Archive for politics

Mitt Romney, Taxes and Class Warfare

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , on September 19, 2012 by playthell

How much tax does these guy pay?

 On Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Mitt Romney, aka “Mr. Chameleon,” has finally exposed his true colors, albeit unwittingly.  We have long suspected Mitt of being a selfish, sneering plutocrat but now we know for sure.  The secretly recorded meeting where Mitt lets his hair down with his fellow plutocrats, who paid $50,000 a piece to hang with him, gives us an unfiltered peek into his gilded soul.  He left little doubt that he ain’t feeling the pain of the struggling masses.

In heartfelt statements, perhaps the sincerest expresion of his beliefs we have yet heard from the The Mittster, he told his cronies that nearly half the American people are bums sitting around waiting for a handout, and since these losers paid no taxes they weren’t interested in what he had to say. Hence he was writing them off because he didn’t know how to appeal to them. Thus he was conceding the vote of these deadbeats and freeloaders to Barack; this was his constituency.

Mitt confessed that he had nothing to offer these people with no ambition, who feel entitled to a home, food and medical care and believe the government should provide these things by taking from the haves and redistributing it to the have nots through the tax system.   But since he will insist that these people take responsibility for their lives, Romney said there was no chance that any of these losers would vote for him.

The problem with this analysis is that the states that have the highest numbers of people who don’t pay federal income taxes are Republican dominated red states.  For instance 40% of South Carolinians pay no federal income tax and this is one of the reddest sates in the union.  Furthermore most the people who pay no income taxes are working, and working hard too, but they don’t make enough money to be taxed.  The second largest group is the elderly or people on military disability

However Mitt is only ticked off about poor people who don’t pay income taxes.  He is all hunky dory with the 7,000 people who mad a million dollars or more who paid no income taxes last year, or the 22,000 Americans who made between 500,000 and a million dollars who also paid no income taxes.   And he does not seem the least bit perturbed that 491,000 Americans who made more than 100,000 dollars but didn’t pay a dime in taxes.

We are still waiting for Mitt to release his tax returns from last year, which should raise the suspicions of thoughtful citizens.  Why does a rich businessman that has been filing taxes for decades, and has an army of lawyers and accountants at his command, need extra time to file his taxes? What’s he up to?

While Mitt has no problem with those making grand theft dough not paying a dime in taxes, he seems to lie awake at night fulminating over the gardeners and scullery maids who may be filching a buck or two and hiding it from the tax man – while he is hiding millions in foreign banks like a dope dealer. Yet the shameless verbal bullies in the Grand Obstructionist Party constantly accuse President Obama of waging class warfare.

But through the magic of video tape we have Mitt in living color dismissing nearly have the US population as slovenly parasites while reaffirming his belief that the rich should not be taxed to feed and heal the struggling poor…whose economic condition is proof that they are lazy and morally defective.  It that ain’t class warfare eggs ain’t poultry; grits ain’t groceries and Mona Lisa was a man!

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Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

September, 19 2012

The Crisis of the Black Leftist Intellectual

Posted in My Struggle On the Left!, Playthell on politics with tags , , , , , , on September 10, 2012 by playthell
Dr. Anthony Montero: Clueless Marxist Ideologue

Reflections On the Pitfalls of Ideology

I have argued for some time now, that as we approach the outer limits of the right and left on the American political spectrum, the more they begin to resemble each other in their conclusions.  One need only look at the present political debate around President Obama to gauge the veracity of my claim.   Consider for instance the following statement:

Bill Clinton continued the farce in his nominating speech for Barack Obama. More than farce it is cynicism, coverup…The Dems are performing a fake populism and a fraudulent claim to protecting the economy, saving the nation from depression and defense of the working class…. This fraud must not only be criticized, it has to be rejected.”

I bet you think this is yet another slander of our President by rightwing Tea Party fanatics, who are more likely than not white racists.  But this passage was actually written by Dr. Anthony Monteiro, a black professor of sociology at Temple University, who considers himself a militant defender of Afro-American interests and the working class in general.

I have known Tony since he was an undergraduate student at Lincoln University and barely out of his teens.  Indeed, I was one of the people who inspired him to become a radical activist (see: An Open Letter to Dr. Anthony Monteiro.”) He showed great promise as an intellectual early on, and was totally committed to the Afro-American freedom movement, as was true of legions of students in the 1960’s, an era of militant struggle.  Although even then he was something of a mindless militant with a poor sense of judgment, and ended up participating in an ill-conceived act of leftist adventurism that sent him to prison.

