Read my latest article in The National Memo on the great RFK speech on Violence, delivered on the day after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination at the Cleveland City Club, April 5, 1968. It’s a speech which Joe Biden MUST deliver today. Please click on the link below to access my article.
( I am a 71-year old White, Italian American man, and I am a Jew. I am also a Black man, and the father of all children being beaten, killed or incarcerated because of the color of their skin, or their faith. We are all part of the human family; they are all my children. They are my flesh and blood, and my soul. I dedicated this poem to them, and to all of us.)
Black man, Black man
Dead man, Jew —
Look at what
They’ve done to you.
Chains and ropes,
Gas and slaughter —
To your sons,
To your daughters.
Black man, Black man
Dead man, Jew —
Marched toward graves
Skin and Faith,
Fear and Lies,
Puff killers size.
Bullets in spines,
Knees on throats —
Laws deny you
Life and votes.
Black man, Black man
Dead man, Jew —
Nuremberg & Jim Crow
Trap you, crush you
Black man, Black man
Dead Man, Jew —
How do you take it?
When’s justice due?
Why do you pray?
Why do you stay?
Point the way?
Beat you, kill you,
Still, you rise.
What do you see,
That escapes dead eyes?
Black man, Black man,
Dead man, Jew —
Life to you.
A law was passed 100 years ago, dear —
All women now could vote how ‘ere they saw.
No more a limit on how far they’d go here —
It’s Kamala! Kamala!
She loves to hear the liars fall…
…hear the liars fall.
Knocked Big Bill Barr off his wall…
…Big Bill Barr off his wall.
She’s Black and Indian and even Jewish,
Charismatic as well as so damn smart.
Makes Trump and Pence appear so very shrewish —
It’s Kamala! Kamala!
I love to see her make slime squirm…
… see her make slime squirm!
Turned Kavanaugh to worm…
…Kavanaugh to worm!
The winner may be hidden ’til December;
The loser exits swiftly, like it or not.
Trump’s lies and cheats and crimes will be dismembered —
By Kamala! Kamala!
I love the team of her and Joe…
…team of her and Joe!
It’s time for Trump to go…
…Time for Trump to go!
His hate-filled flailing, wailing, has now ended.
Trump’s scheme to steal the mail was one last fail.
Now jail awaits with criminals he friended —
It’s Kharma time! Kharma time!
I love the patter of her name…
…the patter of her name!
To Kamala! Kamala!
Lives matter all the same…
…matter all the same!
Humanity will once again be sacred,
Love & science rule in every spot.
In short, we all will know —
To Kamala & Joe,
Our Dignity and Lives…
All Matter quite-a-lot.
When I see a person without a mask within 6 feet of me or anyone else, I want to spray them in the face with disinfectant. Kind of like using Mace against a violent, life-threatening criminal.
I know that might constitute an assault, but, I reason, so is the maskless menace breathing potentially deadly pathogens into the air in my direction. “The freedom to extend your arm, stops where my nose begins,” I remember as a criminal law mantra from law school. That principle applies perfectly here.
So, what can we do in “self-defense?” What’s the appropriate action for victims of the maskless morons to take? Do we need our own “Stand Your Public Health Ground Law?” If shaming doesn’t work, especially when dealing with a selfish jerk, what can we do to proactively protect ourselves and the health of the people we love?
I was confronted with that conflict head-on, while my granddaughters, my son, his wife and mine, were all having a wonderful, socially distanced birthday celebration at a beautiful beach on the Sonoma Coast. For context, its’ important to note that when I am in the presence of our 3 granddaughters — ages 11, 9, and almost 5 — I am in state of bliss. Few things can loosen that circle of love. Even Donald Trump, the most dastardly of dastards, becomes a child’s silly ditty: “Donald Trump is a horse’s rump; he belongs in a garbage dump.” Ok. My ditty — but my grandchildren giggle with glee when they hear it. Still, my mood of joy for those three girls remains uninterrupted.
So there we were, all playing on the beach, sculpting Sand Cats, and replicas of Hogwarts and Stonehenge (the girls love cats and Harry Potter, and their mother is an Anthropologist) when an oblivious old coot comes walking directly toward us on the beach — maskless, mirthless and clueless as to the danger he was breathing with him. He had barged into my bliss, momentarily catching me off guard, unable to bark out “Where’s your fucking, Mask, loser?” because my granddaughters were right there, and he was suddenly upon us.
