The Advocates 6-24-09

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

June 24, 2009

All archived Shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest today Gary Ratner, the National Director of the Zionist Organization of America, and our subject is the Mid-East Peace Process and what is his organization’s perspective on the new Obama peace initiative.

 

Mr. Ratner was raised in Chicago and received his Masters Degree in International relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Studies in Washington. He has taken courses at the Sorbonne in Paris, Georgetown University and George Williams College in Montreal. In his early career, he was involved as a business entrepreneur, a community activist and a political fundraiser. Since the mid 1970’s, he has served in many high level positions with a number of Jewish organizations. He has also taught history at the Junior College level, and co-hosted a radio, “The Mid-East Forum” show in NYC and Washington from 1991-5.

 

As National Director with the ZOA, which was founded in 1897, and is the oldest pro-Israel organization in America, Mr. Ratner oversees fundraising, programming, membership development and policy direction. Just prior to his current position he was the Western regional Director of the American Jewish Congress.  He has been involved in the fight against anti-Semitism on American campuses, has investigated the possible misuse of Federal Title VI monies to Centers of Middle East studies, has worked against the outbreak of anti-Semitic violence in France, and has brought the to the forefront Muslim inspired anti-Semitism in America. While he was with the American Jewish Congress he worked tirelessly in the effort to create the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, which funds alternate energy research. He can be reached at both gratner@zoa.org and www.zoa.org

 

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Our guest next week will Don Blum, who will talk about his experiences as a survivor of the USS Indianapolis.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

The Advocates 6-17-09 – Professor Jim Caraley

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

June 17, 2009

All archived Shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest today is Professor Jim Caraley, Editor of the Political Science Quarterly, and our subject is the role of political journals in the world of “talking heads” and the mass media, or in other words, political science vs. politics.

Editor of Political Science Quarterly and President of The Academy of Political Science, Demetrios James Caraley is also Research Professor of Political Science at Barnard College.  For most of his career, he was Janet Robb Professor of the Social Science at Barnard College and Columbia University and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia. ( Information can be found at The Academy of PoliticalScience- website: www.psqonline.org .)

A specialist on American politics including city government and urban policies and problems and on congressional policies toward cities, Caraley has published numerous books and articles including Critical Issues for Clinton's Domestic Agenda, Doing More With Less: Cutback Management in New York City, and City Governments and Urban Problems. Caraley has been both an appointed and elected official in Westchester County local government.

Caraley has also published books in the field of national security policy, his latest one being the 2007 book, Terrorist Attacks and Nuclear Proliferation: Strategies for Overlapping Dangers.  He has published American Hegemony: Preventive War, Iraq, and Imposing Democracy; September 11, Terrorist Attacks, and U.S. Foreign Policy; The New American Interventionism; The President's War Powers; and The Politics of Military Unification.

Caraley was a Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar for academic year 1995-96, where he worked on a continuing project called Washington Abandons the Cities and the Urban Poor. Among his recent major articles are “Washington Abandons the Cities” and “Dismantling the Federal Safety Net: Fictions versus Realities”. His article on “Ending Welfare as We Know It: A Reform Still in Progress”, published in the Winter 2001 issue of the Quarterly was awarded a prize by the New York State Academy of Public Administration as the “outstanding publication of 2001.”

Caraley was elected chairman of the Barnard Political Science Department for ten three-year terms. He also established the Columbia Graduate Program in Public Policy and Administration in Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs and was its founding director.

Caraley served as a naval officer at sea and at shore duty during the Korean War.  He earned the B.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.

On June 17, 2009, he is publishing as an eBook, Eight Presidential Elections, 1980-2008: Dealignments, Brittle Mandates, and Possible Majority Realignment.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Our guest next week will be Gary Ratner of the Zionist Organization of America.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

914-524-8381

914-261-6587 (cell)

http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com

rjg727@optonline.net 

 

 

 

The New Yankee Stadium June 17, 2009

The New Yankee Stadium

June 17, 2009

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

 

I can’t say that I have spent an inordinate amount of time at any of the three Yankee Stadiums that have existed in my lifetime. But nowI have been now to all three incarnations of the House that Ruth built. My first visit to “the big ballpark in the Bronx,” as the late, great Mel Allen would describe Yankee Stadium, was way back in 1951, when Harry S Truman was president. I wrote about one of our last visits to the stadium in August of 2008, in my piece “The Last Time at the Big Ballpark in the Bronx, and one can open the essay below:

http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com/blog/_archives/2008/8/17/3860182.html . The essay was taken in part from an earlier piece that I wrote called, “Take Me Out to The Ballpark”

http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com/blog/_archives/2006/9/21/2363327.html. I was also at the last game of the original Yankee Stadium in 1973, which was opened in 1923. That day, the old ballpark looked like a tired, hulking relic of a bygone era. But its triple deck, its support columns and its graying façade had an eerie majesty about it. One could imagine that it was like some old dreadnaught that had too much time at sea and the rust and barnacles could no longer be scrapped off.

 

Over the years I have watched thousands of games on Channels 11, 9 and 5. I have been watching on cable television for decades now, but being at the ballpark has its own special and unique charm. The re-built, now old Yankee Stadium had pretty much of a glorious finish. Over that past 12 years the Yankees enjoyed an almost unparalleled success that rivaled just about any of their dynastic eras. The ballpark hosted record crowds, over the past number of years. Back in 1951 when I attended my first Yankee Game their season attendance was 1,950,107 and it had been actually shrinking since 1946 when post-war baseball shattered all attendance records around the big leagues. In actuality, attendance continued to decline almost every year, except in 1961 when the Mantle-Maris race to break the Babe’s hallowed homerun record, caused it to bounce back and peak at 1,747,725. From that year on, until 1972 the year before the renovation of the old park in 1973, attendance slipped badly. With the new opening of Yankee Stadium in 1976, attendance broke the 2 million mark for the first time in over 25 years. As the Yankee success of the last decade continued, with the general prosperity of NYC, fans flocked back to the Bronx.. Over the past four years the Yanks averaged over 50,000 fans per game and attendance broke the 4 million mark each year. How could there be greater success?

