Archive for the On Donald Trump Category

End of A Delusion?

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, Playthell on politics with tags , , on May 17, 2018 by playthell

Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump

Did Kim Chump Trump?

North Korea’s dramatic termination of a scheduled meeting with the leaders of south Korea, and the rejection of Donald Trump’s proposal for complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, caught clueless Donnie and his acolytes off guard and left them stumbling around like dancers in the dark.  Just a fortnight ago, like Giddy high school girls with their knickers a twitter waiting their prom date, Republicans in Congress were projecting Donald Trump as the next Nobel Laureate for peacemaker.

Since the guiding ambition of Trump’s political career is to outdo former President Barack Obama, a political Super Nova, and undo his legacy, Trump became quickly enamored with the idea of wining the Nobel Prize because the much-coveted award was conferred upon President Obama.  Alas, being the brazen braggart and tireless self-promoter that he is, Trump could barely contain his delight at the prospect.  In fact, one got the impression that Trump believes this award could salvage what promises to be a tarnished legacy.  Alas, the North Koreans are paying close attention and understand that they are the key to realizing Trump’s grandiose ambition…and they are suddenly playing hard to get.

That he so easily swallowed the fiddle faddle about the North Koreans being willing to scrap their nuclear arsenal is further evidence that Trump is a rank amateur at the game of politics, and clueless about the complexities of international relations. On the face of it the proposition struck me as absurd, given the threat the US poses to North Korea’s national existence. The Trump administration’s position wandered into the realm of fantasy when they began to demand that the North Koreans disarm even while the US kept military forces station on it’s border; has yet to sign a peace treaty ending the war that resulted from a horrific American invasion over half a century ago; maintains injurious economic sanctions against them and is presently conducting a joint military exercise with South Korea just off their shores, which they rightly regard as a rehearsal for an invasion of their country.

Hence it should come as no surprise to anyone whose head is not buried in their ass and has a reasonable understanding of the political realities that shape the state of US-North Korean relations, that Kim and his posse are backing away from any idea of Nuclear disarmament.  And the fact that Trump’s newly appointed National Security Advisor John Bolton, a crazy old warmonger, has suggested in a public statement that the US should impose “the Libyan Model” on North Korea does not inspire confidence that American objectives coincide with theirs.

Trump’s fumbling attempt to fudge Bolton’s statement in his White House press conference with the Secretary General of NATO, a day after the release of the North Korean statement of their position on the matter, only revealed his confusion on the subject and almost certainly had the opposite effect of his intention to put Kim Jung Un’s mind at ease.  The point of referencing the Lybian Model for the Koreans was to remind Americans that after Mumar Khadaffi voluntarily gave up his nuclear weapons program he was later overthrown and assasinated with the help of the US and NATO.  Trump was arguing that if they gave up their nukes the US would insure the safety of Kim Jung Un’s regime, but should they fail to comply with US demands they would suffer the same fate as Lybia.  Neither position was acceptable to the North Koreans.

Alas, Donald Trump has been running about crowing like a barnyard rooster, telling the world that he has convinced Kim Jung Un to “completely denuclearize,” before the US will consider any concession to North Korean concerns.   But in light of the official government statement issued by Kim Kye Gwan, the first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, it looks as if The Donald has been “cuttin tha fool” before the world…again, as my grandfather would put it.  The North Korean’s were unambiguous in their position.

prior to the DPRK-U.S. summit, unbridled remarks provoking the other side of dialogue are recklessly made in the U.S. and I am totally disappointed as these constitute extremely unjust behavior. High-ranking officials of the White House and the Department of State including Bolton, White House national security adviser, are letting loose the assertions of so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment, “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” “total decommissioning of nuclear weapons, missiles and biochemical weapons” etc. while talking about formula of “abandoning nuclear weapons first, compensating afterwards.”

Wherever the Trump administration got the idea that the North Koreans would go for the okey doke and concede to demands that the US would consider the acme of absurdities if demanded of them by a foreign power, the Korean statement leaves no doubt that it is not anchored in reality. The candid statement goes on to say:

This is not an expression of intention to address the issue through dialogue. It is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers.

I cannot suppress indignation at such moves of the U.S., and harbor doubt about the U.S. sincerity for improved DPRK-U.S. relations through sound dialogue and negotiations. World knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fate. It is absolutely absurd to dare compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial state of nuclear development.”

In his attempt to explain the deal he is offering to North Korea at the press conference to discuss NATO – i.e. give up their nukes in exchange for American private sector assistance with economic development – it was embarrassingly clear that Trump, a notorious non-reader, had not read the North Korean statement.  For they had unambiguously addressed and dismissed this offer:

The U.S. is trumpeting as if it would offer economic compensation and benefit in case we abandon nuke. But we have never had any expectation of U.S. support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, too.  It is a ridiculous comedy to see that the Trump administration, claiming to take a different road from the previous administrations, still clings to the outdated policy on the DPRK… If President Trump follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, he will be recorded as more tragic and unsuccessful president than his predecessors, far from his initial ambition to make unprecedented success… if the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit.

It is abundantly clear that Trump has embraced a dangerous delusion.  Fueled by the arrogance of power and blinded by the self-serving doctrine of “American Exceptionalism,” Donald Trump believes he can seduce or coerce Kim Jung Un into accepting a deal hatched in the fevered imagination of John Bolton, that insults the dignity of North Korea as a sovereign nation and threatens their security.  The Koreans recognized Bolton as the incubator of aggressive policies in the Trump Administration and called him out on it: “We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feelings of repugnance towards him.”

