Archive for the Playthell on politics Category

Drumfp and Hitler: Birds of a Feather?

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

 What Does the Evidence Suggest?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herr Hitler!

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He also believes his German blood was “superior”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Although at different Times and Places

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A Hysterical Woman at a Hitler Rally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a-terryfying-nuclear-explosion

A Clear and Present Danger!

Ten Scary Facts about Nuclear War!

HOW DOOMSDAY WILL HAPPEN!

This is why Congress Must Pass the Lieu-Markey Bill

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

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Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

Janurary 27, 2017 of the End Times?

The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump now has this Power!

a-nuclear-explosion

All he has to do is give the Word!

Witness the Inauguration Ceremony

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

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
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People of all Nation’s Congregate Here
Jazz at Lincoln Center

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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
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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Afro-Americans Stand to Lose…..

Posted in On Donald Trump, On the 2016 Presidential Election, Playthell on politics with tags , on November 7, 2016 by playthell

donald-trump-and-dad-fred

A Chip off the Old Block! Donnie Dimwit and his sexist, racist, Dad Funky Freddie

……if Devious Donnie becomes President!

As Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for the US presidency, watched his favorability ratings plunge while the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s continue to rise, his handlers decided that if he is going to win the most powerful office in the world he would have to dramatically reach out to minority voters.  This explains the dramatic changes in strategy adopted by his campaign; which is manifested in his sharp turnabout on the promise to deport 11 million illegal aliens – a position he vociferously proclaimed as a cornerstone of his platform but is now running from it like the Zika virus.  It also fuels his belated attempt to court the Afro-American vote by finally admitting that President Obama was born in the United States after leading a five year “Birther”  movement that attempted to deny he is an American citizen.                                                                                                                                                           Clumsily spouting some hastily assembled and flawed statistics compiled by his speech writers, uncharacteristically read from a teleprompter, in which he blamed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for all the ills that inflict inner-city black communities, Donnie Dimwit shouted out to black folks: “Take a chance on me; what have you got to lose!”  Since Donnie has repeatedly revealed himself to be a devious dummy in the political arena, a man with no experience in public service and manifestly devoid of moral conviction, whose allegiance is determined by expedience in matters of principle, it is hard to know if he has any real understanding of how silly he sounds…or if he thinks black people are stupid.

After all, Trump correctly assumes that his core white audience is stupid, and he evidently thinks all black people are stupid too…it’s called hubris.  It is so obvious that longtime Republican stalwart General Colin Powell says “Trump talks to us as if we are idiots” and called The Donald “a national disgrace!”  General Powell went on to declare: “There is nothing that Trump can say” that will convince the majority of Afro-Americans to vote for him.  My feelings exactly, and as I write his 4% favorability rating testifies to the truth of Powell’s prediction.

On the face of it we can easily identify several critical areas where Trump’s attitudes and beliefs will lead to actions which will greatly injure the life’s chances and arrest the progress of Afro-Americans should he become President.  Among these are: Supreme Court Appointments; enforcement of voting rights laws and the restoration of the “pre-clearance”clause; indifference to police murders of black men and red lighting unconstitutional stops and searches; support for institutional racism in corporate America regarding the hiring and promotion of Afro-Americans regardless of credentials; historic tax cuts for the rich while lavishing even more money on the obscenely wasteful military budget – which will  deplete funds for desperately needed public sector jobs rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure while saving his family four billion dollars – initiating a thoughtless trade wars with China and Mexico that will send the price of many manufactured goods soaring; denial of climate change which contributes to increasing incidents of unprecedented natural disasters like the devastating hurricanes along the Atlantic coast, floods in the mid-west and wild fires across the far west, and emboldening armed white racists who believe he is on their side by selecting the racist verbal arsonist Stephen K. Bannon as the “Chief Executive” of his campaign.

Contrary to the beliefs of most of his followers, Trump could wreck the US economy just as two other millionaire Republican Businessmen who became US President did: Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush.  The latter President even held an MBA from Harvard – America’s premiere business school. Hence Trump’s argument that success in business has prepared him to run the American government and manage the economy with great efficiency is just so much pompous bullshit. The fact is that businessmen deal with micro-economic problems while a President must make macro-economic decisions that are better left to top economists who formulate policies on order to achieve the president’s economic goals.

