor McGregor fight – demonstrates this unpleasant truth.

For all we know these cracker cops could have been pissed that McGregor got his ass royally kicked, while the arrogant fabulously rich black Mayweather walked away with over 300 hundred million US dollars for a night’s work shelled out by white fans who desperately wanted to witness the undefeated Mayweather get his black ass whupped!  If past is prologue, then this is a completely credible explanation for the motivation of the white policemen’s behavior in Vegas, we have seen white male jealousy and resentment result in unjust violent, attacks on innocent black men that sometimes become fatal.  Hence, the black NFL players should all rise up like Colin Kapernick, and take a clear and unequivocal stand by kneeling when the Star Spangle Banner is being performed.

After all, this song was not always celebrated in the Afro-American community because based on our experience in America we knew it was a lie! Instead, at most black community ceremonies we sang “Lift Every voice and Sing,” the inspirational eight stanza art song penned by the gifted brothers James Weldon and J. Rosamond Johnson. This magnificent art song spoke directly to the black experience in America and it was widely known as “The Negro National Anthem.”  Furthermore, as a work of art, Lift Every Voice and Sing is vastly superior to the Star Spangled Banner musically and lyrically!

That it should surprise anyone to learn Afro-Americans had their own Anthem is a measure of the extent to which white Americans are in denial about our actual historical experience with racial oppression. This denial is promoted by the constant hokum about Trump going against America’s traditional values; when the fact is he has tapped into the most enduring value in American civilization – deeply embedded in law and custom – White Supremacy!

It persists as a recurrent theme in our national history despite all efforts to eradicate it. Trump is just the latest racist demagogue to tap into this bedrock American tradition. Hence black players in the NFL have abundant reasons to take a knee when that racist white war song, penned by a slave holding white supremacist is played

And if the NFL owners dare to retaliate, the players should call a national strike and bring this season to an end!!! This can only work if all the black stars participate. Compared to the sacrifices countless black activists have made in order for them to even have the opportunity to play in the NFL, that’s a chicken shit sacrifice really! Especially since so many football players were missing in action during the 1960’s, O.J. Simpson, one of the brightest stars of the era, was the poster child for the know nothing, do nothing, black football player.

But that was back then, when black players were in the process of taking over the NFL; now that goal has been accomplished! Gifted black players are the backbone of the league; they are an irreplaceable commodity which generate billions of dollars in revenue annually. If they go on strike, in the business of football it would be like a teamster strike in the American economy…all business would come to a halt! Hence today’s black players fate is in their own hands. And since making money does not make you a man, in the most profound meaning of the term, NOW WE WILL SEE WHETHER THESE RICH MUSCLE BOUND SUPER STUDS ARE REALLY MICE OR MEN!!!!!

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

To See Green Beret who told Colin to take a Knee Click on link
https://youtu.be/O2l-h3LdPig

To hear Governor Ventura’s Passionate Defense of Kapernick

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

Barack Obama on Colin Kapernick

This is how a sitting President should address the issue
https://youtu.be/VPqOotT_ta8
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 19th, 2017

Notes on Claude, Cooper and Coates

Posted in Book Reviews, Cultural Matters, Guest Commentators with tags , , on October 13, 2017 by playthell

A Meditation on the Meaning of the Obama Years

A Book Sparks Reflections from a Manchild in New Jack City

 First, let me say the Ta Naheshi Coates’s new book, “We Were Eight Years In Power” is powerful. I am still traveling within it but already I have been abducted by the fine writing and weaving of this piece, and the sure hand of the conductor on this train. Now, as to the title here…Growing up in Harlem, my serious reading began with Claude Brown’s “Manchild In The Promised Land.”

I can remember this is when I started to understand a bit more about the hard streets I was given to play on. It wove together a black experience I was made to realize every day. I flew down the five flights of stairs from our old tenement building ecstatic about the discovery that somebody had painted such a powerful portrait of my world. But the book was also about failure and survival. It hypnotized me, readjusting my focus and better setting my attention and aspirations higher than I might’ve otherwise thought of.

My own time outside of that book was spent unknowingly navigating what I had learned from it, as I grew up just a few blocks from where Claude Brown told his story of the world we came from. I was just starting a new school they built above the #3 train yard on 7th Avenue right down from my block, “Frederick Douglas Intermediate School 10,” affectionately known back in the day as “The Dime.” One of my very best friends back then was Barry Michael Cooper. I didn’t know it then, though we spent a lot of our time discussing our neighborhood’s blessings and curses, that he would grow up to become a brilliant writer with an original voice and penned such insightful and powerful film scripts as “New Jack City,” “Sugar Hill,” and “Above The Rim,” providing a gripping first-hand view of the style and substance of Street Life in an American metropolis.

Novelist Claude Brown

Manchild In the Promised Land

The Best Selling Novel that called the nation’s attention to the black Urban  Plight
Barry Michael Cooper

A Peerless Chronicler of the underbelly of Urban Life

A harrowing report from the front lines of the crack wars

Ta Neheshi Coates

A Brilliant commentator on the Black Experience in America

These flicks were an extension of Barry’s stellar chronicling of Harlem’s early rap, drug and gangster scenes in gripping essays published in the Village Voice, during its glory days of the 1980’s and 90’s, to large applause from careful readers and media critics. Barry had thought to write all this stuff down from our boyhood conversations while sitting by the old bust of Dr. King in Esplanade Gardens, the upscale middle-class Harlem apartment complex where he lived. Barry and I were actually witnessing and living what Claude Brown had written about in his own life many years earlier in the 1960’s, on even slicker, more dangerous streets.

