Archive for June, 2013

Barack Obama in Africa

Posted in On Foreign Affairs with tags , on June 30, 2013 by playthell

Obama in South Africa

                        The President and First Lady Toast the President of South Africa

 A Sojourn in the Land of his Father

On his three nations African tour Barack Hussein Obama is being greeted with enthusiastic cheers from the people and warmly welcomed by heads of state.  Beginning his week long journey on the continent in Senegal, a democratic francophone nation on the West Coast of Africa, he was greeted like the prodigal son returning home and was showered with love everywhere he went.   South Africa was somewhat different.

As is the case here in the US, the left boisterously protested a variety of issues in South Africa; which is healthy because it signifies a robust democracy in both countries.  I am fairly certain that the members of the South African trade Unions that staged the demonstrations failed to appreciate the fact that President Obama is fighting for their right to organize everywhere in Africa – which is far from the case now.

This kind of freedom of speech has a short tenure in South Africa, which just a little over 20 years ago was a white supremacist police state with a racial caste system enforced by the police powers of the apartheid government.  The same was true for the US, which only dismantled the last vestiges of its white supremacist legal structure in 1964, less than 50 years ago.

Although African Americans were first granted the right to vote with the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870, the southern states of the former confederacy found ways to nullify it by the end of the 19th century.  It took the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to restore the vote to millions of black Americans; but the Supreme Court had just gutted the heart of the law, and act which experts say will decrease the vote of Afro-Americans and other minorities.

Hence in South Africa and the US the struggle for racial equality continues, which has left many in the historically oppressed classes disillusioned. Agitated and organized by the left, some factions of the black communities have rejected the new black leaders and are even accusing them of betrayal.

Everywhere the Youths Beamed Sunshine Smiles….

Obama in South Africa

 …..that mirrored their Affection and Pride in President Obama

However, the leftist are a minority.  The majority of black people in Africa and America believe that for those two formerly Herrenvolk democracies, based on white master race ideology – a set of beliefs in which blacks were viewed as little more than beast of burden – to now be governed by black Presidents is a great leap forward for African people in the world. This was abundantly clear from the radiant smiles on the faces of the brightest young people; they know that this is a great moment in the history of their people that is the culmination of centuries of struggle, and they fully understand what this means for their future even if the self-styled leftist “revolutionaries” are cluless.

The South African Left Reflects the American Right

Protesters gather outside Johannesburg University

 The Idiotic South African Left advertising its Confusion

The attempt to cast President Obama as Adolph Hitler is one of the most scurrilous tactics of the racist American right.  It is ahistorical and stupid, and for black South African leftist to also adopt this tactic confirms the fact that they are as deluded as their Tea Party soul mates in the US despite their leftist rhetoric.  Which explains why I am contemptuous of ideologues of whatever stripe.  The demonstrations were organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions – COSATU – the South African Communist Party, A Muslim organization that tried to get a warrant for President Obama’s arrest as a war criminal – an idea they probably borrowed from that gapped tooth bushy headed buffoon Cornel West – and radical students.

The first thing the careful observer notices is that if this coailtion of groups were to succeed in taking power in South Africa – although I suspect we have a better chance of witnessing elephants fly – they would soon be at each other’s throats.  Marxist and Muslims are a worse mix than oil and water, and the Communist Party would end up at war with the unions because communist do not permit independent unions that challenge the power of the Party…politics make strange bedfellows.

A Racist Poster from the American Right
Is the South African Left and the American Right Soul Brothers?

In order to recognize the impotence of the South African left as an oppositional force to the government, we need look no further than Egypt.  As I write the opposition to the government is expressed in mass demonstrations with people packed together in row upon row of impassioned protesters demanding the resignation of the nation’s president.  This is a true people’s movement in Egypt, but based on the reactions to South Africa’s left-wing “No Obama” campaign, they don’t appear to be much more effective than the Black Obama bashers in the US at convincing the masses of black people that President Obama is their enemy!

Those who grew up under apartheid, when the US government supported white supremacy and the CIA tracked down Nelson Mandela for the fascist apartheid regime, know better from bitter experience and most of the students seem able to sense it.  One only has to witness the admiration showered upon the President every time he spoke to the youths to recognize that the anti-Obama propaganda from the left had no effect.

There is nothing the leftist ideologues can say with their “rhapsody” of gloom and doom that can equal the power of hope and possibility the youths of Africa heard in Barack Obama’s speech at the University of Cape Town; especially since he embodies their dreams in his example.   The President told the students how his interest in politics was inspired by the struggle of Mandela and the ANC against Apartheid, and reflected on how far black people have advanced in both South Africa and the USA since then.

The screams of protest from the left rang hollow when played against the President’s message outlining the road to a bright future that awaits young people in Africa, and the role that trade and investment with the US will play.  And they were especially attentive when he talked about the role of personal  “freedom” in economic development and scientific innovation, or explained the importance of food security.  They broke into tumultuous applause when he announced a 7 billion dollar US investment in Africa to double the electrical output on the continent.

They responded with sustained applause when he said that full development can only happen “when governments exist to serve the people and not the other way around,” and explained the elements of democratic government.  And his call for the equal education of women was greeted by repeated outburst of applause.  As was his arguments against the notion that democratic government is the sole heritage of the white west, while pointing out that their experiment with democracy in South Africa now inspires people around the world.

And they listened with rapt attention when he explained that the role of the Africa Command – whose mission is much maligned by the left – is to assist Africans in keeping the peace in places like Somalia, Mali, Central African Republic, Congo – places where genocide might otherwise occur.  He spoke directly to the charges of the Left and demolished them with ease.  Throughout his speech the President constantly quoted the words of Nelson Mandela, the father of the nation who is lying in the hospital under a death watch, to underline his point.

When President Obama’s sunshine smile, infectious charm, brilliant mind, great since of humor and impeccable comic timing, and moving eloquence is added to his basic decency, lack of pretentiousness and hip understanding of pop culture – as when he casually rattled off the names of top South African pop music groups – he is without peers among his critics on the left or right…which is why they are like Jackals howling in the bush while the caravan moves on.

The President’s critics have not yet recognized that in order to prevail in their attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people and turn them against him they must offer a vision of freedom, justice and progress that can match his.  Thus far they have been a colossal failure!  And even so, Barack is the President of the USA, the most powerful man in the world; he can make things happen…while his critics can only complain.  And then he also has a secret weapon: our first Lady Michelle, whose genuine warmth and charm coupled with great intelligence beguiles people all over the world!  In Africa or America the Obamas are da bomb!  The Huxtables on steroids and even more popular.

A Magic Moment with the First Lady
Michelle and African Girls 
A Moment these girls will Never Forget
(Part two of my of our look at President Obama’s African sojourn we will examine the economic, political and military conditions on the African continent.)


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York


Thug Life!

Posted in On Sports! with tags , , on June 29, 2013 by playthell
          The heavily inked Aaron Hernandez            Tupac’s Living Legacy

 Another Nihilistic Sociopath Bites the Dust

There are some guys, mostly young blacks and Hispanics, who are so screwed up with personal problems, head problems, that fame and fortune can’t save them.  Aaron Hernandez, an All-Pro tight end with the New England Patriots, one of the most successful franchises in professional football, is a dramatic case in point.

At a time when young people with degrees in law and engineering can’t buy a job in today’s economy, Hernandez was living his dream in a fabulous mansion, had just signed a 40 million contract, and was about to have a banner year as the team would be forced to rely on him more because the great Gronkowski, the Patriots other star tight end, has undergone a back operation and would not be at his best.

At a time of gloom and doom for many fine young people who have done all the right things but still can’t realize their dreams, everything was coming up roses for Aaron Hernandez, a handsome, hunky, 23 year old multimillionaire on the way to superstardom and even more millions!  Alas, in a flash…he fucked it all up!  And behind some really dumb shit too!

Hernandez is charged with First Degree Murder and several gun violations.  Although the details that support his murder indictment are still emerging; the DA has a strong circumstantial case that convinced the Judge, a white female, who said she could not take the responsibility of allowing him back on the streets…because if any significant part of the District Attorney’s narrative is true this guy is a clear and present menace to society.  Hernandez sounds like a really treacherous dude who might do no telling what.

He is charged with having executed an Afro-American semi-pro football player with the Boston Bandits named Odin Lloyd, in league with two accomplices: Carlos Ortiz and Wallace.  The police believe that these three might also have committed a double homicide in Boston during 2012, and it was Olin Lloyd’s knowledge of these murders that led to his execution.  Since all three men will be facing life in prison without possibility of parole, the DA is counting on them squealing on each other to get a better deal…one may even turn state witness and sing like a canary!

All of this increases the chances that Aaron Hernandez will be convicted of murder.  The whole thing sounds like a poorly imagined action movie…as fiction it would be a flop because it would be impossible to convince many people that somebody who was young, rich and successful would behave like Hernandez.

It just doesn’t make any sense and calla our attention to the fact that there are some lost and twisted young men out here who are coldblooded enough to murder somebody for kicks!   These play play gangstas have made gangsterism a life style; they are so misguided they believe real gangsters act this way.  But the Italian mob, which they all so admire,  are businessmen who only engage in murder when big money is involved: not just for the fun of it.