Dredged up from the pits of foreign policy purgatory and provided unmediated access to the ear of Donald Trump – whose head is a tabula rasa on which anything can be written by an advisor – Bolton, a bellicose neo-con ideologue from the Project for a New American Century, the think tank whose misguided foreign policy views landed us in the Iraq War – which is still in progress 17 years later – will increasingly shape Trump’s view of the world.  Hence, as the bluesman Percy Mayfield warned: “The whole-world is in trouble…and the danger zone is everywhere!”

 

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

5/17/2018

 

 

Is Trump Having a Beckett Moment?

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , on May 2, 2018 by playthell

North Korean Leader Kim Jung-Un and his Warriors

Giving Diplomacy A Chance?

After months of hurling insults and threats at Kim Jung Un, the leader of North Korea, calling him “Little Rocket Man” and posturing over who’s got the biggest balls and nukes, and who would blink first in a nuclear confrontation, Donald Trump, with his vain eyes on the Nobel Peace Prize, has now adopted the posture of peacemaker. And it should surprise no one to discover that a chance to bask in Norwegian limelight accepting the Nobel, more than saving a million innocent souls from the slaughter house of modern war, is Dastardly Donald’s true motivation.

Recently Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who had just resigned as head of the CIA to accept the yet unconfirmed nomination – returned from a secret mission to North Korea where he conducted negotiations to prepare the way for a Summit Meeting between Trump and Un. An unexpected and unprecedented development in American foreign relations.

The stated reason for the Summit is to negotiate a historic deal for lasting peace between the US and North Korea, two nations that have been at war ever since the Armistice of 1953, which stopped the shooting but never formally ended the war with a peace treaty.   Hence, under international law we have been in a state of war with Korea for over 60 years!

During all this time the two nations have been at a stand-off, with US troops stationed only a few miles from the border of North Korea, a burlesque of a nation created out of the division of the Korean peninsula along the 38th Parallel in an attempt to create order out of the chaos of war by splitting the Korean people into two hostile nations reflecting the Communist and Capitalist power blocs that defined the post war world.  If Trump can successfully negotiate a treaty finally ending hostilities with North Korea it would insure him a unique place among American presidents in our diplomatic history.  It would stand him alongside Richard Nixon in his “China Opening;” which poses a supreme irony because as things now stand Trump is headed for another Nixonian moment: impeachment or resignation.

Although the available evidence suggests that “The Donald” is not a thoughtful man given to meditating on history, he has been formally diagnosed by a multitude of psychiatrist and psychologist as suffering from “Malignant Narcissism.” A poignant example of this is the recent revelation that Devious Donnie dictated his own initial medical assessment, which declared him “the healthiest president in history!” The assessment also said he weighed 230 pounds, although he looks like he has worked at a carnival engaging in pie eating contests over the last ten years!  These facts lead many skeptical critics – this writer first among them – to suspect that as usual Trump’s diplomatic overture to North Korea is driven by egotism rather than altruism.  Alas, the accidental president is more concerned with proving he is master at “the art of the deal” than playing peacemaker.

In any case, like Thomas Beckett after the King appointed him the Archbishop of Canterbury, Trump seems to have suddenly become aware of the gravitas of his office and wants to leave a legacy that lives up to his high station which, like Beckett, he arrived at by accident and is totally unprepared for.  And thus, he has peeped at the man in the mirror and wondered what his legacy will be…where will he stand in the pantheon of presidents?  Will his grandchildren beam with pride when his name is mentioned in their history classes…or seek to hide under their desks?

Whatever his motivation, Trump’s move toward diplomacy rather than nuclear war comes as glad tidings to an astonished world that has looked on in horror from the sidelines as relations between leaders of the US and North Korea – two nuclear armed nations – rapidly deteriorated amid the clamor of saber rattling and name calling. Although relations between these two countries have been troubled for nearly three quarters of a century, they have grown dramatically worse during the short presidency of Donald J. Trump, who sought to impose his will on them by military action.

Since the possibility of a successful land invasion is an obvious fantasy, Dangerous Donnie openly threatened to destroy North Korea with nuclear weapons: “Raining fire and fury upon them such as the world has never seen!” And North Korea promised to retaliate by destroying American allies and assets in Asia, and even drop a nuke or two on the US homeland.

After Trump issued that threat we have witnessed an increase of ballistic missile tests, as the North Koreans race to develop a missile that can serve as a credible deterrent to American aggression. The latest ballistic missile test by North Korea – which introduced an ICBM they claim is capable of hitting the White House – offers compelling evidence that “The Donald’s” public proclamations and actions went over like a lead balloon with the so-called “hermit nation,” which has been bracing for an American attack since the middle of the 20th century.  It began to look like war was inevitable.

In a dramatic turnabout we now have Trump reaching out to Kim Jung Un for a Summit Meeting. Kim in return has decided to suspend ballistic missile tests, and the leaders of the two Koreas, Un and Moon, have met and talked, each stepping across the 38th parallel setting foot on the other’s soil for the first time since the peninsula was divided over half a century ago.  The question is: What are the chances of success? If one faces the hard facts objectively, free of fantasy, Kim and Donnie could well be like the couple sleeping in the same bed but dreaming different dreams.

