“Where’s My Roy Cohn?”

 

Where’s my Roy Cohn?

 

Disbarred, my child, disbarred…

For lying & cheating & stealing clients’ loot;

For never paying taxes, stuffing coke up his snoot.

Soul scarred, my child, so scarred.

 

Where’s my Roy Cohn?

 

Disgraced, my child, disgraced…

For framing Jews as Russian spies, for attacking people’s Race;

For trafficking with Mobsters,

For lying about gays…

Disgraced, my child, debased himself, in oh, so many ways.

 

“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” the flailing baby cried…

 

He’s gone, my child, erased himself…

Abandoned by leeches like you, while dying of AIDS,

His power unmade,

He died. And you did, too.

 

“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” the lost boy moans,

 

His mind stuck back in time 40 years;

No Cohn, or Stone, or Bannon or Flynn,

To impale others & usher you in.

The Reckoning nears—the sum of your fears,

And Ethel & Julius have shed all their tears.

Put Your Muscle Behind Your Support for the Rule of Law, Robert Mueller & the FBI.

 

OK, so here’s the deal, and I can’t believe that a kid who grew up distrusting J. Edgar Hoover is doing this.

 

I’ve purchased a bunch of these standard Tees & had them inscribed with the phrase: “I’m for the Law, & the FBI.” I know, I know, Grammar Nerds…there should NOT be a comma after “Law,” BUT I wanted to make it clear that the LAW is above all, including the FBI and the President.

 

With shipping, the shirts cost me about $10 each. For $20.18, I send you a shirt, and send the balance of your payment (less shipping costs to you) to the FBI Agents’ Association non-profit organizations, either the FBI Agents Association Member Assistance Fund, or the FBIAA’s Memorial College Fund. You can decide which one by going to their website at FBIAA.org.

 

Of course, you can make a donation directly to their fund, but you don’t get the shirt. I refuse to make money on this, and am doing this because NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD PEOPLE TO COME TO THE AID OF THE RULE OF LAW, & THE FBI.

 

It’s time for us law-abiding Americans to flex our muscles. If you want to, just send me a private message. Total cost to you: $20.18 to show your support for the Rule of Law & the FBI in 2018. All proceeds over & above costs & shipping go to FBIAA non-profits, which help the families of FBI agents killed or injured in the line of duty—protecting our lives.

 

Put your muscle behind the law & law enforcement in defense of our democracy.

The Unimaginable

 

(Artwork by Ezra Jack Keats)

 

I heard the first news reports about the massacre of 20 first graders–babies, really–at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, after I just walked out of court in Marin County, California.

 

I had just secured a restraining order from a judge to prevent a mentally deranged individual, who bragged he had a gun, from coming onto the campus of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) which I was running at the time. He had threatened several of my staff members, and starting ranting to the judge that the CIA was after him.

 

The judge asked me if I had anything further to add, and I rolled my eyes and said “No, your honor. I think my case has been made.” The Judge immediately granted the restraining order.

 

If only swift, stern legal action was taken against the deranged young man who slaughtered 20 innocent babies–26 people in total–that terrible December 14, 2012. Things have only gotten worse since then, with the election of a tool of the NRA as President, the greater proliferation of assault weapons which can assassinate hundreds in a mere few minutes, the passage of a piece of legislation in the  GOP controlled House of Representative which would allow mentally unstable gun owners to conceal the carrying of weapons in every state in the nation–despite any local gun laws–and, the perpetuation of the grotesque lie advanced by Alex Jones and other Fascist fanatics, that those murdered at Sandy Hook were paid actors.

 

Tell that to a parent who lost a beautiful baby 5-years ago.  I was with with my three granddaughters–ages 8, 6 and 2–on the 5th Anniversary of that horrible moment in all of our lives.   I’ve hugged them and kissed them even more than I usually do, imagining the unimaginable, and grateful for every blessed moment I have with them.  I only wish the same for every single parent and grandparent, aunt and uncle, who cherish life and the right of those already born to live it without violence or harm.

 

C-SPAN Tapes “Tightrope” Reading for Use on Upcoming “Book Talk” Series

 

(C-SPAN taped “Tightrope” author Steve Villano at the 50th Annual Italian American Studies Association Conference, in Washington, DC.)