As I write Hernandez is spending the first night away from his 7000 square foot mansion, because when the judge denied bail he was cuffed and taken straight away to prison by a posse of heavily armed policemen who would brook not the slightest resistance.  I studied his face as the judge explained why she would not set bail at any price, explaining that she could not trust him to honor the bail agreement because he had violated the laws of society so badly that the rulings of her court would not deter him.

I wondered what he was thinking as he arrived at the little bare cell, which he will share with another prisoner in the ominous looking maximum security prison. It could well be his home for the rest of his life!  We were taken on a television tour of this grim facility by a crime reporter who told us how the inmates – thieves, rapist, murders or worse – were shouting “touchdown Patriots” as Hernandez was being escorted to his cell.

Tupac: Avatar of Thug Life


Dead Before 30: Hernandez’ Role Model?

Has it dawned upon him yet that real life is not like a rap record, where the gangstas always gets the girl, is respected “as a man” in the “streets,” shoots people here and there while living life like a continuous party?  Aaron Hernandez is another casualty arising from the fact that he didn’t have the benefit of a wise father around.  I’m told his father died when he was 16, which makes him 13 years older than I was when my father died.

I mention this in order to point out that I was blessed with an unusually bright an able mother, and a fabulous family in which there were many fine male role models – an embarrassment of riches compared to many Afro-American youths today.  I suspect things were somewhat different for Hernandez.  There may have been male role models in his life but they must have been far different from the men in mine. Of course  I am advancing this suspicion without knowing all the facts; I am speculating based upon the descriptions of Hernandez’ behavior that I have heard from the police reports.

For instance the hyper-masculine tough guy with the hair trigger temper, ready to resort to violence from even trivial insult, is clearly present in Hernandez’ character.  How else can we explain why a young man who is making millions legitimately, doing something he loves, is acting like a Mafia Capo?  I believe he has been listening to too many gangsta Rap records; it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that he is a Tupac freak…because he has certainly been trying his best to live the “Thug Life” Tupac Celebrated.

And like Tupac, who was shot dead riding with Shug Night – a 300 pound gangsta /Hip Hop mogul and former college football player who lined up on the other side of the ball – Thug Life may also spell the end for Hernandez.  The reason boys need strong smart fathers is so that they will have somebody to tell them that living a thug’s life will land you in jail or the cemetery.  Tupac is in the cemetery and Aaron Hernandez is in jail…quite possibly for life!

He Went From This

Aaron Hernandez II

 A Multi-Millionaire Football Star

To This!

Aaron Hernandez III Prisoner

Shackled for Life? 



But What If They Are Wrong?

Posted in On Domestic Terrorism, Playthell on politics with tags , , , on June 17, 2013 by playthell

New Yorkers running for their lives on 9-11

              New Yorkers Running For Their Lives on 9/11         

Are the Leakers Endangering National Security?

As I listen to the media chatterboxes scream bloody murder over revelations that the National Security Agency has been monitoring the phone calls of US citizens in an attempt to foil terrorist plots, I am amazed at the combination of naiveté and self-importance exhibited by many of the commentators.  To listen to them talk about their fears that the government may be spying on them one is forced to question the extent to which these people have a grasp on reality.

I have some questions for them: If you are not engaged in a criminal enterprise or a terrorist plot what are you worried about?  And if you are worried about someone listening in on an embarrassing conversation, why don’t you just stop whacking off on the phone or dangling your weenie in cyberspace like former Congressman Weiner?   And do you really believe that your personal privacy should be given a higher priority by our government than protecting the nation from a devastating terrorist attack?  Do you believe that the Obama Administration is using the effort to defend the American people against terrorism as a smoke screen to disguise his real purpose, which is to spy on the American people and create files on everybody because he is a tyrant that wants to enslave us all?

If you believe these things you are a paranoid ignoramus, or a self- righteous libertarian, which are dangerous personality disorders that can lead you to do some really crazy things.  Like expose classified documents and other government secrets which are lawfully held and that you have sworn not to disclose as a condition of accepting employment under the threat of severe legal sanction should you violate this agreement.  This is what Edward Snowden agreed to of his own free will when he applied for a Top Secret security clearance and took a job working for the Central Intelligence Agency, and later as an independent contractor providing computer related services.

Predictably conspiracy theorists on the left and right, who view our government as an oppressive apparatus out to reduce us all into some kind of new age slaves – despite the fact that we voted for them and can easily remove them with our votes – have declared Snowden and his ilk to be heroes.  If we listen to the conspiracy mongers in the press and elsewhere one would think we were living in a police state, where a dissenting opinion will land you in a dungeon somewhere or in front of a firing squad – since that’s what happens in a real police state.  It is all absurd!

However people who believe this hysterical Tommy Rot and applaud Snowden for breaking his confidentiality agreement also view him as a champion of the American people in their struggle to free themselves from an oppressive government.  But I agree with the lawyer/journalist/legal scholar Jeffry Toobin who observes: “For this, some, including my colleague John Cassidy, are hailing him as a hero and a whistle-blower. He is neither. He is, rather, a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison.”  This is also a fitting description of and prescription for Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame and his partner in crime Private Bradley Manning.

Listening to young progressive broadcast journalists like Chris Hayes and others on MSNBC – the liberal/left counterstatement to that burlesque on journalism FOX News – who are all over this story as if they think it is a new Watergate, we see how far afield some of them have gone.  Chris Hayes pronounced with great pomposity that he never gave Facebook and Google permission to give the government access to his information, and conclude that these social media corporations “are in trouble.”

It is hard to imagine how anyone could be more clueless.  If he thinks these companies are going to suffer any substantial loss of business over this he is thoroughly deluded.  Most Americans think thwarting terrorists is more important than the concerns that exercise him.  And they don’t care if the government has to look at their phone and internet records to do it; especially since they feel they have nothing to hide.  I think the response of Lawrence O’Donnell after quietly listening to Chris Hayes’ passionate fulminations on this question is typical of most Americans: “I have heard nothing among the things you point out that scares me,” he calmly pronounced. To which I say “ditto!”

Furthermore, the press doesn’t rank that high in the opinion of average Americans – which is a tragedy because we need a strong independent press – so these Prima Donnas who can’t resist preening before the cameras had better watch their step!  They could be engaging in self-immolation.  Especially if people get the impression that they are endangering national security by publishing classified intelligence documents.  For instance there are claims from the intelligence community that this type of electronic surveillance has foiled terrorist plots in 20 different countries as well as the USA.

When compared to this record, concerns from average citizens about somebody in the government snooping on their lives sounds trite, if not ridiculous, since many of these peopled don’t even find their lives interesting themselves; let alone some government intelligence official trying to uncover a terrorist plot.  As I wrote in “Barack Obama and the Global Jihad, posted on December 16, 2011, “The measures President Obama is taking to wage war against the Jihadists is neither unprecedented nor unconstitutional.”

What Americans who are concerned with protecting civil liberties for the majority of law abiding citizens should really be worried about is what will happen to our democracy if the Jihadists should succeed in detonating a dirty bomb or nuclear weapon in a heavily populated American metropolis.  Should this ever happen, we will lose all of our civil liberties with popular consent!  People will be so frightened by the horror of it all they will agree to anything if they it will make them safer.

The three times Pulitzer Prize winning foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, Thomas L. Freedman echoes my sentiments exactly in a June 12, 2013 column titled Blowing a Whistle.   “Yes, I worry about potential government abuse of privacy from a program designed to prevent another 9/11 – abuse that, so far, does not appear to have happened.  But I worry even more about another 9/11…not because I don’t care about civil liberties, but because…I believe that if there is one more 9/11 – or worse, an attack involving nuclear material – it could lead to the end of the open society as we know it.  If there is another 9/11 I fear that 99% of Americans would tell their members of Congress: ‘Do whatever you need to, privacy be damned, just make sure this does not happen again.”

They Jihadist are at work recruiting soldiers for Al Islam 24/7


To join the fight against the “Great Satan”
 And they have an unlimited number of fanatics to recruit from!
Blog_0 And we have got to keep them and US associates under Surveillance

Those Libertarians and other anti-government hysterics who argue that the NSA survelliance programs are unconstitutional because they violate the privacy rights guaranteed under the 4th Amendment should first of all read the text, and then they should bear in mind that the Constitution “means” whatever the Supreme Court says it means at any given time.

The history of constitutional law leaves no doubt about that assertion.  We have but to consider the Court’s decisions in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, and Brown V. the Board of Education in 1954 to find irrefutable evidence for this claim.  Hence when the text of the 4th Amendment prohibits “unreasonable” search and seizures they purposely left room for interpretation depending upon the conditions that prevail at the time.  And I have no doubt that were they confronted with a shadowy, sinister, deadly, enemy who have already committed mass murder against American citizens and are preparing to do it again  – or far worse – once they get the opportunity, the architects of the US Constitution would find the NSA survelliance program entirely reasonable!

The burden of proof in demonstrating that the program is unreasonable falls on the critics.  For as Abraham Lincoln said during the terrible Civil War: “The constitution is not a suicide pact!”  And as for the likes of Private Bradley, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, and this guy Snowden: I think they should be tried under the espionage act and hung for giving aide to the enemy during war time – preferably on Prime time television in order to discourage others that may be thinking about following their example!

