Go Back to Where You Came From, Donald Trump.

 

Go back to where you came from, Donald Trump.

Go back to the bottom of the Jamaica, Queens dump.

Go back to the 1927 KKK rally where your father was arrested,

Go back to your federally funded housing where Black people were rejected.

Go back to Roy Cohn, and coke-sniffing at Studio 54,

Go back to kissing Mobsters asses and salivating for more.

Go back to Gambino, Genovese, Gotti and John Cody,

Go back to being the Mob’s whore, and every Russian’s toady.

Go back to calling for death for the innocent Central Park 5,

Go back to preaching hate in print and on TV, live.

Go back to your mental shitholes, your anti-immigrant bile,

Go back to pinching young pussies, in Jeffrey Epstein-style.

Go back to lying about Obama’s birth,

And 10,000 other things.

Go back to lying about your girth,

And your criminal enterprise rings.

Go back to stealing 9/11 money,

And cheating on your taxes.

Go back to hush money to your honeys,

And pleading for Wiki’s email haxes.

Go back to where you came from, Donald Trump,

Go back to the Ninth Circle of Dante’s Hellish Dump.

Go back to all your mirrors and your hairs — fewer and fewer;

Go back to where you were born, in the scummiest of sewers.

JFK, Jr., & Harry Chapin: Lovers of Life, Brothers in Death

 

They were always there, right in front of me: Harry Chapin, and John F. Kennedy, Jr., linked in death on the same exact date — July 16.

They died 18 years apart, their age difference, when they were both killed in terrible accidents at 38 years old. Chapin’s brief, shooting-star-of-a-life ended in the fiery crash of a small car on the Long Island Expressway; JFK, Jr.’s, in the crash of a small aircraft, somewhere off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

They were brothers in death, but their families — guided by strong women — and their mutual love for life were intertwined in ways that one of Harry Chapin’s five children, Jason, would come to experience first-hand, in his work directly with JFK, Jr. and his “Reaching Up” non-profit organization. The son of President John F. Kennedy founded “Reaching Up” in 1989 to give greater access to higher education and training to healthcare givers working with individuals with disabilities. The organization’s work not only enlarged the scope of the Special Olympics founded by JFK, Jr’s Aunt Eunice Shriver, but it also shared the compassion and common sense of the life-saving work done by a national non-profit co-founded by singer/songwriter Harry Chapin at the peak of his fame — WHYHunger — still tackling food insecurity in local communities 44 years after it was formed, as well as providing job skills to lift people out of poverty. Chapin and Kennedy were answering similar calls to serve others.

Jason Chapin, who worked with Governor Mario M. Cuomo and was elected to two, four-year terms on the New Castle Town Council in Westchester, County, NY, has, along with his four siblings, carried on his father’s work for WHYHunger and local food banks since 1975. He is the only Chapin to know JFK, Jr., and work with the “Reaching Up” organization and its City University of New York partner (CUNY) from 1995 to 2001.

“John was extremely passionate and dedicated to the organization, “ Jason Chapin said. “ I will always remember our Board Meetings which John chaired. He politely greeted everyone in the room when he arrived. He attended all of the annual Reaching Up Kennedy Fellows Convocations and was very friendly with the Fellows.”

It was precisely the same way JFK, Jr., greeted me at an early 1996 non-profit breakfast at New York’s Plaza Hotel which I attended as a guest of Jason Chapin’s. I was representing Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, and wearing a “We Believe in Brooklyn” button to boost Brooklyn’s visibility among the Manhattan political and media elite. JFK, Jr., who sat a few seats away from me at the circular table, spotted my button as soon as we got seated. He leaned over to me and whispered.

“My family believes in Brooklyn, too,” JFK, Jr. said. “We believe deeply in the Bed Stuy Redevelopment Project,” an important initiative started during the too short Senate term of his uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, when he was NY’s U.S. Senator, from 1965–68. What JFK, Jr., may not have known then was how important Jason Chapin’s grandfather, John Cashmore, was to his own father’s election as President of the United States in 1960. Cashmore, Brooklyn Borough President from 1940–1961, delivered 66% of Kings County’s vote to JFK, helping him beat Nixon in New York State by five percent, and win NY’s 45 electoral votes, giving Kennedy the 303 Electoral votes he needed to win the Presidency.