 

But according to the owners, the old ball park was aging quickly and the structural integrity of the stadium, though redone only 32 years earlier was being questioned. Of course, plans were formulated to build the current Yankee Stadium, which is now opened and fully operational. Of course, as a lifetime Yankee fan, I wanted to see the new ballpark. As everyone knows there was a great deal of controversy over the pricing of tickets for the 2009 season. In the fall of 2008, with the implosion of the economy, which affected financial services and Wall Street in particular, it seemed that the Yankees ticket pricing for many of its better seats was way out of line. As the season opened with much fanfare, the controversy peaked regarding the outrageous cost of the edifice itself, the pricing of tickets and the cost of food and trinkets in the park. But over the ensuing weeks, much of the media and the fans lost interest in that story and started to concentrate on the progress of the team. Across town, the Mets moved into their new ballpark, Citi Field and for probably the first and last time in history, the opening of two new ballparks in one city was accomplished. The Mets also have felt some “heat” regarding their ticket pricing policies, but generally since the Yankees are more glamorous, have a bigger payroll and have been generally much more successful over the past 15 years the focus has been on the team from the Bronx.

 

With all that in mind, Linda decided to get tickets for a game. Calling Yankee Stadium for tickets is useless because all of the seats that they have left are in the front section, where prices are not only astronomical, but idiotic. Over the years we have been sitting as guests of a generous patron, in seats that gradually escalated from $70 to $200. These seats were about 10 rows in back from the dugout and almost behind first base. In the world of the new Yankee Stadium, those seats are now unoccupied, but could be had for $2500. Linda therefore went to the online ticket broker, Stub Hub, and we both found out that there are about 8000 tickets available for almost any game in the future. The tickets could go up or down in price reflective of demand. I picked a date to see the lowly Washington Nationals because I thought that the Yankees would manhandle them, they were a National League team, and they actually had some good hitters.

 

We were able to purchase tickets in the fifth deck, looking right down at third base for $20 apiece and frankly the view was terrific. Linda took the new special train to the ballpark and arrived about 20 minutes from Grand Central Station. I drove down with my friend Kevin Moran and his companion Valerie, and after some interesting maneuvering we parked in the elevated parking structure, right next to the stadium’s right field entrance. The cost was $19. In the past I have paid more, but at other times I was actually able to find a space on the street.

 

The new stadium is immense. Its great hall and passage ways are much larger than its predecessor. The food courts are limitless, and it reminds me of the walkways that surround the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the National Tennis Center. Unfortunately one cannot walk around the stadium at any level though the seats. It is structured so that one is only able to walk to one’s seats through the interior concourse. Obviously that keeps people from constantly walking past seated fans and blocking their views. Now all traffic is in the interior. We entered the stadium and eventually made our way to one of the many ramps that led to the fifth level and after much walking, I found Linda happily ensconced in her seat in Section 425, row nine.

 

The new ballpark looks vaguely familiar to the one it replaced. The designers resurrected the look of the old façade of the original Yankee Stadium and that white facade now surrounds the top of the stadium just below the lights. In the old rebuilt version of Yankee Stadium, the façade was an ornament just adorning the portion above the bleachers in left and right center field. Aside from that feature, the dimensions are the same, but the ballpark is quite different. It is a visually noisy venue. There is a gigantic plasma television “info” screen in centerfield that dwarfs anything one could imagine. It has remarkable contrast and it constantly flashes information regarding the lineup, the next batter, and what is going on with the fans. But one has to constantly search for where the pitcher’s count (balls and strikes) is posted. In short, there is too much to see. There are too many advertising signs and I feel the ball park is much too distracting. It doesn’t seem to have the majesty of either version of the old ballpark. In truth, the seats and leg room are more comfortable, and one can get in and out of the ballpark easier. The old vitality and human element seem to have been removed. There is a factory clean nature to the park. By the way, up in our seats it was quite breezy and there seems to be a jet stream that makes fly balls into homeruns. There were no Yankee homeruns to right field despite the steady wind that was battering the roof top flags. Probably credit has to be given to the National’s pitcher, Shairon Martis, who baffled Yankee hitters until he ran out of gas and left the game in the 7th.  

 

Meanwhile the game was rather pedestrian. The Yankees were not hitting, and half way through the contest they were behind 3-2. Excellent hitting and great fielding by Robinson Cano (he went 4 for 4) made him the star of the game. Timely hitting by their new first baseman Mark Teixeira and excellent outfield play by Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher helped the Yanks edge the lowly Nationals 5-3. I personally expected a blowout, but it wasn’t to be. Alex Rodriquez continued his half-hearted, mediocre play as his batting average descended to .220. He again took “the collar” without getting the ball out of the infield. At this stage of the season he is probably the most overpaid and underperforming star in history. But it is still a long season and he’ll have ample opportunity to rebound and help the team in the coming months.

