PUTIN’S PUSSY???

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , , , , on May 11, 2017 by playthell

Trump Recieves Putin’s Messenger in the Oval Office

The Decision of Donald Trump, “The Insane Clown President” of the USA – as the crack reporter Matt Taibbi properly labeled him in his book by that name – has once again demonstrated what a clueless, megalo-maniacal, fool that he is!  The day after firing FBI Director James Comey – following his request to the Justice Department for more resources to investigate whether Trump’s campaign operatives colluded with the Russians to subvert our presidential elections in order to defeat Hillary Clinton – he invites Putin’s surrogates into the Oval Ofice.

And to add insult to injury the insane clown bars the American press while allowing entry to the Russian Press.  It is such an absurd move, a chance to embarrass the hated journalist of his own country which he misses no opportunity to iusult.  Hence the photographs that you see here were shot by RUSSIANS!!!!

This kind of outrageous behavior bespeaks a degree of hubris that is hard to match in the history of American politics, and is an invitation to disaster for his presidency. This is because this outrageous decision by Trump has already set tongues to wagging about whether “The Donald” is actually a Putin surrogate. Inquiring minds want to know!

The Russian Invaders

Russians Invade the Oval Office at Trump’s Invitation

The question at the top of EVERYBODY’S list is what is the source of Putin’s power over Trump? Rumor has it that the Russian intelligence agencies have photograph’s of “The Donald” recieving Golden showers from Russian whores during his visit to Russia when staging a beauty peagent! If these rumors are true – and he was a WILD AND CRAZY GUY back in the day – then that would explain why he behaves like Putin’s Pussy. And as tawdry as this explanation is, it beats the orther explanation for his actions toward Russia: He is the Kremlin’s candidate.

Alas, just as Shakespeare warned in Hamlet: “There’s a rottening in Denmark,” something smells to high heaven in Trumps Washington. If Trump’s behavior regarding Russia is innocent, then he is the dumbest MOFO in America!!!! Which leaves no doubt that he is far too stupid to be our President. When stupidity is combineD with arrogance and egomania we have a very toxic cocktail indeed….and if left unchecked it could bring the deth of our democracy.
An autocrat moulded in the panelled offices of corporate plutocrats, where CEO’s are dictators, Trump is unsuited by personality and experience to deal with checks on his power. Hence, instead of recognizing that his ass is in a ditch and he ought to stop digging, he continues dig the ditch even deeper….it is becoming so deep he might not be able to climb out and his increasingly moribund presidency might well be buried there.

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

The saddest thing about this whole Trump/Russian affair is that there is no foreign power in the world that the US needs to maintain friendly relations with more than Russia.  In fact, I have written that the sole identifible virtue in Trump’s political posture is that he has refused to be stampeded into adopting and promoting the traditional anti-Russian attitude that is a persistent theme in American politics; an attitude that is approaching a collective hysteria.  In fact, the only thing that I can think of that would be worse than Trump’s fawning attitude toward Putin’s Russia, is if he held a belligerent attitude towards them.

For those who read my commentaries on a regular basis, it is old news that I believe our traditional hostility toward the Russians is both unecissary and extremely dangerous due to the vast nuclear arsenals both nation’s posesses.  I is also no secret that I believe American expansion into Eastern Europe via NATO, and the recruiting of former members of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact into this western military alliance is a form of clear American aggression against Russia. Hence I welcomed Trump’s vocal scepticism about the role of NATO, his empathy for Putin’s position, and his dismissal of the bogus, dangerous claim of “American Exceptionalism.”

But all of that was before the Russians hacked our election to help Trump win.  Although I do not think this is the worse transgression in the history of international relations – Americans have done far worse on numerous occasions – and should be treated as a reality check, a warning to up our game, I do care a lot about the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency and the extent to which the Russians helped bring it about.

I am also appalled and shocked by the indifference right-wing so-called “patriots” have show toward this Russian transgression.  It is clear that they have placed the narrow ideological concerns of the Grand Obstructionist Party over the fate of our nation.  To my mind their behavior  borders on treason!  And Trump’s firing of the FBI Director who was leading the investigation into the extent of collusion between Republican operatives and Russian intelligence forces in tryng to rig our presidential elections only increases the stench of treason in the air.

