“Right Matters. Truth Matters.”



“ If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost.

Framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves, if right and truth don’t matter.

And you know that what he did was not right. That’s what they do in the old country, that Colonel Vindman’s father came from. Or the old country that my great grandfather came from, or the old countries that your ancestors came from, or maybe you came from.

But here, right is supposed to matter. It’s what’s made us the greatest nation on earth. No constitution can protect us, right doesn’t matter any more.

And you know you can’t trust this President to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to.

This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed.

Because right matters. Because right matters and the truth matters.

Otherwise, we are lost.”

I Know Why the Caged Lev Sings.




I know why the caged Lev sings.

Trapped, he’s looking for his wings.

Marked for erasure, pain or death,

Lev will talk ‘til his last breath.


I know why the caged Lev sings.

Silence only buys him slings

And arrows, bile and hate,

So, he has to Lev-itate.


I know why the caged Lev sings.

“Suicide” is not his thing.

Poison hankies, gas for nerves,

Lev would rather dodge and swerve.


I know why the caged Lev sings.

Like Valachi, he’s learned a thing.

Scream out loud, use TV,

Out-run murder, for all to see.


I know why the caged Lev sings.

Gangsters working for the King.

Pence & Rudy, Pomp and Barr,

Run from sunlight, very far.


I know why the caged Lev sings,

Louder and harder he flaps his wings.

All the fuss, all the sound,

Drive his hit-men underground.


I know why the caged Lev sings.

Celebs win the golden ring.

Free from harm, hi-falutin,

Out of reach of even Putin.


I know why the caged Lev roars:

Lev-itation lets him soar.











Wooden Spoons & Women Warriors


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — the first female Speaker in American History, and the first Italian-American female to be the most politically powerful woman in the country — continues to give fits to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and all other aging, shallow, soulless, white men. Regardless of the issue — from Obamacare (which was pushed through by Pelosi and should bear her name), to Impeachment, to pointing her finger at the ManChild in the Cabinet Room and scolding him for having gangster friends, like the punk Putin — these pathetic old patriarchs cannot fathom the inherent power of this woman warrior.

It’s pretty simple, actually. She is a grounded Italian woman who has zero tolerance for lies, meanness and bluster. My mother was just such a woman warrior. Brilliant, but without any formal education, my mother had an innate skill to get to the heart of the matter. If you crossed her, you did so at your own peril. Paralyzed in her right arm by Polio, my mother enforced her word wielding a wooden spoon in her “good” left hand, when she wasn’t using it to cook.

My middle brother, Vincent — the most misogynistic, racist and troublesome of her four children — was frequently the target of my mother’s wrath. She used the wooden spoon on him regularly to drive home her displeasure with his anti-social actions. Each blow she landed on him with the wooden spoon would come with the uttering of a powerful word of opprobrium: “If (spoon smash)…you…(spoon smash) ever…(spoon smash) do…(spoon smash) that…(spoon smash) again…(spoon smash)…” Well, you get the picture. If my brother talked back, (like Trump’s OCD tweeting) he simply prolonged his syllabic pummeling.

Under today’s laws, my mother — a small, plump Italian woman, usually wearing a housedress — would be subject to charges of child abuse or endangerment. In the “old days” — which Trump is fond of recalling — it was merely considered spanking, something which the Rich Blonde Brat never experienced. When we were kids, we simply knew not to cross my mother — especially her powerful left arm. She used the wooden spoon so frequently on my brother Vinny that she broke more than one by beating him on the back. Nevertheless, she persisted, and went out and bought an indestructible Iron Spoon, and the first weapon of mass destruction was born.

Neither mumbling Mitch McConnell, nor the completely corrupt Captain Queeg from Queens, were ever exposed to the full wrath of an Italian woman like my mother, nor Nancy Pelosi. McConnell, a polio survivor himself, who contracted the disease as a 2-year old, was cured thanks to the generosity of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (later the March of Dimes) and the life-saving treatment he received at FDR’s Warm Springs facility in Georgia. McConnell’s fight with Polio, like her own, might have endeared him to my mother — who worshipped FDR and saved her dimes for decades toward the discovery of a Polio vaccine — if the Kentucky ingrate hadn’t dissed the March of Dimes — an unpardonable sin — when he had the power, and the means, to pay back their kindness. As for Trump, he was dead to my mother when she found out his father joined an Anti-Italian immigrant KKK rally, and that Trump’s WASPY coifed-mother used to chauffer her spoiled Little Lord Fauntleroy to private school in her rose-colored Rolls Royce. Seriously.

