Archive for November, 2012

Dr. Rice Vesus the McCain Gang!

Posted in On John McCain, Playthell on politics with tags , , on November 27, 2012 by playthell
Beauty and the Beast!

Once More Republicans Prove they Cannot be trusted

The Experience of UN Ambassador, Dr. Susan Rice, in attempting to clarify the events surrounding the attack on the American Embassy at Benghazi Libya, where the American Ambassador and four embassy workers were killed, demonstrates once again that the Grand Obstructionist Party must not be entrusted with the national security of this country.

While opportunistic right-wing charlatans like Senators John McCain and his side kick Lindsay Graham are beating the bushes in search of a scandal that could wound the Obama Administration and injure the president – even to the point of inventing one – there are serious foreign policy problems that are critical to present and future American interests in the volatile Middle-East.

The absurdity of the near hysterical fulminations expressed by these Senators and their female mascot Senator Kelly Ayotte – who was obviously chosen to nullify the charge of sexism in their unjustified attacks on Dr. Rice – is being duly noted by a wide variety of critics in academia, the intelligence/diplomatic  community, and the major press.   In fact, it is only on the FOX Network, a Republican propaganda outfit posing as a serious journalistic institution

When Joe Scarborough attempted to discuss McCain’s complaints about how the Obama administration handled the attack, both in terms of embassy security and the explanation given of the event, Time magazine political reporter Joe Klein practically laughed in his face while dismissing Scarborough’s hyperbolic rhetoric.

A crack investigative reporter who has a son that is a diplomat who serves in dangerous foreign posts, Klein has conducted a survey of important figures in the diplomatic and intelligence communities and they all say that there is no cover-up and the explanations provided by the Obama administration is perfectly plausible, and whatever information they have with-held to protect covert assets is perfectly plausible. Editorials in both the Washington Post and the New York Times have treated the McCain/Graham witch hunt as an absurdity.  And the father of one of the victims has accused McCain of playing politics with this tragedy.

The shameless duplicity of Lindsay Graham and John McCain is readily apparent to everyone who is familiar with the very different positions that these same Senators took when Secretary Of State Colin Powell came before the United Nations and presented a justification for invading Iraq that was later shown to be a complete fabrication.  And yet this report led to a war of choice that we are just getting out of after a decade at a cost of two trillion dollars, and thousands of young American lives wrecked or lost.

From her position as National security Advisor – whose role is to evaluate the “intelligence product” before presenting it to the President in briefings twice a day, guiding his decisions about vital national security matters, Condoleezza Rice was culpable in this disaster.  In fact, one could argue that she was the central figure in the massive intelligence failures that led to both 9/11 and the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

Yet these Senators not only enthusiastically supported her, but when democrats sought to question her about the role she played in these national security disasters they were accused of acting out if resentment for having recently lost the elections. Yet there was far more reason to question Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s competence than Dr. Susan Rice’s, since whatever happened in Benghazi she had nothing to do with it, and Condoleezza Rice is directly responsible for the monumental blunder that has resulted in unprecedented national security disasters and foreign policy failures.

These facts beg the question: Why shouldn’t we regard the Republican attacks on Dr. Susan Rice as nothing more than an attempt to discredit the Obama Administration because they are both shocked and outraged at the fact that he creamed them twice in presidential elections…and like FDR, they suspect that Barack could well win a third term if it were not expressly forbidden by law.

Since I have already discussed the twisted emotions that motivate Senator McCain ( See: Stop the Attack on Dr. Susan Rice) I shan’t belabor it here.  It is enough to note the superficiality of their accusations and the transparency of their fake outrage to dismiss their whining as legitimate.  Hence listening to the Gang Of Three’s protest only inspires contempt for their lack of ethics, and anxiety for our nation that such flawed people could exercise such power.

When The Gang of Three says that they are more troubled after their private talk with Dr. Rice than before, well so am I.  For it is clear that she should never have met with them. They are scurrilous frauds, and the tutored eye can easily see it; their protests make no sense.

That’s because they really don’t care about Dr. Rice; their real target is President Obama, they are trying their best to conjure up a conspiracy on the part of the White House to supress the truth about the role of terroist in the attack on the Benghazi embassy in order to improve the President’s chances of reelection.  It is an absurd theory that makes no sense except in the twisted minds of Republican conspiracy theorists.

Hence it was a mistake for Dr. Rice to have them this special deference.  From now on she should let her Republican detractors state their charges in a public hearing if President Obama nominates her for Secretary Of State, and I hope he does!   If she retains the confidence of the President he should go to the mat for her.

The President and his Ambassador

Young, Gifted and Black

Dr. Rice is smart and articulate enough to defend her record against these jackals.  Thus she can kill two vultures with one stone: Clear her name, and put her accusers to shame by turning public opinion against them.  As usual the Republicans are counting on the ignorance of the electorate.  However the results of the presidential election demonstrated that while there is no paucity of morons; there is reason to believe that they are not yet the majority of voters.

The fact that polls show 52% of the public believes that the Republican brouhaha over Benghazi is nothing more than political opportunism suggests that Republicans are about to receive yet another rejection by the American people. In the meantime and in between time Dr. Rice should follow the old Afro-American folk adage: “Tell the Gang Of Three to kiss her where the sun don’t shine…and pay them no rabbit ass mind!”

 The Gang Of Three Stooges
Kelly Ayotte. John McCain and Lindsay Graham



Playthell George Benjamin

Harlem, New York

November 27, 2012

Yo Poot-Butt Poets: Step Off!

Posted in Cultural Matters, My Struggle On the Left! with tags , , , on November 24, 2012 by playthell
At Dr. J’s Country Club: The “Step Off Poot Butt!” Stare

Playin the Dozens with Leroi and Marvin

Although, like Pontius Pilate, I publicly washed my hands of one Marvin X of Oakland, a recovering left coast crack head and shameless sophist with an alter-ego bearing the curious name of “Plato Negro;” a pompous wag who confuses mindless mumbo jumbo with profound wisdom, alas I have been dragged back into an ethnic kerfuffle of the sort they love to wallow in but I eschew.  As those who read me regularly well know, I write about all the great issues of our time, and I’m interested in the whole world.

Yet I have spent a half century chronicling the triumphs and studying the problems of the black world.  Indeed I was a co-founder of the first free standing, degree granting, Black Studies Department in history – the W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Mass, Amherst.  I also spent quite a few years as an activist trying to solve those problems, beginning with the explosion of the black student movement in the south during the spring of 1960.  Since then my life story would make a spectacular read even by the standards of a romance novel.

Hence when an obnoxious churl steps to me and challenges my story, accusing me of fabricating my personal narrative, the small part of it that he pretends to know, I am forced to respond at least once more.    Curiously, I hardly knew who Marvin X was a few weeks ago; I know him mainly through mutual friends in the Bay Area.

However we had a clash over President Obama, when he wrote some dumbass shit on my wall dissing the Pres.  So I yoked the chump and challenged him to debate me on the issues he had with Barack.   But he punked out!!!   When he started talking shit out of school I stepped to him and publicly chastised his silly ass!

The reader can follow the progress of the discussion because they are all in my Facebook Notes, and the last essay is posted here on the Commentaries.  And I shall soon publish them in my forthcoming book “The Crisis of Black Leftist and Nationalist Intellectuals.” After reading his response to my questions about his specific policy differences with President Obama, and his suggestions for politically achievable policy options, I decided that Marvin’s brain is so fried from a decade of sucking the crack pipe he is incapable of formulating an intellectually rigorous argument.  Hence I just wanted to be rid of this nuisance.

But Marin X seems to have become obsessed with proving that my story is untrue….well, good luck with that dog.  Frankly I find it amusing, because I don’t give a fuck about his story….not even his bizarre adventures wandering around the Bay area whacked out on crack!  I just don’t find him interesting or relevant to anything I care about. And the only reason I am talking about him is because the chup keeps getting up in my face.

I stumbled into this protracted dust-up with Malevolent Marv because he took issue with some things I said in defense of President Obama while smacking around one of his intellectual heroes, Glenn Ford. Then he got huffy about some of the science I dropped on his silly ass about the founding of the Black Panther Party of Oakland.  He didn’t know shit about it and yet he fancies himself an authority on the history of the Black Panther Party.

So he has been running around telling lies on me, saying I am claiming to have founded the BPP of Oakland, when I have claimed no such thing.  What I said was that the Oakland Party was founded by a cadre of the Revolutionary Action Movement / RAM named Kenny Freeman – whom I knew as Mamadou Dia. Freeman was a sociology teacher at Merritt Jr. College, and recruited Bobby Seales and Huey Newton who were students there.

Marvin #10
A Glutton for Punishment?

I interviewed Bobby for an award winning cover story in Emerge Magazine titled “Radical Changes: Sixties Militants, Where are they Now?” in which bobby verifies my version of events.  I think I have a copy of the magazine in my files so I shall scan the article and post it on my Facebook page within the week. I also said that I was a co-founder of RAM with Max Stanford/Dr. Muhammad Ahmed in Philly.  AND I STAND BY THAT!!!!!!!