The know it all  whiners who think these leakers are heroes, defenders of our freedom, glibly assure us that Jihadists terror attacks can be checkmated without the kind of electronic surveillance the NSA is conducting………but suppose they are wrong?


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem New York
June 17, 2013



A South African Views US Redskin Controversy

Posted in Cultural Matters, Guest Commentators, On Foreign Affairs with tags , , , , on June 16, 2013 by playthell
The Truth about the Apartheid Era

White Hunter

                       This was also a common scene in the American West during the “Indian Wars”


What’s In a Name?

What’s in a name? Everything! I am familiar with the naming of the enslaved people being called all names, but those that edify them. You can imagine in South Africa, we have been called “Kaffirs” – same as nigger’ in the States – monkeys, baboons (Akin to jigaboos), boy/girl  for elderly people; “natives” (as in ‘tribes”)’Bantu'(which really means ‘people’, but was used against us to dehumanize and ‘de-Africanize Africans in South Africa)’ “Plurals” (I guess to remind Themselves that whites in South Africa), that we, Africans, are too many against them; “Darkie”(Dark one); African children called ‘black pica ninny’, and so forth.

As I begun by asking and replying, “What’s in a name?  Everything!”  For us to learn about the Washington Red Skin Debacle brings to mind the hideous and harmful nature of being named and forced to get used to that derogatory name, and you find the White chumps who are so arrogant they can’t see and think as far as their eyelids and foreheads, and because they have had no reason to respect any person enslaved/colonized, they see nothing in calling people with their White people’s ‘invented’ names, and these are not salubrious names/tags and that they assist in disappearing a people’s identity and being.

In South Africa, our mothers, when they were giving birth to us, were forced to choose what was called a ‘Christian’ name i.e. a white European name.  And if it we were given an African name in many cases it was not written on our birth-certificate; although in the Townships and villages we lived in the community called us by our African names.  Our elders explained the importance of our African names and what those names mean. The elders pointed out that giving a child a bad name is a bad omen – “Bitso lebe ke seromomo” – literally meaning “a bad name is a bad omen/karma to the child”.

We grew up within our communities here in Mzantsi known by our African names and were constantly told what they mean, along with our last names. The Apartheid regime did not recognize how we relate to each other as Africans and what was the significance of naming things and the importance of our names to us. They compartmentalized and divided us and dubbed us “tribes” who would never come together.

Meanwhile, they have never ever wanted to call us “Africans. Now, they, the Boers, called themselves Afrikaners – which today, they claim and allege, gives them the right to say they are Africans!’  So, we African people of South Africa, are accused by various ethnic groups in South Africa, who claim that they are Africans, and we blacks really are not.

 So that, in their disrespect of anything African, South African whites accuse indigenous black Africans of South Africa of wanting to hog the Name African.  And yet, these different ethnic groups are themselves African so that, they parrot, that our saying we are “Africans of Mzantsi South Africa” is meaningless, dumb, infantile babble. Thus, we find these people dissing us all the way to denying our existence.

 A Common Sign during the Apartheid Era in South Africa
The policy of European Invaders in South Africa and the USA

Yet, this awareness as to who we are is excellently captured by Dr. Amos Wilson- the Afro-American Psychiatrist – when he notes that: “Even these people recognize that a name is connected to social role. A name is not just something you call people, but the name a people are called signifies their role. Therefore, a change of name represents a people’s attempt to change their role and position in the world.” Some ‘negroes’ (Africans) think that to change our name is just some foolish game we’re playing. It is not about that. It’s not a game we’re playing here. Identity is very important, as is the idea that Black (African) people would dare name themselves. Whites recognize that as an incursion on their power of naming and an incursion on their power of domination.

I have alluded to how the apartheidizers forced us to have European First names, which in effect messed with our culture, because now we have amongst us so many African Peters, Denisi’s, Marks, John’s, and so forth.   And we are called by these names in our contact/interaction with Europeans- who insist upon calling us these Euro-names. Alas, even when we tell them our African names they claim they are hard to pronounce. We, in our African collective/communities, are then called and known as Sipho (Gift), Thabang (Be all Happy), Karabo (The Answer), Tshepiso (The promise), Ntombi (the girl) and so forth, our African names.

So Playthell Benjamin’s article about the big controversy over the “Washington Redskins” football team refusing to remove the word “Redskins” from their name, which is decried by Native Americans as an insult to their people, because it masks a history of genocide and the ‘disappearing’ of a whole people by the obnoxious and arrogant Europeans – who still feel that they are superior to everyone else.  Incredibly, they feel that the naming of people and things under their purview is fait accompli and a ‘given’. We know, here in South Africa, that is not the case, and there is still an ongoing cultural war about the naming of things with African names since the ANC came into fictive power.

Although along the way, in order to appease their handlers, they compromised a lot in renaming a lot of things here in South African with their given names. This is a real war, and there is a lot I can say about the battles that are presently fought over the naming of Africans, and the “Winning of the hearts and minds of Africans” here in Mzantsi” by the former Apartheidizers.  And now of late, they are being assisted by the American Think Tanks and NGOs, working to turn South Africa into a mini-USA.

It is therefore no surprise and wonder Africans in South Africa dislike Israel, for in it, we see ourselves in what they are doing to the Palestinians; we also detest the arrogance and mien with which they interact/communicate with those they consider not Jews; and this has caused a lot of animosity, which you capture so well with this Yoyo, Snyder, whose people are very quick to defend their lot, as you cogently point out above.

Right now, some of us here in Mzantsi are involved in the fight against our culture, and it is a very difficult battle. Not because our former enslavers made it so (of which they still do and control all the bullshit-covert actions in place now, but because some of our African brothers feel fulfilled if they are seen to be “very American”, “very British”, and even “very Chinese-and dress like the Chinese.

These clowns, the African pseudo-elites, are the ones that are hampering us and assisting our detractors in making gains and headway into our communities; which end up making these African societies dysfunctional. These retarded South African Uncle Toms are assiduously working their lives away trying to “Out-American Americans”, or British, French, or Italians, while making sure they distance themselves from or discard their self-perceived “backward African Culture” and everything about it.

That is our present problem, and these ‘scoundrels, quislings and turncoats are thriving.   They even believe that they have a handle on being the puppets of mega-capitalist corporate and International governments to whom they beg to be slaves and become our slave drivers themselves, whilst showing off their ill-acquired wealth and looking silly trying to be as white as any foreign white-in all aspects and by any means necessary.

These are the people who are interfering with African people naming themselves, and their environment. They are the very people who are in cahoots with some of these sleazy monied potentates who run the world of ideas and money and control the Army.  They are the great pretenders and trumpet untruths that they are our leaders and run the leading ruling party-ANC.  As I read Playthell’s Indians article on the struggle of Native Americans, the so-called “Indians,” I can see that we have quite similar problems here in Mzantsi and then some.

The indigenous of peoples of America are subject to the same treatment of disrespect and disregard/ignored by their colonizers; who see it as a White privilege. And in South Africa, where the white Apartheidizers descendants they still own 83% of the land given to them under the Apartheid era Group Areas Act, your article’s treatment of the massive theft  of  Native American lands really hit a very bothersome issue for us. It is interesting for one to begin to learn that this same treatment of using derogatory names to those who have been dispossessed, is one of the many ways to keep and display the dominance of the European over the indigenous peoples everywhere in the world!

The South African Bantustans Mirror “Indian’ Reservations
 Whites Arrived in Virginia 1619 and Cape Town 1652
The Way We Were


 White South Africa’s Idea Of child’s Play!

Even in this day of the fictitious democratic sham that is our country, there are still White folks who will never ever cease and desist from calling us “Kaffirs”(equivalent or same as “Nigger”) because they feel they can and know that they have many adherents and sympathizers amongst their Afrikaner “Volk”(Folk). What Playthell is saying is what we are fighting for here in Mzantsi. This is made concrete when he quotes the Congressman Eni who charged that “Native Americans throughout the country consider the ‘R-word’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos.”

We feel the same way here in Mzantsi, and throughout the African Continent and the Diaspora.  But, seemingly, every time we raise this issue we come across arrogance and dismissive attitudes that defies logic or common sense. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.


Skhokho Sa Tlou

Mazantzi, South Africa

June 16, 2013

Dan Snyder is a Bullshit Artist !!!

Posted in Cultural Matters, On Sports! with tags , , , on June 13, 2013 by playthell


 The Quintessential Arrogant Putz

 Suppose the team’s Name was the Washington Kikes?

In his book length treatise On Bullshit,” the renowned Princeton philosopher Dr. Harry g. Frank argued that bullshit is more dangerous to the truth tan a lie.  And the Washington Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, has raised bullshitting to an art form.  His arrogant rejection of pleas from Native Americans and their allies, in and out of Congress, to change the name of his NFL team from Washington Redskins to the Washington anything else, because the name and Amerindian Mascot offends their ancestors, and insults the survivors, of a people Euro-Americans dispossessed with mass murder and wholesale theft, reveals him to be the “Rich man who gained the world but lost his soul” that the bible warns us not to become.

Snyder’s declaration in USA Today strongly suggests he is that soulless man.  “We will never change the name of the team. As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means.”  When questions persisted on the issue he defiantly told the public “”We’ll never change the name; it’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Since Snyder is a Jew he might not have read the bible.  Yet because he is a Jew – and enshrined in the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame no less – one would think that he would readily understand the position of Native Americans.  After all, it was not that long ago or far away that Mr. Snyder’s own people were victims of genocide.  Maybe he does not recognize that it is the same class of event because the genocide and land theft Native Americans were subjected to is not referred to as a holocaust…..but it was.