Trump is not simply demanding that North Korea stop its missile testing and halt its production of nuclear weapons but give up their nuclear arsenal altogether…to “denuclearize.”  Yet finding foreign policy experts who believe the North Koreans will accede to such a demand may prove harder than finding needles in haystacks.  For instance, the former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, who once served as Ambassador to South Korea and is one of America’s foremost experts on the region says: “It will never happen!  The North Koreans will never give up their nuclear weapons.”

Dr. James Stavridis, a former Four-Star Admiral in the US Navy, who is Dean of the distinguished Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, echoes Governor Richardson’s belief that the North Koreans will not agree to scrap their nuclear arsenal and says that if he was advising Kim Jung Un he would not tell him to do so.  Richard Haas, longtime president of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations and author of A World in Disarray also believes there is no chance that Trump’s upcoming talks with Kim Jung Un will result in the North Koreans agreeing to give up their Nukes.

In fact, Haas believes there is a danger in entering these negotiations with such unrealistic expectations. Given his volatile temperament alas, who knows what will happen when Trump doesn’t get what he wants; his response is unpredictable and could prove catastrophic.  And now that Trump has selected John Bolton, that old neo-con warmonger from the Project for a New American Century – the think tank that gave us the Iraq War* – as his National Security Advisor anything can happen!

 

Playthell G. Benlamin

Harlem, New York

May, 1 2018

The Brightest Smile in Town!  

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags on April 24, 2018 by playthell

 Charmed by a Real Smoothie Melania is all Smiles

 Yo Doophus Donald!  This is How You Do It!

When I first peeped that beaming mega-watt smile spreading across Melania’s face as she chatted up Barack Obama at the last rites for the former First Lady Barbara Bush, two thoughts immediately came to mind.  First, there is the strange realization that she smiled a brighter smile at a funeral in the company of Barack Obama than she manages to muster at parties with the orange ogre to whom she is married.

Realizing that bizarre fact conjured up a scene from Shakespeare’s Othello, when the beautiful white Desdemona gazes upon “Noble” black Othello and opines: “Would that God had made me such a man.”   If I could read her mind I’d bet my bottom dollar that this is what Melania was thinking!

How could it be otherwise, human nature being what it is.  After all, this is not the first time we have witnessed Melania in the presence of Barack. Remember the first time “The Donald” and Melania visited the White House during the transition period?  Remember how Dirty Donald walked of and left Melania – the mark of  man who prefers to buy pussy…fuck em and forget em! – as she was was getting out of the limo bearing a gift for the Obama’s.  Barack graciously descended the stairs, took Melania by the arm, gave her a warm kiss, and escorted her into the White House on his arm while the self-absorbed narcissist she married never even looked back to see how she was faring.

 The Odd Woman Out?

 The World witnessed  what life is like with a narcissist
 A Black Knight to the Rescue
 
 Wonder what Barack is Telling her?

When the picture of a brightly smiling Melania hit the internet on Twitter – Doophus Donnie’s favorite forum – the Tweeting Twit in the Oval Office greeted it with silence. But it is of no matter, because a picture is worth a thousand words and the pictures posted here tell us everything that need be said on the question at hand.  Perhaps this explains why the blabbermouth joker in the white House, who has something to Tweet about everything else, has been so quiet you could hear a snake pissing in the wind. Not so of others in Twitter World, which has been abuzz with comments that are distinguished by their candor.  A succinct sampling will suffice. The following remarks are representative.

Jennifer Fojas @jenlowfo

That’s the happiest I’ve ever seen her!

Jennifer Piotti

@jenpiotti

She must love sitting with a real president!

Kelly

@HDGMAS

What it looks like to be next to a real man, you get smiles & all.

Thom Rutledge

@ThomRutledge

And she’s smiling. You don’t see that when she is with President what’s his name?

 

Susan Troxell

FollowFollow @susanktroxell

More

Replying to @crazymary1964 @andylassner @POTUS

I will NEVER forget this ‘small’ event. Her face after this encounter. HIS face after this encounter. Spoke volumes to me. He’s an abuser – always has been, always will be. He should be sitting in a locked room all by himself, with no contact with other humans.

 Audrey Regan

@audreyregan

Obama doing his best to make Melania feel comfortable. That’s all this is. Melania must be very grateful to be seated beside him.

Reply

BACKUPYOUCREEP‏ @EmaCornaCopia Apr 21

 Givin her his dignity, grace and style# POTUS

Persistently Uppity

@UppityWomanBlog

Donald was standing at the back of the line when they handed out dignity, grace and style. And they ran out before he finally made it up to the front.

Add “make Melania smile” to the long list of things Obama can do that Trump can’t.

Where is the Love?
What’s Love got to do with it?

 

Aquarius Solrac

@Carlos21Carlos

Dear @realDonaldTrump, why can’t you make #Melania smile the way #BarackObama does? Maybe it’s your micro-penis.

Although it is seldom discussed in the media in deference to the First Lady, not wanting to add to her persistent humilation by her husband, Melania’s sadness has not gone un-noticed.  In an article titled “Inside the Trump Marriage, published in the May 2017 issue of Vanity Fair, writer Evgenia Peretz observes:“Traditionally, presidents have at least made a show of having healthy, happy marriages. Even the Clintons, despite marital troubles, appeared to have moments of genuine affection, humor, and bonding.”

