Archive for the On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators Category

On Pastor Jones and the Republicans!

Posted in On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators, Playthell on politics with tags , , , , , , on September 10, 2010 by playthell

 Florida Fanatic Terry Jones

 

The case of Terry Jones, the Florida Fundamentalist Fanatic who has a threatened to burn the sacred texts of the Islamic world on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack by Al Qaeda, has presented this nation with an unprecedented crisis. Although he appears to be just a publicity  seeking  oddball, his present ploy has been nurtured and even inspired by the rancorous Republican rhetoric that has poisoned the atmosphere in this country and made it safe for freaks and fanatics to come out and play.  The finger pointing as to who is responsible for this mess, accompanied by public hand wringing about what to do now, is putting the beliefs of right-wing Constitution quoting super-patriots to a rigorous test, and exposing hysterical Republican charlatans as a danger to the national security of this country.

For instance, the right wing racist and verbal arsonist Patrick J. Buchanan, one of the most prominent pundits in the nation, has used this incident to once again declare the incompetence of President Obama to serve as commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces, and ridiculed his reverence for the US Constitution and credentials as a Harvard trained Constitutional scholar. Once again he has scoffed at an Ivy League education as a liability.  Which is the last thing we need in a nation suffering that is presently suffering from a crisis of educational achievement.  And undermining our chief executive at this critical moment borders on treason!

The pressing problem for America is how to avoid conflict with over a billion Muslims in the world, who believe the Koran is the revelation of God’s divine plan for mankind; Four fifths of whom are not Arabs, do not live in the Middle East, and with whom we are not presently at war. Since most of these people live in countries where the government can do whatever they please, they cannot began to comprehend how the President of the most powerful Nation in the world – a country that is now waging two wars in Muslim countries in order to tell them how to conduct their societies – cannot stop one fool from desecrating the word of God. 

The first Amendment is incomprehensible to the masses of Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, and the letter from the Indonesian President asking President Obama to stop the Koran burning suggests that their President doesn’t understand it either.  Hence to them the Koran burning is seen as an American attack on Islam. And judging by the rioting in Pakistan and Afghanistan before the act, it is reasonable to assume that this is the common view throughout the Muslim world.  And thus, as General Pratraeus has pointed out, the actions of this Florida fool will serve as a powerful recruiting tool for the Islamic Jihadists our soldiers are trying to defeat.

Only in a country where the population is over represented by the fat dumb and stupid could the Republicans and their media shills – Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and their imitators around the country – escape blame as the true cause of the present crisis.  Consider the position of venerable Republican strategist, former Speaker Of The House and presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich. 

In an attempt to project himself back into the epicenter of right wing politics, Newt has attacked the proposed Islamic community center in down town Manhattan; proffering the spurious argument that no Muslims should claim the right to build a Mosque where they choose in this country until Christians are permitted to build churches in Saudi Arabia!  Now this view is being echoed by pro-Zionist Jewish groups regarding the building of synagogues in Mecca, the holiest city of the Islamic faith.

Typical signs reflecting Newt’s Rhetoric

 

 Faces of the hysterical intutored mob!

 Nothing demonstrates the irresponsibility of the Grand Obstructionist Party more than this bit of blatant hypocrisy.  Gingrich holds a PhD in American history.  He does understand the First Amendment; hence he knows that the US government has no legal means with which to stop American citizens from building a house of worship on property they own. 

 Newt’s Progeny

 

 

Yet Newt is willing to cynically incite hatred against President Obama – whom the Republicans have managed to convince millions of Americans is a secret Muslim and undercover Jihad lover – and blind hatred against all Muslims – which produces Koran burners here at home and imperils the lives of our soldiers and civilians stationed in Muslim countries abroad. Especially since Pastor Terry Jones has now tied his decision to burn thousands of Korans to the demand that the Muslims not build their downtown mosque. 

There is a sad irony about the protest against this Muslim community center – which is neither a Mosque nor is it situated at Ground Zero, but five New York City blocks away –  is that it is being built by the Cordoba Initiative.   This organization was formed after the 9/11 attack to foster understanding and “build bridges” between the Christian and Muslim communities.  The name was taken from the Spanish city of Cordoba, because this was a place where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in peace and harmony as neighbors.  Yet Newt, shameless Christian bigot unrepentant demogogue that he is, wrongly labled the choice of name a symbol of Muslim triumphalism!  

 The Great Mosque at Cordoba

Fired up by this kind of reckless rhetoric, misguided Christians picketed the site of the proposed center while the Iman, Fisal Abdul Rauf, was touring the Muslim on behalf of the US State Department trying to win hearts and minds for America by arguing the the US is not waging a war against Islam.  Well…good luck with that.  This is why Frank Rich, the ever insightful Sunday columnist with the New York Times, argues that FOX News has stabbed US troops in the back with their constant Muslim bashing!   People who think this kind of mindless grand standing is a good for our country – ala Sarah Palin, John Boehner and legions of Republican bigwigs – do not understand how radical movements work. 

But then, they understand little about how the the world works.   Yet facts are stubborn things, and they don’t go away because one id ignorant of their existence.  An unpleasant fact about the growth of transformative movements is that they  are stimulated by visible opposition to their aspirations.  Hence in the Muslim world, where American intentions are highly suspect – to say the least – all of this provocative rhetoric serves as fuel for a Jihadist movement which dipicts the US as “The Great Satan.   

This multi-national movement is world wide and growing.  And meglomaniacal buffoons like like Terry Jones, along with his Republican comrades-in-arms, are doing their level best to insure that we will be struck by terrorist again; once on their watch is evidently not enough.  This is precisely why Republicans cannot be trusted with the reins of state power, for their reckless rhetoric, incompetent stewartship of the public interests, and scurrilous anti-Muslim antics have become a clear and present danger to our national security!

 

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Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

September 10, 2o10

Big Time Bunko!

