Archive for the Barack’s Second Inaugaration Category

Arabian Knights

Posted in Barack's Second Inaugaration, On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East!, Trump and the Arabs with tags , on May 21, 2017 by playthell

Donnie Dancing with the Sheiks

 Building Mid-East Policy on Sinking Desert Sands

The Donald’s moves in the Saudi Sword dance were as awkward and out of step as his evolving Middle East policy. Which is a lot like building your castle on sinking sands.  If the paramount objective of US policy in the region is to promote peace, Trump could not have made a worse beginning.  Alas, the House of Saud, whose 3000 princes control everything and own most of the vast wealth created from oil revenues is one of the world’s most corrupt, anti-democratic regimes.  And unless you happen to believe that “Allah” bequeathed his “gift” of oil to the Royal Family the Saudi regime is also a kleptocracy.

It is a regime with a medieval conception of the relation of the people to the monarchy and the official religion, and it is enforced with the iron fist of the police state – all things that Englishmen in America overthrew in a war with their mother country Great Britain in the 18th century that created the United States!   And while Donald Trump genuflects before the Arabian King, his regime is widely despised by many of the King’s subjects, as well as militant young Muslims throughout the Middle East.  I believe that this Newfound relationship with the House of Saud will prove more costly to the US than it is worth.

For instance, Trump was practically giddy about signing a deal with the corrupt Saudi regime for 110 billion dollars and he says the Saudis have pledged to spend another 300 billion dollars in the US.  And while the US quietly sold even more weapons to the Saudi’s under the eight years of the Obama Administration – due to the long standing US-Saudi alliance – Trump’s slavish genflection before the King of a regime that is hated by both the secular progressive intellectuals and the Islamic Jihadist among the Sunnis, while expressing hostile intent toward Iran, the giant Shiite nation who share a border with the Saudis, is a prescription for armed conflict throughout the mid-east region… and we have yet to see what he will promise the Israelis.

Donnie Genuflecting Before the Tyranical Saudi King

Selling American Integrity for Petro dollars

After signing the arms deal Trump turned to the camera and announced that it would create “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!   However that is problematic since the Saudi’s want many of these Americans weapons to be manufactured in Arabia. Yet it is a good bet that showering arms on the reactionary Saudi’s with no restrictions on their use could ignite a wider war than we have yet seen in the Middle-East.  And it will surely involve direct engagement of US forces in a war that could pit the US against Iran and all the anti-Saudi forces in the Sunni world, including anti-royalists’ insurgents within Saudi Arabia!   In this scenario, the 400 billion dollars that the Saudi’s have pledged to spend in the US will prove to be chump change when we subject it to a cost/benefit analysis.

We need only consider the fact that the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, plus the war of choice in Iraq, is projected to cost a total of four trillion dollars by Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Noble Prize winning economist at Columbia University.  To put this enormous sum in perspective, it is twice the amount of money that the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated it would have cost to completely rebuild the entire infrastructure of the US: roads, bridges, power grid, create a high-speed train system, etc.  And it is four times the paltry trillion dollars that Trump has request for infrastructure development. Trump has asked for.  Alas, the war that could result from the US arming the backward House of Saud with advanced US weaponry will make the conflict spawned by the invasion of Iraq look like a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

On the eve of America’s invasion of Iraq I wrote a 3,000 word critical essay titled “The Iraq Attack: Bushes March of Folly,” warning against the aggressive action and pointing out that it was based on a bogus analysis of the role Iraq supposedly played in the 9/11 attack on US soil.  That essay now reads like prophecy and can be read on this site under the title: “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq” at

My careful analysis of the real reason for the Iraq invasion, How the Iraq War Was spawned in a Think Tank,” can also be read on this site at  Furthermore, my essays on the Arab Spring, which were written in real time as events unfolded, are also posted on this site under different titles, are full of accurate predictions.  Hence, I have a solid and easily verifiable record of analysis and prediction of developing conflicts in the Middle East.

I have cited my record of successful prediction in the turbulent Mid-East not to brag, but to point out why you should pay attention to what I am saying on the present issue.  And my paramount point here is to say that the direction American foreign policy is taking under our clueless President, Donald Trump, should be questioned not applauded, and anxiety not jubilation is the proper response.  After all, despite the attempt at an instant makeover, Trump is an ignorant buffoon with no independent understanding of the critical issues in the Middle-East.  In truth, he is an embarrassing airhead and pugnacious anti-muslim bigot who just a few weeks ago was advocating killing the families of terrorists – which would have included several prominent Saudi families such as the Bin Ladins, who are very close to the Royal Families.