There are several reasons why we do not refer to the Native American experience as a holocaust.  First there is a deeply rooted racist tradition in the US, which privileges humanity in white skin and devalues humanity of darker hues.  This racist ideology justified genocide against the Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans. The persistence of this racist attitude explains why an Associated Press poll revealed that 80% of Americans find no fault with a football team calling themselves the “Red Skins. “ Due to the racial demographics of the USA we can rest assured that the majority of those polled were Euro-Americans…the descendants of the invaders who now own deeds to land that once belonged to the Amerindians and for which they were never compensated.

Second, acknowledgement of genocide and slavery as the fundamental acts that made the American Republic possible, and even shaped the US Constitution, would seriously assault the master narrative of American civilization and fatally wound the national myth of America as the land of the free and home of the brave.  Hence, despite all of their bluster about how proud they are of their history, no one works harder to distort, deny and even eradicate that history than the so-called “American Exceptionalist” crowd – the most vociferous of whom are camped out in the Republican Party.

These Jokers clearly prefer self-serving myths to their real history; that’s why in their sanitized version of the American saga color caste oppression is obfuscated or omitted altogether.  This explains how you could have a member of Congress like Michelle Bachman saying “the founding Fathers wouldn’t Rest until they got rid of slavery!”  When in fact all of them except John Adams had owned slaves.  This kind of abominable ignorance, coupled with a self-righteous attitude, is the reason why a schmuck like Daniel Snyder feels free to take such a disrespectful position toward the legitimate concerns of Native Americans.

The third major reason that we do not think of the genocide, cultural destruction and land theft committed against Native Americans as a holocaust is because organized Jewry has trademarked the term.  Therefore it can only be used in connection with the Jewish genocide carried out by the German Nazi’s.  The refusal to recognize the destruction of the Amerindians as a holocaust accounts for the differences in the way we respond to the two experiences.

For instance, there has been much discussion of the Anti-Semitism of  the great German Romantic composer Richard Wagner, his music is banned in Israel for instance – which I find a perfectly normal given his attitude toward Jews. However Richard Boyden, whose father is Jewish, recalls his attempt to inform a Jewish organization  that was promoting a production of “The Wizard Of Oz” about the racist anti-Indian attitude of its author.

Last year I called the local Jewish Community Center in Kansas City and informed them of the fact the play they were showing there, the Wizard of Oz, was written by L. Frank Baum. I informed them that Baum was a hater of American Indians after the order of a “Hitler” and as a “prominent” newspaper editor in South Dakota, he called for the total extermination of American Indians.  The response from the Jewish Community Center was that of no concern…You can see Baum’s play shown in many Jewish Community Centers throughout the United States.”

I have searched in vain for a statement League on the Redskins controversy from the Anti-Defamation League – which vigorously attacks anyone who says or does anything they deem offensive to Jews, even going so far as to declare criticism of Israeli government policy as anti-Semitic – and I have been greeted with a deafening silence. The attempt to keep the term “holocaust” as the signature of the Jewish genocide has led to some strange behavior on the part of the Anti-Defamation League.

Indeed Abraham Foxman, the venerable leader of the ADL, has even been accused of being a holocaust denier by Armenian intellectuals whose ancestors were victims of Turkish Genocide at the turn of the 20th century.  The Armenians point to a deal where Turkey agreed to support Israel’s positions in the Middle East against their fellow Muslims among the Arab nations, and organized Jewry in the US in concert with the Israeli government would oppose any attempt by the UN to recognize the Armenian claims of Turkish genocide against them.  Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.

Of course, since Snyder is an arrogant money grubbing ignoramus there is every possibility that he knows nothing of any of this.  Alas, after counting beans all day the brain cells are pretty much shot.  Fortunately there is a simple way of making the issue clear even to a 21st century shyster shylock.  If Danny Boy claims not to understand the insult he is perpetrating against Native Americans, he should ponder what his attitude would be if the team’s name was “The Washington Kikes,” or the “DC Yids,” and the mascot was a Hassidic Jewish Rabbi in full clerical regalia, huge side locks and long flowing beard.  I bet his silly ass would get it then!

The Washington Kikes?

imagesCAIGHTPU Would Danny dig This?

Like he Digs This?

washington-redskins-logo-2Symbolically  Exploiting a Powerless People

I believe that Daniel will live to regret his decision to fight rather than switch, because like Daniel in the Bible he now finds himself in a lion’s den….and without the grace of God on his side.  No, this Daniel has placed his faith in Mammon; this is the rock on which he stands. Let’s see how that works out for him as the lions attack from several angles.  Already we have a group of Congressmen openly calling for him to change the name of the team.   And the city government of Washington DC is considering taking action.

No amount of self-serving sophistry – such as the statement issued by the NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, who wrote a letter replying to the Congressman offering up shameful and transparent apologia for the appalling behavior of Daniel Snyder – will calm this brewing storm.   The Commissioner’s June 5th letter was posted on The Indian Country Media Network said in part: “The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” Goodell writes in the letter. “For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

                                                       The Commissioner Bullshittin the Press
He’s Amlost as good a bullshit artist as Daniel!

Some of the Congressmen quickly replied to Goodell’s silly self-serving sophistry.  “Goddell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning ever larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans.”  And Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat representing American Somoa, charged that the NFL Commissioner “completely missed the point regarding the Washington franchise’s name.”   The original letter from the Congressmen had pointed out: “Native Americans throughout the country consider the ‘R-word’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos.”

Snyder, a billionaire businessman, is no ordinary owner.  Aside from the fact that he invested 100 million in stadium improvements and home games are sold out for 40 years in advance, he is also a member of several NFL committees. Among these are: the Broadcast Committee, the Business Ventures Committee, the Digital Media Committee, the Hall of Fame Committee, which monitors the activities of the  Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio, and  a member of the Board of Directors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  So this guy is a real power in the National Football League.

Yet I predict that if Danny and the commish persist in their bullshit they will be buked and scorned, called everything but a child of God, and eventually the Washington franchise will be picket and boycotted.  Danny boy is about to learn a lesson about people power.  He’s gonna learn that his bucks are not long enough to cool the righteous anger of the people.  Somebody better hurry up and warn that fool…. cause like my grandfather used to say: “Dat boy better check his self before he wreck hisself!”


Playthell  G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

June 13, 2013

Reflections on the Black Obama Haters!

Posted in My Struggle On the Left!, Playthell on politics with tags , , , on June 10, 2013 by playthell

Barack being fortified with the laying on of hands. 

The Rock on Which he Stands

Barack Must keep Playing Past the Noise

The best thing President Obama has done from a political perspective – which is to say decisions that would help him and other Democrats get elected and then get his legislative agenda passed through both houses of Congress – was to pay the black leftist and nationalist factions no mind!  Having cut my political teeth in those ideological enclaves, I would never have believed that I would one day come to view them as a menace to black progress.  Yet I am convinced that had Barack attended Tavis Smile’s black gabfest, where all sorts of reckless rhetoric was thrown about, and allowed Cornell West to define his administration’s legislative priorities, while adopting the Black Agenda rhetoric of Glenn Ford, he would have never been President and the Republicans would have been able to take over both Houses of Congress!!

What would America have looked like had that happened?   Well John McCain would have been President for the last four years, and there is the possibility that the Republicans would have fucked things up so badly a Democrat would have won the last election.  But it would have been too late to stop the Republicans from adding two more right wing zealots to the Supreme Court, and stacking the Federal Courts around the country with same.  And it would be too late to stop a President McCain from bombing Iran and escalating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a futile effort to win the elusive victory that escaped him in Vietnam. (search John McCain on this blog.)

We might also be in a war on the Korean Peninsula, all of which would add another couple of trillion to our war debt – and we could already have completely rebuilt the nation’s infrastructure with half of what we squandered on the Iraq and Afghan wars.  The economy would be in shambles, because there would have been no 800 billion stimulus, the auto industry would have disappeared and McCain’s self-correcting “free market” fiddle faddle would have made the Bush depression deeper – alas chances are we would be in a second “Great Depression” that would be worse than the first one.  And all those now yapping about how the President bailed out the bankers – which was actually done by Bush but Obama would have been forced to do it too – while not addressing black poverty instead, would be singing a different tune.  They would be crying about the collapse of the financial system and how it took everybody they know down with it.

Since McCain would not be a “food stamp President” like Barack Obama, there would be millions more added to the ranks of those Americans who are literally locked in a Darwinian struggle for food, because there is an acute shortage of jobs at a living wage.  The tax code would encourage investment overseas, including those “job creators” who have created ten million jobs overseas while the unemployment rate soars here at home.  And while millions of American workers suffer from structural unemployment these patently unpatriotic acts would be accompanied by super patriotic rhetoric of the sort we hear from the likes of Mitt Romney and Darrell Issa.

Of course there would be no Affordable Health Care Act, no Lilly Ledbetter Act, the social safety net constructed under New Deal and Great Society legislation would be completely shredded, and any form of Affirmative –Action would now be illegal, ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  And the way that reactionary racist grease ball Antonin Scalia feels about the Voting Rights Act, which he has called “a racial entitlement,” would be more widely shared by other Judges on the High Court.  And thus the protections afforded minorities against the efforts of white Republicans to scrap the law and rig elections would have succeeded for all intents and purposes.