**************************
Playthell G.Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May, 1 2017

Dangerous Liaisons…

Posted in Guest Commentators, On Donald Trump with tags , on May 11, 2017 by playthell

Ministers of God Genuflect before Mammon

 Faith Sells Out

I’m an Anglican Priest in Canada, watching in disbelief as the Trump administration trashes every high principle which we know that most people of the U.S. hold dear. With my brother and his extended family living in Massachusetts, New York, Florida and California, what happens south of the border matters to me. Personal reasons aside, however, it’s also tragic to watch entire groups of people dismissed… poor people, sick people, people from foreign countries, people who are ‘different’, people from ‘other’ religions…you know – all those people Jesus welcomed in a heartbeat.

Which brings me to my incentive for writing; the Executive Order on Religious Liberty that Trump just signed. It’s no surprise to me that millions of people look at organized religion and find it wanting. What are we to make of this noise about a religious ‘liberty’ that in essence works to secure Trump’s hold on the Bible Belt and ensures that he may receive cash endorsements from religious organizations? Trump commented, “This financial threat against the faith community is over. No one should be censoring sermons or targeting pastors.”  The named financial threat is a reference to the ever-present question of the relationship between church and state, and whether churches should be taxed.

What many people don’t realize is that most government structures in both Canada and the United States are keenly aware that, should the churches be taxed, it could well compromise their ability to pick up the slack in caring for the hungry, the mentally ill and the homeless – the poor souls who fall through the cracks by the thousands in the governments’ inadequate systems of care. According to recent research, it’s estimated that for every single dollar a church spends in ministry programs, the city benefits to an amount of $4.77 in services provided to the marginalized. (See link below to The Halo Project, a Canadian research study based on a similar study in the U.S.)  Hence churches understand well that the government simply cannot afford to tax them.

The financial issue is more about Trump easing the way for religious organizations to back him with big bucks from the Bible Belt Bubble. As for “…censoring sermons or targeting pastors” as a priest, I can promise you that the church and clergy already have freedom of speech. We’ve all heard the gossip that in February a version of the Executive Order was drafted which contained provisions to protect religious leaders who speak out against same-sex marriage, transgender issues or pre-marital sex. So of course, this softened final version has disappointed religious conservatives. But trust me, they’ve been energetically preaching against these people from the pulpit for years, and they’ll continue to do so.

I was dismayed to learn from the Rev. William J. Barber II’s lucid response to Trump’s first National Day of Prayer, which Barber called a “public spectacle” (see link below)  that the Billy Graham Evangelical Association donated ten million dollars to the Trump campaign. For years, this organization has been a light in the darkness – a witness of compassion and integrity. Billy remained scandal-free, kept his hands off the money and told the world of God’s endless love for decades, without trashing or excluding anyone. But the witness of the Billy Graham Association has been compromised. We all loved Billy for his humility and grace, and we’re surprised that his compassion and wisdom seem to have eluded his son, William Franklin Graham III, the current CEO. His donation to, and affiliation with the Trump Administration are rich with irony.

If any of the Christians on the grass roots level of these organizations behaved even remotely like Trump has, they would be kicked out, “read out of the assembly,” so fast that their heads would be spinning. I was raised in conservative fundamentalism and I know from brutal experience how it works. They might be technically ‘forgiven’ but they’d be alienated from community from that moment on, and yet they embrace Trump’s lies, racism and misogyny with all their hearts. What’s going on, here? How do they justify this disconnect between what they preach and who they’re getting into bed with?

In my tender years in Fundamentalism, I was taught that politics had no place in the pulpit. Politics stayed out there in the secular world, and we stayed pious and sheltered, in the spiritual world. We didn’t have to worry about injustice or war or caring for the environment or racism, because the ‘good’ people would all escape to heaven and that would be our bliss. But it’s not only Evangelical Christians who struggle with the relationship between politics and faith. As an Anglican Priest (Episcopalian in the U.S.) I’ve been attacked for preaching about social issues and for reminding people of their Christian mandate to speak up for justice. I’ve been told, “I don’t come to church to hear about politics or the problems of the world. I come here to escape them.”

For years, this has been the position of the religious right generally, until the likes of Pat Robertson realized the clout the Bible Belt had in elections, and the power they could seek through close ties with conservative political allies. And now we have Franklin Graham climbing into bed with a President whose lies are documented on film, even as he lies about the lies we can all see so clearly.  There’s a huge problem in going to church to escape the problems of the world, but there’s also a huge problem in climbing into bed with politicians. If we truly want to follow Jesus, we’re going to have to follow him into passionate engagement with the problems of the world.

