Archive for the On Donald Trump Category

Mooks with Nukes

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Nuclear War with tags , , , on April 20, 2017 by playthell

Trump and National Security Advisor HR McMaster

They Lost the Fleet at Sea? Be Afraid…Be Very Afraid!

No matter how they try to spin it the alarming fact is that the Commander-In-Chief lost track of a nuclear armed carrier fleet on the high seas!  It is a blunder unprecedented in US history, and the attempt to pass it off as Trump being “unpredictable” is unconvincing and does not pass the smell test.  Yet even if it were true, that would-be madness since it created the most dangerous possibility of a nuclear exchange since the Cuban missile crisis – an event that nearly destroyed our civilization!

Accompanied by the reckless rhetoric of Donald Trump bragging about the firepower of his magnificent Armada, while threatening an assault on North Korea after bombing Afghanistan and Syria, the North Korean Ambassador to the UN announced that any attack on his nation by the US would be met with the full force of their military…including nukes!  Listening to the news this morning I find an attempt to play down the magnitude of this blunder, and it is disconcerting.

There are vital lessons to be learned here and it would behoove us to learn them quickly.  The most important of these lessons is that the US Armed Forces, which has the power to wipe out the world, has a chain of command which is in disarray because the Commander-In-Chief is an incompetent ignoramus, and mistakes can be made in the deployment of nuclear weapons; therefore an accidental nuclear war is quite possible. I have repeatedly warned of this grim possibility in several essays.

In listening to people discuss the possibility of nuclear war I find that they are in deep denial.  Unable to contemplate the horror of it all, they take refuge in the assumption that no leader of a nuclear armed country would dare order an attack on another nuclear armed country because of the certain consequences to themselves.  In military strategy this is known as the MAD doctrine i.e. “Mutual Assured Destruction.”

It is this policy that has thus far prevented a war between nuclear powers, although we came within one wrong decision by Kennedy or Krushev from blwing up the world during the Cubam Missile Crisis of 1962.  Yet we should take no comfort in the fact that the MAD doctrine has worked in the past, for new dangers have arisen that threaten to make this policy obsolete.

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The main danger lay in the development of the Internet and the advent of cyber-warfare.  This makes threats, and loose talk about the possible use of nukes in a first strike, a destabilizing factor that was not a part of the security regime in the past.  And thus it ushers in new scenarios as to how an accidental nuclear war could start, and I have never believed a war between nuclear powers would ensue other than by accident.   But when you have the President of the USA, who commands the world’s most potent nuclear arsenal, saying things like he won’t take “the nuclear option off the table” at the same time that he is telling the world that he wants to be “unpredictable” the preconditions for catastrophe are laid.

Nukes

If we don’t destroy these doomsday weapons…they will destroy us!

There are over a million attempts a day to hack into the US strategic command computers, from whence the orders to launch a nuclear missile would be given, and I am certain there are many attempts to penetrate the Russian system.  It is reasonable to assume that the experience hackers are gaining from their attempts to penetrate these highly-sophisticated systems will help equip them to invade less complex systems such as that of North Korea.  For a fanatical Muslim Jihadist equally pissed off at the “Great Satan” America, and the Godless Communist in Korea and China, provoking a nuclear exchange between them could be viewed as a carrying out the will of Allah.    It is beyond hubris and into the realm of delusion to believe that no one will ever succeed in crashing these nuclear command systems.

Of course, given the cluelessness of Trump, an accidental nuclear exchange could occur without the help of Jihadist.  The ignorance of the man who controls the Doomsday US nuclear arsenal is shocking.  In a recent interview in which Trump was asked about the possibility of a thermo-nuclear war with Korea, he sounded dangerously confused – as if he had refused to read his copious briefing notebooks and slept throug the briefing sessions with the National Security Advisor.  An alarm went off in my head as I listened to Trump recount how American Presidents from Clinton to Obama had been “played” by “the gentleman” from Pyongyang, and assured us that things would be different now that the wily Korean would be dealing with him!

The problem with his analysis is that Trump was actually talking about three different people: Kim ill Sung, Kim Jung Ill and Kim Jong Un. Verbose, intellectually lazy ignoramus that he is, Trump had no clue that the present leader of north Korea, Kim Jong UN – was a toddler when Clinton did his deal with Kim ill Sung.  Alas, a day hardly passes that Donnie Dimwit does not do something that embarrasses the nation.

Yet that is not the worst of it: the combination of ignorance, arrogance and pugnacousness that are the pillars of his personality makes him dangerous to America and the world.  Alas, when Trump’s mindless impulsive use of America’s vast military power is spurred on by an ignorant electorate who want to “make America great again,” applauded by a jingoistic press and encouraged by old warmongers in the Senate such as Lindsay Graham and John McCain – two reckless old farts with one foot in the grave who appear to want to take everybody else with them – we should be afraid…very afraid

VIDEOS!
Click on link to see the lost carrier fleet at sea
https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/04/18/the-trump-admin-said-this-aircraft-carrier-was-on-her-way-to-north-korea-it-was-sailing-the-other-way.html
Watch Rober S. McNamara’s Extrodinary Witness
For a first hand account of how nuclear war almost destroyed civilization
Click on Link and Watch Robert S. Macnamara’s film: “The Fog of War.”
https://freedocumentaries.org/documentary/the-fog-of-war#watch-film

Note:  Robert S. McNamara, the subject of this film, was the Secretary of Defense during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the US and Russia almost destroyed the world in a nuclear war.  His testimony about how close both side came to launching their nuclear missiles is the most chilling revelation you will ever hear. And his reflections on war and weapons of mass destruction, which traces the growth in the destructive power of those weapons offer vitals lessons that could save us from a war of extinction.  PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO VIEW THIS FILM, AND DEMAND THAT YOUR CONGRESSMAN PUT FORTH A BILL THAT WILL END DONALD TRUMP’S BOYCOTT OF THE UN CONFERENCE TO BAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS!   

 It is the height of hypocrisy for Trump to emphasize the ban on nerve gas, and become so worked up by its alleged use by the Syrian government that he bombed the country, while at the same time refusing to even enter into a discussion about banning nuclear weapons – the destructive power of which makes nerve gas seem like a minor issue.

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 4, 2017
 

The Most Dangerous Nation on Earth!

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On Nuclear War, Playthell on politics with tags on April 17, 2017 by playthell
American Nuclear Armed  Fleet Steaming for Korea: An Invincible Armada?

How Trump’s Policies Can Lead to Human Extinction

Recently I had a conversation with a professor of physics in Berkley about climate change; from his pained facial expressions and the resignation in his body language, I could tell this was not his favorite subject.  As it turns out the warming of our planet is something he had thought about quite a lot, and I would soon learn that physicist of all schools everywhere in the world are thinking about it.   And it soon became clear that not nearly enough people outside of the scientific community are thinking about the crisis seriously.

I knew the feeling.  For over half a century I have been trying to warn my fellow citizens, anybody who would listen really, that we are living in the absurd situation where our entire civilization…and all life on this planet, could be extinguished in a ball of radioactive fire hotter than the sun within an hour from now by nuclear weapons.  To my knowledge, I am the only pundit who writes about the looming catastrophe of nuclear war on a regular basis.  Most either don’t understand it, or are too depressed about its consequences to ponder the problem; it is too ghastly to contemplate.