Posted in On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators with tags , , on August 30, 2010 by playthell

 

A self Aggrandizing Bunko artist

 

Glenn Beck Plays the Long Range Con

Although the rotund Rushbo is great at self-aggrandizement, he could take some lessons from the new kid on the block – Glenn Beck – a consummate con-man who has set new standards in the art of bullshitting the public.  In a much hyped Washington rally with the nebulous objective of “Restoring America’s Honor”– held on the same date and venue of Dr. Martin Luther King’s great Speech at the historic March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom – this cubby little fellow with the squeaky voice, and shaky moral foundation, somehow managed to do the impossible: make vanity look like altruism in the eyes of his followers.  It was a con from beginning to end.

The con began when he claimed not to have been aware of the fact that he called his rally on the same date as the historic “March on Washington” nearly a half century ago, or that the venue he chose for his shallow diatribe was the very same venue where Dr. King presented the oration that has been voted the greatest speech in American history by a panel of distinguished scholars. My granddaddy George had a saying that expresses my feelings exactly: “That Boy’s a liar and the truth ain’t in him!”

Beck piggybacked off and exploited our soldiers sacrifices in the cheesiest way: by pretending to honor them while basking in their reflected glory.  That’s really playing to the cheap seats!  Everyone who cares about this issue knows that if Beck were really concerned about the vets he would be supporting our First Lady Michel Obama’s admirable efforts on behalf of military families.  

Although I am inclined to be contemptuous of this delusional far right confederacy of dunces – who routinely vote against their own interest, scoff at the public interests while protecting the privileges of the Plutocrats, and get their rocks off mis-quoting the Bible spouting nonsense as constitutional dogma – I ended up actually feeling sorry for many of them. They had journeyed to Washington earnestly seeking answers to the myriad crisis’ that plague their lives…but found only a pompous little poseur spouting hot air. 

I have previously described the Tea Party crowd as a motley collection of sad sacks, misfits, deluded white supremacists, misanthropes, vulgar opportunist, religeous fanatics and lost souls looking for hope in all the wrong places – with an obsequious self-loathing Negro lickspittle here and there.  Nothing that happened on Saturday changed that opinion. It goes without saying that Republican political opportunists are everywhere in the mix, stirring up the pot, trying to gain personal and party support.  We’ll see how that work’s out for them. 

Thus far it looks like the Grand Obstructionist Party has made a Faustian bargain with the Tea Party mob and the Devil has come to claim their souls.  Just look at how the Tea Party – directed by the lunatic right’s idea of a militant feminist intellectual, Sarah Palin – are knocking off the Republican establishment’s candidates, right and further right, with straight up space cadets. The most spectacular example of this is the apparent upset in the Republican primary in Alaska. 

As I write the Tea Party candidate, Joe Miller, is leading the sitting Republican Senator Lisa McCulsky by 1500 votes.  And you have to listen to what Mr. Miller believes to understand how Alaskans would have to be even dumber than I think – and since they voted Sarah Palin Governor, given what I’ve written about her, you can imagine how dumb I think they are! – to vote for this guy to represent them in the Senate.

The curious thing about Mr. Miller is that in spite of his excellent education he still talks as crazy as Palin, and they both talk like fools.  I will have more to say about Mr. Miller in a forthcoming commentary on the new radical constitutionalists in the south in the Republican Party.  But one observation will suffice here: Based on Miller’s public comments about the nature of Federalism and the evolution of the US Constitution, he is either an ignoramus or a charlatan.   Should he win this primary, and I hope to God he does, the Democrats stand a fabulous chance of winning a seat that has been held by the McCulsky family, who are yellow dog Republicans, for over thirty years!

Furthermore, I can envision no scenario where there will be enough morons in the state of Nevada to elect Sharon Engle, hence the Republicans will lose a Senate seat that the establishment’s candidate was predicted to win.  Notwithstanding how backwards and racist many white folks are in Kentucky – a state that, for most of it’s history, either enslaved black people or subjected them to legal caste oppression, which treated our skin color as a crime – I still cannot believe they will elect a cluless political Neanderthal like Rand Paul.

Paul is the best example why people with a broad liberal, i.e. humanist, education are better suited to the leadership of society than narrow minded technocrats, no matter how clever they are.  Although political science is a real discipline in the academy – and an important one too– the practice of politics and governing is a fine art!  And art is the province of the humanities!

If anything was clarified by this rally, it is that Glenn Beck’s real agenda is to replace Oprah as the #1 television talk show in America and become the biggest mogul in the media!  And he intends to use this disillusioned and untutored mob to achieve it. Looking like the little poot butt boy who never got the girl, who was smacked upside the head and had his lunch money taken by school yard bullies, Glennie Boy reminds me of a slimmer version the old character Jackie Gleason used to play: “The Poor Soul.”  Except in this episode the poor soul is getting his revenge against all who refused to recognize his uniqueness.  He’s having a horse laugh at all of our expense – and he’s laughing all the way to the bank! 

Although he is shamefully untutored in subjects like sociology, foreign affairs, political science and history – things you need to know something about in order to advance grand speculations about the direction our complex post-industrial society should take. Listening to his “speech” I fairly quickly came to two conclusions: Beck is a megalomaniacal numbskull, a deluded frog who fancies himself a prince. And his followers are the sad silly mob I thought they were!  

Taking some of the grand themes in American history, Beck rambled on ad-nauseum – confusing his metaphors, posturing false analogies, profaning sacred texts, boring us with hackneyed clichés, and trying his best to play us for fools. Since his audience was basically the same crowd that turned up at the Republican National Convention I have no doubt that his message – whatever it was – resonated with most of them.

I say this with some certainty because during the convention the reporters and producers at WBAI FM took to the streets with our tape recorders and interviewed them en masse.  We decided to just ask the pertinent questions and allow them to express themselves freely.  No editorial excoriating them, regardless of how scurrilous, could equal the indictment they gave of themselves. 

It is fair, I think, to conclude that this may well have been the dumbest group of people ever assembled any where in the world to choose a candidate who would govern a great nation.   Hence although Beck went over like a lead balloon with me, I could tell from the ecstatic stares and spacey smiles on their pasty faces that he was uplifting the spirits of many in this cluless mob.

Glennie was getting off on it too.  Buoyed by the good vibes emanating from the crowd, he actually started to believe he had skills as an orator – based on some of the things he said before the rally; perhaps he thought he was channeling Dr. King!  Such is the feeling of omnipotence that the roar of the crowd can inspire in little men with deep seated feelings of impotence and self loathing. 