We should heed the warnings of 370 world class economists, including some Nobel Laureates, who have issued a statement arguing that Trump’s stated economic plan will lead the world to ruin!  It is instructive to note that in the last economic crash during the Bush presidency Afro-Americans lost over 60% of all the wealth we had accumulated since the end of slavery!  When all of these factors are taken into account it is clear that a Trump presidency could wreck Afro-American aspirations and set us back immeasurably.  It could take us a century to recover…if ever!

And that’s not the end of the catastrophes we would face.   Consider the consequences of a Supreme Court with a Republican majority, three of whose Justices were appointed by Donald Trump.  Ignorant of constitutional history and the role of the high Court in interpreting that foundational document from which are bequeathed our rights as citizens, and upon which the laws of the land are based, appointments to the court by Trump would likely be determined by whim, intuition and ideology. And I think pretty much in that order.

Trump has already told us that the late Justice Antonin Scalia would serve as the model for his jurists.  A conservative Catholic, Scalia opposed a woman’s right to an abortion. And he is on record stating that the legal protections provided by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was a remedy for the long denial of the right of Afro-Americans to vote despite the fact that it is a fundamental right of citizenship, amounted to an unfair  “racial entitlement.”  He also voted with the majority in the Court in the Citizens United Case, which struck down the McCain – Feingold Bipartisan Finance Reform Act that limited the amounts of money which could be poured into elections by third parties to support a candidate.

This was a major victory for those intent upon destroying our representative participatory democracy, a system where presidential candidates are elected by the majority of citizens, and replacing it with a plutocracy, where elections are bought by the super-rich 1%.  The reason that laws regulating campaign financing in the first place was become big corporations were outright buying state legislatures and making politicians on all levels beholden to their largess.  It does not require a great political theorist to see that this practice is antithetical to the ideal of participatory democracy: government by the people.

Antonin Scalia: Racist Thug on the High Court

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May this odiferous polecat stink his way to hell!

Scalia also supported the right of Americans to own military assault weapons, although the historical justification for this 18th century Constitutional Amendment no longer exists.  At the time the US had no standing army to speak of and the danger of invasion from European powers was a real possibility.  Furthermore, since the right to bear arms was restricted to free men, who were mostly white, it was also a protection against revolts by African slaves and subjugated Native Americans whose land the European colonial settlers were stealing.

And of special importance to Afro-Americans Scalia was opposed to Affirmative Action remedies; he even resorted to questioning the intellectual capacity of black Americans in his opposition to Affirmative Action in college admissions…this despite the magnificent achievements of black professionals who entered college under Affirmative Action programs.  It has been a startling success; a gift that just keeps on giving!

Given the historical relationship between the advancement of black people in American civilization and decisions of the Supreme Court, a Republican majority dominated by Trump appointees poses a historic catastrophe for Afro-Americans. White Americans love to brag about their “constitutional rights,” but few people understand that the precise interpretation of those rights have varied widely over time, especially for Afro-Americans.  This is because the Constitution means whatever the majority of the Supreme Court Justices says it means at the time.  Two cases decided by the High Court are sufficient to provide compelling evidence for my claim: Plessy v Ferguson 1896, and Brown V the Board of Education 1954.

To fully appreciate the importance of these cases in the history of race relations in the US, a brief review of that review is essential.  In 1847 Roger B. Taney, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote this opinion in the Dread Scott Decision: “Black men have no rights that white men are bound to respect.”  This decision left Afro-American without any legal protection in the country of their birth, a country whose creation they had fought and died for during the war of independence from England just 71 years earlier.  This paradox was due to the strange fact that the white settlers had fought a war based on the idea that all persons had a right to “life. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” yet maintained African slavery.

This is the first time in the history of the world that a “revolution” was fought to maintain slavery as the brilliant historian, Dr. Gerald Horne,  has shown in his recent book “The Counter-Revolution of 1776.” This is the most compelling example of American Exceptionalism, albeit one that is completely ignored by those who talk the loudest on the subject.

In order to correct this legal atrocity after the nation fought a Civil War that ended slavery in the US, the radical Reconstruction Era Congress passed seven Civil Rights bills and added the 13th 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution and impeached President Johnson, who ascended to the presidency after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  President Andy Johnson appealed to the same demographic elements that our wannabe President Donald Trump appeals to. The most important of these Reconstruction Era laws in terms of defining the status of Afro-Americans in post-slavery America is the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equality in all spheres of American life.