I have thought of my mother and her wooden spoon-justice frequently over the past month when Nancy Pelosi, herself a no-nonsense Italian grandmother, let a few people have it. First, she slammed a slithery, white male reporter who asked her if she “hated” Trump, stating that she didn’t “hate” anyone, since she was raised a Catholic, and her religion taught her not to hate. My mother’s less artful answer would have been, “ Look, you little bastard, I don’t hate the miserable son-of-a-bitch, but his mother should have used the wooden spoon on him.”

Secondly, when repeatedly pressed about when she would transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, Pelosi pointedly responded, “When I’m ready.” Her flinty, feisty, don’t-mess-with-me response sounded so much like what my mother would have said: “ When I’m good and god-damned ready.”

Speaker Pelosi’s retort, while less earthy than my mother’s, had the same pulverizing effect on puffy, pasty, panting Donald, and on Phineas T. Bluster-the-Ingrate McConnell, who it was clear, had no experience with tough, Italian women wielding wooden spoons or words as swords, to teach decency.

A Contested Democratic Convention is the Ticket to Victory

(JFK as a Delegate for Adlai Stevenson, at the last contested Democratic National Convention in 1952)

If the Democrats want to win and to drive the dripping-with-dollars Trump campaign to distraction, they would be quietly pushing for the first deadlocked—or contested—Democratic National Convention since 1952.   And, it’s not such a stretch to see it happening with four leading candidates divvying up the primary delegates (Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren), and several favorite son or daughter candidates (Klobuchar and Booker) already playing a prominent role among their home state’s delegations.


Let’s look back to the 1952 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, —the last time any major party convention went past the first ballot—for some instruction, recognizing the one huge difference between the Democratic Convention rules of 68 years ago and now—which make a contested convention more likely today.  In 2018, Democrats, for the first time in modern history, passed a rule change preventing 766 so-called “super-delegates,”—DNC Members, Members of Congress, Senators and Governors, and “distinguished party members like ex-Presidents or Vice-Presidents– from casting their votes on the first ballot.  This change alone might guarantee that no candidate will have enough delegates to win the Democratic Nomination on the first ballot, as happened in 1952, the first year national political conventions were televised.


Despite having Harry Truman as an incumbent President, Democrats entered the 1952 election cycle deeply divided.  Truman, bogged down during the third year of the Korean War and being mauled on television each day by Wisconsin’s Right Wing Senator Joseph McCarthy during the “Red Scare,” was supported by only 36% of Democrats nationwide, according to a Gallop Poll.  In the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Democratic Primary in February, 1952, Truman was toppled by Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, who was then conducting televised Senate investigations into organized crime, and surfing a wave of public support.


Just as Lyndon B. Johnson would do 16 years later, Truman interpreted his weak New Hampshire primary showing as a message to not seek re-election.  With Truman out, Kefauver became the front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, locked in a tough competition with Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, a staunch segregationist, and the liberal Averell Harriman of New York, who served as President Truman’s Secretary of Commerce, and later became Governor of New York.  No one arrived at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that year with anywhere near the 616 delegates needed to win the nomination.


The Convention opened with a welcoming speech by the Governor of Illinois, Adlai E. Stevenson II, whose grandfather by the same name served as Vice President under President Grover Cleveland.   Young Adlai’s speech was so well received, it began a boomlet for him to seek the nomination—something he had steadfastly resisted until that moment.  Truman, who fought hard to integrate the Armed Services forcing segregationists into their own Dixiecrat Party in 1948, was adamantly opposed to having a Southern segregationist as the Party’s standard bearer.  President Truman threw his backing behind Stevenson, persuading Averell Harriman to pledge his 121 delegates to the Illinois Governor after the second ballot.  With strong support from Harriman and Truman, Stevenson stormed past the two Southern Senators on the Convention’s third ballot, tallying 617 votes to the combined total of 540 for Kefauver and Russell.