So between these two guys, Claude Brown and Barry Michael Cooper, I now come to Coates. His book has taken me on another journey into the deeper understanding of all this stuff in my nearly 60 years of life. Instead of Brown’s sort of “Playbook on surviving the streets” tone, and then Cooper’s kind of voyeur takes on it all happening to us in real time, Coates has cross-stitched the varying realities together with even greater depth and perspective, while casting a keen eye on the larger history of what has gotten us out from between a rock and a hard place, or left us dazed and bewildered still within it.

Every word of this book is interesting, and so is Coates. A college drop-out with the eruditeness of another brilliant Harlem writer I was blessed to know as a co-conspirator and friend, Playthell Benjamin, who has the same sort of unique story of not going exactly the “right” ways to reach success or just to be heard. Perhaps their visions of success were different, as both their voices in the struggle are made of grand knowledge of all the great warriors but at the same time uniquely their own. You will love this book; it pieces together the larger history of Afro-Americans and tracks our progress, while comparing it to yesterday through the perspective of the Obama years in the White House. Yet it is not just about this amazing man and his wife, but more so about us all, the good and the not so good told by a variety of our heroes and unknowing villains.

Coates is an amazing young brother that is an impressively grounded and gifted writer. It’s not about whether you agree with everything he says; he is telling a story in perhaps the most unique time in our history, not just the big picture but every intricate detail of the frame and hooks on the backside, heck even the covered wall and dogged nail holes underneath. It is a fascinating work, not told by an elder but by a young buck that was listening and carefully watching what brothers like Claude and Cooper caught great whiffs of in their own revealing journeys.

I hope one day I get the opportunity to meet Ta-Nehisi Coates (and maybe, hopefully by then I will be able to better pronounce the brother’s name), as in my time, I have happily met and known both Claude Brown and my man, Barry Cooper. I think he’s in NYC, and I’m just across the GWB, so hopefully we shall meet. And y’know, I have also written a book myself, though never got around to publishing it, but given all the new ways of publishing that have emerged due to the internet.

What I do know is that it is writings like those described in this essay that have inspired me most all along my way. These agitations, echoes and experiences mirror my own, and those of many other Afro-American males, and I can feel the spiritual connection as they show the way forward and sometimes confusingly back again. Everyone should read We Were Eight Years In Power; it is a tonic and torch for the mind and soul of seekers after wisdom and truth.

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

Click on Link to Hear Coates Discuss his Book
https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/ta-nehisi-coates-on-obama-presidencys-impact-on-trumps-election/
Marion Boykin
Inglewood, New Jersey
October 13, 2017

Facing the Truth about Racism

Posted in A Rendezvous With History, Cultural Matters on October 4, 2017 by playthell
Mike Barnnicle holding forth on “Morning Joe”
 On Racism, the Media and American Exceptionalism
 Listening to Mike Barnicle – a grizzled old wag and serial plagiarizer who was fired by the Boston Globe but is now a regular on “Morning Joe,” MSNBC’s morning show hosted by Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman from the backward, violent, racist state of Florida, where I came of age – was asked what should we tell our children about the state of the nation? What can we realistically tell them, when the nation is plagued by gun violence and mass murders are common place, racial tensions are rising as black Americans oppose racism in and ongoing struggle that spans centuries.
Added to this is a president who embodies ALL of the vices and NONE of the virtues of American civilization…a despicable braggart, bunko artist, narcissist, sexist, racist, shameless charlatan and avaricious ASSHOLE!!!!! Barnacle’s response to the question was a passionate screed about how we should just tell them to “study American history” and they will see that “America is the greatest nation in the history of the world!” SAY WHAT?? His pronouncement had that air of unassailable truth, like when my grandfather George Benjamin used to say: “And that’s the gospel truth…jes a sho as the lawd is sitting up on his throne wearing a crown of gold in heaven!” The panel was all white, apparently clueless, thus there was nary a voice of dissent.
Alas, one of the persistent problems I had working in the major news media was having to constantly correct the ignorance of my white colleagues. It was a situation that inevitably became redundant because I was a former Professor of history in the WEB DuBois Department of Black Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; thus I possessed a world of knowledge which they were wretchedly ignorant of. Most believed in “American Exceptionalism,” the idea that the US is the most enlightened nation on earth; a nation whose greatness is matched by it’s goodness; a nation that has always stood for freedom justice and equality for all people, and this is evidence that America is the most favored nation of God.”
I on the other hand, armed with the facts of our history, view American Exceptionalism as dangerous bullshit, a self-serving myth for a narcissistic white Euro-settler population that invaded North America, engaged in the greatest land theft in history; committed genocide against the indigenous peoples, enslaved Africans for 250 years, and a hundred years thereafter subjected them to a legal caste status based on an ideology and a system of laws that were adopted by Adolph Hitler and the Nazis!
That is a capsule of US history that moved the great Irish writer George Bernard Shaw to remark “America is the only nation in the history of the world that went from barbarism to decadence…without EVER passing through CIVILIZATION!” Now that is true American Exceptionaliam.  Hence I disagree with Mike Barnacle that studying American history in search of a “Golden Age” of American justice and equality will make white kids feel better about either themselves or their civilization. But it might make them want work to realize the “American Dream” of freedom justice and equality for all!
Since Barnacle, like his co-panelist on Morning Joe, the Wall Street Journal Columnist Peggy Noonan, is Irish-American, and both are dumb as cake dough regarding the role of the Irish in America’s horrid bloody history of racism.  This shameful tale of a poor peasant people, force to flee Ireland because of British oppression, and immigrating to the US where they became among of the worst oppressors of black people in their quest to be recognized as  “white,” is told in the learned path-breaking book: “How the Irish Became White.”   
Before recommending that children “study our history,” Mike and Peggy should heed his advice read this book…it is an excellent place to start!
*********************
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 4, 2017