Televangelist Pat Robertson
He Married the Evangelical Movement to the Republican Right
Billy Graham Passing the Bible to Son Franklin

But in his political wheelings and dealings he dropped it!

If we truly want to follow Jesus, there’s no escaping the fact that we must follow him into being a voice for justice; crying out against the corruption and racism and imperialism and self-serving structures we find in both the church and the state. Belonging to the church or to a political party does not negate our responsibility to be a critical voice. But to align with the Trump administration, casually dismissing the horrifying decisions and behaviors that rob people of their dignity and their place in the world in exchange for support for the religious right’s desire to exclude and control is, quite simply, not Christ-like. Jesus didn’t seek to build a fortress of power that would keep others out. Jesus called a lie a lie. Jesus insisted that everyone belongs. Everyone. Jesus said that the bottom line in what God wants from us, is for us to love others as we love ourselves…not to decide who’s in and who’s out.

This Executive Order is not for the church. It serves only Trump. It gives the churches essentially nothing they didn’t already have, but it works as a giant flag-waving opportunity for Trump to ensure the continued donations and votes of the religious right, vaguely affirming their fierce intentions to control women’s rights and to exclude and vilify the LGBTQ community. This Executive Order doesn’t serve the church, and the religious leaders gathering around it should be ashamed of themselves.

If Christians really want to model ourselves after Jesus, we should be walking alongside the suffering, rather than deciding who we should exclude. We should be praising the government when it establishes policies that care for the marginalized and the vulnerable, and calling them out when they don’t.  But the fundamentalists, it seems, have missed that faithful stance, having gone from one extreme to the other…from non-involvement to completely selling out. The religious right has become an angry force for exclusion. Where’s that divine love? Where’s that marvelous grace about which they sing every Sunday?

They Claim to be Brides of Christ….

So why Are they cavorting with Lucifer?

It’s alarming to the point of shock that they choose to support a leader whose words, actions and policies fly in the face of the One they claim to follow. Perhaps it’s time for all people of faith to join the modern day prophets like Rev. William Barber, and put a little more effort into reclaiming the essence of faith and resisting this environment that would make God into a bully for the sake of its own agenda. Perhaps it’s time for faith leaders to remind the world that following Jesus is simply about embracing love.

Rev. Susanne

09 May 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                     Link to The Halo Project                                                                                                         https://www.haloproject.ca/phase-1-toronto

Link to The Rev. William J. Barber II on Trump’s First National Day of Prayer https://thinkprogress.org/rev-barber-religious-liberty-discrimination-27331473e4f4

 

The Great Pretender Commits a Sacrilege!

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics, Witnessing Against False Preachers on May 7, 2017 by playthell
 
A Souless Fraud

Somebody is Gonna Burn in Hell Over This Blasphemy

The world has just witnessed a shameless exhibition of hypocrisy, one that rises to the level of blasphemy, conducted by the shameless charlatan who by a grievous accident of history, made possibe by the triumph of the untutored white mob weilding ballots, now occupies the Oval Office of the American presidency.  Donald J. Trump – a serial philanderer, compulsive liar, vainglorious braggart, and avaricious money grubber – as ungodly a man as has ever ascended to this omnipotent office; which has sheltered thieves, slaveholders and mass murderers such as his idol Andrew Jackson – called a press conference on the White House lawn to announce his latest Executive Order, “Defending Religious Liberty.”

The monstrous dimensions of this sacrilegous fraud is clear to anyone who pays attention to American politics. Trump’s Executive Order is a transparent payoff to the religious right.  Especially the millions of fanatical white Evangelicals, like the legendary Evangelist Billy Graham’s son, who contributed grand theft dough to Trump’s campaign that played a vital role in his election to the presidency.

With no visible qualifications for this critically important and demanding job, the Christian Right supported this garish, empty, charlatan because  he promised to allow them to do whatever they wanted: The Constitution be damned.  Trump’s pandering to right wing Christians, smashing down the longstanding wall between church and state, will almost certainly be challenged in the federal courts, but given the composition of the Court anything can happen. Alas, the language of the Constitution is filled with ambiguity; which allows the sitting Supreme Court Justices to interpret its provisions as they damned well please. That’s why there is a no-holds barred fight over who sits on that august bench.