He barely avoided us, and I looked after him in disgust, wanting to run up behind him, knock him over, and push his face into the sand. But of course, I didn’t. My granddaughters were watching, and I kept my anger in check and repressed my strong desire to go all “Johnny Brooklyn” on him. Impressionable ears were listening carefully. We complained a bit about him getting too close for comfort, but then resumed our play in the sand, and running from the ice cold waves chasing us back.
“I felt his breath on me,” my oldest granddaughter said, and I immediately regretted not punching the maskless moron in the nose so he couldn’t breathe on anyone. I rationalized my response by complimenting myself on not making a scene, when I felt that was exactly what I should have made.
As we were leaving the beach, giddy from getting to spend an entire day with each other, masked and socially distanced on one of the most spectacular beaches in all of California, three unmasked teen-aged boys approached us on a narrow path back to the parking lot. The tallest of the three, walking in front, saw all of us, with our faces covered, and momentarily pulled up his tee shirt to cover his mouth and nose, then dropped it down when his peach-fuzz faced friends blithely refused to cover theirs. We stopped and stepped aside — not quite 6 feet — to let them pass.
“You inconsiderate little pricks, cover your faces,” a voice inside me said, but that’s where it stayed. My granddaughters were watching, and I didn’t want to model bad behavior, even though they had just witnessed it by the three-skin faced stooges.
If I were alone, would I have done more than give an icy “you maskless moron” stare to the oblivious old coot or the Teenage Mutant Maskless Turds? In a State Park or city or county or town where mask-wearing is mandatory during this COVID Pandemic, don’t law abiding citizens have the right to enforce the law? To demand compliance? To shame the shameless bastards? To kick sand in their uncovered faces?
If I were a member of a Public Health Police Force, I’d hand out stiff fines to every violator, and arrest those arrogant asses who claim they “don’t believe in masks,” or they “need to breathe oxygen,” as if the air in a mask is methane. Until that time comes, I’m shopping for some new masks or tee-shirts that scream: “Wear Your Fucking Mask,” “Cover Your Mouth AND Nose,” or “Your Breath Is Killing Your Mother.” I’m also contemplating carrying a disinfectant filled spray-bottle to mark off my six-foot territory the way a cat sprays to claim its turf. I’m deciding on designing these spray bottles to look like a Corona Virus, with each orange spike capable of spewing Lysol or bleach.
It’s either that, or unleashing my inner Johnny Brooklyn on the maskless morons moving in self-centered concentric circles among us — regardless of age or gender — and the results won’t be quiet nor pretty, but they might just dramatically reduce COVID infection rates, and ignorance if we act out like ACTUP did against AIDS. Those might be just the tactics needed to get through to the dumb-as-fuck dunderheads who need to simply choose between putting on their mask or a prison uniform, for all the deaths and illness they’ve callously caused.
Until the jacketless jackass Jim Jordan showed porno films before AG Barr’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, I thought Donald Trump was Joe Biden’s best weapon for winning the Presidency and for the Democrats sweeping both House of Congress in 2020.
Jordan’s junk film could not have been more self-destructive then if it were a grainy, hand-held video of former Ohio State Wrestling team Physician Richard Strauss sexually abusing nude wresters, while jittery Jim, the Assistant Wrestling Coach with a gym locker right next to Strauss’, stood by in silence. This time, the hyperactive hypocrite was hysterical about other forms of violence, that weren’t sexual.
As usual (except when it involved his legal duty to protect college wrestlers from a sexual predator), Jordan overdid it. Not only had he violated House rules by not pre-clearing the vile video with the Committee Chair 48-hours in advance, but he let the jerky, terribly pasted together piece of propaganda play on and on like some pre-pubescent version of the “Blair Witch Project.” Even Barr’s eternally bored-looking, bulbous face, oozed more boredom than ever as the repetitious visions of violence, by unidentified actors, only revealed the transparency of Trump’s stunt man’s latest stunt. The dry run for an uncut Trump Campaign video was backfiring almost as badly as Trump’s bullying, tear-gas drenched trek to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, where he bobbled a Bible for a phony photo-op.
Turns out, we’ve seen this show many times before. We’ve seen it with Trump’s 20,000+ lies over the past four years; we’ve seen snippets of out-of-context violence show up in an amateurish Trump ad entitled “Joe Biden’s America;” we’ve witnessed a “Call 911” screed aimed at scaring senior citizens — who are more terrified of dying of COVID — over “defunding the police,” a phrase and policy which Biden rejects as strongly as he rejects violence. Even Fox News’ Chris Wallace accused Trump of lying about Biden’s position on the police funding issue, in a recent televised interview. None of those lie-laden messages, have done anything to raise Trump’s popularity. In fact, they’ve had the opposite effect: every national poll and every swing state polls shows Trump’s approval numbers dropping precipitously when it comes to handling race relations, “law & order,” issues of trust, and on his abject failure to confront the COVID pandemic.
