Archive for the On the 2016 Presidential Election Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Trump’s Inaugural Address

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

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

Game Recognizes Game….

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

 

WARNING: Bullshit Artists at Work!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Champions: Tyson and Spinks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Whatever you want, Mike,” Donald responded.

“Are you fucking my wife?”

“What?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why?”

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

“Sure, go ahead.”

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

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

Prancing with the Stars!

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

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

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

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

All Smiles!

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

A Ménage a Trois?

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

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

Negotiating with Sugar Ray

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

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Chillin with The Greatest!

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

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

Butch Lewis

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Butch in his trademark shirtless formal dress

Butch was what King Pretended to be…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homies Hangin Out on the Town

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The Donald, Big Al and The King

MY HERO!

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Ain’t no shame in his game!

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

https://charlierose.com/videos/12812

Don King: Unauthorized, by Jack Newfield

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

 

No Longer at Ease….

Posted in On the 2016 Presidential Election, Playthell on politics with tags , , on December 22, 2016 by playthell
hangin-in-new-york-summer-2013-237A once peaceful Place is now a Top Terror Target

On Life in the Time of Terrorism and Trump

Yesterday I was strolling in Columbus Circle, the busy juncture where Broadway and Central Park West meet and subway lines converge.  It is a beautiful area of mid-Manhattan with ornate statuary commemorating America’s past wars in Grand Army Plaza, and the entrance to Central Park – a natural jewel in Manhattan’s concrete crown – on one side of the busy intersection – and the Jazz at Lincoln center complex on the other, America’s newest cultural icon.  Usually I am exhilarated when I am in this public space, abuzz with the marvelous mosaic of human diversity who have journeyed from all over the world, where a glance southward affords one a birds eye view of the magnificent skyscrapers that shape the world famous New York Skyline….but when I am there now I am no longer at ease

The magnificent silver globe mounted on a pedestal that towers above the subway entrance once intrigued me as a striking new addition to long standing land marks in Columbus Circle, which is why I photographed it, but now when I look at it I feel a sense of dread, danger and impending doom.

That’s because this globe serves as an Icon for the Trump Hotel that now sits just a few feet away.  Which means that it has become a prime target of terrorists because America’s President Elect, Donald Trump, is too greedy and arrogant to divest himself of these properties the way other Presidents have done.  Jimmy Carter sold his little peanut farm in Georgia when he became President, but as with everything else “The Donald” – a megalomaniacal New York real estate hustler with the business ethics of a pirate – is doing it his way.

The Entrance to Central Park
hangin-in-new-york-summer-2013-269
People of all Nation’s Congregate Here
Jazz at Lincoln Center

hangin-in-new-york-summer-2013-256

A New Cultural Icon

From all appearances Donald Trump’s policies will greatly enrich the ranks of Islamic Jihadists and increase the attempts at terrorist attacks, and anything which bears the Trump name will be prime targets, the destruction of which will bring glory to the name of the Jihadists who carry out these attacks against the treasures of the “Great Satin” and win them and, their 70 virgins, a special place in the Gardens of Allah.

All of the learned experts on the Jihadist movement have concluded that Trump’s approach to dealing with the Islamic world will provide recruiting materials for the Modern Jihad that is far better than the best television advertising that money could buy.  Malcolm Nance, author of the book “How to Defeat Isis,” and one of the brightest scholars on the Jihadist movement warns:

“Good God, they’re probably cutting videos of this right now.  Donald Trump is validating the cartoonish view that they tell their operatives…that America is a racist nation, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, and that that’s why you must carry out terrorist attacks against them…It’s irresponsible and it needs to stop.”

It is obvious from the moves he’s making and the thoughtless belligerent drivel that flows from his mouth, that Donald does not understand this.  And General Flynn, his National Security Advisor appears to be just as clueless.  Both of them seem to be intent on waging Samuel Huntington’s “war of civilizations.”

The problem with this approach to the modern Islam Jihad, which was largely inspired by the transgressions Christian warriors of the West in Muslim lands, is that they are going to turn what is now a war with certain forces in the Middle-East into a war with the billion believers in the entire Muslim world.

This is the point that Malcolm Nance is making when he points out that “Trump’s position is just what Osama Bin Ladin preached.”  George Bush was so aware of the danger that could result from such thinking that right after the devastating 9/11 attack on the US by Al Qaeda militants that he visited a Mosque and declared that the US was not at war with Islam, and even accused the attackers of being apostates who were misrepresenting Islam!