I told JFK, Jr. how important the BedStuy project was to Central Brooklyn, the community served by our public hospital, and how important his own father’s example of public service was to me in guiding my life’s work.

“You probably get tired of hearing that from so many people of my generation,” I said to JFK, Jr.

“I never get tired of hearing it,” he said. “It makes me proud to see how many people my father inspired.”

Over the more than three decades I’ve known Jason Chapin, I’ve heard him say, with unending politeness and grace, the exact same words about his father, when people tell him Harry Chapin inspired them to commit their lives to fighting poverty, or improving public health, or helping refugees find access to food or shelter.

“I’m always amazed by how many people my father reached, how many lives he touched,” Jason says again and again.

Harry Chapin, like the Kennedys, was not content to sit still, and unafraid to use his celebrity to do good, performing 2000 concerts during his 10-year music career, with half of them as benefits, raising more than $6 million to fight hunger, and millions more on his radio “Hungerthons” with WHYHunger co-founder Bill Ayres, a former Catholic priest who Marched on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1963.

As with JFK, Jr., Chapin was encouraged to take his activism, courage and compassion full-time to Washington, and run for the U.S. Senate from New York.

Harry recognized, as JFK, Jr., did with the creation of “Reaching Up” in 1989, that his name attached to any project could attract politicians, the media, the public and funding to the cause. His crusade against hunger and poverty, and his successful campaign to create a Presidential Hunger Commission with the help of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT.) and President Jimmy Carter, exhibited the same instincts that propelled JFK, Jr., to launch “Reaching Up” and George Magazine : they knew that politics and pop culture had merged, and that those in a position to use their fame to improve human existence, and to demonstrate their love for life, had a responsibility to do so.

(Steve Villano is at work on the official biography of Harry Chapin entitled Citizen/Artist: Why Harry Chapin’s Life and Work Matter More Than Ever, to be published in 2020. Villano’s previous book Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother, was published in 2017 by Heliotrope Books, NY, NY.)

“Here’s To The State of Trump’s Child Killers:” An Anthem to Inhumanity

 

Here’s To The State of Trump’s Child Killers

(In 1965, Civil Rights activist, singer and songwriter Phil Ochs wrote and performed one of his most powerful songs, “Here’s To The State of Mississippi”. Ochs, who volunteered for the Mississippi Caravan of Music in conjunction with Freedom Summer of 1964, the campaign to register Black Voters in Mississippi. During that summer, three civil rights workers — James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were beaten and shot to death by local Mississippi police officers working with the KKK. Ochs was so upset and outraged by the murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner and the systematic battering of Blacks in Mississippi, that he wrote one of his most controversial songs, calling for “Mississippi to find another country to be part of.” Today, a similar inhumane outrage is occurring on the US border with Mexico, with the Trump Administration’s Family Separation policy, which rips children from their parents, and the unconscionable mistreatment of infants and children in cages, known as Trump Camps. With acknowledgment to Phil Ochs musical scream as my inspiration, I offer my own modified lyrics to any singer who will deliver this message with the same intensity and passion that Ochs brought to his indictment of previous crimes against humanity, committed by another Government.)

Here’s to the state of Trump’s Child Killers,

For underneath their faces, the devil draws no lines,

If you drag their muddy mem’ries, nameless bodies you will find.

Whoa, the corridors of power have hid a thousand crimes,

The calendar is lyin’ if it reads the present time.

Whoa, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of,

Trump’s Child Killers find yourself another country to be part of.

 

And here’s to the mouthpieces of Trump’s Child Killers

Who say that folks with conscience, they just don’t understand,

And they tremble in the shadow of the Nazis and the Klan.

The sweating of their souls can’t wash away the blood from off their hands,

They smile and shrug their shoulders at the dying of a brown child

Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of,

Trump’s Child Killers find yourself another country to be part of.

 

And here’s to the homes of Trump’s Child Killers

Where they’re teaching all their children that they don’t have to care.

All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere

And every single family is a factory of despair

There’s nobody learning such a foreign word as fair.

Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of,

Trump’s Child Killers find yourself another country to be part of.

 

And here’s to the cops of Trump’s Child Killers,

They’re chewing their tobacco as they lock the Trump Camp doors

They’re bellies bounce inside them when they knock children to the floor,

They’d rather not take prisoners in their private little war,

Behind the broken badges there are murderers and more.

Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of,

Trump’s Child Killers find yourself another country to be part of.

 

And here’s to the lawyers of Trump’s Child Killers

Who cover up their hearts as they crawl into the courts,

They’re guarding all the bastions of their phony legal forts

Oh, justice is a stranger when the immigrants report

When the Black man is accused the trial is always short.

Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of,

Trump’s Child Killers find yourself another country to be part of.

 

And here’s to the government of Trump’s Child Killers

In the swamp that they created, they’re always bogging down,

And criminals are smirking as they hold the babies down

And they hope that no one sees the sights, and no one hears the sounds,

And the speeches of the President are the rantings of a clown.

Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of,

Trump Child Killers find yourself another country to be part of.

Suppose They Were Jews…

 

Suppose they were Jews,

The babies torn from their mothers arms

At the border’s edge, never to

Embrace each other again.

 

Suppose they were white

And pink-cheeked Jewish boys and girls

Stuffed by the dozen into bland, white

Vans in the Texas sun.

 

Suppose the cages ,

Meant for dogs were filled with Jews,

Not immigrants with dark skin,

Speaking in strange tongues.

 

Suppose the children with dark skin

Were packed in boats,

Two-by-two-by-two thousand,

And shipped out to sea, destinations unknown.

 

Suppose those humans,

Shunned as outcasts

Sought to land, to live

Someplace safe, and were denied.

 

Suppose their ships or vans

Or caravans of terrified faces

Were forced back to the homes they fled

With only their lives.

 

Suppose the places they fled

Grabbed them, and locked them up in cages,

Starving, beating and killing them,

Mother and child, separated forever.

 

Suppose they were Jews…

Billy Joel & His Family vs. The Nazis

 

Two years ago in late August, 2017, Billy Joel walked out on stage at Madison Square Garden, where he is the Artist-in-Residence performing monthly to standing room only crowds. On the left side of his dark suit jacket, a yellow Star of David was pinned prominently over his heart. For the singer/songwriter who has performed more than 100 times at one of the world’s premiere concert arenas, sold more than 150 million records and won virtually every music award, it was a bold and dramatic action, surprising some of his fans, since Joel is known for not being overtly political.

 

Joel’s jolt came less than ten days after the White Supremacist/Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a young women walking to peacefully protest the anti-Semitic and racial hatred spewed by the “Unite the Right” mob, was deliberately run down and killed by a White Supremacist driving a car into the group of counter-protestors.. To compound the terrible and deadly events in Charlottesville, Donald Trump went on television and refused to place responsibility on the Nazis and White Supremacists, but instead, stated there were “very fine people on both sides.”

 

Trump’s despicable statement “enraged”, Joel, as he told The Times of Israel.

“No, Nazis aren’t good people, “ Joel said. “My old man, his family got wiped out. They were slaughtered at Auschwitz. Him and his parents were able to get out.”

Joel’s comments about his family’s treatment by the Nazis was an understatement.

 

In Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography, by Fred Schruers (Crown Archetype Books, NY, NY, 2014), the author details the systematic campaign by the Nazi’s against Joel’s ancestors, simply because they were successful Jews living in Nuremberg, Germany, where Billy Joel’s father (Helmut, later Americanized to Howard) was born.

 

Joel’s paternal grandfather, Karl Amson Joel, started a business in household linens in 1927, which he called the Karl Joel Linen Goods Company. His business was so profitable that he, his wife and their young son — Billy Joel’s father — were able to move into a wealthy section of Nuremberg. As Karl Joel’s business rose in prominence and the Nazis rose in power, the Nazis fixed their sights on eliminating the Joel’s business and the family operating it.

 

The Billy Joel biography reports that “in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum database titled ‘Index of Jews whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935–1944, Billy’s grandfather is falsely accused of “monetary and currency offenses” in the records of two separate files.

 

“After taking part in the making of the documentary The Joel Files,I realized what the film’s director, Beate Thalberg had discovered,” Billy told the book’s writer, Fred Schruers. “ My relatives were hounded out of Germany at an absurd price — a paradigm of the economic casualties during the Nazi takeover.”

