Archive for December, 2012

Sambo to the Senate!

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , , , on December 22, 2012 by playthell

scott_and Haley banner_AP_jpg

South Carolina Governor Nikki Hailey Appoints Tim Scott

 Tim Scott is a Burlesque of a Black Man

The simple minded belief on the part of many Republicans that black people will support anybody who happens to be black for high political office is about to be exposed as a dangerous delusion- just like their belief that Mitt Romney was a sure shot over President Obama.

This is clearly the thinking behind the appointment of Congressman Tim Scott to the Senate seat abandoned by Jim Demint.   Alas Timmy is going to break their heart because most Afro-Americans wouldn’t follow this grinning bald headed Republican lickspittle to the toilet if they were suffering from diarrhea!

.Demint quit the senate to head the Heritage Foundation, a major right wing think tank.  It will be interesting to see if Norman Orenstein, the foremost scholar on the US Congress, will retain his research fellowship at that institution since has been cast in the role of enemy by conservatives after he fingered the Republicans in Congress as the major cause of gridlock in Washington in his recent book, “Its Worse Than it Looks.”

An ineffective legislator who cares more about ideology than governing, Demint will be happy as a hog in slop at the Heritage Foundation, where he can play a major role in taking the Republican Party even further to the right while directing the propaganda efforts designed to win new converts to their cause.

In Tim Scott Demint feels he has a trustworthy successor.  After all, this is a guy who has introduced a bill that would make it legal to kick children on food stamps off the program if a family member goes on strike with their union.  And he called for the impeachment of President Obama over the debt ceiling.  Hence this guy is one of the most rabid of the far right Tea Party reactionaries, and he will not gain many more black votes than Jim Demint. As my aunt Rosa would say: He may be our color but he ain’t our kind.” Tim Scott is a redneck in black face, or at least that’s how he presents himself.   Only he knows for sure.

However, given what the Republican Party stands for Tim is working against the interests of the majority of black Americans; hence he is willing to sell his people down the river for personal gain.  The Republican Party became prominent in the South – where not that long ago Republicans were almost as rare as flying saucers – by systematically playing on the racial resentments of  white southerners who were enraged and threatened by the advances made by Afro-Americans by virtue of the successes of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.

If Tim Scott does not know this history then he can be dismissed as a pitiful ignoramus, and this is not beyond the realm of possibility since the boy looks and sounds retarded.  But if he is fully aware of the Republican Party’s history in the South – which has been brilliantly documented in the book “The Politics of Rage, by Dr. Dan T. Carter – then he is a quisling, and favors no one so much as the “Sambo” character defined by Dr. Stanley M. Elkins in his treatise “Slavery and the Sambo Personality.”

Sambo Doin his Thing!

2012 Republican National Convention: Day 2

 Sellin Us Down the River!

In an attempt to explain the character of the obsequious slave who loved his master and wanted to be just like him, Professor Elkins constructed a comparative analysis of black slavery on an American slave plantation and Jewish life in a Nazi concentration camp.  Based on the observations of Jewish Psychiatrists – like Dr. Bruno Bettlehiem – who observed the personality deterioration of their fellow inmates in the camps, some of whom began to act like the Nazi guards to the extent of trying to shape their prison caps so that they looked like the Nazi caps, Elkins extrapolated a theory of the pathological slave personality which he called “Sambo.”

Sambo was the type of slave that loved the master no matter how badly he was treated, it was pathological behavior, to love and imitate the behavior of those who are oppressing your people contradicts the first law of nature: Self-Preservation!  Although Professor Elkin’s thesis has been proven incorrect regarding the majority of slaves by other historians who examined his thesis – see “Slave Culture” by Dr. Sterling Stuckey, “Slave Community” by Dr. John Blassingame,”  “American Negro Slave Revolts” by Dr. Herbert Aptheker, and “Negro comrades of the Crown” by Dr. Gerald Horn – the Sambo personality was real in a minority of slaves.

And, I fear, Timmy Scott is their direct descendent! What can one conclude about a black man who opposes anv changes to the Second Amendmentbecause he wants to uphold the original values of the US Constitution.  Now, it could be that this bald headed charlatan is as ignorant of the Constitution as many of the Tea Party zealots who voted him into office.  But the “original values” of the Constitution protected the slave trade, sanctioned slavery and confined voting to property holding white males!