This is what Whoopi Exposed about his character when he made the mistake of going on The View, after having lied about something or the other.  Whoopi looked Glennie straight in the eyes and called him a “Lying sack of spit!”  and Glennie bitched up on the spot!  He looked like he wanted to jump up and run because Whoopi acted like if he said the wrong thing she just might break her foot off in his posterior.

 

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 Although I tend to stay away from pop-psychology, since there are others who are much better qualified to venture speculations about human character and personality. But the thoughtful observer, who understands something about how personalities are molded, need not have studied Dr. Freud to recognize that this is a little man who is having his big moment.  It is enough to have read Wilhelm Reich’s “Listen Little Man” and “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” in order to have a good idea what was going on here.

However I strongly suspect that Beck cares not a fig for the goals of the Tea party buffoons or the Republican Party hucksters.  And he has said as much; he has occasionally reminded people that he is an “entertainer” and his principal concern is the success of his show – Rush has said the same thing.  Although he has employed racist innuendo and slander to advance his agenda – which is the means by which the Republicans mobilized white resentment into a political movement that converted the south from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican – I don’t think Beck gives anymore of a good goddam about race than he does about politics.

 That’s why he declared that the rally was not about politics and expressly forbade political signs. And there were no establishment Republicans on the bill.  This also explains how Beck could allow Martin Luther King’s niece to speak without a vetted script.  And she shocked many of the rednecks in the crowd with her no holds barred denunciation of racism in America. The enthusiastic applause that greeted her introduction quickly subsided when she began to speak on an issue the Republican right is built upon denying.  As a speaker she was mediocre alas, and her overall message was muddled without a clear direction. 

Her attempt to reiterate Dr. King’s famous refrain:”I have a dream” was embarrassing. I could not escape the feeling that she is not very bright and that her main reason for appearing at this sad rally was self-promotion. After all, her cousins are certainly cashing in on the King Legacy, and her father, A.D. King, walked with his famous brother Martin….until he turned up dead in a swimming pool, with nasty rumors swirling around that he had gotten drunk, fallen in, and drowned. 

But in the matter of self promotion she was typical of all who spoke at this media contrived talkfest. However she is a rank amateur compared to the grand Meisterss of shameless self-promotion, Silly Sarah, whose great contribution to American political discourse thus far is to make ignorance fashionable.  The whole event, with very little teweaking,  was described perfectly by Shakespeare  in  Act 5, scene 5, 19–28  of MacBeth: They were but walking shadows, poor players, That struts and frets their hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more.  It was a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

 

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Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

August 30, 2010

 

Are Media Provocateurs Inciting Violence?

Posted in On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators, Playthell on politics with tags , , , , on August 28, 2010 by playthell

 

 Glenn Beck: Just your Friendly Demogogue!

 

 Some Reflections On the Ahmad Sharif Affair

 The attack on Ahmad Sharif, a Muslim American cab driver working Manhattan, by Michael Enright, a big blond boyish looking white college student wielding a knife, should come as no surprise.  Given all the anti-Muslim hysteria generated by right-wing media provocateurs, and the boisterous protests against the building of an Islamic cultural center in downtown Manhattan, this was predictable.  I’m waiting with baited breath for one of these enraged fanatics to take a shot at President Obama any day now. 

The  constant haranguing of frustrated Americans – who are mostly white, male, and imbued with a deep sense of entitlement by virtue of their race and gender – with hysterical propaganda about how everybody is out to get them, will inevitably drive some to violence.  Republican politicians who echo the extreme views of these media fear mongers must share equal responsibility for the crimes they inspire.

Nearly a year ago I  posted a commentary titled: “Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck Incite Mayhem and Murder.”  What occasioned that piece was my alarm over the rising number of dramatically violent incidents that were perpetrated by men who gave reasons for their actions that echoed the themes of daily rants by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and their fellow verbal arsonists on the right. The three cases I  cited back then were Richard Popolowski, Steven Von Bruhn and Scott P. Roeder.

Popolowski ambushed and murdered three Pittsburg Policemen who were answering a routine domestic disturbance call placed by his mother.  Von Bruhn murdered an Afro-American guard at the National Holocaust Museum, and Scott Roeder murdered gynecologist Benjamin Tiller – whom that pompous windbag Bill O’Reily labeled “Tiller the Baby Killer” because he performed abortions.  And old crazy Billy Boy even gave out the Dr.’s address on the air.  Although he can never be sure of the role he played in causing the Doctor’s death O’Reiley, arrogant megalomaniac that he is, remains unrepentant.

What all of these crazed killers have in common is that they had been obsessing over issues that are the daily fare of the radio arsonists.  Popolowski thought Obama was going to take his guns away so the government could oppress white men; Von Bruhn – a white supremacist and eugenicist – is convinced that non-white aliens are taking over the USA, and whites must take their country back by force of arms. Scott Roeder thinks abortion is mass murder and felt compelled to stop it by murdering medical doctors who treat women seeking legal abortions.  The violent attack on Mr. Sharif by Michael Enright follows this same pattern of obsessive irrational behavior.   Their obsessions are the same issues the right-wing media provocateurs harp on everyday.  Hence I think the Attack on Ahmad Sharif is a harbinger of things to come…so long as Limbaugh, Beck and company remain in business.

Sharif says they were carrying on a civil conversation when Enright suddenly shouted the Muslim salutation “Ai Salaam Alinkum” and began stabbing him. Unless the greedy amoral corporations who profit from the ignorance and bigotry spewed by murderous windbags over the airwaves put the national interest above corporate profits, or those opposed to their destructive business find a way to effectively strike at their bottom line, this murderous monologue will go on. 

 Ahmad Sharif

 

 After His encounter with A Christian Avenger

 Until they are restrained either by their bosses or the forces of the marketplace, the verbal arsonists in right-wing media will continue to incite murder and mayhem.  Alia Lateef, speaking on behalf of the Taxi Drivers in New York, has no doubt that the attack was incited by the constant anti-Muslim diatribes in the media.  That’s why I intend to join my fellow citizens who are standing up for the rights on Muslims to build their Mosque wherever they wish.  In my view the issue is clear: To make any attempt to deny them this right is religious bigotry!   Any attempt to curtail or mediate that right – which is absolute under the US constitution – is unacceptable and illegal if it involves any act of government.