 

As too eating and drinking, we all planned well. We brought cold bottled water from home. Kevin brought sandwiches and I brought peanuts and pretzels. The lines to the food counters were incredible, and $9 per bottle beer, $6 hotdogs, and $5 Pepsis did not seem to intimidate the limitless amount of willing consumers. I bought a $10 program and scored the game as usual. The price of a program did not go up! It was idiotically high before and it remains at that level.

 

All in all, going to the stadium is a real happening. There is a lot to see off the field. But it is still baseball and the Yankees are a well-paid talented team. Will they play to their expectations, no one really knows. As to the new stadium itself, I cannot understand the reason for its existence. I loved the old stadium and it a wonderful place to see a game. It had atmosphere, liveliness and the human feel. As to their current home, the Yankees were lucky to start its construction in “flush” times. If they had waited another year or so, they may have never had the opportunity to raise the $1.3 billion that was needed to construct this monster. The old stadium held more fans, the sight lines were fine, the seats were easily accessible and one could walk around the ballpark much quicker. In a sense the old stadium was handsomer, more elegant, and less busy. It had majesty to it that this ballpark lacks. (But I’ll go back again and again, and soon I’ll be used it as the memories of the old ball yard fade into history!)

 

      

 

The Bombing of Auschwitz and the Jewish reaction to the Holocaust June 16,2009

The Bombing of Auschwitz and Jewish Reaction to the Holocaust

Fact, Feelings and Reactions

Richard J. Garfunkel

June 16, 2009

 

In the ongoing discussion regarding the bombing of Auschwitz, I have included with this essay a declassified exchange of letters between John J. McCloy and John Pehle. John Pehle was the Executive Director of the War Refugee Board and John McCloy was the Assistant Secretary of War. For what it is worth, McCloy made his argument in 1944 about the problem of long-range bombing. Of course this does not mention the opposition of David Ben-Gurion and the members of the Jewish Agency. As to FDR's supposed vetoing or rejection of this effort, there is no evidence that FDR ever commented or was asked to comment of the efficacy of bombing Auschwitz. (Also please note the dates of the exchange of letters in the attachment!) Of course later it was determined, in opposition to McCloy’s letter that there were numerous raids from Foggia, Italy to the Auschwitz region a 2600 mile roundtrip! Yes there were many air reconnaissance photos taken over the area that included Auschwitz, and there were also numerous raids, late in 1944, directed at the various known industrial plants in the near vicinity, like the synthetic oil production plant at Monowitz. According to reports, “air reconnaissance photographs of the camp were taken accidentally during 1944 by aircraft seeking to photograph nearby military-industrial targets, but no effort was made to analyze them.” (According to Martin Gilbert in his book “Auschwitz and the Allies, page 302-3, the quality of the photos was poor.”)

But unfortunately when Allied long-range bombers were able to make flights from our airbase in Foggia, Italy, with long-range fighter support, they were unaware of what was going on down below in the “death camps.” Could they then have bombed the marshalling yards at Birkenau? Yes, they could have, but by that time all activity had really ceased and the Germans by November 29, 1944 were dismantling the crematoria at Auschwitz, and making efforts to re-locate, or kill the balance of the Jews that remained. By the December 27th roll call, 18,751 Jews remained. In fact during some of those late December days when the crematoria was being dismantled, errant bombs dropped by Allied raiders did hit Auschwitz killing some German guards.

Information regarding Auschwitz was available to the Allies during years 1940–1943 by accurate and frequent reports of Polish Army Captain Witold Pilecki. Pilecki was the only known person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp, spending 945 days at Auschwitz not only actively gathering evidence of genocide and supplying it to the British in London by Polish resistance movement but also organizing resistance structures at the camp.

His first report was smuggled outside in November 1940. He eventually escaped on April 27, 1943, but even his personal report of mass killings was dismissed as exaggeration by the Allies, as were his previous ones. This changed with receipt of the very detailed report of two prisoners, Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler who escaped on April 7, 1944 which finally convinced most Allied leaders of the truth about Auschwitz in the middle of 1944.

Auschwitz-Birkenau claimed more victims than any other German Nazi extermination camp despite coming into use after all the others. In 1941, 1.1 million Jews were murdered, largely by mass shootings in the occupied territories. In 1942, 2.7 million Jews were murdered, many in Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzec, and Treblinka, the extermination camps built in occupied Poland specifically to destroy Poland's three million Jews. Only 200,000 were killed at Auschwitz. In 1943, some 500,000 Jews were killed, half of whom were killed in Auschwitz. With the destruction of Poland's Jews mostly complete, the other four camps were closed by the end of 1943. Auschwitz alone continued to operate, both as a giant slave labor complex and an extermination facility dedicated to the genocide of Jews from the rest of Nazi-occupied Europe

The busiest time for Auschwitz as an extermination camp was from April to June 1944, when it was the center for the massacre of Hungary's Jews. Hungary was an ally of Germany during the war but had resisted turning over its Jews to the Germans until Germany sent troops to occupy Hungary in March 1944. In 56 days from April until the end of June 1944, 436,000 Hungarian Jews, half of the pre-war population, were deported to Auschwitz and to their deaths. Jews continued to arrive from other parts of Nazi Europe as well. The incoming volume was so great that the SS at Auschwitz resorted to burning corpses in open-air pits as well as the crematoria. The total of over 400,000 Jews gassed during the Hungarian Action in early 1944 represented some two-thirds of all the 600,000 Jews exterminated in that year and a third of all the Jews killed at Auschwitz in the two and a half years that it operated as an extermination camp. According to Martin Gilbert, in his book  “Auschwitz and the Allies,”  epilogue, page 319, “…until the 3rd week of June 1944, the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau had kept their secret, both as the principal mass murder site of the Jews of Europe , and also as the destination of so many hundreds of deportation trains from France, Holland, Belgium …”

