41 Shots Killed Amadou; Only One, Ruins Rudy.

(Rudy Giuliani’s official criminal mugshot taken by the Fulton County Georgia’s Sheriff’s Office, on August 23, 2023.)

The Mugly Ugh shot of Rudy Giuliani taken by the Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office this week, came some 24 years too late.

We would have loved to have this glaring, glowering, ghoulish photo of NYC’s own Prince of Darkness up on placards when thousands of us marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, in mid-April, 1999, to protest the police violence that killed a 22-year old unarmed Black man, Amadou Diallo, with 41-bullets.

I intentionally wanted to express my outrage in that protest march, led by Harry Belafonte, the Rev. Al Sharpton, former Mayor David Dinkins and others, to show that White middle-class New Yorkers were just as upset as communities of color by the rampant NYPD brutality during Giuliani’s mayoralty. 

Just two years earlier—in the midst of Giuliani’s re-election campaign– Abner Louima, a Haitian/American immigrant, was brutalized and repeatedly raped with a wooden police batton by NYPD officers.  As usual, Rudy defended the victimizers, not the victim, and tried to pin the blame on Louima and Brooklyn’s black community.

Fortunately, New York’s media, recognized the enormous diversity of the March to Protest Diallo’s death, immediately putting to rest Giuliani’s racist lies that it was something which only bothered the Black Community.   The New York Times headline of April 16, 1999 read:

Diallo Rally Focuses on Call For Strong Oversight of Police

The opening words of Jodi Wilgoren’s story were: “A multiracial throng of thousands marched in memory of Amadou Diallo yesterday, shutting down half the Brooklyn Bridge and several streets in downtown Brooklyn and lower Manhattan during the afternoon rush as they chanted about justice and peace.”

Wilgoren went on to write:

“But the diverse crowd was filled with a broad range of critics of the status quo, and the message of the march became, at times, a massive thumbs-down to Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.”

Giuliani deserved the “massive” thumbs down.  During the entire eight-year tenure of his mayoralty, Rudy refused to meet with the City’s Black Community Leadership even once, in a clear snub to the organizations which worked closely with former NYC Mayor David Dinkins to “Increase the Peace,” among New York’s diverse racial and ethnic communities.  Immediately upon his election as NYC Mayor in 2001, Michael Bloomberg made meeting regularly with Black and Latino community leaders among his top priorities.

As a member of Governor Mario M. Cuomo’s staff, I worked on the “Increase the Peace” initiative, along with members of then- Mayor Dinkins staff, and the great writer Elie Wiesel, a personal hero.  In fact, our first meeting—with many Black and White community leaders coming together—was held in the book-lined Upper East Side apartment of Wiesel.

When Giuliani was elected Mayor in November, 1993, he immediately eliminated the “Increase the Peace” program, ended the meetings, and cut all funding and support for community-based “ambassadors.”  He didn’t care about NYC’s communities of color; they didn’t vote for him.

So, I would have loved to have the creepy criminal mug-shot of Giuliani 24 years ago, when we were walking across the Brooklyn Bridge—“like Civil Rights advocates marched across the Selma Bridge,” Al Sharpton said—to show our fellow New Yorkers, the full face of abject arrogance and racism confronting all of us.

There is something so kharmically perfect in the fact that Rudy was finger-printed, weighed, arrested and photographed in a Fulton County, Georgia jail, answering to a racketeering charge brought against him by a tough, law & order Black, female law enforcement official. 

Surrender, Donald!

Fani Willis took some facts,

Finding 161 Criminal Acts.

And when Fani felt that she was done,

It was clear Don RICO was the one.

Conspiracy, fraud, lies and more,

Nineteen criminals, cheats galore.

Calls and emails, speeches and tweets,

Illegal actions drive Trump’s bleats.

Bully, threaten, intimidate all,

No perfect crimes, nor perfect calls.

“Break your oath, find us VOATES,

I hate people who take clear notes.”

30 co-conspirators hide in sight,

Giving RICO  & Rudy sleepless nights.