 

 ****************

 

Let me be clear where I am coming from on this question.  I am not, as many mistakenly believe, pro-Islam.  Rather I agree with Franz Fanon, the black Psychiatrist from Martinique in the French Antilles who became the leading theoretician of the Algerian Revolution against France.  When the leadership of the FLN was debating about what a liberated Algeria would be like, the Islamicist wanted to establish Sharia law, but Fanon protested, arguing that establishing an Islamic theocracy would be “a return to primitive medievalism!” However I think that Christian fundamentalist control of the US government would also be a return to primitive Medievalism too.  

 I believe the molders of the US constitution got things just right!  The government shall have no role in promoting specific religious beliefs, and freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.  I am now, and have been for over half a century, an avowed atheist.  I refused to indoctrinate my children with any kind of religious dogma, and specifically warned by daughters against acceptance of religious philosophies that would deny them full equality on all planes of existence with their male counterparts.   So when it comes to religious fundamentalist of any stripe, I say a pox on all your houses!  But it is not my business what others choose to believe, and it’s certainly not the government’s business.

 Thus there is no alternative for those who love our Constitutional liberties but to support the Muslim’s right to build their mosque wherever they choose – even if it is directly on the site of “Ground Zero,” let alone five blocks away!  I take this position in spite of the fact that my first wife was a casualty of the 9/11 attack, and several friends also died there. This is because I don’t equate all Muslims with Al Qaeda any more than I would equate all Christians with Timothy McVey and the “Christian Identity movement. ”   Furthermore, if most Americans were not so abysmally ignorant about the rest of the world, they would know that fourth fifths of the world’s Muslims are not Arabs, and don’t live in the Middle East!  I am therefore compelled to oppose those who oppose the building of the Mosque downtown because I cannot stand idly by while ignorant and bigoted rabble turn my beloved city into a racial and ethnic battleground.  You see, I am a New Yorker who loves this city as much as anyone alive.   

I have often said publicly: “I would rather be a fire hydrant in New York City, and be pissed on by dogs all day long, than a king in a castle anywhere else!”  I witnessed the plane crash into the second tower, and experienced the terror of that moment; if I’m not mad about the Mosque’s location then I am unmoved by the vitriolic rhetoric of those out in the boonies.  I am suspicious of those talking heads in the media who have neither the best interests of this city, or the nation for that matter, at heart.  These bogus bloviators, who are stirring up all the trouble, only care about increasing their ratings so they can maintain their multi-million dollar salaries and princely lifestyles.   And they have told us so publicly!

Thus it is safe to conclude that the people who will journey to our nation’s capitol this weekend to attend Glenn Beck’s rally, will be disproportionably composed of emotional cripples and abysmal ignoramuses. It would behoove all of us to pay close attention to what happens there.  It is an obscene burlesque on the great March on Washington in 1963, which was a march against racism, war, poverty and avarice – all the things that Beck and his Tea Party cronies promote. 

This vulgar side show, hosted by an amoral clown who incites homicides for fun, featuring Sarah Palin as keynote speaker – a racist vulgar opportunist who has the values of a barbarian and the intellect of a Neanderthal –is both an insult to the memory of Doctor King and the great work he did.  And it is a dangerous diversion for the poor deluded white folks who sincerely believe that this scurrilous buffoon is offering wise counsel that will show them the way out of their misery.  Not so. 

Instead they will be provided and opportunity to engage in a collective venting of rage – not unlike the giant Nazi rallies at Nuremburg Germany in the 1930’s.  In those rallies the major issues were also rooted in economic dislocation and a growing feeling that the “true Germans” were having their country taken over by alien elements of their own population.   And as any historian of the period will verify, protestant fundamentalism and Catholic complicity played a major role in the rise of Fascism that led to the Holocaust.   There are many who throw the Nazi analogy around falsely, but I’m dropping some real science here. Check it out!!!   In any case I will have more to say on this subject in a forthcoming commentary.

Alas, Beck’s rally may prove cathartic for the moment, but no solutions to the problems of struggling white folks who despair that they may ever realize their American dreams will be provided by this shameless charlatan, verbose ignoramus and friendly fascist.  For when it is all said and done, they will still be in the same boat: the Darwinian struggle for bread that is the lot of the working class of all colors in an increasingly post industrial cybernetic American economy that no longer needs them. 

Who knows, if we use the past as a guide to understanding the present and predicting the future, this mass outpouring of white grievances – the great majority of which are imagined in the fevered mind of Beck and his ilk – could well push more clueless white saps into violent attacks on Muslims and people of color.  That’s what usually happens when white Americans descend into a state of racist rage popularly known as “white backlash.   There is a rush to convince us that the attack on Sharif was an aberration, the demented act of one deranged individual and we need not worry about a recurrence…We’ll see.

 The White Christian Avenger

 

 Just Another Poor Sap Pushed Over the Edge?

 

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 Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

August 2010

An Open Letter to Dr. Laura

Posted in On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators, Playthell on politics with tags , , , , , on August 21, 2010 by playthell

 

 The Dr. Laura I Remember

 

Hi Dr. Laura

You may not remember me, but I remember well the night we met.  Let me refresh your memory.  It was at a book party for the prolific and erudite Rabbi Shmuley Boetec about six years ago.  It was a posh affair on Fifth Avenue where you and I were guest speakers.  I was not familiar with your work beyond the fact that you were considered a prominent and well respected relationship expert.  In fact, that was the raison d’ etre for the discussion, as Rabbi Shmuley was also a celebrated relationship expert, having written the wildly popular Book: “Kosher Sex.”  I admired your spunk and intellect that night, as you boldly pointed out that you disagreed with some of the learned Rabbi’s relationship advice because he was a male chauvinist!

You might remember that I was the last of an impressive array of speakers, all of whom had been given strict time limits; I was the last to speak precisely because Rabbi Shmuley wanted me to speak with no limits.  This was because Schmuley and I were co-hosting a radio show on WWRL AM in New York at the time, he had heard my take on class, ethnicity and race in the US and he wanted the audience to hear my analysis of Afro-American / Jewish relations in historical perspective. 