Ms. Peretz  went on to observe that  during Innugaration Day  the truth about the Trump’s relationship was put on public display.  “But from almost the first moments of Inauguration Day, during the ceremonial arrival at the White House, it seemed something was amiss with the Trumps…During Franklin Graham’s blessing, Donald turned around to look at Melania. She smiled momentarily. But once his back was turned, her face fell into a miserable frown. Later that night, as the president and First Lady had their “first dance,” twice over, to “My Way,” she was often stiff and pulling away from his face.”

The article notes that the shock and outrage many women felt as they watched this sad spectacle on television sparked them to hold up signs during the “Women’s Demonstration” against Trump that shouted “Free Melania!”  The sadness experienced by Melania due to Dirty Donald’s boorish / whorish behavior is graphically expressed in poignant pictures that captured the moment.

Pissed at the New Prez!

Was it Something Dastardly Don Did?

This is what Real Love Looks Like!

All  Smiles…

**********************

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 24, 2018 

Does Dirty Donald Deserve Respect?

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , , on April 20, 2018 by playthell

Does the Trick Really Have All the Fun?
Respect for Devious Donnie, and the Presidency, is an Oxymoron

On the face of it Donald Trump is a compulsive liar, a brazen braggart, a foulmouthed bully, a racist, a serial sexual predator, a swindler and a megalomaniac.   He is the kind of man you don’t want your son to emulate and your daughters to avoid.  And these flaws are just the ones that easily meet the eye.  For those who care to take a deeper look a real horror show awaits their gaze.  But, if your standard for presidential leadership is honor, integrity, respect for women and non-white peoples, a public servant rather than an autocratic ruler, respect for democratic process and the institutions that make this possible, we need look no further to answer the question posed by this essay.

Donald Trump clearly does not meet this standard.  Hence those who argue that we ought to respect Trump because he was elected President, and we should respect the office, are standing on intellectual and moral quicksand.  I would remind them, yet again, that Adolph Hitler was elected too!  And I use the example of Hitler purposely, because as much as it enrages his supporters, Devious Donald and Adolph have much in common.  But since I have explored this question in five previous essays I shan’t relitigated it here. *  Yet to the astute and careful observer those similarities will be all too obvious. In fact, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who has just published a book titled “Fascism” has warned us about Trump’s fascistic tendencies.

However, it is enough to point out Trump’s myriad transgressions against the prestige and dignity of the American presidency through his odious personal behavior, embarrassing ignorance of the critical issues facing the nation and assaults on the constitutional norms he has vowed to uphold.  After covering Trump’s presidential campaign, Matt Taibbi, the crack investigative reporter with Rolling Stone magazine, wrote a book summing up his view of Trump entitled “The Insane Clown President.” Alas, those who though he was being hyperbolic will have to think again.  Now that we have gotten a good look at Trump in the Oval Office, the objective observer must confess that Taibbi nailed him.

From the outset his un-presidential posture was a source of embarrassment to the Republican Establishment and an odious offense to the party’s intelligentsia.  At first his candidacy was dismissed as a joke. But when he began to prevail over the crowded field in the Republican primaries and they began to take the possibility that Dirty Donald could actually win the Party’s nomination, it suddenly became no laughing matter. The longtime Republican stalwarts who were vying with Trump – a Johnny Come Lately –  to represent the party in the presidential election began to say what they really thought of him in an effort to warn their members not to vote for Devious Donald.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio declared in no uncertain terms that “Donald Trump is a con-man!”  This charge was echoed over and again by other candidates.  Mitt Romney, the past Republican presidential candidate, trashed Trump’s business acumen:” A business genius he is not!”  An able businessman with a Harvard MBA, Romney knows whereof he speaks.  No matter what you think of the Equities business, and there is much to criticize on moral grounds, there is no question that one must be astute in business matters in order to survive – let alone thrive as Romney has done. Trump on the other hand, had been the defendant in 3500 civil suits growing out of incompetent or unethical business practices, and was recently ordered to pay 25 million dollars to students who were swindled in the Trump University scam.

Jeb Bush, a Former Florida Governor – who had been all but anointed by the press and party leaders, being the son and brother of US presidents and possessing the traditional qualifications for President –  warned early on: “Donald Trump is a chaos candidate, and if he wins he will be a chaos President!”  The prescience of this warning qualifies Jeb for the honorific “Prophet Jeb.” As Trump’s presidency has been distinguished by unrelenting chaos!

As harsh as the criticisms of his political competitors were, they did not rise to the level of the vitriolic critiques coming from the Republican intelligentsia, who banded together to form a “Never Tump!” movement. Led by the likes of George Will and Bill Kristol – the intellectual heirs of those formidable conservative polemicists William F. Buckley, Norman Podoretz, Irving Kristol, et al – banded together and launched the “Never Trump” movement.  They saw that the election of Donald Trump would be the end of the Grand Old Party that they had committed their lives and careers to.

Tim Miller, who had been Jeb Bush’s Communications Director before he dropped out of the race, had this to say about a possible Trump victory:” “It is disturbing seeing him even in the ballpark of being president…I think it’s a bad sign of our republic that we are this close to electing a complete buffoon and fraud, because he encapsulates the worst qualities of a human.” John Podhoretz, a right-wing commentator and the son of Neo-con icon Norman Podhoretz, spoke for many long time Republicans who detest Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump in equal measure, when he wrote in his New York Post column: “Since I want everybody to lose…I’m going to be pleased and horrified in equal measure no matter what happens.” 