 

But Karl Joel was not simply an “economic casualty: he and his family were specific targets of the Nazis and were used as examples by Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher in the virulently anti-Semitic publication Der Sturmer. Streicher ran front page articles calling Billy’s grandfather a “Yid,” and falsely accused him of underpaying and sexually harassing his workers. The Nazis made up thousands of lies against Germany’s Jews to dehumanize them and turn their political base against them.

 

Billy Joel’s father was one of four Jews in his Nuremberg classroom, forced to sit apart from their classmates, and forbidden from using the public swimming pool. As circumstances for Jews in Germany became more dire, and Karl Joel was arrested three times while being called the “Jew Joel,” a “bloodsucker,” and “oppressor,” young Helmut (Billy’s father) was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland. Meanwhile, Der Sturmer continued its relentless Twitter-like name calling attacks on Karl Joel, labeling him the “Nuremberg Linen-Jew Joel.”

 

Karl Joel was ordered by the Nazis to stamp all of his outgoing packages with a “J”, a German plant manager was installed at his company, and suppliers began to boycott him. In June, 1938, a new law was passed requiring all Jewish businesses to be forfeited to Aryan ownership. Karl Joel’s linen business was taken from him at one-fifth its’ actual value.

 

“My grandparents fled in the night,” Billy Joel told author Schruers, “using fake passports, and escaped across the Swiss border to Zurich. They got in touch with my father at his school and told him they had left Germany for good.”

 

To escape Europe, Billy Joel’s grandparents and his father “secured places aboard a cruise ship called the Andora Star, for a 1939 passage across the Atlantic to Cuba, where they resided for two years before the United States — strictly limiting the immigration of Jews to protect “the ideal of American homogeneity — allowed them entry. Karl Joel’s brother Leon and his family were not so fortunate. They boarded the SS St.Louis, and after the Voyage of the Damned was refused entry in Havana and at every US Port, Billy Joel’s aunt, uncle and family were send back to Europe, and executed in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

 

Billy’s father, fluent in German and trained as a concert pianist, was drafted into the US Army in 1943, fighting in General George Patton’s Third Army. When Howard Joel’s battalion liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich in April, 1945, he didn’t know that his relatives had been slaughtered at Auschwitz.

 

I interviewed Billy Joel in Oyster Bay, Long Island, earlier this month, as part of my work on the official biography of his fellow Long Island singer/songwriter Harry Chapin. I wanted to thank him for wearing the Star of David as a powerful statement of protest to what happened in Charlottesville, and as a strong rebuke of Trump’s depiction of “fine people on both sides.” I converted to Judaism 40 years ago, and married a Jewish girl from Joel’s hometown of Hicksville, Long Island, so his bold public action was particularly poignant for me.

 

“There are no good Nazis, “ Joel said. “They killed my family members.”

Then he told me how the Nazis, once they confiscated his grandfather’s linen factory, used the machines in the factory to make the black and white striped prison uniforms which they forced Jews to wear, including his family members who were executed at Auschwitz. It was too macabre and twisted to imagine.

 

“I’ll continue to fight them as long as I can, and to use my voice to speak out against that kind of hate, “ Billy Joel said.

 

I thought back to his simple, straight-forward and quietly, powerful act of pinning a yellow Star of David above his heart on his dark suit, and thought of the decades of family and global history behind it, and the millions of Jews and non-Jews for whom Billy Joel’s voice rang out clear and true, without having to sing one note on that August night in New York.

The Speech I Want to Hear Joe Biden Deliver to Save the Nation.

 

My fellow Americans:

 

Today I am compelled to declare my candidacy for President of the United States because the very soul of our nation, the existence of our Democracy, the continued integrity of the US Constitution, and the Rule of Law are at stake.  I am running for President to protect all of these fundamental pillars of this great country , which are under daily attack, and will be permanently destroyed if Donald Trump is not defeated and sent back to Trump Tower (pause)—New York.

 

Just yesterday, Trump showed his abject contempt for the American people, the Congress and the Rule of Law by declaring, like a tinpot dictator, that he was ordering all Administration employees to ignore legal subpoenas to testify in an official, legal Congressional proceeding.   In one enormous corrupt act, Trump has committed the single biggest act of Obstruction of Justice in the history of the American Presidency—an action that, by itself, was the substance of the third article of Impeachment against Richard Nixon.