Now the hapless Marvin has interrogated his bosom buddy, the venerable Newark poet Leroi Jones/aka Amiri Baraka about me, and the over-the-hill fabulator bad mouthed me alas.  I am not surprised by this, and yhall won’t be either…once you read what I have written about him over the years.  Marvin said that Little Leroy told him that I was a self-confessed army intelligence agent, and our intrepid Oakland investigator and self-confessed crack head wants to know if I was in military intelligence before or after the founding of RAM.

Well first of all, little Leroi got it wrong.  I was never in the army at all.  I was in the Strategic Air Command, where Leroi was a bombardier, trained to drop nuclear bombs on innocent populations. I was in combat defense with the 91st Strato-Bomber Wing stationed on the DEW (Distance Early Warning) Line stretching from the Canadian border to Tule Greenland.  My unit’s job was to protect America’s nuclear arsenal – including the B-52 bombers that Leroi was flying on, programmed to commit a monstrous crime against innocent civilians – from Russian saboteurs or their American agents.

Since I went in the service to get away from the brewing race war in my home town of St. Augustine Florida, upon my grandfather’s advice, I chose the air-force because I figured I would have no chance of ending up in a combat situation.  But, alas, I ended up in the only unit in the Command that was trained for ground fighting.  It was an intense experience for a teenager who came of age during the cold war and had participated in atomic attack drills in school.

I didn’t question anything my military teachers told us about the evils and dangers of Communism, and I was committed to our mission.  We were called “SAC Trained Killers,” and I was trained in the use of a variety of weapons, as well as how to kill people quickly and efficiently with my bare hands. And I am more dangerous with a knife than most thugs are with a gun!  Although I am seventy now, I’m still a rock and “once a SAC Trained Killer…always a SAC Trained Killer!

However once I attended classes on the destructive capacity of the weapons we were protecting, and considered the implications of my base’s mission, I was troubled by it and began to openly question our mission.  I once even asked the chaplain how he could teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ yet bless our mission.  These kinds of questions got me in trouble and eventually a Convenience of The Government Discharge under Honorable Conditions.

It is interesting that Little Leroi, who was charged with dropping these bombs on helpless civilians, did his whole stint…didn’t seem to bother him none.  This probably explains his ruthlessness and lack of a conscience in some of the things he has done since. Ironically, I actually became a radical while serving in the military.

Stationed out in the Great Plains, I witnessed the plight of Native Americans, and I saw first-hand the horrors of their condition.  And when I put that together with my experience in Florida, and the mission of my SAC base, I saw  just how evil the white man could be.  That’s what set me on the road to participating in the founding of RAM, when Max Stanford presented me with his blueprint for building a revolutionary movement!    And by the way, I was the one with actual military training.

So the answer to your question Marvin is yes I was a SAC Trained Killer before the founding of RAM.  Now since we are talking about things people said, I have a question for you Marvin.  Somebody told me that during the decade that you were on your “long journey into night” as you describe it, when you were strung out on crack, you used to hang out in the all  night porn theaters in San Francisco sucking dicks to get money for crack!

Everybody who knows anything about the subject knows that crack heads will do anything to get it. And I wondered how you financed a crack habit for a decade.  Conventional wisdom has it that if you will suck on the glass pipe you will suck on the skin pipe.  So my question for you Marvin is was you sucking dicks before or after you got strung out: Was you a dick head before you became a crack head?  Jes askin….ain’t no skin off my teeth.


As for our Newark poet, Little Leroi,  he was a beatnik poet, living with his white wife in the milky white prescints of Greenwich Village – where the great militant writer Richard Wright had been constantly insulted and driven out of the country just a few years earlier – so he don’t know shit about the founding of RAM…he hadn’t been “blackified” yet.

Since I have decided to dismiss Marvin X, and waste no more time intellectually sparring with him because he is a dullard and a bore, I must resist the temptation to engage him in his foolish rantings and waste even more time that I am squandering now.  But to those who read Barakas’ comments to him,  I ask that you consider the source.  You see Amiri Baraka and I have a history.  I have flogged his ass repeatedly in print over the years for his myriad follies and foibles.

Baraka and I were once on the same side, black revolutionary nationalist/Marxist.  But over the years we have had a parting of the ways. We even had some of the same fiends, like the brilliant Philadelphia poet/critic/essayist/dramatist Larry Neal,and Max Stanford aka Dr. Muhammad Ahmed, with whom I co-founded the first branch of the Revolutionary Action Movement /RAM in Philly.

Larry was one of my best friends in Philly before he ever met Baraka, and although Little Leroi piggybacked off of Larry’s broad knowlege of literature and critical gravitas as co-editor of the seminal anthology of the literary component of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s, he is taking the bows and Larry is practically forgotten

Leroi has shamelessy hogged the spotlight.  He even came to Larry’s memorial service and talked mostly about his own importance.  That’s not just my opinion; it was a subject of much derisive comment from those in attendance.  But Larry was every bit as good a poet as Leroi, and came to a revolutionary position on black culture before him.

Larry was teaching Literature at Drexel University in Philly before he moved to New York and hoked up with Leroi, and he died of a massive heart attack while lecturing to his class at Yale.  His importanc in the development of the Black Arts Movement was second to no one – except perhaps the Braithwaite brothers and Max Roach, who set a lot of the forces in motion that became the Black Arts Movement. (See, On Amiri Baraka: Thought Policeman.)

However Larry and Leroy had become estranged and were barely speaking when Larry danced and joined the ancestors.  I know this because we remained good friends until the end and lived around the corner from each other.  And we talked all the time.  He had become turned off by Leroi’s egotism, dogmatism, and refusal to admit that he had led a lot of people astray with wrong headed ideas that he had abandoned.

Baraka and I had a dramatic parting of the ways for similar reasons.  Our first dustup came when I published a complex essay on the proper relationship between politics and art, inspired by Baraka’s petty and vicious attacks on Spike Lee when he was making his great bio-pic of Malcolm X.  Although he tried to camouflage his true intentions in the high flown rhetoric of leftist “revolutionaries,” it was readily apparent to me that the mad poet was fueled by the basest of motives: egomania and envy!

In his fevered megalomaniacal mind he felt that somehow he was the one who should be chronicling Malcolm’s story.  He, the great Imamu, should spin this narrative for posterity.  And thus he called Spike Lee everything but a child of God – impugning his motives and traducing his character!  When I could bear no more of his abominable bullying – opportunistically flaunting his history in the movement to try and discredit Spike, although nobody had prevented him from writing his own book or play in tribute to Malcolm –  I took up my pen and chastised the pompous scoundrel!

The title of the essay is “Bearing the Cross: Spike Lee and the Malcolm X. Movie Mess,” It was first published as a cover story in Emerge, a nationally distributed hard news magazine published by Afro-Americans.  The features editor at the New York Daily News liked the essay so much they bought the reprint rights and published it on the cover of their Sunday Magazine.  So this was a widely read piece…and I whipped little Leroy like a runaway slave!

A couple of years later we ended up on a panel at a writer’s workshop during the International Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, which I chaired.  Baraka made such a complete ass of himself at the conference that I thought Ishmael Reed was gonna smack him. Avery Brooks had to make a special speech defending the purpose of the conference from Baraka’s incendiary attacks on everybody as “compradore intellectuals,” while declaring that only he was a true “revolutionary artist.”

As Chairman of the Panel

I had to put Little Leroi in check!

 I had to fire his ass up from my position as chairman of the panel and put him in check.  Little Leroi was such a pain in the ass that his wife felt the need to apologize to the conference for his behavior.  I was an Editorial Page columnist at the New York Daily News at the time and upon my return to the Big Apple I wrote a column about the conference in which I whipped his head again in print for millions to read!  The column was titled “Artist Should Obey Inner Voices…Not Politics.”  It is posted on this blog.

The position I took in this essay was what Little Leroi was referring to in his speech at the Georgetown Conference, where he misrepresented my position on the relationship between art and politics.  And it inspired the essay “On Amiri Baraka: Thought Policeman,” on this blog.  The Daily News column is directly below this essay, just scroll down.  After you read them you will know why Little Leroy will jump at any chance to throw stink on my name.

Finally, let me say without fear of contradiction, that in truth I have led a remarkably honorable life in a nation that rewards thieves, hustlers and whores – just look at Mitt Romney and his crowd – and it has cost me dearly in terms of wealth and status.  I have repeatedly spoken truth to power, and only beat up on those who deserve it.  I have defended the defenseless and gave a powerful voice to the voiceless.  I did what I wanted to do and I have no regrets.

I have made many wonderful friends…and some enemies too.  But no matter…as my uncle Jimmy said: “A man who never makes any enemies is a man who don’t stand for nothing!”  Well I have stood for many things…and I have made some enemies.  But like we use to say down south: “My name is Buck and I don’t give a fuck!!!!”