Looking at the situation we now find ourselves in regarding the US presidency, George Bush is suddenly beginning to look like a leader of Solomonic wisdom.  This is due in large part because he had some foreign policy pros around him, and he listened to their advice.  Trump is surrounded by right-wing ideologues with no actual experience with either politics or diplomacy.   Hence in the President Elect we have the political equivalent of a rudderless ship adrift at sea; anything can happen.  However, based on what we know about mass transformative movements, Trumps actions will prove to be like throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire!

The Downtown View from Columbus Circle
hangin-in-new-york-summer-2013-243
New Yorkers who lived through 9/11 can easily imagine them crumbling

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
Decembar 22, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did Putin Hack US Election?

Posted in Did Russia Interfere in the US Election?, On Donald Trump, On the 2016 Presidential Election with tags , on December 15, 2016 by playthell
malcolm-nanceIntelligence Expert Malcolm Nance: Author of “Hacking America”

Malcolm Nance thinks so…..and Electors Want to Know

As I write a group of electors led by Christine Pelosi, daughter of Nancy Pelosi, and elector from California, have asked President Obama to grant them a security clearance and allow them to examine the Central Intelligence Agency’s report which concludes that Russian intelligence agencies not only interfered in the US presidential election but did so in an attempt to help Donald Trump win.

The dissident electors now number has risen to 50 as I write, and it only takes  36,to swing the election to Hillary Clinton if they electors conclude that Trump was fraudulently elected as the result of Russia’s thumb on the scale.  Although it would be vigorously applauded by millions of Americans, who gave Hillary nearly three million more votes than Trump in the general election, this would be a dangerous and unprecedented development in US politics.  Alas given the Republican denial and win at any cost attitude, a rejection by members of the Electoral College could tear this divided nation apart despite the fact that Trump is perhaps the most disliked presidential elect in history.  However it is hard to envision a constructive response from the Republicans, since they have clearly placed the fortunes of their party above the fate of our nation.

According to the CIA – and 16 other US intelligence agencies – the Russian intrusion was accomplished by hacking into the confidential e-mails of the Democratic National Committee and giving the documents to Wiki-Leaks, who put them on the internet.  The conclusion that this was an effort to help Trump is based on evidence that they also hacked the Republicans but refused to release any of the information. But now the electors are insisting on examining the CIA findings.

Christine Pelosi

christine-pelosi

California Elector

Once it has been established that the hacking operation occurred it is fairly easy conclude that their actions were intended to aid a Trump victory.  If we assume that national states act in their best interest one has only to examine the attitudes toward Russia held by Trump and Clinton.  Throughout the election process Trump has insisted that he could make a deal with Putin, insisted that there is no good reasons for Russia and the US to be adversaries; expressed a willingness to work with the Russians to destroy ISIS; denounced the Obama

Administration commitment to overthrowing President Assad of Syria as dangerous folly that will further destabilize the region and empower the Jihadists; questioned the importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and questioned the sacrosanct but dangerous doctrine of “American Exceptionalism,” even pointing out: “If you are a Russian you might not think America is so exceptional.”

Hillary Clinton was quick to respond with the declaration: “Just because Putin doesn’t recognize it doesn’t mean it’s not true!” A cold war hawk with a deeply antagonistic view of Russia forged during the Soviet era, there seems to have been little adjustment in her perception of Russia as a threat to American security since they abandoned Communism and disbanded the Warsaw Pact.

In fact Hillary Clinton supports NATO now as vigorously as she did during the Cold War and promotes a strategy of encroachment into Eastern Europe with the aim of encircling Russia with pro-American military forces; was implicated in the coup that overthrew the pro-Russian government in the Ukraine – a provocation that could have sparked a nuclear war – and has gone on record with her belief that NATO is the wisest investment that the US has made when Trump suggested that the US insist upon the members paying their fair share of the cost…especially since the alliance is designed to protect their national security.  Added to these facts, in an emotional anti-Russian diatribe Clinton once called Putin “another Hitler.”   It was such an insane charge she was forced to walk it back.  Hence, as the facts show, Putin had more than ample reasons to wish for a Trump victory and to take measures to insure it.

