The Revolution is Here, and it’s Already Happening at the Polls.


Raleigh, NC–Forget FBI Director Comey and his tragic/comedy of errors. Forget the former Far Right Congressman who said he’s going to pick up his musty old musket if Hillary Clinton gets elected and start a “revolution.”   The revolution is here, it’s happening at the polls, it’s peaceful, and it will not be postponed.

Sunday, October 30, was the last day of Sunday voting in North Carolina, in an Early Voting period—also known as One-Stop Absentee Voting—that stretches over 17 days, from October 20 through Saturday, November 5.   This year’s Early Voting in North Carolina, despite repeated attempts by the Republican controlled General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory to kill it completely or greatly limit it, is showing signs of exceeding the pace of 2008 when Barack Obama carried the State by some two votes per precinct.

As of today, according to, 1.6 million North Carolinians have already voted, with 44% of them being Democrats, 31% Republicans and 24% Unaffiliated (or independent). Fifty-five percent of the votes have been cast by women, and with nearly 30% of the totals coming in from the heavily Democratic Counties of Wake (Raleigh), Mecklenberg (Charlotte), Durham and Orange (Chapel Hill).

One specific Wake County polling place about to push through the roof of the record vote it set in 2008 is the historic Chavis Community Center, off of Martin Luther King Blvd, in downtown Raleigh. Chavis, established in 1938 as a segregated recreation area for the City’s African American Community, is a living, breathing monument to resiliency and determination. Named for John Chavis, a free, Black 19th Century preacher, the Community Center has been the lifeblood of its community, with a history of voting dependably Democratic. That history prompted the Republican controlled Wake County Board of Elections to try to shut down the Chavis Center as an Early Voting polling place, making it more difficult for African-Americans to get to the polls.   In North Carolina, 74% of African Americans cast their ballots during the early voting period in the last Presidential election.

Backed by the NAACP, the Wake County Voter Education Coalition and other good government and voting rights groups, community members packed Board of Election hearings and fought hard to preserve the Chavis Center as an Early Voting site. Their arguments paralleled those of the Federal three judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down the 2013 State Law requiring photo IDS and eviscerating early voting on the grounds that the “restrictions targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

“Right now, we are poised to surpass the vote for 2008 at this particular site, “said Jerome Brown, Chairman of the Wade County Voter Education Coalition. “Between now and next Saturday (the last day of Early Voting in North Carolina), we’ll put enough distance between us and the totals from 2008 that people will be saying ‘it’ll take a lot to beat 2016!”

Brown spoke as a long-line of voters wound around the sprawling Chavis Community Center complex, to be sure to get their vote in early. A veteran of voting rights struggles in North Carolina, Brown believe that the efforts to shut down the African American vote has made the community more determined than ever before.

“When we opened the polls at 9:00 am, we had people waiting outside from 7:00 am in the morning, “Brown said. “They did not want to be shut out. You can only push people so far, for a certain amount of time. This year has been a wake-up call for our community. This is their time to respond, and they are responding.”

Brown’s observations were reinforced by a middle-aged ,white male voter, wearing a tee shirt bearing one line: “McCrory is a Moron.”

“The strategy to keep the turnout down doesn’t work,” he said, asking to remain as unidentified as he was unaffiliated. “I have lived in Raleigh all my life, and I’m telling you people want to vote. Nothing will hold them back. They are passionate about their right to vote, and about this election.”

“North Carolina is going to break all records this year,” added Brown. “You just don’t mess with people’s right to vote.”



Trump’s Reichstag Fire in North Carolina?


Why would Democrats in Orange County, North Carolina — one of the most progressive and educated counties in the nation — firebomb a local GOP office?


The county that’s home to the University of North Carolina, the up-scale city of Chapel Hill and is a neighbor to Durham’s Duke University, votes overwhelmingly Democratic in every election. In 2012, when Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama across North Carolina 50–48%, Obama trounced Romney with 70% of the vote in Orange County. The GOP is a non-factor in Orange County, North Carolina. Firebombing a GOP headquarters there is not only illegal, it’s unnecessary: the local Republicans obliterated themselves long ago in Orange County, NC.


I’ve been in North Carolina a little less than one-week, working with the North Carolina Democratic Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to educate rank & file NC voters about becoming Poll Watchers to assure that Voting Rights are respected during the State’s Early voting period, October 20-November 5, and on Election Day, November 8. The volunteers streaming into training sessions — from one end of the State to the other — are high-minded, public-service oriented folks, with a deep commitment to make democracy work for all voters, regardless of party.


Mostly senior citizens, these civic-minded citizens are the models of dignity and decorum, concerned about issues like long lines at the polls, making sure accommodations are made for the disabled to vote, and concern over what constitutes “intimidation” in an Open Carry state which allows voters to carry their guns to polling places. Many of the volunteers are retired school teachers, lawyers, small business owners, homemakers, or veterans with military service.