The Constitution is an 18th century document written by racist, sexist,  white supremacist Anglo-Saxon males who could neither conceive of a black congressman nor devastating military assault weapons in the hands of ordinary citizens in a nation with a nuclear armed military capable of destroying the world in 30 minutes.

With a standing army and domestic police force capable of  conducting total surveillance of the populace and suppress any domestic disturbance, it is insane to argue, as the Gun Ownere of America and other right-wing nuts are doing, that they need assault rifiles to defend themselves against the federal government.  Especially since any attempt to organize an ad-hoc military force would be carefully monitored and destroye at the first attmpt to carry out an armed assault.

Ironically,  both slavery and an unfettered gun culture represent grave dangers to the possibility of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for Afro-Americans – yet Senator Sambo believes this to represent the “original values” of the Constitution.  And the fact that Mr. Scott refuses to join the Congressional Black Caucus, which came into existence so that black legislators could plot legislative strategies to benefit Afro-Americans in that overwhelminly white and very powergul branch of government.  Hence, when all things are considered,  it is self-evident that Timmy is either a damned fool or a traitor to his people…a post-modern Sambo!

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Tim Scott’s Voting Record after two years in the House of Representatives

He’s anti-union. Scott’s website salivates over the free enterprise of right-to-work states. He  supported the anti-union bills listed below and published the list on his website under the guise of “protecting worker’s rights”:
• HR 745, Davis-Bacon Repeal Act
• HR 1047, State Right to Vote Act
• HR 2040, National Right-to-Work Act
• HR 2978, Protecting American Jobs Act
• HR 3135, Adjusting Davis-Bacon for Inflation Act

He’s anti-gay. His website proudly announces that he believes in “defending traditional values” and the “moral principles our country was founded on.” He even signed a formal measure (H.Con.Res. 25) “disapproving” of the administration’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

He wants to impeach the president. Scott just threw it out that that he wouldn’t mind impeaching Barack Obama over the debt ceiling talks. When the GOP threatened to shut down the government over the debt ceiling, the point was raised that Obama could invoke the 14th Amendment and raise the ceiling himself. Scott said that would be an “impeachable act.”

He cut AIDS and HIV funding. Scott supported a bill that slashed funding to more than 2,000 South Carolinians with HIV and AIDS because he’s totally against government spending — unless the government is spending money on something he wants (see #7 and #8 on this list).

He wants to kick kids off food stamps. Scott proposed a bill that would remove children from a family’s food stamp program if one of their parents went on strike.

He’s pro-gun. Scott says he will fight to make sure that the Second Amendment “is not weakened in any way.” He supported these bills:
• HR 58, Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act
• HR 420, Veterans Heritage Firearms Act
• HR 645, Second Amendment Enforcement Act
• HR 822, National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act
• HR 1093, ATF Reform Act
• HR 1181, Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act
• HR 3814, to prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloging the purchases of multiple rifles and guns

  1. He defends      tax subsidies to Big Oil. Scott rejected a bill to close      loopholes that would have saved taxpayers $53 million and      another that would have ended taxpayer subsidies      for the five largest oil companies. When ThinkProgress asked him why it      was fair for him to protect Big Oil at the expense of the taxpayer, he had      the audacity to reply, “‘Fair’ is a relative word.”
  2. He loves      government spending for his pet projects. Scott tried to get the government      to pay to put statues of the Ten Commandments outside the Charleston City      Council Chambers. It took a lawsuit from the ACLU      to stop it.
  3. He’s      hardcore pro-life. Here’s just a sampling of the bills he’s supported      on that front:
    HR 3, No      Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
    • HR 217, Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
    • HR 358, Protect Life Act
    • HR 1179, Respect for Rights of Conscience Act
    • HR 2059, to prohibit funding to the U.N. Population Fund
    • HR 2299, Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act
    • HR 2874, Abstinence Education Reallocation Act
    • HR 3803, District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

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Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

December 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Now’s The Time to Talk about Guns!