For instance, the First Amendment, which speaks directly to this question, is far from clear in its view of the government’s role regarding the practice of religion.  While it is virtually unanimous among historians that a principal motivation for the insertion of the Establishment Clause was to prevent the creation of a state sponsored church such as The Church of England – from whose tyranny some colonist had fled – other implications for the relationship of government to religious practice remains unclear.  And a simple reading of the text does not immediately resolve this uncertainty.  It states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

If one is an “originalist,” such as the late Justice Antonin Scalia and his sidekick on the high court Uncle C. Thomas – and perhaps Justice Gorcish, who was recently appointed to the High Court by Trump – the text must be taken at face value; regardless of the fact that this is an 18th century document and the drafters of the Constitution were imperfect men filled with contradictions – like perpetually spouting the virtues of freedom while maintaining a system of slavery that represents the apex of tyranny.  Hence, while it has become conventional wisdom that the First Amendment proscribes the role of the Church in the affairs of state, the text of the First Amendment can be interpreted as solely limiting the power of the state over the affairs of the church.    

Consider how two of the “Founding fathers” viewed the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment, which addresses the religious question.  Dr. Benjamin Rush, a brillant polymath who was a leader of the American Enlightenment, signed the Declaration of Independence, led the Pennsylvania delegation that ratified the Federal Constitution, vigorously opposed slavery, supported the rights of women and promoted scientific research, also envisioned a prominent role for government in promoting religion.  A founder of the Pennsylvania Bible Society, Rush proposed that the US government provide a copy of the Bible for every American citizen at public expense, and the words The Son of Man Came into the World, Not To Destroy Men’s Lives, But To Save Them, should be emblazoned above all court houses and government buildings.

In his role as a leading advocate for the establishment of a public-school system, Dr. Rush proposed that the bible be used as a basic text in the curriculum.  He once observed: I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied that the Union of the United States in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament” and he would argue in 1798, eleven years after the drafting of the Constitution: The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

Hence those who argue against the intrusion of religion into the political sphere on constitutional grounds will find no support from this Founding Father.  However, reading the views of Thomas Jefferson, arguably the most thoughtful of the Founders and no religious zealot like Dr. Rush, in fact he was publicly accuse of being an “infidel” by his political enemies – does not offer much comfort either. In a letter to The Danbury Baptist, penned on New Year’s Day 1802, Jefferson said the following:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

It is instructive that it was in this letter – which some historians have dismissed as political pandering because he consulted local elected officials before crafting it – that Jefferson’s oft quoted statement regarding a “wall of separation between church and state’ originates.  And it is usually referenced by those who argue that churches should play no partisan role in politics – a sentiment that is enshrined in the tax laws which give exemptions to religious institutions, particularly the much referenced “Johnson Act.”   However, when Jefferson’s statement is viewed in context one could credibly argue that it was intended to prevent the government from interfering in the affairs of the church rather than the other way around.

However ambiguous the text of the Constitution is on this question, there remains the Johnson Act – which is a statute that cannot be overturned by an Executive Order – and Trump’s open display of favoritism for Christianity and Judaism to a lesser degree over say, Islam, Buddhism and Orisha Voodoo which is expressly forbidden in the “Free Expression” clause of the First Amendment.  All of these factors mitigate against the legality of Trumps Executive Order “protecting religious freedom.’

However, being the pompous fool and opportunistic charlatan that he has revealed himself to be…none of these fine points of law mean a thing to “The Donald.”  This raises ethical questions about the integrity and credibility of the religious leaders who assembled in the White House Rose Garden, and enthusiastically applauded the transparently ungodly Trump in a Lips to posterior posture, even as he was violating the most basic charge of Jesus Christ to ‘heal the sick and feed the hungry,” to tend to the “least among us.  For as you do unto to them so have ye done unto me!”

The whole thing was the foulest blasphemy!  To venerate a self-confessed sinner, who claims to be a Christian yet says he has never felt the need to ask the lord for forgiveness, is a shame before man and a sin in the sight of God!  Nothing was sacred to these preachers with forked tongues. They called upon scripture, and even defamed the good name of Dr. Martin Luther King, associating the legacy of this modern day prophet, “drum major for justice,” and Apostle of Peace with their shameless genuflection before an obscene money changer and minister of mammon.  To associate God’s holy word and the memory of Dr. King with  this profane  scoundrel, whose evil deeds even offends a godless wretch like me, and Jesus Christ drove from the temple with violence, is brazen hypocrisy!

