90th Anniversary of Sacco & Vanzetti’s Execution Reminds us that Hate, Xenophobia Kill Human Beings

 


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On the eve of the 90th Anniversary of the execution of Sacco & Vanzetti, Donald Trump delivered the kind of racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, hateful speech that resulted in two Italian immigrants being sent to the electric chair — not because the evidence against them was clear, but because their ethnicity was.

 

Today marks the 90th Anniversary of this specific consequence of killing people because they are different, and inciting a mob to murder. Donald Trump comes by his xenophobia and his hatred of immigrants naturally. His father, Fred Trump was arrested in Queens, NY., 90 years ago this past May, at a KKK Rally which was anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic and anti-black. Three months after Fred Trump was arrested at the KKK Rally, Sacco & Vanzetti were electrocuted.

 

History teaches us that the unjust execution of Sacco & Vanzetti is by no means the first, nor the most catastrophic example of the consequences of the hatred of “the other”, as the slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazis reminds us. It is not even the most egregious example of the hateful, fatal consequences of xenophobia concerning Italians.

 

That event happened 36 years earlier, in 1891, in New Orleans, LA, when 11 innocent Italian Immigrants — acquitted by a jury in a dramatic murder case — were ripped from a jail by a maniacal mob of 20,000 White Nationalists (the actual name of the group was the White Nationalists League), shot and lynched in the single largest mass lynching in American History. The White Nationalist League was incited to riot by the elected Mayor of New Orleans, Mayor Shakespeare — much like Donald Trump was inciting 20,000 White Supremacists in Arizona last night to take violent action against the press, and others.

 

The White Nationalist League, which took credit for the lynchings of the 11 innocent Italian immigrants, was also responsible for erecting the pro-segregationist, pro-Confederacy statues throughout New Orleans, which the current Mayor has wisely decided to take down. Trump’s defense of those symbols of racial oppression, and his incitement of modern-day White Nationalists to riot again last night in Phoenix, are not part of some low-rated reality show, but have real, life-threatening consequences.

 

Even though Google didn’t see fit to remember Sacco & Vanzetti on the 90th Anniversary of their death, we can. And while we’re at it, we can honor the memories of the 11 innocent Italian immigrants murdered by the White Nationalists of their time, in New Orleans, in 1891.

 

The names of those innocents, who came to America to seek a better life for their families, are: Pietro Monastero, Joseph Macheca, Antonio Marchesi, Antonio Scaffidi, Emmanuele Polizzi, Antonio Bagnetto, James Caruso, Rocco Geraci, Frank Romero, Loretto Comitz and Charles Traina. They are not as well known as Sacco & Vanzetti, but they are the victims of one of the biggest hate crimes committed by White Nationalists in American history, 20,000 of whom were incited to riot & murder by a high-ranking elected official.   Twenty thousand White Nationalists brought to a murdering frenzy by a demagogue preaching hate & violence against others.

 

Remember that on this 90th Anniversary of the execution of Sacco & Vanzetti, and as we reflect upon the largest mass lynching in American history, carried out by an inflamed mob of 20,000 people against innocent Italian immigrants whose only crime, was being different.

Memorial Day & The Murder of NATO

 

 

My father curses you from his grave,

You avaricious garbage-pail, depraved

Beyond redemption, not to mention how

Deprived you are of any shards of soul.

 

My father didn’t want to leave three kids

But yet he did, to fight the Fascists and keep

Us safe from crazy, kleptocratic autocrats, intent

On pillaging our villages and killing our freedom.

 

My wife’s uncle, at 20, had reasons plenty to stay home

And not run off to Rome, to spend his youth fighting Nazis

So uncouth they pissed on Jewish graves, including his own,

Dug deep into Europe’s hills, before The War was won.

 

And now, you come, you avaricious garbage pail,

Face so callow and puffy, skin so pale, voice a callous peale,

To tear down the democratic fortress their blood sealed,

Defeating & containing dictators for 70 years–your lifetime–

You chin-thrusting shill for Russian mobsters, you pig squeal.

 

My father and his fellow GI’s curse you from their graves,

You avaricious garbage-pail, depraved more than the jackals

Who feasted on the entrails of dead soldiers and civilians,

Growing fat, insatiably feasting on the flesh of humans.

 

The soldiers of democracy’s fortune, from here and abroad,

Curse you from their graves, you fraud, knowing the courage of their brave

Allies who, from different lands, came together for a cause,

Not simply for applause, nor profit, but to save the world,

From avaricious, kleptocratic, autocratic, garbage pails like you.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s New Show: “Shit Sandwich!”

Last May, I published a piece on social media that called upon the mainstream media to eat Donald Trump alive at his own game. Since television’s insatiable hunger for cheap, low-cost, low-talent Reality TV made a crass, shrivel-souled little man with tiny hands into a celebrity out of Trump (thank you, Jeff Zucker & Mark Burnett) and helped build his puffed-up platform for a Presidential campaign, my reasoning was that TV also had the power to devour him.