So what is the reason why Trump is being embraced by the House of Saud?  Well, Trump is interested in making big arms deals with the Saudi’s without any moral restraints on how or where they are deployed, and he is foolishness enough to wade into an 1800 year old conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites based on an obscure theological dispute. President Barack Obama, a brilliant and highly moral man with an in-depth understanding of the complex problems of the Middle-East, who had promised those of us who voted for him to withdraw American forces from the region, did impose moral constraints on US dealings with the Saudi’s and pursued a more balanced policy in the region to the extent that vital American interests would allow.

The difference between President Obama’s knowledge of the critical contemporary issues and their historical evolution, and Trump’s ignorance of them, explains why Trump’s first trip to the Middle East was to Saudi Arabia and President Obama went to Egypt. For a better understanding of this see: “Of All the Places in the Muslim World, Why Egypt” at Just as Bush’s failure to understand the issues around the historical reasons why Osama bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein could not possibly be allies, caused him to buy a rationale for the disastrous invasion of Iraq.  And Trump’s ignorance of the history and present conflicts in the Middle East threatens to lead us into an even wider war into the region.

A gaggle of TV talking heads are making much of how well Trump and the Saudi Royals are hitting it off.  But there is no mystery here, it can be summed up in the old addage: “Birds of a feather flock together.”  The House of Trump and the House of Saud have a lot in common.  Both revere unchecked power and a disdain for a free press, independnt courts, and protest from the people.

Both Trump and the Saudi Royals worship personal wealth, dwell in vulgar opulence without a care for the impoverished multitudes beyond self-serving lip service, and both view women as basically the property of men.  And both want to keep America on a petroleum based economy.  In view of these realities, it is wise to view “The Donald’s” diplomacy with a jaundiced eye: skepticism not jubliation should guide our conclusions.


The Vulgar Opulence of The House of Saud




How the King’s Subjects Live



The House of Trump




Trump’s Voters

She believes Donald Trump is her Savior

But other Poor Folks know better!

Detroit: The Decaying Post Industrial City

Urban Warriors: The Boggs Institute:


Watch Donnie Do the Sword Dance with Saudi Shieks
 Watch Trump Sing the 110 Billion Arms Deal
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 21, 2017

All Hail the Chief!

Posted in Barack's Second Inaugaration with tags , on January 22, 2013 by playthell

Barack Obama Sworn In As U.S. President For A Second Term

Barack Obama: The 44th President of the USA
 Barack’s Second Term begins amid pomp and Circumstance

Although I was surprised to see John Boehner with tear stained eyes as the Marine band played Hail to the Chief, after Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office, reciting after Chief Justice Roberts, tears came easily to me.  Those black folks who think this is not a moment for celebration has lost their souls….and the whites who share this view have lost their minds!

One need only look at the people on the podium – a gay poet, the wife of a slain civil rights worker, the Greek Orthodox Bishop, who said it was the greatest honor of his life to offer a prayer for the nation, et al.  It was what contemporary America looks like; it was the coalition that elected the President.

Still looking like any brother you might encounter in a pickup basketball game in the hood, Barack is a role model to all the millions of young black males who are contemplating their futures in this society.  And the message is that with a little help from family, friends and good teachers a little black boy in America today can grow up and become the most powerful man in the world!

It is that hope and possibility which was on display when the president took the podium to address the nation, and through the miracle of mass communication the entire world, as he shared his aspirations for the American people during his second term in the Oval Office.

Amid the spectacle of prancing horses and the triumphant sound of fluttering trumpets, President Obama greeted the massive sea of humanity; representing every physical phenotype and diverse religious and political belief.  He began with his usual graciousness, and then he proceeded to deliver an oration that combined a deep sense of Christian charity that calls upon us to take care of our neighbors; to feed the hungry, feed the sick and care for the elderly as a matter of public policy not just pious preachment.

The President Speaks to the Nation


Giving the people a reason to hope for better days

The President reiterated the promise of the declaration of Independence that we are all “created equal,” and called for saving the environment; developing a humane and effective immigration policy; having the right to love and marry whom we please and federal law will protect our rights; investing in the education of our youths; while imploring the Republicans to join him in a bi-partisan effort to solve the nation’s problems.

His style ranged from barbershop conversation and fireside chat, to policy wonk and inspired preacher.  And the society envisioned in his rhetoric promises a brighter future for all who seek one.  However the prospects for the success of his policy objectives passing both houses of Congress, given the crazed behavior of the right-wing zealots, do not seem hopeful.  Despite the cheering crowds gathered several bodies deep in an effort to get a glimpse of the President and First Lady, there are millions of white Americans – and a few blacks – who dread this day.