However I make no claim to perfection…only the Lord is perfect, but I declare without hesitation: The worse that can be honestly said of me is that I beguiled and enjoyed the favors of women who were forbidden to me by the laws and strictures of church and state. And that this roguish behavior has driven wounded cuckolds to wish me harm, a couple shot at me and others refuse no opportunity to throw mud upon my good name.

Alas, their hostility is justified because I was guilty.  All I can say in my behalf is that the women thought I was fine, and I found them irresistible….and I could not prove stronger than David Samson and Solomon! But beyond these transgressions, weaknesses of the flesh, I have been like Caesers wife: pure as the driven snow.

Unless you want to hold the fact that I used to piss in the lemonade when I worked in the kitchen of a restaurant that served “whites only” as a teenager in apartheid Florida. But if you think it would have been appropriate for Jews to put poison in the food of Nazi’s then you are subjecting me to a double standard.  Nazi’s got their ideas about race from the US, and based their discriminatory laws against Jews on the Jim Crow legal system of the American South that I was living under at the time.  Beyond these transgressions any charges brought against my character and conduct is baseless lies!

Since I don’t remember ever taking a girl from Little Leroy, I can only speculate that his hostility derives from the fact that I have repeatedly whipped his head and ass in print…and he has never had the balls to respond to my substantive critiques of his silly wrong-headed ideas, so he resorts to misrepresentations of my views and personal attacks.

Alas, that marvelous man of letters and peerless wit Ishmael Reed warned me that these leftist ideologues can’t defend their positions against my intellectual assaults, so they will resort to character assassination. More prophetic words have rarely been spoken.  In the present case the antagonists are two poot-butt poets – Fatty Jackmon aka Marvin X, and Little Leroi aka Imamu Amiri Baraka.

Fatty J is a recovering Crack head who is in constant danger of slipping back on the pipe – as they say “once a crack head always a crack head” – and his arguments show definite symptoms of scrambled brain syndrome.  Like the old folks down home used to say “Dat boys understandin is bad.”  While I have no knowledge that Little Leroi has abused drugs, he suffers from handicaps that are just as debilitating in terms of being able to see the world clearly and think straight: A Napoleonic Complex and a Messiah Complex.  The former is fueled by the fact that he is a runt, and the latter by a tragic overestimation of his importance as a political thinker.

 Not content to be A good poet…

 Leroi Jones insist on being a bad political Theorist

 As poets their verse runs from mediocre to great.  While I have never read anything by Marvin #10 that made me go “Wow!” Amiri Baraka has written some great poetry, he is an original and important voice among American poets.  And in the first essay the reader will see that I have given this mad poet his due, as is my habit.   I especially like his Jazz poems.  Not that long ago I was on a program with him at the Iridium, a famous Jazz club in Manhattan.

We had both been invited to participate in a tribute to the great saxophonist Jackie McClean, who had lately danced and joined the ancestors, by his son, Renee Mclean, a virtuoso saxophonist in his own right.  I told him about the latest spanking I had laid on him in the essay “Amiri Baraka: Thought Policeman” and challenged him to come on WBAI and debate me, or otherwise respond in writing about my views on politics and art.  He has never said a mumbling word.  And although his non-response was cowardly…it was wise.  Being brain damaged Marvin #10 is obviously not smart enough to just go away and shut the fuck up!

As far as I can see, both of these poot-butt poets are completely out of their element when they dabble in political analysis – a complex science for which versifiers are ill suited – or historical reconstruction, a task for which they are perhaps even less suited given their tendency to fabulate.  Hence for their own safety they should stick to writing poetry and leave these other matters to those of us who have paid their dues by laboring in the archives of ancient prudence.

And most of all, unless they get off on being publicly flagellated by being exposed as fools and charlatans before a candid public, they should leave me tha fuck alone!   Read my two essays on Leroi Jones – if he doesn’t like that name blame his parents not me – and you will see why he has no kind words for me….BUT HE HAS NEVER HAD THE BALLS TO RESPOND MY ASSAULTS INTELLECTUALLY!!!!!!

There is something about me Marvin that you obviously don’t understand.  In trying to figure out just how to explain it to you succinctly, I decided I would just quote Ralph Ellison’s remark to the critic Addison Gayle, who was all up in Ellison’s face talkin smack: “I’m a street boy, I’m mean, and I’ve got a very dirty mouth!”

Yo Poot-Butt Poets!

Get tha fuck outta my face yo!!!!


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
November 23, 2o12

On The Road To War!

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , on November 18, 2012 by playthell
                  Israeli Warplanes Bomb Gaza

 The US Must Demand Restraint and De-escalation

As relations rapidly deteriorate between the Israeli government and Hamas, the Militant Palestinian organization that controls Gaza, the US government must employ all of its diplomatic resources to arrest the movement toward all-out war.

The images of Palestinian children slaughtered by Israeli bombs while playing in their yards will surely swell the legions of Islamic militants across the Arab world.  It is the nature of the dynamics of mass transformative movements, as I have explained elsewhere.

Hence the Israeli bombings, the results of which are broadcast in graphic detail on Arabic language television networks such as Al Jazeera and Al Arriba, are literally manufacturing the next wave of Islamist suicide bombers, and they will be seeking an even bigger spectacle than the leveling of the world trade towers.

This is an evitable development, because we have made enemies of people who are convinced that they are instruments of the will of God, the sword of Allah, destined to purge Muslim lands of the Great Satan’s legions and their Zionist proxys.  It is as if we are caught in a death struggle with the Islamic world and just can’t extricate ourselves from it.

Israel  upped the ante by assassinating Ahmed al-Jaabari, the millitary commander of Hamas.  And if she gets embroiled in an all-out war in the Middle East, which is to say an invasion of Gaza sets off a general conflagration that will involve armed hostilities between Israel and several Arab countries, the US will be dragged into yet another war in the Islamic world…the possible consequences of which are too horrifying to contemplate.

While such a possibility was unimaginable when Barack took office, because the neighboring Arab states were either clients of the US or were more interested in selling their oil – Egypt, Jordon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Tunisia, et al – the massive upheavals of the Arab Spring has transformed power relations in several of these countries and destabilize the others.

This is what Democracy Looks Like….

……When the Arab Street is Empowered

 Now that the masses in the Muslim world have experienced the intoxicating power of popular democracy, it may not be possible for the traditional princes and powers to control them.  Especially since these spontaneous upheavals often empower previously suppressed Islamic Jihadist forces.

Egypt is the classic example.  Here a once reliable ally ruled by modern secular military men, has been converted into a state governed by a recently elected president, Mohamed Morsi,  who is a member the Muslim Brotherhood.

This is why even before the outbreak of the resent conflict, President Obama said he didn’t know if Egypt was still a reliable ally.  We shall soon see, because the Muslin Brotherhood is a close ally of Hamas and can use their good offices to help broker a settlement of the conflict if the choose to.

The fact that President Morsi has made much of his resignation from the organization in a public political act, does not mean that he is not still with them in his heart and mind.  After all, this is a matter of deep spiritual belief, a way of viewing the world.

Furthermore, without the Brotherhood  Mohamed Morsi would never have become the leader of Egypt, thus he must consider their views in any policy he adopts.  This explains why Morsi has condemned the Israeli air raids in no uncertain terms and called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss the conflict.

Hence all of this preachment about the virtues of democracy that the US and other western countries have promoted in the Muslim world, may come back to haunt us….”be careful what you ask for” as the old adage warns, because you just might get it.

The questions on the minds of thoughtful people everywhere just now, as the Middle East region teeters on the brink of yet another disastrous war, are: Why did this escalation of violence occur now?  What was the triggering event?  Who is at fault?  And what are the chances of the worst case scenario becoming political reality.

Since it is axiomatic that in war the first casualty is truth, it is hard to discern just what happened to set off the chain of events that now threatens to set the Middle East – a major source of petroleum for the US and other western countries – on fire.  Naturally each side blames the other.

Yet whoever started it their remains the question of “proportional Response,” whether the Israeli response to Hamas’ rocket attacks is disproportionate in its destructiveness.  That will almost certainly be the case because the disparity in military might between the Palestinians and the Israeli’s.

It’s almost like the US Calvary fighting the Native Americans during the wars in the Great Plains.  There is a reason why Palestinians invented suicide bombers.  It is a cultural expression of the nihilism many young people who grew up under Israeli occupation feel.

In fact, when the attack of 9/11 occurred I thought they were Palestinians, although I have persistently questioned the US government’s decision to have the CIA arm and train the Afghan Mujahidin – especially with sophisticated weapons like stinger missiles.  We have the late Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson to thank for that disastrous blunder, which would later cost the lives of American combatants.

Then the US government was calling them heroes, because they were fighting the Russians.  But I knew they also regarded us as Godless infidels; after all the Iranian Ayatollahs – who were presiding over the first Islamic theocracy state in the modern world – had branded us: “The Great Satan,” the number one enemy of Islam!

