A Priest of Ifa has Joined the Ancestors!

Posted in On the Passing of Stan Kinard with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2019 by playthell

Baba Olabase aka Stan Kinard with Son Alade at Sista’s Place

A Mighty Tree Has Fallen In Brooklyn
Let Every Head Bow…and Every Tongue Sing Praises

Baba Olabase has Danced Yet His Spirit Dwells

Stan was the man to go to if you needed a hand up the ladder to grasp your dreams, for he was a dream weaver, a vendor of miracles, who helped seekers to identify their dreams and then live them. I know this by virtue of the many outstanding Afro-Americans who have publicly testified to it with heart rending, soul stirring, stories. In a public Tribute to his good works held at Sista’s place last summer, I witnessed a galaxy of stars turn out and testify to the critical role “Mr. Kinard” played in their becoming who they are: Preachers, teachers, politicians, musicians, businessmen, artists and even ex-thugs who used to terrify the community. Indeed, Baba’s life was a benefaction and his wisdom a REVELATION.

The good he has done will live on…but, alas, the enumeration Stan’s good works requires a space far beyond the limits of this remembrance. For he was my student and I have observed his development and good works for 51 years! From my earliest encounters with Stan I knew he had exceptional leadership qualities and vision; he was unusually confident and self-directed for a teenager. I figured he would go far in life, and that confidence proved justified as he went on to exceed everything I had hoped for our graduates.

When we set up the WEB DuBois Department of Black Studies at the University of Massachusetts, at Amherst our objectives exceeded the normal aspirations of academic departments. While other departments were quite content to produce students who were equipped to pursue their individual goals to get ahead and contribute to the advancement of society as a by-product of their efforts, our goal was to produce students whose main objective was the uplift of their people, who had been long oppressed by a racial caste system that amounted to a monstrous crime against humanity centuries old.

Hence we wanted them to go back to the communities from whence they came and apply the skills they had acquired at the great white university to the task of community development. For us, this was the true measure of success. It was, by the standard measure of academic achievement, an extraordinary expectation. Several of our students would fulfill our aspirations for them, but none more so than Stan Kinard, who was one of the tallest trees in the forest we cultivated. He was living proof that the experiment we began in the fall of 1969 had the right stuff to produce the kind of result we envisioned.

Our objectives were shaped by the philosophy that guided the development of the DuBois Department. Unlike the other departments in the university, whose courses were designed by traditional academics, our project and course offerings were designed by movement intellectuals in collaboration with the traditional academics. The former shaped the philosophy and objectives, and the latter organized them to meet traditional university standards. In order to achieve our paramount objective, which was to produce an intellectual vanguard that would reshape the racist humanities curriculum that supplied the intellectual underpinnings for the system of white supremacy; a racial caste system which limited the life’s chances of Afro-Americans. And then organize the Afro-American community to achieve political power and economic parity; to realize the slogan “Black Power.”

Hence in our view the founding of the DuBois Department was an extension of the black liberation movement into the academy; this determined the courses we offered and the professors chosen to teach them. For instance, the first three professors hired by the department was Ivanhoe Donaldson, Cherif Guellal and this writer. Ivanhoe was a political scientist who had played a major role in SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the organization most responsible for building black political power in the South by organizing Afro-Americans to vote, particularly after the passage of the Voting rights Act of 1965. He had lectured on political movements all over the US and Africa. But as an activist deeply interested in radical progressive change as a vehicle for black liberation, Ivanhoe was not content to just talk about politics in the classroom, he took a group of his students down to Atlanta, and successfully ran Andrew Young’s successful campaign for the US Congress.

Cherif Guellal, a colleague of Ivanhoe’s at the Center for Policy Studies in Washington DC, was an Algerian who had served on the central committee of the National Liberation Front, NFL, which successfully waged a bloody seven year revolutionary war against the French colonialists, costing the Algerian people a million and a half lives! Among Cherif’s duties was to serve as aide de camp to Dr. Franz Fanon, the brilliant black psychiatrist from the French Caribbean colony of Martinique who became the principal theorist of the Algerian Revolution.

Through his books such as The Wretched of the Earth – his magnum Opus – Studies in a Dying Colonialism, and “Toward the African Revolution, we were provided a first hand analysis of the dynamics of a revolution in progress. And the activists seeking radical change around the world were inspired. Cherif, who came to the US as the Ambassador to the Kennedy administration from the revolutionary government of Algeria, taught courses on the life and writings of Dr. Fanon, and the process of organizing a revolutionary movement.

I came to the department having spent the last decade as a movement activist, which began at the birth of the black student sit-ins in the spring of 1960, when I was a freshman at Florida A&M, and I evolved into a revolutionary; co-founding the Revolutionary Action Movement with Max Stanford aka Dr. Muhammad Ahmed, in Philadelphia, two years later in 1962. In that same year I came on the airways billed as a “Radio Historian” on WDAS, a commercial radio station broadcasting to the black communities in three states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

A serious autodidact who camped out in the famous Schomburg Collection,* The great Philadelphia Public Library, the Van Pelt Library, at the University of Pennsylvania, and two book stores that specialized in books on the history of the black world and revolution: Hakim’s Book Mart and the New World Book Fair, both owned by black men devoted to liberating and uplifting the race, I delved into the archives of ancient prudence and interrogated the texts deposited there.

The book fair was located on the edge of the University of Pennsylvania and I began to meet U Penn history professors, one of whom Dr. Ted Hershberg had heard my weekly lectures on the radio – which were three hour sessions consisting of an hour lecture and two hours of open phone discussions where the listeners could ask questions or offer their own insights derived from their research on the subject – invited me to attend departmental discussions on the ongoing researches of his colleagues.

Although I had been under the tutelage of Dr. Lawrence D. Reddick, a conventionally trained Afro-American historian. these sessions at Penn provided me a front row seat to witness the development of a new method of writing history: quantitative and social science history as it was being created by scholars like Dr. Hirshberg and Dr. Lee Benson. It was a priceless graduate education that equipped me with knowledge on the cutting edge of the historical profession, which would serve me well when I would later be challenged by professors in the U-Mass history department, who were intent upon proving Black Studies was a fraud!

Between the U-Penn Professors, and other scholars I would meet after I was hired by the Reverend Doctor Leon Sullivan, an activist Baptist preacher, who first hired me to teach a black history course in the basement of his church the venerable Mt. Zion, when I was 21, after listening to me on the radio, then commissioned me to develop a “Minority History” course for the Opportunities Industrialization Centers, a skills training program that began in an abandoned jailhouse in North Philly but spread to 120 cities and five African countries after it was mass.

I not only taught African and Afro-American/Caribbean history at the “proto-type” program in Philadelphia, but was soon in demand for lectures at other OIC programs around the nation. This led to invitations to conduct seminars for public school teachers and eventually university lectures, which increasingly centered around rationales for inclusion of Black Studies in their academic programs. As I traveled around the country I was also developing underground cells for the Revolutionary Action Movement. Among the radical organizations spawned by RAM was the Black Panther Party of Oakland, when we recruited two students at Merritt Junior College in Oakland: Bobby Seales and Huey P. Newton. I became so busy that I severed ties with OIC and became an Independent Public Intellectual.

After the armed revolutionary movement was devastated by the FBI Co-In-Tel-Pro offensive, and the disillusionment I felt with the Chinese Cultural Revolution, I was undecided about my next move. The revolutionary writings of Mao Tse Tung was our bible, and I had begun to suspect that he might be wrong alas. It was during this period of uncertainty that I met Professor Mike Thelwell at a conference on how to develop Black Studies in elite white private schools; to which Afro-American students were being recruited by the ABC – A Better Chance – program.