It is a betrayal of the commandments of the lord in order to appease the princes and powers that rule this modern-day Babylon!   I say to them beware: Check yourself before you wreck yourself.  For the Bible instructs us that no person can serve two masters; we must either serve God or the Devil. And I can think of no better personification of Lucifer in these dawning years of the 21st century, a time when one man has the ability to set the world on fire, than “The Donald.”   Therefore, if the beliefs about heaven and hell claimed by those impious preachers who gathered in the Rose Garden and sang hosannas to Trump prove to be true: SOMEBODY IS GONNA BURN IN HELL OVER THIS UNHOLY UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE!

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

Click on Link to witness the Ceremony in Hypocrisy

 

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 5, 2017

Mooks with Nukes

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

Trump and National Security Advisor HR McMaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nukes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was Sarin Gas Used in Syrian Attack?

Posted in Guest Commentators, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , , on April 18, 2017 by playthell
  At the Scene of reported Sarin Gas Attack
 A Brief Clinical and Epidemiologic Comparison with the Japan Attacks

The June 27, 1994 sarin terrorist attacks in Matsumoto, Japan, and on March 20, 1995, in the Tokyo subway, provide the most through epidemiologic and pathologic case reports currently available for the evaluation of mass poisonings with this extremely toxic gas. The facts regarding the Japanese attacks are as follows.

  • In Matsumoto members of the Aum Shinrikyo group released sarin in a residential area. It was a) an attempt to murder magistrates deliberating a real estate dispute; and b) an assessment of the poison’s efficiency for mass murder. The logistics of the crime included a refurbished refrigerator truck containing a heater for vaporization of twelve liters of liquid sarin, and powerful fans to diffuse a thick cloud of gas near the residencies of the involved judges. The sarin was 70 percent pure.
  • Over six hundred residents and rescuers were poisoned, fifty-eight were hospitalized, and seven were killed. The calculated mortality-morbidity ratio was approximately 1.16 percent (7/600). (“Sarin Poisoning in Matsumoto, Japan, The Lancet 7/29/1995)
  • On March 20, 1995, during the peak of morning rush hour a second sarin attack disrupted several Tokyo subway lines. This attack was focused on the stations close to the Tokyo National Police Agency and other central government centers. Aum Shinrikyo members punctured plastic bags of liquid sarin in subway cars jammed with workers headed to government offices. The liquid sarin was 30 percent pure.
  • More than six thousand passengers and rescue workers were injured—eight hundred required hospital treatment or evaluation and twelve died. The mortality/morbidity ratio was 0.18 percent. (Yanagisawa, N. “Sarin Experiences in Japan,” Journal of Neurologic Science.
Sarin Victims in Tokyo Subway

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

II – On April 4th, helicopters or airplanes of the Syrian Arab Army dropped airborne ordnance over the village of Khan Sheikhun, Idlib Provence, Syria. The village was under the supervision of several groups currently in armed opposition to the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. Mr. Assad’s government has secured the support of the Russian armed forces, the Lebanese Hezbullah, and Iranian forces under the command of the Iranian revolutionary guard.

  • Casualty reports were extremely variable. Injury numbers ranged from three hundred to more than five hundred, and reported deaths ranged from early accounts of fifty-eight to eighty-seven. Later sources reported fatalities in excess of one hundred, with children’s deaths ranging from ten to twenty-seven. Many of the major world journals, such as the New York Times have reported mortalities in the ranges above.
  • Thus the reported mortality-morbidity would range from approx 72/500 to 100/300. This gives a range of 14.4 percent and 33 percent. Expressed in percentages, this represents an increase between 1,241 percent and 16,666 percent. The purity was not reported. However, earlier studies of weaponized sarin, in this region, particularly in the Iran-Iraqi War, had a purity in the 30-60 percent range.

Discussion:

The reported Iblid mortality-morbidity ratios are incompatible with sarin use as the etiological agent in the attacks of April 4, 2017 Khan Sheikhoun, Iblid Provence, Syria.

This could be due to several reasons:

  1. Another unidentified chemical agent was used.

2- Differing mortality-morbidity due to the differing mechanisms of gas dissemination. However, the two Japanese poisonings had, markedly, more intensive, prolonged exposures, which should have produced higher mortality-morbidity rates.

3-The differing availability of treatment and evacuation? While the Japanese civil defense was better equipped overall, the organizations involved in Syrian rescue operations had basic response preparations for the gas attacks and were able to evacuate injured patients to better-equipped Turkish medical facilities.