Why’d they flip?  What’d they tell?

Save their skins! Save our cells!

Racketeering, Don RICO’s gig,

Everyone, engorge the pig.

Eastman, Rudy, Sidney, Clark,

Disbarred lawyers, jumping sharks.

Surrender, Donald!

The hunt’s concluded;

We’ve found the witches,

And you’re included!

Trump’s Twisted Trap: His Own Excrement.

I am continually amazed by how timid, reticent or terrified so many of my fellow liberals, progressives and Democrats are when it comes to strictly enforcing the law against Donald Trump. 

The most recent example came just this week, when Trump made a blatant social media threat against potential witnesses or co-conspirators whose testimony under oath could send him to prison for a very long time:  “If you go after me, I’m coming after you.”  His threat was smoking-gun evidence of witness intimidation, in direct opposition to what the arraignment judge in Federal Court in DC, at Trump’s latest arrest, explicitly warned him NOT to do.   As a chronic criminal recidivist going back decades, he did it anyway.

When I received my JD from Hofstra University’s School of Law some 40 years ago, it was pounded home to me in every class in criminal law, evidence, criminal procedure and constitutional law, that if you broke the law, you needed to be prepared to pay the price.  Direct violation of a judge’s order on witness tampering or intimidation was a sure ticket to getting your bail revoked, and being remanded to prison, ahead of your trial. 

I witnessed first hand how that pillar of the law was enforced over and over again in  many Mob trials of the 1980’s and 1990’s, concerning members of New York’s Five major crime families.  I was particularly familiar with how it was used against the Gambino Crime Family, since my brother was associated with that crew and went to prison for income tax evasion.  The law was the law.  Break it, and you suffer the consequences. Threaten people involved with your case, and you run the risk of pre-trial detention, since you are a danger to the community. The Mob guys, including my brother, cursed the prosecutors, the judges and the FBI every time they got caught.   Just like Trump. 

That theoretical purity of consequences for one’s actions was one reason I loved studying the law.  In a perfect legal system, neither income, nor level of education, nor family connections, nor race, ethnicity or gender would matter:  the law was the law, and should be equally applied.   Of course, I knew the real world practice of the law was rarely so pure and simple, but it was the goal of “equal justice before the law,” toward which we could aspire.  The law was a beacon of hope for fairness.

It was a big reason I went to work right out of law school with former New York State Governor Mario M. Cuomo, a superb lawyer and public official of impeccable integrity, who revered the law, as much as he did his faith.  “The law is the law,” was Cuomo’s mantra, and I took comfort in that clarity.

So, I was surprised when I posted a rather mild statement on social media that “ Trump needs to be locked up NOW and silenced until his trial.  He is in violation of every single one of the arraignment judge’s warnings.”  It seemed to me to be a straightforward consequence of the action of blatantly violating a judge’s order.

What stunned me was the array of excuses offered by people I respect, ranging from outright cynicism in our judicial system’s ability to “do the right thing,” to oh-so-clever political strategizing of how an arrest would “play into Trump’s hands, make him a martyr, or provoke his vile supporters to violence.”   Lost in all of the handwringing was that straightforward Cuomo mantra:  “The law is the law.”

If Trump were a young, black teenager from Oakland, who violated a judge’s warning to not threaten any potential witnesses against him, we all knew how fast his bail would be revoked and he’d be thrown into jail.  No consideration would be given to political strategy, nor whether his supporters would act violently, or illegally, to protest his arrest.

Lost in all of this mishigas  and mish-mash over politics and strategy and Trump’s perceived power over a cult of lawless lunatics, is the well-documented fact that Trump is a wus, when it comes to the enforcement of the law, or raw power, used against him.  The Gambino gang, who dealt with Trump regularly in the New York construction trades industry, knew this very well.

In my book, Tightrope:  Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother,” (Heliotrope Books, NY, 2017) I detailed the Mob’s delight in running roughshod over a terrified Trump.  Michael Cody, the son of New York Teamster boss and Gambino associate John Cody, told the Daily Beast, as recently as 2016 that:

“Trump was a guy who would talk tough, but as soon as you confronted him, he would cry like a little girl.  He was all talk, no action.”