Posted in Cultural Matters, Playthell on politics with tags , , , on December 18, 2012 by playthell
           obamamain1(2)_580_x_380         President Obama Speaks to the Mourners

 “The Constitution is Not a Suicide Pact”

Abraham Lincoln

Once more President Obama was called upon to eulogize the slaughtered innocents who were murdered in cold blood by a mad gunman.  It is the fourth time in his four year tenure in office that he has been called to soothe the pain of the nation after a mindless mass murder.

This time it was the coldblooded murder of 20 little children in the tranquil, affluent, village of Newtown Connecticut. With expressions that ranged from solemnity to disgust to anger, the President asked with an air of barely concealed outrage if anyone believed the murder of children was the price of freedom.

It was a shocking thought and an unacceptable bargain odious to all Americans.  Some thought it a rhetorical question, but it was carefully targeted at the Second Amendment gun nuts – like the Gun Owners Association and the National Rifle Association  who argue that the right to own guns of whatever caliber and quantity is a constitutional right identical to freedom of assembly, religion and the press.

However I have long believed this is a bogus argument, as do the best and the brightest legal scholars.  Including President Obama, who was a Professor of Constitutional Law, trained by brilliant constitutional scholars at Harvard such as Lawrence Tribe and Charles Ogeltree. My feeling on the matter derives from my understanding of the historical milieu in which the Second Amendment was drafted.

There is grand irony in the position of those who argue for “Originalist” interpretations of the Constitution, but now choose to ignore “original intent” in regard to the Second Amendment. The kind of muddled twisted legal arguments advanced by the right on the question of the original intent of the drafters of the US Constitution regarding the right to own guns, is on dramatic display in Justice Clarence Thomas’ written Opinion in the Otis McDonald Vs. Oak Park case regarding a challenge to the gun control laws of the city of Chicago.

On the face of it to argue that the architects of our constitution intended for American citizens to walk around with assault rifles, as does Larry Pratt, the President of the Gun Owners of America, is ludicrous. Especially when the fool argues that we need such weapons to protect ourselves against the US government…whom we can just vote out of power!

It is the argument of a charlatan or a fool, especially after the experience of the 1960’s when white and black “revolutionaries” on the left actually tried it and  were easily crushed by the local police departments actting on intelligence from the FBI.  They are far better armed now with intelligence and weaponary!

The argument that the Founding Fathers would bless these deadly weapons is a retreat into fantasy that borders on collective madness among the gun freaks. First of all they couldn’t even conceive of killing machines like modern weapons, and would surely have been appalled by them.   I haven’t the slightest doubt that they would have hastened to ban such ghastly weapons, just like the best and brightest Americans wish to do now.

Aside from the fact that it is absurd to argue that we don’t have the power to ban something that is a menace to society today because it was once a good idea, the reasons why the Second Amendment was crafted in the first place no longer exist; after all this is an 18th century document and it is now the dawning of the 21st century!

When the framers of the Constitution formulated the Second Amendment they had just concluded a war with England at felt threatened by other great European powers interested in overseas expansion.  Hence the citizen/soldier was a critical component of the nation’s defense.  But foreign invaders are no longer an issue, given the vast power of our nuclear armed military, which can project devastating force anywhere in the world with blinding speed.  We are more likely to be invaded by men from Mars as another sovereign country.

The sad truth is that the greatest danger to Americans comes from the guns on the home front.  And, irony of ironies, Americans wouldn’t accept prolonged involvement in a foreign war where the casualty rate was equal to the domestic rates – which stands at 30 gun casualties a day!  What does that tell us about the state of our union…it is in a state of emergency, and many Americans are on life support as I write trying to recover from gunshot wounds.

Dr. WEB DuBois’ description of white racist violence against Afro-Americans in the early twentieth century – the hey-day of lynching when a black person was hung, shot or burned alive for the amusement of morally depraved white spectators every two and a half days – is an apt description of the predicament of all Americans today.  “Not all the time but anytime,” wrote DuBois…Not everywhere but anywhere.”

The well-financed gun lobby has scared the shit out of opportunistic politicians who fear that the lobbyist will marshal their organizational and financial clout against them in the next election if they support gun control legislation.  Hence the rest of us are forced to live in danger of becoming a random casualty of some crazed gunman or a criminal with a bad aim.