In an important regard the Physicist and I shared a similar burden: having an intimate and sure knowledge of how the extinction of our species could occur.  He as a result of his profession, me because of my service on a Strategic Air Command base stationed at the DEW – Distance Early Warning – line in Glasgow Montana, a remote location in the Great Plains near the Canadian border.

Our mission was the nuclear destruction of the Soviet Union.  The fact that I enjoyed a Top-Secret security clearance and was in a unit tasked with the security of the planes and their nuclear payloads, as well as the war fighting plans, provided me a birds eye view of the results of a nuclear war.  It was terrifying, but it is much more dangerous now! The physicist also understands the devastating affect of  nuclear weapons, but he has no idea of the probability of its use; the scenarios whereby such an unspeakable event could happen.

However, when it comes to climate change his great fear is not simply that it is happening, but that it may already too late for any human action to reverse this calamity, this ticking ecological time bomb set in motion by the sustained human assault on mother nature.  He told me the ice caps at Earth’s poles are melting, and this will make life nearly unbearable in many parts of the world that are at, or below, sea level. Islands in the pacific, as well as American cities like Miami and New Orleans will disappear, low lying sections in Manhattan and Brooklyn will also be under water.

The planet will also experience highly destructive weather events that will make the worst hurricanes we have seen look like relatively mundane events.  And they will occur with far greater frequency.  But that was not the worst of it; he also said that there are vast quantities of methane gas stored under the icecaps sufficient to poison the air and make it unbreathable!  By the time he was through painting a vivid portrait of the horrors looming over the future of our planet, the reason for his pessimism became palpable.

An Inconvient Truth….

Although Trump Denies it…The Ice Caps are Melting!

Alas, I could feel his pain.   For we must live with the horror of knowing that it is a man-made disaster, and that this disaster is the creation of a hand full of arrogant, cold-blooded, know-it-all politicians, scientist and militarist.  This is but a small fraction of humanity, and in a democratic political system they can be stopped if it is the will of the majority.

Our only hope is to come together in a concerted action to stop them.  That’s why I write essays like this and post them on the internet for free; getting the word out is far more important than money. The fate of the earth is at stake.  Never was the political axiom truer: “In a popular democracy the people eventually get the kind of government they deserve!”

As I put the finish touch on this essay it is Easter Sunday morning, and the famous presidential historian David McCullough is being interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning.  He is quoting a past president who said: “Only men who are honest and wise should occupy this office.”  The crux of our problem is that we now have a man in office who is anthesis of wisdom or honesty!

And despite the pro-Trump, rah! Rah! America blather, I am listening to from Joe Scarborough this monday morning – who is supposedly the “thinking man’s conservative” – and an expert from the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs, at present Trump is doing some dumb and dangerous things.  at present he has ordered the nuclear armed US Navy to cruise off the coast of North Korea, whose government has issued a warning that if they believe they are about to be attack they will launch a preemptive strike with all their might…including nuclear weapons.  When this warning is considered in light of an impulsive belligerent Donald Trump’s announcement that his approach to international crisis is to be “unpredictable,” we have the perfect scenario for a catastrophe!

Hence instead of worrying about the “irrational North Korean leader with the funny haircut,” as one American commentator pompously put the problem; I think we should be terrified of the irrational American leader with the funny hairdo!  For so long as The Donald – a vain, ignorant, pugnacious, megalomaniacal charlatan –  remains in the Oval office with the power to remove the US from the international climate control treaty, and launch nuclear weapons, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS THE MOST DANGEROUS NATION ON EARTH!

God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign….

……No more Water, the Fire Next Time!

 

The USS Vincet leads the Fleet Steamimg Toward Korean Waters
http://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/04/11/us-warships-north-korea-uss-carl-vinson-sje-orig.cnn
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 17th, 2017

April Fools?

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East!, Uncategorized with tags , on April 7, 2017 by playthell

Dumb and Dumber

Trump Strikes Syria!

“All Motion is Not Progress” observed Mao Tse Tung, a revolutionary philosopher and leader of the great Chinese Revolution.  Americans who are applauding the strike on Syria with 59 Cruise missiles, at a cost of nearly 30 million dollars for the missiles alone, should take a pause and consider the implications of this action by our government.  The paramount questions that begs an answer is: what is the strategic objective of US policy in Syria, and what role does this strike play in achieving that goal?

Based upon the public pronouncements of Donald Trump, who ordered the strike, and his surrogates the answers to these questions are elusive.  This is because we have a President for whom the complexities of international relations are at best a mystery, as is the art and science of governing in general.  Hence for years he has been an ardent opponent of the US taking any action against the Assad government.  The comments of this tweeting twit on Twitter are prolific on this question.

Yet when a chemical weapon was dropped on a group of Syrian civilians, some reports claim in was the deadly Sarin gas, Trump was quick to blame it on President Obama’s weakness in failing to act in 2013, when somebody launched a gas attack in Syria. The criticism of President Obama’s failure to take military action is based on the fact that he had drawn a “Red Line” in the sand that would prompt an American military response if Assad crossed it.

However, President Obama’s reluctance to act militarily in this case was based on several factors: Uncertainty as to who employed the gas; the fact that he had pledged to voters that he would end America’s protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and keep us out of new wars in the Middle-East, and failure of the US Congress to authorize a military attack on Syria which he requested.  Many people who voted for Obama did so based upon his promise of pursuing peace, I know I did.

Hence in my view, President Obama’s management of the Syrian situation displayed Solomonic wisdom. Furthermore, I would argue that this was characteristic of his approach to foreign policy in a turbulent time that witnessed the revolutionary outburst of mass movements collectively called the “Arab Spring,” the conflict in the Ukraine which could have thrown us into a military conflict with a nuclear armed Russia, and the rise of the militant Islamic Caliphate called ISIS, which arose from the ashes of the misbegotten US attack on Iraq.  How fortunate we would be if only Trump were only half as wise.

All objective observers of US foreign policy during the Obama administration agree that his actions were well thought out and based on a strategic vision of international relations; he sought to build effective alliances with concerned parties in troubled areas of the world, and acted deliberately not impulsively.   None of this is true of Donald Trump.  He has no strategic vision because he does not appear to have ever thought deeply about anything beyond his next real estate or branding deal.  His abdominal ignorance of the problems that he must now address is exemplified by his recent observation “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” and his sudden discovery that there are atrocities being committed against children in Syria.

Trump’s ignorance and indifference to the enormity and complexity of the Syrian conflict was exemplified in the policy statement by his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson: “The fate of President Assad will be determined by the Syrian people.”  To begin with, this was a repudiation of the Obama doctrine that the pre-condition for a permanent settlement which could bring peace to Syria was the removal of Assad from office. Tillerson’s announcement was no fluke; it was a restatement of a long-held belief of his boss, whose views on the matter are widely documented in the public record.