Still other campaign workers are Millenials with a passion for making government work fairly for all people, a deep commitment to public service, and a penchant for crunching numbers on computers. Like their fellow volunteers of a different generation, they are dedicated to the peaceful functioning of our democracy, and the rule of law, as a positive alternative to chaos or violence.


What makes this Orange County, North Carolina firebombing all the more suspicious —
aside from the fact that the Orange County GOP is non-existent in elections — is the fact that Donald Trump began “Tweeting” about the bombing hours after it happened, blaming “Hillary Clinton supporters” and “Democrats” for the crime, without any shred of evidence. In fact, every single Democrat or Hillary supporter I’ve encountered in North Carolina is gravely concerned about doing everything the law provides to prevent violence in this election.


Trump’s feigned hysteria carries the stench of the history of another famous fire: the one in the German Reichstag, started by the White Nationalist Party of Adolph Hitler during the German national elections of 1933, and blamed on the Communists. The Reichstag Fire, was immediately pounced upon by Nazi leaders as “evidence” of terror from the left, and the need for the authoritarian rule which their leader promised. It was instrumental in leading to the election of Hitler as German Chancellor, despite any evidence to buttress the Nazis’ wild claims.


Eventually, the facts about this fire-bombing in heavily Democratic Orange County, North Carolina, will come out, and justice will be meted out to the perpetrators of the crime. Until then, it’s reasonable to wonder why Democrats would have anything to do with attacking an opposition party headquarters that has been dormant for years.

I’m with Her…and her…and her…and her.


My oldest granddaughter, age 7, wanted to know why I was leaving my cozy Napa Valley home—during the heart of the grape harvest—to spend four weeks in North Carolina.   She didn’t want me to be away for so long, and was worried that her “Grampy,” was heading right into a dangerous rainstorm that bore her father’s name.

“What will you be doing there?” she asked.

“I’ll be helping people vote for the first woman President in the history of the United States,” I said.

“You mean Hillary?” asked the second-grader, who is already reading at nearly an eighth grade level. For months, she had quietly noticed the refrigerator magnets at our home which said “A Woman’s Place is in the White House,” and simply, “Hillary,” in script.

“Yes, Hillary,” I said to her, realizing that nothing escaped her bright, alert eyes.

“Well, I want her to win,” she asserted to me, as only a 7-year old can.

“Me too!” I said to my oldest granddaughter, a whiz in every subject in school, a talented artist and a caring bigger sibling to her two younger sisters, ages 5 years old and 10 months. “I want to show everyone that smart girls rule!”

Her lively eyes danced and she flashed me her dazzling, magnificent smile.

“And you do to, Grampy,” my granddaughter said.

I’ve worked on dozens of political campaigns over my 67 years of life; campaigns for President, for U.S. Senators, for Governor, Members of Congress, State legislature, City Council & Town Council members, campaigns for Mayors and Supervisors, County Executives and local school board members. I even ran for public office once myself, at 23 years old. None of those campaigns come close to the significance of this year’s Presidential election.

For millions of grandparents and fathers and mothers like me, the stakes have never been higher. I’m not only for Hillary (Her!), but I’m fighting for the future of each of my three granddaughter’s: her, and her, and her. I don’t want them to be exposed to a crass culture where vulgarities toward women and girls are accepted as “locker-room-talk.” I don’t want them to live in a society where they have to worry about being groped or grossed out by boys or men simply because of their anatomy; or marginalized and not taken seriously because of their gender, or their generosity toward others.

Many of my fellow Californians are making thousands of phone calls into states like Nevada and Arizona, and ringing doorbells in Colorado to register new voters and galvanize supporters of Hillary Clinton, or opponents to the Thuggish Sexual Predator, formerly know as Donald J. Trump. For me, that just wasn’t enough.

I’ve had years of experience doing Voting Protection, guaranteeing citizens their sacred right to vote, and expanding the democratic process. I’ve confronted bellowing bullies in front of polling places, intent on intimidating the elderly, the young, or new United States Citizens, voting for the first time. They don’t scare me because I know they are cowards, afraid of the power of a paper ballot or a red-handled voting machine lever, accessible to all eligible voters.

I evaluated all of the swing states in the 2016 Presidential Election, and before the polls began to move toward Hillary and away from The Sexual Predator, selected North Carolina as the State where I felt my skills could have the greatest impact. If Clinton could win North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes, there was hardly any alignment of states, without NC, that could elect Donald Trump President.   Additionally, North Carolina held the potential for a Democratic female U.S. Senate Candidate—Deborah Ross—to upset an incumbent Far Right Trump supporter. And, the Governor of NC, Pat McCrory, fixated more on who used toilets than on Trump’s toilet-bowl mouth, is in the fight of his political life against his Democratic opponent, State Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Finally, my long-time friend and former teacher’s union colleague—Patricia Orrange, from Buffalo NY—has long been active in North Carolina Democratic politics. Forty years earlier, we campaigned together to get another highly qualified woman into office, in another field heavily dominated by men. I pushed hard for Pat to pursue the top staff leadership position in the Statewide teachers’ union—to bust up the old boy’s network and become one of the first female Executive Directors of a union in New York State. My slogan for her: “This Woman’s Place is On Top.” It was, and she was, and one big crack was made in a ceiling stained by cigar smoke. Working with Pat once again, would be completing a continuous circle of constructive change.