Yet that can be chalked up to the impetuosity of an impassioned militant youth on a freedom high. The central question begged by the statement above – which is at best a clear sign of intellectual incompetence; at worse a symptom of mental derangement that renders him incapable of distinguishing fantasy from reality – is what happened?

How did Tony become a sad, deluded, bourgeois academic and de-facto ally of the Tea Party?  What drives him to serve the interests of the worst enemies of Afro-American aspirations, the Tea Party Patriots, by working to keep black Americans from voting for the reelection of President Obama?

The answer to this tragic enigma lies in Tony’s slavish devotion to a European ideology that has never managed to win the hearts and minds of the American people, especially its main targets: the white working class and Afro-Americans.  The fundamental problem is that this foreign ideology never fully addressed American realities.  Hence I agree with the great American writer John Dos Passos, in his chastisement of Michael Gold – editor of the Marxist Journal, New Masses, which was influential among early 20th century American radicals – over editorial policy.

I don’t think there should be anymore phrases, badges, opinions, banners, imported from Russia or anywhere else,” said Dos Passos.  “Ever since Columbus, imported systems have been the curse of this country. Why not develop our own?”

This is the crux of Professor Monteiro’s problem: he is attempting to analyze American politics through the eyes of a foreign ideology. Hence we shouldn’t be surprised that his pronouncements sound like unintelligible babble, unrelated to the realities that 95% of Afro-Americans, and has made him a figure of ridicule among many black intellectuals, and his ideas a dirty joke, among the black masses he pretends to represent.

Tony is a hardcore Marxist and would-be philosopher – if he could convince a philosophy department somewhere to give him a job spouting the Marxist prattle in which he is a true believer. The problem is that professional philosophers do not consider Marxism serious philosophy.  Professor Montiero is one of the last of the die-hard members of the American Communist Party who is still dealing with Post Traumatic Stress  from witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Union; which to them represents the demise of the “worker’s paradise” – an idea history has proven a grand illusion.

Yet few understand the effect on the psyche of American communist when Boris Yeltsin, the leader of the Russian Communist Party, repudiated Communism as a false doctrine and scrapped the system. Professor Montero is like a committed Catholic who comes to Rome for Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square, seeking guidance from the Pope, backed by his College of Cardinals resplendent in their priestly costumes. But, alas, instead of performing the traditional homily, the Pope announces that God does not exist and Catholic teachings about the world are a myth!

Based upon his writings posted on Facebook these days, Professor Montero appears increasingly lost, frustrated, and drifting into madness the way true believers in Catholicism would respond to the Pope’s revelation.   He has become so irrational in his fanatical desire to prove his Russian mentors wrong, that anybody who does not share his communist delusions is automatically viewed as a traitor to the working class – a social formation that exists for him mainly as a theoretical abstraction.

Absent ideologically induced madness or severe delusion, how else can we explain the reasoning of a college Professor who writes the following jibberish?

“The Democratic party campaign is, if anything, even more cynical and false than Romney’s, because it portrays the Democratic incumbent as the defender of working people against Wall Street interests.. and the wealthy, when the truth is the direct opposite. Obama spearheaded the destruction of jobs and wages with the auto bailout, and helped launch the war on public education that has accounted for the largest single cut in jobs of the past three years: the wiping out of 600,000 jobs of teachers and support workers by state and local governments.”

When confronted with gobbledegook like this my grandmother used to say “That fellow’s understandin’ is bad.” Aside from the fact that these charges rival the worst anti-Obama propaganda emanating from the Tea Party – the extreme right of the Republican Party – it is a burlesque on scholarship.  Everybody who knows anything about this question knows that the reductions in state government jobs are the result of cuts made by the Republican governors of those states – or layoffs resulting from severe deficits due to the prolonged economic crisis.

Furthermore, the Republican controlled Congress has blocked all the President’s efforts at more federal assistance.  Why doesn’t Dr. Montero understand this?  All he has to do is read “It’s Worse Than it Looks,” the new study of the Congress by Dr. Norman Orenstein, the leading scholar on the US Congress.  Although Dr. Orenstien is a resident scholar at the rightwing American Enterprise Institute, he is able to maintain scholarly objectivity and follow the facts wherever they lead.

Alas, Professor Montero is obviously unable to free his mind from the grip of misguided Marxist dogma.  His confused and dishonest prattle exhibits the worst characteristics of the Romney campaign: telling lies that are easily disproved.  Yet it is one thing to hear these kinds of ridiculous charges from paid right wing propagandists, who are indifferent to the truth and bank on the ignorance of the electorate to get over; but from a black professor who expects to be taken seriously in the black community?