Trump is Not Only a Lying Racist Fool…

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags on September 27, 2017 by playthell

The White Trash in the White House

He is Violating the Constitution and Breaking the Law!

Unable to restrain himself from cutting the fool in public, and perpetually playing to the cheap seats with a promoter’s eye for who is in his audience, Donald J. Trump, the accidental insane President of the USA, spoke to a gathering of his hard-core enablers in the cultural backwaters of Alabama.  Here in this bastion of the old slave holding Confederacy, a state which has given us such flawed statesman as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, an unreconstructed neo-Confederate redneck – whom Trump appointed Attorney General and now is trying to turn back the clock on Civil Rights – it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump, a con-man who resorts to race baiting whenever he deems it politically advantageous, should be enthusiastically received when he makes thinly veiled racist comments.

Lost in the legislative sauce in Washington, where he has not shepherded a single piece of major legislation through Congress –  Repealing Obamacare; rebuilding infrastructure; tax reform, etc.  And he has shown no greater ability to make a deal with the federal courts, which have blocked his travel bans barring Muslims from entering the US.  Furthermore, many of his close associates and family members are under investigation by the FBI, four congressional committees in the House and Senate, a federally appointed Special Prosecutor, and the dogged New York State Attorney General Eric Schniederman – who has had so much success going after Trump’s wrong doing in the past.

So, feeling ineffective and unloved in Washington, and knowing that hordes of hecklers and haters await him every time he sets foot in his home town, the narcissistic Don fled to the boonies where the hayseeds are still dazzled by this Big Apple bunko artists out to sell them a bill of fake goods wrapped in bogus dreams.  And like all good con men, Dirty Donnie knows just what buttons to push to lure his marks into the trap.

In this case his game was to wrap himself in the flag and football, declare himself the keeper of the patriotic flame and defender of American soldiers – although he is a draft dodging coward and shameless charlatan  who threw veterans off the sidewalk when they were selling their wares in front of Trump Tower, insulted a Muslim Gold Star family, and dissed Senator John McCain’s heroic military service.  Alas, there is no shame in Dirty Donnie’s game.

Jesse Ventura, the former governor of Minnesota and a real badass Navy Seal, vehemently rejects the idea that athletes, students or anybody else should be compelled to stand for the National Anthem or pledge allegiance to the flag.  He points out: “Nazi’s required people to salute the flag or stand and sing the national anthem!  Democracies must win the respect of their citizens.  Ventura recalls that when he was Minnesota’s governor the legislature passed a bill requiring school children to salute the flag and recite Pledge of Allegiance, “and I vetoed it!”

Yet this fake patriot, Dirty Donnie,  claims that real soldiers were dishonored when those black “sons of bitches” decided to kneel while  the National Anthem is played to call attention to racial injustice and white privilege in America.  It tells us all that we need to know about his values and character – or lack thereof – that he calls young black men non-violently protesting the murder of their brethren by white cops who are set free by racist white juries “sons of bitches,” while assuring us that there were “many fine people” among the torch bearing neo-Nazi’s reciting the Nazi slogan “Blood and Soil,” and anti-Semitic slogans like “Jews will not replace us!”

How Trump Feels about Protesters

This tells the thoughtful person all they need to know

Yet, by urging fans to boycott teams and admonishing owners to “fire” players who take a knee during the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner, Trump is violating the First Amendment to the Constitution he has sworn to defend “against all enemies foreign and domestic.” And he may well have broken federal labor laws prohibiting politicians – in the executive and legislative branches – from interfering in the relations between employers and employees.   Trump is such a scatter-brained blabbermouth he even attacked the safety measures agreed upon by owners and players to prevent serious injuries to the athletes that play the game.

It is a violation of our labor laws that can result in a 15-year prison sentence and removal from office. Yet Trump has a long record of flaunting the law, from mobbed up real estate deals to laundering dirty Russian money; in fact, his attitude to obeying the law is so Cavalier that, as I write, the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Chuck Rosenberg, has announced that he has quit his post because the “President has no respect for the law.”