The objective of ABC was to identify talented black youngsters in black communities and pay for them to attend the nation’s elite private prep schools, then funnel them into Ivy League universities, after which they would take their rightful place among the American elite. The Result was a mixture of triumph and tragedy. For instance they plucked Duval Patrick from the inner city of Chicago, who graduated from Harvard Law and went on to become the first black Governor of Massachusetts. But ABC also produced Jake Lamar, whom they recruited from the “Boogey Down” South Bronx, which produced Hip Hop. However Lamar’s experience in elite white institutions was different, he graduated from Harvard and wrote a book “Bourgeois Blues” detailing the horrors of his experience, and went into exile in Paris, the way black writers had done earlier in the 20th century. He has seldom been heard from since.

Professor Mike Thelwell- a radical Jamaican immigrant intellectual who had attended Howard University in Washington DC, a campus that boasted a gaggle of outstanding black scholars – was an adviser to the ABC program. And he had insisted that the black community didn’t need any “imitation white folks runnin round tha place confusin the people” as he colorfully put in his Jamaican idiom, a language he often resorted to when dismissing what he regarded as “damned foolishness and fuckrie!”

So, Thelwell argued, if they were going to recruit black students with the aim of advancing our community then they must include courses in Black Studies. We were the key note speakers at the opening session of the conference, which was held at Suffield Academy, an upper class prep school that boasted such graduates as Jackie Kennedy. Thelwell spoke on literature and I spoke on history. Our admiration was mutual, and as he was tasked with finding faculty to develop the new department they were planning, he explained that they wanted to name what would be the first full fledged Black Studies Department, after our greatest scholar/activist, Dr. William Edward Burghardt DuBois, whom he had deduced was my intellectual hero by the number of times I had cited and quoted him in my lecture.

Mike was well qualified to lead this struggle, having been a founder of SNCC, and a top flight organizer who helped build the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and then ran the challenge from SNCC’s Washington office that nearly unseated the regular all white Mississippi delegation to the 1964 Democratic convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Mike insisted that we should be about the business of building a full fledged department and not settle for a mere patchwork program, in which several professors offered elective courses on black subjects but could neither hire faculty, nor grant degrees. I thought it a great idea, since I had seen these hastily constructed “Black Studies Programs” in my travels around the country. Once we agreed on the objective, he offered me a job. That is how I came to Amherst, and Stan Kinard was the student representative on the committee that interrogated and hired me.*

As the DuBois Department grew, we added more scholars who held traditional credentials; especially the PhD. However the Department added yet another innovation by appointing a contingent of radical black artists to the faculty such as the painter Nelson Stevens, the Sculptor Ed Love, Playwright and Director Paul Carter Harrison. We were also the first to give professorships to Jazz musicians when saxophonist/composer Archie Shepp, and the seminal modern percussionist Max Roach, pater-familias to the most influential school of Jazz drummers in the post-bop era.

After the take over of a campus building, renaming it New Africa House, and establishing a Black Cultural Center, other talented black people were attracted to the campus including a Karate Master and the brilliant iconoclastic poet Amus Moore, an important figure from the Black Arts Movement in Chicago. Eventually James Baldwin and Chinua Achebe – two of the 20th centuries greatest novelist of the Black World in Africa and America – joined the faculty. Thus Amherst become home to one of the most fascinating and influential Pan-African congregation of artist and intellectuals ever assembled anywhere.

Stan Kinard played a major role in all of these developments, and he took full advantage of all that they had to offer. This is where he developed his knowledge of Jazz and the other arts, as well as his historical erudition and political acumen. One of the most moving tributes payed to Stan came from his classmate, political comrade, business partner and life long friend, Leon “Kwaku” Saunders. He opined with a palpable passion and pain:

Stan Kinard was a great man and he was my friend. Unlike family, which you are born into, friendship is a choice. And it was a choice that Stan Kinard and I made over 50 years ago and one which we honored until the end of his life….We might have met on the basketball court where Stan brought a defensive intensity the likes of which I’d never seen before nor since…Stan was a sophomore and as one of the few black students on campus he, Cheryl Evans and others made themselves available to help the new class adjust to life at a major white university. We were less than 150 students on a campus of over 18,000. It was 1968, when the civil rights movement and the anti Vietnam war movement was in full bloom. And we as black college students sought to do our part in changing the socio-political landscape of the country. We wanted to make a difference, and we did!

Stan was a pragmatist and a political animal who understood “the art of the possible” as the black student body took a stronghold and changed the face of the University of Massachusetts forever. We took over a dorm and renamed it New Afrika House, We helped to create the W.E.B. Dubois Black History Department which brought together perhaps the greatest group of black intellectuals and cultural icons anywhere in the nation, we brought soul food on campus, and took over 35% of radio programming on the campus station, we helped to influence policy to increase the black student population by more than ten fold, we helped to create an environment where Randolph Bromery became the first black Chancellor of a major university. We were a force and Stan Kinard was a quiet leader. And he was my friend!”

 In the course of organizing students to exercise their power, and negotiating with the university administration, Stan gained the skills that he would later apply to his work organizing previously powerless people to seize control of education and politics in their Brooklyn communities. Barack Obama took a similar path to the White House.

I have gone to such length in describing the intellectual environment that nurtured Stan’s development because in the voluminous tributes paid to him by a succession of impressive speakers at his “going home ceremony,” they often spoke as if this inspirational teacher/organizer came into the world full blown like the Goddess Athena from the forehead of Zeus. But Stan, like the many people whom he inspired and taught, was also the product of an educational process. And it is critical for those who must now carry on his work to understand that he was no historical accident.

There is no mystery about how he became the visionary leader and dedicated public servant that he was. It is essential to understand that revolutionaries are made not born. This understanding will make it possible to carry on Stan’s work; to keep his legacy alive as several speakers called for. Removing the mystique around him will make that task lighter. To be sure, Stan possessed some of the virtues that would lead to greatness when we first met him: Good character, natural intelligence, abundant courage and an insatiable curiosity about about the origins, history and contributions of African peoples. So we had good stock to work with, after all, it remains true that one cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear no matter how hard you try.

As I watched and listened to the torrent of tributes to a purposeful life well lived, my mind hastened back to the bedside of Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael, one of the most indefatigable Pan African warriors of the 20th century, as he lay dying from cancer. It was the night before he was to fly back to his beloved Africa, to revolutionary Guinea, from whence he would dance and meet the Ancestors.

As the room buzzed with activity from the many comrades who had come to bid him farewell -which included a contingent of five beautiful black lady doctors monitoring his every heart beat, and seeing what more they could do to make him comfortable, while the brothers offered libations of Wisdom Weed and wine- he still answered the phone with the stalwart greeting: Ready for Revolution!” He looked around the room and said “If you dedicate your life to serving the people…they will stand by your side til the end.”

That’s the same thing I witnessed both at Stan’s bedside and at the farewell ceremony, as a seemingly endless procession of people whose lives he had enriched, came forth and testified with the passion of holy rollers bearing witness to what the lord had done for them. They spoke most often about his stewardship of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Cultural Literacy Program, which he had created. When Stan was devising his plan, he spoke to me about it, after all, I was the first teacher to introduce him to the history of the Black World, in Africa and the Black Atlantic diaspora.

He seemed to know that this would be his great contribution, passing on the things he had learned in Amherst in word and deed. In Amherst we had chosed the name of Dr. DuBois to adorn our edifice to black enlightenment because Dubois was the true Father of Black Studies due to his multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the Black world. And he chose Dr. Woodson as the patron saint of his High school program program centered at Boys and Girls High because Woodson had been inspired to create the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History due to his belief that black people were in danger of destruction just like the American Indian, the Australian Aborigines, the native Tasmanians, etc because of our distorted representation in the history texts written by white racist “scholars.”

Woodson was an amazing man who had worked the coal mines in West Virginia and did not begin high school until he was 21, yet earned a Harvard PhD in history, well understood that the objective of white historians was not to set the record straight on human achievement, but to construct an intellectual foundation for the claims of white supremacy, and offer up apololgia for white genocide against peoples of color. Looking about him Stan also recognized that our youth were in danger of destruction, self-destruction from ignorance, self-hatred, and negative nihilistic role models. The life enhancing vision of the Carter G. Woodson Cultural Literacy Program, constructed upon the remarkable life and work of Dr. Woodson, was Stan’s antidote to this decadent cultural poison. The heartfelt testimony of those who were fortunate enough to study in the program offers irrefutable evidence that Stan’s vision was prescient.