Tony is an embarrassment.  His argument is an obscene parody of a serious intellectual polemic; the academic equivalent of a coon show.  Especially since his hysterical claim is so easily disproven by just reading the rigorously detailed study of President Obama’s Stimulus plan: “The New New Deal” by Michael Grunwald.  This award winning Time Magazine reporter has been following the trail of the Stimulus money since the bill was signed into law.  And as of this writing he is the foremost authority on the subject.  Here are some of Mr. Grunwald’s conclusions about what President Obama has done for the American people.

“The stimulus has launched a transition to a clean-energy economy, doubled our renewable power, and financed unprecedented investments in energy efficiency, a smarter grid, electric cars, advanced biofuels, and green manufacturing. It is computerizing America’s pen-and-paper medical system. Its Race to the Top is the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It has put in place the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, the largest research investments ever, and the most extensive infrastructure investments since Eisenhower’s interstate highway system. It includes the largest expansion of antipoverty programs since the Great Society, lifting millions of Americans above the poverty line, reducing homelessness, and modernizing unemployment insurance. Like the first New Deal, Obama’s stimulus has created legacies that last: the world’s largest wind and solar projects, a new battery industry, a fledgling high-speed rail network, and the world’s highest-speed Internet network. “

This is real progress that will put this country on the path of economic recovery by creating a new economy – which is the only path to solving the critical problem of structural unemployment.  There is no Marxist solution to this problem.  Marx was a 19th century thinker who was living as an exile  in England after the failed “Young German” Democratic movement of 1848, which was brutally crushed by the Prussian army.

Like other talented “Forty Eighters” such as the great composer Richard Wagner, Marx was forced to flee Germany after their defeat and ended up in England. Hence Marx was witnessing the early stages of the Industrial Revolution in England when he was writing some of his major works, like the massive three volume tome Das Kapital.  But Marx was witnessing a very primitive form of capitalism that has very little in common with the advanced, post-industrial, cybernetic, finance capital system the exist in the contemporary USA.

Karl Marx: Father of Communism

Tony’s Messiah

But fanatical Marxists like Professor Monteiro evidently believe that Marx’s analysis is akin to Biblical revelation – not an analysis of the state of human society at the moment but an eternal truth.  An indication of how clueless self-righteous Marxists are can be seen in the comments of Grace Lee Boggs in an interview with the present writer.  The longtime wife of James Boggs, one of the most original thinkers about the place of workers in the American economy, Grace earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Bryn Mawyr at 23.  Now in her 90’s, she was a Marxist long before Tony was born.

And since she is a Chinese American from a well off New York family, that married an Afro-American factory worker/independent radical intellectual from rural Alabama, whom she met in Detroit during the great Depression, Grace Lee Boggs knows first-hand the struggles of real workers – not theoretical abstractions.  And since she was forced to take a secretary job at an auto plant because no university would hire her to teach western philosophy despite her impressive credentials, she personally experienced the horrors of racism.

James and Grace Lee Boggs

 Original Thinkers on the Left

I interviewed Grace when she was 92.  A longtime fan of the writings of her and James, I had taught two of James’ text when I was a history Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst – The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Worker’s Notebook, and Racism and the Class Struggle.” And I was reading “Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century,” which Grace and James had written together.  So I held her opinion in high regard.

Hence when she told me that she found it absurd that anyone could believe that Marxism held the answers to the problems we face in contemporary America I felt enormous relief. Her observation had confirmed my own conclusions.  Grace Lee explained that Marx, brilliant observer of human society that he was, could not imagine the problems that confront mankind today.

She said if anybody had told Karl Marx that the smokestacks which were a measure of human progress in his time, would imperil the existence of mankind as a result of air pollution he would have dismissed them as a fool…and anyone who told him that man could poison the oceans and make the sea level rise would not have fared any better.  But these observations should come as no surprise, because Marx was just a man not a prophet or Messiah, and thus his understanding of the world was limited by the state of human knowledge at the time.

Marx would be as lost in contemporary American society as the architects of the US Constitution.  This is no gratuitous comparison. I referenced the Founding Fathers of the American Republic because the fanatics on the right – a mirror image of the far left – invoke the US Constitution with the same reverence that Marxists hold for the dialectical materialist graffiti of Karl Marx.  But the truth is that neither of these 18th and 19th century documents can guide us through the complex problems we face without revision.

In his book, The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Workers Notebook, published in 1960, James Boggs had already begun to point out the inadequacy of Marxist theory to provide answers to what he saw as the central crisis facing the working class.  Boggs saw that the central problem for the working class in the future was not going to be “wage slavery,” but no wages at all due to dramatic technological changes in the production process.