There would have been no 20 billion dollar fund from British Petroleum to clean up the Gulf oil spill and compensate the businesses that were hurt due to the spill – some of which were Afro-American owned. In fact the Republican Congressman who now heads the committee tasked with oversight of the oil industry apologized to BP and called President Obama’s demand that they set up the recovery fund a display of “Chicago gangster” tactics.  The historically black colleges would be 100 million poorer, and some would be out of business altogether. Plus the banks would still be making millions off unnecessary fees from student loans,  If the Republicans had been in office the last four years, with their aversion to government spending, investment in the scientific community would be a trickle of what it was under President Obama.

Cornel West and Sidekick Tavis Silly
 Cornel West and Tavis Smilie
Heckle and Jeckle: Cackling Mischievous Crows

However listening to the President’s harshest critics you would not know that any of these achievements took place; some of historic proportions, especially the Lilly Ledbetter Act, Affordable Care Act, the Economic Recovery Act, and the Dodd –Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. All of these monumental achievements are denounced by the President’s detractors on the right and ignored by his critics on the left – once more revealing themselves to be undeclared allies.  Yet this legislation saved the nation from economic ruin, provided health care options for many people who had none and made it illegal for Wall Street bankers to engage in the kinds of practices that led to the crash.

But our verbose Dr. Cornel West, a grandstanding spotlight hog and shameless opportunist, who has set himself up as Barack Obama’s grand inquisitor and moral scold, calls the President a tool of the Plutocrats and Wall Street Bankers.  Since much of what Dr. West has to say regarding politics is little more than mindless prattle and meaningless moralizing, it bears little resemblance to reality.  The fact is that his bad political judgment is clouded by a gargantuan ego, pompous pretentions to piety, plus a tendency toward wishful thinking; all of which renders him irrelevant in the search for effective policy options to effectively deal with the mind boggling problems that confront President Obama.

It never ceases to amaze me how easily the President’s critics forget the disastrous situation he inherited, with multiple crises at home and abroad confronting him upon entering the Oval Office.  And here I am referring to those critics on the left who consider themselves politically progressive, because the right is engaged in subterfuge with no regard for the truth; they are pledged to deny this President any victories even if it means telling the most outrageous lies and manufacturing scandals.

Alas, it is well known that the leaders of the Grand Obstructionist Party, in and out of office, pledged to oppose any policy President Obama proposed.  In fact they met clandestinely in a Washington hotel room the night of his inauguration and took something akin to a blood oath to wreck Obama’s presidency by constant obstruction and thus make him a one term President.

Fancy Nancy and the Chi Town Kid

Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi

 A Dynamic and Effective Duo

However all these seasoned political pros made a serious mistake: they underestimated their opponent worse than Sonny Liston underestimated Muhammad Ali. Barack won reelection and they Republicans are still recovering from the shock.  They are clearly in a state of panic.  They equally missed their mark in assessing Nancy Pelosi, who will surely be remembered in history as one of the most effective Speakers to ever run the House Of Representatives.  This smart savvy lady from Frisco, in league with the Chi-Town Kid, made a great team and passed historic legislation.

Passing Landmark Legislation….
Barack Pelosi_Obama 
…….And Making history

While there is an embarrassment of riches from which to choose the Wall Street regulation regime is an excellent example of their legacy.  The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law by President Obama is the strictest legislation regulating Wall Street in American history.  It ends the kind of reckless speculation and assumption of risks that led to the financial collapse under Bush, when there was hardly any regulation at all and trillions of dollars in American wealth disappeared, throwing millions of Americans out of work.  And there would have been millions more without a massive government bailout.

Dodd-Frank also offers protections to consumers who are victimized by ruthless mortgage bankers and sleazy lenders who charge exorbitant interests for short term loans.  These are critically important developments for the American people, especially Afro-Americans, but the House refuses to fund the agencies that are tasked with enforcing the new regulations, making them the disloyal opposition.   For they have betrayed the trust of the American people by refusing to fund programs acted into law their elected representatives passed in a majority vote.

Alas the great work Of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi on behalf of the American people was halted when the Grand Obstructionist Party took back the House just two years later; little of importance has been passed in the House since. I wrote a commentary titled “Triumph of the Untutored Mob,” which argues that this election proved Thomas Jefferson was right when he warned that “an ignorant electorate would elect and return the worse people to power.”

It was an act of self- immolation to turn the House of Representatives over to a Republican Party with right-wing zealots, who called themselves “Tea Party Patriots,” setting the legislative agenda. Yet millions of Americans voted to sabotage their government by sending 66 people to Congress who had publicly declared their hatred for government and vowed to dismantle it; now they expect their party to govern the affairs of the vast and complex nation effectively.  It is madness.

When the Republicans wrecked the economy with policies that resulted in the crash of 1929 that brought on the Great Depression, it took them over 40 years before gain control of the House again, but two years after the Bush crash they put a Republican Party in charge of the people’s house who were even more incompetent and reckless than the bums who just wrecked the country.  Yet we hear little about this from the cabal of anti-Obama whiners, several of whom sport fancy academic titles but when we actually peruse their writings in search of serious policy proposals instructing us on the route the President should take in order to realize their hopes and dreams, like Mother Hubbard we find the cupboard is bare.  They are all blow and no go!

I could call them out by name but you know who they are….and they do too!  I just don’t want to give them any more publicity; that’s what they live for.  Some of them don’t really care what you say about them so long as you get their names right.  Hence I shall refer to them collectively as the Crazy Coon Platoon; it is the most accurate name I could conjure up for a group of clueless blacks on the left and right who have accused President Obama of everything from promoting sodomy and child murder to destroying the Auto-industry.

Some even denounced the President’s commencement speech to the young men at Morehouse College, a speech which contained time honored themes that has contained the bedrock values of Afro-American culture that I grew up hearing and that black colleges have always stressed.  One of the most boisterous critics of the Morehouse speech, that baldheaded buffon /failed academic Boyce Watkins, thinks its cute to cotunuously refer to the President as “bi-racial” in an attempt to question his blackness.

Well, Herman Caine is black as  midnight in a coal mine and he is what the old folks in Florida used to call “a ass kissin white folks nigger.”  What a silly thing to make an issue of, especially since Boyce looks like his ancestry may well lay in China with his pie face and big Bhudda head. But this crowd, inspite of their blacker than thou posture, have spent their academic careers in white colleges – you couldn’t get them to teach at a black college for love nor money!

Crazy Corny West even called the President a war criminal!  This charge leaves no doubt that the Doctor of Philosophy is a verbose hysteric who appears to know nothing about warfare and the requirements of national security when confronted with an enemy like the Islamic Jihadists: who are transnational fanatics that believe they are carrying out the will of God and do not recognize the rules of war as laid out by the Geneva Conventions.

The Jihadists have repeatedly demonstrated that they care nothing about civilian lives whether Muslim or Christian. In fact they consider their main enemy to be those Muslims with whom they have theological differences, as the 1800 year old conflict between the Sunni and Shiite factions will testify.  While Dr. West decries the regrettable loss of civilian lives as a result of the deployment of drones in the fight against the Islamic Jihadists, he does not offer what he would consider a more efficient and humane way of going about fighting this shadowy and ruthless enemy who spend their every waking hour plotting a more spectacular attack on the US – which is to say us – than the 911 disaster.

Their ultimate objective is to set off a nuclear weapon or at least a high radiation “dirty bomb” in New York City…or some other heavily populated American metropolis.  It is President Obama’s job to see to it that that don’t succeed, an objective that cannot be achieved by moral persuasion!  War has always been an ugly business; those who have experience it first-hand say “war is hell!”  And those who are knowledgeable about its history knows it is by nature a bloody and inhumane enterprise in which atrocities are common fare and for which civilians have little stomach.  Yet when a nation comes under attack the civilians do not hesitate to turn to the soldier for salvation.

That’s why all able bodied civilians should be subjected to a military draft.  For if everyone is required to bear the burdens of war it would accomplish two things: Every family would have to sacrifice their loved ones and would therefore be reluctant to go to war, and we would all be forced to confront the reality of war; instead of the sanitized version the public is getting now.  In the meantime those who are whining about the civilian casualties resulting from drone warfare should spend some time watching the Military Channel on cable television.  There they can see actual films of combat going back to the First World War in the early years of the 20th century.

In World War II fifty million people were killed – most were not soldiers.  Do Cornel West and the rest of the moral scolds who now call President Obama a “war criminal” include all the presidents of the past who have been tasked with waging war in defense of this nation?  There are war crimes to be sure, but to simply say that any actions in which civilians are killed, when that was clearly not the intention, constitutes a war crime?

By any objective measure, drone warfare is the least destructive method of fighting an enemy who hides among the civilian populace. It is certainly less destructive than deploying ground forces, and it cost far less in American blood and treasure. Yet even after I heard a spokesman for Iraq and Afghan war veterans tell Corny West this he keeps on saying (Look under the section titled “On Dr. Cornel West on this blog for a discussion of the incident)

It is precisely because war is the ultimate horror show that it’s details are kept secret – along with the fact that it is wise to keep your operational strategies out of the purview of your enemies.  Hence those who consider Sergeant Bradley Manning – who turned over 700,000, classified American military documents to Wikileaks to be posted on the internet – a hero are at best confused on the issue.