However these rights were dramatically abridged by the opinion of the Supreme Court in the Plessy v Ferguson case of 1896, which legalized racial segregation and supplied the basis for the de jure racial caste system that established white supremacy in the US.  An extended discussion of the complexities of the Plessy decision is beyond the scope of this essay, so I will sum it up the essential point.  The Plessy v Ferguson Decision is popularly known in constitutional law as the  “Separate but Equal” decision, because the court ruled that facilities for blacks people could be maintained separately by law so long as they were equal to those for whites.

This was a disastrous legal fiction that led to a socio/political catastrophe for Afro-Americans because while the facilities and opportunities for blacks were separate they were never equal….throughout the south in particular facilities were often atrocious!  Yet the phonemon of systematic racial discrimination against black people in the USA was not by any means confined to the South.

The distinction in legal terns is that southern apartheid was required by law i.e. de jure segregation, and in the North it was de facto, more a matter of deeply engrained custom than a legal mandate cofified in the law.   I can provide first hand testimony on this system because I grew up under the American Apartheid system, spending winters in the South and summers in the North.

The differences in the laws represented a distinction without a difference to the victims of racism and white supremacy residing in the North or south. Recently MSNBC’s Dr. Rachel Maddow interviewed the rental agancy for Donald Trump’s apartment complexes in Brooklyn and Queens, who recounded how when he presnted Fred Trump with two applications from Afro-American professional women who had superior qualifications to many of the white tenants Fredie said: “You know I don’t rent to NIGGERS!!!  And tore the applications up.  He recalls a teenaged Donald at his father’s side in enthusiastic agreement with his daddy’s decision.  All that we black folk need to know is that “The Donald” says :”My daddy was the smartest man I knwo…I learned everything from him.”

Suffice it to say that the ideology which supplied the intellectual and philosophical underpinnings of the system of white supremacy in the US was adopted by Adolph Hitler and became the basis for his “Master Race” thesis – a thesis that donald Trump has enthusiastically embraced on video tape, where he can be seen declaring that his success in life is “due to my German blood.”  Hence this is no picayune matter; it is further evidence of the American Provenance of German Nazi ideology.  In fact we have it from an unimpeachable source, Adolph Hitler himself, who wrote a letter to the influential American racist Madison Grant – a native New Yorker like Donald – thanking him for publishing his 1917 book “The Passing of the Great Race,” in which he declares the blond Teutonic’s a master race.  “Your book is my Bible!” Hitler rejoiced!

Hence when the folks around Trump pine for the good old days and vow “to take our country back,” and “Make America Great Again” – a fascist slogan Herr Drumft borrowed from the Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini – we should be aware what they are talking about….their hopes and dreams.  Donald Trump has promised them that he will appoint Supreme Court justices that will turn back the clock.  Like the turn of the 20th century, the dawning of the 21st century has many “native” white Americans feeling vulnerable: both as a result of immigration and black progress.  In the 19th century African Americans witnessed the end of chattel slavery after waging a mighty struggle along with white allies that threw the country into a bloody and destructive Civil War. But the reconcilliation between whites in the north and south – the blue and the grey – let to a precipitous decline in the legal status of Afro-Americans in the US.

In the 20th century African Americans and their progressive white allies brought down “Segregation,” the evil and oppressive racial caste system in the American South born if the Plessy Decision – and most heavily practiced in the former slave holding states of the Confederacy. Now we have emerged in 21st Century America holding positions at the very top of American society.   This is true in the corporate world, the military and government. The ultimate symbol of black success is a black family in the White House!

There is an entire generation of white kids who have spent critical developmental years living under the leadership of a black president.  They have watched him lead at home and represent the nation on the world stage.  How they perceived this depends on who their parents are.  If their parents were highly educated and not mentally impaired by racist pathology then they saw Barack and Michelle Obama as the smartest, hippest, sharpest couple that has ever occupied the White House, a source of national pride from whom they can take inspiration.

But if their parents were “poorly educated” white racist who were enraged by the sight of “niggers” in the White House, then you grew up mad that this secret Kenyan born incompetent Arab terrorist managed to con his way into the Oval Office.  This would make them the perfect candidate for Donald Trump, whose incessant crusade against the President employed and popularized these very arguments!  Right after Obama’s victory Trump even said that Barack should not be “allowed to take office.” And conducted a five year crusade to discredit his presidency by denying that he was even an American…this second generation descendent of German immigrants!