The great British economist John Maynard Keynes, whose economic prescriptions rescued the world from the “Great Depression,” had hinted of this development when he predicted an increase in “technological unemployment” in the future. But neither of them imagined the phenomenon of globalization, which encourages manufacturers to abandon workers in the advanced western societies – who had successfully fought for good wages, the eight hour workday, paid vacations, a benefits package that includes health care and retirement income – in favor of workers in third world countries who willingly work under conditions that have been outlawed in the west.

And the investor class doesn’t care where commodities are manufactured so long as they get a high return on their money.  That’s why Mitt didn’t give a shit if the American auto-industry collapsed.  His business was relocating businesses overseas to enhance the profits of investors.  President Obama takes exactly the opposite view.  He has taken extraordinary measures to reverse this trend and return manufacturing to the US.  And he is right to view technological innovations that will produce new industries as the key to the revival of American manufacturing.

James Boggs predicted that the permanent unemployment of masses of workers, caused by radical unplanned changes in the structure of America’s economy, would change the antagonism between labor and capital and heighten conflict between the employed and unemployed!  That’s what we are seeing now with workers who support the plutocrats in the Republican party who want to destroy unions and reduce workers to industrial serfs.  There are no Marxist solutions to these problems, and even if there were all of our experience shows that you couldn’t sell it to the majority of Americans at this juncture in our history.

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If we are wrong, and there is a Marxist solution, why doesn’t Professor Monteiro write a serious book that instructs us how to do it in policy terms?  The kind of detailed work Dr. William Julius Wilson has done in defense of the liberal welfare state. I have been hearing Communist talk about the revolution coming when the capitalism system fails for at least 50 years.  But we just witnessed the world capitalist system on the brink of collapse and the Communists hadn’t a clue what to do!

Since he fancies himself a political theoretician, why doesn’t Professor Monteiro tell us what his strategy is for getting his ideas through both houses of Congress?  Without such a plan he is just pissing in the wind!  Instead of this kind of detailed scholarship, which would be of real value to people in the actual struggle for a better society, all we get from Professor Monteiro is incoherent, overly emotional, nihilistic tirades on Facebook, which he attempts to substitute for substantive scholarship.

Since Tony is such an admirer of Dr. DuBois, whose legacy he is distorting due to his Communist biases, it would seem that he would at least try to follow his example of careful scholarship.  Not so!  In fact, based on his production, Tony seems to be intellectually lazy; not at all like Dr. DuBois, who was one of the most productive scholars of his time. And DuBois never enjoyed the support provided by a professorship at a major white university.  When Dr. Dubois produced his brilliant pioneering work “The Philadelphia Negro” under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, he was given the title of “Assistant Instructor” and paid a paltry salary.

Dr. WEB DuBois, Engaged Scholar

 A Great Activist Intellectual

Dr. DuBois was not allowed any contact with students and was forced to live in a cramped apartment in South Philly above a dive where violence often broke out as he was writing his masterpiece.  He also conducted his own interviews, convincing all classes of black folk to talk with him about their lives – even the criminal class.  And he was one of the best qualified men in the American academy.

In fact DuBois says that when he returned from Germany he was “educated within an inch of my life.”  Where is Tony’s update of “The Philadelphia Negro?”  This would be a valuable contribution, because the story of Philadelphia over the last forty years is a representative anecdote for the decline of urban America.

Dr. Monteiro is a sad mediocrity next to Dr. DuBois, who had  completed a Ph.D. at Harvard in history under Professor Albert Bushnell Hart – who practically invented the modern scientific documentary historical method – and also studied with Max Weber, “the Father of Sociology” in Germany.   But he had also completed all the requirements for the Ph.D. in Economics at the Kaiser Wilhelm University, including the defense of his dissertation written in German, and he was only 25!

And he did it in half the allotted time.  And most telling, while Dr. Montero pines to be accepted as a philosopher, Dr. George Santayana, Harvard Professor and one of the world’s leading philosophers, begged the young DuBois to become a philosopher, he even offered to personally mentor him, but Dubois turned him down!

The reason Dr. DuBois turned down an offer that Dr. Monteiro would exchange his balls for – if he had any – is because DuBois thought that sociology, history and economics were better weapons for an intellectual warrior committed to liberating and uplifting the race.  I think he was right, and it is as true today as it was then.

Based upon his nefarious activities in this critical election period, when the working class stands to lose every gain they have made since the passage of the Wagner Act and the New Deal, I can fathom no evidence that Professor Montero understands Dr. Santayana’s most famous axiom: Those who refuse to heed the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it’s mistakes.