Knowing him these five decades has been a highlight of my life. When I visited Stan at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center the night before he danced, I could see his life in this realm slipping away; Yet while his body was ravaged by cancer his spirit was undaunted.

As he lay there barely able to move or speak, he bade me to come to his bedside, struggling to hold back tears I whispered into his ear “Old soldiers never die, your many victories will live on in the lives you enhanced and the institutions you have built. Among them the first free standing, degree granting, Black Studies Department in the world!” Hence everybody presently holding a university professorship in Black Studies owes a debt of gratitude to Stan Kinard, and the fact that they may not know it is besides the point, ignorance of the facts cannot negate the truth!

With a sly smile Stan asked: “What was the date of the first Pan-African Conference, where was it held, and who organized it?” I thought it a curious question at the time, but I readily answered it. He smiled again and bade me put my ear closer to his mouth, and he whispered “You the only one who got it right.”

Then his sister told me he had asked everybody who came to visit that question. Hence we parted as we had met: With Stan raising questions about the Black Liberation struggle. He was a Pan-African soldier to the end. So I say of him what Shakespeare said of his noble warrior Moor Othello: “The elements so blended in him…all the world could see…here was a man!”

Now Stan has danced, and if the Ifa Oracle proves true, Baba has journeyed to that mysterious realm where Oludamare, the Orishas and the Ancestors will welcome him into paradise; claiming him as one of their own. Fot there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain: When the Saints come marching in Stan Kinard, Baba Olabese will be in their number.


The going Home ceremony for Baba Olabese was not the traditional Christian funeral, even tho the final rites  were conducted in the beautiful sanctuary of Bethany Baptist Church.  It was, in fact, an Afro-American enactment of the ancient Yoruba Ancestor Veneration Ritual, where those who knew and loved him, and those whom he had touched with his generous spirit and good grace, sang praises unto his name.  Those who promenaded from Stan’s beloved Boys and Girls High, and later rose to offer glorious panegyrics to his memory and sang of his myriad deeds, hailed from every sector of society.  It was a farewell worthy of a heroic servant of the people and a high priest of Ifa.  Here are some images from that halcyon moment in time.  And they will last forever…ACHE!!!

The Procession

Baba’s Children Lead the Walk on Streets where his Spirit Dwells


The Strode to the Church to Pay Homage


As The Procession Entered the Church

Stan’s Sister Led the Way, Followed by his Wife and Children


The Veneration

Beating the Sacred Batas for Baba


The Ceremony was Ecumenical

Christians Of the Cloth
Shared the Pulpit

With Pagan Priests of Ifa


Baba’s Children: Sukeena and Aladay

Recounted his Life Sang Praises to his Glorious Legacy


While Their Queen Mother Tulani

Warmly Welcomed the Mourners


From Their Front Row Seats the Family…..

………Proudly Bore Witness to the Praise Poems for Baba


Mother’s and Daughters Sang Praises

Celebrating Baba’s Devotion to Our Children


The High and the Mighty Came Forth!

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams  gave Props


And Battle Tested Warriors Wept…

Venerable Political Leader and Community Activist Charles Barron


Women Openly Wept Too

Sukeena Comforting a Grief Stricken Sister


And Tulani Comforted Others









Text and Cover Photo by: Playthell Benjamin

Photographs of the ceremony inside Betheny: Hakim Mutlaq

Photos of the Procession on the Streets: Photographer is unknow at

The Afro/Modernist Art of Ademola

Posted in Ademola at Gallery, Uncategorized with tags , on April 25, 2019 by playthell

Ademola: The Master with his Creation

Neo-African Aesthetic Alchemy from the Black Atlantic World

Ademola Olugbefola is a major Afro-American artist who was a leading figure in the evolution of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s, which means that he has been about the business of defining a black aesthetic in the visual arts for the past half century. The BAM grew out of the black liberation struggle that blossomed during the mid-twentieth century, just as the African liberation movements began to triumph, overthrowing the system of European colonialism on the continent.

The Afro-American freedom Movement was inspired by events in Africa, which we supported. It was a revelation to see brilliant Africans on television speaking at the United nations, after having been programmed for generations by a racist white supremacist education system and mass communication apparatus, especially the Tarzan movies, to loathe Africans as an embarrassment. By virtue of the emergence of independent African nations on the world stage, courted by the US government in order to persuade them to join the western capitalist bloc in the cold war against the communist nations, Africa had now become a source of great pride.

While the great Civil rights movement was solely focused on gaining full equality for Afro-Americans under constitutional law, a fundamental requirement for blacks to have any chance of dramatic progress after centuries of forced inequality by government policies, others branched out and tackled complex cultural questions regarding literature, music and the visual arts. The paramount concerns of these cultural warriors was who are we? Where did we come from? What were we before we were forced to become Americans by capture and enslavement? And how can we recapture some of what we once were?

The result of these explorations led to an explosion of Afrocentric dress and hair styles among “culturally conscious” Afro-Americans and inspired a tsunami of activity on the part of intellectuals and artists. Black poets sang panegyrics to the beauty of blackness, black Jazz musicians wrote compositions such as Art Blakey’s “Message From Kenya,” and John Coltrane’s “Africa Brass.” And we heard Dizzy Gellespie’s “Night in Tunisia” through different ears. The great drummer and composer Max Roach, along with his beautiful Afro crowned wife Abbey Lincoln – a singer/actress – had joined with Ronnie and Cecil Braithwaite to organize the African Jazz Art Society, which launched the Black Arts Movement in 1958 that came to full bloom during the 1960’s.

Max and Abby, the first family of the “Black Cultural Revolution” were everywhere, making politically conscious music like the album:”We Insist! Freedom Now,”which became, for radical political activists, the sound track of “The Revolution.” The idea of a real armed revolution in the US may sound far out to contemporary readers, but back then in the fires of struggle, it seemed all too real. It was real enough for some people to give up their freedom and others their lives. Hence it was in this turbulent cauldron of struggle and hope, that the art of Ademola was born. A quintessential New Yorker, he was right in the midst of this cultural and political turmoil.

Having a deep interest in fashion and theater set design, Ademola was among the first of the visual artists to heed the call to create a modern art based on a Black aesthetic philosophy derived from their study of traditional African art.  Thus they were mining the same tradition that  had inspired the major creative figures in the rise of modern western art: Picasso, Georges Braque, Salvador Dali, et al.  (for a deeper discussion of this see the discussion with Ademola and this writer on the video below this essay)   It was this deep and abiding interest that led him to join with a band of fellow black artists and create the Weusi Academy.

Among these artistic visionaries was the Master Sculptor Painter Otto Neals, Thomas “Taiwo” Duval, a painter and master African drummer; Abdul Aiziz, Master Print Maker and painter; Abdul Rachman, an innovative painter who produced works of such original conception, complexity of design and bold use of colors that Ademola coined a term for it: “Epic Symbolism.” Recently Otto Neals had a retrospective exhibition of his sculpture mounted in the beautiful galleries of Kenkelba House. It was a sensation! It set new standards of achievement for future sculptors to strive for. There were other gifted artists who joined, or were greatly influenced by the innovative works of the Weusi Academy artist, that are too numerous to account for here.

On Saturday April 14th, Ademola opened a solo show at the X Gallery in Harlem titled “Past and Present Mixed Media.” Located on Malcolm X Boulevard at 118th Street, and named in his honor, the gallery has presented a series of unique exhibitions under the able direction of its Founder and Curator Lisa DuBois. An outstanding photographic artist in her own right – many of her works are fine art – Lisa’s camera lens is an all-seeing eye that has captured some of the most poignant images of our time in the US and abroad. Hence she is an excellent person to curate a show such as this, for a great part of her mission is the bring the works of under-represented artist of talent to the public.