 

Systematically, Donald Trump has, over his totally lawless and corrupt 825 days in office, has undermined everything this country stands for; everything tens of thousands of courageous American men and women and our Allies around the globe have fought and died for in Wars stretching back over a century; everything my son Beau battled for until he breathed his last breath.  We will not stay silent and let this Democracy be dumped by a fundamentally treacherous man who is an autocrat and a tool of oligarchs to the very marrow of his bone.

 

Good, selfless public servants like the Firefighters across Pennsylvania, the police officers in New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oshkosh, and the patriotic men and women of the FBI who protect us from terrorist attacks every single day, are having their life’s work mocked by a man who puts his own self-interest—and the interests of his superrich, corrupt cronies in this country, Russia and Saudi Arabia, over this nation’s interests.

 

I served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for 14 years, chairing the Committee for eight of those years.  If that public service taught me anything—if my tenure as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee taught me anything, if my 36 years in the US Senate and my 8 years as Vice-President taught me anything, it is that this nation is built on the blood and the sacrifice of our fathers, sons, mothers and sisters; it’s built on a firm foundation of fairness, equality and the Rule of Law. Without respect for the law and for each other as human beings, we invite self-dealing, corrupt conduct , meanness and lawlessness– precisely  the hallmarks of the Trump Administration—and Donald Trump.

 

But you don’t have to just take my word for it, when you have the most chilling case of continuing corruption, cover-up and obstruction of justice laid out by a rock-solid Republican, a Purple Heart Recipient and War Hero like Bob Mueller in 448 pages of riveting evidence.  Mueller’s textbook case of high crimes and misdemeanors of a sitting President, documents the most dangerous threat our Democracy has ever seen both from within—right out of the Oval Office—and from abroad,  in the form of cyberwarfare conducted against our nation and our system of free elections by a hostile nation—a fact confirmed by our 17 Intelligence Agencies, and Special Prosecutor Mueller, but denied over and over again by Mr. Trump, because the truth undermines his legitimacy to hold the high office he occupies.

 

Putting aside the national security threat detailed in Volume I of the Mueller Report—which is a clear abrogation of Mr.Trump’s duties as Commander in Chief to protect this nation from a foreign enemy—Volume II’s smoking gun evidence of blatant Obstruction of Justice by the President of the United States—over and over again, across 180 pages of detailed documentation—disqualifies Donald Trump from continuing to serve in this nation’s highest office.  Why would any American who cares about the future of this Democracy and its leadership position in the world, want to support someone who, literally every day, commits unlawful acts that merit his removal from office?

 

His repeated commission of “Corrupt Acts”, as the Special Prosecutor meticulously spells out–and his own Administration members, including his former White House Counsel, testify to–Trump’s congenital lying, bullying his subordinates to lie, witness tampering, dangling pardons, altering testimony, and his repeated failure to uphold his sacred oath of office to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed ,” prove his unfitness to hold the office of President of the United States.  The mere thought of, God forbid, four more years of Donald Trump continuing to use the vast powers of this government for his own corrupt purposes, and to pursue his own lawless agenda, is enough to make any concerned citizen stand up and work hard to rebuild  this country back to when it  benefitted the many, instead of the wealthy, well-connected few.

 

The culture of corruption permeating this White House—with at least a half-dozen Cabinet members having resigned in disgrace and dozens more Trump Appointees—like the 6 Interior Department Employees this week—and their new Secretary– under the stench of ethics investigations.  That pernicious cloud of corruption is even thicker and more ominous with 12 separate, serious criminal investigations swirling around this President himself, his businesses and his questionable associates.  Such a stinking swamp of corruption stands in stark contrast to the eight years of impeccable integrity of the Obama/Biden Administration, of which I was a proud partner.

 

I’m running for President to clean up this monstrous mess created by Trump’s terrible 825-day temper tantrum, to save our democracy from a corrupt, spoiled autocrat, to protect our national security from hostile actors on the world stage, and to reinforce, as the Mueller Report clearly stated that “no person in this country is so high that he is above the law.” Our challenge is no less than to save this great nation.

 

Join me in bringing this country back to its fundamental promises of hope, fairness and equality for all, and its bedrock principles of democracy and the Rule of Law. This is not a campaign, it is a callingto restore human decency, the dignity of work, democracy and fairness to all law-abiding citizens in this country.   I’m calling on you to help save our Democracy, our Constitution and our common decency.