Long time columnist, author and a leading theoretician of the Republican party George Will, would declare Trump a dunce “who doesn’t know what it means to know something.” Will magnified his point by sarcastically observing that Trump has the advantage over him in Twitter exchanges “because he can say everything he knows in 145 characters and I can’t.”  He then quit the Republican Party rather than be led by Trump.

I believe that future historians studying this period will consider these dissenters heroes.  While the party apparatchiks are making a deal with the devil, because they feel they have a clueless dupe who will sign any legislation they put in front of him so long as it is opposed by Democrats – the ideal president in the view of anti-tax radical Grover Norquist – some of the party’s leading intellectuals are taking principle stands because all the observable facts suggest that although Trump may be good for the agenda of their party, he will be bad for the health of our republic.  And they have chosen to place country over party.

During the year since Trump was elected, he has realized all our worst fears.  He has never evolved into the “presidential” leader we were promised by his handlers. Alas, Dirty Donald has remained the same crude, ignorant, potty-mouthed, lying charlatan that he was during the campaign.  He has routinely called everybody who criticizes him dirty names – hence my tagging him “Dirty Donald” – and called the free press an “enemy of the People.”

He has hidden his tax returns from public scrutiny like a dope dealer, and repeatedly violated the “Emoluments Clause” in the constitution forbidding a sitting President from accepting money from foreign governments. A case against Trump for this violation has been filed by Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, an authority on Constitutional Law, and his co-attorneys.  Trump has trashed the authority of the courts, threatened nuclear war against North Korea on Twitter, and is the subject of multiple investigations, federal and state.  As I write he is involved in a messy scandal with a porn star, and his former Campaign Manager and personal lawyer had their offices and homes raided by the FBI with no-knock search warrants.

As I write former FBI Director James Comey, whose abrupt dismissal by Trump – who admitted that he did it to stop the investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents on national television – prompted the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, is about to publish a book telling his side of the story after months of vilification by Trump.  On Sunday April 15, Comey appeared in a special interview on the ABC television network to discuss his new book, and he rendered a devastating critique of Trump’s leadership of the Nation, and expressed the view that Trump is definitely unworthy of due to his moral failings alone.

Although Trump is having a Twitter tantrum calling Comey a liar, when it comes to a test of credibility Trump’s chances of prevailing are about equal to those of a butterfly from a hatchet blow.  After all, fact checkers at the Washington Post have identified over 2000 lies told by the president of the USA during his first year in office, the all-time record!        

Despite his desperate thrashing about in protests against his accusers, it is hard to see how Trump will survive to the end of his first term.  From the look of things based on rumors, leaks and publicly announced indictments the blow that lays him low can come from anywhere –  laundering dirty Russian money; obstruction of Justice; Perjury; campaign finance laws; converting the White House into a profit center for the Trump Organization; collusion with Russian military intelligence to steal the presidential election, or tax evasion.  All seem plausible.

Added to his legal problems, is the potential for blackmail due to Trump’s moral laxity.  For instance, the fact that he has his “fixer” posing as a lawyer, Michael Cohen, paying off women with whom he had adulterous sexual liaisons, exposes the President to Blackmail. According to intelligence experts, the Russians probably know all about Trump’s sexual peccadillos.  Some believe the Russians have film of Trump’s misadventures on his visit to Russia to promote a beauty pageant.

If so, that would explain why Trump trashes everybody but Vladimir Putin. His refusal to implement sanctions imposed on Russia by Congress, sanctioning them for interfering in the last US presidential borders on Treason!  Some will argue that “Treason” as defined in the Constitution can only occur if the nation is at war.

Well, considering that “Cyber Warfare” has been recently added to the list of offences warranting a nuclear response, one could argue that technically we are in a state of war!  In any case, Trump’s behavior has so befouled the White House debased the presidency, it is impossible to respect that high office and respect Dirty Donald too!

 

*************************

Playthell G. Benjamin,
Harlem, New York
April 19, 2018

Traitor, Narcissist or Fool?

Posted in Did Russia Interfere in the US Election?, On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs with tags , , on February 25, 2018 by playthell

Getting their Heads Together?

On Devious Deluded Donald and the Russians

Watching Donald Trump stroll across the White House grounds, after deplaning from the presidential helicopter, I was puzzled about his state of mind.  He seemed slightly giddy about the contents of a 37-page indictment against 13 Russians for having violated American laws; interfering in the 2016 Presidential election to insure the victory of the Trump campaign and the defeat of Hillary Clinton. The indictment, which had just been announced by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office and can be read online, spells out the criminal violations defendants are charged with:

U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General. And U.S. law requires certain foreign nationals seeking entry to the United States to obtain a visa by providing truthful and accurate information to the government.

Since these indictments prove that the Special Counsel is conducting a real investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election – which Trump has repeatedly call a “witch hunt” and “Democratic ruse” to explain their lost of an election “they should have won” – it is hard to fathom the reason for his glee.  Now that the Russian intervention is an Established fact in the public domain, the world will be waiting to see how the American president responds to this cyber-attack on our democratic process from Russia.