If Dr. Monteiro had any clue about the implications of all that European political history any Marxist worth his salt is grounded in, he would recognize the folly of the role he is playing now.  For instance he would understand that the main reason why Hitler managed to get himself elected and bring the Nazi Party to power, in the most intellectually advanced nation in the world, was because of squabbling on the left between the Socialists and Communists, and divisions in the Jewish community between Nationalist/ Zionists, Socialists and Communists.  These divisions so fragmented the opposition that the Nazis came to power.  And we know what happened after that.

Although Marxists are fond of drawing broad generalizations about historical phenomena, because they suffer from the conceit that Marxism is a “science” that has figured out the “laws of history, ” although it has proven to be about as scientific as astrology, Tony doesn’t seem to recognize that the role he, and other misguided leftist intellectuals and revolutionary poseurs, are playing can help Mitt Romney win the Presidency and the Grand Obstructionist Party take over the government in the coming elections. If he does not consider such an event an unmitigated disaster he is not only a deluded fool, but a dangerous fool.

And just what is Dr. Monteiro’s beef with President Obama that has caused his brain to go on the Fritz and decide to cut the fool in public? As near as I can tell he is pissed off because Barack can’t wave a scepter, or a magic wand, and make all his leftist fantasies come true…and what is worse there is no evidence that Barack even wants to – or would if he could. Yet the things he expects of President Obama are totally unreasonable given the political realities of contemporary America.

He does not seem to understand that this is not his beloved Soviet Union, where the Chairman of the Communist Party and the Central Committee could dictate policy with no opposition. To expect a similar result from President Obama is a retreat into absurdity.  In this country we have a two party system and divided government.  And the two major parties are further divided now than they have been since the outbreak of Civil war.

What Tony and his fellow buffoons on the far left like the shadowy and cowardly Glen Ford of the so-called “Black Agenda Report,” the pugnacious albeit clueless Comrade Dix – Bob Avaikian’s black puppet – from the Revolutionary Communist Party, and the Cornel West /Tavis Smiley traveling minstrel show, fail to take into account is that the majority of Americans do not support the things they propose.

In fact, they voted in the right-wing Tea Party fanatics to block President Obama’s progressive agenda, only two years after the Republicans wrecked the economy!   They ran on a pledge to undo the Affordable Health Care Act, and they have blocked any attempt to pass the President’s massive job creation bills.

None of the President’s verbose black critics have anything to say about the actual political realities he must accommodate.  They are silly automatons, having a collective temper tantrum in public. Just like the fanatics on the right – their mirror opposite – they view compromise as synonymous with selling out.  Yet unless we change the Constitution of the United States and create a one party state like the Communist countries, anybody who becomes President of the USA must compromise with the opposing Party in order to govern.

That’s the way the US government works, and there is absolutely no evidence that any sizable number of American citizens want to change it; the present writer included.  Because when all is said and done power resides in the hands of the people; they may misuse and squander it…. but they have it! This means that anyone who is successful in American politics must work within this system.

The thing that impresses me most about the President’s leftist critics is that their views on what the President can do bears no relationship to political reality.  That’s why the Marxist left in the US has settled for the role of national debating society.  They play no actual role in the real political life of the United States today.  All of their glory days are in the past.  And Marxist intellectuals like Tony Monteiro are producing no substantial work to convince their fellow Americans that a Communist government would be superior to the participatory democracy we now enjoy – with all its flaws.

Not only has Tony and his Marxist comrades – like that verbose simpleton Glen Ford of the so called “Black Agenda Report, who is next in line for a public chastisement – not produced any substantive policy proposals that could pass both houses of Congress, which means they cannot be taken seriously, there is no evidence that he really even understands practical politics.  Indeed, Tony often talks like one of the semi-literate white racists in the Tea Party in his assaults on the President.  Consider the following statement.

“But the only real defense of the Obama Administration and his reelection is the lesser of two evils mantra.   However, the moment in history, rather than making the lesser of two evils logic necessary has made it obsolete and an obstacle to ideological clarity and struggle.”

Since I have already written on the consequences of this point of view twelve years ago, when the left played a critical role in electing George W. Bush, I shall simply refer the reader to that essay. (See: “On Choosing the Lesser Evil.”  Suffice it to say that anybody who argues such a thing is obviously a charlatan or a fool.  I am beginning to think Tony Montero is a bit of both. Hence I have concluded that it is a fool’s errand to expect any clarity to emerge from his reasoning.