Hence Trump’s attempt to blame President Obama for the recent gas attack is the acme of hypocrisy! It is the pronouncement of a shameless charlatan and pathological liar. At the time, while others condemned Obama for his restraint in Syria, “The Donald” praised it!   His attempt to cast blame on Obama now is a transparent attempt to shift the blame from his ill-conceived policy of support for Assad expressed by Tillerson: Which is the real cause of the chemical attack. Since both Trump and Tillerson are novices at politics and foreign affairs, they failed to recognize that their statement was viewed by Assad as a green light to do whatever he wanted!

Viewed from this perspective, Trump’s attack on Syria must be seen as a smoke screen designed to deflect his responsibility for the horrendous gas attack on Syrian civilians; which the whole world viewed with stunned horror.  Hence, like the clueless scatter brain that he is, Trump acted on impulse and attacked Syria.  This is not part of any strategic plan because he has none.  This is verified by the fact that just a few days ago he had no problem with Assad’s leadership – as Tillerson’s policy statement nad Trump’s long record of support for the Syrian butcher will testify.

All observable evidence suggest that Trump gave no more thought to this assault on a sovereign country – with no attempt to get the support of the United Nations, the Arab League, the US Congress, or any of the regional powers – than his pre-dawn Twitter attacks.  It is an erratic, irrational, temper tantrum with no thought about its consequences.  And as the dawn of a new day approaches – Alas, I am writing this in the wee hours because the gravitas of the questions raised by this latest American military assault invades my dreams and destroys any attempt to sleep – we can only wonder what new dramas it will bring.

Just as when George W. Bush invaded Iraq with the spectacular bombing spree labeled “Shock and Awe,” millions of Americans are applauding this attack on Syria by American military forces.  I titled my essay on Bush’s attack “March Madness,” and I warned of its unintended consequences;which verily came to pass pretty much as I predicted.  I am titling this essay “April Fools?”  The title reflects my contention that this strike is not well thought out and the unintended consequences could prove disastrous.

Aside from the fact that we might have injured or killed some Russian military personnel, which would throw us into a crisis with a nuclear armed Russia that can reduce every city in the United States to a pile of radio-active rubble in a half hour from now, this attack on Syria is as illegal under international law as was the invasion of Iraq.  Yet after all is said and done, the most alarming thing about this attack is the real possibility that Trump launched it to improve his popularity in the opinion polls, where his approval rating is at a historic low.

As cynical as this sounds, when we consider the fact that Trump closed America’s doors to the children of war torn Syria seeking refuge in America, despite pictures every bit as horrible as those from the gassing, a thoughtful person cannot help but view his present concern for their welfare with a jaundiced eye, a cynical attempt to benefit from their tragedy.  As depraved as this seems, it is typical behavior for a “con man” with “no moral center;” which is how Donald J. Trump was routinely described by his fellow Republicans…..before he won the election, moved into the Oval Office, and promised to make all their right-wing dreams come true.

One of the most troubling questions raised by this attack is, if Trump can so quickly turn on a Head of State whom he has supported for years, what effect will this have on other nations at whom Trump has directed a steady stream of threats and invective such as North Korea, Iran and even China.

As I write the Chinese leader is visiting with Trump at his palatial estate in Florida, where he spends almost as much time as he spends in Washington, at great expense to American tax payers.  Although his home town, New York City, is much closer: he dare not come here.   In fact, Trump is so dispised in this city he may never be able to come home again!  It will be interesting to hear what Chinese President, Xi Jinpin, has to say about the attack on Syria.  Being a disciplined political actor skilled at the art of diplomacy I suspect his remarks will be restrained, respectful of the norms that mediate relations between nations.

Xi Jinping is here on a mission to improve relations with the US, China’s main trading partner.  As the leader of a nation with 20% of the world’s population, the Chinese are very careful to avoid military conflicts despite their formidable armed forces.  It is a policy that serves them well; it has allowed them to modernize at a rapid pace and grow the second largest economy in the world, which is predicted to surpass the US in GDP by 2050.

The paramount principle that guides Chinese foreign policy is non-interference in the affairs of other sovereign countries.  And they stick to this policy without significant deviation.  They have the largest army in the world but no foreign bases or troop deployments.  On the other hand, the US, with a fraction of China’s population have bases and soldiers all over the world and are fighting in multiple wars that seem unending.

The amount of blood and treasure we expend on foreign military adventures – along with the failure of the plutocrats to pay their fair share of taxes – is the principal reason why we cannot afford to rebuild our aging crumbling infrastructure, which is essential to our prosperity.  The Chinese see this all to clearly, and they are determined not to follow our example of meddling in everyone’s affairs as if the Gods gave America a mandate to rule the world.

This is why I am convinced that the Chinese will not play the role of disciplining North Korea for developing a nuclear weapons program that the US has assigned them. And given the US attack on Syria, the North Koreans are probably going on a war footing for real, imperiling the future of South Korea, which would be devastated if a war broke out on the Korean peninsula.

However listening to the pundits and the politicians on both sides of the aisle, as they raise their voices in something resembling victory cheers, I dispair for the prospects of peace.  The danger of perpetual war is real and is reflected in the comment of that old warmongering chameleon John McCain: “This is not the beginning of the end….but the end of the beginning.”  

History will judge Trump and his belicose confederates with unrelenting candor…and their deadly devious deeds will be duly noted.  But, alas, dealing with the unintended consequences of the Twittering Twit’s impulsive bombing of Syria, remains the burden of all Americans at this moment.

It’s On!

The US War on Syria has begun!
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Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Dissents

Tellin it like it is!

There is an avalanche of opinions now being expressed on Trump’s attack on Syria, but none is more compelling than that of Congresswonam Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic Representative from Hawaii.   Congresswoman Gabbard’s remarks are especially important because she is a former combat officer from the Afghan war,  Her experience in combat there has made he a passionate non-interventionists who is hostile to “Chicken Hawks” who promote wars for other’s to fight.  Like Donnie Trump . a notorious Vietnam era draft dodger, who avoided the war not for principled philosophical or religious reasons. but because he was a rich, entitled, cowardly party boy.  The great columnist and native New Yorker, who also hailed from Queens like Donnie, had this to say of his Homie: “Trump is a fake tough guy who couldn’t fight his way out of an empty lot!!!”
Athough celebrated corporate pudits such as Thomas Friedman, the three time Pulitzer Prize winning Foreign Affairs columnist at the New York Times, Joined by David Ignacious and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, are gushing over the reckless bravado of Donald Trump,  I remain highly skeptical about the mission’s motive, utility and consequences.
Yet because he is such a pompous know-it-all the contrarian in my soul cannot resist pointing out that Tommy Friedman was grieveously mistaken about the Iraq War; he went so far off the beam in supporting Bush’s war of choice with spurious ahistorical arguments that he was forced to write a column apologizng to his readers for having led them astray  by “not asking the right questions.”  On the other hand my essay, written on the eve of the invasion, has withstood the test of time and been confirmed by history.   Titled “The Iraq Attack: Bush’s March of Folly,” it reads as if it were written by Nostradamus, and can be read on this site under the heading “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq.”
What Friedman and other “major” corporate  mooks of both of both political pursuasions had to say on that subject is analyzed in my essay “How the Iraq War Was Hatched in a Think Tank.”   The fun part of this essay is when their views about the Iraq War is compared to mine!   Alas, what these same pundits had  to say on Trump’s bombing of Syria last night sounds like pompous American exceptionalist bullshit when compared to what  Tulsi Gabbad had this to say about the fake President’s military adventure:
 “It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government. This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia.
This Administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States’ attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning. If President Assad is indeed guilty of this horrible chemical attack on innocent civilians, I will be the first to call for his prosecution and execution by the International Criminal Court. However, because of our attack on Syria, this investigation may now not even be possible. And without such evidence, a successful prosecution will be much harder.”
A Decorated Combat Officer

For more on this remarkable woman search her name on this site.
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 7, 2017

 

 

On Public Enemy Number One!