Malcolm Nance, a former Naval Intelligence Officer who has been in the spy business for nearly four decades is so convinced that the Russian intelligence apparatus, directed by Vladimir Putin, a former Director of the KGB – Russia’s counterpart to the CIA – did indeed interfere in the US election with the goal of helping to elect Donald Trump that he has already published a book on the subject: “The Plot to  Hack America.”

Nance, whose knowledge of this subject so impressive he makes the skeptics look like “useful idiots” for the Kremlin, says that the biggest surprise for him is “the crisis of patriotism” displayed by Republicans in the face of interference into the most important function in our democracy by a hostile foreign power.  For instance, during his campaign President elect Trump actually called upon the Russians to hack Hillary’s E-mails and make them public, and there was barely a peep of protest from the Republicans.  It is hard to find a more convincing example of the extent to which American politics has become debased and the perversion of the patriotic ideal by flag waving Republicans crying “America First!”

When viewed from historical perspective, one could argue that the present attitude toward Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers is an extension of the Republican attitude that led to the burglary and bugging of the DNC headquarters by former intelligence operatives hired by CREEP – The Committee to Reelect the President – that led to the Watergate scandal under Nixon. This kind of behavior is a reflection of a deeply held belief by Republicans that the Democrats are illegitimate, that their social welfare policies are inimical to capitalism; hence they treat them as enemies, not competitors in the same league.  This is why they often look like traitors rather than a loyal opposition when dealing with President Obama (see: “The Case for Treason” on this blog.”

Hence when democrats such as Senator Harry Reid accuse the Federal Bureau of Investigation of covering up the Russian role in undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign it is not merely partisan rhetoric spouted by a sore loser.  Consider this report in the New York Times filed on December 13th:

“When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.”

The article goes on to tell what the FBI knew of the activities of these Russian Cyberspies, and when they knew it.  With this kind of intelligence inventory circulating among US government agencies tasked with maintain national security, it is no wonder the Malcolm Nance was able to produce a book length analysis of the phenomenon in such short order.

Mr. Nance insists that there is no question among intelligence professionals that the Russians interfered in the US elections, and his role was to warn the nation about what they know.  As early as October 13th Nance warned that the Russians were putting “not just a finger, but their whole hand” on the scale to help Donald Trump win the presidential election. However, despite his impressive credentials and demonstrated expertise in matters of espionage his warning was largely ignored.  But as the major media examines the CIA’s claims and write about it Malcolm Nance’s views are gaining an expanding audience….and the tide is beginning to change.

Malcolm Nance on Voice Of America
nance-on-voice-of-americaDroppin Science on the Pro-Trump Cyber-Spies
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Malcolm Nance on Trump Inviting Putin to hack Hillary
http://www.msnbc.com/kate-snow/watch/nance-trump-s-russia-remarks-a-disaster-733347907519
Malcolm Nance on Russian Hacking of Election
http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-news/watch/has-russia-damaged-us-election-786660931508
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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
December 14, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

“All These Stones”

Posted in Guest Commentators, On Donald Trump, On the 2016 Presidential Election with tags , , on November 18, 2016 by playthell

Demonstrators protest against U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, outside the Trump Tower building in midtown Manhattan in New York March 19, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Speaking Truth to Power at Trump Tower!   Righteous Anger over the election of a Hater
 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6“As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” 7They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. 9“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 10Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. 12“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls. NRSV Luke 21:5-19
Sermon TSP 26th Sunday After Pentecost Year C – 13 November 2016   21718

 A Canadian Divine Reflects on the US Elections

What a week it’s been! Maybe you saw the picture in social media, of a Church Sign in Massachusetts – it read, Jesus is coming; hopefully before the election.”    I spent Monday to Thursday with clergy from all across Canada at a preaching conference. Our guest professor was from Georgia, and when she saw that we Canadians were just as anxious as she was, we all huddled together to watch the election that left the world in such shock and disbelief. Since then, I’ve been trying to keep up with the commentaries, trying to make sense of what happened – what it means when a business-oriented person with no political experience takes over the highest, most powerful political position in the world. Add to that the rhetoric of hate, racism, exclusion and misogyny, and the fact that he doesn’t even seem to care that statements he denies can be proven instantly with blatantly incriminating footage, and we’re left with a lot of confused and frightened people.