Washington, DC – Heliotrope Author Steve Villano reached a new milestone this month for his memoir Tightrope, reading before an audience of academics and authors at the 50th Annual Italian American Studies Association Conference, a major ethnic studies conference. Villano’s presentation was filmed by C-SPAN at the conference on Friday, November 3, at the Omni Sheraton Hotel in Washington DC, for airing on their “Book Talk” Series at a later date.

 

Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother, has been called “riveting”, “amazing”, and “a memoir that reads like a thriller.” It is the true story of two Italian-American brothers living dramatically different lives, with one working for former New York State Governor Mario M. Cuomo, and the other associated with John Gotti and the Gambino Crime Family.

 

Ken Auletta, author of five national bestsellers, and he writer of The New Yorker’s “Annals of Communications ,” since 1992, offered this high praise for Tightrope:

 

“What an amazing book you’ve written. Mario Cuomo would have cheered. As impressive as your writing style, what blew me away was the honesty, your willingness to dig deep and share with readers your love and distain for the mob choice your brother made, your unabashed admiration for Mario Cuomo,and your inner turmoil throughout. To weave all this into a book, plus the stereotyping of Italian-Americans, is quite a feat. Congratulations!” — Ken Auletta

 

The Italian American Studies Association conference where Villano read from Tightrope is among the largest gatherings of Ethnic Studies and Italian American Studies professionals and academics held in the United States. This year’s conference–which drew representatives from some 50 U.S. colleges and Universities– was held in Washington, DC, November 2-4, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), with the theme: Faith, (Ir)reverence, and the Italian Diaspora: Fifty Years of Italian American Studies.

 

“I was deeply honored to have the opportunity to read from Tightrope to academics from Ethnic Studies programs across the country,” Villano said. “I will work hard to bring Tightrope into college and high school classrooms, since we need to make the next generation more aware of the pernicious effects of ethnic stereotyping and discrimination.”

 

(Excerpt from presentation to the 50TH ANNUAL ITALIAN AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE in Washington, DC, November 3, 2017:)

“THE TIGHTROPE ITALIAN AMERICANS TREAD WHEN ORGANIZED CRIME TOUCHES US:”

Federal District Court, Uniondale, summer 1988. I sat shoulder-to-shoulder with my 22-year-old nephew, Michael Jr., struck by his resemblance to JFK, Jr., and also to my brother at the same age: jet black hair, large dark eyes, and a dazzling, kind smile. Michael and I listened to federal prosecutors lay out their case against his father and my brother.

 

Earlier that morning Governor Mario Cuomo had called me at home. After three years of working nearly round-the-clock with Cuomo at the Governor’s Two World Trade Center office—even sleeping over in my office during snowstorms—I was now his “man” at the Long Island Power Authority, laboring long hours to shut down the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant for health and safety reasons.

 

“You do good work, Steve,” the Governor said. “You have great, great ability and a great future. It’s a pleasure working with you.”

 

“You have a pretty good future yourself, governor,” I said.

 

“Oh, no. I have no future, Steve,” Cuomo joked. “But you,” he said in a serious, almost fatherly tone, “you have a wonderful future.”

 

Ninety minutes later, that bright future collided with my brother’s present. I was sitting in a federal courtroom, hearing government prosecutors ask an FBI agent if it was true that my brother was a bagman for John Gotti, collecting money from union officials to “buy labor peace.” Gotti and Villano: both names spoken in the same sentence by a federal law enforcement officials. My brother linked to Gotti; I linked to Cuomo. These were only allegations, I kept telling myself. My brother was not guilty of anything; he could not be; he was my mother’s son.

 

Mario Cuomo detested the “bums” in organized crime as much as I did. He was incensed by the mob innuendos about him or anyone in his family. Even the expectation that he had to answer any questions about it outraged him, since he believed that his whole life “has been a statement against that crap.”

 

What if my family name became “the issue?” Would he keep me on staff? Would I have the courage to leave the public service work I loved? I felt naked; nothing left to protect me: not my carefully calibrated career, not my conservative clothing, not my law degree. Nothing. That was my brother up there. We shared the same blood, the same last name. For years, we shared the same bedroom, with different dreams, at the top of the stairs in my parents’ house: Michael, my brother Vinnie and me; our lives intertwined.

 

I looked around Judge Mishler’s courtroom, and winced as I heard our name echo around the room, bouncing off a bench, a chair, the judge’s desk. If only I had a sponge, I would scrub the walls, the seats, and make our name vanish from every surface it touched. I wanted everything to disappear, but could not keep myself away from the courtroom. I had to find out what I suspected, but denied for years.