As to the photos, in fact, it was not until the 1970s that these aerial shots of Auschwitz were looked at carefully. (There were at least 20 million aerial photos taken by the Allies in WWII. When I saw the report of the photos on CBS with Walter Cronkite, there was no evidence that Auschwitz was the so-called “terminus.”) Starting with a plea from the Slovakian rabbi Weissmandl in May 1944, there was a growing campaign to persuade the Allies to bomb Auschwitz or the railway lines leading to it. At one point Winston Churchill ordered that such a plan be prepared, but he was told that bombing the camp would most likely kill prisoners without disrupting the killing operation, and that bombing the railway lines was not technically feasible. Later several nearby military targets were bombed. One bomb accidentally fell into the camp and killed some prisoners. The debate over what could have been done, or what should have been attempted even if success was unlikely, has continued heatedly ever since.

David Ben-Gurion, (1886-1973, Prime Minister of Israel 1949-63) the Chairman of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, and later the first Prime Minister of Israel, in June of 1944, responded to a proposal that the Allies be asked to bomb the extermination camps. At a meeting presided over by Ben-Gurion, the Jewish Agency voted eleven to one against the bombing option.

  

By early June, when over one-third of the remaining Hungarian Jewish community had been deported to Auschwitz, Jacob Rosenheim, a leader of the world’s orthodox Jews, and others wrote Morgenthau, the War Department and Joseph Pehle of the War Refugee Board imploring them to bomb the railway lines from Hungary to the death camp at Auschwitz.” Joseph Pehle, who was a great advocate for the Jews, wrote McCloy expressing his doubts about the about bombing of Auschwitz. The War Refugee Board determined that the bombing of the tracks would do little to stop the killing, because they would be swiftly repaired. Later McCloy used about the same language and rationale to veto any further requests to bomb Auschwitz itself. (The Conquerors, by Michael Beschloss, page 64.)

 

On August 9, 1944, the first such request came to John McCloy, (1895-1989) the Assistant Secretary of War (1941-5), regarding the bombing of Auschwitz, by Leon Kubowitzki, head of the Rescue Committee of the World Jewish Congress, in which he forwarded, without endorsement, a request from Mr. Ernest Frischer of the Czechoslovak State Council (in London exile.) Ironically Mr. Kubowitzki argued against the bombing of Auschwitz because “the first victims will be Jews.” With regard to whether John McCloy ever actually asked FDR about the bombing, there is no evidence of any meeting and no evidence in any of his extensive interviews or in his personal papers that the subject was brought up. But, in a recent book, The Conquerors by Michael Beschloss, the author asserts that John McCloy had told Henry Morgenthau III, that he had asked FDR about bombing the camps. (William vanden Heuval castigated Beschloss for his patchwork and shoddy work, in a long documented piece, and Beschloss apologized to him!)

 

For decades after World War II, McCloy insisted that he had never talked to the President on that subject. He told Washington Post reporter Morton Mintz in 1983 that he never talked with FDR about the subject.  Even David Wyman in his 1984 book, The Abandonment of the Jews, wrote that the bombing requests “almost certainly” did not reach Roosevelt. Later McCloy, in an interview in 1986, three years before his death, had an unpublished exchange with Henry Morgenthau III, who was researching his book, Mostly Morganthaus, claimed that he had spoken to FDR about the bombing of Auschwitz, Supposedly FDR “made it very clear” to him that the bombing would do no good, and “we would have been accused of destroying Auschwitz by bombing these innocent people.” Of course McCloy was telling this to Morgenthau’s son, decades after his father, Henry Jr. had referred to him as an “oppressor of the Jews.” Maybe McCloy’s true feelings were exposed when he also stated to Morganthau’s son, “I didn’t want to bomb Auschwitz…It seemed to be a bunch of fanatic Jews who deemed that if you didn’t bomb, it was an indication of lack of venom against Hitler…” (The Conquerors, Michael Beschloss, page 65-7.)

The last selection took place on October 30, 1944. The next month, Heinrich Himmler ordered the crematoria destroyed before the Red Army reached the camp. The gas chambers of Birkenau were blown up by the SS in January 1945 in an attempt to hide the German crimes from the advancing Soviet troops. On January 20, the SS command sent orders to murder all the prisoners remaining in the camp, but in the chaos of the Nazi retreat the order was never carried out.

 Ironically on January 17, 1945, Nazi personnel had started to evacuate the facility; nearly 60,000 prisoners, most of those remaining, were forced on a death march to the camp toward Wodzisław Śląski (German: Loslau). Some 20,000 Auschwitz prisoners made it to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, where they were liberated by the British in April 1945. Those too weak or sick to walk were left behind; about 7,500 prisoners were liberated by the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army on January 27, 1945. Among the artifacts of automated murder found by the Russians were 348,820 men's suits and 836,255 women's garments.

  • April 1944 – November 1944 SS and Police authorities deport more than 585,000 Jews to Auschwitz.
  • October 7, 1944 Members of the Jewish prisoner “special detachment” (Sonderkommando) that was forced to remove bodies from the gas chambers and operate the crematoria stage an uprising. They successfully blow up Crematorium IV and kill several guards. Women prisoners had smuggled gunpowder out of nearby factories to members of the Sonderkommando. The SS quickly suppresses the revolt and kills all the Sonderkommando members. On January 6, 1945, just weeks before Soviet forces liberate the camp, the SS will also hang four women who smuggled gunpowder into the camp.
  • October 30, 1944 The last selections take place on the arrival ramp at Birkenau. 1,689 people from a transport from Terezin are sent to the gas chambers.[81]
  • November 25, 1944 As Soviet forces continue to approach, SS chief Heinrich Himmler orders the destruction of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers and crematoria. During this SS attempt to destroy the evidence of mass killings, prisoners will be forced to dismantle and dynamite the structures.

