FDR and the 2nd Bill of Rights August 29, 2004

 FDR and the Second Bill of Rights

by Richard J. Garfunkel


FDR Understood the Need to Expand the Bill of Rights in the Post War Era!
There are always important historical parallels. As George Santayana said, “People who do not learn from history, are condemned to repeat it!” If your child was hurt in an accident, or in a hospital, or was a victim of malpractice, and the state capped your claim, and the cost ran into hundreds of thousands per year, you would not be happy. There are thousands of similar situations, that happen annually, that are not in any way connected to some woman spilling coffee on her pudenda! Most times the individual needs representation to receive justice. If you think insurance companies do not like to limit claims then you should just read the newspapers.
 
Being well-off and being a so-called liberal should not condemn a person to be a “traitor to one's class.”  Not all rich people, who are liberal, are limousine liberals. It is the little guy who needs support in the courts. It is the little guy that needs to be protected from corporate excess, and it is not just the “liberal” guy who needs protections from the “state.” That is what the Founders of this great country knew right from the start. That is why the “Bill of Rights” is essential to America and the world. Without the “Bill of Rights” the Constitution is just a piece of paper setting up the structure of government. The Constitution with the “Bill of Rights” is the essential document.
 
Edwards may be a “trial lawyer” or a “personal injury lawyer”, but people need his type of service all over this land. Ironically the well-off person should be more liberal. That person should be more sharing, more giving and less defensive about what he/she owns. “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” The 2nd Inaugural, January 20th, 1937-FDR. Should we have a society where the the rich only live in “gated communities” because they are so fearful? Hollywood, big-business and Madison Avenue are run not by liberals. They are run by business men/women who cater to sponsors, who are highly sensitive to the market, and the fear the specter of “secondary boycotts.” They make and shape most of the policy in our country and society. Rights alone to do not cause social friction or cultural upheaval.
 
It is the limitation of rights that is the ultimate injustice. Great leadership, of which we do not have with any stretch of the imagination, needs to balance and temper the interests of all parties. I believe sincerely in rights with responsibility. But to say that conditions and realities have departed far from the 1940's begs the issue. Justice whether world-wide or at home is the ultimate salvation of civilization. We must always deal with the current and immediate threat and terror. That is only practical. But we must never lose sight of the ultimate problem, injustice breeds contempt, disillusionment and social upheaval.
 

Bush, FDR strikingly dissimilar on policies at home
Date: Thursday, August 26 @ 00:00:55
Topic Opinio

In the last few weeks, the nation has devoted a great deal of attention to the “greatest generation” and its successful fight against fascism.
But something important is missing from the celebration: the distinctive vision of the leader of that generation, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his effort to connect the idea of security with protection against human vulnerability
in all its forms.

In his eloquent remarks inaugurating the World War II memorial in Washington, President Bush insisted, “Across the years, we still know his voice.” But do we? Let's listen to him.
On Jan. 11, 1944, the war effort was going well. Ultimate victory no longer was in serious doubt. The real question was the nature of the peace.
At noon, Roosevelt sent the text of his State of the Union address to Congress. Ill with a cold, Roosevelt did not make the usual trip to Capitol Hill to appear in person. Instead, he spoke to the nation via radio — the first and only time a State of the Union address was also a fireside chat.
Roosevelt began by emphasizing that the war was a shared endeavor in which the United States was simply one participant: “This nation in the past two years has become an active partner in the world's greatest war against human slavery.” The war was in the process of being won. But mere survival was hardly enough. Roosevelt insisted that “essential to peace is a decent standard of living for all individual men and women and children in all nations.”
Roosevelt looked back, and not entirely approvingly, to the framing of our Constitution. At its inception, the nation had grown “under the protection of certain inalienable political rights — among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.” But these rights had proved inadequate. “We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all — regardless of station, race, or creed.”
Then he listed the relevant rights:
“The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.”
“The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.”
“The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.”
“The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.”
“The right of every family to a decent home.”
“The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”
“The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.”
“The right to a good education.”
Roosevelt's radio audience, the members of the greatest generation, knew exactly what he was doing. He was building on his 1941 catalog of the Four Freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear — which, in Roosevelt's account, must be enjoyed “everywhere in the world.”
President Bush has increasingly attempted to link the war against terrorism with Roosevelt's struggle against fascism. But the contrasts between the two leaders is striking. It was the threat from abroad, after all, that led Roosevelt to a renewed emphasis on human vulnerability and on the importance of “security” — with an understanding that this term included not merely protection against weapons, bullets and bombs, but also against hunger, disease, illiteracy and desperate poverty.
In the midst of World War II, the greatest leader of the greatest generation had a project, one that he believed to be radically incomplete. That project is captured in FDR's Second Bill of Rights. Reclaiming it would be the best way to celebrate the victors in World War II.
 
Cass R. Sunstein teaches at the University of Chicago

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page 2.

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The Wrong Turn at 5th Avenue 8-29-04

The Wrong Turn at 5th Avenue

And

What happened to the protest?

By

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

August 29, 2004

 

New York City is a big place. It’s so big, that millions of people can continue to do their daily activities, and if it weren’t for the overwhelming and pervasive news media, they would have no idea of what is going on a few blocks away. This is the real story behind our short and sweet Sunday sojourn into the big city. Because of our political interests and our disgust with the way things are being run in Washington, we have once again become active in our quadrennial exercise in democracy. So we, like all New Yorkers and Americans, have become acutely aware of the coming Republican National Convention being held in New York for the first time at Madison Square Garden. Over the years the Grand Old Party hadn’t felt welcome in the Big Apple. Maybe it is because New York City has been thought of as a bastion of the Democratic Party and the home of many of its most liberal adherents. But times have changed over the years. After a run of Democratic governors from Al Smith to Franklin Roosevelt to Herbert Lehman ended, the electoral profile of New York began to shift with the ten-year reign of the racket-buster Republican Tom Dewey. Aside from the one-term gubernatorial reign of Averell Harriman that ended in 1958, the GOP has controlled the Albany governor’s chair from 1942 until 1974 (Dewey-Rockefeller-Wilson)!  Since those days the Democrats had controlled the State House for 20 years until the current three-term reign of George Pataki. Besides all of that, the GOP has elected a number of United States Senators, which have included, Irving Ives, Kenneth Keating, Jacob Javits, James Buckley, and Al D'amato. So even though NYC has an overwhelming Democratic registration, the city has also elected a number of Republican Mayors since LaGuardia in 1934, which have included Lindsey, Giuliani, and now the billionaire   neo-Republican Michael Blomberg. In fact it is hard to tell whether even Ed Koch is still a Democrat.