Lisa DuBois

Artist, Visionary and Curator Of  X Gallery

However, this concern does not include the present artist, as Ademola’s oeuvre has been reviewed, celebrated and critiqued in a wide variety of books, catalogs, periodicals, videos, and broadcast media. The pieces in the Gallery’s exhibit were selected from Ademola’s many works over more than half a century. They include objects de art that have appeared in many museums and galleries across the US and abroad, as well as a new selection of minature abstract landscapes.

A great fan of dance, the exhibition also includes some of Ademola’s abstract renderings of dance movements, which one viewer who identified herself as a professor of dance said inspired her to dance! The Exhibition will remain on display until April 28.

Ademola Receives an Award from X Gallery


The Alchemist In His Studio


Mask of the Poro Society




In the Realm of Ancestral Spirits


Musicians Making the Harvest Grow


Cosmic Graffiti


Ile Ife!  Home of the Gods


The Mystery of Ifa 


The Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra


Astral Travelling


Spirit Dance


Ocha! The Evidence of Things Unseen


The Grand Opening at X Galleries

Lisa Directing the Show

Artist and Curator a Fine collaboration


It Was A Diverse New York Artsy Crowd

Like this Dancer/Artist


It Was a Lively Crowd!


Freedom Day!

Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln


To watch Ademola discuss his Art with Playthell Click on Link

This is a multi-part discourse follow the lables



Text and Photographs by: Playthell G. Benjamin
Video by: The inimitable Kwame Barthwaite
Harlem, New York
April 25, 2019

The Soul Of The Senate!

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Senator Elizabeth Warren, Playthell on politics with tags on April 23, 2019 by playthell
Senator Warren Standing With Reverend Barber and Activist Preachers Of Social Gospel

On Placing Principle Over Politics

Although I was pretty much leaning in her direction before, after listening to Senator Warren’s argument for the impeachment of Donald Trump upon completing the Mueller Report, she definitely gets my vote! While the “deplorables” who support Dirty Donald – a pathological liar, swindler and con man who accidentally became U.S. President with loads of Russian help – will attack her with the most scurrilous rhetoric in an attempt to assassinate her character and impugn her motives, Senator Warren’s argument for the impeachment of the orange ogre is unimpeachable!

Unlike House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, a game political animal who puts politics first, Senator Warren argues that in this matter we must put politics aside. Normally I would agree with Speaker Pelosi, because I understand that effective politics is the surest road to power, and politics is the art of the possible. However there comes a time when fundamental ideas must be defended at all cost, indeed many Americans have died in defense of these principles. Yet honorable and intelligent people can disagree on how to best defend these ideas in the poltical arena.

Some will argue that the best way to get Dastardly Don out of office is to kick his ass at the polls in 2020. They will argue that we should follow the dictum of the African political philosopher/president Kwame Kkrumah: “Seek ye first the political kingdom, and all else will be added there unto.” While this argument is sage advice for people seeking to gain power, sometime one must risk political defeat in defense of fundamental principles. For it speaks to the question of who we are and what we stand for.
Although speaking in a different context, Benjamin Franklin, one of the most compelling revolutionary personalities of the American Enlightenment, and a Founding Father of the Republic, spoke to the importance of principle. The burning question of that moment was whether English settlers in the British Colonies of North America should seek some adjustment in their colonial relationship with their mother country, “Great Britian,” or opt for total independence, which was tantamount to a declaration of war against the British Empire. For Franklin the answer was clear and unequivocal: “Any people who would choose temporary security over basic liberty deserves neither!”

For our time, the pressing question is whether our actions will be governed by political expedience or fundamental principle; whether the Congress shall choose sides on the issue of checking the clear abuses of executive power to obstruct the pursuit of justice based on how it will affect their electoral prospects in 2020, or will the heed the mandates of the Constitution. As I write the Democrats, who alone hold the power to open impeachment proceedings, are deeply divided on the question.

Elizabeth Warren is the first member of the Senate to call for impeachment hearings but her fellow Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has already said there will be no impeachment because of all the civil strife that would result and “He is not worth it” So we have a problem in the Democratic party that could become a source of serious division; which will put the Democrats at a disadvantage because I see no similar concern about presidential abuse of power within the Republican ranks. And from all appearances Senator Warren is on a serious mission to restore the balance between the executive and legislative branches of the US government by checking executive power; the Constitution mandates it and the survival of our democratic republic demands it.

Hence Senator Warren is right as rain when she argues the proper remedy for Dirty Donald’s scurvy behavior is impeachment! While Donnie Dimwit is an intellectual light-weight who is clueless about the Constitution, Senator Warren is a super-heavy weight, if she and trump were pugilists rather than politicians any fight between them would be a crime! But, alas, since the qualifications for jumping into the political arena are far less stringent that the rules of the boxing ring, you can end up with a super-light-weight going up against a super-heavyweight…a mismatch. In view of this realization, lets take a closer look at Senator Warren’s argument.

Taking a page from Devious Donald’s playbook, Senator Warren turned to Twitter to express her views on the Muller Report directly to the American people:

“The Mueller report lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack. Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress: “Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.” The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment. To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways. The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”

Of course, we can expect the Republican Trumpanzees to launch scurrilous attacks on Senator Warren designed to traduce her character and impugn her motives – it has already begun on Twitter – but thoughtful people will consider the source and dismiss them. Yet, alas, there remain millions of airheads who live in a web of confusion; unable to distinguish real news from fake news, convinced that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones are more reliable news sources than CNN, CBS the Washington Post and the New York Times. These impassioned and increasingly militant ignoramuses are heavily armed and pose a grave danger to the life and limb of prominent Trump opponents and critics in Congress and the media.

The danger of civil violence in the US is encouraged by Dirty Donald, which is cause enough for impeachment. Hence anyone who is interested in preserving democracy in the US should support Senator Warren, who alone is standing tall and speaking frankly, restrained by neither fear nor favor. However, Senator Warren’s view on impeachment has found an unlikely supporter among the Republican Punditariat. In a commentary on the Mueller Report published in The Intelligencer titled: “There Was No Russia Conspiracy. But Trump is More Dangerous then Ever,” Andrew Sullivan argues the case for impeachment:

“What are the consequences of not impeaching? They are, it seems to me, real and immediate. Trump now has a Justice Department run by a loyalist who believes in total executive supremacy, and who has just revealed himself as a man willing to lie and deceive and distort to please his master. Every official who might have restrained this president is gone. There are almost no heads of agencies, and no dissent in the Cabinet. The country is effectively being ruled by a monarch and his court. Foreign policy has been given to family members. The Fed is being rigged to remove professionals and install loyal toadies. The judiciary is being filled with judges who defer to presidential power in every circumstance. We have a president who only last week told his new acting DHS secretary, Kevin McAleenan, to break the law if necessary to stop asylum seekers from entering the country, and that he’d have his back and pardon him if he got into trouble. In any other time, that alone would demand impeachment. We know now, however, that this is just one instance of a clear pattern of lawlessness.”

What Sullivan describes here is a succinct but compelling argument for impeaching Dirty Devious Donald. However Sullivan will garner no support from his fellow Republicans in the Senate, who are led by vulgar amoral opportunists. Low Life Lindsay Graham, who vigorously prosecuted Bill Clinton for an offense that is a picayune matter compared to the treacherous treasonous transgressions of Trump, has revealed himself to be a serpentine charlatan. And, alas, that turkey necked Kentucky cracker Mitch McConnell, has diminished the dignity and power of his office as Majority Leader of the Senate with his duplicitous monkey shines. They do not seem to understand, or give a fuck, what is really at stake here.