Now, four decades after our last successful campaign together, we’re out to make even more history, to break the biggest glass ceiling of all, to turn our country toward utilizing the talents of a majority of its citizens, and to, once again, “show everyone that smart girls rule.”

Only this time, as I look at my I-Phone’s screensaver photo of my three granddaughters, I know I’ve got at least three times the incentive I had before. I’m for Her; and her, and her, and her. And for making this country worthy of them.




Well, I told you so…


(Eleven months ago, almost to the day, I posted this blog criticizing NBC for creating the television career of the Vulgarian Trump, and paying him more than $200 million for aggrandizing his piggish, demeaning, sexist ways on a national TV network.  In the immediate aftermath of the revelations of the Trump Sex Abuse Tapes, done in conjunction with another NBC employee, Billy Bush, I am reposting my essay).

Tom Brokaw’s two and one-half minute noble tsk-tsking of Donald Trump’s full-blown Fascism—coming at the tail end of a little-watched Tuesday night 6 pm newscast—was far too little, way too late from the Broadcast network which made Trump an international TV star and helped launch his political career.

Now that Trump’s big, ugly Un-American backside has been bared for all to see, those wonderful folks who gave this monster a global platform to pedal his pernicious views, are beginning to have some second thoughts, but very few have anything to do with soul searching. NBC, for example did pay Donald Trump a total of $213, 606, 575 in salary to host 14 seasons of “The Apprentice”—an average of about $15 million per season, according to documents Trump’s campaign filed with the Federal Elections Commission. Then, after they handed Trump the bully’s pulpit to pick on everyone from the disabled, to Mexicans, to Syrian Refugees, to wounded war veterans, to Muslims, NBC—no longer seeing profit in Trump’s pugnaciousness—fired the Towering Inferno after he insulted all Mexicans in late June, 2015, during his announcement for President. NBC’s Latino market was just too big for the network to fail.

Financially, as well as cosmetically, NBC’s announcement to Dump Trump was good business. Following its’ first five years, “ The Apprentice” began to rapidly lose market share. NBC meanwhile, had become the NBC/Universal/Comcast monolith after 2009, rolling up big new profits in its cable, movie and amusement park businesses. Donald Trump, like Brian Williams, was expendable, especially since company chiefs Brian Roberts and Steve Burke are attached to their $30 million plus annual salaries. Trump no longer fit Comcast’s “do no fiscal harm policy”; the days of Trump and Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group raising revenue and NBC’s prime time ratings were over.

NBC and Burnett made Donald Trump—long viewed as another wannabe starlet in New York politics–richer, far more famous, and extraordinarily more powerful than he had ever been before. Trump’s small million dollar start up loan from his father, inheritance of the Trump real estate fortune built with federal funds for constructing middle-income housing, and even a New York Daily News front page headline boasting of the “Best Sex I’ve Ever Had” with Marla Maples, weren’t enough to get him the kind of attention he craved. He looked like a silly little post-card painter without serious recognition of his talent.

Then, along came Mark Burnett and NBC, and the inner Trump was let loose in the living rooms of millions of Americans through the mindlessness of Reality TV. Burnett, Trump’s co-producer on “Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice”, and a prime mover in bringing Reality TV to American television with his “Survivor” in 2000, and other programming such as “The Voice,” “Shark Tank,” “ Sarah Palin’s Alaska (yes, that too) and, the aptly named “Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?” boasts a net worth estimated at somewhere between $385 million to $450 million—a fortune built on convincing Americans that eating bugs and spitting bile at people was entertainment. Trump spotted a winning formula for his brand of bragadaccio, and a malleable audience to swallow his hollow values and hateful views.

Forbes reported earlier this year that Trump’s entertainment-related income since 2004—the first, and most successful year of “The Apprentice”– was approximately $500 million, from his books, speeches, beauty pageants and Reality-TV employment, the bulk of which, came from NBC, and was made possible by his ten-year run on the NBC aired reality show–including nearly $100 million in product-placement fees Trump and “Apprentice” co-producer Burnett got from shaking down program sponsors like Pepsi and Crest.

NBC can roll out all of the Tom Brokaw mea culpa commentaries it wants; it can feign high-dudgeon by having Joe Scarborough cut off Trump after allowing the Quasimodo of Queens to rant on for four minutes. The network created this monster, and, with the willing leadership of programming ghouls like Mark Burnett, it disarmed the audience of any analytical ability to recognize that its collective brain was being snatched.