 

With that as a background, and an active and visceral distaste for George W. Bush, we decided to add our voices and legs to today’s New York protest and march. Frankly I’m not sure whether we had been to an actual political protest since 1971 or so. Back then, Linda and I, as Democratic district leaders, drove and marched over to the then Congressman Peter Peyser’s house in Irvington. Peyser was a moderate Republican, with an ADA rating of 44, who had been an insurance agent and Mayor of the small Hudson River town of Irvington. He succeeded Richard L. Ottinger, who vacated his seat in 1968 to run for the Senate. In those days his Hudson River district was called the 23rd C.D. Now that district has been dramatically re-drawn over the years, as New York State’s Congressional delegation has shrunk considerably. I believe that the district is now the 17th! We joined a few hundred intrepid souls, incurring on Peyser’s lawn, to protest our incursion into Cambodia. Turn about is fair play! Rep. Peyser was a moderate, and he came out to address our small, but vocal demonstration. I remember him as being sympathetic to our cause and we all went home satisfied that not all Republicans were monolithic dopes. Of course it wasn’t long after that day that Peyser, stung by criticism over his moderate to liberal voting record, joined the Democratic Party. 

 

So here we are on a hot Sunday debating the sense of driving down to NYC, parking up at Columbia, and taking the subway down Columbus Circle, or taking the Hudson Metro North rails to Grand Central Station. As usual I preferred to drive, but the secret to a long marriage is compromise, and I compromised. I decided that Linda’s idea of taking the train wasn’t so outrageous, so therefore we parked at the Tarrytown station, walked up to the platform, bonded with another middle-aged ex-hippie and caught the crowded 12:38 pm express to NYC. We rambled into ancient but stately Grand Central at 1:21 pm and with a short stop to Mandy’s, on the lower level, for a hot dog with sauerkraut, we started our walk towards the Plaza Hotel. There we would hopefully join the hundreds of others who were expected to protest the GOP billionaires who were regally ensconced in their suites. On our way out of the building we met two middle-aged overly bleached Kerry supporters who told us that they had been part of the Bush protest march and that the event was already breaking apart. So here we made our fatal error. Not realizing that there was still a lot of life left in those anti-Bush thousands, we started to walk north to Central Park where we expected the remnants would probably re-gather on the Great Pristine Lawn.

 

Eventually we reached the elegant Plaza and, lo and behold, we saw two people with a ragged placard talking to a uniformed member of the city’s finest. But, what we did see walking up Fifth Avenue, past the New York Palace, and Tourneau Corner were thousands of mostly foreign tourists, blissfully unaware of what was going on either in Madison Square Garden or the streets around Union Square. What we did hear was the babbling of a hundred different undecipherable tongues accompanying those wide-eyed bodies. In fact the only protest we did see was scores of Chinese men and women holding placards on every corner to free some political dissident in the People’s Republic. To the life of me I cannot remember the poor guy’s name. But after awhile I started to refer to him as Loang Sch’long! One thing I did notice on a number of the tee shirts worn by female protesters, was a reference to the President’s last name and their own unique anatomical part. Boy times have changed. Free speech and all of its boldness lives on tee shirts.

 

So quickly passing the Plaza and crossing onto 59th Street and we experienced the super-heated odorous line of horse carriages, which reminded me of a scene from Ben-Hur’s stables before the big race. That noxious sensory blast helped hurry us into the Park! Of course as we wandered from the pond to the skating rink that held a children’s amusement ride venue, the dog walkers, the bicyclists and the Pacific Rim visitors had no clue about the protest and we decided to “cut our losses” and head out of the park and over to Temple Emanuel. Located on 5th Avenue, the famous synagogue and its museum’s entrance is on 65th Street, ironically across from the Pakistan Consulate. We ducked in off the hot asphalt to the marble recesses of the gigantic 80 year old landmark and cooled our heals looking at the pictures of the vanished Jewry of Eastern Europe, from the camera of Roman Vishniac, and the silver ornaments donated by the late NY State Judge Irving Lehman. At lease we gained something of interest from this effort. So after departing from the famous building, we walked over to Madison Avenue, heading south to Grand Central Station and the 3:51 pm express to Tarrytown. We did stop in the Margo Feiden Gallery, home of the work of the late great Al Hirschfeld. I had met Margo Feiden once, back in 1970 or so at my old and current buddy Larry Reich’s home in Mount Vernon. She was an acquaintance of Marian Reich, Larry’s mother, and as a result of a party that evening, my good friend Stan Goldmark, who was there also met Margo. Stanley drove home the once-divorced Ms. Feiden and didn’t leave until they were married. A few years later that ill-fated union ended with Stan running out the door for his life and sanity.

 

Meanwhile Madison Avenue was a virtual ghost street, and except for the rare blue-haired matron who was to be seen venturing out for one reason or another, it was barren and eerily quiet. As we strode past a few people, some sitting in an outdoor café, and others blissfully walking and chatting, they all reminded me of one thing, potential Bush voters. But New York is made up of all types, and that is what is great about America. So here we are, on a quiet hot afternoon, walking briskly down Madison Avenue looking at all the beautiful shops and wonderful buildings while across town somewhere, a whole other reality is happening. We learned by the magic of the cell phone, and through our son Jon in Boston, that we had missed all the real fun and that the action was still going on somewhere downtown. Like the middle-aged graying suburbanites that we are, we hurried into Grand Central Station, went to Zaro’s for some sustenance and a drink and hurried off to track 35.  Eventually when we were out of the tunnel I turned on the last few innings of the Yankee game, and learned they weren’t going to win every game with nine runs in the 9th inning.

