Archive for January, 2017

Drumfp and Hitler: Birds of a Feather?

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics, You Tube Classics with tags , on January 27, 2017 by playthell
donald-trump-giving-fascist-saluteHe says his Success is due to his Superior German Blood

 What Does the Evidence Suggest?

After meeting him Truman Smith remarked: “This is a marvelous demagogue who can really inspire people.” And Paul Von Wiegard, a foreign correspondent for the Hearst newspapers marveled at his ability to whip crowds into a frenzy during his speeches at political rallies. This is as succinct an assessment of Donald Trump as I could imagine; a poignant unvarnished portrait.  The problem for Americans is that the man they were describing is Adolph Hitler!

We learn these cautionary facts from a revealing article, titled “Early Warnings: How American Journalist Reported the Rise of Hitler, published in the venerable Atlantic Magazine, by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, an editor  there.  The book under review is Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, by Andrew Nargorsky.

I was drawn to this essay because of its title, thinking that it might offer some insight on the rise of Donald Trump to the US presidency.  I have already noted some striking similarities in the political style of Trump and Hitler in an article I published several months ago during the heat of the election campaign titled “Is Donald Trump a Uniquely American Fascist?”

Not only did this essay offer some unique insights, it was pregnant with useful revelations.  For instance, we learn:

“After the Great Depression hit, suddenly the Nazi Party became a major contender for power. Yet you had Americans meeting Hitler and saying, “This guy is a clown. He’s like a caricature of himself.” And a lot of them went through this whole litany about how even if Hitler got into a position of power, other German politicians would somehow be able to control him. A lot of German politicians believed this themselves.”

Anyone who is paying attention to the American political scene just now will have heard shockingly similar conversations regarding President Trump.  The careful listener can even discern some of the same descriptive language.  For instance, the insightful journalist Matt Taibbi has written a book based on his coverage of the Trump presidential campaign titled “Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus.” In a recent interview on the Seth Meyers Show, Taibbi said of Trump’s rise to power: “On the one hand, it’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to this country.  On the other hand it’s potentially the end of civilization.“

Taibbi’s troubling observations bring several critical issues immediately to mind.  First I am reminded of why brilliant men of humane vision like Drs. Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, and the swing dancing George Kwiatkowski agreed to work on a horrendous weapon like the Atomic Bomb.  Although they later expressed regret for bringing this doomsday weapon into the world; they did it because they were terrified that Hitler might get it first…and they had no doubt that he would use it.  The scientists’ concerns about Hitler are echoed in the Bill now being put forth by US Congressmen Ted W, Lieu and Senator Edward Markey, to restrain the danger of a bombastic, thin skinned, socio-path like President Trump launching a nuclear attack on some nation during a temper tantrum.

Upon introducing the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017” H.R. 669 and S. 200, Congressman Lieu, a Democrat from California, was clear on the danger the world faces from the fact that Donald Trump – a delusional megalomaniac whose mental stability has been called into question by several psychiatrist analyzing his public behavior – now has the Nuclear football and the Launch Codes that gives him the power to destroy the world!   :

“It is a frightening reality that the US now has a Commander-in-Chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be ‘unpredictable’ with nuclear weapons, and as president-elect was making sweeping statements about US nuclear policy over Twitter.  Congress must act to preserve global stability by restricting the circumstances under which the US would be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon.  Our Founders created a system of checks and balances, and it is essential for that standard to be applied to the potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear war.” 

Even the Five Blind Boys can see that these legislators clearly do not trust temperament or judgement of the pugnacious martinet that presently commands America’s doomsday nuclear arsenal.

Far too few Americans understand how the Nuclear Triad works.  Reduced to its simplest terms, it is enough to say that the US Strategic Command cab launch thousands of hydrogen bombs anywhere on the globe with pin point accuracy in less than an hour from three different platforms: Land based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles; dropped from Strato-bombers of the US Strategic Air Command, and naval vessels steaming on the ocean’s surface or beneath the sea.  As things presently stands, this awesome power resides completely in the hands of Donald Trump, who alone can give the command to launch without consulting ANYONE!!!!!!   That’s why the Lieu-Markey Bill is the most important piece of legislation in history.

Herr Hitler!

hitler

He also believes his German blood was “superior”

As I have shown elsewhere, Trump, like Hitler, views the fate of the nation and his personal fate as one.  You could easily see this based on his response to the Mexican president’s cancellation of a state visit to Washington to meet with Trump.  The new President was quick to label the Mexican President’s snub of him with disrespect for the United States.  Trump’s feeling that he personifies the nation arises from the source as Hitler’s, he won the election base on his pesonality, which transcended the Republican party.  An insightful article in the distinguished German newspaper Der Spiegal, explains the role of  the personality cult in Hitler’s Rise to the pinnacle of political power:

” …there were one or two tantalizing hints that Hitler’s personal appeal outstripped that of the Nazi regime itself, and even more so of the Party. “For Adolf Hitler yes, but a thousand times no to the brown big-wigs” was scribbled on one ballot-paper in Potsdam. The same sentiment could be heard elsewhere.”

And just as Hitler used the Versailles Treaty, as evidence of other nation’s taking advantage of a weak Germany, Trump has used trade agreements like NAFTRA North American Free Trade Agreement, and the proposed TPP – Trans Pacific Partnership – which Trump recently scrapped with an Executive Order – to label the negotiators at best as “incompetent political hacks” or “stupid” and economic traitors at worst – enemies of the America people.  And just like Hitler, he uses these treaties to whip up the anger of impassioned mobs untutored in the vagaries of political subterfuge or the complexities of international trade.

Also like Hitler, many people fail to recognize how dangerously unstable Trump’s mental state is.   Listening to him argue ad nauseam with reporters about the size of the crowd that turned out to witness what he evidently thinks was his coronation, even inviting them to compare aerial photographs of the crowds that attended his and Barack Obama’s swearing in Ceremony made by the Park Service, we have to seriously worry about whether this guy is all there.

This is crazy stuff, especially when you look at the pictures. Anybody with good eyesight can see that it’s not even close; Barack’s crowd dwarfs Trump’s.   His servile staff, who he probably views as the Kings courtiers whose proper posture is lips to his posterior, dare not tell him the unpleasant truth.    They remind me of the court in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

This obsession with size – which earlier manifested itself when he felt in necessary to explain that his small hands didn’t mean that he also suffered from pant worm…this clarification was so important to him that he issued a plea for understanding from the podium during his presidential campaign – is a sign that the New US president is something of an extreme narcissist; a mythomaniac who suffers from delusions of grandeur. Just like Adolph!