Although there is no specific allegation of Russian government involvement, intelligence experts familiar with Russian covert intelligence methods like Malcolm Nance – author of the prescient book “The Plot to Hack America”–  overwhelmingly agree that an operation of this magnitude could not have happened without Putin’s approval. Mueller’s indictment richly details the extent of the Russian efforts and names Putin’s pal, Yezgeny Peigozin, as a central figure in the Russian disinformation campaign.

A shady character who went from a petty criminal and ex-con selling hot dogs on the street, to a super-rich Oligarch after the fall of the Russian communist system, the indictment fingers him as the money man that financed the activities of the INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC, the major organization that flooded the internet with disinformation that “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

The indictment further alleges “Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants” operations included supporting the presidential campaign of the -candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”  Yezgeny is so close the Russian leader he is known as “Putin’s Chef.”  Hence the chance that he acted without Putin’s approval are about equal to a popsicle’s chances of survival in a pizza oven.

All this puts Trump on the spot, as he is pressured to enact the anti-Russian sanctions that has passed both houses of Congress by a wide margin. Or come up with a plausible explanation for his refusal.  It is a sign of the panic that has beset Trump’s advisors that they are running around parroting the President’s view that the indictments have exonerated him, his campaign staff, and them from the charge of “collusion.”  It is a measure of the accidental president’s depravity that the only thing about these indictments that appear to interest him is that he is not charged with anything, and he claims the Russian activities had “no effect on the outcome of the election.”

The fact that the Russians tried to subvert our elections has failed to provoke any serious response from Trump, let alone sanctions.  According to former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who was a member of the Watergate Committee that voted to impeach President Nixon, Trump’s inaction and apparent indifference to the Russian Cyber-attack on our democratic process is more than ample grounds for impeachment, whether his campaign “colluded” or not, because he has violated his oath “to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.”

Alas, while Trump has yet to offer a single word of condemnation against his pal Putin, he has leveled plenty of criticism and invective at the loyal Americans in law enforcement who are investigating the Russian attack.   Devious Donald has even gone to the extraordinary length of conflating the Mueller investigation of his campaign with the school shootings in Florida. Astonishingly, Trump has the unmitigated gall to blame the failure of the FBI to stop the school shooting on the claim that they were expending all their assets investigating him!   However, this statement reveals both an ignorance of Florida law, and how the FBI works.  First, Cruz had a legally acquired weapon and therefore had violated no laws before the shootings.  Secondly, we do not have preventive detention laws in the US, so what could the FBI have done?

There were already numerous reports to local law enforcement agencies, but nothing was done; yet this is their responsibility.  Trump, a political ignoramus who does not exhibit any observable curiosity about the art and science of governing, fails to understand that the FBI is divided into two operational sections.  One section deals with criminal matters the other with national security.  Hence those agents tasked with Russian election tampering have nothing to do with the agents who would investigate the school shooter.

But then, the truth is a relative thing for this president, who believes in “alternative facts.” And seems to only care about covering his ass.  Alas, one does not need specialized training to recognize the symptoms of “Malignant Narcissism” and “Paranoia,” with which a host of distinguished Psychiatrist and psychologists have diagnosed Trump. Hence while it remains to be determined if Trump is a traitor, he is unquestionably a narcissist and a fool!  His tweets in response to the indictments reveal a disorganized and delusional mind at best.  I think it is past time that we give the opinions of professional shrinks their due.  Amid great criticism they have embraced their “duty to warn” the rest of us about the dangers posed by such a deluded instable leader, who holds the fate of the earth in his hands as commander of the US nuclear arsenal.  We should act on the Doctors’ advice and demand that Congress impeach Devious Donald before it’s too late.

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Playthell Benjamin
Harlem, New York,
February 16, 2016

 

Is President Trump a Racial Hygienists?

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Trump and Hitler, Playthell on politics with tags , , on January 29, 2018 by playthell

Fanatical whites adoring their Savior

On Making America White Again

It was nauseating to witness Donald Trump, surrounded by grinning handkerchief head black quislings, read a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King. The bumbling fashion in which he read the text made it clear that he was not familiar with the facts, nor was it coming from the heart.   Like so much about Trump, it came across as phony.   That was certainly how it struck Congressman John Lewis, who walked with Dr. King in the heat of the Civil Rights battle and was brutally beaten by racist redneck cops on the Edmund Pettis bridge, during the voter registration drive in Lowndes County, Alabama.

When asked by reporter Katy Tur if he thought Trump’s remarks praising Dr. King was sincere, Congressman Lewis said no; pointing out that you cannot make racist statements one day and praise Dr. King’s legacy the next, yet expect to be taken seriously.  He said that he will not attend the upcoming State of the Union Address, because he does not consider Trump’s election to be legit, given the role played by Russian intelligence agencies in sabotaging Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The racist statement Lewis was referencing, was Trump’s declaration that the US should not welcome immigrants from “shit-hole” nations like Haiti and African countries.  Trump said he would prefer more immigrants from “Norway” instead.   There was no shame in Mighty whitey’s game.  Aside from the fact that Trump’s comments about Haitians and Nigerians during a discussion of immigration policy in the Oval Office, exposed his abysmal ignorance about black people once more, they also conjured up memories of some of the most racist episodes of the last century.