 

So New York City was now to be left to the GOP and the Bushites. I, for sure, will assiduously avoid listening to the news for the next four days. I haven’t watched one minute of a Republican Convention in decades and won’t start now. I am sure that there will be some other protests, but none like 1968. Those days seem long over. The Chicago Convention riots certainly helped kill Humphrey in 1968 and anything remotely similar would certainly help Bush in 2004. Political conventions have become long and expensive infomercials preaching to the converted. The power of street theater in this country is a long way from the ugly days of the Vietnam protests and the freedom rides down south. Political fights today are played out on the “boob tube” with dueling commercials between rival groups of “swift boat” veterans. In the City of New York, free speech, and freedom of assembly, as articulated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, can never be allowed to interfere with the future of Central Park grass. In the old days it was the other type of “grass” that people were all “hot and bothered” about. So we missed our opportunity! We wound up like all the other tourists and disinterested folk. We looked at the sites, visited a museum, walked our feet off, had a hot dog and hopped on the train and got back to our air-conditioners, our televisions and our cold iced tea!

 

 

MVHS 40th Reunion Re-visited

 

Reunion Aftermath

40th MVHS Reunion Re-visited

 

rjg@cloud9.net

(never sent, amended into Dec.11th letter)

 

September 29, 2003

 

Dear Classmates,

 

Hello from breezy Tarrytown. I hope that this letter finds you and yours quite well. Time flies while one is having fun and our 40th reunion is now history. I can say, even though our turnout was quite a bit lower that five years ago, the weekend event was quite enjoyable and a great success. In that regard, I was able to communicate with many people that I have never really talked to before. So for all of you who were not there, the Westchester Marriott was beautiful, the room was just the right size, the food was pretty good and plentiful, and all in all a good time was had by everyone. I especially enjoyed my talks with Bob Spana, Norman Raphael. Bob Sabin, Jerry Zicaro, Stuart Tobin, Bobby Danetz (class of 1962), Jim Kurtz, Armel MacDonald, Diane MCGinnis and many, many others.

 

Maybe because we held the party in late August, and maybe because the economy and the post 9/11 environment has chilled travel, and maybe it was the fifth reunion that began to bore many, the attendance was down. For some of the above reasons I had wanted to write a letter to you regarding this event while it was still fresh in my mind. As the Jewish High Holidays came upon us and as I sat in services contemplating my own mortality and sins along with those of humankind, I decided to address what was on my mind. Since I live directly across the street from the Westchester Marriot, I was able to spend an inordinate amount of time at this reunion. In fact I spent more time at the events of this reunion than all of the time that I had spent at the previous four reunions that were held. So from Friday night through two brunches and the dinner dance I was able to get fully absorbed.

 

Of course our choice of late August may have caused a conflict with some of our classmates regarding vacations or the start of school. But all in all the vast number of our fellow classmates live in the metropolitan area or easy driving distance, and are empty-nesters and could have easily attended. I certainly do not presume to tell people how or where to spend their time or money. I can only reflect, observe and attempt to advise, from my own personal bias, what I consider a worthwhile endeavor for friends and classmates. Though again I must state in this season of confession and redemption, that from all of whom I communicated with, and from all reports from our fellow committee members, every one really loved this reunion. From my own small and parochial perspective I was disappointed that we did not attract more people from the Pennington, Traphagen and Holmes School’s neighborhoods. Again, maybe there have been too many reunions, and many have “been there and done that.” Maybe it has become passé to some and to many it has never been terribly important. For all of those who think that way, I am sorry, and sorry that the idealism and enthusiasm of youth has turned into middle-aged jadedness. Even some of our committee, were confronted by classmates who wanted to only know who was already coming before they were ready to commit to attending. From my own perspective one goes to these events to be part of the whole, to make it enjoyable for others, and to celebrate the joy of survival regarding old friends. Believe me, for those who would feel uncomfortable about aging and change, there is no “mean’s test” at our reunions. People are accepted on an equal footing, and welcomed with enthusiasm and good cheer. As I have said, more than once, in the Jon Breen letters, time is fleeting, and opportunities will be less and less to re-live the wonderful and enjoyable moments of coming of age and the shared experiences of youthful innocence and growth.

 

Happy New Year to all that celebrate, and a fond regards to the rest of all my friends,

 

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

PS: Dr. Jeff Weiss, who came all the way from Alaska, presented me with a check for $500 for the John Breen Fund. That made, for me at least, the whole weekend a doubly great event. We are also going to have a 45th in five years so plan ahead for October 2008!  RJG

 

Jon Breen letter to MVHS 8-20-04

The Jon Breen Memorial Fund

Mount Vernon High School

100 California Road

Mount Vernon, NY 10552

 

August 20, 2004

 

Dear Friends and Classmates,

 

Well it’s been a few months since the last Jon Breen letter. At that time spring was emerging and the political season and its choices were rounding into form. So here we are in late mid August and the next stage of this quadrennial exercise in freedom is about to take place. Boston has never had a political convention until this year, so the recent afterglow of the Yankee – Red Sox fireworks had to take a back seat. Luckily for an old political junkie like myself, I have my two activist children living in Brookline and they both worked at the convention. Jon took the week off and had tickets to the first three nights. He was awarded the tickets by raising the second most amount of money on the Internet, out of 8000+ entries, in a contest earlier in the year. Dana, who works for the Kennedy School at Harvard, has been in the heart of much political action is a volunteer at the big happening. All of the volunteers had to go through an elaborate vetting process as a consequence of our new era of “added” security. From a social perspective, they had many, many parties and social events to partake in. Sounds like it was great fun!

 

With regards to the Jon Breen Essay contest, this year’s topic was Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, Has the spirit of the landmark Supreme Court ruling been realized? There were many excellent essays submitted and this year, but because of “end of the year” time constraints and other scheduling problems, I chose the winners as I had done three years ago. This coming academic year, because of these factors, we are going to schedule the new essay contest earlier and be able to get our assembly and cable program organized without year-end competition and interference. The top winners were. Camille Adamson, going to Princeton and Nicholas Ciana, off to Harvard. As I had mentioned in the April letter, if you are interested in my perspective on Mount Vernon from those days, and wish to read MVHS Change and Legacy 1963-2003, please e-mail me at rjg727@optonline.net. I will then e-mail you a copy. I would appreciate hearing your personal perspectives on that era and your comments on what I had to say. Also you can find that article and old Jon Breen Fund letters at my site: http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com/blog.