Trump’s insecurity about size is also revealed in his constant talk of building up the American military, although the US has the largest, best funded, destructive military forces in the world.  As President Obama said: “It ain’t even close!”  Obsession with building military might was also a defining characteristic of Hitler’s Nazi regime.

Also like Hitler, Trump benefitted from a split on the left, where some voted for third parties and others stayed home, certain that an obviously incompetent clown like “The Donald” could not possibly win the presidency.  It reminds me of the comments from the great Hollywood film maker Frank Capra, who explained the difficulty of making anti-fascist propaganda films from the war department during the Second World War, because Hitler and Mussolini looked like clowns and it was hard to get people to feel hostile or scared watching their antics.  The main impulse of viewers was to bust out laughing!

Alas, notwithstanding the ludicrous buffoon Trump reveals himself to be on a daily basis, he is no laughing matter!  Speaking of Hitler’s position in German politics a year after he became Chancellor, Ian Kershaw writes the following in the same Der Spiegal article, titled “The Fuerer Myth:”

“Today Hitler Is All of Germany.” The newspaper headline on Aug. 4, 1934 reflected the vital shift in power that had just taken place. Two days earlier, on the death of Reich President Paul von Hindenburg, Hitler had lost no time in abolishing the Reich Presidency and having the army swear a personal oath of unconditional obedience to him as “the Führer of the German Reich and People.”

He was now head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces, as well as head of government and of the monopoly party, the NSDAP. Hitler had total power in Germany, unrestricted by any constitutional constraints. The headline implied even more, however, than the major change in the constellation of power. It suggested an identity of Hitler and the country he ruled, signifying a complete bond between the German people and Hitler”

To recognize the gravitas of the crisis in contemporary American politics, it is quite enough to acknowledge that all the powers that Hitler had in 1934 Germany Trump has now, with one exception. Trump is checked by “constitutional restraints,” but they are not worth the parchment they are written on if the members of his party refuse to stand up to him.  And thus far, possibly intimidated by his twitter attacks, they are behaving like a school of spineless Jelly fish.

Although at different Times and Places

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A Hysterical Woman at a Hitler Rally

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It’s the Same Class of Phenomenon whether in Germany or the US

Like all authoritarian leaders and wannabe tyrants, both Adolph Hitler and Donald Trump, brothers of the blood, despise the free press. Hitler destroyed the free press in Nazi Germany, and I have no doubt that Trump would do the same in the US if he could. Restrained by the First Amendment to our constitution, Herr Drumpf has resorted to a campaign of vicious slanders and invective against the press in general – his acolytes shouting the old Nazi epithet “lougen presser!” – lying press – at the reporters covering his rallies.

Furthermore, Trump’s senior advisor Steve Bannon rivals Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, on employing the principle of the “Big Lie.”  This strategy is based on the idea that if you repeat a lie to a mass audience often enough, even if it is outrageous, a certain number of them will believe it.  That’s how hitler won the hearts and minds of the most educated ppulace on earth and convinced them to murder six million of their neighbors!

Bannon is well schooled in this practice having run Brietart, a far right wing propaganda blog spinning “alternative” facts infested with neo-Nazi views, before moving into the White House.  In a show of hostility and contempt for the major media heretofore unseen in a top advisor to an American President, Brannon, whom rumor has it is “Trump’s brain,” just called the newspapers of record – New York Times, Washington Post, et al – the “opposition party” and told them to “shut up!”

Trump’s open hostility to the working press, well trained professional journalist trying to inform the American people about the critical issues and the policies elected officials, whom we employ, are promoting. Thomas Jefferson, the wisest of the American Founding Fathers, held the free press in such high esteem he once said “If I had a choice between a government and no free press, or a free press and no government, I would take the free press and no government.”

If Jefferson’s position reveals a deep commitment to democratic government, Trump’s attitude toward the press exposes an authoritarian personality with fundamentally anti-democratic instincts. One obvious source of this difference in their approach to the exercise of power is that Thomas Jefferson was a widely read intellectual and statesman who devoted his life to public service; trying to build a great nation was the motivating force in his life.

Trump has spent his adult life as the CEO of a private corporation devoted to no higher goal than making money and personal enrichment for ostentatious display. The power structure of a corporation is by nature a pure dictatorship; you carry out the CEO’s commands or you get fired!   Just like on Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice.”

In the most generous and flattering interpretation of Donald Trump, I’d say he aspires to be a benevolent dictator!  Trump’s aggressive nationalism, like that of Hitler, imperils the peace and security of the world.  Where Hitler and Trump are most unlike, is the fact that Hitler was a fanatic deeply committed to an ideology he believed would build a “Thousand Year Reich” that would rule the world ….and as near as anybody can tell Trump believes in nothing beyond “winning.

Furthermore Hitler also fought bravely in combat for his country in World War I, whereas Donald Trump is a draft dodger who shriked his duty while other young  men his age marched off to war in Vietnam!  Although he loves to brag about his “militaristic” nature, Trump is all blow and no go!  His sole experience with military matters is a stint he spent in an expensive military high school; yet he is such a shameless braggart that he actually cited his highschool eperience as evidence of his having served in the military.  Which is further evidence that he simply cannot control his compulsion to lie!

Another great difference between the the two men is that Hitler was determined to conquer Russia, and launched an attack with genocidal intent!   The sole political virtue of President Trump, that I can clearly identify, is his refusal to be stampeded into promoting the growing anti-Russian hysteria that has been embracd by Democrats and Republicans with varying degrees of passion.   Let us hope that Trump holds his course on US-Russian relations.   For if there was ever a situation where his pigheadness could be a positive asset it is his attitude toward US-Russian relations.  Yet given all the forces at work to undermine it alas, who knows what the future will hold.

Given Trump’s bellicose approach to foreign relations, which is already antagonizing a nuclear armed China, should we get into a conflict with Russia it is anybody’s guess how Trump will react. Perhaps the most telling sign of the danger Trump’s presidency poses is that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist just moved the hands on their “DOOMSDAY CLOCK,” which warns us how close the world is to nuclear destruction, CLOSER TO MIDNIGHT!

a-terryfying-nuclear-explosion

A Clear and Present Danger!

Ten Scary Facts about Nuclear War!

HOW DOOMSDAY WILL HAPPEN!

This is why Congress Must Pass the Lieu-Markey Bill

Mankind must Destroy the Bombs or the Bombs will Destroy Us!

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Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

Janurary 27, 2017 of the End Times?