We had known each other less than a week, but after our first encounter on air he began to read up on me.  He discovered a feature story I had written in Emerge magazine, “Blacks and Jews: Our Tattered Alliance,” which had attracted a lot of attention in news paper reviews around the country and resulted in my being invited to present a lecture on the topic at Harvard – a recording of which I shall soon place online.  Shmuley, who has a great admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King – whom he has repeatedly said “has done more to bring the teachings of the ancient Hebrew prophets to life than any Rabbi I know” – thought my views on the subject of blacks and Jews in America would bring some much needed clarity to the muddled thinking on this subject.

Considering the uniqueness of the event – the audience was packed with blacks and Jews of varying class and educational backgrounds, religious and secular – I’m sure you must remember it despite your whirlwind schedule.  Hence you may recall the tremendous ovation my presentation received. For no one greeted my message more enthusiastically than you,  as you embraced me warmly and showered me with accolades.   I had no doubt that your expression of fraternity was genuine, as you gave me your private phone number and invited me to call and chat sometimes.

 Rabbi Shmuley

 spreading a message of racial Harmony in the US

That’s why I was shocked and surprised when I heard of the racial imbroglio that you now find yourself in.  I confess that I have not followed your career closely, but when I found myself being stalked by a deranged female fan of my radio show, you were the first person I considered calling for advice as to how to handle the situation.  Especially as she was using the internet to launch anonymous attacks and I had read where you had been the victim of several such attacks.  But I had written your number in a phone book and never transferred it to my computer file and when I looked it up the ink had faded on a couple of the digits and  I couldn’t make out the entire number; I started to call your show but thought the better of it.  But judging from the way you “helped” the young black female caller that touched off the present firestorm,  perhaps I made the right decision.

However it was then that I learned how big you had become.  According to the information I am reading now you are the biggest female radio show host in the nation – and the only radio host of either gender who has your own You Tube channel.   Now it has all suddenly come crashing down…what happened?  How could it all end with a single phone call?   I guess you must be wondering the same thing.  After taking a close look at the incident that precipitated your demise I would attribute your dramatic fall from grace to two fundamental factors: A lifetime of white Privilege and the arrogance it produces in dealing with nonwhites, and the hubris that results from feelings of omnipotence when one is constantly sought out by others for their superior wisdom in dealing with the trials and tribulations that life presents to us all.

Unless I am to assume that you had dropped a tab of acid, or ingested some other mind altering drug, when you were browbeating the black female caller from Colorado who sought your advice in dealing with friends and family of her white husband that constantly accosted her with racially offensive remarks, then the explanation for your behavior must either be the reasons suggested above, or you are indeed a cold blooded racist!  

Since I grew up in the apartheid South in the hey day of white supremacy I think I know an avowed racist cracker when I see one, and you just don’t strike me as that.  But when ignorance, arrogance, and a sense of white entitlement are combined with hubris the result may well be a distinction without a difference.  How dare you assume that you know best when Afro-Americans should be offended by the use of the word Nigger?  Who appointed you the arbiter of our sensibilities? 

Failing to heed the adage, “When you are already in a hole stop digging,” you attempted to justify your racist drivel by accusing the young black woman – who went by the nomme de Plume “Jade’ – of being “too sensitive.”  Then you offered the silly half baked explanation that because black comedians say “Nigger” it should be cool for whites to say it: “”I don’t get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it’s a horrible thing,” you screeched.  And you accused her of “NAACPing me,” what the hell was that all about?  I cannot imagine a response that more perfectly combines ignorance, arrogance and white chauvinism.  Since you are a Jew let me put this in terms that you will surely be able to understand.  Unless you really are as silly and shallow as you appear to be in this instance.

Have you ever heard Jewish comics perform in the Borscht Belt resorts of the Catskills?  Well I have.  When I was in the boxing business I had occasion to spend time in the training camps of the great pugilists Michael Spinks and Timmy Witherspoon, who trained at The Concord and Kutchers.  The way the deal worked was that the fighters were to make themselves as visible as possible while training there, which included having dinner in the main dining room, which is also where the floor shows were staged.  The shows always included a comedian, that’s why these Borscht Belt resorts became the training ground for so many great Jewish comedians.

Minnie Tonka: Jewish Burlesque Commediene

Would Jews find this routine funny if performed by a black woman?

What struck me most emphatically about the performances of these comedians was that Jews were often the butt of their jokes.  Just like black comedians working the chittlin circuit – although the comics of the past had a better sense of the racial realities and far too much self respect to yell “Nigger!” in public.  Yet when the language of the Jewish comics is appropriated by outsiders it was considered anti-Semitic.  Just like when whites appropriate the language of those black comedians Afro-Americans consider it racist!   Furthermore the anti-Jewish epithet ‘Kike” is a term German Jews created to describe Jews from Eastern Europe. 

But does that give others the right to use this term with impunity?  When put in these terms it is clear that your logic does not hold and your argument falls apart!  Furthermore, no group on earth is more sensitive to ethnic insults that American Jews!  You all even have an organization with a vast research capability that monitors not only what is said about Jews in the media – broadcast and print – but also scours academic and literary texts for arguments considered injurious not only to American Jewish interests, but that of the far away state of Israel as well. 

It’s called the Anti-Defamation League, and the black community has no watch dog guarding our interests that even begins to approach the power of Abe Foxman, who has destroyed quite a few careers of people for transgressions far less odious than yours!  If you don’t know about this, then you should Google the late great investigative journalist Robert I. Freedman and read his work on the ADL.  So why didn’t you tell Jade “Don’t do an Abe Foxman on me?”  You accuse black people of applying a “double standard” because we tolerate remarks from black comedians that we find offensive when others use them against us – although there is a clear difference in intent if your are laughing with me or laughing at me – yet Jews are just as guilty of this.  Double standards indeed!

 

Abe The Grand Inquisitor!