This is an email response from former Ambassador William vanden Heuval who was formerly the President of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.

 

From: William Vanden Heuvel [mailto:wvanden@allenco.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 2:52 PM
To: Richard J. Garfunkel
Subject: RE: The Bombing of Auschwitz

 

Richard—a brilliant piece—thank you for writing this –look forward to discussing it further – an extraordinary piece of work–Bill

 


Below is a copy of my response to Mr. vanden Heuval regarding my own thoughts on why and how Jewish opinion evolved regarding the Holocaust.

 

From: Richard J. Garfunkel [mailto:rjg727@optonline.net]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 1:50 PM
To: William Vanden Heuvel
Subject: RE: The Bombing of Auschwitz

 

Bill- Thanks for your kind words. There is a strange, but understandable sense of post-traumatic stress syndrome in the Jewish consciousness. As anti-Semitism continually rears its head, for one reason or another, many in the Jewish community seek out to constantly test its friends. The trauma of the Holocaust continues to affect many in the Jewish world directly and indirectly. Though Jews are citizens of many lands, they have been singled out often as if they were a race or a separate people. In a sense it would like a person saying there are Italians in Westchester, and also Irish and Jews. This dualism as a people or a religion has existed almost forever. Maybe that is at the heart of anti-Semitism, the illusion of divided loyalties.

 

Amongst many Jews, besides “a never again” defiance and the will to survive, there is an innate insecurity and a heightened sense of the being the victim. Victimization brings on guilt, and often the question “why me?” constantly arises. In a sense, I believe that the victim often blames his/her friends for not standing up enough. Or the victim feels that he/she has done something wrong, so wrong that his/her friends never really are committed enough to be counted on. The anti-Semitism that always existed in Europe was waning in the wake of the Napoleonic Era as modernism and enlightenment crept into the middle of the 19th Century. But the cataclysm brought on by World War I, and the collapse of the ruling dynasties created a social turmoil in its wake. Whatever reforms brought on by Napoleon, Bismarck, the call for social justice, the freeing of the serfs, the outrage over the Dreyfus Affair, and the many other positive advances were disrupted by the war and its aftermath. The collapse of the old order brought violence, abject poverty, suffering and the rise of dictators of the right and the left. The Jews, were caught in the middle, and as a traditionally easy target, anti-Semitism arose with greater strength in Germany where chaos had reigned supreme with the collapse of its economy and social system.

 

After the WWII, the subject of the Holocaust was too difficult for many Jews to confront openly. They wanted to get on with their lives, and they again became pawns in the emerging Cold War. Nazi atrocities, after the Nuremburg Trials, were often forgotten as the West had to create the new will and commitment to confront the Soviets. West Germany was a lynchpin in that effort. As a result many escaped or ignored Nazi criminals were forgotten and even the ones in prison were released early to curry favor with the German population. Justice was never really achieved, especially in the Jewish mindset. German scientists were welcomed here and there was a new idea promulgated that not all Germans were Nazis, and that there were many, many good Germans. The complicity of a willing people (executioners), as characterized by Daniel Goldhagen, was often forgotten in the Cold War struggle.

 

Jewish intermarriage which was only around 4-5% in 1960, started to escalate in the middle and late sixties as Jews got involved with the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam War era and were allowed greater access to world class colleges and universities. Jews felt more comfortable with their image after the Six-Day War.

 

They were no longer seen by themselves, and others, as a weak, inbred people that would rather study, compromise, and teach rather than play sports, exercise, or even join the armed forces. (Jewish-American participation in WWII was at a higher percentage than any other ethnic group and over 50,000 Jews were decorated for heroism.) The Jewish self image as the helpless victim began to change within the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. As intermarriage in the following decade, or so, grew to alarming numbers, many Jews began to equate assimilation with liberalism. By the middle and late 1980’s Jewish scholars, rabbis, and authors began open up their thoughts on the Holocaust, its roots, causes and consequences. Many equated assimilation and intermarriage as a new threat to the survival of the Jewish People. Some even equated it to a new Holocaust.

 

Franklin Roosevelt, the greatest friend of the Jews, and the greatest achieving liberal became an easy target. He, this all-encompassing prince, who Jews had trusted, was characterized as having feet of clay. He, therefore, was excoriated for not doing enough. His kitchen cabinet, of German Jewish advisors, was looked down upon as not appealing to, or pressuring enough their “prince.”

 

These Jews were accused of abandoning their Eastern European co-religionists to protect themselves from the backlash of American anti-Semitism that had arisen partly from the large German-American population that had great influence before the Second World War.

 

The victim always is torn between guilt and victimization. On one hand they seek to understand what they did to incur such hatred, distrust and discrimination. They seek answers in their conduct. On the other hand, they again lash out at everyone who did not help enough. Did they aim their angst at the Southern Congressmen who opposed the opening of America’s doors or the expanding of the immigration quotas? Did they aim their criticism at the large German-American population that caught the virus of anti-Semitism from their cousins in Germany? Did they rail against the establishment Protestants who kept them out of the Ivy League schools, the Fortune 500 boardrooms, the elite law firms, the staffs at major hospitals or the Jewish Hollywood moguls who tread softly regarding the issue of the rise of Nazism? Many knew who was responsible. Many in the 1930’s and 1940’s knew who their only champion was. Many knew how difficult it was to balance the Nation’s needs with the cries from the persecuted people of Europe. Certainly with a permanent victory in Europe by the Nazis, all of Europe’s people would be enslaved, and any dissidents, religious or not, would be destroyed.