NBC dumped the Donald when his ratings nosedived — despite what the imaginary friends in Trump’s mind tell him. Now, however, having used television and social media’s obcession with suspense, suspension of belief and bug-swallowing to slip in through a basement window of the White House, it’s not so easy to get rid of the bloated, no-talent fraud.  It’s even tougher when he has Secret Service protection, and is in possession of a nuclear, non-edible “biscuit,” even if he isn’t in possession of his senses.

For the first month of his occupation of the office, the perpetual “Apprentice” has, predictably, acted like one, and barricaded himself behind bunkers in the White House, Mar-A-Lago, and his Castle on the Hill on Fifth Avenue. Instead of quietly conducting his Kremlin-inspired Kleptocracy and, at least ostensibly, respecting American institutions like the Judiciary, the First Amendment, the US Constitution, and American Intelligence Services, Trump cannot stop himself from acting like the insecure schnorrer he is. His insatiable appetite for any kind of media — social, virtual, print and reality, television news, negative, positive  or ridicule— drove the failed “ Apprentice” to produce his newest daily game show from the White House, with a cast of characters far more repulsive than Omarosa, although she was kept around for an occasional cameo.

The new ratings (or is it rantings and ravings?) hit has been perfectly named “Shit Sandwich,” by advisors to Vice-Admiral Robert Harward, Deputy Commander of US Central Command, who told him this week what he’d be stepping into if he agreed to replace notorius Russian TV mouthpiece Michael Flynn as National Security Director.

Neither Burnett nor Zucker — who produced and greenlighted many shitty reality shows while at NBC — could have foreseen such a logjam of lunatics and losers under one roof as Vice-Admiral’s Harward’s friends found in “Shit Sandwich.” Instinctively, Trump knew that none of us — especially the media he loves to hate — could turn away from something so astoundingly vile.

The “highly over-rated” cast of “Shit Sandwich” includes: Steven “Seig Heil,” Bannon, a walking “Evola” Virus, taking his cues from a dead, deranged Italian Fascist — Julius Evola— who believed Mussolini and Hitler weren’t tough enough on Jews, and wrote about women as “things”; Eva Conway Braun (aka KKKKelly Anne Conjob), who thought she could pitch Ivanka’s products on the air, ethics laws be damned, and then discovered she couldn’t even pitch herself to the news shows that used to fawn over her boss, like “Morning Joe”; and Mike Pence, who still doesn’t know he was lied to by Trump, by Mike Flynn, and by the gay-conversion therapists he listended to years ago.

Bit players in “Shit Sandwich” include Reince Priebus, whose penis shaped head perfectly suits what flows from his mouth; the “31-year old” Josef Goebbels wannabe Stephen “I-never-got-laid-in-High School, and-my-liberal-parents-ignored-me,” Miller, and Sean “Spitting Spicey” Spicer, plucked from obscurity from a truck stop toilet in Tallahassee.

 Although, the “well-oiled machine” of “Shit Sandwich” has been boffo at the box-office, it’s still not enough for the approval-addicted “Apprentice”; minute-by-minute he must mainline more and more mainstream media attention in order to breath. His tweets are a mere Russian “ruse” for new plot lines, equating his attacks on Nordstrom’s and Saturday Night Live,with attacks on the Judiciary and the CIA. If you mock everything, then everything is a mockery.

Consistent with the story-line of “Shit Sandwich” is Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, a polluter’s pawn who rose to power by covering up the damage of toxic Chicken Manure (aka: “Chicken Shit”) and earthquake producing fracking in his home state of Oklahoma — actions that have probably caused more Okies’ deaths than the Oklahoma City bombing 20 years ago by a Fascist extremist. Pruitt’s approval by the GOP-lead Senate comes on the heels of the surfacing of a 27 year old Oprah Winfrey Show tape of Trump’s  Putzy Labor nominee’s wife dressed in disguise where she testified that the billionaire burger flipper hit her with his hamburgers, again and again. Not even the New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz could make this stuff up, and the “Shit Sandwich’s” ratings blew the roof off the White House.

In short, “The Apprentice,” who came to power riding the back of the media, was now in danger of ending up inside its’ bowels, unable to satiate his own narcissism, unglued by criticism, with his out-of-control ego unable to withstand the withering scrutiny of his lies, his life and his lack of talent. Will CNN’s Jeff Zucker help flush “Shit Sandwich” down the drain? Will CBS’ Les Moonves keep up the car-accident coverage because its great for the his company’s bottom line?

 Stay tuned for BREAKING NEWS at the top of this sentence.

Mario Cuomo: The Anti-Trump

(Mario Cuomo, standing high above Donald Trump in term of human values, dignity, respect for the law, and holding the lamp of freedom high for Immigrants and Refugees the world over.  The Albany Times Union of Sunday, January 29, 2017, published my commentary on Mario Cuomo: The Anti-Trump, accompanied by a terrific graphic, pictured above.  To more easily read the full commentary, I’ve included full text and a link to the digital piece below:

 

It was always right there: Mario Cuomo as the anti-Trump.