It is obvious that Trump knows nothing about the role played in the American War of Independence by Les Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint Domingue, ten companies of Haitian soldiers numbering 500 each, who fought heroically in the battle of Savanna during 1779.  They were repaid a few years later with racist American opposition to their own heroic revolution against their French oppressors, despite the fact the Haitian Revolution was based upon the same ideals as the US and French Revolutions: “Liberty, Brotherhood and equality.”  As CLR James, says: “It was one the three great bourgeois revolutions of the 18th century” that helped shape the modern world.

Savanna Monument to Haitian Heroes of 1779

Lest  We Forget?

 It is equally clear that Trump does not understand the contributions Nigerian immigrants are now making to the US.  As a community Nigerian-Americans are model citizens.  They earn college degrees at a rate 10% higher than native born Americans. According to the Houston Chronical of January 12, “Nigerian immigrants have the highest levels of education in this city and the nation, surpassing whites and Asians, according to Census data bolstered by an analysis of 13 annual Houston-area surveys conducted by Rice University.”

These figures are reflected in the three Nigerians in my building: an international lawyer, a medical doctor and a mechanical engineer who has worked for Con-Edison, keeping the lights on in Trump Tower for the last 15 years.  I could cite many outstanding Nigerians contributing to the US in a variety of fields if I had the space.

Alas, none of this matters to Donald Trump, because his concern is keeping America white and, given his choice of Norwegians as the ideal immigrant: The whiter the better!  In this attitude Trump has taken us back 100 years to the ideas of another white New Yorker, Madison Grant.  A Columbia University graduate, Grant really did have the Ivy League education Trump bogusly brags about.  The President of the New York Zoological Society, and a leading voice in the racist Eugenics Movement – which advocated selective breeding to improve the human species – Grant published a 1917 book titled The Passing of the Great Race. 

This book was written as a warning against the Superior Teutonic “race,” whose ideal prototype was the blue-eyed blond, represented in America by the “conquering Anglo-Saxon,” intermixing with the “lesser races.” And here Grant was talking about European “races,” such as Greeks and Italians, whom he labeled “men from failed civilizations.”

In Grant’s view, the ancient civilization of Greece and Rome was built by blond haired Teutons, and it was their bad judgement in breeding with the darker races that brought on the decay and collapse of their civilization. There was a special warning against Jews.  Africans and other subhuman “colored races” were strictly off limits.

One way to prevent this dreaded intermixing with inferior racial stock was by controlling their presence in the American population through immigration policy.  However, Grant was elaborating on the ideas of another rich New Yorker, Teddy Roosevelt, who cultivated the role of Anglo Saxon superman to the hilt; even buying a ranch in Wyoming where he was said to have led posses against outlaws in the late 19th century.

This image was enhanced after he led the “Rough Riders” in the battle of San Juan Hill in Santiago Cuba during the Spanish American War.  Roosevelt felt that the paramount objective of reproductive practices was to prevent overly fertile “lesser breeds” from outbreeding the superior Anglo Saxons.  He was quite open in his views on the superiority of Anglo Saxons and felt that the decimation of American Indians and the conquest of the Philippines were acts of God.

These ideas would inform the passage of the racist National Origins Act of 1924, which set quotas on immigrants based on the countries from which they came.  The Act provided that be visas be issued to 2% of each ethnic group based on the 1890 Census, which would insure that Anglo Saxon’s would forever remain the majority.  One big fan of this law was Adolph Hitler, who praised it in Mein Kempf:

“There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but [the US], in which an effort is made to consult reason at least partially. By refusing immigrants on principle…by simply excluding certain races from naturalisation,”

Hitler was also a big fan of Madison Grant’s “Passing of the Great Race,” from which he lifted his Teutonic master race theory.  We know this because historians have uncovered a letter Hitler wrote to Madison Grant, in which the Nazi leader thanked him profusely and gushed: “Your book is my bible!”  It was these all-American ideas that informed and inspired the Nazi “racial hygienists” to exterminate six million of their Jewish countrymen by industrializing mass murder, and launching a World War which resulted in 50 million deaths.

This is the tradition Donald Trump has so passionately embraced, a set of racist ideas that resulted in the enslavement of Africans and their descendants for 250 years, and the extermination of Indigenous Native Americans resulting in the greatest land theft in history!  Of course, Dumb Donnie Dimwit is too ignorant of history to know any of this – and based on his racist behavior many thoughtful observers believe it wouldn’t matter if he did – he is propagating these ideas nevertheless.

Ignorance is no excuse in any case.  After all, he ran for the presidency, he was not drafted. That he should attempt to associate himself with the prophetic legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, an Apostle of Peace and justice, with the aid of genuflecting Sambos, is beyond shameful: It is blasphemy!

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Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

January 29, 2018

A Made in America Autocrat!

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Trump and Hitler, Playthell on politics with tags , on January 6, 2018 by playthell

Dirty Donnie and the Brow Nosers
Senators Shamelessly Genuflect Before the Great Leader

It was nauseating watching the Republicans singing the praises of Fat Donald, assuming an embarrassing lips to posterior posture, while slapping themselves on the back for robbing the poor and showering the rich with even more money…making it rain bigtime for the super-rich plutocrats who own them, the billionaire donors who paid for the campaigns that put these pols in office. They are the new masters of Republican politics created by the Citizens United Decision of the US Supreme Court.

It was sad enough when we saw members of the cabinet cravenly kissing Trump’s rump in public, but this could be largely explained by the fact that their fate depends upon pleasing a vindictive president with a mercurial combustible temperament.  Yet for anyone who reveres the US Constitution, or just can’t stand suck ups, it was especially galling to witness members of the US Senate, a co-equal branch of government, the self-declared “greatest deliberative body in the world,” behave like lackeys in the Court of Ming the Merciless.