Hence when they got out of the Limo and began to stroll down the boulevard to the reviewing stand I’m sure the Secret Service agents got heart burn – given the animosity toward the of gun crazed paranoid racists, who possess every type of weapon, and may be poised to wreak havoc.  I know I was on needles and pins watching them walk amidst the wildly cheering masses.

Elegantly promenading down this historic avenue, the First Lady’s style was an eclectic fashion statement combining finely tailored designer garments with off the shelf J. Crew. It is a statement that says American designers are tops and you can be sharp in clothing that the average woman can afford.  Yet the more I heard about the fortifications of the presidential limousine – they talkin James Bond stuff yo – the more I wanted them to get back inside the ride.

For those of us who grew up under the racial caste system – American apartheid – it is a remarkable sight to witness this outpouring of love for our black First Family; it is certainly a sight that the wisest observers of the American racial scene just ten years ago would have dismissed as a dangerous delusion!

Hence I enjoyed every minute of the pomp and circumstance, feeling good about having played my part as a responsible informed citizen in helping to bring this day about. Unlike Corny West, I don’t feel at all slighted by not having been invited to the inauguration parties.

It is more than enough for me that Barack will be in the Oval Office, while Michelle runs the White House, looks after the girls, lends a mighty hand to military families and teaches the nation how to eat for good health.  I cannot imagine better role models for the youth of America and the world.  I feel like our nation hit the jackpot.   All the pomp and circumstance is but the open and passionate display of the love that millions of Americans feel for our first family. This writer included.

You can it in the performances of the marching bands as the pass the reviewing stand.  Music enlivens any occasion; it is what lodges the texture of an experience in our memories.  As the great novelist and musician Ralph Ellison observed in Things Remembered Times Past –his classic essay on the creation of Be-bop at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem:  “Music gives resonance to memory.”

Hence when I hear those big brass bands with thunderous percussion sections of snares, tenor drums, cymbals and a bass drum line, I conjure up memories of the euphoria I felt playing the Mellophone in a brass section performing the thunderous brass parts in Stars and Stripes Forever; or playing snare drums while the bass drums and cymbals crashed around me like thunder and lightning.  It is such an ecstatic sensation it may be impossible to describe in words…and words are my game.

When played with a high degree of musicianship, this ecstatic feeling is transferred to the listeners.  As they demonstrated again today, nobody plays these John Phillip Sousa marches better than the United States Marine Corp Band, which was founded by Maestro Sousa and for whom he wrote all of those great marching songs.

I learned to love these marches as a boy when I lived next door to a family of gifted musicians where the father, grandfather and three brothers played brass instruments, and were crazy about John Phillip Sousa’s compositions.  Yes they are jingoistic anthems designed to create a martial spirit.  They are also great compositions and if you like brass and drums you gotta love Semper Fidelis, El Capitan, Anchors Away and The Stars and Stripes Forever! 

I still get goose pimples when I hear these marches and I love a good parade!  Generations of men in my family fought under that Stars and Stripes all over the globe.  And even when the nation was false to itself and profaned their most cherished ideals, sacrificing them on the altar of racism, these black men fought for what it promised; certain that there was no better deal to be had anywhere else.

Those who survive those conflicts are all happy campers today.  When they witness Barack Obama sworn in as Commander-In- Chief, they feel their sacrifice has been justified.  The prideful presence of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen, donned in their battle caps says it all.

So Let the naysayers on the extreme right and left try and piss on this magnificent parade if the dare.  As the nation swoons to the sultry beauty of Byonce’s rendition of the National Anthem ll they will accomplish is to further seal their fate as irrelevant bystanders in the theater of political combat in America.   Serves them right!

Anyone who is such a clueless cold fish that they fail to be moved by this amazing national spectacle, this visual panegyric to our democratic process, whose flaws lie more in the character failings of the electorate more than the system’s design, deserves to be confined to the sidelines warming the bench when the real game is being played.

Only master players who love the game of politics can hope to compete in a game where relationships of power are being created and shaped. One of the president’s strongest rhetorical devices was to consistently invoke the image of “we the people.” And he pointed out that in our system of government ultimate power resides in them.

A majority of the people believes him and identify with him. They love him for it and will follow him wherever he leads.  Let’s hope he can work his magic to defeat the House Republicans in the Congressional elections two years hence.


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

January 21, 2013