 

Why you did not recognize this is anybody’s guess; only you know for sure whether the motive was ignorance or arrogance.  I strongly suspect it was a bit of both – as opposed to the plain old racism of which you stand accused.  In other words, like most white media talking heads, you just didn’t have a clue what the fuck you were talking about!   According to the information I have been able to acquire about your academic training you hold a Doctorate in physiology from Columbia University.  Although that is an impressive achievement, it in no way qualifies you to pontificate authoritatively on matters that require knowledge of sociology, psychology and history.  Which means that you were in over your head to begin with in attempting to answer the question the caller put to you; hence a little humility would have been in order rather than the haughty arrogance you displayed.

Perhaps people who call radio show hosts to seek advice on matters about which the host has no demonstrated competence – either in terms of academic credentials, demonstrated excellence in performance, or a written paper trail – deserve whatever they get.  But then, arrogant radio show hosts who offend entire sections of the population with racial or ethnic insults that encourage injurious behavior against the offended group deserve what they get too.  And the spectacle of a millionaire bloviator – who has amassed a fortune broadcasting opinions she is unqualified to offer  over 250 radio stations nation wide crying about her First Amendment Rights being violated when listeners complain – is ludicrous! 

 It is a rare occasion when true wisdom flows from the mouth of Howard Stern, but he is certainly right regarding your ridiculous whining about having your first Amendment Rights violated.  It remains to be seen if he is also right in his prediction that you are faking the funk when you say that you are going to retire from radio, and you may be sure that I shall watch your career moves with interests.  And I shall henceforth offer critical comments on your bloviations when the situation demands it. 

But let us dwell a bit on the First amendment issue, because it is a dramatic illustration of the point I wish to make about your ignorance regarding history.  It also demonstrates my long standing contention that white commentators don’t necessarily have to know what they are talking about to be provided a platform to pontificate to the multitudes on critical issues.  The First Amendment was designed to prevent the government from suppressing unpopular speech, mainly speech critical of government itself. 

It was conceived by men who knew all to well the tyranny that results from unchecked power because they had witnessed it under the monarchies of Europe.  This is the same impulse that led the architects of the Constitution to prohibit the government from establishing a state religion; for they had also witnessed the power of the Church of England.  What the first Amendment does not do, nor was it ever intended to do, is protect people like you from being muzzled either by your boss – in this case the station owners who broadcast your shows – or the machinations of the marketplace. 

Therefore if parties who are offended by your caustic pontifications decide to boycott your sponsors unless they dump you, that’s not a violation of your First Amendment Rights!  And you discredit yourself as a serious commentator on important societal issues every time you say so.  Furthermore, it marks you as a hypocrite since the organized Jewish community is the best in the country at playing this game and I have never heard you utter a peep about it.

Of course –  like Rush and Sean and Glenn – you appeal mostly to mindless sycophants, the kind of people  the late great Dean of American letters and insightful judge of human foible and folly H. L. Mencken called “Boobus Americanus.”  Thus it is no surprise that you have received thousands of e-mails supporting you in your mindless folly.  But there is one e-mail that you must publicly disavow – and the sooner the better for the sake of your reputation – and that’s the one from Silly Sarah Palin, the verbose Alaskan barbarian.  The reasons why you must reject her offer of sisterly support is first because you are on record calling her a ignoramous and an unfit mother after John McCain choose her as his presidential running mate – thus you will look like a shameless charlatan if you don’t – and second because she is a transparent racist who is apparently willing to incite a race war in America if it serves her interests: political and personal. 

Palin’s Role Model

 

 A Real Vicious Bitch!

Sarah is, by her own admission. “a pit bull in lipstick;” which is synonymous with an evil dangerous bitch!  And you cannot lie down with dogs without getting up with fleas.  How you handle your newly minted relationship with Sarah Palin – who is not only a transparent racist but is as shallow as a dry creek bed – will tell us even more about who you really are than anything you have said or done thus far.  As the Zen Master said to his devotee: “We’ll see.”

 

Ps: You say that you want to debate these questions: Really?

Well I’m available 24/7, call me ASAP and let’s get it on!

 

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

 

 As always, Playthell George Benjamin

Harlem, New York

August 21, 2010

A Menace To Society!

Posted in On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators, Playthell on politics with tags , , , on April 21, 2010 by playthell

 

 Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Leader

 

 Why Republican Rule Will Ruin America

All we need do to demonstrate that it will hasten our decline to a second rate country should the nation follow the policies prescribed by Republican ideology, is to look at the policies they advocate and compare them to the most pressing problems confronting the nation.  For instance, we need a national health care program so that we can have a healthy workforce and American manufacturers such as the auto-industry can compete with foreign manufacturers, who benefit from such enlightened programs and realize greater profits while selling their products at lower prices.

We need stringent regulation of the financial industry to prevent another collapse of our economic system brought on by practices on Wall Street that should be illegal.  And in order to prevent the disappearance of our last great manufacturers, the government must supply financing when credit freezes in the private sector – a policy that President Obama employed to save the US auto-industry and the millions of jobs in related industries.  As I write we are receiving the good news that not only has General Motors paid back eight billion dollars on their government loan five years early, but they are also forecasting a profit for the first time in years!

We desperately need to convert from a petroleum based economy, which spew carbon emissions into the atmosphere heating up the planet and imperiling our children’s future.  We need peaceful relations with the rest of the world, and diplomacy not saber rattling is the key to achieving it.  And we need to finally rid the world of nuclear weapons!  This is the agenda that President Obama is pursing 24/7.  It is a plan that will create a safer world and keep American in the forefront of nations in the 21st century.

          The Republicans however, have built their entire political strategy around trashing the President’s agenda; even if it means the ruination of America and jeopardizing the future health of our planet.  For instance, after promoting lassie Faire economic policies that wrecked the financial system  – squandering a surplus of over a hundred billion dollars bequeathed to them by Bill Clinton – most Republican’s were willing to stand idly by and allow the American banking system to collapse and take the world with them.  And they stuck to this absurd position even as their two term president, George Bush, repudiated his free market dogma and came a begging to the Democratic Congress to bail him out of the financial mess his ill conceived policies had wrought.

Rather than seek peace with the other nations by entering into international treaties to solve problems of mutual interests and collective security, the reactionary white nationalists that control the Republican Party are pushing an agenda based on the self-serving but bogus ideology of “American Exceptionalism.” This approach to international relations is a prescription for endless war that will squander the nation’s human and financial capital.  Yet the Republican chicken hawks still refuse to recognize that diplomacy is a better foreign policy than war, and in spite of their constant whining about government spending for productive activities that will advance our society, they are willing to squander billions on destructive wars in the third world.