So what do we do about this? You’ve heard me say that it’s not up to me to tell people who to vote for or which political party is better. My role as a spiritual leader is to be clear about what Jesus taught us was important as we make our decisions. But when someone speaks a vile rhetoric of fear and hate and exclusion into the world, I’m going to say something. I have to.

Now, we don’t know how this will play out, and we know that there’s a lot going on under the surface in terms of what people were resisting in this election, but here’s something to think about. People are deeply concerned because values they thought were universal are now in question. People are afraid that racism and exclusion and treating women without respect, have been“normalized” during this campaign. Since the election, there are reports about little children telling their Muslim classmates that they’ll soon be deported. And crude jokes that objectify women have been circulating at an alarmingly increased rate. I’ve read articles from the U.K., Canada and Europe expressing concern about these trends spreading out from the United States.

People are asking, “What can we do to resist this?” Well, here’s a start…maybe our reaction should be to dig deep within ourselves, and figure out who we really are, and what values are most important to us. You know, we’ve been fairly sheltered in North America, particularly those of us with white privilege. We can spout a rhetoric that’s politically correct, because it costs us nothing. But it looks like now is the time to put ourselves on the line to stand up for what is most important.

If we truly value racial equality – it we really believe women should be treated with respect – if we’re honestly offended when we hear someone talking about deporting innocent citizens, then it’s time to shake off our protected comfort zones and speak up – to live into what we say we believe. We generally assume that people want to be kind, to respect others, to be honest and to care about vulnerable people. But now we have an opportunity to sharpen our awareness of how we want to live…an opportunity to be more intentional about living with grace and respect: A chance to speak up when we see signs of this “normalization” of treating others poorly.

A priest from this area wrote an open letter to her adult sons on social media, and many of us followed her example. She wrote that open misogyny, hatred, fear, racism, and bold faced lying have taken the reins of power in our neighbours to the south, proving that any one of us, any nation, can lay aside kindness, honesty, love and mercy the moment they feel their privilege is threatened. She went on to say that she herself would look within to find the grace to preach love and to try to live it, but that she had great hope that her sons and their generation, who were raised to be tolerant, to be excited by diversity and difference, would lead us into a future where love and mercy would remain paramount as they reshape our world.

What I’m getting at here is a suggestion that while riots may or may not be the answer, I don’t think that being quiet or ignoring the facts is an alternative for those of us who follow Christ. At a time like this, we’re called to speak our truth and model it clearly for all to see. Something I’ve been thrilled to see in response to the deluge of hate and fear, is the bold voice of love – a voice that has faith in strength and integrity that exists in the hearts of most people. Trusting that God’s power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. And as is so often the case, today’s gospel helps us to see how to respond when what’s important is threatened.

Jesus is responding to people who are admiring the great beauty of the Temple. He warns them that at any moment, the Temple could be razed to the ground – and all those huge stones that made the mighty walls will be reduced to a pile of rubble.  He predicts great upheaval and betrayal. What’s Luke getting at here?  Luke is trying to make a statement about the impermanence and uncertainty of human achievement.

The people are marvelling at the Temple’s glory, but Jesus pulls their attention away from its beauty and structure, hoping that they’ll focus on something that’s much more important…..their faith, and how it shows up in their lives. Just before this story, Jesus had drawn their attention to a poor widow putting her two coins into the treasury. Nobody would have ever noticed her amidst the grandeur of the Temple, and the respected leaders parading with their prayers and great offerings, until Jesus pointed out that she was an example for all of them – it was her heart that was sincere.

We can have the most beautiful place of worship in the world, and still get it all wrong. What’s more important than the building is what we learn while we’re inside, and how we take it into our lives and into the world. That’s what the people said in Mississippi when the church of a Black congregation was burned and vandalized by political haters….they said you can burn down our church building, but you can’t take away our faith. God’s transformation of their lives was not something that could be destroyed.

This is certainly a challenging story for us right now. The question of the importance of our house of worship is a complex one. Recently, I’ve had occasion to go downtown to our Cathedral a few times. And you know, when you walk toward it, the bells calling you in from way down the street, there’s something quite beautiful you feel as you go inside. This is our Diocesan Mecca. Our Jerusalem. This is the great Cathedral that has gathered us together in Christ’s name for decades.