 

As the years add up, (Linda and I just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary) and therefore seem to pass with greater rapidity, I hear more and more about our fellow classmates disconnection with their high school friends and acquaintances. Fewer and fewer of us keep some contact with childhood/high school friends as time and space continue to widen from those Mount Vernon days. That seems sort of natural to me, and it is reinforced by my off-repeated question to many of our fellow classmates, “whom have you heard from lately?” Invariably the answer is the same, “I haven’t heard from anyone new!” Along that path, I have often gone into www.classmates.com website and always check to see if any of classmates have joined. I assume that many of you have done the same thing!  I myself speak and communicate with my core group of old friends that have remained from childhood and high school, with a few others that have been added to that list over the years. So all in all, we are all normally spinning further away from each other as time and family needs intervene. If you feel inclined to make a contribution to the John Breen Fund, which sponsors the awards for both the essay contest and the Henry M. Littlefield History Prize, please send a check to me at the below address. Also I must report some sad news. I received, this past week, a letter from Joe DeVito’s wife Gail a very tragic and horrible story. Joe, who had recently attended our past reunion, was the victim of a murder-suicide committed by his son. Joe, a psychologist, and his wife were taking care of their son, who had emotional problems. If you are interested in more details, please e-mail me and I will forward to you copies of the correspondence.  

 

Regards,

 

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

rjg727@optonline.net

 

 

Father's 100th Birthday

 

           My Father’s Birthday

Celebrating the 100th Birthday

Of

Milton Garfunkel

September 18, 2004

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

Since it is common to note the historical significance regarding the occasion of a 100th Birthday, I decided to mention some facts about the year 1904. The third Olympic Games were held in St. Louis Missouri, and since the western frontier was still pretty wild in those days, the Olympics were rather sparsely attended, and therefore dominated by the strong and large American team. Originally, it was supposed to be held in Chicago, but President Theodore Roosevelt suggested that the games be switched to St. Louis, where the Louisiana Purchase Exposition was being held. Only 11 countries participated, and of the 500 athletes most were Americans. The results were quite lopsided. In the 23 track and field events, the United States took 22 firsts, 22 seconds and 20 thirds. Ironically even some of the best American athletes did not show up. The large eastern universities did not bother to send teams to St. Louis. Also, that year, my father’s favorite baseball team, the old New York Giants won the pennant by 13 games with 106 victories and were led by pitchers Iron Man Joe McGinnity and Christy Mathewson with 35 and 33 victories respectively. The Giants, managed by the fiery John McGraw, who would remain with the team until 1932, refused to play in the World Series against the American League’s winning Red Sox team, who had defeated the Pirates in the inaugural event of the previous year. In 1904 Napoleon Lajoie and Honus Wagner led the American and National Leagues in batting, and a fellow named Davis of the A’s led the majors with 10 homeruns. Cy Young pitches a perfect game on May 5th. In college football the most famous team of that era was the University of Michigan and its great coach, Fielding “Point-a-Minute Yost,” who by 1904 was in the midst of a 55 game winning streak. But the game was so violent, and there were so many injuries and deaths in 1905, that again the great sportsman and President, Theodore Roosevelt intervened. He led a movement to re-organize and reform football, and the modern game emerged.

 

Along with sports, some of the important entertainers of that era were Maud Adams, who starred as Peter Pan, Ethel Barrymore, Maxine Elliot, Marie Dressler, WC Fields, Weber and Fields, Harry Lauder and Eva Tanguay. In 1904 automobiles were still play toys of the rich, and the leading cars were the Pierce Arrow, the Peerless and the Columbia. There were only 8000 cars in the United States in 1900, but by the end of the decade 400,000 had been produced. Money went a long way in those days with a pair of men’s shoes selling at $1.25, trousers at $1.25, blankets at 35 cents and eggs at 12 cents per dozen.  In fact a four-course meal at many restaurants could easily cost less than a dollar! The airplane was only one year old in 1904, and passenger travel was still many years away! By the way, in 1904 Post Toasties were introduced, the first tea bag was sold, ice cream, hamburgers and iced tea were introduced at the St. Louis Exposition, Colgate brought out its toothpaste, Gillette patented its razor, Parker patented his fountain pen, Dr. Scholl patented his arch supports and Madam Curie discovered radium.  Also Longacre Square was renamed Times Square, Helen Keller graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe, and the IRT opened in NYC, while the Trans-Siberian RR opened in Russia.

 

Meanwhile back in 1904, the public became first aware of the economic effects of monopolistic business practices through Ida Tarbel’s muckraking classic “The History of Standard Oil.” Not long before that year, the first Nobel Prizes were given out, and though most of the winners in 1904 are long forgotten, we still can remember the prize for medicine which was won by Ivan Pavlov for his famous “responding” dog!  In fact, the most famous name from all of the awards in that first decade of the 20th Century was that of Theodore Roosevelt, who was awarded the Nobel prize for peace in 1906. He was recognized for bringing an end to the Russo-Japanese War that had begun in 1904. In that war, the Japanese Admiral Togo, with his classic “crossing of the tee,” at the Tsushima Straits, routed the Russian Fleet. Of course, this inevitably led to the rise of Japanese militancy, and we are all old enough here to understand the consequence of that ascendancy. Of course 1904 was an election year, and the aforementioned Teddy Roosevelt was elected over his Democratic rival, Judge Alton Parker, of New York. He won with an overwhelming total of 7.6 to 5 million votes, which translated to a 336 to 140 margin in the Electoral College. Coincidently my father’s sister named her first son, who was born some twenty or so years later, Alton Parker Balder.

 

Speaking of 1904, Russia’s pre-revolution population was approximately 150,000,000 people, while in the United States our population had grown to over 83,000,000! In comparison, a century later, our population is probably hovering around 300,000,000 while post communist Russia’s shrunken population is barely half of that at 144,000,000. In fact in 1904, 812,870 people immigrated to the United States, and that was the second highest yearly number in our history to that time, and since 1904 that number has only been exceeded in the years leading up to the First World War and has never exceeded that number again.

 

Along with my father’s birth, the following more famous people born in that year a century ago, and I am sure that these names conjure up some fond and interesting memories: George Balanchine, Ralph Bellemy, Ray Bolger, George Brent, Bruce Cabot (King Kong), Elisha Cook Jr. (The Maltese Falcon), Mildred Dunnock, Clifton Fadiman, Jean Gabin, Greer Garson, John Gielgud, Phil Harris, Vladimir Horowitz, Peter Lorre, Ted Mack, Glenn Miller, Robert Montgomery, Jan Peerce, Duncan Renaldo (The Cisco Kid), Buddy Rogers, Milburn Stone (Gunsmoke), Johnny Weissmuller, Coleman Hawkins, Jimmy Dorsey, Fats Waller, James T. Farrell, Graham Greene, Moss Hart, Lillian Hellman, J. Robert Oppenheim, Deng Xiaoping, Ralph Bunche, Sheila Graham, Margaret Bourke White, Peter Arno (Esquire-cartoons), William de Kooning, William Shirer, AJ Liebling, and Count Basie.