It is no wonder that Trump supports laws that the federal Court says were “surgically” designed to prevent Afro-Americans from voting.  He fully understands their racist nature and appreciates how they can help him win.   However the ball is in the Court of black America and we can determine the outcome of this election: All we have to do is turn out for Hilary Clinton in the same numbers that we turned out for Barack in Ohio and Florida and it’s a done deal!

Those Afro-Americans who support Trump are damaged people, lost souls who have made a deal with the Devil, a classic Faustian Bargain where one barter’s one soul for worldly gains like money, prestige and power. – It’s an old story with no lack of poster boys: Judas Iscariot and Benedict Arnold immediately come to mind.  They are traitors to our ancestors and our children…they dishonor the past and betray the future!  For what, after all, what do Afro-Americans have to lose by a trump victory: Our Wealth; Our health; Our homes; Our Dignity; Our lives!  In short, everything that means anything to any self-respecting community. That’s what we have to lose!!!

Omohosa: Race Traitor Numero Uno!

trump-and-omorosa

Donnie couldn’t recruit a Navajo…So he Settled for a Nigga Ho!!!

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
November 7, Pre-election Night
2016

THE DONALD IS A PUNKASS CRY BABY!!!!!

Posted in On Donald Trump, On the 2016 Presidential Election, Playthell on politics with tags , on September 28, 2016 by playthell
donald-trump_0Herr Drumpf in a Manic Mood

AND MAYBE A COKE HEAD TOO!!!

There is no end to the myriad absurdities of the Trump Follies. Now Donnie Dimwit has the unmitigated gall to issue a statement expressing indignation at the speculation made by Dr. Howard Dean that he looked like a cocaine abuser during his debate with Hillary Clinton. Donnie’s campaign has issued an official statement accusing Dr. Dean of “crossing the line” of acceptable behavior. SAY WHAT???? If ever there was a clear case of the pot maligning the kettle: THIS IS IT!!!! Donald Trump has introduced a new level of rancorous discourse into presidential campaigning. He has not only “crossed” the line he has OBLITERATED IT!

Herr Drumft – our home grown fascist -is a typical bully; he can dish it out but he can’t take it. He is like the loud mouth bully who is quick to get in yo face sellin selling woff tickets but when you bitch slap him a little whiney cream puff steps out….like the character Terry Crews plays in that Ice Cube flick. Trump is not only a punk ass bully he could very well be a coke head too. Anybody who has ever been around people snorting lines of blow, or did some lines yourself knows they act just like Trump was behaving during the debate.

I speak as one who has investigated the effects of cocaine on the human brain both as a participant observer – a time honored anthropological methodology – and as an objective award winning reporter sifting through the scientific data on the issue of “recreational drug use” during the epidemic of cocaine abuse in New york during the 1990’s. See: This Bud’s For You” athttps://commentariesonthetimes.me/…/10/23/this-buds-for-you/

Hence from the point of view of a well-informed observer on the subject I think that Dr. Dean was right on the money in his description of Trump’s behavior and identifying it as the typical behavior of coke heads! He talks about the obvious sniffling, which in the absence of a serious cold is a dead giveaway for a “dirty nose.” But the behavioral traits pointed out by the Doctor are equally as telling: Delusions of grandeur, bombast and hubris. Donnie looked and acted just like some of the cokeheads I knew back in the day when I used to hang out with that crowd.

Furthermore, Trump fits the profile of one of the main categories of cocaine abusers: The go go business crowd! Blow was the drug of choice among the Wall Street gang, for a while even displacing alcohol, and it fueled the drive and ambitions of entrepreneurs with grandiose visions during the years when “The Donald” was becoming a big man among the affluent Manhattan swinging set.

He was a regular at Studio 54 during the 1970’s – back when Michael Jackson was black – a wild spot that was so popular with A-List celebrities that in order to enter mere commoners had to be chosen from the thongs of star gazers on the sidewalk clamoring to get in; a place where cocaine was consumed by the pound in bathroom stalls! And he loves models, MANY OF WHOM USED COKE TO KEEP THEIR WEIGHT DOWN AND TO GET UP FOR SHOOTS AFTER PARTYING ALL NIGHT!!!! So “The Donald” was immersed in a milieu in which snorting coke was common fare!

Scenes from Studio 54 back in the day

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studio-54-sara_deckard_lindyhop

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studio-54-iii

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studio-54-wody-and-michael
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dolly-parton-with-a-white-stallion

It was a cocaine Fueled Bachanaal!