On Trump’s Inaugural Address

Posted in On Donald Trump, On the 2016 Presidential Election, You Tube Classics with tags on January 20, 2017 by playthell
 trump-speech-at-inauguration
 The New President Explaining his Vision
Sellin Woff Tickets to the World
 Witnessing Donald Trump present his inaugural Address was like watching a nightmare come true. Although he no doubt thought his scripted remarks – written by some right-wing wag and probably edited by white nationalist ideologue Steve Bannon – now his personal advisor – were profound, they were SOS: the Same Old Stuff. It was bombastic, jingoistic, and devoid of the poetry, soaring eloquence and magnanimity that we have come to expect from Barack Obama.
The speech was false to history, false to the present, and unworthy of the occasion. Try as he might to sound presidential, something he has evidently only become concerned with in the last 24 hours – judging by the things he said just yesterday – “The Donald” sounded much more like a New York real estate huckster than a great statesman charged with leading the world’s most powerful nation. I suppose you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks….and at 70 years of age he is a very old dog indeed!
The new president’s vision was grim – whether describing the condition of the US or his view of America’s relations with the rest of the world! It did nothing to win friends or influence enemies to think the better of the USA. It was what he is: Pugnacious, ignorant, dishonest, filled with hyperbole, graceless, and given to fascist sloganeering!
“Make America Great Again” was filched from Benito Mousilini, the Italian distator and self- proclaimed “Father of Fascism,” whose slogan was “Make Italy Great Again!”  And “America First” was the slogan of pro-fascist Americans, such as the aviator and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindburg, during World War II.  When it was pointed out that a quote he used was coined by Musolini he said he didn’t care “I just lkie good slogans.”  The thoughtful observor is forced to wonder if they are birds of a feather.  For an extended discussion of this question see: “Is Donald Trump A Uniquely American Fascist” on this blog.
Click to see Trump’s Speech
http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/20/politics/trump-inaugural-address/index.html

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem New York
Inauguration Day
Janurary 20, 2016

The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags on January 20, 2017 by playthell
.trumps-inaugaration
Herr Drumpf takes the Oath
A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY, IF CIVILIZATION SURVIVES!

Today Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office, in which he will pledge to “defend the US constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” The problem is that the greatest danger to the Constitution may well be the new President himself. According to Lawrence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, Donald Trump will be in violation of the Emoluments Clause due to his failure to divest his sprawling business holdings by placing them into a blind trust to be liquidated by an anonymous trustee. Indeed, Professor Tribe, who is widely regarded as our most authoritative voice on the evolution and intent of the clauses in the Constitution, has laid out five constitutional violations that will make Trump eligible for Impeachment the moment he takes office in a few hours.

Of course this will not happen immeditely, because impeachment proceedings must begin in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by fanatical ideologues who have placed the interest of the Republican Party – the Grand Obstructionist Party – above the national interest, and privilege a thirst for power over their love for the Constitution – despite the endless lip service they give to its sacred place in American life. However, I predict that just like Richard Nixon with the Watergate affair, Trump’s business interests, and perhaps the relationship of his campaign and subsequent election to Russian intrusion in our presidential election could eventually result in the impeachment of Donald Trump.

The fact that the new President’s commitment to conventional Republican ideological dogma is suspect by party stalwarts, who would much prefer Vice-President Mike Pence in their heart of hearts, makes Trump’s removal from office a real possibility. There is a precedent for this in the history of the Republican Party. Party ideologues – i.e. the leadership and most of the Congress – view this election as a transformative moment in US political history akin to the period following the Civil War.

They see this as a chance to make sweeping fundamental changes in the character of American society, just like the “Radical Republican” Congress that shaped Reconstruction policy. Although the Republican Party had complete control of the government, they had an uncooperative President who was at odds with their agenda. This circumstance was a consequence of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln which propelled Vice -President Andrew Johnson into the Oval Office.

Johnson had been picked by Lincoln as a gesture of conciliation toward the defeated states of the southern confederacy because he was a pro-union southerner; the only southern senator who refused to leave the union when his state seceded. Johnson’s selection was a concrete expression of President Lincoln’s promise in his second inaugural address, when he held out an olive branch to the defeated south with the promise that he would proceed “with malice toward none and charity for all we will bind up the wounds of our nation.”

However despite his pro-union loyalty, Johnson was a racist southern reactionary who did not share the vision of the Radical Republican Congress, and thus he opposed their agenda. And when they had had enough of his obstructionism they found grounds to impeach his contrary ass.
The validity of these charges yet remains a subject of controversy among American historians. However, given Trump’s opposition to conventional Republican wisdom on such fundamental issues as “Free Trade,” fiscal conservatism, and Russian policy, they could decide to remove him in favor of the ideologically pure Pence. And given the sloppy state of President Trump’s business affairs they will have little trouble finding valid grounds for impeachment.But all of this is only gross speculation that must be filed under the category of “what if.”

As it stands in a few hours Donald J. Trump is being sworn in as the 45 President of the United States of America, in an orderly transfer of power that has proceeded unimpeded for two centuries. It is a process that remains the marvel of the world and something in which all Americans can take pride. After all, he was elected, so far as we know, in a free and fair election.

However, there are two investigations underway – conducted by a Senate committee and by the FBI – that may yet reveal that the election was not fair; that the outcome was manipulated by a foreign adversary intent upon destroying the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who was clearly the most qualified candidate for the presidency in American history, in favor of Donald J. Trump who from all appearances is the least qualified candidate in US history!

One need only compare the hostile attitude toward Russia held by Hillary Clinton, with the warm fuzzy bromance between Trump and Putin to fathom why the Russians prefer Donnie. In my view this is modern tragedy, because cultivating better relations with Russia – a nuclear armed nation with the capacity to obliterate every city and town in America in a half hour from now – is one of the most critical problems facing our nation’s survival.

Yet, alas, as Dr. Stephen Cohen – our most learned Russian scholar – has argued, the suspicion that President Trump may be Moscow’s candidate has cast a cloud of suspicion over the Trump presidency before he even takes office and could arrest any progress that he might wish to make in a rapprochement with Russia.

The tragedy lies in the fact that Trump’s refusal to be seduced or coerced into promoting the growing anti-Russian hysteria – fueled by loose talk from politicians and the mindless blather spouted by many in the mass media – is his sole virtue….at least as far as I can see, and I’m watching him like a hawk spying on a chicken. We will have to pay close attention to the investigations and await their verdict before we know for sure if our presidential election was free or fair.

What we do know for sure is that Donald Trump will be our next president, and if he does what he has promised to do, it will be a giant step backward for our nation. If he expands the military budget – which already exceeds those of Russia, China, England and Japan combined – it will add nothing to our safety because we already have the capacity to kill every living thing in the world several times over.