 

With respect to the consequence of age, I found these remarks which I am sure you will find charming. On his 90th birthday in 1931, the famous Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not G-d!” He is also credited with saying upon seeing a beautiful young woman,  “Oh to be 70 again!” On his 85th birthday in 1955, the financial sage Bernard Baruch remarked, “To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am!”  Jack Benny, one of my father’s favorites, stated in 1974, “Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!” The playwright, Tom Stoppard said in 1967,  “Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.” And of course, that French bon vivant, Maurice Chevalier made (at the young age of 72 in 1960) the ultimate philosophical observation when he said, “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” One of the great personalities of the 20th century, Casey Stengel and a man known affectionately as the “Old Perfessor,” stated “There comes a time in every man’s life and I’ve had many of them.”

 

My father was last child of Abraham and Kate Korn Garfunkel. His older siblings were Larry, Mike and Mack, and a sister Syd. I had the opportunity to meet them all. Some were musical, some were very humorous, and they all enjoyed long life. Larry lived much of his later life in Baltimore and had one daughter named Muriel. He loved postage stamps and passed that interest along to yours truly. He liked to juggle; he had a marvelous sense of humor and enjoyed the game of baseball. I can recall distinctively how excited he was when the Orioles moved to Baltimore from St. Louis is 1953. Quite often he would come up to Mount Vernon and stay with us for long weekends. Larry went to France with the AEF in World War I and served with distinction. My uncle Mack spent his long life in Brooklyn, NY with his lovely wife Helen Winick. They were a handsome couple and loved to spend time at the beach. I have great memories of going out to their summerhouse in Belle Harbor, which was a stone’s throw from the ocean and spending time with my second cousins, Marjorie and Susan. Mack and Helen had two beautiful daughters Adrienne and Francine who were married to wonderful guys Buddy Wolman and Sam Haber. Mack loved the NY Giants and always kidded me about my interest in the Yankees. He also had a wonderful sense of humor and never seemed to get angry over anything! The third brother Mike was an adventurous soul, who joined the US Navy between the wars and sailed across the Pacific to points west including; China and French Indo-China. He was well known for playing the piano, and had the honor and pleasure of entertaining the “the Brass” aboard some of our large capital ships of those days. Mike developed asthma while in the service and therefore settled in Arizona in 1941, where he married and raised two sons Reule and Joel. I saw Mike a couple of times in his later years, and he could still play a great piano. Joel gave my father and me a wonderful collection of his music on compact discs. Mike loved to play in the Veterans’ Hospitals for our disabled vets! My father’s sister Syd, was married to a lawyer from Philadelphia named Charles Balder, and they spent most of their lives in Baltimore. They had three children, Jim, John and Gloria. Syd was a real grande dame, who visited our home in Mount Vernon quite often. She lived a long and happy life until the ripe old age of 102!

 

My father, he grew up on Kelly Street in the Bronx, commuted to Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, and played baseball there against the great Lou Gehrig, when he was at Commerce High School. He later went off to CCNY. When his father died in 1923 he started to work in his father’s dress business and took care of his mother. My father loved to play handball at Manhattan Beach, was an excellent swimmer, loved the ocean and in 1935 met my mother Ethel (Peggy) Kivo. My mother was the daughter of John and Leah Alexander Kivo and had a younger brother Aaron, who was tall, handsome and athletic. Aaron was a dentist, distinguished himself as an officer in World War II in France, married Blanche Goldberg and had two sons Steven and Robert, who have raised wonderful families in California. Peggy and Milton were married, and lived in Brooklyn and summered in Long Beach before and during the War. My sister, Kaaren was born when they lived at 707 Beverly Road.  Kaaren married Charles Hale, and they have two lovely daughters; Melissa and Amanda, I was also born in Brooklyn, and when I was 6 months old, my parents moved to Mt. Vernon, where my sister and I grew up.  Many years later, it was in the parking lot of Mt. Vernon High School that Linda and I met.  As you know we married not long after that and have two children Dana and Jon, who are with us today.

 

After a few years of marriage and during the war, my father joined my grandfather’s artificial flower business in 1941, My parents liked to dance, went to the theater and my father loved playing cards and golfing. I have fond memories of watching my father and grandfather play pinochle and gin rummy. My grandfather loved cigars and introduced my father to that controversial pleasure. My father was a big sport’s fan, and loved the NY Giant baseball team. He took me to the old Madison Garden once or twice and that is where I saw the great Bob Cousy and became a Boston Celtic fan. Dad has always loved show music and especially was a fan of the late great George Gershwin. My earliest memories of music are listening to old long-play 78 rpm recordings of the Concerto in F and the Rhapsody in Blue. We always had those fragile 78’s in the house and I can remember playing the old Decca 78’s of Al Jolson and Bing Crosby time and time again until they broke. I sort of remember my father liking Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Sylvia Sidney, Greer Garson, Victor Borge, Oscar Levant, Frank Sinatra, Phil Silvers, Hitchcock movies, and Clark Gable In my father’s later years he continued to play golf, and he had the good fortune to sink two holes-in-one within a few days of each other. My son Jon and I also were able to get onto the golf course with him a few times.  Only his weak knees stop him from playing today!! My father, as well as my mother, was an open-minded political and social believer, and I attribute my interest in history and politics to their vocal perspectives on those issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Response to the Daily American's Coservative Rantings

 

Response to the Daily American's Tom Segel!

 

I'm not sure whether you are mentally unbalanced, or historically illiterate or just plain silly. I keep on seeing articles by people like you in various rags, like the Daily American, that pop up on my computer. Your allegations are ridiculous and your conclusions are moronic. Socialism, which I do not support, is not the issue. Progressive thinking has not hurt our society, and its advancement has allowed many to enjoy the bountiful fruits of this country.