If Lord Acton was right that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,”and I believe he was, the Congress must check the power of Trump or we will soon have some form of authoritarianism. It will be uniquely American but no less disastrous. For in the final analysis we are confronted with the same question Abraham Lincoln posed during the great Civil War, when surveying the battle field at Gettysburg, a cow pasture in Pennsylvania where over twice as many men had been slaughtered in an afternoon as has been killed in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. In his famous “Gettysburg Address” of November 19, 1863, a time when it was not certain that Union forces would prevail in the struggle between barbarism and civilization, Lincoln was clear in his conviction that the paramount objective of the bloodiest war in history at the time, was to insure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” I believe, as imperfect as the exercise of this ideal has been, this is what is at stake at this moment in the life of the American Republic.

However, unlike the Nervous Nellies who worry that an impeachment of Donald Trump in the Democrat controlled House of Representatives will backfire politically if the Republican controlled Senate refuses to convict him, and they are convinced that we could never get the 67 votes that would be required to pass the Senate.  Should that happen, they argue, the impeachment will be seen as merely a partisan attack on a President we hate.  But as Senator Warren rightly points out, the evidence provided by the Mueller Report overwhelmingly supports impeachment!

What the Democrats must do now is dramatize the evidence in the Report by holding public hearings and call forth all of the key witnesses; let the public see and hear them for themselves.  I think the public can not only be convinced of Trump’s guilt, but the Democrats can also make the Senate Republicans look like co-conspirators with Trump to Obstruct Justice!  I am convinced this would be much easier to pull off than the doubters and haters think.  And I am even more convinced that to let Trump walk away scott free when compelling evidence of his guilt is right before our eyes for the entire world to see, will be devastating for faith in the rule of law!

While on the House side Democrats have proffered a Bill of Impeachment, as I write Senator Warren is the only member of the august United States Senate – which bills itself as “the greatest deliberative body in the world” – to have forthrightly advocated impeachment. In her courage, brilliance, and deep commitment to progressive humanistic values and the policies they promote, Elizabeth is the rightful heir to the legacy of Edward, the long time Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, who enjoyed the honorific “Lion of the Senate.” Which makes her the “Lioness of the Senate.” And, methinks, Dirty Despicable Donald has met his match!


To Watch Senator Warren Explain her Call for Impeachment

Click on This link

Playthell G.Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 22, 2019

Release The Damn Report!

Posted in The Mueller Investigation with tags , , , on March 29, 2019 by playthell

Attorney General William Barr aka Fred Flintstone

The Investigation Is Over…But the Mystery Lingers On

While Donnie and the acolytes do a doophus pootbutt victory shuffle in the end zone, with Dirty Donald repeatedly spiking the ball celebrating his “exoneration” of suspicions that he or his surrogates among campaign workers engaged in a treasonous conspiracy with Russian intelligence agents to fix the presidential election in his favor, and then engaged in nefarious efforts to obstruct justice by trying to hamper the investigation into the matter, it ain’t over yet.

For one thing, neither the Congress, the press, nor the public has seen the actual report produced by Special Prosecutor Robert Muller following the most most massive investigation of a President in American history. As former FBI Director James Comey says, “So many questions” remain unanswered. And they will remain so until Mr. Mueller’s full unabridged report is made public.

At present all we have is a terse summation of what the report says composed by Attorney General William Barr, which does not begin to tell us what inquiring minds with a material interests in the issues at hand need to know. The most obvious question is after a 22 month investigation which issued 500 search warrants, 2, 800 subpoenas, and conducted five hundred witness interviews, how could Barr reduce this to a four page letter of explanation composed 48 hours after its release? The next most compelling question that begs a deeper look is how did Barr arrive at the conclusion that Devious Donald was not culpable of obstructing justice.

In his brief letter summarizing the “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” Barr tells us “Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.” The Attorney General then gives an accounting of the size of Special Counsel Mueller’s team, telling us he “employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff.”

Yet, despite this sweeping investigation Barr tells us that Mueller wrote in his summation, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” The fact that it took Barr only 48 hours to resolve a question that Mueller was unable to resolve after 22 months, compels the thoughtful observer to wonder if this is a case of charlatans rushing in where angels fear to tread.

Like this writer, Fortune magazine, a journalistic pillar of the establishment, also remains unconvinced and raises 16 questions that demand answers before the Trump/Russia mess can be fianally put to rest. They are wide ranging questions that go to the heart of the matter, such as: Why did Mueller let Trump submit written answers to his questions instead of insisting that he be interrogated face to face? And how was it possible to arrive at a decision about obstruction of justice without personally interviewing the President? Whom did Mueller interview? How wide ranging was the scope of his investigation? What was Mueller’s standard of proof? What about the infamous Trump tower Meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary? Did he attempt to determine to what extent Russian interference swayed the election in Trump’s favor?

Obviously the scope these questions are beyond the boundary of this commentary. However it is of critical importance to find out if Mr. Mueller’s report addresses the question of why Trump never specifically tasked the FBI with developing an assessment of what effect Russian interventions had on the outcome of the presidential election, and whether he ordered them to develop a plan to counter Russian efforts to interfere in future elections.  Everything I have heard suggest that the intelligence community has received no orders to undertake this task which is so critical to the survival our democracy.

Added to these probing questions I would like to also ask why we should trust Barr’s judgment on obstruction of Justice? Everybody who cares to know is aware of the fact that Devious Donnie appointed him because of a 17 page legal opinion he authored in June 2018 and voluntarily submitted to the Department of Justice, in which he argued that Mueller’s investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice was “fatally conceived” and made an argument that was simpatico with the arguments of Trump’s lawyers that a president cannot be investigated for actions that the constitution permits him to take such as firing a subordinate who works at his pleasure, like the Attorney General. Based on this opinion it is very nearly impossible for a sitting president to commit obstruction of justice in this case. And many observers who are learned in the law believe that’s precisely why Trump appointed him….and why Barr should have recused himself.

Barr’s view of presidential powers so alarmed Neil Kinkopft, Professor of Law at Georgia State University, he wrote a critical treatise on Barr’s views. Titled The Bar Memo and the Imperial Presidency, Professor Kinkoptf warned that under Barr’s expansive view of presidential powers “(1) Trump can take over, manipulate, or terminate the investigation, and (2) don’t hold your breath waiting to see a Mueller report).” To emphasize just how radical and dangerous Barr’s views are he selects “the memo’s most jaw-dropping passage:  “Constitutionally, it is wrong to conceive of the President as simply the highest officer within the Executive branch hierarchy. He alone is the Executive branch.”

Professor Kinkopft goes on to tell us, “The conception of presidential power embraced in the Barr Memo goes well beyond the ordinary unitary executive claims.” This is both enlightening and frightening because we are witnessing Barr’s theory of presidential power being played out before our eyes, as he exonerates Trump for Obstruction of Justice, and has thus far has not released the original Mueller Report, but is futzing around with it so that it reflects his views on the law. This is unacceptable!

Hence, until we are provided an opportunity to review the entire unedited report from the Mueller investigation, and find the answers to these and myriad other pressing questions therein, this matter is not finished, the case remains open. But alas, even it Trump should prove innocent of all charges in the Russian affair, it still does not explain his curious behavior toward the Russians. For instance, his decision to take the word of Vladimir Putin, a former KGB intelligence officer, over all of his own intelligence agencies who were unanimously agreed that the Russians had interfered in our presidential election – a fact which is now incontestable – and then announce that decision on the world stage at Helsinki.

Nor does innocence in the Russian affair magically make Trump fit to be president of the United States. For he remains the same lying, boorish, ignorant, vulgar, shameless unreconstructed charlatan and bullshit artist he was before the investigation began. Don the Con has debased the language of presidential discourse; trashed the morals and manners the world expects of the president of the United States; repeatedly assaulted the First Amendment which he swore to uphold. by branding our free press an “enemy of the people!” Devious Donald has lied so promiscuously and prolifically – 7,000 and counting according to fact checkers at the Washington Post and Toronto Star – that his presidency has been branded:”The Post Truth Era.” And his lies are most dangerous when he is freewheeling on the stump. The perfect demagogue, his rhetoric is often so reckless it threatens to provoke internecine violence across the nation!