In fact, at virtually the same moment Jordan’s was opening his trench mouth to flash Congress his violence-laden porn flick, the highly respected Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that a masked White Supremacist — known as “Umbrella Man” and a member of the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood — was caught on film smashing windows and committed acts of violence during Black Lives Matter protests in Minneapolis, following the murder of George Floyd. A Minneapolis Police Sgt. reported on the White Supremacist provocateur’s acts of violence in an affidavit:
“This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and the rest of the city,” Sgt. Erika Christensen wrote in a search warrant affidavit filed in court this week. “Until the actions of… ‘Umbrella Man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful. The actions of this personcreated an atmosphere of hostility and tension…. this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence.”
Umbrella Man didn’t show up in Gym Jordan’s video orgasm, nor did the unidentified federal secret police caught on cell-phone cameras beating up a peaceful Navy Veteran with police batons, or rounding up unarmed mothers, and forcibly throwing them into black, unmarked vehicles in Portland. Could the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood have other Bro’s operating in Portland, Seattle or Louisville? How do we know who the members of the “unidentified” federal agents are operating in DC, or Portland or any other City?? Are the federal “secret police,” members of White Supremacist, Anti-Semitic militias of wannabe Stormtroopers? Mercenaries moonlighting from ICE or the Bureau of Prisons to do Bill Barr’s dirty work?
Those questions aren’t paranoia, but prudence; nor, do they excuse outright acts of violence by a few outliers from legitimate and peaceful demonstrators. The State’s Attorney’s of Baltimore and District Attorney of Philadelphia — the highest law enforcement officials in those cities — shared those concerns, in an Op Ed which appeared in the July 23 issue of the Washington Post:
“We were elected to prosecute violations of the law in our cities. We strongly believe that the actions in Oregon are illegal. Should the president proceed with his plan in our cities, his agents will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby for Baltimore City and DA Larry Krasner for Philadelphia went on:
“Desperate times produce desperate measures. President Trump, sliding in the polls, flailing as covid-19 cases surge, has sought a distraction by sending federal law enforcement officers into Portland, Ore. Scarier to us than even the Orwellian sight of federal agents in military fatigues assaulting citizens and bundling them into unmarked vehicles is that Trump has spoken of sending federal agents to Baltimore and Philadelphia.”
The tough law and order stand of those local law enforcement officials, echoed the words of Oregon’s State Attorney General who filed suit against the Trump Administration’s illegal actions:
“Should Trump send federal agents who engage in the same illegal vigilante activities, unlawfully assaulting and kidnapping people, they will face criminal charges from our offices”
No elected official of either party, in any town, city or State in the country condones acts of violence against people or property. Most are careful to distinguish peaceful, non-violent protest from acts of vandalism. Most respect the constitutional rights of their citizens expressing their right to free speech and go to great lengths to protect them. Many of the leaders of the cities and States targeted by Trump and Barr are Black, Latino or women, a fact of contemporary political life brought home during the COVID pandemic, as those communities were left to largely fend for themselves. Those hard-hit communities are not alone in the nation’s worst public health crisis in a century: the entire country is consumed with worry over mass death, as the 150,000th American died from COVID this week.
And it’s precisely because of that overwhelming focus, and how badly Trump has bungled the response to the pandemic, that the public isn’t buying the fraudulent cure he’s trying to sell on handling peaceful protest, race relations, violence, or just about anything else.
New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz writes in a July 27 Intelligencer article entitled “Trump’s Portland Policy Isn’t Backfiring The Way He Intended”:
“Trump’s culture war histrionics only reinforce the impression that he isn’t taking the coronavirus seriously…and he has done little during his first term in office to associate himself with orderliness…To the contrary…Trump has done just about everything in his power to make voters see him as an agent of chaos.
The most fundamental flaw in Trump’s gambit, though, is the brute fact that he is the sitting president. It is very difficult to persuade voters that putting you in the White House will end civil unrest when you are currently in the White House and there is civil unrest.”
Not even a double dose of Hydroxychloroquine or a big gulp of bleach will cure that.
I tried to warn you, Tony.
Three months ago — almost to the day — I wrote an article urging you to speak the unfettered truth about how Donald Trump was incompetently mishandling the federal response to the COVID 19 Pandemic, resulting in record-breaking infection and death in the United States.