 

Big business survives quite well in America, did you ever see the Wall Street Journal's review of corporate compensation?In 1970, corporate CEO compensation was 43 times the average income of their employees. By the year 2000 it had reached 1000 to one! So they are pretty comfortable along with many of their stockholders. But still it seems that people like you have made a career out of opposing “reform” from time and memorial.

 

Reform was needed in Upton Sinclair's day, and Francis Perkins's day, and certainly up to the Great Society and today. You may have forgotten your history, but I haven't. Bad water, bad food, bad medicine, bad railroads, and horrible working conditions like the Triangle Shirtwaste Fire, killed and maimed hundreds of thousands. But you must relish the drinking water from the Love Canals, the smog permeated air in LA, the garbage in the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, and all of the degrading nuclear material in storage sites. If it were up to you big business apologetic acolytes, and the anti-regulators, we would all live in environmental disaster areas.

 

But your children don't need an “even playing field!” Your daughters don't need opportunity to have their own bank accounts in their own name, or the right to vote, the right to work in the job or industry they choose, or the right of birth control or the right of choice. No they should be barefoot and pregnant! Besides all of that, former slaves from the former Confederacy should still be working as tenant farmers, riding on the back of the bus, fighting our wars, not being able to vote and having to go to “Jim Crow” schools, bathrooms, and drinking fountains. Personally I am opposed to affirmative action that allows a functional illiterate like GW Bush to get into Yale as a legacy. But the right wing believes that taxes are taking their money. Well my money paid your salary while you were doing PR for the Marine Corp. I have nothing against National Defense and support it completely. But what I don't support are the billions of dollars of pork barrel give-aways to the “military-industrial complex” that builds and sells unnecessary systems to keep local economies flourishing. But what have we learned with our military, the Humvees were not armored, flak jackets and body armor were not available, and the thousands of wounded have not received the best of care. I am all for rooting out Al-Quaida, but how come Afghanistan is being ignored as a back-water operation and the porous borders with Pakistan have allowed hundreds and thousands of Taliban back into that country?

 

What does this all have to do with Democrats, progressives, liberals and their so-called socialist friends? Very little! The Congress had been basically controlled for decades before Reagan by a philosophical majority of Southern conservative Democrats and northern Republicans. Since Reagan the GOP has controlled the White House for 16 out of the last 24 years and there was ample opportunity to roll-back so-called “liberal” programs! Ironically it was George Bush that started the cutback in the defense spending from the Reagan trillion dollar deficit years. The GOP has controlled the Congress for about 10 years now and they have the responsibility for the well-being of the military. If anything these conservatives would have rolled back all of these “reforms” but they knew they would be out of office on their butts if they tampered with Medicare etc.! It is this administration that has undermanned the effort in Iraq, fought the war on the “cheap,” has abused the National Guard and the Reserves, and has bogged us down in a morass that may be un-winnable!

 

I assume that after 26 years in the military you are middle-class. Well any middle-class conservative is self-delusional. The GOP and conservative record for the middle class has been one of smoke and mirrors. So wake up, know where your bread is buttered and understand that all of your benefits and safety nets that may protect you and your family, in the future, were courtesy of the pointy-headed liberals not the “big-wigs” in corporate America and upper classes in their estates!   

 

Today's Liberals Now Equated as Nazis

Regarding The Wicked Genius That Is Liberalism, by Dennis Campbell:

 

I have just read your recent article equating liberalism with Nazism.  You must be one sorry and sick individual. As an active citizen who has been a moderate Democrat with many liberal friends, who are Republican and Democrat, I must say that you should seek out professional help! Democrats, who were considered liberal or forward thinking in their time, always supported “progressive” issues that would concern liberals and moderate liberals of today. It was Wilson, FDR, Truman and Kennedy who always supported progressive and liberal legislation and was opposed by the conservatives and the Neanderthals of their day. Lyndon Johnson, who was not raised as a northern liberal, certainly supported and authored national legislation that was quite progressive and historically helpful for all Americans. It would seem to me or any other forward-thinking person, that if it were up to the Conservatives (formerly known as Luddites), no progress would have been made. Do not forget that it was radicals and liberals that opposed Great Britain in 1775-6 and it was Northern liberals that started the abolitionist movement.

 

But I assume you would have supported slavery in the South! I also assume that you would support Trent Lott's statement that former Senator and Governor Strom Thurmond, a hypocrite who a raped young black woman and fathered an illegitimate child, should have been elected president in 1948, and all of our racial problems would have been solved! But of course the conservatives have had their opportunity in the Reagan era and they currently control the Congress along with the White House. So where were and are the legislative efforts to roll back such “nazi-like or commie-like” institutions like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, labor laws, the Securities Acts and all of the other reforms of the New Freedom, New Deal, New Frontier and the Great Society? Truthfully they would be abject fools to state such opposition to mainstream American values. Of course you make the argument that abortion was a Nazi-sponsored activity. Well the Nazis did not have abortion; they had euthanasia, which is much different and not comparable. In fact, the Nazis backed accelerated birth programs and had plans for “birthing factories.” This was done for the purpose of creating vast numbers of young little Nazis to populate places like Poland and maybe New Mexico! I see no connection between that type of practice and abortion. Unfortunately the vast amount of orphaned children in our society stays un-adopted and unloved in this country. For anyone to restrict a woman from not giving birth to a deformed child or to force a woman to carry to term a child from a rapist or a consequence of incest is repulsive. I assume you just want more unwanted, unloved and uncared for children to be brought into our society. I assume that you also oppose liberal support for “birth-control.”  I assume that is your next issue! The bottom line is that liberals support Federal protection of individual rights because the states have failed!

 

Post New Deal Democrats concentrated no more power in the Federal government then the Nixon, Reagan and Bush Administrations. So, in fact, the so-called activist liberal judges and justices have only been “extending” the rights of individuals that most conservatives should applaud. It is ironic that the conservatives that trumpet individualism, reject when it comes to women, minorities and the poor. It is also ironic that the conservatives who worship at the alter of the “free market” and deregulation, constantly look to monopolize, price fix, inside trade and stultify competition. It is the “liberal” regulators that insure the “free market” not the “good old boy” regulators like Dick Grasso who rape the markets!.

 

With regard to your views on race and liberalism, your opinion is laughable at best. Whether it was “Jim Crow” southern conservatives or Northern “de facto” conservatives, blacks or African-Americans were only helped by liberalism of both parties. It was liberals that started and initiated abolitionism, the underground railroad, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, and eventually the Civil Rights movement. Even though it moved slowly, it would have never moved at all if it was up to the “Jim Crow” element or the modern GOP and its new conservative leadership.  