Hence when I learned that Al Qaeda had carried out the attack and the CIA had trained Osama bin Laden in terrorist tactics, I was barely surprised – although the Israeli suppression of the Palestinian Intifada at the time seemed the most likely catalyst for the suicide mission.

I think if the United States now unconditionally supports Israel in a full-fledged military assault on Gaza I think it will prove as serious a blunder as arming the Afghan Mujahidin, in terms of producing enemies dedicated to our destruction. However President Obama is in a precarious position: He could be damned if he does and scorned if he doesn’t.  He has inherited  a set of obligations to Israel –  formal and informal – that he cannot simply walk away from.

However the fact that he will never run for political office again affords President Obama a unique opportunity to break this pattern of slavish American acquiescence to Israeli objectives…even when they contradict our own.  And while pro-Zionist Americans – both Jewish and Christian – such as the activist in the powerful IsraeI Lobby, will argue that there is no difference in the national interest of the US and Israel, I beg to differ.

It cannot be true that a global power whose economy is petroleum based, and must maintain complex relationships with the Islamic world, has the same national interests as a small  desert nation whose sphere of influence is limited to the Middle-East.  This is why those who support the “identical interests” thesis became hysterical when the President said “there must be light between Israeli and American foreign policy.”  But of course there must!

To take any other position raises the question asked by Professors John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, in their definitive study The Israel Lobby: “Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? “  In their effort to answer this question the professors offer the following observation:

“One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides. Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.”

Among the things the Israel Lobby has been known to do is support opposition candidates to members of the US Congress who refuse to support their agenda.  And both parties are beholden to elements of the Lobby for support.  The democrats are highly dependent upon Jewish money and talent, while the “Christian Zionists” in the protestant evangelical movement comprise a critical segment of the Republican base.

This is why the rhetoric coming from our Senators and Congressmen from both sides of the aisle sound as if Hamas is the sole cause of the present conflict, and they stumble over each other trying to be the first to publicly announce that they support Israel’s right to take whatever action they deem necessary to “protect their citizenry from attack.”

The uniformity of this vision of events means that there is little chance that a genuine counter-narrative critical of Israeli policy will emerge among our governing class.  This makes it all the more difficult for President Obama to take an objective stance and address the urgent need to resolve the long festering issues of Palestinian sovereignty that is the root cause of the present crisis.

Let us hope that the frenzy of diplomatic activity taking place behind closed doors can resolve the present conflict before it degenerates into all-out war between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians that could destabilize the entire region and send the price of petroleum products through the roof.  This could plunge the still fragile economies of Europe and the US into a deep recession and spark a world-wide economic downturn.

Furthermore the continued loss of life from Israeli bombings of Gaza, a heavily populated area where dispossessed Palestinians are concentrated, will only increase the ranks of those who hate and want to destroy the US – since they view Israel as an American client state over whose actions the US government has a veto.  This is a reasonable assumption but untrue, because the Israel Lobby has so terrified members of congress that none dare oppose its agenda.

For all of these reasons American involvement in another war in the Arab world, this time in direct support  of Israeli aggression, will be an unmitigated disaster for the US with no upside that I can envision. That’s why the US government must insist on a diplomatic solution to the present crisis. Viewed from this perspective there is an opportunity to make history here; for it could provide an opening to negotiate a historic peace settlement.

Most people on both sides prefer peace, and they could force their leaders to negotiate if a genuine opportunity for a just and lasting peace were at hand. It is the kind of complex problem that brings out the best in Barack. The problem remains the belligerence and intransigence of Bibi Netanyahu, whose refusal to negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas, the reasonable leader of the largest Palestinian political faction, only serves to empower Hamas.

It is policy that makes successful peace negotiations impossible….and could well plunge the US into yet another war against the Arabs, with a tragic and ruinous expenditure of even more American blood and treasure

Adding insult to injury, there are rumors abroad that the real reason Bibi Netanyahu decided to launch this war just now is because he will soon be coming up for reelection. And like hurricane Sandy did for President Obama, a military assault on Hamas will provide Netanyahu a chance to look heroic!   In other words, smacking Hamas around will enhance his chances of victory.

This charge  is being made by people who know what they are talking about; such as writers at the London Guardian and some factions of the Israeli opposition.  It is a serious charge, and the US government must take it into account when formulating America’s diplomatic strategy in this crisis.  And act for once in the best Interests of this nation!


Playthell George Benjamin
Harlem, New York

November 18, 2012

Was Picking Lyin Ryan a Bad Move?

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , , on November 16, 2012 by playthell
Where’s the Beef Dog?

Paulie Went Over Like a Steel Balloon!

Of all the mistakes Mitt made in his attempt to unseat President Obama and make the Oval Office his new headquarters as CEO of America Incorporated, choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is among the worse.  While it is conventional wisdom that presidential elections are determined by the top of the ticket, Vice-Presidential running mates are expected to help the ticket by appealing to certain constituencies and contributing particular skills that the Presidential candidate lacks.and like doctors taking the Hyppocratic oath: They must first of all do no harm.

It is a pretty straight forward calculus. John Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as a running mate because he was everything that Kennedy wasn’t.  A Boston Irish Catholic born to the purple, his ability to attract southern Protestants and working people was an iffy proposition.  Hence the addition of Lynden Baines Johnson, a Texas  bred Anglo-Saxon protestant, with working class roots and a degree in public speaking proved a brilliant choice.

Furthermore, Kennedy was a relatively inexperienced Senator, while Johnson was one on the most effective Senate majority leaders in history.  This meant that Johnson would prove a valuable asset to Kennedy far beyond the election; should the ticket win Kennedy would have a brilliant manager of his legislative initiatives up on Capitol Hill.

Beyond these considerations Johnson also met the critical test of whether he could step in and become an effective president at a moment’s notice. Alas, as things turned out, this was a test Johnson was confronted with. All of the assumptions proved true, as he helped Kennedy win and proved to be a great president that transformed American society for the better after  Kennedy’s assassination.

Likewise, Joe Biden was chosen by Barack Obama because of his working class Irish Catholic roots, his residence in a border state with a southern tradition, his long experience as a Senator and effective operator on Capitol Hill, and his unquestioned expertise in foreign policy.  When these assets were added to Biden’s brilliant oratorical skills, and his ability to sell Barack’s dreams to reluctant working class white guys, whose understanding of the issues is hazy at best, Biden proved an invaluable asset to the success of the ticket and the process of governing.

These are the kinds of things Mitt’s strategists calculated that Lyin Ryan would bring to the ticket. They envisioned Ryan – a small town mid-westerner from a working class Catholic background – as the perfect counterweight to the stiff, arrogant, Richey Rich Boston business mogul and Mormon Bishop at the top of the ticket.

Furthermore Ryan is a much celebrated policy wonk, who was considered a visionary that had seen the future by right wing Republican ideologues. The Republicans were so certain that this was a winning combination Mitt decided not to even outline a concession speech!

Alas, all of their calculations proved wrong; as is generally the case when they are based on incorrect assumptions. First off, Ryan’s Catholic background proved more of a liability than an asset when his famous “Prosperity Budget” drew fire from the leadership of his church.

A group of Nuns took to the road on a bus, giving voice to the concerns of the poor and telling everybody who would listen that the Ryan budget violated the command of Jesus Christ to feed the poor, heal the sick and clothe the naked. It was an abomination!

The nuns persuasively argued, with passion and conviction, that Ryan’s budget was a rejection Jesus’s clear statement that “as you do unto the least of these…you have done it unto me!”  Their denunciation of Ryan’s claim that his budget was an expression of catholic teaching was affirmed by the clerical hierarchy and intellectuals of the Church.

Ryan’s economic ideas was denounced by the American Conference of Bishops, the theologians and secular intellectuals in major Catholic universities as a heretical doctrine whose true roots lie in in the writings of Ayn Rand – a Russian atheist and Social Darwinist – whose ideas were antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ, as clearly expressed in the New Testament.

And when Democratic opposition researcher’s unearthed video footage of Paulie testifying that Rand’s writings inspired him to enter politics, and her ideas formed the basis of his political philosophy, then juxtaposed Ayn Rand on a television talk show declaring her belief that God is a fiction, Ronald Reagan a dangerous warmongering fool, and the nuclear family an unnecessary anachronism, the campaign of Lyin Ryan was on the road to dyin!

Then his ideas became the target of an all-out assault by organized labor, who struggled heroically to let working people know that despite his working class roots, Lyin Ryan was an enemy of working class interests.  When Ryan was caught lying about his Marathon time, it only served to magnify the fact that he was also lying about the teaching of Catholic doctrine….and probably everything else.

And finally he was savaged by Joe Biden in the Vice-Presidential debate; who reduced him to a figure of ridicule before the world by contemptuously dismissing his arguments as “malarkey!”  The image of Ryan – whose poppy Barney Google eyes and pumped physique gives him the look of a roid freak – constantly gulping down glasses of water, reminded me of a man awaiting his turn on the gallows.