The ceilings are high and the surroundings are glorious. The choir is heavenly and the organ is majestic. It’s wonderful. And it’s emotional. It hits us on a very real, visceral, human level. And I think of our family from St. Paul Lorne Park, and the grief that is still very real about losing the place where God touched you, met you, challenged you – where there were weddings and funerals and baptisms and celebrations over the years — beautiful memories that go deep, but now that building is no longer home. Buildings do matter.

And I think of the Trinity people who have the same deep connections right here, in this space, all that history, all the prayers whispered in this space, and now we’re in the process of changing things, and it feels uncertain. Buildings do matter. I for one, am thrilled at the wisdom of your vestry vote that said that getting to the bottom of the structural issues causing flooding is to come first in our priorities. I think your wisdom in this will pay off big time. And the changes to the worship space are also practical, in fixing a spongy floor, and bringing us up to full accessibility with a code ramp, which the Diocese and the Province both insist on. I believe you’ve been faithful stewards of these resources coming to us. We’re not going for fancy – we’re going for solid. Thank God for that.

But in all of this, I am aware that our worship spaces mean just as much to us as they did to those people centuries ago, who travelled miles whenever they could, to get to Jerusalem’s beautiful Temple. We can’t help but become attached to our places of worship. They mean something to us. Our prayers are in them, our stories are in them, our faith journeys have been formed in them. And I think Jesus gets that. I think he sees it. He knows what it’s like to make that trip to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple…to see the scrolls be taken out and read to the people of God.

And yet, Jesus tells us that buildings are not forever, but our faith is. Jesus knows that our life of faith must go beyond our temples and synagogues and holy places. He knows that there will come a time for all of us when we will be called on to give an accounting of our faith outside of these walls. A time like the present. So we have to ask ourselves, without this building, what’s left? How would our faith and trust in God survive the loss of this structure?

My friends, we are called to be good stewards of our buildings and the money we use to maintain them. But we are also called to be good stewards of the Great Story of Salvation and Liberation that we tell within these walls. We are called to bear witness to the world about what matters the most. Even in apocalyptic times, when things get rough, when money runs short, when governments fall apart or challenge our peace. What is Jesus’ answer to how we respond to these apocalyptic events? Testify, he says! Tell the world what you have found in following me.

Now, I’m not talking about standing on a soapbox and screaming about Jesus from the street corners. I run away from people like that. I’m talking about living an authentic life out there that shows who we really are and models what we believe. Tell that person who feels unworthy that they matter to God, that they are precious to God, even when the world sets them aside. Tell that local politician that you’re counting on them to care for the marginalized. I think we church people always live in this tension between the faithful and responsible care of our buildings, and the faithful sharing of what we call the Good News.

Our faith is not confined to a building or defined by it. We will do our best to care of it, but Jesus says, when things get tough, tell your stories of salvation. Tell what these years of gathering here around word and table have done for you – how they’ve changed your life. When a nearby government seems to threaten what’s important to you, testify! Tell your children and your neighbours that you believe in love and mercy and truth and grace, and that no influence from any womanizer, liar or racist, will ever change that.

My friends, the world is full of the grace and love of God. The people of God down through the centuries, even in the hardest of times, have been called to speak up against oppression – to stand strong for justice. And today Luke asks us, where, and on what, is our gaze fixed? If our eyes are locked on temporary things, we might miss seeing those beautiful things that will last. If we only see grandeur and splendour, we may miss finding the beauty in the lost soul nearby. And if we blindly tolerate or ignore the negative rhetoric out there right now, we might miss our chance to affirm all that is life-giving, all that is worthy and true.

What the world needs right now, is people who dare to humbly say out loud what we’ve learned within these walls – to speak boldly about peace overcoming violence, about truth overcoming lies, about love overcoming hate, about care for others overcoming greed. My friends, it’s time to share who we are and how we’ve been transformed by love. It’s time to testifyHallelujah!

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Reverend Susanne Sharon
Episcopal Diocese of Toronto, Canada
November 1, 2016

 

On Racism, Facebook and Me!

Posted in On the 2016 Presidential Election with tags , , on November 17, 2016 by playthell

a-racist-fb-post-fromwestvirgina-booga-bear-ii

The Racist Bitch that Insulted our first Lady
 How Does Facebook decide which comments are Unacceptable?

Today Facebook removed a post of mine and blocked access to my account for three days because they say my post violated community standards!  Well, I protested this action and requested that they tell us what action they took against the West Virginia officials who posted this offensive racist attack on our First Lady., and what is their policy regarding white racist posts on Facebook?