 

We fought a Civil War over “state's rights” along with the preservation of the Union. In other words the Civil War decided the primacy of the Federal government. Judges have always had to decide between the right of an individual over the rights of the state. This goes back to John Marshall. Why should the state control a woman's body? Your smear of liberalism with the heinous taint of Nazism is typical fascist tactics. I note that conservative radio talk show hosts like Rush Libaugh refer to women's advocacy groups as femi-nazis. I also note that conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who has been a regular on Fox News and other mass media outlets has written a book accusing liberals has accused liberals of being traitors. I am sure that there is an incredible amount of documentation regarding conservatives bashing liberals as communist, but Nazis!

 

Kennedy was a progressive Democrat, that supported the Democratic concept of “containment” of communism, as authored by Truman with his Marshall Plan and his creation of NATO and the Truman Doctrine. Kennedy cut taxes because he had inherited an economic malaise coming from the Eisenhower Administration's record of three recessions. Maybe you will remember the Congressional elections of 1958 where the GOP lost more Senate seats than any time in the 20th Century (15)and more house seats (50) since the Depression. Interestingly when JFK cut taxes the economy started to grow. But he did not cut taxes on top of huge Eisenhower deficits. In other words times were different. Kennedy was not the most liberal President in history. But he would have changed with the times,in the same way that his brothers started to understand the new requirements of society.

 

Your tactics of “divide and conquer” will never succeed and your marginalized views will always remain on the fringe. By the way I do not believe that you were a formal liberal. That’s maybe the strangest thing about you!

 

 

——


Wow, quite a letter. Full of much error and misinformation, of course, and when I have the time I will formulate a response. I will say, though, that my reference to liberals and Nazis was in response to the unending accusation from the left that conservatives are Nazis, when the social and political aims of the Nazis (socialists, remember) were much similar to those of modern liberals (certainly unrecognizable to JFK if he were to return) than Republicans. Of course, you have already used “fascist” in your letter. I will write soon. Thanks for responding.
 
Regards
Dennis Campbell
 
 

Kerry's war record and its electoral consequences!

Politics is a funny game. GWB, who is a person whom I honestly detest, went from an being an inept stock manipulator (just ask the SEC) to Governor of Texas, where his record, or whatever one calls it, was less then stellar. He falsified his education record there so he could run as a reformer, and was better known for executing mentally deficit criminals. In fact he appointed his State education director to the cabinet and from what I understand our progress has been nil. But “let no child be left behind” is a great under-funded tag line. Then after one of the most lackluster 7.5 months in office, where he took 41 days of vacation, the disaster of 9/11 struck. All of a sudden this do-nothing was catapulted into the roll of “great war leader.” Well he ain't! He's horrible and getting worse.

Most Vietnam Vets, the vast majority of the 6 million are pretty normal, but there are many that are not. Kerry's record became an issue because of the Bush bashing! So the Kerry people, knowing and understanding how to counter-punch have played his war experiences up in the way JFK's were promoted. But, be that as it may, one day or one year in combat is unique to normal life and existence. Does it qualify someone for leadership or the Presidency? No! But it does allow an insightful perspective many of us don't have.

For me it comes down to brains, flexibility, good ideas, leadership and vision, of which I believe George Bush has none. Woodrow Wilson, a scholar, a professor, a writer, an intellect, and a reforming President of Princeton was not a warrior or one to engage in bellicosity. His great opponent, by his choice not Wilson's was Teddy Roosevelt. TR another intellect, let his bellicosity reign supreme. That is why he failed with his war-like sons and that is why the country did not really want to trust him during the Great War. Whether this other “vet” who generally votes Democratic wishes to fear the future enough to trust it to GW Bush, is of no concern to me. The Democrats generally are just as American as the next guy, and are certainly capable of doing the job correctly. Does anyone believe that anyone could be as inept as GW Bush, or the next leader would just “cut and run” as Nixon did in Vietnam? Nixon supported the pro-colonial wars around the world, and certainly favored our war in Indo-China. He was always accusing the Democrats of being weak and soft on Communism. But JFK sort of trumped his red-baiting card with the meaningless issue of Quemoy and Matzu. Nixon blamed Truman for losing China, but it was Chiang's conservative friends in Congress that were sucker-punched by his corruption and ineptness after WWII. In fact, both Eisenhower and Nixon were “cut and run” pragmatists in Korea, Hungary, East Germany, Egypt and Vietnam. They were able to live with the reality of coexistence with the aggressors. In other words, thet favored containment over overt confrontation. It was Nixon who accused Stevenson of being too tolerant of Red China in his desire to recognize them. Of course, Nixon, the ever pragmatic cold warrior, reached out to both the Soviets and the PRC when it was politically convenient. Maybe greater and earlier flexibility with the Chinese would have widened their rift with the Soviets and therefore possibly avoided the tragedy of Vietnam. But all in all, all this is long past. Today I would not compare this war on terror with the Cold War threat of 50,000 nuclear bombs aimed at us. It is an ongoing problem that is difficult, and GW Bush's skills are not up to the task. It will take more than an unending bloodbath in Iraq to quell this problem. Read my printing of Haim Harari's column about the Arab-Islamic world's self destructiveness. Creating a stable government in Iraq is a noble end in itself, but the real problem is all over the Moslem and especially the Moslem Arab world. Recent polls show us at a 10% popularity all over this Arab world. Can Bush ever reverse this mind-set of hatred and fear? I fear not!

rjg

 

John Kerry's War Experience and What it Means! August 2, 2004

John Kerry’s War Experience and What it Means in November

 

August 2, 2004

 

 

Look it’s just a speech! Nobody elects a President for his duty in the war. But do not forget JFK used his LTjg status and his PT Boat friends, including my wife’s cousin, the late Lt. Cdr. Fred Rosen to campaign effectively. The “swift boat” episode was a metaphor for the question and the matter of character, not potential presidential leadership. GWBush's experiences as Governor of Texas, a weak governor system, was not highly meritorious or noteworthy accept in regards to many death sentences carried out. I would never oppose any governor on the death penalty as long as the state takes the utmost care in its imposition. So Kennedy served less than 8 years in the Senate and six in the House. Johnson was in the Senate 12 years and yes 10 years in the House, Truman was in the Senate 10 years, TR was Governor for two years, and Police Commissioner of NYC. Woodrow Wilson was Governor for one term I believe, and Nixon when put on the ticket was less than a one term Senator with 4 years in the House. George Bush was put on the ticket and had some elected experience, but was an appointee who spent little time in each position. Eisenhower had no elected experience as did Hoover. Coolidge was one term governor of Mass.