Donnie Dimwit loves to brag about how he has never had a drink of an alcoholic beverage, and that he does not smoke. But in my experience, that’s just the type of personality that is likely to try cocaine especially if they want to be hip and is around people who are snorting lines. Back in the day cocaine was so expensive that it was mostly consumed by four categories of abusers: Gangsters and Players, Entertainers, rich freaks, and amped up businessmen who don’t know how to relax.

In a television report done on Trump’s lifestyle Ivana, his wife at the time, said “The Donald” never relaxes. In fact, they got a shot of him sitting by the pool in a suit and tie! That’s why he be up Tweeting dumb shit late at night that his surrogates must try to explain away the next day. Donnie Dimwit is a hot mess, a man driven by blind ambition and avarice, who also suffers from the maladies of megalomania and compulsive lying.

It is not at all difficult to believe that such a man – who according to his ghost writer for “The Art of the Deal” has an inferiority complex that makes him seek public adoration – has got a dirty nose. Hence “The Donald” doesn’t just look like a cocaine abuser to Dr. Dean….he looks like a coke head to me too, and I’ve known a few! We should DEMAND that his ass get DRUG TESTED!!!!

 

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
September 28, 2016

Hillary Speaks to the Vets

Posted in Playthell on politics, The 2016 Presidential Race with tags , , on September 2, 2016 by playthell
Hillary Clinton at American LegionCiting her long involvement with military matters as her qualification for CIC

 Making a Pitch for the Military Vote

 Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop at an American Legion convention in Ohio on Wednesday, a pivotal state in the coming presidential elections.  Although she faced an audience that was staunchly Republican and neither warm nor welcoming – blase skepticism and frosty reserve would more faithfully characterize their demeanor – she nevertheless took to the podium and commanded their grudging respect with a combination of passionate patriotism – recounting tales of military heroism told by her ex-soldier dad – and unimpeachable knowledge regarding the anatomy of war, peace and diplomacy.  Even the Five Blind Boys could clearly see that Hillary’s credentials for the gig are heads and shoulders above anything that blustering real estate huckster from Queens can muster.

The quality of the Democratic candidate’s speech depends upon the criteria one employs to evaluate it.  As a political oration designed to win votes it was perfect for her audience and thus must be judged a rousing success…that is to say it went as well as possible.  She touched all of the right bases she needed to touch to hit a home run.  Yet as a statement of political reality and astute realpolitique – which is to say a proper assessment of the relationship of political forces in the world and where our real interests lay – Hillary’s stance on foreign relations left much to be desired.  Since I have made this case elsewhere, re-litigating it here would be akin to reinventing the wheel.  Hence I shall refer the reader who cares to fathom the issue to: “The World According to Hillary” at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2016/04/03/the-world-according-to-hillary/.

As I argue in the essay cited above, in order to fully comprehend Hilary’s view of the world, and the role of American power in the international order, one must first take into account the fact that her basic views were molded in the heat of the Cold War era.  It is a measure of how bad Trump is that even when he is clearly right he can be dismissed out of hand.  Given that the game of politics is a system by which relationships of power are created and maintained alas, and considering the monumental issues that will be decided by this election that demand Democratic leadership, I hesitate to speak frankly of the folly of certain of Hillary’s bedrock views regarding foreign policy…even when they offend my sense of reality.

These are no picayune issues of which I speak; they are at the very root of why the US remains in a state of perpetual war at a great price in blood and treasure!  For instance, Hillary gained big brownie points with the Vets as she vociferously attacked Trump for suggesting that the concept of “American Exceptionalism” was “an insult to other nations” and that it is unreasonable to expect them to accept our vision of the world.

The specific example she used to highlight Trump’s foreign policy blasphemy was his comment that “If you are in Russia you might not view America as Exceptional.”  Hillary acted as if Trump had voiced some unspeakable heresy that alone disqualified him for the US Presidency.  She looked into the cameras and said with all of the indignation she could muster: “Just because Putin does not recognize it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”  That kind self-righteous messianic view is a dangerous way to understand the role of the US in the community of nations.  The late Senator J. William Fulbright from Arkansas published a book about this attitude in 1966, titled “The Arrogance of Power.”