Tony Monteiro’s views on foreign policy and collective bargaining with municipal governments are incoherent and border on a kind of ideological hysteria; a condition that has much in common with the religious fanaticism of the right. Indeed it is the same class of phenomenon: one secular one sacred. The professor’s pronouncements about President Obama’s foreign policy amount to little more than silly sloganeering.  But then, this is the guy who wept when the Russian people overthrew the Communist Party.

He is like the stranger in an old Ibo proverb that came to the funeral and cried louder than the bereaved family.  The wise Ibo Elders warned us to “beware” of such people. Tony adopted the same role when he defended the murderous tyrant Mummar Gadaffi against the righteous wrath of the Libyan people; offering this profound heart-felt observation: “At least Gadaffi showed the white man he ain’t no punk!”

To people in Tony’s demented state of mind, objective facts mean little if they don’t support his scatter brained theories about the world.  Hence he can post ridiculous and dangerous comments on Facebook about the President like the following.

his actual stance on the working class, including the auto workers and teachers (an anti-teachers union film was being shown at the convention and of course the convention is taking place in the most anti-union state in the nation) is more viciously anti-union than Reagan’s attack on the air traffic controllers.”

The fact that the auto-worker’s and teachers unions take the opposite position makes no difference to him.  My sister was an organizer for the National Education Association for years before she retired, and I live under the same roof with an International Representative of the United Auto-Workers.  When I read Tony’s statements to them their answer was short and to the point: “This nigger is crazy!”   

If the facts don’t fit his ideological dogma then he just ignores them.  As in other matters Professor Monteiro refuses to consider the political context in which the Democrats must make decisions.  His blanket denunciation of Mayor Rham Emanuel regarding the Chicago teachers strike that commenced this morning is a dramatic case in point.

Like all propagandists, as opposed to scholars, Tony is not interested in the complexities, contradictions and nuances of this labor dispute.  Hence he uses it in an opportunistic rather than a principled manner.  For instance, Chicago has a law that mandates the City balance their budget, and the day Mayor Emanuel took office the School board was facing a 700 million dollar deficit.  Parents anxious about their student’s children education and safety support increasing the school day by 90 minutes, but the teaacher’s union opposes it.

The Mayor tried to make a deal with the teachers union to give them half of the 4% raise they are requesting in exchange for the extended school day. This issue, health care payments, and teacher evaluations are the points on which the negotiations failed.  The Mayor did not want this strike and urged the teachers to remain in the negotiations.

Although I think teachers are getting a raw deal all over the country, and that encroachments on their professional standing and compensation package threatens to destroy a public education system that made America the leader of the world, this is a very complex matter and it will take our finest minds and coolest heads to salvage this vital American institution so that it can continue to attract our best and brightest college grads into the teaching profession.

The public is pissed with municipal workers in general, and teachers in particular, due to the constant attacks on the benefits that they receive, and in the case of teachers they are also angry that they get the summer off, while so many kids are failing.  This attitude is mistaken and unfair, but it is real and no politician can afford to ignore it if they intend to remain in office.  Consider this letter written by a citizen of Chicago in response to an AP story on the strike this morning:

“This is just another staged democrat union stunt, the democrats probably have 50 teams of lawyers, one for each states, just waiting for November, so they file suit in every state, democrat party is nothing but communism, get real people and vote the democrats out of office.”

These kind of crazy attacks are constantly leveled at the Democratic Party from the right, while the Communist and other leftist wags are calling them right wing tools of the plutocrats, neither charge is true.  And now Mitt Romney has weighed in on the dispute with a statement in support of the parents and villifing the union, which further confuses things as he attempts to use the strike against the President.

It is the role of serious intellectuals – especially black intellectuals – to clarify these complex issues for the untutored mob.  Alas, Professor Monteiro and his leftist comrades have failed miserably; they have added to the confusion and clarified nothing!  All that matters to these misguided, narrow minded ideologues is that their “revolutionary theory” be vindicated, even if they have to bend the facts to fit it.

Tony is willing to go down this dead end road even though we have the unimpeachable testimony of former Russian leader Andropov’s official ideologist, who has publicly testified that the refusal to accommodate their ideological predispositions to observable reality was the major cause of the collapse of the Russian Communist Party and the fall of the mighty Soviet Union!  This is a clear example of the old aphorism: “Convince a fool against his will…he remains a fool still.”  And if these anti-Obama Marxist zealots are not damned fools the Gods never blew breath in one.

I pity his students, whose young innocent minds are being corrupted by bullshit like this.  Perhaps Dr. Monteiro has two faces, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: one he shows to his classes and one when he shows his silly ass on Facebook.  In any case, if Professor Monteiro spouts the same bullshit in his classroom – and here I am employing the term in the sense that the eminent Princeton Philosopher, Dr. Harry G. Frank, defines it in his book “Bullshit” – then he should be dismissed from his faculty position by his colleagues. Not because he opposes President Obama, but for intellectual incompetence: Quackery!