The bottom line is that when the final tally came in Ryan’s liabilities proved  much greater than his assets!  This was a dramatic failure of the amoral cost/benefit analysis that had worked so well for The Mittster in his previous incarnation as a corporate raider at Bain Capital.

As the former San Francisco Mayor and Speaker of the California Assembly Willie Brown observed, Mitt’s analysis of how they lost the election shows that he believes  money can by love. He never understood that elections can be won on superior ideas and a real love for the people.  Brown is one of the savvyest political operators in the country, therefore his opinions warrant serious consideration .

Since the proof of the puddin is in the eatin let’s look at the numbers; they tell the whole story.  Like Mitt the snobbish clueless twit, Paulie lost both his home state and his home town!  Janesville Wisconsin is a struggling blue collar town with a population of 63, 537, and a declining manufacturing base.

According to the County Clerk, Ryan’s neighbors who know him best, voted against him and Mitt by 62% to 37% in favor of Obama/Biden.  The returns from his local polling place, the Hedberg Public Library, were even worse!  Of the 1,428 votes cast in this venue 65% went for Obama-Biden, and only 34% chose the Romney-Ryan ticket.

Although Ryan has served seven terms in the House of Representatives, he faced a stiff challenge from Democrat Paul Zerban for his Congressional seat.  Ryan retained his seat by 12 percentage points – 55% to 43%, but the margin of victory came from the wealthy suburbs of Milwaukee; he actually lost his working class hometown of Janesville to Zerban by 10 points, 55% to 44%.  And he lost the vote at his neighborhood polling place in the Hedberg Library by an even larger margin: 41% to 58%, a 17 point deficit!

Hence it is a measure of the extent of his delusions, or the inability of Ryan to quit his lyin, that he blames their loss of the election on “the urban vote” – which is code words for “black and Hispanic.”  The fact that they also lost in such Whitelandia precincts as New Hampshire and Maine, didn’t convince him that they were defeated because their ideas and policy proposals were odious to millions of Americans of all persuasions, is good news for the Democrats.

Let us hope that the princes and powers of the Grand Obstructionist Party share Ryan’s conclusions; cause if they don’t change their ways the voters will end their days as a party capable of seriously contending for national elections.  Viewed from this perspective, Ryan’s delusional lyin is a blessing in disguise!

The GOP Future?

Or an Albatross Around their Neck?


Playthell George Benjamin
Harlem, New York
November 16, 2012

Stop The Attack On Dr. Susan Rice!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, Playthell on politics with tags , , on November 15, 2012 by playthell
Beauty, Intelligence Eloquence, The Complete Packag

The savaging of Dr. Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, signals a new low in the scurrilous tactics of the Grand Obstructionist Party against the Obama administration. These attacks are distinguished not just for the viciousness of their assaults on her character and competence, but also for the extent to which they are divorced from reality.

The thoughtful listener is forced to wonder if  Republicans are experiencing a peculiar bout of collective madness, or do they believe the rest of us are stupid.  What else can we make of the statement by Arizona Senator John McCain that the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi Libya,  where  four Americans were killed, is “the worse national security failure of my lifetime.” Such mindless hyperbole on the part of a major political figure is cause for serious concern.

Aside from making the senator look ridiculous, and not serious about conducting the nation’s business, he dishonors the many thousands of innocent Americans slaughtered in the 9/11 attack. And the thousands more who were maimed or killed by the disastrous invasion of Iraq, and before these disasters there was the invasion of Vietnam: Which was spurred by a spectacular failure of intelligence.

Has the Senator forgotten that there was abundant intelligence warning of an attack on tall building with planes piloted by Islamic Jihadist, but the Bush Administration ignored it? Does the Senator not remember that Condoleeza Rice, then the National Security Advisor, was begged by Richard Clark, the terrorism Czar held over from the Clinton Administration, to call a joint meeting of the heads of all the nation’s vast intelligence agencies an compare intelligence reports to see if the various pieces of the puzzle would reveal the plan of attack?

Viewed from the hindsight of history, we now know they would have figured it out…and 9/11 would just be a nostalgic memory in the fevered imagination of the would be attackers as they languished in their federal prison Cells. The spectacular intelligence failures that led to Vietnam, 9/11 and Iraq cost many thousands of American lives, billions in treasure, domestic tranquility, and millions of innocent foreign lives!

So the question remains: what are we to make of John McCain?  Well, for my part, not much.  I am not among those who consider him either a war hero or a man of honor.  He is not so much immoral as amoral.  I have expressed my views on Johnny Mack in several essays, and they will be included in my forth coming book: “Witnessing the Motion of History: Notes on the Obama Phenomenon.”

Essentially I view Senator McCain  as a deeply wounded man with profound  emotional scars from the rather spectacular failures in his life.  For most men McCain’s life would be regarded a great success.  He is a celebrated Senator with a rich blond wife and more mansions than he can account from memory.

Yet when compared to the achievements of his father and grandfather, both of whom were Admirals  that commanded fleets in great wars and were victorious, Johnny Boy’s record as a naval pilot shot down over Vietnam, where he was captured and forced to do the every bidding of his little brown Vietnamese masters upon pain of corporal punishment, his military career was a humiliating failure!

John McCain Shot Down

 McCain Rescued by Vietnamese Soldiers

That humiliation is magnified by the fact that he sang like a caged bird during captivity.  Since I have already written about this – see “General Clarke is Right: John McCain is Not Qualified to be Commander-In-Chief ”– I won’t re-litigate it here, suffice it to say the evidence for my claim is abundant and indisputable.  Anyone who has ever served in the military knows the protocol for how to behave if captured by the enemy.

You give your name, rank and serial number: That’s it!  McCain told his captors much more than that.  He even told them the size of his fighter squadron, the type of aircraft and even some of their targets.  He could have been Court Marshaled, for his behavior….and I know Vietnam vets who believe he would have been had he not been so well connected.  So much for our great “war hero;” he may have fooled the public, but he knows he squealed like a rat.   I believe that’s part of what’s eating him; why he wants to pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to an elusive “victory.”  It is another expression of Vietnam Syndrome.

Winning the presidency would have allowed him to one-up his dad and grand dad, who were genuine war heroes.  However he discredited himself for the job with his first serious decision of his campaign: selecting an Alaskan Barbarian as his running mate.  The fact that he would place Sarah Palin – a verbose, self-absorbed, dunce – a heartbeat from the presidency, let all thinking people know that McCain’s ambitions and quest for power ranked infinitely higher than his love of country.

And now he has the unmitigated gall to call Dr. Susan Rice, a Rhodes Scholar and career diplomat, unqualified to be Secretary of State after arguing that Silly Sarah was qualified to be President?…Commander-In-Chief of the nation’s armed forces?  John McCain is a dishonest buffoon, a sad spectacle of a once impressive man.

Nothing demonstrates McCain’s lack of any sense of integrity more than the fact that he, and that Jackanapes South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, both supported the nomination of Dr. Condoleezza Rice for Secretary Of State after she had presided over the two worst intelligence failures in American history!

Such shameless duplicity is beneath contempt.  As my grandfather would say:“Them thar boys are liars and finks, they feet stinks, and they don’t love Jesus!  It is time for General Colin Powell, who is also a former Secretary of State, to speak out against this scurrilous attempt to besmirch the reputation, and destroy the career, of Dr. Rice…especially since he was once victimized by bad intelligence.

Condoleezza Rice has already spoken out against the attack on Susan; it’s time for Colin Powell to stand up to these lying charlatans in his party.  He should do it as an act of contrition for remaining in the fold of the Grand Obstructionist Party, which regularly fans the flames of racial hatred against the President and Black Americans in general.

If Powell cannot see it in their actions he is blind.  If he does not hear in in their rhetoric he is deaf.  And if he can’t put them together and figure out that it is driven by both ideological differences, sexism and racism he is dumb!  I don’t think he is either.

But if he does not speak out in defense of his beleagured sister the brave general has become spineless. I think the President, who defended his UN Ambassador with fire and conviction yesterday, should now appoint her Secretary of State.




Playthell George  Benjamin
Harlem, New York
November 15, 2012

Reflections on Pussygate

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags on November 14, 2012 by playthell
Author Paula Broadwell says the General was “All In”

OPP….Tis A Thrice Told Tale

The more I hear of the voluptuous intrigues and dangerous liaisons  involving powerful men at arms, spooks, spies, shameless hussies, randy generals and home  wreckin hos, the more it appears a theater of the absurd.  It is Much ado about nothing; a tempest in a teapot.  And the lamentations of Congressional members over not being told that the war weary General was tuppin a tasty tender ewe, is a burlesque on congressional oversight!

That brave and highly skilled defenders of the nation, stationed on bloody battlefields around the globe, should be driven from their post because they secretly dipped their wicks in forbidden juice boxes, with the willing compliance of its owners, is madness!