But it is certain to spark a new arms race that will endanger everybody’s security, including ours. And if he succeeds, in league with a compliant congress, in carrying out the tax cuts that he has promised, it has been estimated by neutral experts that it would result in a ten trillion dollar budget deficit within ten years!

If President Trump signs the bill already passed by the Republican Congress to repeal Obamacare it has been estimated by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Offic that 18 million American citizens will immediately lose their health care coverage – many of them the very people who voted him into the Oval Office! It will indeed be a bitter pill to swollow to watch billionaires take away the medical care of the poor.  And if he carries out his pledge to defund the National Endowment on the Arts, he will greatly impoverish the cultural life of the nation, injure our spiritual life, deny the nation’s youth of the opportunity to experience the wonder of artistic creativity, and thus diminish our humanity.

If President Trump also carries out his threat to slap a 45% tariff on goods coming from China, he will throw many Americans out of work – because even products manufactured in the US depend upon critical parts produced in China – and dramatically raise the price of goods working class Americans rely on. It will put Walmart as well as your local hardware store out of business! And if he continues with the folly of reinstituting a “two China” policy we could well end up in a war with China, which we have no chance of winning by conventional means, and would thus place us in a nuclear confrontation – which the Chinese believe will result in the extinction of Americans, who only number some 300 million souls, but some of the billion and a half Chinese will survive.

This is why the handing over of the nuclear “football” and the codes to fire our doomsday weapons to Donald Trump – a clueless ignoramus who has cavalierly talked about employing the nuclear option even in Europe – is so terrifying to those of us who recognize their destructive capacity. These doomsday weapons can literally destroy our planet! This is what we now face as a conquence of electing Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the US. It is hard to envision a scenario that will not end badly.

Our only hope for a brighter outcome alas, is that President Trump will experience something akin to the “Beckett Syndrome,” where Thomas Beckett, a flunky for the king of England, was elevated by the King to the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, the powerful head of the Church of England, in the belief that he would do the King’s bidding. But once in office Beckett looked at his reflection in the mirror, decked out in the Arch-Bishop’s robes and went through a conversion where he swore to God that he would do all within his power to serve the best interest of the church….the king be dammed!

As I write this morning, the skies are grey and the birds are not singing. Talking to a friend in California I am told that the rains are pouring there, and it’s threatening to rain on the presidential parade in Washington. If I were the sort who believed in the pre-scientific concept of God, I would think that the gods were crying over the catastrophe we face….one of our own making……on this this day that will live in infamy….if we survive!

Donald Trump now has this Power!

a-nuclear-explosion

All he has to do is give the Word!

Witness the Inauguration Ceremony

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
January 20, 2016

JESTER OR COON?

Posted in On Blacks and Trump, On Donald Trump, Steve Harvey visits Donald Trump, You Tube Classics with tags on January 18, 2017 by playthell
steve-harvey-and-trump
Dr. Jive and and his Jigaboo

SHOULD STEVE HARVEY HAVE MET WITH TRUMP?

While Black elected members of Congress MUST meet with the President on GOVERNMENT BUSINESS and thus understandably will meet with Trump; Steve Harvey has no official business with Trump,so what was he doing in Trump Tower?  Steve says that they talked “about golf and people we knew in common.” And then they got down to business. Which is a mystery because he also says, as you will hear in the video below, that he doesn’t “know much about politics.” Steve seems easily impressed because he assured us  Trump “is a great Guy.”  He looked and sounded ridiculous!  The first question Steve should have asked Trump is: “Why me?”

The fact that the only black people Trump has met with before him is a former football player, a psychotic rapper, and his old gangster crony and mentor from his days in the boxing game Don King, should have made him suspicious of Trump’s motives.  The fact that Trump’s only black cabinet appointment – amidst a group of reactionary right-wing white folks whose agenda is hostile to the aspirations of the black community – is a demented doctor who is totally unqualified to direct the vast resources of the Housing and Urban Development Agency, should surely have given Big Stevie cause for pause. But this joker – who, as you will see in the video embedded below, can’t even pronounce the name of the agency, tells us that he and Dr, Carson are going to work together to bring about changes in the inner-city: THIS IS A CLAASSIC CASE OF THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND!!!!!!

Alas, lest we forget, Stevie a PROFESSIONAL FOOL….which is the definition of a COMEDIAN!!!!! In medieval times they were known as professional fools. However there is an important difference between the European court Jester and the American Sambo i.e. “coon.” The Jester was allowed to display wisdom and the coon – which was a racist caricature of black personality. style and character created by WHITE MINSTRELS IN BLACKFACE MASKS – is ONLY A FOOL! Sigmund Freud, the father of psycho-analysis offered this observation about the unique role of the comedian: “Throughout history whenever powerless men spoke truth to power they donned the fool’s mask.”

What Steve Harvey should have done during his audience with Trump is present him with a list of THE names of black experts, serious policy wonks, who have studied these problems for years and have REAL POLICY OPTIONS THAT ARE READY TO GO!!!!! People like Dr. Bernard Anderson, Professor of Economics at the prestigious Wharton School, in the University of Pennsylvania – the school from which Trump got the undergraduate degree that he constantly brags about.

As the principal author of the Economic Section of the annual Urban League State of Black America Report, Dr. Anderson is the foremost authority in the world on the economic problems facing Afro-Americans. And Dr. William J. Wilson, Professor of Social Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, is unquestionably the World’s foremost authority on the condition of African Americans in America’s cities. His books on the subject are as authoritative as the BIBLE on matters of Christian teaching! To learn more of these scholar and their works see, https://commentariesonthetimes.me/…/less-preachers-and-mor…/

 Dr. William Julius Wilson: Harvard Sociologist

william-j-wilson

The World’s Foremost Authority on Blacks in Urban America
Dr. Bernard Anderson: Economist at Wharton

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The Reigning Authority on blacks in the American Economy

These scholars should be at the top of the list, and if Trump didn’t call the people Steve recommended Stevie should make a clever comedy routine about it the way he did about Cornel West! It should go something like this:
“Watcha call me in fo boss? I’se jest a clown….you need to talk with some black folks that really got somethin to say and kin speak on it wit de wisdom of King Solomon in de bible,” then scratch his bald head, roll his eyes and get a good laugh while putting that bullshit artist in his place! Instead he allowed “The Donald” to get some free and positive pub, he was USED BY TRUMP!!!

Alas Stevie – probably overwhelmed that he got the call for counsel from The Donald that Cornel West hungered for but NEVER got from Barack Obama – and instead of a proud and unbought black man…a clown who spoke truth to power, we get a sheepish looking Harvey trying to explain why he met with Trump while not being able to cite a single thing we gained from it…not even a specific promise. Political tactics 101 – you NEVER go to a meeting with people who have REAL POWER with NO DEMANDS!!!!