I have long considered Tony Monteiro to be a “Sociologist” in name only.  That’s because after many years in the academy he has produced no serious sociological studies.  He appears to be living a life of pretense, whereas he imagines himself to be an important scholar absent a body of work that would justify such a claim.

Among my friends are serious scholars who have done, and are doing, very important consequential work; people like Bill Wilson and Alan Counter at Harvard; Bernie Anderson at Penn, Gerald Horne at the University of Houston, Bernard Bell at Penn State,  et al.  When compared to these scholars Tony looks like a verbose intellectual fraud.

He is also a bust as a “Revolutionary activist.”  At a time when we are faced with the most reactionary foe in our lifetime, people who have pledged to dismantle Obamacare and undo the New Deal, instead of organizing a summer seminar to teach his students how to organize to defeat the reactionaries who will destroy their dreams for the future, our revolutionary professor took his students off for an extended circle jerk called “Philosophy and Black Liberation.”

That’s all well and good at some other time: but not this summer; not this fire eating revolutionary who sits in judgment on the President with all the objectivity of a Catholic priest Judging a Jew during the Spanish Inquisition.  The sad truth is professor Monteiro has nothing to offer in terms of political analysis but confused dogma, which results in the disorientation of the listener and a paralysis of analysis.  This is just the opposite of a serviceable critique for a people in struggle.

Alas, Tony and his Marxist comrades offer no plan of action; yet We are facing an election where the working class stands to lose every gain we have won over the last century. In the Bush economic collapse black Americans lost 67% of all the wealth that we have accumulated since the end of slavery and Hispanic lost 61% of their collective wealth.  My sister lost $500, 000 which she had gained from a lifetime of work, saving and wise investment.  Mitt Romney could be worse than Bush, and black America cannot stand another Republican regime that will destroy the world economy and wipe us out everywhere in the world again.

To dissuade black people from voting to reelect President Obama, thus aiding in a Republican victory, is worse than irresponsibility.   It is an insult to our ancestors – especially the fighters like Harriet Tubman, DuBois, Mary McCloud Bethune, and Paul Robeson – people Tony and his ilk like to identify with.  It is also a betrayal of black people today. In fact it is harder to imagine a worse abomination than for black people who declare themselves the leaders of the black community to persuade Afro-Americans to take action’s that amount to cutting their own throats.

And we may legitimately ask: what kind of black man is this, who is so alienated from his people that he cannot take pride in our first family, or give our visionary humane president a high five?  Who instead smears Barack’s name with vicious lies then has the unmitigated gall to demand that we follow him?  It is a study in delusions of grandeur.

The best thing about Tony Monteiro’s odious ideas is that nobody pays them any mind except a lunatic fringe.  Hence the damage his nihilistic vision can do is limited…and that’s a very good thing!  I am writing about him only because he represents a dangerous nihilistic political tendency on the black left, and it seemed to me that he would make a great poster boy for it; the face of black leftist nihilism.  Ironically, Tony will probably get more play from this essay than he has ever gotten before…but he won’t particularly enjoy his new found celebrity.

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

Playthell Benjamin
Harlem, New York

September 10, 2012

There Are No Cry Babies Like Republicans!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 1, 2012 by playthell

          Joe Scarborough

 But If I was Marketing Mitt I’d be crying too

Listening to MSNBC’s early news show Morning Joe, I was amused at host Joe Scarborough’s tortured attempt to make a case for Mitt the Stiff as a courageous Commander-In-Chief in the absence of any evidence to support the claim.  In the face of swelling kudos from around the world on the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Joe was vainly attempting to argue that had Mitt been President he would have made the same decision to launch the daring raid 150 miles inside Pakistan to take out Osama bin Laden.

Joe makes this claim in spite of the fact that Mitt is on record arguing that going into Pakistan to secretively take out “high value” targets was irresponsible; he scoffed at the idea as foolishness.  Furthermore, National Security operatives who worked with several Presidents that preceded Obama say they don’t think any one of them would have ordered so politically risky a raid.

Especially since his top military and intelligence experts advised him against it.  Thus we are expected to believe that Mitt, a shameless opportunist who excels at talking out of both sides of his mouth and is no profile in courage, would have given this order when the guy is scared to death of Rush Limbaugh?