Sure, they were raised just a few miles from each other in Queens, but worlds apart: Cuomo atop his father’s modest little grocery store in South Jamaica, where he didn’t learn to speak English until he was 8; Donald Trump in his father’s opulent, 23-room mansion high on a hill in exclusive Jamaica Estates where working-class Italians were not welcome.

 

That was years before the Trumps would do all they could, including violate federal and state anti-discrimination laws, to keep working-class families of a different color out of Trump-built working-class housing in Brooklyn. Unlike Cuomo, who lived among struggling immigrant families from diverse backgrounds, Trump lived a gilded life, a sheltered, elite existence where he was chauffeured to his privileged private school in his mother’s rose-colored Rolls-Royce.

 

Each family had far different views of their own histories: the German Drumpfs Americanized their name for business reasons; the Italian-born Andrea and Immaculata Cuomo, proud of their lineage, language and land of origin, were interested in what other immigrant families wanted: putting bread on the table for their children. They had nothing to hide.

 

Any examination of Mario Cuomo’s words and actions during his years as New York’s governor, and as a national advocate for human and immigrant rights, makes his views clear. In an address to NYU’s Urban Research Center on Immigration, 25 years ago this June, Cuomo’s prescience about growing American nationalistic “Know-Nothingism” was ominous:

 

“…some candidates tried to resurrect the perennial anti-immigrant specter by talking about the ‘unraveling of America’ and about ‘taking America back.’ It’s the same nativist sloganeering and parochial fear-mongering that’s been aimed at every group of new immigrants throughout our history.”

 

Then, in eerie anticipation of the virulent xenophobia that the son of a reluctant German looking down from a cloistered castle in Queens unleashed upon America in 2016, Cuomo spoke of his own family’s experience:

 

“I thank God the country didn’t say to them, ‘we can’t afford you; you might take someone else’s job, or cost us too much. I’m glad they didn’t ask my father if he could speak English, because he couldn’t; I’m glad they didn’t ask my mother if she could count, because she couldn’t…I’m glad they didn’t ask my father what special skills he brought to this great and dynamic nation, because there was no special expertise to the way he handled a shovel when he dug trenches for sewer pipe. I’m glad they let him in anyway.”

 

The differences between Mario Cuomo and Donald Trump went far beyond the separate universes into which each was born. Vast chasms of values, beliefs, character and respect for all people and cultures separated the two. Trump’s opening slime against Mexicans when he consciously slammed an entire culture to kick off his hate-filled 2016 presidential campaign smelled like the slurs hurled about Italian-Americans, when Cuomo’s name was mentioned as a possible presidential candidate.

 

Unlike Trump, Cuomo led a life of great integrity, with zero tolerance for injustice, and profound reverence for the law, for all faiths, families, and human dignity. Addressing an NAACP conference at the New York Hilton, on December 11, 1991 — just one week before declining to run for the presidency in 1992 — Cuomo’s voice quaked with emotion when he came to the subject of racism:

 

“The truth is that the ugly and dangerous instinct still lives among us … the instinct to stigmatize, to stereotype, to scapegoat, to malign people because of the tint of their skin, the God they pray to, or the place their parents came from …”

 

Cuomo knew, from personal experience, of the damage done by stigma and negative stereotyping, fighting the ugly lies of “mob connections” for years. “My whole life has been a statement against that crap,” he argued passionately when questioned why he refused to deliver a JFK-style “Houston Ministers” speech to squash the rumors.

 

Trump’s life made exactly the opposite statement. His “incestuous intertwining with organized crime,” had been documented for decades, according to Wayne Barrett in his book “Trump: The Deals & the Downfall.” Trump took his counsel from sycophants of the mob like Roy Cohn, and, for years, did business with the New York and Philadelphia crime families. Writing in Politico last year, author David Cay Johnston put it bluntly: “No other candidate for the White House… has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and crooks.”

 

Trump was an amoral actor doing business with amoral peers. “Garbage pails, ” as John A. Gotti, Jr., described the type in his autobiography “Shadow of My Father,” when he wrote of his desire to quit the Mob. No souls, no hearts, no nothing — the complete antithesis of Mario Cuomo, whom the mob guys knew was “unreachable,” and respected him for it. Even they could see that Cuomo — the anti-thug — pointed the way toward a better life for their children.

 

Steve Villano, a former Albany resident now living in Napa, Calif., was a director of Gov. Mario M. Cuomo’s New York City press office, and is the author of “Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo and My Brother,” to be published in May by Heliotrope Books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-opinion/article/Mario-the-anti-Donald-10891540.php?cmpid=twitter-desktop

This is OUR Country.

 

I am an American,
Dedicated to human
And civil rights,
To the rule of law,
Not of outlaws.
I am the keeper
Of the torch of freedom,
Of the memories
Of our family members
Who fought & died
Fighting fascism & hate.
I am an American.
This is my country,
And the Constitution
Is mine, and yours,
And worth fighting for
To protect those we love.