 

###

Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo and My Brother by Steve Villano

978-1-942762-42-3 trade paperback; 268 pages; $16.50 • 978-1-942762-41-6 eBook

June 2017, Heliotrope Books, LLC • heliotropebooks.com

Or, order directly via my website at www.socialvisionproductions.com.

 

 

Gen. Kelly’s Model for an “Honorable Man,” Is Not Much Different Than Hitler’s

 

Gen. John Kelly’s ignorant and racist comments about some esoteric “compromise” existing between Slavery and Freedom, and his declaration that Robert E. Lee was an “honorable man”, have reinforced the horrifying conclusions of the new book published by Yale Law School Comparative Law professor James Q. Whitman, “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.”

 

Traveling through several East Coast states that had their own racist “Blood Laws” (miscegenation laws, like Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina) to do book readings of my own book, “Tightrope,” I voraciously read Whitman’s disturbing new findings.

 

Whitman’s astonishing and terrifying book carefully documents–through never before published material and verbatim transcripts –how the Nazis, as early as 1920, were inspired by the U.S’s Jim Crow laws–racist laws in 30 American States, and America’s anti-immigrant laws of the early 1900’s. The Nazis were so inspired by these American laws reflecting our “racial madness” that they based the Nuremberg Laws upon them–which resulted in systematic dehumanization and eventual annihilation of 6 million Jews.

 

The great Bill Moyers tipped me off to the book in a startling interview with Professor Whitman, and I read “Hitler’s American Model” while traveling through Maryland, a state which had statutory penalties of up to TEN YEARS IN PRISON, if a white person married a black person.

 

New legal documents uncovered by Whitman of debates among Nazi lawyers drafting early versions of the Nuremberg Laws, reveal that even the most radical Nazis thought that America’s anti-miscegenation laws “went too far.” Let that sink in for a moment: that’s the NAZIS , believing that Maryland went too far in it’s “race madness,” by criminalizing interracial marriage.

I finished Whitman’s book while staying in a hotel in Fredericksburg, VA, off of Jefferson Davis Highway, a major interstate named for the President of the Confederacy, a violent army of White Supremacists, who committed armed treason against the United States. Fredericksburg is, as many local residents are proud to tell you, the area of several key battles in the Civil War, including the Battle of Fredericksburg, where Southern Confederate Troops–fighting to preserve slavery and keep institutionalized racism–slaughtered thousands of Union Troops who gave up their lives to set people free. The General who commanded the slaughter of American troops– men who gave their lives to protect the U.S. Constitution and the dignity of all human beings– was Robert E. Lee, whom Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, General John Kelly has called an “honorable man.”

 

By Kelly’s standard, Gen. Benedict Arnold is an “honorable man” as well.

 

The continuing “racial madness” of the Confederacy–including the fighting of a civil war which killed 600,000 Americans, served as one of the inspirations to the Nazis when they crafted the Nuremberg Laws. But the U.S. Civil War, and America’s racist laws, weren’t the only inspirations for the Nazis that were made in the USA.

 

Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf how thrilled he was by the United States willingness to commit genocide against Native Americans in order to achieve America’s “Manifest Destiny” and acquire new territory. The Nazi’s would later use America’s “gunning down of redskins” (Hitler’s own words) as well as the blatantly racist Immigration Act of 1924 that discriminated against any but those from Nordic nations, as justification for murdering 6 million Jews and many others. In fact, in many cases, Nazi jurists–steeped in decades of conservative German jurisprudence–thought that America’s racist laws went much too far, even for Nazi Germany.

 

Apparently, Gen. Kelly hasn’t learned that dark part of American or world history, and has forgotten what hundreds of thousands of American Veterans–from the Civil War, through two World Wars, and Wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, fought and died for. There is NO compromise between slavery and freedom. And, those who fight to enslave people–whether they are Generals like Robert E. Lee or Ho Chi Minh–are not “honorable people.”

 

Authors Ken Auletta, Gay Talese & William Kennedy Lead Chorus of Praise for “Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother.”

 

 

BARNES & NOBLE PURCHASES HUNDREDS OF COPIES OF “TIGHTROPE” FOR ITS’ STORES IN NY, NJ AND CONN;

Multi-state tour continues as Heliotrope author Steve Villano addresses major national conference

NEW YORK, NY. – Legendary writers Ken Auletta, Gay Talese &William Kennedy—who have published more than 40 book among them—have offered their kudos for Tightrope, agreeing with fellow author Peter Quinn (Banished Children of Eve, and the Fintan Dunnetrilogy) that Steve Villano’s book Tightrope: Balancing a Life BetweenMario Cuomo & My Brother “is a triumph!”