However, this kerfuffle over football and the flag raises some deeper questions about Donald Trump’s fitness for the presidency.  At a time when the US and its Caribbean territories have been ravaged by devastating hurricanes wreaking havoc on a biblical scale, Donald Trump has had but little to say about making the afflicted people whole again. Their have been five times as many tweets criticizing NFL players as addressing the tragic disaster in Puerto Rico.

Instead, the fuzzy headed megalo-maniacal buffoon in the Oval Office has devoted valuable time and attention to slinging mud at Golden Gate superstar guard Steph Curry – a consummate gentleman and solid citizen-  for refusing an invitation to the White House for a celebration of their NBA championship.  DD is such a petty pouty old fat fool that nothing in the world is more important than his insatiable ego!  I say cheers for Steph who refused to be used as a prop for Trump’s photo-op, which the Republican PR machine would exploit to show how Trump is cool with black folk.

The main problem with Trump, besides his lack of a moral core and ignorance of policy matters, is an absence of principled beliefs about politics and governance; his allegiance is dictated by expedience.  A “malignant narcissist,” what matters most to Trump is “winning”…. however he defines it at the time.  This moral turpitude is made worse by his abysmal ignorance of the basics of government.  Alas, the blabbermouth bubble-head buffoon does not even understand how American democracy is structured and how it is supposed to work…which is a reflection of his ghastly and dangerous ignorance of the US Constitution!

Trump does not understand the separation of powers, the system of checks and balances, or Constitutional guarantees under the Bill of Rights. All he really knows is real estate; it is the family business. And even when he went off to college at the academically distinguished University of Pennsylvania, one of the world’s great centers of humane learning, the joker went for two years and only studied Real Estate! Despite being at the prestigious Wharton School of Finance he was not at all intellectually curious. Hence real estate, not government, is where his expertise lies.  Yet given his multiple bankruptcies many successful businessmen – Mitt Romney, Mike Bloomberg and Warren Buffet among them – do not think highly of his skills as a businessman either.  None of these men said they would hire Trump as the CEO of their corporations.

The fundamental question raised by this fact is: If none of Trump’s peers in the business world – most of them far more successful than Trump – would make him CEO, yet business is his lifelong business, it is unreasonably to expect him to be an effective President of the USA.   The careful observer of his behavior in office can easily the he is clueless!  This is why Donnie Dimwit picks fights with Congress, disses the Courts, disregards the Constitutional protection for press freedom, encourages police brutality toward citizens, and threatens to order American military forces to commit war crimes by suggesting that they murder the families of Jihadists.

Trump is a shameless hypocrite, crook and compulsive liar who draws a moral equivalence between fascist and anti-fascist, and publicly calls for ESPN to fire black female sportscaster Jemele Hill, for accurately calling him a “White Supremacist” on her Twitter feed. Although, without any evidence to support the charge, he called President Obama “a racist” several times when he was hosting a national TV show – and even challenged his right to be President in a racist campaign denying President Obama’s citizenship!

Yet there was NO outcry for him to be fired from his popular reality show: “The Apprentice”  In fact, this blatantly racist charade against Barack Obama – a great president – catapulted Dumb Donnie Dimwit into the Oval Office!!!  And this treacherous duplicity, created from blatant lies and nurtured on racist bigotry, sustains him in office today….despite his proclivity to dance with Nazi’s, lie compulsively about things large and small, poses a danger of getting us into an accidental nuclear war, and trifle with American law.

Hear Trumps Idiotic Statement

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

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
September 27, 2017

You Played Yourself Assholes!!!!

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags on September 20, 2017 by playthell

Lost Souls Seeking A Savior

Republicans Are Trying to Shoot the Wounded

As I write the leaders of the Republican GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – are huddling in a dastardly conspiracy to KILL the Affordable Health Care Act i.e. Obamacare. They are rushing through a bill that has not been scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. They are doing this because they don’t want the public to know that millions of Americans will lose their healthcare insurance, and thus their ability for them or their children to see a doctor!

And yet these foul hearted motherfuckers have the unmitigated gall to claim they are Christians! They will be in church on Sunday singing hymns and thumping on the Bible while some blasphemous charlatan in robes reads the scriptures. The fact that their dicks don’t all shrink and their balls fall off, and their females don’t grow fangs in their vagina’s to chomp off their balls in the most painful fashion, IS THE REASON WHY I DO NOT BELIEVE THEIR IS A WISE AND JUST GOD PRESIDING OVER THE UNIVERSE!!!!

Governors that preside over states representing the majority of the American people have vociferously come out AGAINST this bill – despite the fact that the Republican scoundrels have promised to give them generous block grants to do with as they wish! And all the major professional organizations also oppose it.
Yet the Republicans in the Senate, like that slimy South Carolina scoundrel Lindsay Grahamn – are twisting arms to get every Republican senator to vote for this atrocious bill that threatens to WRECK our healthcare system, with no greater purpose than giving tax cuts to the rich!!!

And should they get this atrocity through the Senate Donnie Asshole has promised to sign it….so desperate is this clueless clown to get a major legislative “Victory!” It will be a pyrric victory for the deluded slubs that voted for Donnie A, alas they got Trump…and they gonna git so brutally fucked he’s gonna break his dick off in them!!! These sad, pathetic, morally demented, cretins who voted for him thinking they had found their savior got what they deserved.