 

In the comfort of the 1980’s and beyond, certain Jews and other Holocaust exploiters like David Wyman found an easy target with the liberals, and their great symbol FDR. It was easy for them to consolidate all the blame in the name of the Roosevelt Administration. It was easy for them to ignore the fascists and Nazis and their responsibility and guilt. They wanted shared guilt/blame that would encompass everyone.

  

In the same way, they elevated the Japanese Internment way above even the incredible atrocities that the Japanese authored from the time of the Rape of Nanjing, to the use of germ warfare in their barbaric war against China, through their massive and criminal abuse of Allied prisoners and to their incredible violations of the Geneva Convention’s, “rules of war.”  This self-flagellation regarding America has added to the social and spiritual divide the country has endured for decades. The constant re-visited question of the bombing of Auschwitz begs the questions. The Nazi war aim was to kill Jews and make Europe Judenrein, plain and simple. Could many more Jews have been saved?

 

Most probably yes! Could the Holocaust been prevented? Assuredly not! But not understanding history, the conditions, here and abroad, which led to the rise of the Nazis, the onset of WWII, the war itself, the isolation and prejudices of the American people, and the consequences of all of that, doesn’t focus an iota of guilt on FDR. Without his efforts, his wise and thoughtful understanding of the world and his leadership, the West would have certainly lost the war, and G-d only knows what the consequences would have been.

 

Richard    

 


Response from William vanden Heuval:

 

From: William Vanden Heuvel [mailto:wvanden@allenco.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:24 AM
To: Richard J. Garfunkel
Subject: RE: The Bombing of Auschwitz

 

Dear Richard:   thank you for this excellent work. The publication of the MacDonald Diaries are an important contribution to the point that FDR was looking for every possible means before the war to evacuate the threatened Jews from Europe. I wish the scholars who write on this subject did their research as well as you do yours. Best, Bill

 

 

 

The Advocates 6-10-09 – Christina Ficicchia and Allegra Dengler

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

June 10, 2009

All archived Shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest today is Christina Ficicchia, the Executive Director of Clean Cities and our subject is “How can we create clean energy, and continue to supply our growth needs?” Our guest panelist will be Ms. Allegra Dengler, the Co-coordinator of the Greenburgh Office of Energy Conservation.

 

Ms. Ficicchia, a native of Rochester, NY, received her Bachelors from Boston University in Biology with a minor in Philosophy. She also received a MS degree from Pratt Institute in City and Regional Planning, with a focus on environmental planning. She volunteers with GreenHomeNYC a local volunteer-run non-profit organization, which facilitates the adoption of sustainable building methods and materials by owners of small residential and commercial buildings in NYC and the Manhattan Young Democrats, where she is an active member of the Environmental Issues Committee.  She is currently the Executive Director at New York City and Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities and also works as a consultant with Insite East, LLC, real estate and development specialists.  

Ms. Ficicchia worked as an economic and environmental planner with Bronx Overall and Pratt Center for approximately 5 years before becoming the Executive Director of New York City & Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities, Inc. (NYCLHVCC).  She has worked on PV (Solar) panel project, Green roof projects, green building and other energy efficiency and improvement projects.  As the executive director, Ms. Ficicchia provides support and management related to the operations of the non-profit organization, develops strategies and programs that fulfill its mission, seeks out increased membership enrollment and funding and promotes the acceptance of alternative fuel fleet vehicles and acts as the US Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator in the New York City and Lower Hudson Valley Clean Cities Region. Collaborates with State, County and Federal regulatory agencies, interest groups, media, consultants and other Clean Cities Coalitions to develop policies, coordinate work, and exchange information. She represents the Coalition in public and private forums and manages various projects that increase the number of alternative fuel vehicles on the road and increase alternative fuel use to facilitate petroleum reduction. Ms. Ficicchia coordinates various local events related to promoting alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles and develops and implements policies and long-range organizational goals.

 

Ms. Dengler, a long-time Westchesterite, was a former Dobbs Ferry Village Trustee, is a member of the Sierra Club, serves on the New York Democratic Lawyer’s Council HAVA Committee (Help America Vote Act), and is a member of the Progressive Democrats of America Election Protection Working Group.  She was a candidate for the Greenburgh Town Board in 2005 and narrowly lost election for Mayor of Dobbs Ferry.  She is constantly working, along with the League of Women Voters, and other groups, to insure that New Yorkers have the proper paper ballots when the current lever machines are replaced under our new law.  Ms. Dengler is an active watchdog regarding the Hudson River and Indian Point, and is currently the chairperson of the Citizens for Voting Integrity and one of CVI’s founders. She has been a frequent panelist and guest on The Advocates discussing: voting integrity, conservation, the Hudson River and Indian Point.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Next week we will have on Professor Jim Caraley, the Editor of the Political Science Quarterly.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

914-524-8381

914-261-6587 (cell)

http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com

rjg727@optonline.net 

 

 

 

 

The Ups and Downs of Collecting – June 9, 2009

FDR Button Goes for $15,000- Rare 1920 Cox-Roosevelt button sold!