Instead, you made the General Mattis mistake; you figured that, based upon the strength of your own character, you could change things from within, ignoring the wise counsel of the writer Rick Wilson, that “Everything Trump Touches, Dies.” Now, it’s your turn to be dirtied and discredited by the Garbage Pail-in-Chief, a pernicious pathogen of a President.
I tried to warn you to step out and bring the Science-denying sociopath down. You didn’t listen. Now, he’s coming for you.
You’ve been Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, and the only believable spokesperson in the Trump Administration on the COVID 19 pandemic.
Your fashion-consumed colleague Dr. Deborah Birx, the Administration’s Corona Virus Response Coordinator — a job she has flamboyantly failed at — crushed her own credibility by telling the Christian Broadcasting Network the preposterous lie that “The President is so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data.”
Unlike “Ambassador” Birx, who comes across like a wealthy dilettante, bemoaning being unable to host “dinner parties for 20 yet,” because of social distancing, you are a down-to-earth, likeable 79-year old, highly educated Italian public health professional from Brooklyn — still bearing scraps of your Brooklyn accent.
Who couldn’t like a regular guy who played basketball in High School, rooted for the Yankees despite growing up on Brooklyn Dodger turf, had a Zoom talk with the Warriors’ Steph Curry, and wears a Washington National’s mask to Congressional Hearings?
That training in street toughness, highlighted in a New Yorker article by Michael Specter, and entitled, “How Anthony Fauci Became America’s Doctor,” should have made you fight more furiously, against the anti-science prejudice and profit-over-patients Darwinism infecting the Trump White House. Unfortunately, like the good point guard you were on your high school team, you chose to stay in your lane and be a team player, when it was the team itself that was utterly corrupt, immoral and incompetent to the marrow of its bones.
I urged you to use your enormous credibility and popularity: last month’s Sienna College Poll had you clobbering Trump 67%-26% on the question of trust with the American public. Your approval rating is even higher today, as Trumps sinks into the sewer from where he was spawned. I begged you to forcefully expose the lies and intentional falsehoods by Trump and the always bizarre Alex Azar, an oleaginous former Big Pharma executive, which resulted in thousands of unnecessary COVID deaths — including a beloved member of my family, and a younger, former colleague. It’s still not too late, Tony, to use the force of the facts, of your character and your moral and popular standing, to save lives before the number of COVID deaths in this country tops 200,000.
It’s time for you to resign in protest and expose all of the lies, stupidities and criminal negligence of the Bleach Belching Imbecile in the Oval Office. I’m sure the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, funded by Mike Bloomberg, would continue to fund your important work, and Joe Biden’s campaign would give you a big enough megaphone to get your public health messages out to millions of Americans. You could do a COVID Zoom conference call with Biden each day, and the whole world will be watching. And, unlike Trump, Biden will listen and understand the urgency to act.
You have far more power today — with nearly 50 years of solid scientific, public health work in your corner. And you have far, far more, widespread public support now during this COVID pandemic than you have had at any time in your distinguished career.
As far back as Easter Sunday — a date Trump pulled out of one of his orifices to have all churches “beautifully open,” — you told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union:
“Obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. But, there was a lot of pushback about shutting things early in the outbreak.”
At that point, three months ago, the United States had just surpassed 20,000 COVID-related deaths. Today, we’re approaching seven times that number, and you still haven’t told us about the pushback against shutting things down. It’s time to blow the whistle, Tony.
No one else has the enormous capacity, knowledge, record of accomplishment, depth of expertise, passion for public health, and track record in getting a huge bureaucracy to move into action as you do, Tony. But now, the deadly virus of Trump’s venality, ignorance and vituperation, have been turned on you. And even a surgical mask & gobs of hand sanitizer won’t keep those grotesque germs away.
It is no longer possible for you to stay where you are, to do, as you told the New Yorker, “everything possible to stop the worst from happening.” The worst of the COVID pandemic is happening despite your best efforts, because Trump and his evil enablers have taken the ball out of your hands, and put you on the bench.
They are coming for you, Tony, but we have your back, if you’ll let us. You once asked the key question about the Reagan Administration’s glacial response to AIDS, “Why wasn’t the Administration moving faster?” as Michael Spector wrote in the New Yorker.
You’ve struggled mightily to raise this question everyday from inside the Trump Administration, but they don’t want to hear your truth anymore. Instead, they’ve chosen to trash you. Get out now. Your team is US, not them.