4- The casualty count was exaggerated.

5- The 1994-95 Japanese studies were unreliable.

 

Conclusion:

Currently no credible evidence exists confirming sarin as the etiologic agent responsible. Hence the claim that sarin was the etiologic agent is highly unlikely.

Sources:

“At Least 58 Killed in Alleged Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria.” April 4, 2017.www.independent.co.uk, accessed April 4, 2017

Khaddar, Kareem, Schams Elwazer, et al. “Suspected Gas Attack in Syria Reportedly Kills Dozens.” CNN. April 7, 2017.

“Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U. S. Blames Assad.” April 4, 2017. New York Times.

Seto, Yasuo. “The Sarin Gas Attack in Japan and the Related Forensic Investigation.”www.opcw.org, accessed April 11, 2017.

“Scores Reported Killed in Gas Attack on Syrian Rebel Area.” April 4, 2017. Reuters.

Yanagisawa, N. “Sarin Experiences in Japan: Acute Toxicity and Long-term Effects.” Journal of Neurologic Science. November 1, 2006.

——. “Sarin Poisoning in Matsumoto, Japan” The Lancet, July 29, 1995.

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

By: Dr. Joseph Harris, MD
April, 2017
Harlem, New York
Note: Dr. Harris has worked as a physician in Rawanda and other war zones. he was participant at Doctor’s Without Borders when the were awarded  the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

The Most Dangerous Nation on Earth!

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

How Trump’s Policies Can Lead to Human Extinction

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Inconvient Truth….

Although Trump Denies it…The Ice Caps are Melting!

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

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

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

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

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

God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign….

……No more Water, the Fire Next Time!

 

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

Geezers Going Wild!

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , on April 12, 2017 by playthell

John McCain and John Lindsay

On the Mad Mutterings of Murderous Old Men

True to his campaign promises, Donald Trump is proving “unpredictable” in foreign relations; especially in the deployment of US armed forces.  The covert movement of troops into the Mid-East region and the sudden attack on Syria, which contradicts other often stated positions by Trump decrying US military intervention in that country and the Middle-East generally, is the essence of unpredictability.

From the outset these actions seemed unconnected to any stated policy or discernable strategy.  Now we have been told by Donnie’s Son Eric that his father decided to bomb Syria after daddy’s girl  Ivanka expressed her outrage at Assad.   The fact that this attack may have been ordered up by a clueless Barbie from the rag trade is shocking!  It leaves no doubt that the attack on Syria was an impulsive action whose consequences were not thought through, and thus it could well turn out to be a fool’s errand.

Nevertheless, Trumps assault on Syria is being enthusiastically applauded on both sides of the aisle. The leading ladies of the Democratic Party – Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi – who normally find The Donald unfit for polite company, were dancing in the alise over Donnie’s demonstration of his manly prowess by going upside Assad’s head with a missile smack down.

Yet none of this hoopla has been more enthusiastic than the ringing endorsement from those two pillars of the Senate Republican establishment: John McCain and Lindsay Graham, both former military officers.  As the Senators from Arizona and South Carolina they represent gun totin constituencies for whom military conflict represents a kind of pornography that beguiles them the way sexual pornography bewitches the sex fiend.  These people seem bored with even the possibility of a protracted peace.

Right after the bombing of a Syrian airfield was made public the two Senators released a public statement clearly stating their support.  It begins with the declaration “We salute the skill and professionalism of the U.S. Armed Forces who carried out tonight’s strikes in Syria. Acting on the orders of their commander-in-chief, they have sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs”

To the careful observer there is much to be alarmed about in this paragraph, especially the passage praising Trump for sending “an important message” that “The United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia” slaughters the Syrian people. The obvious question is what do they mean by this? Is it all blow and no go; or does this signal a radical change of policy where the US will now take on an active military role in the Syrian Civil War?

While what Trump is thinking on the matter remains a deep mystery, since he has chosen to be unpredictable, the Senators are clear on what direction they think American policy in Syria should take.

“Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action. For that, he deserves the support of the American people. Building on tonight’s credible first step, we must finally learn the lessons of history and ensure that tactical success leads to strategic progress. That means following through with a new, comprehensive strategy in coordination with our allies and partners to end the conflict in Syria. The first measure in such a strategy must be to take Assad’s air force—which is responsible not just for the latest chemical weapons attack, but countless atrocities against the Syrian people—completely out of the fight.”