 

http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=96814

 

The Ups and Downs of Collecting

June 9, 2009

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

Speaking of collecting, as an accumulator of various items over the years, Wedgwood, British Commemorative China, FDR memorabilia, toy soldiers, magazines, newspapers, stamps, glassware, and assorted other things, I pay attention, now and again, to the market. This was a big story over the past few days. But I can recall that about 25+ years ago when this same style button became available (there are about 7-12 around I believe) there was another bidding war. At that time the late Malcolm Forbes Sr. was adding to his Forbes Museum on 5th Avenue and 13th Street. He already had a fabulous Faberge collection of eggs and other Czarist and royal accoutrement, an unprecedented fleet of toy boats, a remarkable collection of toy soldiers (beside his main collection in Algeciras, Tangiers, (across from Gibraltar in a castle he owned) and his own artifacts from his WWII service. My business was located at 23 W. 18th Street, so I often walked over during lunch to gaze at his treasures.

 

In the 1980’s I believe, he decided to put together a great political collection, and he acquired a photograph of Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad. He paid a record amount for a photo. I just saw that a Lincoln and Tad photo taken by Anthony Berger is available at auction for between $1,000 and 2,000. As I recall Forbes paid over $100,000 for a small Mathew Brady print of Lincoln and Tad. But after fruitlessly looking for the exact amount on Google, I gave up. Maybe the figure was a bit inflated, but at the time it was a world record for a photograph. Times have changed a bit, and the world’s record for a photo of $3.34 million was set at an art sale for Andreus Gursky’s “99 cent II Dyptich” in February of 2007. The next highest was Edward Steichen’s 1907 photo, “pond Moonlight” which fetched $2.98 million in February of 2006. February seems to be the time to get out your old albums and hustle them off to Park-Bernet or Sotheby’s.   

 

Forbes decided that he wanted a copy of the rare and famous James Cox-Franklin Delano Roosevelt- 1920 “jugate.” A “jugate” in political memorabilia “lingo” is a button representing the two heads of a presidential ticket (Jugate = jugs or heads.)  In the same way, “trigate” is a button with the presidential aspirant, his running mate, and a third individual, usually a governor or a senator that is hoping to cling to the ticket’s coattails. He got himself into a bidding war with Judge Joseph M. Jacobs of Illinois, who had the greatest political items collection in America. Jacobs loved FDR and at the heart of his collection was a massive FDR collection that included just about everything from press releases to buttons. As I recall when the bidding got to $50,000 even the super-rich multi-millionaire dropped out. It was too rich for even his blood. I just spent a couple of hours looking for the article describing the bidding war between Judge Jacobs and Malcolm Forbes, but to no avail. But I did find the APIC Keynoter, volume 83, a dual issue of Spring/Summer 1983 which illustrates practically all of the myriads of FDR political items. Unfortunately there was nothing describing the button’s worth. Most of the massive paper collection was donated to the library of the University of Illinois-Chicago, where it was catalogued and used by scholars over the years. At Judge Jacobs’ death, his button collection was put on auction and it was eventually dispersed to many, many collectors.

 

By the way when the senior Forbes died in 1990 his Tangiers collections was sold by his family to the government of Morocco. In February 2004, Russian billionaire, Victor Vekselberg purchased nine of the Fabergé eggs from the Forbes publishing family in New York City. The collection was transported to Russia and exhibited in the Kremlin and in Dubrovnik in 2007. Vekselberg is the single largest owner of these eggs in the world, owning 15 of them (11 Imperial, two Kelch, and two other). Later it was reported that he bought the whole Faberge collection (500 pieces or so) for $100 million.

 

I am sure that one of my good friends will supply me with some of the answers that are still left unresolved. Eventually I will find the auction catalogue and do a follow-up regarding the FDR button. But in the mean time the price of this button seemed to have collapsed over the years. As to the picture of Lincoln, that question also has to be resolved.

 

D-Day, Horses, and a Reunion June 6, 2009

D-Day, Horses, and a Reunion

June 7, 2009

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

Yesterday, June 6th was the anniversary of D-Day as we all know. Coincidently it was the 90th birthday of my great friend John Weiner, who during World War II also landed on Omaha Beach six weeks after the initial landings and served heroically as a Captain in the Signal Corp.

 

We met John and Lynne Weiner almost 40 years ago when we first moved to White Plains and got active in the local Democratic Party. Over the years we spent a great deal of time together and their daughter Sara, who is pictured above, was Dana’s first baby sitter. John became locally famous for establishing a book exchange program at Edgemont High School in Greenburgh, where he taught for many years. His first career was in the hotel business where his had a wonderful Catskill Mountain resort named White Roe Lake. Regarding our political connections, Lynne and I were the successful co-coordinators for the ill-fated McGovern campaign, where our work helped carry a Republican city for Democratic nominee. I later managed her successful reform campaign with Herb Brandon for the State Committee of the Democratic Party.

 

John, after he retired from teaching, continued the book exchange program out of a White Plains’ storefront and a local church. Over the course of the years he collected many, many books from all sorts of sources and re-cycled them back into most grateful community. In fact they were so grateful that they offered donations, and they started to add up significantly. John contributed those monies to help the homeless, and he eventually raised over $150,000. For this selfless act of kindness and public service, he was eventually honored by the State of New York and the City of White Plains.

 

The Weiners love to hold parties, and this was their third in the course of a year. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, and Lynne had a book-signing party for the English language version of her book, Freud Through Lehrman’s Lens. Philip Lehrman was a famous American psychiatrist who had the honor of studying with Dr. Sigmund Freud in Vienna in the 1920’s. The whole Lehrman family went to live in Vienna during that period of time and not only did Dr. Lehrman take home movies of Freud, but of almost all of the leading European psychiatrists of that era. Lynne also had the distinct pleasure of probably being one of the last living persons to sit on the famous doctor’s lap. Finally after almost 50 years after her father’s death, Lynne was able to edit his films, identify the personages capture by her father, and put into book form.