But what really pisses me tha fuck off is that they are gonna take millions of us down with them And for those who were too politically and morally “pure” to vote for Hillary EAT SHIT AND DIE!!!! In politics one must accept the lesser evil….and this should have been a piece of cake in the last election: BECAUSE CHOOSING HILLARY OVER DONALD TRUMP WAS AS EASY AS CHOOSING GOD OVER THE DEVIL!!!!

Corny West: A Bushy Headed Showman

He should be denouncing the false theology of the Christian Right!

Hence I blame all of the so-called “progressives,” black and white, who helped elect Trump by not supporting Hillary, for this disaster that will cost many innocent lives. In fact, I hold them in greater contempt than the snaggle tooth, cousin fucking, po ass white trailer trash….they didn’t know any better! But verbose misguided ASSHOLES like Corny West, A former Harvard Professor, should have known better!

So I don’t want to hear ANY of their mealy-mouthed SOPHISTRY about why they couldn’t vote for the Democrats. It doesn’t matter that Trump’s supporters were coming from the Right of the Political spectrum, and the self-styled “progressives” were coming from the left: It’s a distinction without a meaningful difference!!! IT’S ALL BULLSHIT!!! MAY THEY ALL DIE THE DEATHS OF POLE CATS AND STINK THEIR WAY TO HELL!!!!! YES I SAID IT! I MEANT IT!! AND I’M READY TO REPRESENT IT!!!!

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

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem New York
September 20, 2017

 

 

On Breaking the Tyranny of Sin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 3, 2017 by playthell
Marching Against White Supremacy in Charlottesville Virginia

A White Priest Preaches to Whites about Racial Justice

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.

“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have.

I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.” NRSV Genesis 45:1-15

Jesus went to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” NRSV Matthew 15:21-28
“Breaking the Tyranny of Sin”

Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and sent into our hearts the Spirit of your Son. Give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service that all people may know the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today’s prayers teach us something profound about being a Christian. They tell us that God has broken the tyranny of sin, and we ask for grace to live in that freedom from tyranny, as faithful inheritors of the Kingdom that’s been promised to us. What does it mean, what does it take, to break the tyranny of sin? And how do we live our lives in a way that shows that we are free from the ruthless hold that sin can have on us?
This morning we heard the end of the Joseph story. Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers. They sold him as a slave, and he could have been dead for all they knew. Yet he forgave them, embraced them and saved their whole tribe from starvation. Joseph broke the tyranny of sin. This story is a pivotal change in the whole thrust of the Old Testament. It was normal in that society, to be competitive. It was normal to put yourself and your own family first. It was normal to get revenge, and they even had lists of rules about how much revenge you were allowed to take on another family or tribe. But Joseph was close to God’s heart and he took a completely different path.

Love, forgiveness and grace shattered the cruel, tyrannical hold sin had on that family. And then in today’s gospel, we follow Jesus up the coast, from familiar territory up into Tyre and Sidon – foreign lands. And a woman from a different race, from a foreign religion with strange customs, insinuates herself in Jesus’ path and demands attention. We’re not used to Jesus being snippy with people, but he gives her a hard time, suggesting that his healing is exclusive – it’s only for the chosen people of God.

What a slap in the face! Was Jesus having a bad day? Did he mean to push her away like that? But she persisted…even the dogs get the children’s crumbs, she said. And look what happens here – look how quickly Jesus heals her daughter. Instantly. That very moment. So, did her retort change his mind, or was Matthew up to something clever in how he shaped this story?

Perhaps the exchange was about teaching the disciples back then, and you and me now – teaching us to recognize our own tendency to ignore people we think of as outsiders. The disciples felt no responsibility for this woman’s problem. She’s not one of us, she worships foreign gods and strange idols, so we won’t waste God’s grace here. We owe her nothing so let’s move on.

To see what the author is up to here, let’s step back and look at Jesus’ whole ministry. All throughout the gospels, Jesus consistently crashed through the boundaries and barriers humans put up against one another…..bringing the ‘sinful’ blind man into the Synagogue and then we found out that he wasn’t the sinful one – it was the religious leaders who had excluded him; then Jesus chose the shamed women at the well to bring God’s truth to the whole town; he had dinner with people that the religious leaders thought were unworthy – hookers and charlatans; and the most interesting part – in a society where the only people lower on the social scale than the shepherds were the fishermen, and Jesus chose a bunch of them as his disciples.

The list goes on and on – whoever was excluded, Jesus pulled right into the centre of the community. This looks like a very intentional story, designed to show Jesus, once again, crashing through the tyranny of sin by including someone the disciples wanted to exclude. So, how do we live this out? Today we’re taught to stretch our understanding of who’s in, who belongs, who is worthy, who God includes…a message the world is crying out for, right now.