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags on March 22, 2017 by playthell

A lying, delusional, megalomaniacal buffoon!

 Reality Check: If you Elect a Dick You Gonna get Fucked!

If ever there were prophetic words uttered from the mouth of a politician it is Thomas Jefferson’s observation about the relationship between education and a successful popular democracy.  In the debate around whether the new republic should establish a system of free and compulsory education, most people thought that the ability to “read, write and cipher” would justify such a policy.

However, Thomas Jefferson, a leading figure of the American Enlightenment and arguably the most thoughtful of the Founding Fathers offered this rationale for the promotion of education as a government policy: “A democracy cannot work with an ignorant electorate, because they will elect and return the worst people to power.” He also argued “There never was a people who were ignorant and free.  There never was and their never shall be.”

Jefferson’s love of learning was such that he celebrated the work of the black mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker, although it contradicted his previous speculations about black intelligence, and founded the University of Virginia, one of the world’s great universities.

A reverence for learning was also personified by Benjamin Franklin, who founded the University of Pennsylvania, another world class University from which our mentally handicapped President holds a degree in Real Estate awarded by the business school.  And although he often refers to his degree, he missed out on the best that this great university had to offer.  Since he came to U-Penn as a junior, he did not get the benefit of the university’s excellent humanities courses where he might have gained a more expansive view of human possibility and emerged as something more than an uncultured money grubbing churl.

Alas, by quitting his education at the undergraduate level “The Donald” was also deprived of the splendid education he would have gotten in management and finance had he pursued the MBA, for which the Wharton School of Business and Finance is world famous.   Hence whereas he might have become the kind of enlightened businessman who uses his fortune to promote the general welfare of our society – Andrew Carnegie, Julius Rosenwald, Reginal Lewis, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, et al – we get a vulgar braggart with delusions of grandeur whom almost three thousand shrinks have diagnosed as suffering from “malignant Narcissism” and “paranoia.”

The shrinks, who took the name, “Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism, disregarded a prohibition by the American Psychiatric Association against rendering diagnosis of people they have not personally examined.  Known as the “Goldwater Rule,” this prohibition was instituted in 1964, after 1, 189 psychiatrists rendered their diagnosis of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, a far right Republican, in Fact Magazine.  Goldwater, who spoke recklessly about the use of nuclear weapons, had written a book titled “The Conscience of a Conservative,” and in a mocking play on words Fact Magazine published a special issue titled “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.”  The hundreds of psychiatrists that rendered an opinion on Goldwater were agreed that he was “psychologically unfit to be President.”  Goldwater was defeated by Lyndon Johnson in a landslide.

The howls of invective and protests hurled against psychiatrist by Goldwater supporters prompted the America Psychiatric Association to issue a statement that it was “unethical” to offer a “professional opinion” on the mental health of a person the psychiatrist has not personally examined.  However, the Psychiatrists who have issued an opinion on Trump, feel that their patriotic duty to warn the American public about the dangers of a mentally ill president, greatly out weight the ethical questions raised by the Goldwater Rule. 

Their position is clearly stated in a Public Manifesto. “We cannot remain silent as we witness the rise of an American form of fascism.”  The Psychiatrists go on to clearly state the characteristics of a fascistic personality: Scapegoating …, degrading, ridiculing, and demeaning rivals and critics, fostering a cult of the Strong Man who appeals to fear and anger, promises to solve our problems if we just trust in him, reinvents history and has little concern for truth (and) sees no need for rational persuasion.”

I think they are right on the money, but since I have no qualifications that suits me to comment on the psychology of a fascist, I have written two essays on the political manifestations of the fascistic personality by conducting a comparative analysis of the political style and aspirations of Donald Trump and twentieth century Fascist such as Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.  See: “Is Donald Trump a Uniquely American Fascist?” and “Herr Drumpf and Herr Hitler: Birds of a Feather?’  Both essays are published on this site.

Some doctors were so alarmed by their diagnosis they felt compelled to warn the nation in a public statement that having a mentally impaired person in the Oval office presents a clear and present danger to America and the world – especially when we consider the fact that this deeply flawed person has the codes and “football” that empowers him to launch our doomsday nuclear arsenal that would destroy the world!  In view of this reality the doctors have called upon the vice-president and the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office on the grounds that he is unfit to carry out the duties of his office.

Although he has been in office for little over a month it is clear to everyone with a rudimentary education – who is not blinded by ideology, racist delusions or head up the ass syndrome – that the election of Donald J. Trump is an unmitigated disaster!  Yet from all appearances the worst is yet to come.  And it is a sad fact that many of the disastrous policies that Trump will sign into law are actually standard Republican approaches to governing, which they have repeatedly demonstrated cannot work.

However with a knowledgeable president possessed of a humane vision – such as Barack Obama – the most destructive impulses of right wing Republican ideologues can be checkmated.  In Donald J. Trump we have the opposite of Obama, a pugnacious ignoramus who does not appear to have ever contemplated the state of the human condition and how it might be made better.   Indeed, try as I might, I can find no evidence that Trump has ever been committed to any cause that does not involve self-enrichment and boosting his brand.

Upon close examination everything about The Donald that those who voted to elect him is revealed as false, the result of PR hyperbole, which is just a fancy way of saying it’s all bullshit!  In his seminal treatise on the subject “On Bullshit,” Dr. Harry G. Franks, a Professor of philosopher at Princeton, explains the phenomenon:

The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated that they can serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept. And in these realms there are exquisitely sophisticated craftsmen who with the help of advanced and demanding techniques of market research, of public opinion polling, of psychological testing, and so forth dedicate themselves tirelessly to getting every word and image they produce exactly right. Yet there is something more to be said about this. However studiously and conscientiously the bullshitter proceeds, it remains true that he is also trying to get away with something.”

It would be difficult indeed to find anybody who has employed the techniques of bullshitting and lying more advantageously than the present occupant of the Oval Office.  While there is an embarrassment of riches to choose from, a virtual treasure trove, a couple of critical examples will suffice.  Donald Trump was largely elected on the basis of his claims as a great businessman and his image as a “blue collar billionaire who cares deeply about the working class and is devoted to advancing their interests.

The great Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin, who passed on as I write, was a true tribune of the people who declared that his purpose was to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.”  And he had the reputation of being so adept at detecting bullshit that he could see it coming before it left the bull’s ass!  Hence he was a master at unmasking charlatans, deflating the pompous and exposing frauds.  One of his favorite targets was Donald J. Trump, whose antics and narcissistic personality was sharply criticized in Breslin’s columns over the years.  Like Jimmy, The Donald was a Queens guy; although they hailed from different neighborhoods.