Fulbright, who was the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, presented an argument that Hillary Clinton needs to consider just now. For although a half century has passed, Senator Fulbright’s argument is as relevant now as it was then.  At the time the US was in a protracted war in Viet Nam, fighting to “contain the communist menace,” a threat that has now been replaced with the “Radical Islamist menace,” which we are now called upon to save the world.  Senator Fulbright, a thoughtful man who was a Rhodes Scholar, offered the following observation:

The attitude above all others which I feel sure is no longer valid is the arrogance of power, the tendency of great nations to equate power with virtue and major responsibilities with a universal mission. The dilemmas involved are preeminently American dilemmas, not because America has weaknesses that others do not have but because America is powerful as no nation has ever been before and the discrepancy between its power and the power of others appears to be increasing….”

Senator Fulbright went on to analyze how the arrogance of American power shaped our mission in Vietnam:

We are now engaged in a war to “defend freedom” in South Vietnam. Unlike the Republic of Korea, South Vietnam has an army which [is] without notable success and a weak, dictatorial government which does not command the loyalty of the South Vietnamese people. The official war aims of the United States Government, as I understand them, are to defeat what is regarded as North Vietnamese aggression, to demonstrate the futility of what the communists call “wars of national liberation,” and to create conditions under which the South Vietnamese people will be able freely to determine their own future. I have not the slightest doubt of the sincerity of the President and the Vice President and the Secretaries of State and Defense in propounding these aims.

What I do doubt and doubt very much is the ability of the United States to achieve these aims by the means being used. I do not question the power of our weapons and the efficiency of our logistics; I cannot say these things delight me as they seem to delight some of our officials, but they are certainly impressive. What I do question is the ability of the United States, or France or any other Western nation, to go into a small, alien, undeveloped Asian nation and create stability where there is chaos, the will to fight where there is defeatism, democracy where there is no tradition of it and honest government where corruption is almost a way of life. Our handicap is well expressed in the pungent Chinese proverb: “In shallow waters dragons become the sport of shrimps.”

Since she is likely to become the next President of the USA, and Commander-In-Chief of the most destructive military force ever assembled on this planet, I can think of several aphorisms that would serve as wise council to Hillary Clinton. As one who voted for her in the primaries, and is working to convince others to cast their votes for her in the general election, I feel at liberty to suggest the following.  Since the doctrine of American Exceptionalism is the moral equivilent of the Arrogance of Power, “A hint to the wise should be sufficient.”  I would buttress that sentiment with the philosopher George Santayana’s warning: “Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes!”

Old Soldiers Paying close Attention

Hillary at American Legion

Click on link to view Hillary’s Speech

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See Report on Hillary voicing the view that Putin is comparble to Hitler
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/opinion/stanley-hillary-clinton-hitler/?iref=obinsite
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
September 2, 2016

Donald Trump’s Economic Plan: SOS!

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags on August 13, 2016 by playthell

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers an economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Charlatan at Work

Trump’s Message is same old Republican Shit

It is both accurate and charitable to say that Donald Trump’s new economic plan presented before the Detroit Economic Club last Monday is just old Republican wine in a new bottle.  He may try to change the label and brand himself a bold innovator – which is not the only illusion he confuses with reality – but it really is the same old Republican babble.   As has been noted by more than a few political wise guys, except for his anti-free trade protectionist rhetoric – which is heresy to the Republican establishment – Trump’s speech could have been given by any run-of-the-mill Republican politico!  This is because it was a script written by professional party propagandist and delivered by Trump.

The major distinction of Trump’s speech – aside from repudiating much of the dream that he has been selling the impassioned but woefully untutored mob that form the foundation of his support – is his tendency to tell blatant lies that can be easily disproved by a simple fact check, even when speaking in venues where the press is omnipresent. Although the Republican Party has thrived on lies and mass disinformation over the last 20 years, “The Donald” has taken it to new heights.  And since this arrogant churl constantly bullies the press, they will be sure to point it out every time he tells a whopper.

In the present speech fact checkers have pointed out at least 16 outright lies involving a range of issues such as Clinton’s tax proposals and her husband’s role in passing NAFTA, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.  PolitiFact, one of the more reliable sources, gave Trump a “Pants on Fire” rating – their most severe rating for liars – about his claim that Clinton promised to raise taxes on the middle class in a public statement.

A fact check quickly proved that she said the exact the opposite.   But this is characteristic of the veracity of Trump’s comments about Clinton’s tax policy – virtually everything the rascal said has been shown to be a lie by the fact checkers in the Washington Post. Then there is Trump’s constant wail about the evils of NAFTA and how the Clinton’s imposed this treaty on the nation, destroying the American industrial sector. He even claims that act accounts for the jobless rate among the working class whites who once flourished during the period of industrial prosperity when America was a manufacturing giant and huge factories littered the landscape.