Today both Joseph and Jesus say no to hateful exclusion – Joseph won’t exclude his treacherous brothers. Jesus won’t exclude the foreigner who worships strange idols. I so appreciated Judy’s entry in this week’s Happenings. Judy sent us a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Judy was accurately taking the pulse of our times.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Washington March
A 20th Century Prophet Speaking Truth to Power

When there’s trouble in the world, it takes commitment to stand up and speak out, and to bring change. And Judy’s not the only one responding to the chaos of Charlottesville. In fact, most of the world, including Christian leaders from many countries, are responding to what happened – not only because Heather Heyer died, but because the vilest form of hate – represented by the swastika and the white robes of the KKK – has risen up to claim a voice in the streets of that powerful country that sets itself up as the moral leader of the world – a form of hate which many veterans gave their lives to resist in the war – a form of hate that led to the slaughter of millions – a form of hate that would string a man up, torture, mutilate and kill him because of the colour of his skin. These things happened – we humans did this to one another – and not so long ago.

Heather Heyer
Murdered by Nazi’s in America standing up for Justice
American Exceptionalism…
Torch Bearing Nazis March in the Night in 2017!

My friends, this has nothing to do with politics, because we know that there’s good and bad in every political platform. This has to do with right and wrong! This has to do with a rising ethos of white supremacy that decent human beings thought had been at least quieted decades ago. This has to do with decent people saying it’s not okay that our Jewish or Asian or Brown or Black brothers and sisters are pushed aside. And for you and me, this has to do with Christians taking a stand against something that is in complete opposition to everything Jesus taught.

It’s hard for me, for white people, to see the severity of this threat of white supremacy, because it doesn’t threaten me – it doesn’t personally or directly threaten me. Those of us with white privilege can live our lives blindly and happily completely unaware of what’s happening to other people. It’s so easy for us to say “Everything looks just fine to me – what’s all the fuss about?”
We must take a hard lesson from history here, and remember early Nazi Germany, when the Christian Church turned a blind eye as the government slowly and insidiously started segregating the Jewish people. First, they made it mandatory that they be marked with patches of the Star of David, and arm bands, taking away their autonomy by denying them the right to individual anonymity.

Then you’d find that your Jewish neighbors no longer lived in their house next door because they were pulled out of their homes, away from their possessions, and gradually isolated, pushed out to the fringes of the cities. Their rights were compromised one by one, until they had lost their freedom. There was a slow and steady normalization of placing the Aryan race above, and Jews and others beneath. But why should the church be concerned? It wasn’t affecting them. Can we hear that?

The Signs of those Terrible Times were EVERYWHERE!
But the Church Turned it’s Head!

Just like the rise of White Supremacists and the re-emerging KKK doesn’t affect us white people right now. Back then, the church was left alone by the powers in charge, and so they bought the deal. And to this day, they bear the shame and the guilt of that choice. Dietrich Bonhoeffer didn’t buy it, though. He was a humble German pastor who spoke out against the evil of Hitler because he saw where it was heading – to the ruthless torture, degradation and slaughter of millions of innocent human beings. He stood up and said, “Christians! Wake up! This is as far away from the gospel as one can get!” He was executed in prison for speaking out.

Reverend Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A Righteous German Churchman who Gave his Life Opposing Hitler

I’m not going to talk about how or why these hate groups have felt empowered to rise up again – that would take hours – but every expert out there is telling us that they are rising up again, threatening to become much bigger than Charlottesville. As of yesterday, there were at least 9 more rallies planned by white supremacists across the States. And here in Canada, there are similar rallies planned in Vancouver and Montreal, and the Canadian white supremacy websites are lighting up like a carnival.

Similar things are happening in England and elsewhere, so I’m afraid, my friends, that this is a thing. It’s happening. To be indifferent at this time in history when the whole world is challenging what’s happening just south of us – to be indifferent is just as dangerous to our moral integrity as it was for those Christians in Nazi Germany. But don’t take my word for it…here’s what Christian leaders and others are saying….
Debra Kolb says the opposite of love is not hate, its indifference. To be silent is to take a side.

One of the most respected Christian leaders and theologians of our time, Brian McLaren, says, clergy, church leaders, it’s time. It’s actually past time. It would have been good if Christians had seen throughout history that loving their Indigenous and African American neighbors would not mean genocide or enslavement or white supremacy or lynching. But we failed to understand the most basic message of Christ’s teaching … love for everyone – no exceptions. So white supremacy became systematically embedded in our systems and structures and we see the results today. It’s long past time for Christians to resist.
Long-respected news anchor Dan Rather says he covered the civil rights movement in the 60’s and he says tragically, what happened in Charlottesville demonstrates that history might be repeated. He remembers that Dr. Martin Luther King felt that if people who are unaffected by racism could see the true depth of the hatred, could see what it looked like, they would recoil. But he says, we are once again peering into an abyss. Perhaps we needed to see how easily our moral order can break down. This is a moment for moral clarity – a time for everyone to line up and be counted. Are you on the side of love or hate? The world is watching. History is watching. I hope we’re up to the challenge, he says, and I think we are.

A huge gathering of North American Christian clergy made this statement: All humans are created in the image of God, and yet in Charlottesville, white hatred, anti-Semitism and violence were on bold display. This hateful rally of white supremacists seeks to destroy the very soul of the country. White supremacist beliefs, the KKK, Neo-Nazis, the alt-right, are antithetical to our scriptures. One cannot serve God and embrace hate and inequality. Most importantly, one cannot be silent.
Our own Anglican Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz says: The events in Charlottesville, Virginia and the very real threat of more activities on the part of white supremacy movements, have been a painful reminder that racialized violence is a sad reality of our time, not only in the United States, but in our own country too. The escalation of racial tension causes great anxiety. Let us pray for the Church’s witness in the midst of this growing crisis. May we be united, courageous and unwavering, in denouncing racism and in proclaiming the God-given dignity all people deserve.