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To watch Steve Harvey at Trump Tower click on link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBR6rgbcqVQ

Game Recognizes Game….

Posted in Game Reognizes Game! On Trump and King, On Donald Trump, On the 2016 Presidential Election with tags , , on January 6, 2017 by playthell
la-donald-trump-don-king-20160921
The Devious Donalds: A charlatan and a Crook, Cut Buddies from Way Back

 

WARNING: Bullshit Artists at Work!

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit….
“The bullshitter is involved in a program of obfuscation, not merely the substitution of truth for lies.”
Dr. Harry G. Franks
Professor of Philosophy at Princeton

Princeton philosopher Harry G. Franks became so intrigued with the phenomenon of bullshit and the practice of bullshitting he wrote a 67 page treatise on the subject titled On Bullshit.  Although I know but little of philosophy, nor am I curious enough about bullshitting to write an extended treatise on the subject, I feel not the slightest doubt that I know bullshit when I hear it and can spot a bullshit artist miles away.

I seem to have a built in bullshit detector that allows me to detect bullshit before it leaves the bulls ass.   So when I pull yo coat to a bull shitter bet the family jewels on it: Donald Trump, and his mentor in the art Donald King, are virtuoso performers in the ancient art of bull shitting!  And when I saw them hooking up at a political rally in Cleveland I thought of that old Louis Jordan hit “Beware Brother Beware!”

The first time I saw Donald Trump in person was at a press party to announce the forthcoming fight between “Iron” Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks for the Undisputed Heavy-Weight Championship of the World.  It was a unification match because both fighters held a portion of the Heavy-Weight crown awarded by different sanctioning bodies.  Since the fight game is all about glitz and hype, The Donald was right in his element as the princes and powers of the fight game and various VIP hangers on assembled in the Grand ballroom of The Plaza, a famous old New York landmark hotel that was given a face lift by Trump and plastered with his name.

Located at Central Park South, with a view of the magnificent Arboretum, everything about the newly refurbished hotel was plush.  The lively crowd was dressed to the nines; the cuisine and drinks were exquisite; it was big time.  Trump was the MC and controlled the mike like a Bronx B Boy.  My most poignant memory of the occasion was that upon first sight I could see that Donnie Trump was a pure bullshit artist.  His opening remarks consisted entirely of an accounting of his “brilliant real estate deals.”  I thought he was the most shallow important person I have ever met.

In this he reminded me of nobody more than Don King – Trump’s mentor in the lucrative fight game – whose personal history and style beguiled “The Donald.” Their stories could not have been more different.  Donald Trump was born to the purple with a silver spoon in his mouth and grew up in a huge columned mansion in Queens that his daddy named “Tara,” after the slave master’s house in the romantic plantation fantasy “Gone With the Wind.”   Freddie Trump, his father, was a patriarchal autocrat who had amassed millions of dollars from the real estate business in the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

Fred Trump employed scurrilous racial exclusion policies and other questionable business practices such as employing mobbed up construction contractors and overcharging the government for building costs.  He once had to return 1.5 million dollars to the federal government for faudulent billing, and he was forced to pay fines for discrimination against Afro-Americans in his rental properties.

The two black professional women that brought the discrimination suit against Fred Trump’s company were recently interviewed on MSNBC, along with the Jewish rental agent who corroborated their story.  The agent distinctly remembered Fred Trump, with a teenage Donald by his side, telling him that despite the black ladies qualifications “You know I don’t rent to niggers!”

These are the kinds of lessons Donald learned from his daddy, along with two cardinal rules: Winning is the only thing that really matters in life, and winners are born with the right stuff to excel.  That explains Herr Donald Drumpf’s publicly expressed belief that his success is “due to my German blood.”  He has also testified on numerous occasions that “My father is the smartest man I know.”

Trump is a life-long New Yorker who wanted to be a big baller in the Manhattan real estate business and gain national celebrity – something his daddy never had the balls to attempt.  Although Fred’s multi-million dollar fortune and strong political connections – he and Abe Beame, the Mayor of New York when Trump did his first big deal in Manhattan, grew up together – paved the way for little Donnie and opened many doorsthat were closed to his competitors.

Don King was born and bred in the gritty mid-western town of Cleveland – aka “the mistake by the lake” – and badly wanted to escape the drudgery of factory work. Perhaps he also wanted to escape the fate of his father – a strong working class family man, who was killed in a factory explosion when Don was a boy – and live the glamourous life.

King pursed this dream with a relentless determination, dropping out of the prestiegous Case Western Reserve University after a year, his admission providing evidence of his intelligence, and contiuing to chase his dreams without regard to social conventions or the law until he finally realized them in the big time boxing business – where he amassed a fortune of over 100 million dollars while making 90 boxers millionaires!

Trump came from a lily white privileged environment where he had never worried about paying his rent, nor knew anybody who did. Whereas King grew up in a community where almost everybody was a couple of paydays away from financial disaster and many thought “ho money is better than no money.” One spouted the “Golden Rule” and acquired their fortune with the protection of the police, the other pursued their fortune by deceiving and dodging the long arm of the law; guided by the belief that “A po man can’t fool with the Golden Rule in a crowd that don’t play fair.”

Yet The Dons had certain traits in common. Both believe in the “rule of gold;” they are both megalomaniacs and born motor mouths; bunko artists /salesmen who believe they can sell icicles to Eskimos. And they will say whatever suits their purpose; regardless of its relationship to the truth. Both are authoritarian personalities who love the limelight and flaunt their wealth in the vulgar ostentatious fashion of street hustlers.

Of course, Don King is a street player from Cleveland, a cold-blooded gangster who was deadly to his adversaries, but he was rescued from that dangerous life after first beating a murder charge for killing a man who tried to rob him, and later doing a stint in prison for murdering one of his soldiers who had stolen $600 from him. King has two dead bodies to his credit: he stomped one to death and shot the other.

Don King: “Only in America!”
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Patriotic Gangsta or Shameless Bunko Artist?

King talked his way into the boxing business by cultivating a relationship with a rising young heavy-weight named Cassius Clay, whom urban legend has it was introduced to King by the popular singer/bandleader Lloyd Price, who years later would put together the concert that accompanied the title fight between Muhammad Ali and the fearsome George Foreman in Zaire Africa called “The Rumble in the Jungle.”

It was through his association with Ali that King rose to prominence as a boxing promoter, virtually monopolizing big fight promotions for a couple of decades during the last third of the 20th century.  It was Don Kings prominence in the fight game that brought him into an association with Donald Trump, and at one point they became thick as thieves.  Compared to the wily streetwise King, Trump was like the “white boy lost in the blues” as the song goes.