Mrs Patraeus is on the far right

Can you see why the general’s eye wandered

Forsooth! This is not a saga of  malice and murder; it is a profoundly human story, a very old and recurrent tale.  They were making whoopee, tasting forbidden fruit – getting OPP!  Witnessing all the self-righteous chatter among the commentariat, I’m flummoxed!

It seems that the media is populated with finicky prudes that would make Victorians look like sexual libertines – which more than a few were.  And like the intrepid Generals, they kept their erotic indiscretions under wraps…undercover lovers.  However the Victorians were not subjected to the various kinds of electronic snooping as today’s sexual outlaws; so they got away with it.

But this is nothing new; it has been ever thus.  The general and his lady of easy virtue committed adultery, and they did it the way good ever responsible Victorians did it.  This is no picayune observation, for the Victorians are famous for having created the most successful monogamous society in history. Yet it is conventional wisdom among students of the era that this was due in no small part to the pervasiveness of bawdy houses with love for sale, and wide spread clandestine affairs with both sexes.

The Victorians were wise enough about the ways of the world to understand that the responsible thing to do was render unto Caesar that which is Caesars, and unto God that which is God’s.  And give the Devil his due.  Hence they had their cake and ate it too.  That’s why the British upper classes have a tradition of stable families despite a history of sexual scandals.  But none of this should surprise anyone who understands the power of erotic attraction – especially forbidden fruit.

If the things you liabel to read in the bible are true; then we must earn our bread by the sweat of our brow today because Adam and Eve couldn’t resist forbidden fruit.  Let’s face it: alas Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom and folly, planned it this way!  Bird’s do it; Bees do it, even monkeys in the trees do it!

I say let those who are without sin cast the first stone. Since I live in a glass house I shan’t throw stones.  For I have had occasion to fall under the spell of forbidden fruit and kick about in some other stallion’s stall – my steadfast resolve in the face of danger has often crumbled when confronted with the power of the nookie.  In my youth I was fired upon more than once by irate spouses for meddling with OPP.

But I have contented myself with the sure knowledge that the worse anybody can be honestly say of me is that I have coveted OPP.  All other charges are scurrilous lies purveyed by shameless charlatans, and those accusers who bear false witness against me will die the death of pole cats and stink their way to hell! I confess that I have been weak of the flesh, like Sugar Willie Clinton, but I struggled heroically not to yield to temptation.

Never-the-less I take some consolation from the fact that this weakness places me in the fraternity of the greatest men in history and the bible.  Pretty Freddie Douglass, Big Paul Robeson, and Dr. Martian “The Love Man” King; plus  I can claim kinship with David, Samson and Solomon of biblical fame; all of whom proved weaker than me when it came to temptations of the flesh….and all loved OPP.

David sent a loyal comrade at arms into battle to be slaughtered so that he might lay with his wife Bathsheba.  Samson betrayed the secret of his great strength in order to enjoy the favors of the succulent Delilah, and King Solomon, though rumored to be the wisest man in the world, turned against God to please the black and comely Makeda, Queen of Sheba!

What then can be expected of an ordinary colored man like me, or the high and mighty generals, when confronted with the irresistible charms and splendiferous pleasure of the omnipotent Nookie?  None of us can hope to be greater that these titans of history and annointed of God?

Despite the attempts by evil airhead FOX News chatter boxes to concoct a dark political  conspiracy by the Obama administration, and notwithstanding the general’s foibles and incompetence as military commanders, pussy power rules this situation.  Alas we are all like silly putty, to be manipulated and molded anyway it wishes.

And we shall all crumble when confronted with the marvelous powers of the Goody Gap.  So it is written…so it shall be!  Let the self-righteous prigs, who fain innocence of lust or licentious impulse, prattle on about who’s zooming who; but the truth shall set thee free.   Alas the indisputable truth is everybody loves OPP.


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

November 14, 2012

The Fall Of Turd Blossom

Posted in Photo-Essays, Playthell on politics with tags , , on November 13, 2012 by playthell


Karl Rove Busted!

 Bush’s Brain is Dead!

After engineering the election of George Bush, a Texas Republican dunderhead with little knowledge about the world, to the presidency of the United States over the far more capable Al Gore, political strategist Karl Rove was acclaimed a political genius and dubbed “Bush’s Brain.”  Although Bush’s pet name for his puppetmesiter is “Turd blossom.”

And when he did it again, after Bush had presided over the 9/11 attack – the worse national security failure in American history, and then attacked the wrong country – Rove took on the aura of a political oracle whose political advice was infallible, and Republicans regarded his pronouncements with the reverence with which the Catholic faithful receive the encyclicals of the Pope.  That’s why they are all shell shocked after President Obama’s crushing defeat of Mitt The Twit.

Turd Blossom’s  dramatic fall from the pedestal on which he had pompously perched began when he was commenting on the election returns on FOX News – that flagship of that incubator of Republican fantasies David Frum, a former Bush speech writer and genuine intellectual, calls “The Republican entertainment complex.” After FOX’s own numbers men called Ohio for President Obama, which gave him the election, Rove had a conniption and went into fumbling fit of denial.

Reflecting the tension between those who consider themselves “journalist” and the Republican propagandists who provide the commentary, the anchor woman, Megyn Kelly,  got up and walked back the room where the election results were being tallied and asked them to respond to Rove’s concerns.  They were steadfast in their conclusions.

This prompted her to ask Rove live on television if his calculations were real or  “just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better.”  It was the most embarrassing moment I have ever witnessed of a major commentator on television in real time.  One can see why Rove went into shock and denial because he had just blown 300 million dollars on the election through his two super PACS American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. 

Not only did Romney lose with two million fewer votes than John McCain garnered, but all but one of the Senate candidates supported by Rove also lost!  The Democrats retained the White House, added to their majority in the Senate and increased their numbers in the House. This colossal Republican defeat has reduced Rove to a figure of ridicule and contempt in and out of the Grand Obstructionist Party.

The venerable rightwing war horse Richard Viguerie predicted that Turd blossom “would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again.”  And the racist Blow hard Republican Buffon Donald Trump tweeted “congrats to Karl rove on blowing 400 million this cycle.  Every race Crossroads GPS ran ads in the Republicans lost.  What a waste of money.”

The Donald Was Really Pissed!
Yet his insane Racist Antics Help Bring the GOP Down!

Joe Scarboro lamented that the reason the Republicans were so shocked by their defeat was because the Republican media commentariat “lied to us!”  Indeed, the analysis of the various pre-election polls released today by Nate Silver – the numbers crunching wizard at the New York Times who called it all right – shows that the most inaccurate predictions came from two of the most prestigious albeit Republican leaning pollsters: Rasmussen and Gallup, who were off by 4 and 5 points respectively

The attacks cited above are but a sampling of the invective his fellow Republicans are heaping on the head of Turd. And other Republican prognosticators who had predicted a Romney victory – Newt Gingrich, Dirty Dick Morris, Michael Steele, et al – are publicly confessing the error of their ways.

However the most brutal public flagellations are coming from the television comedians.  There are certainly too man to cover here, but the Saturday Night Live Skit deserves honorable mention, but  Dave Letterman bit took first prize with me.  Assuming the dramatis personae of a Koch brother speaking to Rove, he says “Hey Tubby, how much will it take to but this election” as he shells out money.

Dave cautions us not to be surprised if we hear that the Koch brothers  jumped Rove and kicked his ass! The bloodletting in the Grand Obstructionist Party has just begun.  I shall watch from my front row seat with the jaded blood lust of spectators in the Roman Coliseum where Gladiators fought to the death, and everybody will get a thumb’s down!   I pray that Turd Blossom die the death of a pole cat and stink his way to hell!!!!!


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

November 12, 2012

Some Final Advice for Marvin X

Posted in Cultural Matters, My Struggle On the Left! with tags , , , , on November 10, 2012 by playthell


RAM Comrades: Playthell, John Bracy, Muhammad Ahmed, Askia

Recovering Crack heads shouldn’t Rewrite History!

Yo Marvin, when I posted my critique on the misguided, silly and dangerous blather of Glen Ford – who said it didn’t matter if Afro-Americans voted in the Presidential election – I received a note from the great writer Ishmael Reed.  He warned me that since none of the people that I am critiquing on the left could prevail in a debate with me, they would resort to personal attacks.  Now I see what he means.

You say that I was never a member of the Revolutionary Action Movement aka RAM?  You say you talked to former RAM members and they don’t know me?  Well either you are lying or they are lying.  But you should know better than to lie about things that are a matter of historical fact, and can be easily verified as such.  As a former history professor I sure as hell do!

But then Marvin, since the only things I know about you, or what you believe, is based on the things you have written about yourself and my encounter with you on FB, enriched by things I have heard from people who do know you well in the Bay area.  Early on I was forced to conclude you are a hapless fool stuck on stupid.  And everything you do confirms that conclusion.