Although Joe’s argument is silly and flies in the face of reality, it was very instructive.  It demonstrates why Mr. Scarborough was booted out of his Congressional seat in Florida, alas looking and talking like John Wayne could only get him so far, and it provides a preview of the problems the Grand Obstructionist Party will have selling Mitt to the American electorate.  The conversation this morning questioned whether the President was exploiting taking out Osama bin Laden for political advantage…duh?  Of course he is!  The name of this game is politics.

The more Republican flaks talk, the sillier they sound.  After all, these are the same people who constantly carp about the President having no record of accomplishment to run on.  This is a line of argument designed for nincompoops with amnesia.  It is obviously not directed at an informed citizenry whose memory extends past four years; they are all hard core Democrats.

In fact, Mitt’s campaign has put out campaign ads that are based on easily demonstrable lies, which proves they are banking on the ignorance of the American electorate – “Boobus Americanus” in the words of the late H. L. Mencken.  When the facts are considered, any objective assessment of the way we were when President Obama took office, and where we are now, will reveal one of the most impressive records of achievements of any President in the nation’s history.

Barack’s achievements swell to epic proportions when compared to his immediate Republican successor George Bush, whose claim to the office was, like Mitt’s, based on his business acumen; the first president with a MBA from the Harvard Business School.  Yet his policies wrecked the economy, bringing on the second worse economic collapse in American history.  And just yesterday former President Clinton, whose eight year presidency was one of peace and prosperity, accused Mitt of trying to reinstitute the disastrous Bush economic policies “on steroids!”

Aside from leading the country back from the brink of economic disaster and preventing the nation from lapsing into a deep depression that most economists believe would have been worse than the 1930’s by crafting the Economic Recovery Act, which stimulated the economy, Barack passed the strongest regulations on Wall Street and the banks since the Great Depression to prevent it from happening again.

Barack also managed to pass the monumental Affordable Health Care Act, and his first act as President was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter bill making it a crime to pay women less than men for comparable work.  He saved students billions of dollars by taking commercial banks out of the student loan business and saved a million and a half jobs by rescuing the US auto-industry.

Mitt Romney, his opponent, is on video tape opposing all of these measures. Hence the Republicans are reduced to trying to deny the President’s achievements by conducting a campaign of disinformation and outright lies.  It is an extension of the Republican plan to ruin the Presidency of Barack Obama that Robert Draper exposes in his new book, “Do not Ask What Good We Do,” a plan that was hatched at a meeting in Washington on the very night of the President’s inauguration!

Yet in spite of this scurrilous conspiracy, Barack managed to achieve myriad legislative victories of historic proportions that are far too numerous to list here. That’s why the latest Republican talking point designed to discredit this President is to accuse him of using the eradication of bin Laden for political advantage.

The Mack Man: Selling Dreams to the Untutored Mob
 Rivals the Mittster talking outta both sides of his face!

They even brought out that old phony and fake “war hero” John McCain to lead the charge.  Yet this is a guy that some who served in Vietnam, such as civil rights hero and decorated Vietnam Vet Hank Thomas, believe should have been Court Marshaled for his conduct in Vietnam.  And they have a good point.

The Unified code of Military Justice specifies that when captured by the enemy you are to tell them your name, rank and serial number.  Butt by his own admission big bad John told them a hell of a lot more.  That’s the real reason he played the war hero role down during the election while trying to profit from his tough guy rep.

Senator McCain is a charlatan who has made so many Faustian bargains the Devil has already claimed his soul.  I began the blog Commentaries On the Times with an essay titled “General Clarke is Right: John McCain is Unqualified to be Commander In Chief.”  Three hundred and fifty essays later my first has proved prophetic.

Left with no other weapons the denizens of the Grand Obstructionists Party are whining about the President reminding the public of their spectacular national security failures.  They are accusing Barack of employing the dramatic slaughter of Osama bin Laden, who had become “Osama been Forgotten” under their watch, as a political weapon.

Well….I sure hope they are right.  After all, George Bush landed on the aircraft carrier, flew in sitting in the co-pilots seat in a flight out to an aircraft carrier to announce victory over al Qaeda with a giant “Mission Accomplished” banner strung across the pilot house.  However the war went on for over eight years from Bush’s declaration and did not stop until President Obama finally ended it this year.

So, to the phonies and crybabies in the Grand Obstructionists Party, whose incompetence in National Security matters allowed the 9-11 disaster to happen, and failed to capture it’s mastermind for eight years, I say cry me a river….cause millions of Americans cried a river over you!

Mission Accomplished?

Playing Politics with War!

( To hear Bush’s Absurd Victory speech double click on link below)

http://youtu.be/XzrJwzYBUkU

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

Playthell George Benjamin

April 30, 2012

Harlem, New York

 

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