The Dons!
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Mesmerized by the Master Player
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“There is nobody like Don King,” says Donald Trump

In the videos and photographs of Trump and King together it is King who comes across as the master and Donald the apprentice…that was definitely the case when it came to the glittering milieu of World Championship boxing – which was in a golden age.  What King offered Trump was a chance to make millions, and become a figure on the world stage, by putting on his world title boxing matches – which attract more mega-stars from more fields than any single event – at Trump’s venues in Atlantic City, breaking the monopoly of Las Vegas – especially Caesar’s Palace – on the big fights with international appeal.

The power of the Casinos to generate big money by attracting the “high rollers” from around the world is what had caused fight promoters to abandon Madison Square Garden in New York, which was known as “The Mecca of Boxing,” for Las Vegas.  Together Trump and King decided to make a sleepy seaside city on the Atlantic Ocean the new Mecca of Boxing.

Hence they formed a lucrative partnership and did indeed make Atlantic City a major player in the fight game, especially after 1985 when Trump convinced state legislators to scrap the luxury tax and reduce the event tax by 50%.  The exhibition of boxing matches King promoted at Trump’s Castle and other venues he controlled – like the Atlantic City Convention Center, where he built a walkway between the two making it easy for fight fans to get to the gambling tables – began in 1986 and included a who’s who of boxing talent in that period.

The world class fighters under contract to King that appeared in Trump’s venues beginning in 1985 include: Hector “Macho” Camacho, Julio Cesar Chavez, Gerry Cooney, Vinnie Pazienza, et al. Their crowning achievement in the boxing business was the World Heavy-Weight Championship unification match that featured Michael Spinks vs. “Iron Mike” Tyson – a joint promotion with Butch Lewis, who controlled Spinks.   Boxing is a unique business, by the time Trump got in the fight game the promoter’s business was the selling of rights: To television, live site owners, and concessionaires.

As a Casino owner Trump’s business was to calculate “the drop” – which is to say accurately estimate how much money the “high rollers” in the fight crowd would “drop” on the gaming tables gambling in the Casino before and after the fight.  This is a risky business because the site owner must pay a substantial fee in order to acquire the rights to exhibit the fight; the fee for the Spinks vs Tyson rights was three and a half million dollars.   Given the popularity of the fight this was a well calculated risk and resulted in a seven and a half million dollar drop – even though the fight lasted only 90 seconds!

Two Champions: Tyson and Spinks

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King put Trump in position to make millions in a single night!

 I was at the party Trump gave to announce the fight at the posh Plaza hotel on Central Park South at 59th Street.  It displayed the vulgar opulence worthy of a man who aspired to be King of New York City.  The co-champs were joined in a voluptuous feast attended by boxing wise guys, glitterati from the fight crowd, journalists like the great Jack Newfield, et al.  I was there as a writer with deep ties to the Spinks camp because I had been head of public relations for Butch Lewis Productions, which held the promotional rights to all of Michael Spinks fights.

I got a close up look at Trump during the party and my first impressions have proved lasting.  His entire conversation was about the latest properties he had acquired, and he came across as a narcissistic bore who was as shallow as a dry creek bed during a drought.  And when I got lost on the way to the bathroom and stumbled upon Trump and Tyson’s wife Robyn Givens in a hidden alcove away from the crowd, the way they jumped and stiffened up upon seeing me left me with the suspicion that they might have been playing stink finger.

Having considerable experience in seducing OPP, I usually know one when I see one!  And now, based on new evidence that has come to light, and Trump’s public admission that he is a serial pussy snatcher, I am convinced that my original hunch was right!   For instance, writer Harry Hurt, author of “Lost Tycoon,” tells us he heard many rumors about Trump banging Robyn, and reports having seen them alone together – just like me – and also tells how Trump was overhead bashing Robyn’s incompetence at the art of fellatio!

Then we get this bizarre story from the book TrumpNation, written by New York Times reporter Tim O’Brien.  According to O’Brien, during one interview with Trump the rumors about his dangerous liaison came up and he realls what The Donald told him:

“Tyson sat down in Donald’s corner office hundreds of feet above Fifth Avenue and the two men chatted for about fifteen minutes before the boxer got to the point. Donald recalled their conversation in detail.

“Mr. Trump, could I ask you a question?” Tyson asked.

“Whatever you want, Mike,” Donald responded.

“Are you fucking my wife?”

“What?”

“Are you fucking my wife? Everyone’s telling me that you’re fucking my wife.”

Tyson then pulled out a copy of Vogue magazine that feature a picture of Ms. Givens wearing a Trump Princess hat from Donald’s yacht.

“Everyone’s telling me that you’re fucking my wife and I think you’re fucking my wife,” Tyson said.

“Mike, let me tell you something: I never ever even thought about it. And I heard those rumors and they’re disgusting. In fact, I called you a couple of times to tell you that I heard those rumors and it pisses me off. And I never, ever even thought about it. She’s your wife, she’s with you, she’s loyal to you, and it’s total bullshit.”

“Mike it’s absolutely bullshit, it’s false,” Donald reiterated. “I give you my word.”

“Could I lie down on your couch?” asked Tyson.

“Why?”

“Because I’m so tired I just want to nap.”

“Sure, go ahead.”

Needless to say, after reading this I became convinced that my suspicions were on the money.  I hadn’t thought about it for years, and then I heard Tyson relate a tale about catching Robyn in a car with Brad Pitt under suspicious circumstances in his much acclaimed one man Broadway show spinning anecdotes from his amazing life – staged and directed by the brilliant innovator Spike Lee.

When Trump became a candidate for President, and Mike Tyson stepped forward as a vocal enthusiastic supporter of the man who banged his boo, I really started thinking about the issue again.  From all appearances it seems that “Iron Mike” is actually a Mammy Cut wearing poot butt Whittol – which is old English for “a willing cuckhold.”  Trump played him off like a poot-butt, just like his mentor King would have done.   Alas, the apprentice learned the con well from his mentor – the Master bunko artist!

Prancing with the Stars!

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A Privileged White Guy Surrounded by Self-Made Successful Black Men

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Jesse Jackson, Trump, King, and Ebony/Jet publisher John Johnson

I suspect that it is hard to overestimate the extent to which Trump’s way of dealing in the world has been influenced by Don King, who not only introduced him to the colorful characters in the big time boxing game, but to luminaries of the Afro-American community, and even heads of state.   Human nature being what it is Donald Trump could not help but be impressed with men like Reverend Jesse Jackson, an activist/thought leader on questions of vital importance to the nation, and John Johnson, the publisher of Ebony and Jet Magazine, publications that survived dramatic changes in the magazine market that had wiped out several gargantuan white magazines such as Look and Life. 