To be sure, some of the information contained in those documents constitutes indisputable evidence of war crimes, and one could sympathize with the crisis of conscience experienced by Private Manning.  But he should have been selective in the documents he chose to expose for public scrutiny.  Indiscriminately dumping hundreds of thousands of secret documents entrusted to his care could imperil the military mission and for that he must, and will, be severely punished.  Furthermore, Bradley Manning is a very confused guy who was undergoing a protracted personal crisis that had but little to do with is military experience.  For a discussion see my review of the recently released documentary “We steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks.”

No military organization can function successfully if any of its members along the chain of command can feel free to leak classified documents to the press.  That’s why the Attorney General tapped into the phone messages and e-mails of certain journalists that had written about covert actions which thwarted a terrorist action that would have blown up civilian airliner.  And despite the anguished self-righteous cries of my colleagues in the press: He was right!  And he should stand his ground on this question; turning the tables on the press by putting the question this way: What is of greater importance, the national security of the US or the right of the press to publish secret military documents?

Exposing ongoing covert actions can put the lives of brave Americans who routinely risk everything in the service of this nation in even greater risk.  And when one considers the fact that the reporters motives are often no more exalted than getting a scoop on his competition and gaining notoriety for themselves, the aura of nobility evaporates and the claim of heroism is tarnished.

The question for the American people is what is more important: preventing another Jihadist attack on an American city that rivals or surpasses that on 9-11, or the prerogative of the press to publish anything they want any time they want?  To publish or not to publish: that is the paramount question facing the American people and the fate of the nation might well hang in the balance.

It is instructive that the arguments of Wikileaks’ champions, and those who view Sergeant Manning as a hero who should be hailed not jailed, lack this kind of nuanced analysis of the complex issues surrounding their actions.  What we get instead is an endless stream of self-righteous prattle in which everything is painted is stark black and white Manichean dualities between good and evil.  But, alas, the world is far more complicated than that and the matter of war and peace is rife with contradictions.

In the world of instant mass communications those contradictions are laid bare when secret military documents are made public.  And when you have a reckless political opposition like the contemporary Republican Party, whose motivations rise no higher than to embarrass the President and Attorney General for partisan advantage, it can hamper their efforts to maintaining national security. The hearings now being conducted by that repeat criminal offender Darrell Issa’s Government Oversight Committee is a case in point.

Here the representatives of the Grand Obstructionists Party, unable to win at the polls despite their political dirty tricks that attempted to limit voting opportunities for Democrats, are abusing their Congressional authority to nullify the dramatic Democratic victory in the last presidential election. Nothing demonstrates their hypocrisy more than the hearings around the attack on the American embassy at Benghazi, when it is they who voted to cut $300 million from the budget for embassy security.

The investigation into the Internal Revenue Service that threatens to ruin the careers of civil servants who were just doing their jobs and the ongoing attempts to discredit the Attorney General – who is a saint compared to Nixon’s AG John Mitchell, who was convicted of committing crimes in office – are equally hypocritical.  Not to mention the fact that Republicans blame Barack for not knowing what an IRS office in the mid-west is doing in trying to enforce a complicated law, when a group of Naval and Marine officers – including the notorious colonel Ollie North – ran an illegal operation designed to subvert the Boland Act from the White house basement but accepts President Ronald Reagan’s explanation that he knew nothing of it!

It is the role of serious intellectuals to point these contradictions out; especially Black Intellectuals who have set themselves up as President Obama’s inquisitors.  The recent revelations about the massive domestic surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency, which again raises the question about the requirements of national security vs. individual privacy in protecting Americans against terrorist attacks. But they are curiously silent on these critical but controversial matters.

Instead, what we get is a bunch of meaningless noise that more closely resembles a collective temper tantrum than a serious analytical discourse. Perhaps the reason they are hollering so loud and saying such crazy things is because nobody is paying them any mind….thank the lord. In spite of their boisterous and incessant caterwauling during the last election, Afro-Americans still voted for President Obama over 90%!  The haters must be quite a frustrated lot after witnessing all of their efforts come to naught despite big help from right-wing white racists.  The question is who did the black haters vote for?   Inquiring minds want to know.

They Can’t Touch This!
Barack after victory!!!!
The GOAT: Greatest of All Times!!!! 


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

June 8, 2013

On Senor Schomburg, Black America and Me

Posted in Cultural Matters on June 9, 2013 by playthell
Arturo Schomburg II
A Visionary Pan-Africanist Bibliophile

It is well neigh impossible to assess the importance of the contribution the Afro-Puerto Rican Pan-Africanist bibliophile Arturo Schomburg made to the growth of culture and consciousness of Afro-Americans, having inspired seminal scholars and teachers like Dr. John Hendirk Clarke and Joel A. Rogers.  However I owe much of my career as an intellectual and political activist to the efforts of the great Senor Schomburg.

When I was a lonely airman stationed on a nuclear strike base in the 91st Strato-Bomber Wing of the US Strategic Air Command, whose mission was the nuclear destruction of Soviet Russia, I was given two books by my First Sergeant” One Hundred Amazing Facts about the Negro with Complete Proof” and “From Superman to Man,” both by the great Jamaican Historian Joel A. Rogers.

These books changed my life! J. A. Rogers continuously referred to the something called “The Schomburg Collection” in Harlem.  When I got out of the Air Force all I wanted to do was visit this place and see if the proof of Roger’s marvelous claims could indeed be found there.  I spent the next year practically camped out in the Schomburg, which was located on 135th street in Harlem, next door to its present location.

I would come up to New York from Philly and stay with my uncle Jimmy in Brooklyn every chance I got and spend my days rummaging through those archives that contained the records of the greatness of my race world-wide.  Among the many treasures I discovered there was the other works of J.A. Rogers – especially his multi-volume tomes: The World’s Great Men of Color from 3,000 BC to 1946 AD, Nature Knows no Color Line, Sex and Race, and Africa’s Gifts to America.

Laboring among the book stacks of the Schomburg Collection under the able tutelage of the learned and dedicated librarian Ernest Kaiser, who acted as if each text, rare manuscript, record and picture collection or newspaper file was a sacred gift to the black community, led to my becoming a featured radio lecturer on black history on “The Listening Post,” produced and hosted by the legendary Joe Rainey and broadcast over WDAS in Philly, a program on which Malcolm X regularly appeared.

From there I was heard by Queen Mother Moore, a comrade of the magnificent Puerto Rican revolutionary Loita Lebron – who took me under her wings and tutored me in the art and science of political struggle. I was also heard by the Reverend Doctor Leon Sullivan – an activist Baptist preacher whom Minister Farrakhan calls “The Lion of Zion.”  Doctor Sullivan hired me to teach a black history course in the basement of his church.  It was in those sessions that I met Max Stanford aka Dr. Muhammad Ahmed, who convinced me to join him in founding the Revolutionary Action Movement – RAM – in Philly during 1962.  This was the first organization to openly advocate armed struggle in the US and would give birth to the Black Panthers of Oakland when a RAM cadre recruited Bobby Seales and Huey Newton into our ranks.

When Dr. Sullivan founded the Opportunities Industrialization Centers as part of President Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” created by the passage Economic Opportunity Act of 1965, he hired me to design a “Minority History” component to the curriculum of the adult education program.  Having grown up in West Virginia reading the texts of the pioneering historian of black America Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a fellow West Virginian and Harvard trained scholar who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Reverend Sullivan was convinced that oppressed peoples needed to know their history to fortify themselves for the freedom struggle.

The program I developed, which was mainly Afro-American and African history, but contained units on Afro-Latinos and Native Americans, was adopted by 100 OIC centers across America. This led to my being hired by school boards to lecture to school teachers about the rationale and methods for teaching black history.

This work led to my becoming a founding member of the WEB DuBois Department of Black Studies – with a Pan-African perspective in the spirit of Arturo Schomburg  –  the first free standing, degree granting, Black Studies Department in the World!   Hence, needless to say, I can never pay my debts to Senor Schomburg.

However my longtime friend and former neighbor, the late Max Bond, a brilliant architect who took his degree from Harvard at 19 years old, made an effort toward paying that debt on behalf of the Afro-American people when he designed the new building that now houses the Schomburg Center.  “I want to design a building that flows like a John Coltrane solo” he told me.  And as far as I can tell ….he did!  Check it out…it’s good for your mind, body and soul!

Max Bond’s Schomburg Center

Schomburg Center - outside

An exterior view

Inside the Schomburg Collection

Schomburg Center Inside

A quiet place to contemplate the past, present and future of the Black World


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
June 9, 2013

We Steal Secrets: A Real Scary Movie

Posted in Film Criticism, Movie Reviews with tags , , , on June 3, 2013 by playthell
           we-steal-secrets-julian-assange          Julian Assange: Hero or Megalomaniac

 On State Secrets, National Security and Cyberwar

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, a powerful documentary film by the Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney, takes us into the mysterious world of cyber-espionage,  We are provided an inside view of a group of people whose mission in life is to expose the most vital secrets of the world’s governments and largest corporations.  Written by …..and produced by….., it is a magnificent example of great investigative journalism using the documentary film as the vehicle to tell the tale.  It is a film rich with a compelling cast of characters that range from sane and well balanced to all manner of offbeat, jaded, even bizarre personalities.