Kennedy, whose book Ironweed won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, attended Villano’s book reading at The Book House in Albany,NY, praising Tightrope as a “fine book.” Talese, Villano’s mentor on his non-fiction story going back 25 years, expressed his “congratulations on the completion of Tightrope, after years of dedication.”

And Ken Auletta, the author of five national bestsellers, and the writer of The New Yorker’s “Annals of Communications” since 1992, offered this high praise for Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo and My Brother:

“What an amazing book you’ve written. Mario Cuomo would have cheered. As impressive as your writing style, what blew me away was the honesty, your willingness to dig deep and share with readers your love and distain for the mob choice your brother made, your unabashed admiration for Mario Cuomo, and your inner turmoil throughout. To weave all this into a book, plus the stereotyping of Italian-Americans,is quite a feat. Congratulations!”
—Ken Auletta

Villano’s book is being called “riveting” and a “memoir that reads like a thriller.” It is the true story of two brothers living dramatically different lives, with one working for former Governor Mario M. Cuomo of New York, while the other was associated with John Gotti and the Gambino Crime family.

The author has done a series of book readings and appearances across six states at book stores, universities, public libraries, house parties and hotels, and will begin a second national book tour this month where Villano will talk about Tightrope on Long Island, NY, in New York City, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, DC. The book tour will culminate at the 50th Annual Italian American Studies Association Conference in Washington, DC, where Villano has been invited to read from Tightrope, on Friday, November 3.

Just as the Heliotrope author embarks upon his new book tour which brings Villano to NYC during the Columbus Day weekend, Barnes & Noble purchased hundreds of copies of Tightrope for its bookstores throughout New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Barnes & Noble’s Founder and Chairman Leonard Riggio is the Grand Marshall of this year’s Columbus Day parade being held in NYC. The book is also available on BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com.

The Italian American Studies Association conference at which Villano has been invited to read from Tightrope is among the largest gatherings of Ethnic Studies and Italian American Studies professionals and academics held in the United States. This year’s conference, which is expecting hundreds of attendees, is being held in Washington, DC, November 2-4. Its theme is: Faith, (Ir)reverence, and the Italian Diaspora: FiftyYears of Italian American Studies.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to address academics from EthnicStudies programs across the country,” Villano said. “I will work hard to bring Tightrope into college and high school classrooms, since we need to make the next generation more aware of the pernicious effects of ethnic stereotyping and discrimination.”

Former Newsday Vice-President Chiara Coletti has underscored Tightrope’s importance to the Italian-American experience:

“Rich and insightful, probing the mysteries of the divergent paths of children, the consequences of their choices and the blood bond that holds them together against the odds, and possible against all common sense…It is a book about the Italian-American experience that is also about any immigrant family’s journey.”
Chiara Coletti

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STEVE VILLANO, a native of Brooklyn, NewYork, is the former head of Governor Mario M. Cuomo’s New York City Press Office, with decades of experience in public service, public education, public health, and as CEO of several national, non-profit organizations. His writing has appeared in mass circulation newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Newsday, The Albany Times Union, The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the Napa Valley (CA) Register Newspaper Group, the North Shore (Long Island) Newspaper Group, Working Mother Magazine, Associations Now Magazine, and Today’s Education. His essays have been published on-line on the WritersDigest.com, www.thenationalmemo.com, with a subscription of 300,000; on Medium.com., and on his blog, Radical Correspondence, (www.socialvisionproductions.com). Villano has authored major pieces on ethnic stereotyping in Ambassador Magazine, (the National Italian American Foundation’s 100,000 circulation magazine) about actors Stanley Tucci, JohnTurturro, and the HBO series “The Sopranos.” A labor journalist for the National Education Association for a decade, Villano has written about censorship, the rise of the Far Right in America and about sweatshop conditions at cap and gown factories in New York. Villano presently lives in Northern California.

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BOOK NEWS • October 1, 2017 For Galleys, Review Copies, or to interview the author, contact: Naomi Rosenblatt, heliotropebooks@gmail.com, 212-674-0008

Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo and My Brother,

by Steve Villano

978-1-942762-42-3 trade paperback; 268 pages; $16.50

978-1-942762-41-6 eBook

June 2017, Heliotrope Books, LLC

heliotropebooks.com