However the truth is that Hillary had nothing to do with that, and while her husband introduced the Bill and shepherded it through Congress, it was George H. W. Bush that actually negotiated the agreement. Hence passing NAFTA was a bi-partisan effort.  Furthermore, when the Agreement came up for a vote in Congress the Republicans voted for it in greater numbers than the Democrats!  The leaders of the Democratic majority in the House – Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, and Majority Whip David Bonner – both opposed it!

When the vote was taken NAFTA passed by 34 votes 235 to 200, with 132 Republicans voting for it, as opposed to only 102 Democrats. It passed the Senate 61-38, 34 Republicans vs 27 Democrats.   NAFTA became law on January 1, 1994.  However to listen to Trump talk it was the evil Bill and Hillary Clinton that imposed this monstrous agreement on the US and it is responsible for the present employment crisis in the white working class.  This, like all of Trump’s arguments, is a shameless lie born of ignorance, nurtured on malice and presented with duplicity.

Reduced to its simplest terms Trump’s economic policy is based on the traditional pillars of Republican economic dogma: Sharply reduce corporate taxes, abolish the inheritance tax, and cut back government regulation of business. Since there is nothing in these policies that directly benefit the beleaguered workers who seek their salvation in Trump, as an afterthought he threw in a tax deduction for child care expenses which he claims was the brain child of his daughter Ivana, whom he claims is concerned about the plight of working mothers because she is one herself.

But since few poor working mothers file itemized tax returns this measure will be of no benefit to them alas. Ironically this deduction will benefit wealthy people like Ivana because there is no limit on the costs covered by this deduction. Trump’s economic plan is a rehash of the “Laffer Curve,” or “Supply Side Economics,” which postulates the hokum that if we give more money to the rich i.e. the “job creators,” they will in turn invest in the US economy and create more employment opportunities which will greatly reduce the unemployment rate.

However most jobs in the US today are created by small business, and when I interviewed business owners in New York, Atlanta and LA they all told me the same thing: Tax breaks alone will not prompt them to hire more workers.  That is determined by market conditions i.e. a demand for their goods or services.  Absent that demand they will simply save the tax cut or invest it elsewhere.

This type of  decision is adopted even more so  regarding the big multi-national corporations which are owned by investors all over the world and have no loyalty to nation states. Hence the decisions made by the executives, and corporate Boards of Directors that oversee their activities, are guided by the desire to constantly increase profits, not provide employment for unemployed American factory workers.  To suggest otherwise is a cold blooded deception and nobody knows this better than Donald Trump, who manufactures all of his products in foreign sweatshops lcated in places like China and Vietnam.

It is a transparent con by a megalomaniacal bunko artist and pathological liar who believes he can tell his fanatical blue collar supporters anything and they will believe it. In a moment of extreme hubris he declared: “I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it!”   The truth is that Trump does not have a clue how to solve the problem of growing joblessness.  The guy is an amoral showman who will say whatever will get his act a laugh.  He even treats his wife like a prop.

The Donald and our Future First Lady?

DONALD TRUMP AND OUR FUTURE FIRST LADY

The Donald Trump show….Playing to the Cheap Seats

He has promised to bring the giant manufacturing companies back to the US if elected President, but he fails to explain how he will make autonomous corporations in a privately owned economy do his bidding. The US government does not have the power to tell businessmen where they must locate their plants.

Trump tells us that he can make these corporations do his bidding by slapping exorbitant tariffs on their goods when they try to sell them in the US market. But that will result in a dramatic rise in prices for these goods, which are in great demand by American consumers, unless he also institutes price controls.  He has also promised to “renegotiate” trade agreements like NAFTA.

Although he often talks like he thinks he is running for Benevolent Dictator rather than President, the fact is that no American president has the power to do such things.  In order to carry out these policies “The Donald” will have to gain the approval of Congress and since the Republican Party is committed to “free trade” theology his chances of pulling it off are about equal to a snowball’s chances of survival in hell.

Yet even if Trump could lure these corporations back to the US with extravagant tax holidays, the plants they build will be robotized.  This fact brings us face to face with the real problem confronting the working class; what the great British economist John Maynard Keynes, the architect of the “New Deal” that did much to halt the economic collapse of the 1930’s, called “technological unemployment” and the US autoworker /economic analyst James Boggs called “the cybernation of the economy” in his 1960 book “The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Worker’s Notebook.