Breslin was from the same kind working class Irish neighborhood as Pete Hamill – another working class Irish writer from Brooklyn – who was an excellent observer of life in New York City.  In recounting a recent conversation with Breslin from his retirement home, Hamill tells us: Watching Trump in the White House left Breslin “a bit sour with what’s going on in our country. Mainly because (Trump was) the kind of guy that in my neighborhood in Brooklyn and (Breslin’s) in Queens we despisedThe bullshit tough guy. The guy is all mouth and couldn’t fight his way out of an empty lot.”   Well, there you have it straight from the mouths of two legendary New York Bullshit detectors, who observed Trump up close for decades!

If Trump’s “blue collar billionaire,” hype is classic bullshit the claim that he is a great businessman is a carefully concocted lie!  Trump’s reputation as a businessman rests on his past success as a builder and a brilliant deal maker.  The latter claim is based largely on the bestselling book “The Art of the Deal,” which Trump has repeatedly and shamelessly bragged about writing, declaring the only book more widely read is “the Bible.”  However, we now know that Trump didn’t write the book and his contribution to its contents was minimal.

We learned this when the real author of the book came forward and exposed Trump as a fraud, because he was horrified at the possibility that this shallow megalomaniacal charlatan might actually be elected President of the United States, and feared that he might have played a part in it.  Hence, as is recounted in The New Yorker, when Trump faced a crowd in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and said “We need a leader that wrote The Art of the Deal” Tony Schwartz, the real author, issued this statement: “Many thanks Donald Trump for suggesting I run for President, based on the fact that I wrote The Art of the Deal.”  According to Schwartz it was he, not trump, that coined the catchy title.

Schwartz felt so strongly that the nation was courting disaster by electing Trump to the presidency that he braved The Donald’s legendary litigious personality and risked a massive lawsuit in order to warn us.  He told us that Trump was a spiritually impoverished intellectual light-weight who did not read and could only concentrate on any subject for about 18 minutes before becoming bored and restless.  He described Trump as the kind of deluded personality who was born of third base but thought he hit a triple.  The person he described was the kind of narcissist who is incapable of truly empathizing with the problems of others, and is contemptuous of the truth unless it served his purpose; an unprincipled man devoid of moral gravitas.

The accuracy of this profile of the American president was verified by those who have dealt with him in business as well as his adversaries in the Republican presidential primary races.  The fact that he has been sued 4,000 times by business associates, and has filed four bankruptcies involving hundreds of millions of dollars, is a powerful statement on the way he does business.  Michel Bloomberg, founder of the Bloomberg LP, one of the most authoritative sources on American business, and is estimated to be worth 40 billion dollars, offered this assessment: “The founder of Bloomberg LP, who is worth an estimated $40 billion, criticized Trump’s business skills, saying, “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s running his business? God help us… Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.”

Mitt Romney, who runs an equity company whose business is evaluating the competence of corporate management, says of Trump: “A business genius he is not!”  This was echoed by Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor. In 1995 when Trump listed his Trump hotels and casino resorts on the New York Stock Exchange,” says Buffett, “he said the company lost money every year for the next decade. A monkey would have outperformed Trump’s company…if a monkey had thrown a dart at the stock page, the monkey on average would have made 150 percent.”

Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., said of Trump’s economic nationalist rhetoric during the 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado: “I think if he actually stuck to those policies and gets elected president, it’s close to a guarantee of a global depression,” Alas, it appears that most people who think Donald Trump is a great businessman are the people least able to evaluate his abilities: Such as the poor working class white dupes that naively voted for him en masse.

And after competing with him on the campaign trail, where his debasement of political discourse sank to levels never witnessed before in 20th century presidential politics, the common theme in the descriptions of his adversaries was that Trump is a man with “no moral center,” or “core beliefs.”  A con-man who will say or do anything to win.  He was viewed as such an odious character by some long-standing members of the Republican establishment that they developed a “Never Trump” movement and some even openly endorsed Hillary, actively recruiting other Republicans to vote for her against their party’s candidate.

Now that Trump is in the Oval office we see that everything they said about him during the campaign is true.  He is a petulant, pugnacious, ignoramus who tells outrageous lies without conscience and apparently without forethought either, given how easily they are disproven.  It is symptomatic of his Narcissism and delusion that he thinks he can get away with it.  In any case, despite the lies and smokescreens, each day it becomes more obvious that Trump is not qualified for the job of governing a complex and diverse nation.

He has appointed a Director of the Environmental Protection Agency – a critically important job for the preservation of our planet since the US is a top polluter – who does not accept the basic scientific consensus on global warming and announced that Carbon emissions into the atmosphere has NOTHING to do with it!  Yet global warming is the second most dangerous threat to human existence next to nuclear war.  And his Secretary of Energy didn’t even know that the Department of Energy has the responsibility of managing our nuclear weapons arsenal!

He has appointed a Secretary of Health and Human Services who is a shill for the health care industry and engaged in corrupt insider trading as a member of Congress.  In fact, it is now being alleged that Trump’s decision to fire the Federal Attorney for the Southern District of New York, after having previously asked him to stay on, was prompted by that Attorney’s decision to investigate Secretary Price’s investment history.  If the probe had been further on Trump’s action could have been construed as “Obstruction of Justice,” a serious crime that brought Dick Nixon down.

His choice for Secretary of Education has no experience with public education except to try and destroy it. He has chosen a Secretary of State who has no experience in government or foreign affairs except as the CEO of a multi-national oil corporation with a 500 billion-dollar deal pending in Russia, that is presently blocked by the sanctions imposed by President Obama as a penalty for Russian intervention in our Presidential election.  His choice for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – a critical agency that is responsible for managing housing for millions of city dwellers, is a surgeon with no experience in government, housing policy or managing a giant bureaucracy.  In other words, most of his appointments are unqualified amateurs just like him!

Aside from these horrendous appointments, Donald Trump has openly called for the US to commit war crimes such as seizing the natural resources of other nations by force of arms; torturing people suspected of engaging in terrorist acts or belonging to organizations that engage in terrorism, and murdering the families of terrorists.  He has clearly chosen belligerence over diplomacy as the main instrument of American foreign relations, returning the power to kill people with drones to CIA field officers.

President Obama had restricted the power to make “kills” by the CIA due to the number of civilian casualties.  Alas, saving the lives of innocent Arabs is of no concern to a racist President determined to use every bit of American military power, civilians be damned!   Trump’s priorities are reflected in his allocation of monies: proposing an additional 54 billion dollars to an already obscenely bloated and wasteful military budget, while cutting 37% of the State Department’s budget.  This means there will be an expansion of military power and a decrease in diplomacy and other “soft power” initiatives.   Already Trump has introduced American troops into Syria, a transparent fool’s errand that we shall surely come to regret, and now he is facing an unfolding crisis on the Korean peninsula that could result in catastrophe.

Spoiling for a fight abroad and launching an assault on the public interest at home, Trump is threating to sign a bill that takes away the health care of up to 24 million people according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.   And they are attempting to justify this atrocity by obscuring the truth about funding cuts behind a veil of lies.  They have proposed a bill, the America Healthcare Act, which contains one of the biggest tax giveaways to the rich in American history – hundreds of billions of dollars – while literally putting the poor and the elderly at risk of literally dying in the streets.