Alas, Trump remains a man whose character is innocent of honor and devoid of empathy; so much so that House speaker Nancy Pelosi has said nothing “associated with manhood” could apply to him. That’s why he can so easily scorn the military service of Senator John McCain, when he is a cowardly draft dodger. Some people refused to serve because they were principally opposed to the war. But Trump was a chicken hawk who was for the war so long as he was not called forth to fight it. His crooked daddy even bribed a doctor in order to get a phony diagnosis of bone spurs to keep punky Donald out of the draft. Trump’s cheap shot attacks on McCain outraged Bob Kerry, a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran, who challenged Trump to “show us your bone spurs!” Kerry says it is obvious that Devious Donald looks at all those who served in Vietnam as “suckers” because their arents didn’t have the means to get them out! A thoughtless motor mouth, Trump’s snide remarks about McCain has raised the question as to whether he lied to escape conscription, and I predict the call to show the x-rays of his bone spurs will grow louder.

By any objective measure one would stand a far better chance of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear than manufacturing a fitting president from Dirty Donald. He is a man totally devoid of any moral sense, or even any notion of fair play. That’s why he has the unmitigated gall to demand an apology from those who investigated him when it is he who should apologize to others. First he should apologize to Bob Mueller – a decorated marine veteran and life long public servant – for having impugned his motives, traduced his honor, and labeled his investigation a “treasonous” ploy of the “Deep State” – a malignant fiction conjured in the paranoid fantasies of the lunatic right.

When Mr. Mueller’s conclusions broke in his favor however, the Special Counsel suddenly became “an honorable man!” Yet Devious Donald has offered no apology for the months of vicious slander of the man, and his mission. He has also offered no apology to former President Obama for conducting a protracted campaign of racist smears and lies against him in an attempt to de-legitimize his presidency, and DD continues to call his presidential opponent “crooked Hillary” despite the fact that after extensive investigations by Republicans – which she withstood with far more grace and decorum than him – Hillary has never been indicted, let alone found guilty, of anything! Such behavior provides irrefutable evidence that Trump is a man with the morals of a pathological blaggard and has a hole in his soul. Hence James Comey is right on when he concludes: “Trump is Morally unfit to be president.’

Of one thing I am certain; If there is a just God presiding over the universe, and Dr. King was right when he declared “The arc of the universe is wide but it bends toward justice,” then somewhere out there in the 16 ongoing investigations into the affairs of that mobbed up Big Apple bunko artist who bamboolzed the bigoted boobs in the boonies and accidentally became President, Dastardly Don will get his just deserts. He shall be cast in the pit of miseries where he will dwell in an orange jump suit to match his complexion for the rest of his days. Otherwise there is no justice in this world, God is dead, or at best she has lost the battle for the souls of man to the Devil!


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
March 28, 2019

Trump’s Tweets are Toxic!

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs with tags , , on March 29, 2019 by playthell
Mourners Outside the New Zealand Mosque

President’s Rhetoric Unleashes Dogs of Chaos Globally

In response to the last horrendous mass shooting, which occurred in Christ Church New Zealand, where 50 innocent souls were slaughtered in their Mosque by yet another white supremacist fanatic while offering up prayers to God, Christian Picciolini, a former star in the US “White Nationalist” movement during the 1970’s and 80’s observed: “For the first time in modern history our president’s words are actually causing people to murder each other.”

Trump does have a historical precedent however.  Andrew Jackson, Trump’s favorite president, ordered genocide against Native American “Indians” creating the infamous “Trail of Tears.” Mr. Picciolini knows the awesome power of hate speech first hand. He tells us how hate filled lyrics he wrote 30 years previously ended up inspiring Dylan Roof, the murderous young white whacko who murdered nine Afro-American worshipers in their church; slaughtered them like hogs after they extended the hand of brotherhood to him and invited him to join their prayer circle.

Picciolini painfully recalled this incident in order to point out that things President Trump says not only resonate with white nationalist around the world, but will affect young people who are growing up in the toxic environment that Dirty Donald has created for many years to come. Trump has normalized far right rhetoric that used to be confined to the far edges of the US political spectrum; hence words and ideas that were believed outrageous or unacceptable have become common fare.

This shift of the Oval Office from a place of relative sanity to a political loony bin started with the installment of the far right-wing activist and conspiracy theorist, Steve Bannon, in the white House as a senior political strategist. Fortunately for the American nation and the world their relationship feel apart after people began to refer to Bannon as “Trump’s Brain.” This was too much for a megalomaniacal churl like Trump to bear, so he christened Bannon “Sloppy Steve” and banished him.

Nevertheless, Dirty Donald has remained the hero of the far right at home and abroad, whether it is government leaders or fascist white nationalists. It is no accident that Trump has been praised by home made white supremacist activists David Duke, Nigel Farrage in Britian and now the New Zealand mass murderer. Although Trump’s flack catchers in the Republican Party vehemently deny and connection between their man in Washington and the shooter on the other side of the world, the facts tell a different tale. And facts are stubborn things that will not be denied. First of all, this is not the first murderous right-wing fanatic inspired by Trump, he is just the most competent at his grisly business.

Mass Murder in the Mosque

Super Trumpanzee Caesar Sayok aka “The MAGA Bomber,” so named because he was fond of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” caps, mailed pipe bombs to key members of both houses of Congress and the press. It does not take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the bombers hit list corresponded precisely to Trump’s enemies list. Since it is a safe assumption that Trump did not provide Caesar his list, he constructed the list of intended victims from listening to Trump’s hostile rhetoric directed at these people and assumed he was doing Doing Dirty a solid. For had he succeeded “The Donald’s” most vocal and fearless critics would have been silenced. Yet, despite the fact pattern regarding the MAGA bombers motivation, the Republican flak catchers assumed their routine lips to posterior posture with Dirty Donnie and quickly denied any connection between Trump’s verbal arson and the mad bomber!

The atmosphere Trump has brought to the Oval office has undoubtedly given license to a gaggle of ordinary white dopes, who are seeking salvation by a Great White Leader. And these people, “Silly Sally and Simple Simon,” think they have found this Mighty Whitey in Devious Donnie. Like the followers of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini in the 20th century, the Trumpanees are true believers. And some of these star struck acolytes would commit murder and mayhem if they believed that’s what their savior desired. The Naval Reserve Officer was about to carry out an operation targeting prominent Democrats and journalists who oppose Trump for assassination, but luckily the FBI arrested him before he could strike. Had these guys been more efficient there would be some very important Americans taken off the scene.

Even when Trump is not mentioned, the effects of his rancid rhetoric are evident in the dastardly deeds of his admirers in the white supremacy movement. Just look at the massive march of torch bearing Neo-Nazi’s in Charlottesville Virginia. Chanting “Blood and Soil” a concept fundamental to the Nazi argument that Jews were not real Germans, they transitioned to “Jews will not replace us!” This was some for real Nazi shit, and considering they were marching in support of a Confederate hero, the demonstration highlights the similarity between the beliefs of the Confederacy and Nazi Germany.

This Neo-Nazi uprising resulted in injury and even death to those who peacefully opposed them, but the President could not bring himself to unequivocally denounce them, while denouncing violence in general he observed that there were also “some fine people” among the torch bearers. When we consider the fact that Trump was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, and it’s former leader David Duke, a Neo-Nazi ideologue whose intense hatred of Jews inspired him to earn a PhD in Jewish Studies to better defame them, we know that the White Supremacist movement considers Trump their true leader.

While I respect New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s choice not to mention the shooter’s name because we will become complicit in assuring him the publicity he seeks in perpetrating his horrendous act, as a reporter I am conflicted about it because I believe his name should go down in infamy for all times. However more important than the killer’s name is the fact that the mass mosque murderer mentions Donald Trump’s name as an inspirational figure, a personal hero of whom he calls “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” Although he claims to have policy differences with Trump, which he doesn’t spell out but we can surmise based on his actions – and his 74 page tirade will likely offer further clarity when it is available for study – he would like to see Muslims and Jews in gas chambers. A fate he would probably also wish to befall all non-white people.