The situation is such as I write that just going out of the house is like playing Russian Roulette.  Although right-wing charlatans like Mike Huckabee blame the shootings on banning prayer in schools,  I believe that most Americans are getting tired of living in terror, as the slaughter of children in the idyllic village of Newtown Connecticut underlines the fact that nowhere is safe…because the danger zone is everywhere!

By virtue of the public outrages over this latest massacre President Obama should move boldly and swiftly to change the gun laws and outlaw assault weapons. And he should double dare the Grand Obstructionist Party to block its passage.  If they remain intransigent about gun control they will dig their own graves.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set forth a challenge to the Congress, calling the National Rifle Asociation paper tigers, and President Obama should follow his lead.

What we are witnessing in these mass murders is barbarism…and the lapse of the ban on assault weapons signed into law by President Clinton is yet another plague visited upon the American people by the Bush Administration.  As for those who cry that gun control infringes on their constitutional rights, Barack should once again consult his fellow Illinois politician “Honest Abe” and tell the Second Amendment zealots “The Constitution is not a suicide pact!”

 Not Everywhere …But Anywhere

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 Not all the time…But anytime!

 

Is Class Warfare Real?

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , , on December 11, 2012 by playthell
michigan-protests
Enraged Unionists in Ohio

 You bet yo Ass it’s Real!

President Obama spoke out strongly and decisively against the union busting efforts of the Republican controlled legislature and Governor to turn Michigan into a so-called “Right-to Work” state.  President Obama told a group of auto-workers, who are the main target of the scurrilous legislation, what they really mean is “the right to work for less!”  However as I write their efforts have become a fait accompli, because the legislation has passed both houses of the state legislature and the Governor promptly signed it into law.

Governor Snyder’s declaration of his intention to sign this bill prompted a scathing editorial in the Detroit Free Press.  Titled “A Failure of Leadership,” it  exposed the governor as a liar and a fraud and accused him of betraying the voters of Michigan.  Reporters who have looked closely at the matter were puzzled, because just a few weeks ago, before the presidential election, he said that right-to-work laws are divisive and it wouldn’t be good for Michigan.

Labor leaders in Michigan says that the held several meetings with him and he had always promised that he wouldn’t support any such initiatives.  They are accusing him of shameless duplicity.  Upon further investigation we find the usual suspects financing and directing this assault on organized labor.  Bankrolle by anti-labor plutocrats like the Koch brothers, and directed by right-wing think Tanks such as ALEC, which generates policy options for the elected officials whose campaigns they finance.

It is warfare when the richest people in our society invests hundreds of millions of dollars promoting policies that will reduce the low share of income taxes they presently pay while reducing the meager, life sustaining, entitlements provided by the federal government! And it is warfare when they pass laws ending government regulation of their business activities while destroying the right to collective bargaining which is the source of union power.

The high-handed way in which this is legislation was passed in Michigan leaves no doubt as to their intentions.   There were no public hearings on this landmark legislation that will change the relations between capital and labor in that highly unionized state, and drastically reduce the life’s chances of the working and middle class…a distinction that increasingly has no real difference in the Darwinian struggle for bread in America – especially for public sector workers.

However the diminishing of worker’s power to bargain is only part of the reason why the plutocrats and their shills in the Republican Party want the destruction of unions.  The broader objective is to destroy the major sources of Democratic Party support.  With the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United Decision the Republicans have a source of unlimited financial support, and while the unions cannot match the financial largess of the Plutocrats, they can deploy legions of organizers and foot soldiers to work for their candidates of choice.  And this proved decisive.

Hence it is not just the rights and bargaining power of union members that is at stake if the Republicans are allowed to bust up the great unions; the democratic process itself is at stake. The choice is between democracy or plutocracy; whether we shall be a nation governed by the super-rich minority or the broad majority of Americans.

Viewed from this perspective, the anti-union movement is fundamentally anti-democratic; its ultimate purpose is to make the right to vote meaningless for millions of working class Americans.  When coupled with the loss of collective bargaining rights, which has been the engine that drove the unprecedented levels of wages and benefits the US working class achieved in the twentieth century, the destruction of unions is in every meaningful respect a war against the working class by the corporate plutocracy.  Hence the passage of “Right-to Work” laws, which will dissolve the power of unions is a vicious assault on workers.