And they are attempting to justifying this crime against humanity by reciting bogus talking points about Obamacare being in eminent danger of collapse and thus they are actually engaging in “an act of mercy,” in the words of Lyin Paul Ryan, Republican speaker of the House.  Yet the American Actuarial Society, who are the foremost experts on this issue, says it ain’t so!  It is hard to imagine a worse image for the Republicans than billionaires taking away the health care of the poor while the get hundreds of billions in tax giveaways!   But, arrogant and full of themselves, they are marching happily down that road.  Let’s see if all the po whites who put Trump in office will make the GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – pay at the polls come election day.

The Republican assault on the public interests knows no bounds.  They are enacting policies that could result in polluting our water supplies; just like in Flint Michigan, where a Republican businessman with no experience in government was elected governor and enacted policies that led to the poisoning the water with lead.  It was such a callous act that the people directly responsible for implementing the policy are being charged with felonies.

The GOP’s approach to supporting important cultural institutions face the same level of destruction if they carry through with plans to defund the National Endowment for the Arts, and slash the budget for the Public Broadcasting System.  These are national treasures that enrich the cultural and spiritual life of the nation, something a shallow philistine like Trump does not began to understand. We hear Trump’s Director of OBM –Office of Management and Budget – offer up absurd arguments to justify these backward policies like, “We can’t continue to ask single mothers and coal miners in West Virginia to continue to pay for Public Broadcasting.”

The tragic irony of this is that these are the people who need PBS the most, because this is the only shot that their children have to come in contact with high culture. These parents can’t take their children out to the Ballet, or Opera, or a concert by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, or see great plays or art movies, etc.  And the tax burden on them is less than $2.00 a year!  It is the best deal they will ever get in this life.  The fact that Trump does not understand or care about this issue is a reflection of the fact that he is a vulgar materialist, an uncultured philistine who is indifferent to art and culture.  There is not a single cultural institution that he has endowed in his home town, the cultural capital of the world.

He is betraying all of the urban working class and poor rural whites that voted for him at every turn.  It is not enough that he is taking away their medical care and a valuable cultural resource, he is adopting polices that will diminish resources to the public schools upon which they depend for the education of their children, but he is even taking away “Meals on Wheels,” a program that feeds the elderly poor upon which 500,000 military veterans depend!

Asid from his cold-blooded betrayal of his working class base, Trump’s assault on the basic institutions of American democracy reveals the mind-set of a dictator.  He has blatantly attacked the independence of the Judiciary, and he has launched a sustained assault against the free press, constantly denouncing working reporters with scurrilous attacks at public gatherings and on Twitter.   He is obnoxious martinet who cannot distinguish between the dictatorial of a corporate CEO and the limited powers of the presidency.  This an obvious consequence of the fact that he has no experience in public service.

Thomas Jefferson said if he had a choice between a government and no free press, or a free press and no government, “I’ll take the free newspapers and no government!”  Trump says the fee press “is the enemy of the American people!”  Yet in all these atrocities and more, Donald J. Trump is daily demonstrating that he is the most dangerous threat to the public interest.  And that makes him Public Enemy Number One!!!

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 Click to see a Compilation of Trump’s Lies and Contradictions!

https://youtu.be/5wrEQhuzRDE

 

From the White House to the Out House!

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , on February 20, 2017 by playthell
mike-flynn
General Michael Flynn

On the Strange Fall of Mad Mike

The more fake President Trump tries to explain why he kicked his National Security Advisor to the curb the more confused the situation becomes. Like much of what the whacko in the White House, The Great Prevaricator, says it makes no sense and displays a flagrant disregard, if not outright hostility to verifiable facts.  At his news conference yesterday – a bizarre affair that left most who witnessed it befuddled and one Senator described as “a voice from a parallel universe” – The Donald told us “the leaks were true” but “the news was fake.” Alas, these paradoxical statements are common fare in the public pronouncements of the newly elected US President.

Trump also told us that the General – who was once a star in the military intelligence community as Head of the Defense Intelligence Agency – had done nothing wrong, except lie to Vice President Pence about his conversation with the Russian Ambassador, during the interim period between the election and inauguration of Trump.  The controversy arose because of the allegation – now verified by the FBI – that Flynn had discussed the Sanctions placed on Russia by President Obama as punishment for interfering in the recently concluded US presidential election.

President Obama imposed the economic sanctions after all 17 US intelligence agencies reported that the Russians had covertly intervened in the US election for the express purpose of crippling the campaign of Hillary Clinton and aiding the victory of Donald Trump.  The scandal here lay in the charge that Flynn offered assurances to the Russian government that once Trump took office he would scrap Obama’s sanctions, and that explains why Putin did not respond forcefully to the announcement of the US sanctions.

If that is true, then Flynn has not only violated long standing protocols regarding deference to the sitting president – i.e. we can only have one President at a time – but when Flynn denied having such a conversation with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kasleyev, to FBI interrogators he committee a felony! So what began as an embarrassment to the Trump Administration when Vice President Pence went on major television news shows and repeated the National Security Advisor’s denials and then Flynn later admitted that he was lying, has become a serious criminal matter after it was revealed that he also lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

If routine legal proceedings obtain Flynn will soon be indicted, its automatic. However, the charge must be brought by the Department of Justice, and given their contempt for laws they don’t like it remains to be seen if he is charged.   Trump’s position on this imbroglio stretches the boundaries of credibility.  For instance, he tells us that although he didn’t order Flynn to contact the Russians, he would have had Flynn mentioned it to him.

If this is true, that lying to the Vice President is Flynn’s only transgression, and that otherwise he is a “good man,” the obvious question is why did Trump fire him?  This issue takes on additional mystery when we discover that others in the White House, including Presidential Advisor Steve Bannon and the President himself both knew that Flynn was lying for three weeks but it only became an issue when the story was leaked to the Washington Post and the New York Times?  And the whole affair became an unfathomable enigma when Trump blamed the entire affair on the “fake news” promulgated by a hostile dishonest press.

Witnessing the President spouting this gibberish brought to mind the observations of Colin Powell – who has served as Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor and Secretary of State – who said during the campaign “Donald Trump is a national disgrace…who talks to us as if he thinks we are fools!”  My feelings exactly.  The real question regarding former General Flynn is why was he chosen for such a vitally important position?

Given his personal history he should have been no-where near the Oval Office, let alone the top advisor to Donald Trump on the ways of the world. This is especially alarming when we consider the fact that Trump’s head is a blank slate when it comes to real knowledge of political affairs, foreign or domestic, and therefore in a real sense personal is policy.

Hence we have a guy who had unlimited access to the ear of the most powerful man on the planet who has publicly proclaimed that “Islam is not a religion it’s a political ideology” and it is “rational to fear Muslims.”  This kind of thinking will turn what is a regional fight with Arab Jihadists into a world-wide struggle against a billion Muslims of all nationalities.  This is the apocalyptic vision of the world promulgated by Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington in his “Clash of Civilizations” thesis.