Although Trump issued a general statement condemning the mass slaughter, he dose not reach out to the beleaguered Muslim community, specifically reject the ideology of white Supremacy, nor make any attempt to disassociate himself from the global white nationalist movement. Since it is abundantly clear that he is viewed as the de-facto leader of this movement by many of its activists, this was the perfect opportunity for Dirty Donald to disassociate himself from them; to clarify his views and denounce theirs. But he chose to do neither. So what are we to surmise about Trump’s true beliefs on white nationalism?

When Congresswoman Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, criticized the treatment of Palestinians and pointed out that the Congress was silent on these atrocities because of the financial power of the American Israel Political Action Committee, “AIPAC, Trump was quick to denounce her as an “anti-Semite,” something he has refused to do with the real anti-Semites in the White Nationalist Movement, even the torch bearing Neo-Nazis in Virginia. But when Judge Janine Pirro, and outspoken Islamphobe, viciously attacked Omar because she is a Muslim woman that voluntarily wears a Hejab, saying she should be denied her seat in Congress, Trump rushed to her defense when Fox News suspended her in response to the outcry! There is no shame in the White Nationalist’s game.

Yet, beyond Trump’s providing inspiration for murderous white racists, there is abundant reason to believe that Donald Trump’s open hostility to our constitutionally mandated free press provided license to the Saudi government headed by Prince Salman, to murder the Washington Post columnist Jamal Kahshoggi in their Trukish Embassy. When we consider the fact that Saudi Arabia is an American client state, that would be little more than another oil rich Arab desert shiekdom with out the backing of the USA, one does not have to be a great strategic thinker to conclude the prince wouldn’t have done it he thought it wasn’t cool the president. After all, the prince had heard the president call the US press “the enemy of the people” ad nauseum.

These are only a partial listing of the toxic effects of the tweeting troll in the White house, but it is more than enough to assess it’s murderous results. Alas, the news that the Mueller investigation has absolved Trump of the suspicion of treason has given his presidency a big boost, and grand bullshit artist artist that he is Devious Donnie is certain to make the most of it, spinning a web of lies about his victimization by agents of the “Deep State” who are out to get him. And although it is obvious if that were true he would not have been exonerated by the investigation, it makes no difference in Trump’s narrative of events.

Although these are poignant symptoms of his mental illness – Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia – the refusal by the press to consistently point this sickness to explain much of Trump’s behavior before, will render them suspect and ineffective should they try it now. Hence from all appearances, we are stuck with this toxic wanna-be tyrant – who threatened that if Mueller’s report had been unfavorable to him the military, police and Bikers would come to his rescue – for the foreseeable future. But, since there are 16 other investigations underway…one never knows…do one.



Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
March 25, 2019

Remembering the Heroes of Bloody Sunday

Posted in Bloody Sunday: A Remembrance, Playthell on politics, You Tube Classics with tags , , on March 4, 2019 by playthell
Congressman John Lewis Viciously Beaten as SNCC Leader
A Pivotal Event in the Struggle Against White Supremacy in America

On March 7, 1965, 54 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis of SNCC – now a venerable Democratic Congressman – and other Civil Rights leaders led a March from Selma Alabama to the state capitol of Montgomery to protest the horrible system of white supremacy. Although it was a peaceful march based on the philosophy of “passive resistance, the marchers were viciously attacked by violent white racist!

However the violence of the crazed rednecks back fired because the entire episode was captured on film by the Television networks and broadcast around the world. This was a seminal even in the history of the struggle to dismantle the evil oppressive system of racial caste oppression in the US because it exposed the truth about the bogus claim that America is “the home of the brave and land of the free” where “All men are created equal.”

This was no picayune matter, because the US was locked in an intense ideological struggle with the powerful Soviet Union of Russia to recruit the hundreds of millions of people in the Third World nations of Africa, Asia, South America and the islands of the seas. Most of these millions were living in African and Asian countries that were just throwing of the oppressive yoke of European colonialism in the aftermath of World War II, when European world order had collapsed due to the cost in blood and treasure extracted by the second great war in a generation.  And the US government’s oppression of it’s on citizen’s of color alienated them from America.

There are studies which show the great anxiety of the US government when US Ambassadors, and other diplomats, were accosted by reporters and citizens around the world. For instance, historian Mary L. Dudziak tells us in her path breaking book Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy: “Within this context, racial discrimination, especially when it was broadcast to international audiences, became problematic to the Cold War effort itself.” Representatives of the American government were barraged with questions about the hypocrisy of US claims to being the bastion of freedom and equality, yet keep millions of their citizens in a state of tyrannical oppression that exceeded ANYTHING the US was self-righteously protesting in the communist world!!!

The US government had no answer for this that was not viewed with ridicule, as the masses of African and Asia increasingly either allied themselves with the Communist camp or adopted a non-aligned position that viewed both sides based on how the supported our struggles.  They had no permanent friends or enemies…just permanent interests!

It was this response of the Third world community that served as a major impetus for the US government to act dramatically to eradicate the racial caste system whether by law or or tradition. This march in Alabama 54 years ago was a pivotal event in ending this evil racist system in the United states; 100 years after the end of the Civil War that abolished Afro-American slavery in Alabama and throughout the American south.  It also ended the dominance of The Southern Christian Leadership Conferences’ vision of the Southern struggle.

On the next march – which attracted a vast and diverse gathering and the US government was forced to protect them from violent attacks by white racist terrorists because the eyes of the world were focused like lasers on the march – Stokely Carmichael and H. “Rap” Brown of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, introduced “Black Power”as the slogan,  for their Black Panther political party in Lowndes County / Selma Alabama, where courageous young college students were mobilizing Afro-American citizens to exercise their right to vote.  The introduction of the concept of Black Power and organizing the Black Panther Party qualitatively changed the course of the black liberation movement in the United States.

Watch NBC’s report on the march and hear critical interviews with Dr. King and others who give in-depth analysis of the struggle against racism at the time. This is a priceless, a living archive of the times, whose sense of immediacy is preserved by the miracle of the moving image with sound. Relive this critical event, and feel the tenor of the times at:



Playthell G, Benjamin
February 3, 2019
Harlem, New York

A Soulless Dangerous Deranged Demagogue!

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags , on February 20, 2019 by playthell

Dirty Donald the Dastardly Deceiver

The Real National Emergency

“The only national emergency is that the President is an idiot!” says Ann Coulter, a former feverent fan. I never thought the day would dawn when things would be so fucked up that I would find my view on anything sympatico with the demented mutterings of Anorexic Annie. Yet, although we are coming from different places – the rabid right and the progressive left – we whole-heartedly agree that Donnie Dimwit is an idiot! However Dirty Donald is also a shameless demagogue, but Annie would not dare to mention that, because it would be a transparent case of the pot maligning the kettle since the definition of “demagogue” defines them both.

In the Google Dictionary a demagogue is defined as: “A political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument.” As a verb Google defines demagoguery as to “rhetorically exploit (an issue) for political purposes in a way calculated to appeal to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people.” By any objective assessment, Donald J. Trump is a model demagogue.

But, alas, he is also the President of the United States…the most powerful man in the world! When we consider the fact that he is also a pompous ignoramus and compulsive liar who suffers from “Malignant Narcissism” and “paranoia,” we have a very dangerous situation. Perhaps the best way to understand the nature of the problem we face is to recognize that these are the same mental maladies that Adolph Hitler suffered from. (See:”On the Psychology of Hitler and Trump” by Dr. James McIntosh, https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2018/09/07/on-the-psychology-of-hitler-and-trump/

All of Trump’s pathologies were dramatically displayed during his Rose Garden speech to sign the budget bill, barely staving off another disastrous government shutdown the next day. His megalomania, paranoia, compulsive lying, abominable ignorance in tandem with brazen arrogance, bullying and atrocious manners of the sort one associates with “white trash, were clearly in evidence.