Hence, despite the suggestion of recent polls forecasting a Republican resurgence, it is barely conceivable that any significant percentage of the American electorate could be seriously considering voting for the Republican Party in the next Congressional elections. During the last eight years of Republican misrule under George Bush, they proved the veracity of Murphy’s Law: Everything that could go wrong did go wrong! 

If Americans return the Republicans to power in the next elections they will have demonstrated once again that H.L. Mencken was right when he called the masses of US citizens “Boobus Americanus,” meaning they are thoughtless and empty headed. They will also provide incontestable evidence that Thomas Jefferson was right when he warned that an ignorant electorate will elect and return the worse people to power!

The Republicans have demonstrated over and over again that they are contemptuous of government and if elected to office they cannot govern.   Which is why the Nixon Administration ended in disgrace and resignation to avoid impeachment and conviction in the Senate, and the Reagan administration conducted illegal operations in the white house basement designed to subvert the constitutional powers of the Congress to declare war and fund American military activities.  And according to Republican strategists and statistician Kevin Phillips: Ronnie Reagan also presided over the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in history.  He also left a tremendous deficit.  Then George II came along and easily surpassed all of Reagan’s sins.  Although they talk a good game the Republicans have failed balance the federal budget, obey the law, or protect the homeland from a devastating attack.

 Each of these administrations had top executive branch officials to go to jail and the worst attack by a foreign power on American soil since the War of 1812, during the early years of the Republic, took place on their watch even though they had plenty of warning.  Then after the attack by Islamic Jihadists from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the Bushmen attacked the Iraqi’s and overthrew Sadam Hussein who had nothing to do with the horrid affair, while allowing Osama bin Ladin who ordered the attack go free. 

And worst of all is the fact that the Republicans are beginning to hint that they will block the ratification of the agreements President Obama and Russian President Medvedev recently negotiated to reduce their nuclear arsenals by a third.  Although this agreement is only a first step and a rather tepid one since it leaves both nations with enough weapons to destroy all life on earth several times, reactionary Republicans may well attempt to trash it.  And the sad fact is that many GOP leaders know third arguments are bullshit, their fetish for power compels them to talk like reckless morons and behave like pious whores who claim they hate sin yet commit them enthusiastically for personal gain.

The Grand Old Party has obviously decided to fill its ranks with the most angry, disillusioned and clueless dregs of white society because thoughtful people with humane instincts aren’t buying the backward looking vision of the GOP.  Since there are not enough rich evil people to win national elections, and the blacks they attract can hold a rally in a phone booth, the Republican Party’s destiny depends upon their ability to rally poor dumb red necks behind their reactionary programs.

As near as I can tell, there are three kinds of people who populate the Republican Party: Rich evil mostly white people, poor dumb rednecks who can’t tell there ass from a hole in the ground, and cold blooded black opportunists on the make whose allegiance is dictated by expedience.  Since there are not enough rich evil people to win national elections, and the blacks can rally their followers in a phone booth, the Republican Party’s destiny depends upon their ability to rally the red necks behind their reactionary programs. 

This required them to identify and court a group of people who were stupid enough to support policies that are against their self-interests.  Enter “Joe the Plummer” and the Dumb Doras, who are enamored by that white trash debutante Silly Sarah Palin. Hence far from offering real solutions to the multiple crises’ that face America – much of which is of their making – the Grand Old Party, with its open support of the Tea Party fanatics and Second Amendment gun nuts, has become a menace to American society.

The Vessel Of Republican Pieties

 

Silly Sarah!

Where Have All The Altar Boys Gone?

Posted in Cultural Matters, On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators with tags , , on April 19, 2010 by playthell

 

The Holy Father?

 

One would be hard put to find a more poignant example of blatant hypocrisy and shameless amorality than the deafening silence or tepid commentary offered up by the self-righteous posse of verbose right-wing Catholic commentators and bloviators who line their pockets with coin preaching morality to the rest of us.

As revelations of the widespread rape of children by Catholic Priests, and the ongoing cover-up from the local dioceses to the Vatican, threatens to engulf and severely tarnish – if not bring down – the Pope, these avatars of the chattering classes have been distinguished by their silence about crimes that I think should carry the death penalty.

Suddenly, they who have issued such scathing denunciations against the preachments of the Reverend Doctor Jeremiah Wright, or Muslim minister Louis Farrakhan – who were, for the most part, denouncing real crimes of white Americans against people of color – now display none of that righteous outrage when addressing the actual sins of the Catholic Church.

Where are the thunderous screeds of Patrick Buchanan, the snide derision of Bill O’Reiley, The pretentious prattle of Peggy Noonan, or the pugnacious invective of Sean Hannity?  Their silence is so out of character that we must call them out for the opportunist charlatans that they are.

A Motor Mouth Fraud!

For weeks on end back during the presidential election we were bombarded with the endless repetition of a small excerpt of a sermon by Reverend Jeremiah Wright regarding how America was inviting the wrath of god by its unjust policies against non-white people at home and abroad.  I wrote an analysis of the Reverend’s actual sermon and found it to be for the most part true – see “On Paranoia, Politics and Religion” – and Professor Bernard Bell has written a learned and comprehensive treatise on the long tradition of the American Jeremiad of which Rev. Wright’s sermon is simply the latest addition.  (see The Reverend Wright and President Obama.

 Pat Buchanan

To listen to the rants of these Irish wags you would have thought the Reverend had committed an unforgivable crime: Like raping a child under his spiritual guidance and gotten away with it!  However we have heard hardly a peep out of this crowd concerning the latest revelations about the Priest who molested 200 deaf boys, many of them during confessionals!

In spite of complaints from their parents, the DA refused to prosecute him for these horrendous crimes due to the unholy influence of the church.  And the present Pope not only advised the previous Pope John Paul – whose record on the rape of children by priests was abominable – not to defrock the pedophile priest, but allowed him to be installed as headmaster of the school!

Furthermore, when the Vatican was recently questioned about this outrage by the press, they issued the following statement “The church is not a multi-national company where the chief executive is expected to take responsibility…the Pope is not personally directing the actions of individual priests.”