It doesn’t matter that they are not using guns to achieve their objectives – although the possibility of force remains an ever present possibility once these right-wing reactionaries are elected to office and gain control of the police powers of the state.  As Mao Tse Tung, one of history’s greatest  military theorist, observed: “War is politics with bloodshed; politics is war without bloodshed!”

Workers are in the Streets

 Workers proteat

” Power yields nothing without demand!”
(Double Click on link to see documentary on Koch Brothers)
http://youtu.be/UTwqkl8BqSc
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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
December 11. 2012

It’s Hawk Time!

Posted in On Sports! with tags , on December 8, 2012 by playthell
The Hawk IIAaron “The Hawk” Pryor marking his prey

 Panegyric for a Wondrous Light-Welterweight

Aaron “The Hawk” Prior, the Cincinnati magician, majestically rules the realm of the rectangular arena dedicated to the macho art of prize fighting in the Jr. Welter-weight class.  He is to boxing what Richard Pryor is to comedy: gutsy, funky, adventurous, inventive, original and black.  Both artists approach their art in a fashion that epitomizes the unique style of black America.

Considered by many boxing aficionados to be “the most exciting fighter in the game,” Pryor has also convincingly demonstrated that he is a superb technician.   He is a legit practitioner of the “Sweet Science, ”  when boxing becomes such a complex, highly nuanced, athletic performance that passion and pain combine with speed and grace in some special alchemy  that combat is transformed into art.

The Hawk in Battle!

aaron-pryor
Dominating the great Alexis Aguello
AaronPryorAnd twice he stopped him before the final bell  

Many fans, as well as boxing wise guys, didn’t need The Hawk’s devastating destruction of the Great Alexis Arguello to recognize Pryor’s pugilistic gifts.  For me it was quite enough to witness his stunning performance against then Canadian Light-weight Champion, the hard punching Gaeton Hart.  It was clear that Pryor was as versatile a fighter as I have ever seen; as he out-boxed and outpunched Hart at will.

It was amusing to listen to the comments of the self-styled boxing “experts” preceding Pryor/Arguello fight.  Their comments resembled an unbroken panegyric to the invincibility of the three time Nicaraguan champion.  Over and over, one heard the opinion that Pryor was just too wild and reckless to have any real chance of defeating the cool, methodical, Arguello.

The more these “experts” pressed their arguments, the more they revealed their bias for Arguello and their blindness to the brilliant gifts of Pryor.  Strangely enough, like Jazz, a quintessentially black male art, all the big-time media critics are white males.  For the superficial observer this fact may have no special relevance, yet it is key to understanding the point of view of the clique of white guys who mold the public perception of the boxing game.

As the former Director of Public Relations for Butch Lewis Productions, which represented several black world champions – beginning with the great Michael Spinks – I know whereof I speak.  By virtue of his light complexion, straight hair, suave soft spoken manner, and executive style of dress, the average middle class white male finds it much easier to identify with Alexis Arguello than Aaron Pryor.

I have no doubt that they would all vehemently deny this.  But the treatment accorded Pryor and Arguello in the press convinces me otherwise.  One need only consider the language employed by the boxing wags to find abundant evidence for my claim.  Arguello is constantly referred to as “a complete gentleman,” who is “very intelligent,” and therefore “too classy for Pryor.”

At one point Pryor had to remind them that he was the American fighter: “Alexis Arguello is trying to take the sympathy from the home boy with that nice guy act.  There are no gentlemen in the ring!”  At no point preceding the match did Pryor give the impression that he had the slightest doubt that he would stop Arguello.

Rather Pryor regarded this as a dream match that would finally provide him the opportunity to demonstrate his conviction that pound for pound he is the best boxer in the world.  Pryor feels that he has been denied the opportunity to display his true greatness because the biggest names in the game have been avoiding him!

The list includes Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns – whom he beat as an amateur – Roberto Duran, Wilfredo Duran, et al.  With his convincing demolition of El Grand Champion Alexis Arguello, stopping him twice, The Hawk has greatly enhanced his case!  Now let’s see what other big names will step in the ring and prove their mettle.

(To see the second fight Click on the Link below.)

http://youtu.be/R2pHoltBBX4

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* This is a is a Golden Oldie

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem New York

November 1982