My regular theologians, Dr’s. Lewis, Skinner and Jacobsen said this: This is a moment when the church has to speak up. We cannot be vague and careful about this; we can’t be afraid because some people want church to be comfortable and safe. We must be faithful to the gospel we are paid to preach. White supremacy is a sin in all its forms, rooted in the worst, most erroneous theology imaginable. If the church does not speak up against Neo Nazism, the KKK, white supremacy and anti-Semitism, we will be complicit in our silence.

And finally, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” When evil rises up, Christians are called to respond from the core of our teaching. This is why the church exists – to name what is broken in the world and to stand up for justice.

Friends, this is about more than one or two little protests gone wrong. This is about the re-emergence of an evil that, if ignored by indifference, if allowed to become normalized in small steps, can take the whole world down an amoral pathway to the purest evil. But now we return to our earlier question…..how do we break the tyranny of sin? How do we remain faithful heirs of God’s kind of justice? How do we respond to this encroaching craziness?

• By opening our eyes to see that, even if a movement doesn’t hurt you, if it hurts your fellow man, it is your problem too.
• By teaching your children and your grandchildren what Jesus taught – that everyone belongs in God’s kingdom, without exception. By talking to them about Charlottesville, white supremacy, the truth about the KKK, what the Nazi flag actually represents. These lessons will spread out into the future and affect the world through those you influence with your words of truth.
• By speaking up at work or in your neighbourhood or amongst friends and colleagues when you hear talk of any religion, race or culture being excluded, isolated or oppressed.
• By praying for wisdom and guidance to respond to hate with God’s powerful love.
• By letting leaders know that we will not stand for the intolerance or oppression of any group of human beings; that we will not vote for leaders who do.
• By working hard to become a community right here, where people don’t even have to think about whether or not they’ll be fully welcomed…they just feel the love from the moment they walk in.
Joseph broke the tyranny of sin by forgiving in love instead of seeking vengeance in hate.

Jesus broke the tyranny of sin by embracing someone that everyone else wanted to exclude. The church cannot be a place that ignores the pain of the world. We cannot escape the suffering of our brothers and sisters, no matter how comfortable things might be for us personally. The church must speak out when the tyranny of sin from the past threatens to become the tyranny of sin in the present.

But our God is a great God, who always brings good news. And the good news for us today is this. Love will always prevail in the long run, because hate eats people up from the inside, and exhausts them. Love is far more powerful and enduring. Love fulfills us and transforms us and brings peace to us and to those around us. That holy love can even touch the hearts of the haters and bring them peace, because in the end Love Trumps hate! It is God’s love, my dear friends, working in us and through us, that will break the tyranny of sin.
Thanks be to God. Amen

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

 

Sermon TSP ELEVENTH Sunday After Pentecost Year A 20 August 2017
By: Reverend Susanne
Priest in the Anglican Communion of Canada.

 

Blah Blah, Blah Same Old Shit!

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics, You Tube Classics with tags , on August 30, 2017 by playthell

A Master of Disaster

Trump Let’s Generals Make Afghan Policy

Like the unrepentant charlatan that he is, Donald Trump began his speech announcing a “new” policy in Afghanistan with a syrupy sweet call for peace and unity on the home front that was a paragon of duplicity, since he is the main cause of the growing internecine conflict that is engulfing America.  After all, Trump has just recently threatened to throw many men and women that are honorably serving in our armed forces because of their sexual orientation…a matter that has already been settled!

In his shameful amoral refusal to show any sign that he is even able to recognize right from wrong, fascist from anti-fascist, those who stand for freedom and those who would destroy it, his speech sound leaden, phony and unconvincing. Imagine how the many active duty servicemen, many of whom may have already served in a combat zones, must have felt being forced to listen to this pompous, narcissistic, draft dodging dunce.

In this regard, Donald Trump is dramatically different from what we have come to expect from US presidents since the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930’s.  Indeed, Donald Trump, morally depraved ignoramus that he continually demonstrates himself to be, must look like a comic figure, a double-talking buffoon, to the young men in the Islamic world whose hearts and minds he must win in order to turn them away for the Jihadist movement and end the conflicts that presently ravage the middle East.  Yet the most potent weapon in this fight to convince the pool of angry young men on the “Arab street,” who are the primary source for Jihadi militants, is to offer a superior vision of a future which America can help them to realize.

Alas there was nothing in this speech, stiffly delivered from a script written by aides – the sound of which suggest it was authored in the Pentagon rather than the dangerously understaffed State Department – that offers hope for peace any time soon.  On the contrary it sounds like a prescription for perpetual war concocted by the Marine Corps Generals in whose hands he has placed the power to make policy.  From where I sit peering into the corridors of power from the outside, it looks like a military coup with the military command lifting a finger.  Which, given Trump’s near total ignorance of the structure and function of the vast governmental apparatus that he is expected to preside over, should surprise no one.  For clearly this clueless dude is dancing in the dark.