The film revolves around a very troubled young man struggling with acute gender confusion who joins the military in order to escape his drab life in an Oklahoma hick town, where it is dangerous to be actively gay, and  play macho man in Iraq instead; a megalomaniacal computer nerd hooked on hubris; a 250 pound dike who played center on her high school varsity football team; an army of gifted computer hackers on a mission, a turncoat hacker who exposes the source of secret American military documents who is so heavily medicated with psychotropic drugs he seems in a perpetual trance like state, and a platoon of spooks, spies and statesmen – including an Icelandic poet turned parliamentarian who champions Wikileaks and invites them to Iceland.  It is a tale whose complex twist and turns, plots and counterplots, is worthy of a Shakespeare.  Yet these talented and committed filmmakers have told the tale in compelling fashion.

Brilliantly conceived, written and reported the film reminds me of an old CBS White Paper Report; which set the standard for in-depth investigative reporting in the audio visual medium.  However the technological advances in film making since those days, has added spectacular graphics and sound effects to the filmmakers tool box, and they make the most of it; especially when depicting the cyber networks that has made the internet powerful enough to bring down nation states when employed by organized dissidents. This film provides some interesting insights into the role played by the internet in the historic uprising collectively labeled the “Arab Spring, which changed the political map of the Mid-East seemingly overnight: the world’s first Facebook revolution.

This film is many things  It is a reflection on the history of American atrocities in Iraq; it is an expose of the cavalier approach to firing missiles from helicopters at suspected “terrorists” on the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan killing innocent civilians, and the efforts of the American government to cover it up.  It also shows the racism of many white American soldiers toward the Arabs, which is to be expected when soldiers are involved in a protracted war against a shadowy enemy in a foreign country where the occupying troops know little or nothing of the local culture and cannot speak the language and resistance comes from all elements of the population.

I predicted that this would happen when the Bush Administration first announced their decision to invade Iraq and occupy Afghanistan; it is in the nature of things alas.  The film also shows how difficult it is to end a war once it is begun and the emptiness of promises made by Don Rumsfeld and Dirty Dick Cheney that the Iraq war would be over quickly and without cost to the American taxpayer.

And it reveals how hard it is for President Obama to extricate the US from policies and strategies initiated by the Bush Administration in Iraq. Thus we see evidence that the Obama Administration is continuing the policy of turning over captured Iraqi militants to the Iraqi government where they will face torture.  But what is he to do with them?

The critics of US policy given voice in this film offer no alternative.  In the view of the activists at Wikileaks, no government secrecy is legitimate and is mostly employed to hide state crimes, therefore it is their duty to make these secrets public by dumping classified government documents on the internet for all the world to see.  And while the film shows how these actions did uncover governmental and corporate malfeasance, it also raises questions about the harm that can result from the indiscriminate publication of government secrets, which can damage alliances, expose covert military operations and cost innocent lives.

The most interesting character in this film by far is Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, around whom the movie pivots. And to their credit the filmmakers do not shirk from asking the question if he is a hero or criminal terrorist.  A tall thin guy of alabaster complexion and snow white hair, he is one of the whitest men I have ever seen, and he wears a constant smirk that I have always noticed on the faces of smartass know-it- all white boys – as if they are enjoying a joke that only they are smart enough to understand.  And he behaves that way as he is more and more seduced by the vices of vanity and hubris.

The film presents a graphic portrait of the strange character of Julian Assange. It’s kind of an old story: the ugly duckling who grows into a swan; the wallflower who becomes the belle of the ball, and  the noble crusader who begins with altruistic motives but is corrupted by the trappings of power and celebrity. Indeed, watching the evolution of Julian Assange we see once again the enduring truth of Lord Acton’s axiom “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

As Wikileaks becomes the center of global attention after their activities leads to a banking scandal and exposed crimes committed by governments around the world, Assange’s fame grows to rock star proportions and beyond – especially after they dumped the thousands of classified American government documents provided by sergeant Bradley, a soldier stationed in a US Army Intelligence unit in Iraq.  This cache made Assange the most recognizable man in the world, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and even President Obama, goes on television to denounce Wikileaks’ actions  He becomes a kind of guru and cyber-savior to those seeking ways to use the internet to check the power of governments and the giant multi-national corporations.

Predictably, Assange is a single man and thus with all of this fame comes the adulation of the ladies. He was showered with the kind of hero worship that can easily become sexual attraction.  And this became the source of his undoing.  The film reveals a really seamy side to Assange’s character as two women brings sexual assault charges against him.  But these are not what we generally think of as sexual assault and appear to be rooted in his strange existence as a rootless “Cyberman.”  Both women admit that they freely consented to having sex with Assange; the assault charges results from the claim made by the women that Assange secretly tore a hole in the condom in an attempt to secretly impregnate them.

Julian Assange Superstar!
911938_086 Pride Goeth Before the Fall

They were horrified by the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy and terrified that he may have infected them with the HIV virus.   Both felt severely violated, victims os a sexual assault. Then we discover that Assange is alleged to have impregnated four other women in different countries around the world like some sort of sexual Johnny Appleseed.  One of Assange’s close associates believes that it is because of the fact that the internet makes it possible for him to operate from anywhere, Assange lives in a kind of cyberworld of his own construction and has no permanent roots or ties anywhere, and thus making babies gives him a sense of rootedness in the real world where everybody else lives…that it is a bizarre quest for normalcy.

Hence despite his technical brilliance and feigned altruism, one gets the impression that Julian Assange is a very creepy guy; a feeling that is enhanced by his arrogant snide posture at press conferences and a scene of him at a disco dancing alone in a herky jerky white nerd dance that black folks find comical but nerdy white dudes think is cool.  They seem to be saying “we run the world so who gives a fuck that we are awkward on the dance floor.”  At least that’s the feeling I always get watching them go through their tortuous contortions that resemble someone having an epileptic seizure more than a dance.

After listening to the two ladies who brought identical charges against Assange tell their stories, one dressed in disguise and the other never appearing on camera at all because of death threats, the Wikileaks story degenerates from one of heroism to a tawdry tale of the abuse of power by a megalomaniac whose actions are fueled more by hubris than altruism, and possessed by a feeling of omnipotence that renders him untouchable by the most powerful governments in the world.  There is even a scene in the film when a college tells him as much.

Assange’s followers disgrace themselves and their cause when they level charges that he was caught in a “honey trap” set by the CIA to entrap Assange and bring him down with sexual assault charges, in order to disguise their real motive: to disgrace and silence him.  Most shameful is the women who viciously attack his female accusers, charging one of them with being an anti-Castro Cuban who has long been in bed with the CIA.  There were even calls for the rape of these women!

This is an example of how fanatical devotion to a cause, even if it is just, can lead one to excuse atrocities on the part of the leaders of that cause.   It becomes clear that this is what is happening here when one of Assange’s closest associates in Sweden, who knew both of these women well, says the charges are fabrications and describes them as nice Swedish idealistic Swedish girls who came into Wikileaks as volunteers and idolized Assange.  In fact one of the women admits that she was thrilled to “have the hottest man in the world in my bed.”  Just looking at the pale, somewhat effeminate, Assange in light of that statement the thoughtful observer is reminded of Dr. Henry Kissinger’s famous state: “Power is the ultimate Aphrodisiac!”

Assange’s feeling of invulnerability comes suddenly to an end when he is indicted in Britian and open calls for his assassination as a terrorist enemy of America comes from prominent Republicans. To avoid imprisonment Assange flees into the Bolivian Embassy where his is granted political asylum, and there he remains as I write surrounded by British police daring him to try and leave the building, as his allies desert him and his organization falls apart.

 Daniel Berg


 The former Public voice of Wikileaks

When Assange issues orders for his associates not to talk to the press he forces them into a crisis of conscience, and it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for some.  The problem was best stated by Assange’s fellow hacker and close comrade in building Wikileaks, Daniel Domcheit – Berg, a German citizen who was the spokesman for the organization.  “Wikileaks has become what  it detests.”

The second most compelling figure in this intriguing cast of cyber outlaws – or persecuted saviors depending upon your perspective – is the American solder Bradley Manning, who passed on the classified military files  to Assange.  Manning’s case will certainly raise the question of whether homosexuals pose special problems for the military.  This seemed like a done deal after Barack ordered the end to the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell system of dealing with gay soldiers.  While some continue to question the wisdom of deploring gays into combat units, what we learn about private Manning’s story in this film leaves no doubt that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could only make matters worse.

Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning A Hero or Traitor?

Having left his home town because he was afraid to express his homosexuality, Manning lives a closeted life in the military.  Like Assange, he was not a popular kid growing up so he spent his time exploring the marvels of cyberworld and became a skilled computer geek.  It took the military no time to recognize his talents, and thus decided to keep him in the army despite the fact that he did not measure up on some physical tests.  Bradley was stationed with an army intelligence unit in a remote area of Iraq, and would soon find himself with access to hundreds of thousands of classified documents.  Among these was clear evidence that American forces were committing war crimes against Iraqi’s.