A content analysis of his speech will verify most of these claims, and watching his body language will testify to truth of my other criticisms. Throughout the speech politically astute friends and colleagues blew up my phone with expressions of shock and dismay at the cavalier trashing of truth by the President in favor of faux facts that strike his fancy.

Wearing the strained expression of a man with diarrhea of the mouth, trump spouted piles of poop from his pie hole posing as presidential pronouncements that bubble heads in the boonies will receive as the latest gospel from on high. He claimed spectacular successes in everything from bringing back mass manufacturing in America to raking in “billions” from his tariffs on Chinese goods, to averting nuclear war with North Korea and engaging in a Bromance with North Korean strongman Kim Jung Un.

Devious Donnie insisted that he has convinced his boy Killer Kimmie to scrap his nuclear arsenal, despite the assessment of US intelligence agencies which insist that Donnie is delusional; they have found no evidence that the Koreans have disarmed or scrapped a single missile! And, given the way the US just scrapped the nuclear treaty with Iran, despite all intelligence agencies in the US and Europe verifying that the Iranians have adhered to the treaty’s terms, why would Kim disarm? It is reasonable to assume the North Korean military would overthrow Kim if he attempted it.

It seemed no lie was too ridiculous to tell, no statistic too outrageous to manufacture, no verbal outrage beneath Fat Donald. This was most apparent in his obsession with Barack Obama, which appears to be getting worse; as his comments about the President that preceded him bear no relationship to easily verifiable truths and amounts to an “Obama Derangement Syndrome.”

For instance he accused President Obama of running up the worst debt in history and “I inherited a mess!” He also claimed the US economy was failing when he entered the Oval Office and “was going South fast.” The truth is that it was President Obama who inherited a mess, as the economy under the leadership of George Bush and the Republican Congress was in free fall, teetering on the brink of total collapse!

Barack saved the economy from what many economist predicted would be a worse crisis than the Great Depression of the 1930’s; which was also a Republican debacle! He single handedly rescued the auto industry while Republicans fiddled around prattling on about “free market” corrections. Not only did Barack rescue the economy and steer it away from catastrophe, but he promoted economic policies that created the longest period of Job growth in the private sector ever! This is the economy that Trump inherited, is still riding on, and shamelessly attempts to take credit for.

Alas, given the policies he is pursuing with record deficits caused by massive tax cuts to big corporations and wealthy individuals – which his family and friends will benefit mightily from – along with expanding the military budget and deregulating financial institutions, Trump is on the well worn Republican path to economic disaster!

But to hear Trump tell it, had he not arrived in the Oval Office when he did, the US economy would now be in chaos. Ironically, history has proven Jeb Bush – who I always figured for a well mannered mediocrity trading on the family name – to be something of a political prophet. “Trump is a chaos candidate…and would be a chaos president!” he said during the Republican primary. Lo and behold it has come to pass! The measure of the danger that confront Americans as I write is dramatized in the irrational blather Trump spouts as the world watches.

Nowhere do we observe Donny Dimwit’s flaws so clearly as when he is free stylin, rappin on without benefit of a written script. Here Trump’s Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia is self-evident to anyone who has read descriptions of the symptoms of these mental disorders in a published diagnosis signed by 70,000 psychiatrists and psychologists called “Duty to Warn.” For some bizarre reason, the major press organizations will identify Trump’s lies and ignorance but they will not discuss his mental illness. Yet one need not have any training in the mental health profession to identify it; hence refusal to name and claim it only adds to the confusion created by the web of lies, gross exaggerations and fiction routinely spouted by Trump whenever he speaks to the public.

For instance, what is the average citizen to make of a statement like this: “We’re gonna be leveling the playing field. The tariffs are hurting China very badly. They don’t want them and frankly if we can make the deal, it would be my honor to remove them. But otherwise, we are having very many billions of dollars pouring into our treasury; we have never had that before with China.” Is Trump so ignorant that he does not understand it is American consumers that buy China’s products who will pay the tax mandated by tariffs? Apparently so.

The purpose of tariffs is to discourage countries from selling their cheaper products in the US market in order to protect American industries from having to compete with them. It is not a tax paid to the American treasury as Trump argues. Forbes magazine, a leading financial journal, noted the President “showed a troubling lack of understanding about how the levies work.” Unfortunately, most Americans don’t read Forbes.

Hence between Trump’s genuine ignorance, malicious lies and mental illness it is impossible for ordinary people to distinguish fact from fiction. While the press has performed heroic service fact checking Trump, they have been pitiful cowards in candidly discussing his mental illness for fear of massive lawsuits. Yet in the interests of fairness it must be conceded that this is no picayune concern, given Dirty Donald’s litigious character, and the wishy washy position of the American Psychiatric Association on the validity of professional opinions rendered on subjects who have not been personally examined by the psychiatrist. This could place a news organization at legal risk.

However, journalists could get around this problem by always quoting from the authoritative statements of the doctors that signed the “Duty to Warn” statement. They can also point out that these are some of the most prominent people in the mental health profession, clinicians and scholars who have rejected the position of the APA. And they can show how he is acting out the behavior the doctors have described.

For instance, one need only look closely at Trump’s astonishing attempt to argue the case for himself being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. After boasting about the fact that the Prime Minister of Japan nominated him, he quickly added that “many others” also felt he merited the Nobel but “I probably won’t get it.” It was a poignant portrait of a pathological narcissist who thinks everybody is against him for no reason; the fact that he is an obnoxious Jackass apparently escapes his notice. It has since come to light that Trump asked the Japanese leader to place his name in nomination!

Trump’s gushing admiration for the Chinese leader – whom he refers to as “President Xi” – especially Xi’s comments about the death penalty for drug dealers, exposes his autocratic tendencies. And his decision to run around Congress and swipe funds ear marked for other purposes is further proof. But the most compelling evidence of Trump’s wanna-be dictator dreams is his brazen admission that: “I didn’t need to do this but I’d rather do it much faster.” In other words he cannot be bothered with the messy process of democracy, which is not surprising for a 71 year old man with no experience in public service civilian or military, who has spent his life running a small family company where his orders went unchallenged.

This is a damming admission that provides a powerful argument to his opponents, which could well bring about his defeat in the Federal Courts. The guy never learns! It is because of his unbridled mouth in a nationally televised interview on NBC where he admitted firing James Comey because he wanted to end the FBI investigation, which led to the appointment of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, whose investigations has resulted in indictments and guilty pleas of several of Trump’s closest associates and may well result in his impeachment.

He just does not know how to control his emotions or his mouth. Above all else, this scatter brained speech demonstrated that left to his own devices Donnie Dimwit will self-destruct. And, alas, if Congress and the courts don’t take measures to check him, this ignorant lying demagogue will wreck our democratic constitutional system of government.

Most often, as was the case today, these shocking exhibitions of megalomania are inspired by his obsessive envy of Barack Obama, whom I am convinced Devious Donald harbors deep seated feelings of inferiority towards…just as I had observed when we were in the boxing business and I witnessed him kissing Don King’s ass almost forty years ago. I think Donnie Duphus has an attraction/revulsion complex when it comes to outstanding black men who started out with nothing, yet rose to heights that he aspired to despite all his advantages of money, complexion and connections.

The Dons: Bunko Artists!

Master and Apprentice
I was on the Boxing Scene and Peeped their Hole Card!

Negotiating With the Great Sugar Ray Leonard

That Trump seeks to justify his unconstitutional State of Emergency by misrepresenting an Executive Order issued by President Obama demonstrates the extent to which he measures his presidency by the actions of the Obama Administration. Of course, the whole subject is way above the head of Trump’s followers – the hard core Trumpanzees – and the distinction between this and Obama’s Order is not understood by the public in general. Hence the subject is a fertile field for an amoral demagogue to sow his lies; it is the fact that such a man occupies the most powerful office in the world that constitutes the real state of emergency alas.

*** For an inside look at the relationship between Donald Trump and his Mentor Don King see: _”Game Recognizes Game” at: https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2017/01/06/game-recognizes-game/


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
February 19, 2019