It was as if each Senator tried to outdo the other in crafting the most worshipful panegyric to the Great Leader.  They seemed terrified of the ever- present possibility of ritual crucifixion by the tweeting twit on Twitter, which could result in political death.  All one need to do in transcribing their remarks is substitute the salutation “Mr. President” with “Heil Hitler!” or “O Great Leader!” in order to recognize the dimensions of the crisis our democracy is presently facing from Donald Trump’s presidency. Sadly, congressional members of the GOP – Grand Opportunists Party – have entered into a Faustian bargain with an instable accidental President who the shrinks say is suffering from “Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia.” And who can say what the consequences will be?

The scene after the tax heist was, well, frightening, especially when one realizes that autocrats have been elected in other democratic societies to the enduring sorrow of its citizens. Most famously Weimar Germany, which was one of the freest and open democratic societies in the world, with a citizenry far better educated than the US electorate just now, when Hitler was elected. The foundations for a liberal enlightened German society such as Weimar had developed in Germany several decades before.

When the young Afro-American scholar WEB DuBois studied at the University of Berlin in the late 19th century, working on a PhD in economics, it was widely considered the world’s finest university. By the second decade of the 20th century Germany was publishing more books a year than any other country, which is evidence of widespread literacy.   And it was a leader in technology and Industry.

This was a society that had engaged in a protracted intergenerational debate about whether the soldier and statesman, or poet and philosopher represented the highest expression of citizenship. Whereas the billionaire business man is the most admired figure in America even if they are odious, stupid, amoral cretins.  Which does much to explain the ascendancy of Trump.

The Weimar Republic, which emerged in the aftermath of military defeat in the First World War spanning the years 1919-1933, represented a new expression of Democracy following the abdication of Wilhelm II, the last German Kaiser.  Weimar was a far freer and socially advanced society than the US was at the time. Weimar Germans were much more enlightened on race and gender issues, recreational use of drugs, and support for the arts. Afro-American Jazz music and dance – with its ethos of modernity and freedom performed at the “velocity of celebration” as Albert Murray called it – was in vogue, as is poignantly portrayed in the movie Swing Kids.

This tolerant open-minded milieu, where social life is played out to a jazz sound track, is meticulously recreated in the brilliant Novel “Clifford’s Blues; by John A. Williams.  And it is given rigorous scholarly treatment in The Jazz Republic: Music, Race and American Culture in Weimar Germany, by Johnathan O. Whipplinger.   To speak of Weimar says Whipplinger,

“is to evoke images not only of political radicalism and avant-garde artistic experiment but also jazz. More to the point, the Weimar Republic was, in a central way, Germany’s own “jazz age.”

 

But as Edwin Black shows in his seminal book, “Hitler’s Debt to America,” white America’s Master Race theories, racist laws against black people and attitudes about euthanasia advocated by the US Eugenics movement were all adopted by the Third Reich that crushed the Weimar democracy. Alas, the twin disasters that befell Germany after World War I due to the war reparations imposed by the 1919 Versailles Treaty and the Wall street Crash of 1929, sparking a world -wide depression that created a sense of hopelessness among Germans, set the stage for the rise of Hitler.

Although white Americans love to portray Nazis as subhuman monsters who are the antithesis of themselves, after interviewing some of the top leaders placed on trial for war crimes at Nurnburg, the insightful Jewish philosopher Hanna Arendt disagreed, she found them quite ordinary people, and coined the term “the banality of evil” to describe their behavior. Dr. Arendt outraged many Americans, and Jews everywhere, by concluding there was nothing uniquely evil about the Germans.

The problem, she concluded, was blind submission to authority and predicted that there are people we all know who are capable of running concentration camps if ordered to do so by our government.  It is evident that there are many such personality types among Trump’s followers, and like those who blindly followed Hitler, they cite emotional despair caused by economic anxieties as the reason for their allegiance.

Americans have been protected from the rise of an autocrat by our Constitution, which gives Congress the power to check the excesses of the President through legislation or impeachment.  But what happens if the Congress fails to use that power?  This is the question now being raised by serious people as Trump threatens to fire Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor investigating whether members of the Trump campaign team collaborated with the Russians to steal the presidential election, which Trump has repeatedly called a hoax.

After Trump launched threats against128 foreign countries that voted against the US on Jerusalem, former CIA Director Robert O. Brennan remarked: “Trump expects blind loyalty and subservience from everyone—qualities usually found in narcissistic, vengeful autocrats.”  One of the main characteristics of autocratic regimes are fawning flunkies who say things like the once proud Republican Senators were  Trump after the tax heist. Longtime Utah Senator Orin Hatch, said Trump might well be “The greatest president in history!”

This kind of sycophantic praise does not inspire confidence that the Republican controlled Congress will checkmate the power of a President who wishes to turn the FBI into his personal Gestapo and unleash them on his political adversaries; despises the free press; the independent judiciary and congressional opposition.  All the institutions that guard our democracy. In view of this reality, the thoughtful observer is compelled to wonder if the difference between Trump, Hitler and Kim Jung UN, has less to do with philosophy than opportunity.

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Playthell G. Benjamin
January 6, 2018
1013 words