This is a view of the world that has been opposed by knowledgeable foreign policy wonks from Washington to Tel Aviv, both the analyst in the CIA and their counterparts in the Israeli Mossad.  This is why in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack by Islamic Jihadists on Washington, President Bush visited a mosque and made it clear that our enemy was not the religion of Islam, which he pointed out means “peace.” Then Bush clearly identified our enemies as a rebel sect that had appropriated and distorted Islam for their own nefarious purposes. This attitude is just the opposite of those that want to start a war with entire the Islamic world like Flynn.

Yet even if Flynn didn’t hold these reckless and dangerous attitudes toward the Islamic world, his unhinged behavior and penchant for embracing outrageous conspiracy theories are reason enough to disqualify him for a vital position in the US government such as “National Security Advisor.” A cursory examination of conspiracy theories promoted by Flynn, based on a search of his Twitter account conducted by Politico, reveals that he tweeted accusations that Hillary Clinton was involved with a Satan worshipping child sex trafficking ring, run out of a Pizza Parlor in Washington D.C.

This outrageous lie provoked a shooting by an armed right-wing fanatic who said he was trying to rescue the imprisoned children in the basement!  Flynn also claimed that Hillary was involved in a secret war against the Catholic Church.  And President Obama was an undercover Muslim who secretly laundered money for the Islamic Jihadist. Flynn promoted the rumor that Hillary’s campaign manager participated in underground occult ritual where human bodily fluids were consumed!  And there was more, just as outrageous and just as crazy.

Yet this is the guy whom Donald Trump appointed as his most important advisor on how he should view critical events in the world, and even after firing him in less than a month, insists that he is a “good man” that was destroyed by a lying press spreading “fake news” about him.  Alas, this is not the first time Flynn was fired from a highly placed intelligence job by a US President, he was also fired from his previous position as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency for insubordination by President Obama.

On this occasion he got into trouble by contradicting the official position of the Obama Administration on the state of the US war effort against the Islamic jihadist. And several former military colleagues, who hold Flynn in high regard as an intelligence strategist, say his bitter resentment about being fired explains his hostility toward Hillary Clinton, and embrace of Donald Trump.

In a wide ranging, well informed and insightful article on what motivates the retired general – “How Mike Flynn Became America’s Angriest General” – published by Politico (10/16/2016) and written by James Kitfield, a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and a seasoned reporter on foreign policy and national security matters, we are told:

“Those who’ve known Flynn for years wonder how a kid from an Irish Catholic family of blue-collar Democrats who went on to be a dedicated, much-admired soldier ended up being a top national-security adviser to a man widely viewed as a demagogue, friendly to Russia and widely seen as ignorant of foreign policy. They worry that in his political naivete and innate loyalty Flynn is being used—and will be branded as a radical himself. And some of them are concerned that Flynn, who believes he was pressed into early retirement for appearing to question the Obama administration’s public narrative that Al Qaeda was close to defeat, is being handed a national stage to play out his personal frustrations.”

This explains Flynn’s bizarre behavior in spreading insane in the brain nonsense about his former colleague Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring and leading the chant “Lock her up!” calling for her arrest at a Trump campaign rally; referring to President Obama as “weak and spineless;” while characterizing his leadership as “fumbling indecisiveness.”

It is this raging bitterness that sparked his embrace of Trump, and fueled his determination to undo Obama’s legacy that led Flynn to call the Russian Ambassador and diss the sitting President by telling him not to worry, because dat coon will soon be out the door and his sanctions are going with him!  Hence it is reasonable to conclude that Flynn’s loose lips sank his ship….again!

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

Should Democrats Overhaul Their Party?

Posted in On Donald Trump, On the 2016 Presidential Election with tags , , on February 5, 2017 by playthell
donald-trumpPresident Elect: Donald John Trump

Reflections on the Trump Election: What is to be Done?

In one of the most improbable scenes in US history Donald Trump – New York Real Estate huckster, Reality Show Host and narcissistic bunko artist – raised his right hand and was sworn in as the 45th President of the United states of America. It was a day that will live forever in Infamy! His rise to the most powerful office in the world surprised both the wisest wags among the punditariat and scientific pollsters alike.

They all had assured us that there was “no path to 270 delegates” for Trump, a rank amateur at the art of politics who gave every indication of being clueless about the matter of governance.  An impression that has not changed despite the victory that has put him in the Oval Office.  This is a frightening reality to most thoughtful people that have some idea what the duties and responsibilities of the Presidency are.

As the Democrats recover from the shock of it all, the conversation is about what went wrong?  It is a question that is bound to result in a lot of soul searching and finger pointing. Some think the essential lesson of the electoral defeat is that the Democratic Party needs to be revamped, fire the leadership and remake itself. I disagree.  I think we should first of all adopt the position “no enemies on the left;” calmly assess the reasons for the Trump victory and devise a strategy to fight back and limit the damage that right-wing ideologues who dominate the Grand Obstructionist Party can do before we remove them from power in the election.

I insist that this is not the time to talk about “reforming” the Democratic party; for the election had virtually nothing to do with the shortcomings of the Democrats.  The fact is that they are already miles ahead of the Republicans in protecting and advancing the interests of the working and middle class demographic that voted for Trump. That’s why Hillary Clinton was endorsed and supported with manpower and money by the leadership of America’s great labor unions. Although much of their politically backward rank and file supports Trump, which could have been largely avoided if the unions offered political education classes and made them mandatory as a condition of Union membership wherever possible.

Yet, even so, Trump barely got elected by the skin of his teeth based on a peculiar algorithm employed by the Electoral College, who has the final word in deciding who shall be President.  Yet it is an unassailable fact that Donald Trump, now President of the richest and most powerful nation in the world, actually lost the popular vote registering the will of the American people to Hillary Clinton, who won by almost three million more votes than Trump!   This was by far the largest margin a candidate has ever polled in a US presidential election and yet lost to their opponent.

Ever the hype artist, Trump declared in a December 11th, interview on Fox News: “We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.” This is pure historical fantasy that wouldn’t be plausible as historical fiction; let alone real history.  The fact is that Trump won the Electoral College with a mere 306 votes, which is far from a landslide.  Trump got 56.88% of the Electoral College, while Barack Obama got 67.84%; this is 11 points higher.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt got 98% and George Washington got 100%.

These are landslides; Trumps victory actually ranks in the bottom quarter of all the Presidents that have followed George Washington!  Another measure of how far Trump’s anemic victory was from a landslide consider the fact that in 1964 Lyndon Johnson got 486 Elector’s votes to Barry Goldwater’s 52 votes.  In the election of 1972 “Dirty Dick” Nixon got 520 Electoral College votes to George McGovern’s 17!

Trump’s margin of victory was a mere 77 thousand votes, spread over three states in the rustbelt where the prolonged misery of structural unemployment led them to seek salvation in a fast-talking bunko artists cum real estate huckster who knows nothing of industrial production or running a government.  A sober assessment of the electoral numbers show that it is nonsense to talk about a sweeping Trump victory, such exaggerations run the risks of overestimating their mandate and underestimating their vulnerabilities.