In fact, the Catholic Church is a dictatorship where the Pope has absolute power.  His judgment is considered infallible and his pronouncement on any matter is repeated as sacred dogma beyond dispute. Furthermore the Vatican is considered a sovereign government which cannot be compelled to answer questions in lawsuits about this matter.  Hence they are hiding behind a legal fiction and stonewalling on this tragic issue, which allows priests to cover up their crimes against children with impunity.

In the Papacy we see the naked truth of Lord Acton’s axiom: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Now, that’s really something to talk about!  Yet, aside from the obecene apologies for the Papacy emanating from Pious Pompous Peggy, we have heard hardly a peep from the diabolical Irish talkers who befoul our airways with rancid rhetoric 24/7.  Which forces everyone concerned with truth, justice and the welfare of children to ask: “Where have all the self-righteous Irish altar boys gone?

Pious, Pompous, Peggy

 

 A Shameless Apologist for the Papacy!

 ****************

 

Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York 

March 31, 2010

 

Is Haiti Cursed By God?

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators, Playthell on politics with tags , , on January 15, 2010 by playthell

 The Leader Of  The Haitian Church

 

 Unmasking A False Prophet!

 To thoughtful and humane people all over the world, the earthquake that exploded in Haiti – which measured a devastating 7.2 on the Rictor scale – is a grand human tragedy of classical proportions, because mere  mortals are pitted against the forces of nature.  To peoples of the ancient world, who inhabited a pre-scientific universe, this would have been interpreted as the wrath of the Gods.  But at the end of the first decade of the twenty first century, when we have the science of seismology to explain such things, attributing this disaster to the wrath of an angry God is prima facie absurd…the ranting of  a crackpot!   But that is exactly what that old religious charlatan,  racist provocateur and Icon of the American Taliban Pat Robertson attributes Haiti’s tragedy to. 

According to Robertson, who made his announcement on his so called “Christian” television show shortly after the disaster, Haiti’s troubles result from the fact that they made a deal with the devil during their revolution which overthrew slavery on that island in the 18th century.  “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti,” he said  “and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French . . . and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’  True story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’  One is forced to wonder how someone with a law degree from Yale could actually hold such beliefs in this advanced scientific age. 

Perhaps it’s all  part of his act, and he is just doing what he always does: laying B.S. on the believers – a group of lost souls whose fealty to a fuzzy headed old fool like Robertson is irrefutable evidence that they are mental retards and moral cripples. The sunny side of this sad situation is that this kind of rancid Rhetoric  is such crazy evil talk it might result in the unintended  consequence of swelling the ranks of atheists among the intelligent and humane – even as it rallies the self-righteous semi-literate Christian fanatics – and the ideas promulgated in Christopher Hitchens’ text  – “God Is Not Great” – shall gain bright new adherents.

Since Haiti is officially a Catholic country Pat Robertson’s charge, like that of Rev. Jon Hagee, another southern protestant lunatic who calls the Catholic church “The Whore of Babylon,” is a slander against Catholicism. It is tantamount to applauding the collapse of the National Cathedral in Haiti – a sacrilege in the eyes of all devout Catholics. We will see if Mr. Donahue, a militant defender of the white American catholic church, will step forward and call Robertson – a dime a dozen Republican chicken hawk and shameless coward whose US Senator father pulled him off a troop ship that was heading for the battle zone during World War II – the depraved religious faker that he is.   

But all the pugnacious Irish Alter Boys – Pat Buchanan, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly first among them – seem to fold like wet noodles when their church is attacked by these icons of the Protestant Christian Right.  These guys, soulless opportunists that they are, know what side their bread is buttered on.  Thus they are only able to find their voices when they are attacking black clergyman like Reverends Jeremiah Wright and Al Sharpton, or Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation Of Islam.  

Beyond all this, Pat Robertson’s pronouncement regarding Haiti begs the question: If Haitians made a Faustian Bargain in order to achieve their independence what about the USA?  The black Haitian’s had far more justification for their revolution than the white Englishmen in the North American colonies. The Haitian Revolution overthrew slavery, the American Revolution protected the rights of slaveholders and their New Constitution prohibited Congress form taking any action to restrict the slave trade for 20 years after it’s ratification in 1887.  Furthermore, the Constitution permitted the southern slaveholding states to count their slaves as 3/5 of a man for purposes of apportioning membership in the House of Representatives.   If this was not a deal with the devil there is no such thing!  

As a Yale trained lawyer who pretends to promote the teachings of Jesus Christ, Pat Robertson cannot be innocent of this knowledge; which is further evidence of how right wing Republicans operate in a fact free zone where any sort of putrid nonsense can be passed off as divine revelation.  Still, one is forced to wonder what sort of moral cretin could conjure up a vision as twisted as Pat Robertson’s.  However we need not look far to find his soul mate: that racist dope fiend Rush Limbaugh’s take on President Obama’s rapid response in mobilizing the American government to provide humane assistance on a scale adequate to the size of the disaster, is equally depraved and morally deformed.  But that’s par for the course with the amoral bloviators on WABC radio.

Alas, this is far from the first time Robertson has interjected himself into tragic situations with malicious mystical Mumbo Jumbo; he also declared that the devastating 9/11 assault on New York City, and the Katrina disaster that put the Crescent City under water, were acts of retribution by God against the sinners who inhabit these cities, which he views as sinful sex pots where homosexuality and licentiousness flourished like ancient Babylon; a wicked nation God also destroyed in his righteous anger.  In any case, like so much else Pat Roberson preaches’ his charge makes no sense, and could only have been made a silly deluded old white racist. 

Pat says the Haitians made a deal with the Devil to rid them of the French, but to the African slaves of Haiti, whose life expectancy was four years in the cane fields and whose rectums were stuffed with gunpowder and exploded when they failed to meet their production quotas, the white French slave masters were the devil!  Just like white American slave holders were Pharaohs to African American slaves, and  false prophets spouting white supremacist theology today look like devils in the eyes  of many black people today!  This writer included.

 Pat Robertson

 The Anti-Christ foretold by the Prophets!!!

 

 ****************

 

 Harlem, New York

January 15, 2010

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