In fact, for John Cody—who was sent to jail for five years for racketeering, extortion and income tax evasion– and his organized crime cronies, Trump was nothing more than an easy mark, a puffed up patsy, and wannabe mobster—terrified of them, and guys like them, who saw jail time as a mere cost of doing business.

Still, I find it astounding that so many good people, who are law-and-order liberals, like me, forget these facts which have been well documented by a long list of credible journalists and prosecutors over the past 30 plus years: Trump is a coward.  He talks tough, but always runs from a fight. The louder he whines, the larger another loss looms.

 Defendant Trump is, and has always been, both enamored and terrified of real power (legal, political, financial, or physical) and freezes in the face of those unafraid to wield it against him—like Vladimir Putin, Nancy Pelosi, or John Cody.   The very thought of prison, and the guys who don’t fear it, reduce Trump to the whining little child he’s always been, since the days he threw temper tantrums in his mother’s rose-colored Rolls Royce, when she chauffeured him to a chic private school.

See how well that image sits in the minds of the low-wage, big-bellied, bearded and tattooed Trump supporters from Idaho, or Alabama, and West Virginia when he tells them to go to jail for him–a coddled, rich brat who always hid behind his mother and his father, or his less-than-ethical lawyers, for protection.  The wise guys from Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx saw right through his bluster and bravado, and laughed in his crapulent, privileged face. 

I suspect that a tough, seasoned and fearless prosecutor like Jack Smith, who has put away war criminals, and a no-nonsense U.S. District Judge like Tanya Chutkan– who has handed down lengthy prison terms to January 6 terrorists —will not be easily fooled or intimidated by such a cowardly, corrupt con man. 

Trump may yet learn that jail time, for himself, is just another cost of doing business his way, and that by his own twisted actions and words, he’s made prison inevitable.

Dishonesty, Fraud, Lies & Deceit.

Dishonesty, Fraud, Lies & Deceit,

Every element of Trump’s incessant drumbeat.

A lifetime of crime in 45 pages,

His lips keep lying, his mouth still rages.

Impair, Obstruct, Subvert and Corrupt,

Jack Smith’s case is short, sweet and abrupt.

Fraud, Obstruction, Sham & Violence,

Not even Mike Pence is keeping his silence.

False claims, made-up tales of voter corruption,

Follow the facts, the Jury’s instruction.

Mistrust, anger, death threats and more,

All flowing from the mouth of the boor.

“Conspiracy Shit Beamed Down from Mother Ship,”

Combine, Conspire, Confederate –Don’t Flip!

Threaten prosecution, insinuate and bully—

Use dishonesty, fraud and deceit, more fully!

Lies upon lies, loss upon loss;

You’re too honest Mike–do it for the boss!

Lies fly so fast, and frauds so abundant,

Indictments and arrests are becoming redundant.

Even Moaning Ronna gets into the act,

Approving Trump’s frauds, with her GOP PACs.

Conspire against the Right to Vote?  It’s right up their alley!

Quick, let’s schedule another MAGA rally!

Dishonesty, Fraud, Lies & Deceit,

Cannot erase defeat after defeat after defeat.

“Just find me 11, 780 VOATES—“

Were the criminal’s words, escaping his throat.

“Fraud breaks up everything,”

Trump tells his mules.

“Catch someone in a fraud,

You can play by different rules.”

Combine, Conspire, Confederate and Cheat,

ANYTHING  to erase the stench of defeat.

Now, he’s CAUGHT; people jumping from his boat,

And Trump needs much more than 11, 780 VOATES.

Dishonesty, Fraud, Lies and Deceit;

Thrice indicted, twice impeached.

Six times a bankrupt, always a cheat.

Blubbering ego, finally beached.

Combining, Conspiring to cripple the laws,

Power slipping from his tiny little paws.

Dishonesty, Fraud, Lies and Deceit,

Thus ends Trump, the definition of defeat.