I think that Facebook SHOULD police offensive comments on their site, along with quickly detecting and removing bogus “news” sites.    And if I had just attacked these women out of nowhere, if they had committed no offense against anyone on FB, I think their action against me would be justified.  But under these circumstances I think FB’s response was excessive.  Pammy called FLOTUS a “gorilla” and I called her a Dog!  Sounds like a restrained response to me; she really begged  for a much stronger response.  If Facebook  wanted to remove my post so be it, but I feel that they should have simply explained their action and ask me not to repost it with the “offensive” comments.  THAT’S IT!

The cover photo above is a picture of the racist West Virginia official that posted the racist comment along with the comment.  Check them out, read my Facebook post below, then look at the photos at the bottom of the FB post and decide if you think my response is JUSTIFIED!

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A REALLY STUPID CRACKER BITCH!!!!

SAY WHAT? This washed out BOOGA BEAR PAMELA RAMSEY, Director of some Non-Profit outfit in West Virginia called the “Clay County Development Corporation” – had the unmitigated gall to disparage the looks of our gorgeous First Lady? NO SHE DIDN’T!!!!!!!!! Does this silly white trash peckerwood cracker – and that stupid plain Jane Mayor Beverly Whaley who looks like Olive Oil in the Popeye comics and has been KICKED OUT OF OFFICE – EVER look in the mirror? This in-bred, pie faced, country-ass jaggerbat looks like Andy Panda on crystal meth!!!!!

I wouldn’t bang her with The Donald’s little pecker if she put a gun to my head!!!!!! And her comment about class tells us that she has NONE! Based on her comment she appears to be a retard like most of those dumb pecks in Appalachia who voted for Trump, believing this megalomanaical New York rich boy is their friend and savior…DUH??? Trump wouldn’t piss on these suckers if their asses were on fire!

Pammy girl says she finds it “refreshing” to have a “Classy and dignified First Lady back in the White House.” News flash stupid Redneck: Melania Trump is EURO-TRASH! Like you she is WHITE TRASH…. but with money. Just like her husband!!! Melania Trump is a college Drop-out and a soft porn Model whose claim to fame is that she bagged a lecherous rich man old enough to be her daddy!

When I see her sitting next to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, I am reminded of Trump’s conversation on air with Howard Stern when they laughingly agreed that Ivanka was “A NICE PIECE OF ASS!!!” I am also reminded of how Trump said he “would date” Ivanka if he were not a “married man” and then belatedly noted that she was also his daughter! (I AIN’T MAKIN THIS STUFF UP FOLKS…IT’S ON THE PUBLIC RECORD!) Thus I am forced to wonder if Melania is the personification of “The Donald’s” incestuous fantasies!!!!!

In any case Michelle Obama is a GREAT LADY by any standard. She is a splendid wife and mother – her daughter was just admitted to Harvard – she is a lawyer who graduated from two of the world’s best Universities, Princeton and Harvard, she was once Barack’s boss in the legal profession while he was a student at Harvard Law! Michelle Obama is a stunningly beautiful, powerful woman in mind and body, who would look GREAT in a potato sack….A WALKING ADVERTISEMENT FOR FITNESS AND HEALTH THAT GIVES HER CREDIBILITY AS A SPOKESPERSON ON THE SUBJECT!

SHE HAS BEEN A GREAT FIRST LADY AND IS THE IDEAL ROLE MODEL FOR YOUNG WOMEN AND GIRLS ALL OVER THE WORLD!!! Compared to this First Lady, MELANIA TRUMP IS A GIANT STEP DOWN IN LOOKS, STYLE, and especially CLASS AND CHARACTER…..NOBODY UNDERSTANDS THAT BETTER THAN MELANIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (SEE: THE BEST LOOKING FIRST LADY EVER at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2009/09/20/the-best-looking-first-lady-ever/

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Mayor Beverly Whaling

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No Beauty Queen here: She reminds me of “Olive Oil” in the Popeye Comics

Michelle…..Oh Well!

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 Yes….People all over the world LOVE HER!
 She has been a Magnificent Representative for the US

 barack-and-michelle-obama-fashion

 The Epitome of Elegance, Grace and Serene Dignity
After plagiarizing her Speech Melania professed great Admiration for FLOTUS
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And After Meeting Michelle Melania said she was great!

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
November 16, 2016