Reading this, the thoughtful observer of international relations and the laws that govern them, is forced to wonder by what rights does the US justify such acts of war against a nation that has committed no act of aggression against the US?  From all appearances one gets the impression that this would be a divinely ordained mission in which God has chosen America to set things aright.   This will be the second time a Republican President has decided to attack a Muslim country that has done us no harm, and there is abundant reason to believe that the conflict in Syria could turn out to be worse mess than Iraq, in terms of further inflaming and destabilizing the Middle-East by stimulating the militant jihadist movement.

Hence an expanding American military involvement in Syria could prove a bottomless sinkhole for American blood and treasure.  Yet despite their admonition that we should “learn from the lessons of history,” based on their policy proposals they appear to be ignoring them.  For instance, they propose that the US government “must also bolster support for the vetted Syrian opposition and establish safe zones to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. As we do, we can and must continue the campaign to achieve ISIS’s lasting defeat.”

While this may sound good, these proposals are not supported by the lessons of US history in the Middle East.  Since John McCain has long advocated arming something called “The Free Syrian Army” – a motley collection of Syrians that oppose the Assad regime, and could well contain as many potential villains as heroes – we can reasonably assume that is what they are alluding to when they say we “must bolster support for the vetted Syrian opposition.”

Yet if there is any lasting lesson history teaches us about intervening in Middle-East conflicts, it is that there is no reliable method of “vetting” forces engaged in these armed conflicts.  And that is because we are interlopers widely despised by militants from all sides. Look at what happened in Afghanistan, where we armed and trained both the Taliban and Al Qaeda in their fight against Russia, only to end up with them using those weapons and training against us.  It was from this very country that the devastating 9/11 attack was organized and launched!

Furthermore, the attack was ordered by a Osama bin Laden, a rich Saudi Arabian civil engineer who was trained in terrorist tactics by the CIA, and carried out by citizens of Saudi Arabi and Egypt, America’s closest “allies” in the Arab world.  And the weapons that ISIS – which was created by the ill-fated and unnecessary American invasion of Iraq – uses to wreak havoc were originally given to “friendly forces” of the Iraqi government.  While these truths should be self-evident to any reasonably intelligent person who has been paying attention, it escapes members of Congress from both parties.

John Delaney, a democratic Congressman from Maryland, is a poignant example of this refusal to learn the lessons that history can teach us.  In an interview on MSNBC on Saturday morning he was asked about the statement by Tulsi Gabbard – a Congresswoman from Hawaii and former combat officer in Afghanistan – warning that expanded American military involvement in Syria could lead to a nuclear confrontation with Russia.  To my shock and dismay, Congressman Delaney argued that establishing American “leadership” in the Syrian quagmire is worth the risk of a military conflict with Russia.

Amaingly, this kind of jingoistic nonsense has been echoed throughout the broadcast press,with FOX “News” being the worst.  Listening to the fawning fiddle faddle of their commentators creaming in their jeans over Donnie’s derring-doo in Syria, I am reminded that the ranks of American journalism are to be found saints and charlatans. However my response is that either this Congressman is a madman obsessed with the dangerous delusion of “American Exceptionalism,” or an ignoramus with no real understanding of the danger a nuclear war with Russia poses to the survival of mankind.  Nothing that could happen in Syria would justify a war with Russia!

Since Delaney is balding, I suspect that he came of age at the apex of the American empire which after the fall of the Russian Communist Party, the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pack – a military alliance among communist countries that served as a counter weight to NATO – resembled something akin to a Pax-America, where the US was the sole super power in a unipolar world.  This kind of thinking reflects a 21st century version of what the late Senator William Fulbright aptly called “The Arrogance of Power.”

It is a view of the world largely promulgated by deluded old heads like McCain, Lindsay and Trump: intellectually  pugnacious Geezers gone wild that could get us all killed as we follow their lead into a mass grave.  Which will be a short walk if Trump heeds Lindsay Graham’s advice to set up a no-fly one in Syria and if Russian planes fly into that space we should “shoot them down!”

Alas, giving a clueless, megalomaniacal, pugnacious, impulsive old man like Trump the idea that it is okay for him to attack other countries that have committed no offense against us, and pushing him to become more aggressive against a nuclear superpower like Russia, is the first step down that dangerous road to doomsday.

This is where we are headed….

……If we don’t change course

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

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 8, 2017