One of their vulnerabilities that will become increaingly manifest is that Republican policies will inflict pain upon these voters because they are the most reliant on goverment programs.  For instance, the 500 counties that voted for Hillary Clinton produce 60% of the Gross Domestic Product, while the over 2000 counties that voted for Trump produce only 37%, and receives the lion’s share of government assistance!   Hence it’s only a matter of time before they begin to feel the pain.

I am not arguing that there is no room for improvement in the Democratic Party program, rather I am pointing out that this is not the main reason for Trump’s victory.  In fact, we can reduce Trump’s victory to two factors: The general ignorance and apathy of the electorate and the increasing disappearance of good paying blue collar jobs with benefits that were once commonplace in the industrial centers of the Mid-West. Yet by any objective measure President Obama’s management of the economy was outstanding; the best that could have been done under the circumstances.

When he came into office Obama inherited an economy in the worst state of crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, a worldwide economic collapse initiated by the 1929 Wall Street crash.  Among the consequences of that economic crisis was the rise of Adolph Hitler in Germany, a panicked and desperate population was prepared to make a deal with the devil if he could end their suffering.  Although Barack Obama had nothing in common with Hitler, the election of an African American to the US presidency was also a radical act of desperation on the part of a populace that was thoroughly disillusioned with the conventional political leadership.

It turned out to be a very good choice President Obama rescued the economy from disaster, saved the US auto-industry from extinction; prevented millions of Americans from descending into poverty by virtue of the Economic Recovery Act – the most corruption free big money government program in history – signed the Dodd-Frank and also signed the Lillie Ledbetter Act making it illegal to pay women less than men for the same work, and passed the Affordable Health Care Act –which gave 20 million Americans life-saving health care for the first time in their lives. And as I write the final jobs report of the Obama era has come in at 4.8%, a great number that reflects the longest sustained period of job growth in the private sector in American history!

President Obama tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden, while devastating the leadership of Al Qaeda and rendering them virtually impotent.  He wound down the Iraq and Afghan wars while keeping us out of new wars in the Middle East by crafting foreign policy with Solomonic wisdom. The President also signed a Nuclear arms agreement with Russia that reduced the threat of nuclear annihilation which won him the Nobel Peace Prize

The benefits Barack Obama bequeathed to the American people – which are far too numerous to recount here – have been outstanding, despite the machinations of the Grand Obstructionist Party.  I have no doubt that historians of the future will look upon the presidency of Barack Obama as a golden age in American Civilization, one that could have matched the age of Pericles in ancient Greece had his vision for America not been throttled and his progressive program arrested by the Tea Party takeover of the Congress.

Hence the real lesson for progressives who now lament the victory of “The Donald”- an unmitigated disaster that will take this country backwards, the only question is how far – is to agitate and organize just as the Tea Party did.   The conditions are propitious for the success of such an effort.  Already the people are animated and rising up in a wave of spontaneous combustion.   Now it must be organized into a coherent political movement with clearly defined goals.  The polls show that this nascent resistance movement is more popular after two weeks that the Tea Party was at its peak: 43% to 60%!

Savvy organizers are already employing social media in highly effective ways.  One effort that offers great promise is posting the schedule of public appearances and Town Hall meetings of every member of Congress along with their voting records.  This will enable them to direct protestors to the meetings of elected representatives who opposed the progressive agenda and vote against the public interests.  This strategy will put their business in the streets; there will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Righteous Anger of the People

Anti-Donald Trump protest is held at Trump Tower in 5th Avenue in New York, as Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been calling for barring all Muslims from entering the United State. Dec 20, 2015, New York.

This is a good place to begin.  However, like all mass movements, the present uprising has many factions and leaders with varying views of the problem.  What unites us is the desire to put Trump in check and take back the Congress in two years the way the Tea Party did, and they accomplished this following what was arguably the most disastrous presidency in history!

Under George Bush the nation experienced the most devastating attack on American soil by a foreign force since the War of 1812; the second worst economic collapse in our history, and launched a disastrous war of choice in Iraq that has not only expanded the power of Iran in the region since it put the Shiite majority in power in Iraq, but also brought Al Qaeda into the area and created ISIS.  Furthermore, they squandered over two trillion dollars in this misbegotten foreign adventure which, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, could have financed the rebuilding of the entire American infrastructure while putting a million or more Americans to work in its construction!

If the Tea Party could re-elect Republicans to control the nation’s purse strings in the face of such a recent disaster perpetrated by the Republican Party, organizing to take back the Congress in the face of the chaos that Donald Trump is unleashing upon the nation, and his obvious bait and switch in promising to “drain the swamp” and instead increasing the population of crocodiles from the previously vilified muck of Goldman Sachs, or promising not to repeal Obamacare before having a cheaper and better program in place “without missing a day,”  or to keep us out of foreign wars while taking steps that will surely lead us into a much wider war in the mid-east and increasingly hostile relations with China.  Not to mention the devastating effect that starting trade wars with Mexico and China will have on the pocketbooks of his long-suffering working class voters!

In view of these objective facts, all the talk about the need to completely rebuild the Democratic Party appears wrongheaded to me.  What we need to do is what we are doing, stay vigilant and oppose every effort to turn back the clock by taking away benefits from the American people won over a century of struggle. Then use these struggles to educate and organize!   As New York Times columinst Charles Blow warned: The enlightnement must not surrender to the ignorance and hysteria of the inquisition!  Yet we also must recognize that the Tea Party had a Trump card that progressives don’t: White racial resentments!

This is a recurrent pattern in American civilization where every dramatic advance by Afro-Americans have been met by a white reaction. But, fortunately, the election of Donald Trump does not just offend the sensibilities, injure the life’s chances and endanger the interests of Afro-Americans, but also jeopardizes the gains of a broad segment of the US population that transcends racial divisions. Hence coalition building around common goals must be our principal method of struggle.  Now is not the time to emphasize identity politics such as “Black Agendas,” our  slogans must promote inclusive themes: “No Enemies on the Left!”  “Unity in Diversity!”  “All Power to the People!”  “The People United Can Never be Defeated!”  “No justice No Peace!”

To avoid the pitfalls that led to the squandering of the vast potential of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which died from the self-inflicted wound of apolitical folly, we should heed the advice of the Ghanaian political philosopher/activist Kwame Nkrumah: “Seek Ye first the Political Kingdom and all else will be added there unto!” And to accomplish this our method at this juncture we must take the advice of the great Frederick Douglass.  In 1895, a period  of political reaction much like our own, when Douglass was literally in his last days, some youths asked what should they do?   The great “Drum Major for Justice” summed it up in three words: AGITATE!  AGITATE!  AGITATE!

In this Douglas summarized what he had long preached, it is a message that has withstood the test of time without revision:

 “History holds no more august claim than where there is no struggle there is no progress. Men who profess to stand for freedom yet denigrate agitation are men who would have corn without plowing the fields; rain without thunder and lightning; the ocean without the awful roar of her many waters.  Where there is no struggle there is no progress!  The struggle may be moral, or physical, or it may be both: but there must be a struggle!   Power concedes nothing without demand, it never has and it never will.  Men may not always get what they pay for in this life, but we shall sure as hell pay for all that we get!!!” 

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THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!!!

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

February 3, 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

fascist-salute-at-hitler-rally

A Hysterical Woman at a Hitler Rally

donald-trumps-fascist-supporter

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?