For instance, when you wrote that mindless drivel on my page about “Negroes,” I recognized that you untended it as an insult…since the politically correct term is “black.”  But that’s such an asinine move I just decided to play past it.  But then you wouldn’t take no for an answer, you had to keep on pushing.  I have decided that you are suffering from what the psychologist call “projection,” which is a process by which one projects one’s own vices and shortcomings onto others.

In this case it is all too clear.  You are the one with the alter-ego named “Plato Negro,” who spouts pompous prattle that you evidently mistake for wisdom.  However the more I listen to what you have to say I find myself thinking of Queen Mother Moore’s definition of the term Negro – “No, Nay, Never Grow!” – she would say.  Hence it is the perfect term for you; since you are an intellectual anachronism, a poot-butt philosopher stuck in the past who never grows!

Maybe you are actually dumb enough to try and rewrite history while the actors in those events are still around. Perhaps that’s what smoking crack does to the human brain; since I have far better sense than to crack up I really don’t know.  But I did win the first annual Tom Focade Award for honesty and accuracy in drug reporting, presented by High Times Magazine, for my columns and feature stories on drug addiction and anti-drug laws in my in the Village Voice, and the Editorial Page of the “New York Daily News.”

I concentrated a lot on crack addiction becausecrack headsand crack dealers were wreaking havoc in black community at the time.  In my view both are enemies of the black community!  And by the way, I was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary, in 1995.

The nominating letter is on this blog, and anybody can read it – see: Playthell’s bio- A Thumbnail Sketch.  It is easy to see that thequalities enumerated in the nominating letter are clearly present in the commentaries on this blog, of which there are nearly 500, ranging from 800 to 80, 000 words!  And do note the fact that this is my second nomination for the Pulitzer Prize, the first was for political feature writing. That nominating letter is also on display.

The picture above was taken at a conference held at the University of Massachusetts about two years ago.  It was a program hosted by the WEB DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies, of which I was a founder.  The four men in the picture were discussing the founding of RAM, the Emergence of the Black Arts Movement, and the creation of Black Studies.  And we were speaking from personal experience because we were principal actors in those historic developments.

From left to right they are Playthell Benjamin, John Bracey, Max Stanford / Dr. Muhammad Ahmed, and the great poet Askia Muhammad.  Between the men in this picture are the founders of RAM, Black Studies and the Black Arts Movement. Max Stanford and I co-founded RAM in Philadelphia in 1962, John Bracey was a RAM cadre in Chicago, who became a professor of history, and Askia Muhammad was a leading force in the Black Arts movement, as well as a RAM cadre.

I presented some lectures at the University of Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, and I talked about the development of the armed black “revolutionary” movement of the 1960’s.  There were several people in the audience who were there at the founding of RAM.  One of them was Walt Palmer, who not only was a witness to it all, but was instrumental in putting together legal representation for RAM cadres arrested for trying to poison the Philadelphia police, a dramatic development at the time.

Walt is a towering figure in Philadelphia.  He knows who was who and where all the political bodies are buried.  He is a remarkable man whose career includes radical activist, pioneering medical researcher, lawyer, writer, and a teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, and he recently ran the 100 meter sprint in the senior division of the Penn Relays at 73 years old!

At present he has designed and founded one of the best charter schools in the country.  He is a lucid and reliable witness…and there are others in Philly who attended my lectures and remember well who done what!   If you want to set the record straight about my involvement in the founding of RAM I will send you Walt’s number by private message and you can interview him.

I can also provide numbers for others who were there at the beginning!  You claim to be an intellectual so do your job chump!  But I doubt that you will pursue this because you are not really interested in the truth.  Ish pegged you clowns just right!  You are not smart enough   to win the debate with me. This is demonstrated by the fact that you are going through all of these changes to avoid answering the damn questions I put to you about how you intend to make this “revolution” you prattle on about ad- nauseum.  Instead, you attempt to attack my character and deny my personal history.

That’s really some low life punk-ass shit Marvin, especially since my story can be easily verified.   For instance, Walt Palmer has a “Wall of Heroes” in the multi-million dollar building that houses his “Learning and Leadership Charter School.  It is very impressive, with life size oil paintings of great freedom fighters from the 20th Century.  Walt gave me a tour of the Hall recently, and as I was perusing the handsome portraits of Kwame Nkrumah, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mao, and then….I suddenly came upon a striking portrait of yours truly!

Walt Palmer by Wall of Heroes

 Philly Activist, Educator / Griot 50+ years in Struggle!

 It was quite a surprise; I thought the artist really captured the real me.  Of course I photographed it, so you can check it out for yourself Dog.  But I hear that you will be visiting Philly, so you can call Walt and check it out.  You say you talked to people in Philly who don’t know me…you don’t say?

Playthell on the Wall of Heroes

Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

Listen fool, I left Philadelphia in 1969, to go help build the first free standing, degree granting, Black Studies Department in the world: The WEB DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies, at U-Mass Amherst.  This turned out to be quite an achievement, as we persuaded the University to purchase and preserve the voluminous papers of Dr. DuBois, publishing several volumes of them under the distinguished Marxist scholar Dr. Herbert Aptheker, who was Dr. DuBois’ chosen executor of his papers.

I had rejected the idea of an armed revolution in America for some very complex reasons, when I went to Amherst.  That was 43 years ago Dog, and it was 50 years ago that Max and I founded RAM!   But when I quit the “revolutionary” movement I became a professor, and Max took longer to reach a similar conclusion, after spending time in prison for “revolutionary” activities.

He is now a professor too, right there at Temple University – as is Dr. Anthony Montiero, who also spent time in jail for “revolutionary” acts.   Hence it seems that Ram cadres were not only way ahead of the BPP of Oakland in political development….but we evidently had far better character too.  The book below was recently published by the Palmer Foundation; it istitled “Unveiling 150 Philadelphia Iconic Figures from 1950-2002.”  When you interview Walt Palmer ask him to sell you one: Me, Max and Tony are all there!

It’s on the Record
Prominent Philadelphians of the last half century

So what if people you talked to don’t know me.  There are plenty who do, and they were the ones who were around at the time.  I know fuckin well that Dr. Ahmed didn’t tell you no shit like that; so don’t lie on him Dog.  Because everything I am saying can be verified by neutral sources.  What they will tell you is that I was the one with the big following in Philly, because I was presenting black history lectures on the radio; plus I was a highly skilled orator who could move a crowd.  Max was the theoretician who had read widely in the works of Mao, but he was a boring speaker then and now, and he had no following.

So max conceived the organizational structure and was the chief theoretician, but I attracted the crowds from which the cadre was recruited with my black history lectures, which increasingly centered around the history of our struggle for liberation.  We made an effective team, and when I began speaking around the country through the OIC network, whose centers were located in the black ghettoes all over the country, I was by far the most effective national recruiter for RAM.  These were the years between 1962 and 1969, when I left the movement and became a professor.

These facts can be easily collaborated by both living witnesses, and the very accurate FBI Co-In-Tel-PRO documents.  If you really want to know my story chump: DO SOME FUCKIN RESEARCH!!!!!!  Beyond that you will have to await my memoir!  I don’t generally make a point of emphasizing my role in RAM, because unlike your experience in the Black Panther Party, I don’tdefine myself by it.  In fact, I consider it the folly of my youth…well intentioned folly, but folly no less!

Of course it does not surprise me that your approach to research is sloppy, because you have a history of undisciplined sloppy thinking.  This is very clear from the revelations you share in your book: “Wish I Could tell you the Truth.”  Well,  if there is more to your story I can’t wait to hear it.  However what you tell is damming evidence.  I ask the readers to consider the following passage, where you and Huey Newton are sitting in a Oakland crack house contemplating the “Revolution.”

“…it had been a long day’s journey into night but it was ending.  In 1989 I lost my comrade Huey Newton, killed by a young crack dealer in West Oakland.  I was happy to have one last conversation with Huey, even though it was in the crack house.  It was one of those rare times in the crack house when conversation was more important that smoking.”  Then Marvin recreates the voice of Huey, who asks

Huey:“Jackmon, what we gonna do about the present situation?

To wit Marvin replied:  “Well, it’s a pretty bad situation: the black army’s on crack – –the generals are on crack, man this is pitiful”

Huey replies: “We can come out of this, Man, we came out of slavery, see what I’m sayin?

Marvin: Yeah, we gonna come out of it or die…Being about five years for me, Huey, caused my family great pain and suffering.  I’m sure you did too.”

Huey: “Right”

Marvin X: “For what?  Some hot air…?”

Huey: “Ah, don’t beat yaself, Jackmon, enjoy yourself…On a lighter note, have you seen you- know- who- lately?

Marvin X: “You mean your buddy?”

Huey: “Naw, Jackmon, your buddy!”

Marvin X: “I don’t see Eldridge much anymore, not after our little escapade driving down the street with the Damned desk on top of the car.”

Huey: “Yeah, that was some funny shit, Jackmon, that shit made Jet magazine. “ 

Marvin X: Huey, on the real, think you and him will ever get together?”

Huey:  Not in my life time.”

Marvin X: “Why?”