The Sun Wasn’t All That Was Burning in the Sky.

(Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sun Is Burning,” song, protests the use of Nuclear Weapons, and the use of the first two Atomic Bombs in world history by the US upon hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians. Copyright by Simon & Garfunkel, 1964)

Try mightily not to get lost in the hollow Hollywood marketing blitzkrieg surrounding the impressive debut of the movie “Oppenheimer,” and the callous and brainless branding it as “Barbieheimer,” with the make-believe, pop-culture phenomenon of “The Barbie Movie.“

“Oppenheimer,” is a real-life story of human horror,  not a concocted piece of a double-barreled magical cure for a movie industry which eats its artists, and cloaks the real reasons behind how and why America dropped the world’s first nuclear weapon on innocent civilians behind a compelling and complicated main character.  Don’t let Hollywood hucksters vaporize US history into thin air the way hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens were slaughtered  by our own country at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 78 years ago this month.

Yes, the facts behind “Oppenheimer” really happened, as did so many more horrific events surrounding it.  We have to keep reminding young moviegoers, blinded by the bright Barbie flashes of pink lining up right next to the theatres in which “Oppenheimer” is screening, that one of these movies is far too real, not fiction.  Yes, our country really did commit two back-to-back massive War Crimes against civilian populations, killing, burning and radiating more than 200,000 humans.  And no, committing such War Crimes was not necessary to win World War II. 

Hitler was already dead for 3 months, when the first bomb was dropped, the Nazis had surrendered, and Victory in Europe was already celebrated by the Allied Forces on May 8, 1945.   The original justification for the US Manhattan Project headed by Oppenheimer—to beat the Nazis to developing an Atomic Bomb so they couldn’t use it against the world—no longer existed.  And, the Japanese—with nowhere near the scientific sophistication of the Germans or the US, and their armies depleted,  were about to surrender.

But, don’t take my word for it, just like you shouldn’t think “Oppenheimer” film-maker Christopher Nolan is the final word, or that the central angst of the story occurred inside the head of the Atomic bombs’ creator, or can be found in the unjust attacks upon J. Robert Oppenheimer’s patriotism.  There are no heroes here.

Instead, listen to the warnings of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, then the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, who had just defeated the Nazis and liberated thousands of Jews from several Nazi concentration camps.  Before the decision to use the bombs in World War II was made, in the summer of 1945, Eisenhower—just off the battlefield—expressed his strong reservations to President Harry Truman’s Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, who was leading the charge to use the weapons because we had them.  General Eisenhower, the most revered military leader in the United States at the time, made his position clear to Stimson:

“  I told him I was against it (using the bomb) on two counts.  First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.  Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon…”

However, what happened after the end of War World II in Europe and the dropping of the first Atomic bomb on Hiroshima just a few months later, was a carefully calculated plan of American military intimidation, aimed more at impressing Soviet leader Josef Stalin who, with Truman and Winston Churchill, were negotiating over the future of Post-War Europe at the Potsdam Conference in a Soviet-occupied part of Germany,  according to historian Gar Alperovitz, in his masterful book of that period, Atomic Diplomacy:  Hiroshima & Potsdam—the Use of the Atomic Bomb and the American Confrontation with Soviet Power (Vintage Books, 1965, New York, N.Y.)

 A growing chorus of battle-hardened military leaders like Eisenhower, strongly opposed sacrificing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians as human pawns in an international power struggle between the US and Russia.  Admiral William D. Leahy, the most senior Naval Officer on duty during WW II,  called the Atomic Bomb “barbarous,” and of “no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”

Perhaps the most damning assessment of the Truman/Stimson decision to drop the unnecessary and apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction upon the people of Hiroshima on August 6, and on Nagasaki three days later, came from the United States Strategic Bombing Survey:

“ Certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the War, and even if no invasion had been planned.”

And, even the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur stated numerous times before his death, that he believed the Atomic Bomb was completely unnecessary from a military point of view.  In fact, as Oppenheimer himself later said, the original reason for developing the Bomb to beat the Nazis, morphed into something else:

I don’t think there was a time where we worked harder at the speed up (of the development of the bomb) than in the period after the German surrender.”