 

Yes, many had other lower elected offices and some had cabinet positions: Hoover, Taft, FDR (who had 8 years as asst. Secretary of the Navy, two terms as a State Senator and two terms as Governor!)

 

Kerry was a Lt. Governor, a State Attorney General, and a Senator for 20 years. He did have combat military experience, which benefited, Truman, TR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, even Johnson, George Bush and our earlier Presidents. In fact a great many of our earlier Presidents had some combat experience, but that was more typical of that age! Certainly Kerry's multiple terms reflected the will of the Massachusetts’s electorate, and his voting record also reflected their desires. LBJ had a much more conservative voting record in the Senate, as he represented a larger constituency than his former House seat. When he became President he moved further to the center left to reflect the needs of the time. Truman was also more conservative as a Senator, and was not seen as a fervent New Dealer in his last years in the Congress.

 

By the way McCain's father and grandfather were admirals. John “Slew” McCain, his grandfather, commanded fast carrier task forces and was highly regarded in the Pacific. He died suddenly at the end of WWII on September 6, 1945 at age 61. He became a naval aviator at the advanced age of 52, and eventually he was the designated commander of Task Force 38.1. By the way his father and uncles were retired from the Army as general officers. His son Admiral John McCain, Jr. known as “Junior,” was a submarine commander in WWII, who saw action during the North Africa landings, and in the Pacific on numerous war patrols. He eventually became Commander-in-Chief Pacific in which he oversaw the gradual disengagement from Vietnam. Upon his retirement he was special assistant to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr, the Chief of Naval Operations. Senator McCain, while operating his plane off the carrier Oriskany (remember the famous battle which gave this carrier its name, in upstate New York, where General Herkimer held off St.Leger and his Indian allies, insuring our eventual victory at Saratoga!) was shot down over Hanoi and was a prisoner for seven years.

—–

 

 

Look its just a speech! Nobody elects a President on his duty in the war. But do not forget JFK used his LTjg status and his PT Boat friends, including my cousin, the late Lt Cdm Fred Rosen to campaign effectively. The “swift boat” episode was a metaphor for the matter of character, not potential presidential leadership. GWBush's experiences as Governor of Texas, a weak governor system, was not highly meritorious or noteworthy accept in regards to many death sentences carried out. I would never oppose any governor on the death penalty as long as the state takes the utmost care in its imposition. So Kennedy served less than 8 years in the Senate and six in the House. Johnson was in the Senate 12 years and yes 10 years in the House, Truman was in the Senate 10 years, TR was Governor for two years, and Police Commissioner of NYC. Woodrow Wilson was Governor for one term I believe, and Nixon when put on the ticket was less than a one term Senator with 4 years in the House.

George Bush was put on the ticket and had some elected experience, but was an appointee who spent little time in each position. Eisenhower had no elected experience as did Hoover. Coolidge was one term governor of Mass. as well as Taft.

 

Yes, many had other lower elected offices and some had cabinet positions: Hoover, Taft, FDR (who had 8 years as asst. Secretary of the Navy, two terms as a State Senator and two terms as Governor!)

 

Kerry was a Lt. Governor, a State Attorney General, and a Senator for 20 years. He did have combat military experience, which benefited, Truman,TR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, even Johnson, George Bush and our earlier Presidents. In fact a great many of our earlier Presidents had some combat experience, but that was more typical of that age! Certainly Kerry's multiple reflected the will of the Massachusett's electorate, and his voting record also reflected their desires. LBJ had a much more conservative voting record in the Senate, as he represented a larger constituency than his former House seat. When he became President he moved further to the center left to reflect the needs of the time. Truman was also more conservative as a Senator, and was not seen as a fervent New Dealer in his last years in the Congress.

 

By the way McCain's father and grandfather were admirals. John “Slew” McCain, his grandfather, commanded fast carrier task forces and was highly regarded in the Pacific. He died suddenly at the end of WWII on September 6, 1945 at age 61. He became a naval aviator at the advanced age of 52, and eventually he was the designated commander of Task Force 38.1. By the way his father and uncles were retired from the Army as general officers. His son Admiral John McCain, Jr. known as “Junior,” was a submarine commander in WWII, who saw action during the North Africa landings, and in the Pacific on numerous war patrols. He eventually became Commander-in-Chief Pacific in which he oversaw the gradual disengagement from Vietnam. Upon his retirement he was special assistant to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt,Jr, the Chief of Naval Operations. Senator McCain, while operating his plane off the carrier Oriskany (remember the famous battle which gave this carrier its name, in upstate New York, where General Herkimer held off St.Leger and his Indian allies, insuring our eventual victory at Saratoga!) was shot down over Hanoi and was a prisoner for seven years.

 

 

Lewis “Chesty” Puller, Lt. General USMC

Chesty Puller, Lt. General, USMC

 

Zounds! Buna, Rabaul, Pelelieu, must be a “must see” today. The jungle has probably covered all the evidence! When you get a chance, go to the library and get the latest book on Lt. General Lewis Puller, named “Chesty”. It also could be gotten on e-bay for a song. Just to read that chapter on the unecessary campaign in the Palaus, culminating with the bloody senseless battle for Pelelieu and the WWII swan song for the great and unique Puller. The blood-letting was incredible and Puller who suffered a thigh wound on the battlefield, and was carried from the action, was excoriated for his frontal assaults. But blame Nimitz for insisting on the invasion to cover the eastern flank of the Phillipines. A case of too little too late. MacArthur warned the joint chiefs and FDR about the Palaus, but Nimitz insisted on it as a tradeoff for MacArthur's re-taking the Phillipines, over their crazy choice of Formosa! Of course Puller won his 5th Navy Cross at the Chosin Reservoir and his great reputation was resurrected. By the way, an earlier more romantic biograpy on Puller, called “Marine” was written by Burke Davis, I believe!

 

 

rjg