Huey: “Too many people lost their lives behind Eldridge.  Just too much blood on the path between us, man, too much blood.  So even though I might want to get together with him, out of respect to the loved ones of those comrades who went down, I cannot deal with him, I will not deal with him.

Marvin X: Huey, fuck all that.  Arabs kill each other in the Middle East every day, but the next moment they are hugging and praying together in the Mosque.”

Huey: “We ain’t Arabs… “

Huey was right Marvin, yhall ain’t Arabs, because Arabs would have actually committed “Revolutionary Suicide” to destroy the enemy and make a statement…not sit around in a crack house conducting a pity party, crying about how yhall can’t fight because the “army” and “the general” is on crack!!!!!

I have nothing more to say to you Marvin, you are just a sad little fat guy, an intellectual mediorcity living in the past.  I shall let the readers reach their own conclusions.   Alas, this exchange has degenerated to the level of what the wise old folks in Florida, who were sober as judges, used to call “a damned nigger mess!”

Every move you make justifies my view of you as a pretentious, hapless, fool.  The proof of it is that you keep picking fights with your intellectual superior in public – anybody who doubts that you are my intellectual inferior should just read my broadly learned essays and compare them to the mindless prattle you write.  Maybe you just get off on public humiliation.  But I don’t want to play your jaded game anymore.  Find somebody else to whip you for your sins!

Henceforth I shall follow my grandfather’s advice: “Never argue with a fool in public, because the people looking on can’t tell who’s who!” You, on the other hand, would do well to understand that while Shakespeare was right, “All the world is a stage,” you are not writing the script!  Rather you should heed the warning of Mark Twain: “Tis far better to be thought a fool….than open yo mouth and remove all doubt!!!!!”

                                                                            Pootbutt Poet Marvin X
            The wisdom gained from 12 Years on CRACK!                
 Alas, Plato Negro I had to spank yo literary mentor too!

                  Chairing the Writers Panel with Sanchez and Baraka, Black Arts Festival


*** For my critique of Baraka read: ‘Amiri Baraka: Thought Policeman” on this blog.



 Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

November 10, 2012

What the Obama Victory Means

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , , on November 8, 2012 by playthell
Thanking Supporters for a Job Well Done

 Political Science + Organization + Candidate = VICTORY!

It isenough to witness the stunned looks and listen to the silly excuses offered by Republican strategists, and their media shills, attempt to explain why the Grand Obstructionist party crashed and burned at the polls to understand that they were caught off guard by the President’s smashing victory.

Viewing the smug statements of confidence offered by Fox’s favorite presidential soothsayers Dirty Dick Morris, and that prissy know-it-all George Will – who always reminds me of “Jughead” from the old “Archie” comics – they appear totally out of touch with the new political reality in the US.

Hence when Nate Silver, the real numbers crunching wizard at the New York Times, gave President Obama an 85% chance of reelection and predicted that he would win with over 300 votes in the Electoral College, he was greeted with boisterous chorus of angry invective and contemptuous ridicule by Mitt Romney’s supporters.  However as I write Silver is looking like a 21st century Nostradamus, except there is no mystery to his method of predicting the future.

While soothsayers of the past relied on incomprehensible Mumbo Jumbo – i.e. unseen supernatural forces – Nate Silver employs the scientific method. Fortunetellers rely on magic and scientists rely on math.  And it is clear that President Obama’s campaign strategist, the much maligned “Chicago Gang,” were relying on the same mathematics Silver was using in his calculus.

Although Silver was sitting in his cubical at the New York Times feeding massive amounts of data into his computers, analyzing it with an alogrithm of his invention, and the Obama campaign operatives were receiving their data from the reporting of on-the-ground organizers, after running 60, 000 computer simulations of likely voter behavior in specific districts nationwide, they arrived at the same conclusions about the outcome of the election with amazing accuracy.

Although the Obama strategists never spoke with the quantitative specificity of Mr. Silver, there was a quiet confidence in their manner graced by the sly smiles of those who know something that the rest of us don’t – especially their adversaries.  While the Romney campaign relied on propaganda based on blatant lies, bombarding the public with cleverly crafted messages by hot shot “Madison Avenue Mad Men” convinced they could sell ice cubes to Eskimos, Barack stood fast in his belief that integrity matters and the truth will out.  Because God don’t like ugly!

The Romney campaign, directed by haughty plutocrats and their lackeys at FOX TV, operated on circus promoter P.T. Barnum’s apocryphal axiom: “You can never go broke underestimating the taste and intelligence of the American public…and there’s a sucker born every minute.”

They also agreed with H. L. Menchen, a distinguished Dean of American letters who coined the term “Boobus Americanus,” which characterized a unique species of mass American ignoramus.  But Barack Obama maintained confidence in the basic wisdom of the American people, and held fast to his conviction that you can’t fool all the people all the time.

Viewed from the irrefutable perspective of history, Chilly B. Knowledge, the amazing Chi-Town Kid, was right.   That’s why he and Michelle are cribbin in the White House, while Mitt the Twit and the saditty Miss Ann are in the outhouse!

While the sophistication of their research, media propaganda and organizational capabilities were the vehicles that transported them to victory, in the end I believe the character and quality of their product won the day for the Democratic Party.  Barack’s honesty and personal integrity served to magnify Mitt’s smarmy moral relativism and avaricious character – his Cayman Island bank accounts and clandestine tax avoidance schemes that may yet prove criminal.

Alas, Mitt’s dramatic character deficits, when compared to Barack’s quiet virtues, proved far too formidable to overcome even with hundreds of millions of dollars invested in slick advertising.  The public just didn’t buy it!


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

November 8, 2012

Barack Obama is Re-elected!

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , on November 8, 2012 by playthell

Chilly B. Knowledge: Superstar!

 A Weary World Rejoices

As the foreign press reports on reactions to the American election abroad tell us, people everywhere were holding “watch parties,” anxiously awaiting the outcome. From Moscow and Peking, to Paris, Kenya, Kabul, Caracas, Berlin and elsewhere; people anxiously awaited the results of the Presidential election with bated breath.  When the news hit the wires that Obama had been reelected spirits danced all over the planet, in anticipation of better days for the nations of the world.

But this should come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to the President’s foreign policy.  Despite persistent attempts by the left to paint President Obama as a warmonger expanding the American empire, President Chavez of Venezuela, the most powerful leftist leader in Latin America, rooted for his victory.  Just one more indication of how delusional the American left is just now.

The Left Wing Parisian tabloid, “Liberation” ran a portrait of President Obama with the giant headline “Yes!”  And bloggers at the “Guardian,” a distinguished left leaning London Newspaper with a world-wide readership that I once regularly wrote for, observed with characteristic British irony: “The London Olympics went rather better than Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.”  It was their opportunity to pay the Mittster back for his ill-considered criticism of the London Olympics during Romney’s disastrous journey to Britain during the Olympic Games.

Corriere della Sera, an important Italian not only applauded the President’s victory but praised the expertise of his campaign team. “a team of professionals who made extensive use of ‘big data’ technology, along with extraordinary support for the president from music and film stars, a very effective Bill Clinton, and Michelle Obama, who carried on a parallel campaign in support of her husband as no first lady has done before.”

Russia’s authoritative paper Izvestia,  was cool to the outcome of but did note that  Barack was “more conciliatory” than Romney toward Russia.  However the article also featured a quote fom the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee in Parliament Alexi Pushov who called Barack’s Russian policy “tactless” and challenged him  to give the Russian government   “a signal of readiness to build a constructive personal relationship” with President Vladimir Putin.

The Sydney Morning Herald of Australia hailed the victory, and Daniel Filton, a senior foreign correspondent noted:  “BREATHE a sigh of relief, Australia—had Mitt Romney won the day, it would have made for an ugly time with our big alliance partner. Barack Obama, by contrast, will now be judged in his second term on a pledge to ‘pivot’ America’s attention to this neighborhood.”  Filton also noted that Obama’s economic policies were favored by the Aussies’  Treasurer Wayne Swan, who called the Tea Party Republicans in congress “Cranks and crazies!”

Press coverage in Japan was favorable to the election’s outcome and a senior foreign policy official was quoted as saying: “Japan welcomes the continuation of the U.S. basic policy that focuses on Asia.”  The South Korean Yohap News Service noted: “Relations between the U.S. and South Korea “have been arguably at their best state in nearly a decade.”

And while German’s Bild-Zeitung featured an English head line : “Yes he can again,” India’s Financial Times agonized over the fate of outsourcing by American corporations to India.  But this was the rare exception…which proves the rule.  In general the News of President Obama’s reelection inspired jubilation everywhere.

And not least of all at the rousing party thrown by State Senator Bill Perkins, at the Adam Clayton Powell office building in Harlem, where a packed house watched the results on a giant screen.  When the President’s victory was announced at a little past 11 oclock, the live band struck up “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” and everybody got up and boogied down!

Lady In Red

One of many Obama Suporters at Senator Perkin’s Party


 Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

November 7, 2012