In 2020, with a half-dozen or so Democrats seriously competing for the party’s Presidential nomination, the likelihood of a deadlocked convention is the greatest it’s been in 68 years.   Support from 1,990 elected delegates is needed to win the nomination, and with both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary just one month away, none of the present candidates appears positioned to win a majority of votes on the first ballot.   Granted, the delegate votes of all of the February, 2020 contests—including Nevada and South Carolina—represent only 4% of the total number of delegates needed to win the nomination.   Yet, even if one candidate swept all four of the February primaries, they’d still have to dominate delegate elections on Super Tuesday, March 3, and during the remainder of March and April, when a whopping 83% of the delegates to the Democratic Convention will be chosen.


As of today, that does not appear likely to happen, with four major candidates—Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders, and Warren — carving up the votes into four roughly equal slices in a consensus of national polls, and early state-by-state polling.  California, which holds the motherlode of 495 delegates—or 25% of those needed to secure the nomination– serves as a perfect illustration of why we might be headed for a deadlocked convention.  Now that the State’s own Senator Kamala Harris has withdrawn from the race—even though she already had some two dozen California “Super” or “Automatic” delegates committed to her—at best, that could give each of the other four candidates 100-125 delegates from California, since there’s a 15% threshold requirement to claim delegates in Congressional districts, and proportional voting is the rule.   And, that doesn’t account for a further splitting of California’s delegates if Cory Booker or Amy Klobuchar does well in the earlier primaries.


On the same Super Tuesday California Democrats vote, so do Democratic voters in delegate rich states like Colorado (80 delegates), Texas (262), Minnesota (92), Virginia (124), North Carolina (122) and Massachusetts (114).   If Minnesotans and Massachusetts voters give strong support to their favorite daughters, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, and Coloradans back their own Senator Michael Bennet, the drive to a deadlocked convention will only deepen.  Since there are a total of 3,769 Democratic delegates up for grabs for a first ballot nomination—not counting the 766 “Super” or “Automatic” delegates who cannot vote on the first ballot— the Democrats could have four top candidates with 800 to 1,000 delegates each, and a smattering of lesser candidates dividing up the rest.    With some 1,990 delegates needed for a first ballot victory, it’s entirely possible that no single candidate will have enough to win.   Rather than whining about this prospect, Democrats should welcome it.  A fresh, new Democratic nominee would have the distinct advantage of not having been attacked by Trump and his Twitter Trolls for the past year.


A second ballot, would not only free-up committed delegates to vote for anyone of their choice—including potentially new candidates like Admiral William McRaven, Stacey Abrams, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, former Attorney-General Eric Holder, or Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth (a woman of color and a disabled Veteran, who coined the knock-out nickname “Cadet Bone Spurs” for Trump)—it would also free the 766 “Super” or “Automatic” delegates—the elected and party officials—to vote for anyone they choose.  Conceivably, it could take a second, third or even fourth ballot for one candidate to aggregate enough support to win the nomination, the way Adlai Stevenson did after three ballots in 1952.


It didn’t work out so well for Stevenson and the Democrats in the general election 68 years ago because they had the distinct disadvantages of following five-consecutive Democratic Administrations, and running against Dwight D. Eisenhower, an immensely popular bi-partisan war-hero, with a spotless record.   This time around, however, the circumstances are far different.  Singularly focused on beating Trump, Democrats could, after several ballots, nominate by acclamation, a war hero of their own like Admiral McRaven, or Senator Duckworth, who would stand as stark, patriotic and incorruptible contrast to Trump or any GOP candidate. The choice of an Eisenhower-like McRaven, who commanded the Navy Seals which Trump has disgraced by pardoning one who committed war crimes—forcing the Secretary of the Navy to resign in protest–would unify the party and the nation. The Admiral who led the mission to bring down Osama Bin Laden could further electrify party activists by picking a rising star for his running mate, like Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, or Senators Duckworth, Harris or Booker—all candidates of color who would drive Democratic voters to the polls in droves.   A McRaven-led Democratic ticket could win both the popular and electoral votes in a landslide, which is precisely what we need to do, to flip the Senate and hold onto the Nancy Pelosi-led House.


Only a deadlocked convention can produce such an unanticipated result, catch the GOP flat-footed, and send mainstream and social media, and the Trump campaign, into a frenzy during the final four months of the campaign, making everyone forget the droning Democratic debates of 2019.   All it needs to work is for a highly diverse group of 4,500 Democratic delegates from across the nation to reach a consensus, because they believe the future of our Democracy and the rule of law are at stake.