By word and deed Donnie Dimwit constantly reminds those who are paying attention and is not part of the untutored mob that comprises the bulk of his base, that he knows next to nothing of American history, and is too intellectually lazy to try and bone up.   He does not even understand that the reason why the architects of the US Constitution placed the military under civilization control is precisely because they did not want a military caste making foreign policy and deciding on matters of war and peace.  This is what the venerable Republican intellectual, ideologue and able apologist for their right-wing excesses George Will means when he says Donald Trump’s problem is that: “he doesn’t know what it is to know something.”

That role of deciding where and when the America’s armed forces will be deployed was expressly given to the President in the Constitution, who is named “Commander-In-Chief.   But the drafters of the Constitution were men of the 18th century that could not imagine either the vast military machine America has at her command, the size complexity of the United States, nor a President who is as unread, ignorant and incompetent as Trump. Plus the added handicap of an untutored electorate which is incapable of demanding that Congress put him in check.

Due to his inability to govern, which is evidenced by his cavalier decimation of the State Department and his suspicion of congressional power and intentions, Trump is overly relying on military men.  That’s why he made this announcement while Congress is on vacation and has made no attempt to seek Congressional counsel or approval for his escalation of the war in Afghanistan – a complex country that has dragged several imperial powers from the Romans, to the British, to the Russians, and now us into a quagmire of frustration and defeat. It would be no exaggeration to say that the dangerous combination of ignorance and belligerence that characterized Trump’s speech is troubling example of what the late Senator Fulbright meant by “The Arrogance of power.”

Trump delivered the speech as if he were a ventriloquists’ dummy, admitting that he had suddenly changed his mind about the position he had repeatedly taken over several years regarding the Afghan war – going from a passionate opponent to an enthusiastic proponent with nary a sign of doubt.   It was a stunning, albeit unintentional, confession of that his head is an empty vessel to be filled with whatever content those who has access to him choose to fill it with.  How else are we to understand the following statement in light of his vociferous and relentless condemnation of American policy in Afghanistan over much of the last decade?

My original instinct was to pull out,” Said Trump, “and, historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office; in other words, when you’re President of the United States.  After many meetings, over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David, with my Cabinet and generals, to complete our strategy.”

For those who have been paying attention to Trump’s public pronouncements it is all too obvious that there are two distinct characters wrapped up in one body: The scripted and unscripted.  The real Donald and the great pretender.  And for a person with no deep moral principles or serious intellectual convictions the role of political chameleon is fairly easy to negotiate.   Hence, I don’t believe his paradoxical political positions or moral contradictions causes him to lose sleep.  This fundamental amorality explains Trump he can fudge the issues raised by neo-Nazi’s bearing torches parading through a southern American city by night shouting Nazi slogans and calling for “white supremacy” – i.e. domination of the master race by law – conjuring up horrific memories of the German genocide against the Jews and the centuries old-tradition of murdering innocent black people in America!

Thus, his attempts to rally the American people around the flag with patriotic platitudes rang hollow:

“By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify to heal, and to remain one nation under God…They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together — and sacrifice together — in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all service members are brothers and sisters. They’re all part of the same family; it’s called the American family.”

Since millions of Americans regard such sentiments from Trump as empty rhetoric, if not blasphemy, he avoided hecklers by choosing to speak before a captive military audience, who were ordered to be there and show deference to their Commander-in-Chief.   But a few choice words at a stage-managed event cannot begin to erase all the hatred and division he has sown among the American people.  One of the consequences of playing to the cheap seats all the time is that you begin to underestimate your audience.  And that was boldly on display as Trump delivered his simplistic saccharine sentiments to the nation via television.

Not only were his professions of brotherly love unconvincing, but his “new policy” on Afghanistan was even less so.  This is because there is nothing that Trump has ever uttered which convinces me that he has thought seriously about complex policy matters for a nanosecond. So, he came across like an actor putting on a show, interpreting a script authored by someone else for the occasion. Hence Trump was merely a vehicle for conveying ideas crafted by the Republican national security establishment – to which the airhead President contributed not a single important idea.

It does not require a rigorous examination in order to see that these ideas offer nothing new, they are little more than old wine in new bottles.  When we look between the hyperbolic rhetorical flourishes, we find the same old hackneyed clichés that has informed the foreign policy follies of the past: Korea, Vietnam, Iran and Iraq comes most immediately to mind.    One need only consider the following passage from Trump’s synthetic spiel in order to see where we are headed in Afghanistan:

 First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives.  The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need, and the trust they have earned, to fight and win.”

The obvious question, which has gone unaddressed, is what does victory mean in the Afghanistan theater, that graveyard of empires?  Listening to this surreal prattle, the thoughtful observer is forced to ask: “Where has this guy been for the last 16 years?”  He sounds as if he’s had his head stuck up his ass, a kind of anal Rip Van Winkle who slept through the events of the last decade and a half.   It would be hard to concoct a formula for failure even if one were dedicated to the task.   If doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is the definition of madness: Then America has gone mad…because this is the same old shit!

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

Click on Link to see Trump’s Speech

 

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
August 2017