Then, why did we then become the first and only nation in world history to drop, not one, but two nuclear weapons on civilian populations, despite the fears of some scientists, that even a test of the Bomb might set fire to the atmosphere and consume the globe in flames?  Why did we do it, if the Atomic Bombs were no longer necessary to defeat the Germans or the Japanese and end World War II?

Some answers, like the outcomes of many criminal trials, reveal themselves in details, dates and bold face: 

  • FDR died of a heart attack on April 12, 1945, at the beginning of his fourth term of office, elevating Harry Truman—inexperienced in foreign policy and who never previously met either Winston Churchill or Josef Stalin —to the Presidency;
  • Hitler killed himself a few weeks later on April 30, 1945, effectively ending the War in Europe;
  • One week later, on May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered and the Allied Forces declared Victory in Europe;
  • On July 15, 1945, President Truman arrives on a Sunday afternoon for the crucial Potsdam Conference, scheduled to begin on July 17th.
  • On July 16, 1945, the US Manhattan Project’s “Trinity Test” of the Atomic Bomb—the first Nuclear Test in world history—was carried out in Alamogordo, New Mexico, 210 miles south of Los Alamos.
  • The following day, on July 17, 1945, the Potsdam Conference– to negotiate the terms for the end of World War II– began in a Soviet occupied part of Germany, just outside of Berlin.   In attendance were Winston Churchill, President Truman, and Soviet Leader Josef Stalin.  It was the first time Truman met either Churchill or Stalin.
  • July 24, 1945, Truman tells Stalin at Potsdam that the United States had successfully detonated the world’s first Atomic bomb the previous week;
  • July 25, 1945, the formal order to use the Atomic Bomb as a weapon of war against Japan was given by Secretary of War Stimson, with President Truman’s approval.
  • The Potsdam Conference concluded on August 2, 1945. The Soviet Union had not yet declared war on Japan, an important fact to preclude Russia’s designs for expansion in the Far East;
  • August 6, 1945, the first American Atomic Bomb is dropped on Hiroshima killing 100,000 to 150,000 people;
  • August 8, 1945, the Soviet Union declares war on Japan, at 11 pm that evening, the night before the second US Atomic Bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, and Russian forces invade mineral rich Manchuria, then under Japanese control;
  • August 9, 1945, the second American Atomic Bomb—six times the size and strength of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima—is dropped on Nagasaki, killing 80,000-100,000 people.
  • August 14, 1945, Japan surrenders, ending World War II.

The evidence of the world’s first Nuclear weapons being used as tools to intimidate Stalin and Russia—more than as weapons to defeat Japan—is followed to its logical conclusion by Alperovitz in Atomic Diplomacy:  Hiroshima and Potsdam:

“It might explain why none of the highest civilian officials seriously questioned the use of the bomb as Eisenhower did; for having reversed the basic direction of diplomatic strategy because of the Atomic Bomb, it would have been very difficult for anyone subsequently to challenge an idea which had come to dominate all calculations of high policy…Were Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombed primarily to impress the world (specifically Stalin) with the need to accept America’s plan for a stable and lasting peace?”

Truman’s hand-picked Secretary of State James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, meeting with Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project scientists in May, 1945, told them that it was necessary for the Bomb to be “successful”  because “our possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable in Europe.”

Testifying before Congress some years later, J. Robert Oppenheimer, admitted that the obsession of post-War stability was the “problem” of Russia:

Much of the discussion revolved around the question raised by Secretary Stimson as to whether there was any hope at all of using this development (of the bomb) to get less barbarous relations with the Russians.”

A few hundred deaths of Americans in proximity to the New Mexico bomb-test site, and the incineration of a few hundred thousand  Japanese children, women and men, were, by those  cold calculations, simply the inhumane, collateral damage of war, and a world gone completely mad.

Put that in your “Barbieheimer,” press kit and try to make it look courageous or cuddly.