After all, when Trump started out in business he had a Wharton degree in Real Estate Finance, plus the benefit of his father’s millions, advice, and connections in the construction business.  And he was a straight white male.  Trump had the complexion and the connections from jump street!  The only thing these black men had in common with him was that they were straight!   They had none of his advantages plus had to deal with the burden of blatant racial discrimination!  How could Trump not be impressed with their achievements?

All Smiles!

Donnie and Dad Chillin with Butch and King at the Spinks-Tyson Fight
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Everybody loves the limelight of a World Heavy-Weight Championship fight
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The President Elect and his Mentors: A Racist and a Crook

A Ménage a Trois?

 donald-trump-robyn-and-tysomDangerous Liaisons!
 Chillin with President Bush
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Trump was beguiled by this black hustler who schmoozed with Presidents

Butch Lewis introduced me to the business of boxing; he sought me out by virtue of a couple of articles that I wrote about the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommie Hearns World Welter-Weight Championship unification match.  The articles were titled “The Sugarman and the Mo-Town Cobra: Notes on Those Wonderful Welter-Weights” and “The Sugarman was Just Too Sweet for the Motown Cobra: Notes on the Poetry of Pugilism.”  These two essays not only brought me to the attention of Butch Lewis, they also got the attention of Sugar Ray Leonard, which resulted in my nearly promoting the match between Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler for the Undisputed World Middle-Weight Championship.

Negotiating with Sugar Ray

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Sugar and Marvelous Marvin was the Dream Match
I was all up in th Boxing Game

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Chillin with The Greatest!

I got my first real impression of Don King’s character when I went to work for Butch; before that King was just a verbose colorful sport who was probably the best promoter since P.T. Barnham i.e. the quintessential bullshit artist.  It was the nature of the game.   However the portrait Butch painted of him was of a ruthless criminal and con-man whose word meant nothing and he would beat you for every dime if he could. Butch explained how he began his career in the boxing business by chauffeuring Joe Frazier around in a limo he borrowed from the used car dealership where he was a car salesman.  This is how he met Don King.

The reputation that Butch had in the business as a “never say die” competitor imbued with what sociologist call “the eternal optimism of the hustler,” plus great salesman skills and could sniff out a deal where others saw nothing, was all on display when he first approached Don King.  Hanging around on the fringes of the game Butch recognized that he had to come up with a unique angel to break into the business.

Butch Lewis

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Butch in his trademark shirtless formal dress

Butch was what King Pretended to be…..

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Butch and Heavy-Weight Champion Joe Fazier Present President Mandela with Belt

His opportunity came when King made the match between Muhamad Ali vs. Leon Spinks Heavy-Weight Championship fight in 1978.  Two years earlier Spinks had captured the attention of the sporting world by winning the Olympic Gold medal in dramatic fashion.  A compelling part of Spink’s story was that he was a member of the United States Marine Corps when he fought in the Olympic Games.

In a very creative move Butch decided to approach King with a proposal that he sell the fight to the US Navy to be broadcast by close circuit to their troops on military bases and ships at sea.  Since butch would be working purely on commission, which means if he couldn’t close the deal King wouldn’t owe him a penny, The Don said hell yeah!  It was a no lose proposition for him.

Well Butch pulled it off; to King’s astonishment he sold the fight to the Navy!   Butch used to say that’s what made Kings hair stand up in that wild fashion that gave him the look of a cartoon character experiencing an electric shock.  However, Butch had done the deal on a verbal commitment and King welched on the agreement and robbed him, played him like pimps play whores.

He didn’t take all of the money but he took most of it.  Then, adding insult to injury, King had the unmitigated gall to offer Butch a Job!  Butch was so incensed he not only turned down the job but bought a high powered rifle began to make serious plans to kill King.  Fortunately, Butch thought the better of it and decided to become his business competitor instead.  Thankfully, due to the superb writings of Jack Newfield – a great investigative reporter and die hard boxing fan who had them dress him in a boxing robe and gloves on his death bed – we have learned that the dirt Don did to Butch was par for the course in his dealings with fighters.

Newfield’s documentary film on King “Only In America” tells it all in the words of the people King Screwed.  I am appending a clip of the film at the end of this essay.   The same character flaws and dirty dealings that we see in Don King we can also observe in Donald Trump.  The hype and bullshit, the pathological lying; the screwing of contractors who he refused to pay after they have completed work for him; the megalomania; the love of the limelight; his avoidance of paying taxes – King was unsuccessfully prosecuted by the government on tax fraud charges – that keeps him under audit; the character assassination of his competitors, for instance King called Tyson’s first manager Bill Clayton “Satan.”  It’s all there.

There is another King trait that we also see in Trump, and it could well be his undoing politically.  And that his ability to abandon relationships and forget promises to those who work with and support him on the spur of the moment and adopt opposite positions if it suits his interests.  Two examples will suffice.

When anti-apartheid groups in the US organized a boycott against entertainers or athletes performing in South Africa because of the anti-black policies of their Nazi like all white government, Don King talked Heavy-Weight Champion Mike Weaver into defending his crown in South Africa.  King, who is usually well tailored in fine business suits and whose only real devotion is to enhancing his brand and making money, ceremoniously donned an African Dishiki and  cloaked his appeal to black South African leaders, as well as his rationale to the anti-apartheid groups, in the argument that because weaver was such a magnificent example of African manhood – being that he is ebony black with magnificently sculpted muscles – that his destruction of the white South African champion would raise the morale of the African resistance.   Luckily he won and I’m sure many average south African blacks got a big kick out of it – although Don was in it strictly for the money!

In the period before the Michael Dokes vs Gerre Coetzee fight for the World Boxing Asociation Heavy-Weight Championship – which was held in Richfield Ohio before a Dokes’ hometown crowd on September 23, 1983 – Don King was full of bluster about “black brotherhood,” practically casting himself as a liberator of black self-confidence in South Africa by promoting fights where black fighters would humiliate the WhiteSouth African fighter.

However, when the white south African knocked Mike Dokes out, Dokes recalls Don King stepping over him as he lay dazed on the canvas in his rush to embrace the white South African, who was now under contract to King due to a clause in the contract.  Hence the south African was now King’s new Heavy-Weight Champion!  Henceforth King would advertise the fact that although he was white Coetzee opposed the white supremicist Apartheid system.  All the black liberation talk quickly went down the drain.  It was quintessentially King!