Ironically, Boggs was a resident of Detroit when he penned this text, and Detroit was one of the world’s leading industrial centers.  Viewed from historical perspective both of these writers have proven to be prescient thinkers because there predictions have come to pass. The workers rendered obsolete by the advance of technology have vastly increased just as Keynes warned, and Detroit has turned into an economic wasteland as industrial work disappeared.

It is worth noting however, that neither Keyes nor Boggs foresaw the creation of the internet, which has been the midwife to the expanding phenomenon of globalization that has exported those manufacturing jobs that still exist  to the underdeveloped countries where workers are so desperately poor they will work for a fraction of what unionized workers demand in the advanced economies of the US and Europe.

All of these factors help to explain why the US economy emerged from the devastating Bush Depression yet left seven million workers who were employed before the crash unemployed.  Far too many politicians and policy wonks treated the economic collapse under Bush as if it were the same class of event as the Great Depression of the 30’s. But the persistence of unacceptably high unemployment after the “recovery” is caused by different forces.

The present crisis of the working class is not due to the traditional “boom and bust” of the business cycle, but to permanent changes in the structure of the US economy.  While our government planners refuse to look this problem squarely in the face and respond to what they see, there are other thoughtful analyst who are pointing to the real problem in books like “The Rise of the Robots” and “People Get Ready,”

In a review/essay on the book for the New York Times, Barbara Ehrenreich, who has written so perceptively about the problems of finding employment at a living wage in the contemporary American economy, noted that the disappearance of work has not been given the attention it deserves because the educated classes considered it a problem that only affected unskilled workers.  Then she issues a note of caution.

But, as Martin Ford documents in “Rise of the Robots,” the job-eating maw of technology now threatens even the nimblest and most expensively educated. Lawyers, radiologists and software designers, among others, have seen their work evaporate to India or China. Tasks that would seem to require a distinctively human capacity for nuance are increasingly assigned to algorithms, like the ones currently being introduced to grade essays on college exams. Particularly terrifying to me, computer programs can now write clear, publishable articles, and, as Ford reports, Wired magazine quotes an expert’s prediction that within about a decade 90 percent of news articles will be computer-­generated.  It’s impossible to read “Rise of the Robots” — for review anyway — without thinking about how the business of book reviewing could itself be automated and possibly improved by computers.”

This is the reality that political leaders must address because the nature of the solution required cannot be left up to the investor class. It is not in their interest to solve this problem; they are only interested in maximizing their profits.  We know from in depth sociological studies of the dire consequence of widespread and prolonged joblessness such as “When Work Disappears,” by Harvard sociologist William J. Wilson, the absence of honest work at a living wage for large numbers of any community affects everything.  Homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse; crime and incarceration rates; suicide and marriage rates, and the number of out of wedlock births, are all affected by widespread structural unemployment.

This is what’s driving the alarming rates of all these pathologies among the white working class, which has the fastest rising death rate of any demographic in American society.  The high incidence of opiate and alcohol addiction is a sure sign of extreme stress among them.  Interestingly, black men have been suffering from these maladies for decades but most Americans – especially working a lower middle class whites – never connected this to the stresses resulting from the absence of employment opportunities.

It is no small irony that many of those who benefitted from the institutional  racism that kept black men – and women of all races – out of the good jobs in manufacturing and the trades are these same white male workers.  Having been born into a society where just being a straight white male gave them a built in advantage, they cannot cope with a transformed social order.  In today’s economy employment discrimination based on race and gender is a crime, and the educational demands of the economy take precedence over race or gender.

Hence unskilled white industrial workers are gradually discovering what non-white workers have been experiencing for a while: they are an anachronism…..DonTrump othe odd man out.  They are lost souls, insecure in the present and pessimistic about the future.  And that makes them easy pickings for a fast talking charlatan from queens, who honed his salesman skills as a real estate huckster in Manhattan and a TV reality show host.

What can be fairly predicted from the facts at hand alas, is that The Donald has sold them a dream that would quickly become a nightmare if he were elected President.  His plan for a massive tax giveaway to the rich; tacking tariffs on imported goods; loosening regulation of the business and financial sector; scrapping the Affordable Health Care Act, while introducing a large scale American military force back into the Middle East quagmire, is essentially the same formula that brought on the bad old days of the Bush collapse!

Hence we can safely predict that the angry white mob that revere Trump will find no salvation in his economic plans for America.   It’s the same old shit!

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
August 2016