Manning was justifiably appalled by what he was witnessing because he could see the actual screen through which the helicopter gunners were targeting their “kills” on the ground, while listening to their conversations, which showed a callous disregard for the lives of innocents who may have been caught in their hail of fire.  He began to have an attack of conscience and came to the conclusion that the American public had a right to know that their government  was committing war crimes in their name financed by their tax dollars.  But he didn’t know who to talk to since, as he told a friend in an e-mail that he was “surrounded by bloodthirsty rednecks!”

Hence he began trolling the internet, finding first a heavily medicated fellow geek, who would eventually turn him in as he began to read the documents, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who published them on the internet.  And that’s how their stories became entwined. Bradley was a very troubled guy, because while walking around armed to the teeth playing Mighty Macho Whitey, he was having intense fantasies about having a sex change and becoming a woman.

Once when he was on leave from the army he dressed up like a woman and took a train ride across several states and nobody appeared to be the wiser.  After that becoming a woman was no longer just a fantasy but a real choice.  However not having anyone he could talk to about the agony he was experiencing Manning became more and more instable…even suicidal.  Then one day he flipped out and punched his sergeant in the mouth, but she was a 250 pound amazon and explains how she kicked his ass and subdued him.

She also recalls the day Manning was arrested for stealing the documents, and vividly remembers the defiant smirk he had on his face as military police led him away in handcuffs.  As she talked pictures of the arrest appeared on the screen and for a person who was in as much trouble as him he seemed curiously disconnected from it all.

Later he testified under oath that he decided to make the classified documents public because the US military was engaged in actions in Iraq and Afghanistan that “didn’t seem characteristic”  of the behavior we had a right to expect from the nation that claimed to set the standard for human freedom.  Private Manning calmly stated that the 700, 000 classified documents he gave Wikileaks comprised a record of the US Military’s “”on-the-ground reality” in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Manning left no doubt that he was fully aware of the significance of the documents he sent from a Barnes and Nobel book store computer in Maryland; in a note he appended to the documents he described them as the most important documents of our age.  This assessment will surely come back to haunt him in his Court Marshall, which begins today, where he is charged with being “an enemy of the American State,” and he could well spend the rest of his life in jail.

This why the women who brought the sexual assault charges against Assange consider it an insult to connect the predicament of Private Manning to that of Assange.  They rightly point out that manning is in a military prison facing trial because of an act of conscience; Assange is hiding out in the Bolivian embassy trying to escape trial for a sexual crime!

For all of its virtues the film never resolves the issue of whether what Assange and Wikileaks did was an act of terror and theft of US government policy; a question made all the more fuzzy by the fact that major journalistic organizations like the New York Times and the London Guardian published some of the documents too.  Interestingly those editors were not arrested.  Yet simple logic dictates that if Assange, who is senior editor of Wikileaks, is arrested than so should the editors of the Times and the Guardian.  If the case should ever come to trial this question will be raised no doubt be raised.

Had these been British military documents chances are the Guardian editor would have been arrested under the “State Secrets Act.”  Alas, the film also fails to answer the question of whether it is a good idea to have very flawed but self-righteous individuals decide which classified government documents shall remain secret and which should be made public, or indeed if any civilian should have that right without the mediation of the courts, which is what Senator Charles Schumer of New York is proposing just now in response to the big controversy regarding Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to investigate several reporters, including the Associated Press pool in an attempt to find the source of a leak regarding a successful covert action against a Jihadist group in the Mid-East, where lives could be lost because of the leak.

Unfortunately the investigation is being conducted by the House Government Oversight Committee a good idea gone bad because the committee is presently chaired by Darrell Issa, a hyper-partisan thug from California with an extensive criminal record.  Issa is one of the Tea Party Zealots who have no serious interests in governing, and are more concerned with  tarnishing the reputations of the Attorney General and the President than finding solutions to serious problems of national security.  This is why “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks” is a timely and important movie; it may be the best way to inform Americans what is at issue regarding the question of state secrets.

Ever since I began my teaching career at an Adult Education center in Philadelphia almost 50 years ago, I recognized that audio -visual media was a powerful teaching tool. I first reached this conclusion from my actual experience with imparting information in the class room, but I would later discover that the research confirms it.  It is a fact that we retain more of what we see and hear than what we see or hear separately.  Hence I have long been a fan of the documentary film as an effective method of teaching complex information to groups of people simultaneously; especially when this powerful tool is in the hands of great artist.

And it can be used for good or evil. This was convincingly demonstrated over half a century ago by Leni Refiensthal, who made “Triumph of the Will” for the National Socialist Part of Germany and converted the masses of Germans to Nazism.  In that instance this powerful cinematic form was used for evil, in this case it is being employed for good.  This film warns us of the dangers of the cybernetic world that we are living in, dangers that most of us are unaware of yet it could determine our fate.

For instance, at one point in this film we are told how hackers had successfully penetrated the computers in the US defense department.  Such a development could lead to the launching of nuclear weapons by a terrorist group, or give the Russians the impression that we are launching our missiles; which could lead to the destruction of modern civilization.  This is serious business and we need to pay attention.  The claim made by one commentator that this film was made with the startling immediacy of unfolding history,” is true.   Hence everybody who cares about the future of our country should hurry out and see this disturbing but enlightening film.



 Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

June 3, 2013

The Obama’s Address Black Graduates

Posted in Cultural Matters, Guest Commentators with tags on June 1, 2013 by playthell


Three Wise Men: A Great Moment

 Stressing the Virtues of Education and Family

Both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michele Obama chose to give commencement addresses at historically black colleges.  The President spoke at Morehouse College and the First Lady addressed the graduates at Bowie State University.  Presidents and First Ladies are bombarded with requests to speak at commencements and the selection of historically black colleges and the messages conveyed dramatizes the symbolic significance of having a black family in the White House.

In Michele Obama’s commencement address to the Bowie graduates, she was critical of a certain aspect of black culture that is anti-intellectual.  The First Lady mentioned that the notion of a black child with a book was behaving white and was counter-productive.  She encouraged the graduates to struggle against that kind of negativity and stressed how vital it was for a higher percentage of members of the black community to be attending college.

President Obama in his Morehouse address highlighted the need to break the cycle of broken families.  He mentioned that even though his mother as a single parent was heroic and his maternal grandparents paid an important role in his upbringing, he regretted the absence of a father in his life.  The President of the United States revealingly stated that on his death bed, he would not be thinking about the legislation that was passed during his presidency but the quiet moments that he spent with his wife and his two daughters.

Barack and his Beloved Girls!
A Quintessential Family Man

There is an unquestionable thirst in the black community for higher education.  Prior to the democratization of higher education in America around the 1970s, the black historical colleges like Bowie, Morehouse, Spelman, Howard and Fisk played the predominant role in giving African-Americans access to higher education.  During those years, Caribbean students benefited from the existence of these black historical colleges.  Institutions like Howard University were instrumental in providing Caribbean scholars, like Eric Williams, the necessary education that made them into historical trail-blazing figures.

Our brilliant First Lady

imagesCA5C1MGT Telling the truth and inspiring the youths

The First Lady is correct that a greater number of African-Americans need to attend college but despite the rising cost of higher education those numbers have been growing.  For students graduating with associate degrees in 1999-2000, there were 60,221 and by 2009 to 2010, that figure increased to 113,905 which amounted to 10.9 percent of the associate degrees conferred in that year.

For the four year degree, from 1999 to 2000, 108,013 African-Americans completed the course and from 2009 to 2010, that figure was 164,844.  That latter figure amounted to 9.0 percent of the bachelors degree conferred during that period.  From the vantage point of gender from 1999 to 2000, 69.6 percent of the degrees conferred were females and from 2009 to2010 that percentage was 60.7 percent.

Traditionally, black enrollment on the graduate level tends to fall off precipitously but that has changed.  In the 1999-2000 period, 36,696 master’s degrees were conferred on African-Americans.   By 2009 to 2010, there was remarkable growth as 76,468 master’s degrees were conferred amounting to 12.5 percent of the distribution.  Again, one sees the potency of the black female that from a gender perspective in the latter years, 71.1 percent of master’s degrees were conferred on black women.

Julius Nyerere was fond of stating in respect to the Third World and the First World “While they walk, we must run”.  In the world of higher education, black men are not marking time but black women are outpacing them.

The President and the First Lady were stressing the importance of higher education as its acquisition has become nigh indispensable in competing in the increasingly competitive labor market.  The American economy has become more high-tech and low-tech jobs are either disappearing or do not pay a living wage to raise a family.

The Bureau of Labor statistics provides us with the data that correlates education to weekly income and to unemployment.  The higher the level of education, the less likely that an individual will be unemployed; the unemployment rate for a high school drop-out is 12.4 percent and average weekly wage is $471.00.  For a high school graduate, the rate of unemployment is above the average at 8.3 percent.  A college graduate had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent and aweekly earnings of $1,066.00.  With education the chances of a worker earning a living wage is greatly enhanced.

Neither the President nor the First Lady addressed the troubling issue of stagnation of wages and the severe problem of inequality.  The graduates have been exhorted to further humanize American society. If Bowie and Morehouse educated their graduates properly, they will know the “civil rights” struggle of their generation is to put the Genie of inequality back into the bottle so more Americans, educated or uneducated, can achieve the American dream.


Dr. Basil Wilson

Queens, New York

June 1, 2o13