As I write, Trump is also engaged in a blatant bait and switch.  Many of his most ardent supporters in the untutored mob that played such a critical role in his election to the presidency did so because he promised to build a wall on the Mexican border; make the Mexican government pay for it; “drain the swamp of lobbyist for special interest;” punish companies that relocate overseas; and protect essential elements of the “social safety net” like Social Security and Medicare.

Trump also pledged not to scrap the Affordable Health Care Act, which millions of his supporters rely on for medical treatment, until a “better and cheaper” medical care plan was in place.   In fact he said: “I don’t want a single day to pass” between scrapping “Obamacare” and coverage under the new plan. He also pledged to place a ban on Muslims visiting the US and mass deportations of foreigners living in America without proper papers.

He is now retreating on many of these promises before he has been officially sworn in.  And he is doing it with a smile, saying that he never meant to be taken literally.  The president elect has all of the characteristics of a bullshit artist who is all bunko!  The biggest suckers he played, without a doubt, are the po dumb rednecks in the Klan and other racist anti-Jewish organizations who endorsed him thinking he was their savior.

David Duke, the patron saint of American racist anti-semites virtually said as much.    The truth is that Trump doesn’t give a damn about their racist anti-semitic obsessions; aside from his dad Freddie, Don King was his greatest influence and his Orthodox Jewish Son-in- law Jerob Kushner his most influential advisor as I write!  If the result were not so tragic, it would be hilarious how this fast talking New York rich boy bullshit artist has played these white trash asholes like a fiddle!

It is no wonder the Reverend Al Sharpton, who know both men well by virtue of the fact that they were once cronies, said on national television: “If you really want to understand Donald Trump, just think of him as the white Don King!”

Homies Hangin Out on the Town

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The Donald, Big Al and The King

MY HERO!

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Ain’t no shame in his game!

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The Michael Dokes vs. Gerry Coetzee WBA Chanmpionship
https://youtu.be/Qy0zxuhO2Js
Click to hear Author Jack Newfield on Don King

https://charlierose.com/videos/12812

Don King: Unauthorized, by Jack Newfield

This documentary covers essentially the same story as “Only in America”
Note: The videos on Donald Trump linked below, like virtually all accounts of Trump’s career fails to take into account the tremendous influenc Don King had on his flamboyant braggadocious style and sharp business practices.  Nevertheless they are important for the light it shines on the rest of his life.
See:”
Donald Trump: A True Narcissistic Sociopath”
https://youtu.be/jkUFUkvNYAQ
President Trump | FRONTLINE
https://youtu.be/RlXBTSjTytE
PlaythellG. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
January 5, 2017

 

Celebrating Kwanzaa at the Apollo!

Posted in Cultural Matters, Photo-Essays, Theater with tags , , on January 2, 2017 by playthell
apollo-at-kwanzaa-iii Forces of Nature

             Greeting the New Year With Forces of Nature 

In over thirty years of writing about the performing arts in New York City, the cultural center and arts mecca of the world, I have never witnessed a show as spectacular as the Kwanza performance put on by the “Forces of Nature Dance Theater” at Harlem’s venerable Apollo, which correctly bills itself as “The Soul of Black Culture.” Founded and directed by Abdel Salaam, whose sharp intellect and fecund imagination appears to know no limits; the company enjoys an embarrassment of riches in regard to gifted choreographers and dancers.

The company’s dance vocabulary ranges from traditional African dance to Modern, Post Modern, to Afro-American vernacular dance – the creative well from which all original American dance flows – to its latest expression such as Hip hop. The elements of great dance theater include music, costumes, lights, gifted attractive dancers, and daring imaginative choreographers who believe in the gifts of their dancers and are not afraid to challenge them with works of great complexity.

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Real Black Magic!

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A Complexity of Vision

The work was both old and new, innovative yet preserving the best of pan-African dance traditions recast and polished for theatrical performance. One of the highlights of an evening with many incandescent moments was when Forces of Nature was joined onstage by a Native American dance troupe. It was a revelation, the thoughtful observer is compelled to beg the question as to how Europeans, escaping the squalor to which the working poor were confined in European cities, could ever have denounced such magnificent people as mere “savages.

Afro-Indio

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Homage to a forgotten Relationship

The performance was serious political commentary and fun; it employed pathos and bathos – tragedy and comedy – without restraint. The works gave free rein to the most voluptuous creative impulses of the choreographers, who produced works that made maximum use of the fabulously sculpted black, brown and beige bodies that were the vehicles for their ideas. The wide range of musical styles to which the dances are set reveal the unfettered scope of the choreographers imagination.  The Drum Choir that accompanies some of the dances has reached a level of virtuosity that I have rarely witnessed in percussion ensembles – despite the fact that I have ben a drummer and student of drumming for over half a century!  It was Black Magic! A splendid exercise in rhythm and movement as alchemy; that hoodoo that we do so well.

The Drums Speak!

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Their conversation was superb

I am convinced if I spent a thousand and one nights in the theater my chances of catching a better show than this are about equal to a snowflakes chances of survival in a pizza oven. Rare and marvelous events such as this is the reason why I live in the Big Apple. At the bottom of this essay is an interview with the founder and creative genius Abdel Salaam, who along with his gifted wife Dyane Harvey Salaam, are the artistic inspiration and guiding hands that steer the course of Forces of Nature. 

Inside the Beautiful Apollo Theater

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The most famous theater in New York

The ornately beautiful theater with it’s elegant gold leafing forming intricate patterns around the stage and balcolnies, was packed to the rafters and we could feel the good vibes as the highly regarded radio host Imhotep Gary Byrd, who was celebrating his 50th year on the air, controlled the mike like a Bronx B-Boy.

Imhotep Gary Byrd

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A Neo-African Griot Anointing the audience with glorious tales

Bedecked in flowing African robes Imhotep was more than a concert M.C. beguiling the audience from the stage where more world class stars were born than any other in this city of great theaters; he was a Neo-African Griot droppin soulful science about the meaning and history of Kwanzaa, the restoration of the Apollo by the late Percy Sutton, and our destiny as a people, as we grooved to the beats of Pan-African rhythms welcoming the new year.  And the magnificent show concluded early enough for people to make it to their Watch Night services in their churches…that sacred Afro-American ritual commenrating the abolition of the enslavement of Africans and their ancestors in the United States, which, curiously, was never mentioned during the Kwanzaa celebrations.

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Forces of Nature in Concert!

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These two videos capture the broad eclecticism of their Repotoire

An Interview with Abdel Salaam

An Revealing Discussion of the Sources of his Electic Art

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
January 2, 2016