 

On a personal note, one of the highlights of the party was the appearance of my old classmate Susan Pressman from Mount Vernon. Sue and I attended the public schools of Mount Vernon, and we graduated from the old AB Davis High School. Even though we breezed by each other in a couple of class reunions decades ago, we had not really talked in 46 years. Sue was the daughter of the famous New Dealer Lee Pressman, who eventually became the lawyer of labor’s Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

The Weiners met the Pressmans on the SS Washington as it steamed to Israel from the United States in 1949. They became fast friends. Lynn and John, who both had press credentials, eventually met up with Captain Robert McGuire, the Irish Moses, who made 380 flights back and forth from Yemen and shuttled 46,000 Jewish Yemenites to Israel. The Weiners were on one of those flights, and Lynne, in the tradition of her father, made her own home movies of the event. To this day they are the only celluloid record of that amazing event. Of course they got to know the Pressman children, and there even was a marriage between Sue’s sister and one of the Weiner’s. Sue was there with her beautiful daughter Lara, and we were able to share some memories of the old, old days.

 

Meanwhile, John, the birthday boy, was an avid horseman from his earliest of days. In fact, John played polo for Cornell (Class of 1940) and continued to ride until he was eighty years old. His neighbors decided that they would surprise him by bringing over a horse to their house on Park Circle in White Plains. Before we all knew it, a beautiful palomino was munching on the front lawn, and all of John’s friends and family were out and about watching this phenomenon. Since the Belmont Stakes was being run on the same day, John got into the spirit of things, put on his old helmet, got his polo mallet, and with a little assistance climbed on the stallion. It was a thrill for all to see.   

 

What an accomplishment and what a day. To be surrounded by his friends and family, to get back on a beautiful horse, and to celebrate D-Day on his birthday, the one day that launched the liberation of the world.

 

The Advocates 6-3-09 “Stuffed”

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

June 3, 2009

All archived Shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guests today are Hank Cardello, who with Doug Garr, wrote “Stuffed” an insider’s look at who’s (really) making America fat! Our guests will talk discuss Americans and Obesity and the critical problem the country faces as it overeats!

Henry J. (Hank) Cardello is chief executive officer of 27ºNorth, a consulting firm which addresses societal issues that businesses play the largest role in solving.  For over two decades, Hank was an executive at some of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, including positions as President of Sunkist Soft Drinks, Inc., Vice President of Marketing for Canada Dry, Director of Marketing for Coca-Cola USA, and Brand Manager for Anheuser-Busch and General Mills. Most recently, Mr. Cardello has served as Chief Executive Officer for several nutritional food ingredient companies. In 2000, Mr. Cardello was identified as a “Top 10 Innovator” in the Nutritional Foods industry. He has advised or partnered with several major food, beverage and nutrition corporations such as Coca-Cola, Campbell Soup, Hormel Foods, Nestlé, Pillsbury, Quaker Oats, and Tropicana.

Hank concurrently serves as Chairman of the annual Global Obesity Business Forum, an initiative sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Forum brings together senior food industry executives and world renowned nutrition scientists to advance solutions regarding the obesity crisis. Among the major global food and beverage companies participating include the Campbell Soup Company, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper-Snapple, Group Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, Nestlé, McDonald's and Unilever. 

Mr. Cardello is the author of Stuffed: An Insider’s Look at Who’s (Really) Making America Fat out in January, 2009 from HarperCollins. The book provides novel viewpoints regarding how to solve the obesity crisis by highlighting how various constituencies contribute to the problem and by demonstrating how the food industry can profitably do the right thing for their customer’s health.

Hank has been a featured speaker at several new business and industry forums and has served as an Executive Fellow for the American Marketing Association. He currently sits on the Board of Hormel Health Technology LLC and acts as Chairman for Source Food Technology, Inc. He has been a director for both the National Executive Committee of the Wharton Alumni Association and the Wharton Club of Atlanta. More recently, he has sat on the Boards of Legacy Securities Corporation, an investment banking firm, and the College of Business at James Madison University.

Mr. Cardello’s undergraduate degree was awarded Magna Cum Laude in materials science and metallurgy from Lehigh University, and he holds an MBA in marketing from the Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania.

Doug Garr, a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications has written for magazines, newspapers, and CEOs of companies like, JP Morgan, Hewlett-Packard, and Network Appliances. He has written books on Lou Gerstner of IBM, investing, and Silicon Valley. He wrote economic speeches for former Governor Mario Cuomo, and he is currently working on two new books. He has a life-long interest in politics.  Doug grew up in Westchester County and now lives in NYC. Mr. Garr was a guest of The Advocates on July 23, 2008 talking about political campaigns since FDR.

Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Next week we will have on Ms. Christina Ficicchia, the Executive Director of Clean Cities, NYC and Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

914-524-8381

914-261-6587 (cell)

http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com

rjg727@optonline.net 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to the Washington Examiner 6-2-09

To the Washington Examiner: 6-2-09

 

Ms. Hollingsworth characterization of FDR's actions in creating the New Deal, and reversing the economy's freefall are sophomoric and inaccurate. FDR made few mistakes in his first term. Growth exceeded 9% a year and unemployment which was over 25% with another 25% only working part time in 1933 was reduced to 14% by September of 1937. If one included WPA and PWA jobs, unemployment would be at about 8-9%. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates and the Dixiecrats and the GOP pressured FDR to cut spending. A sharp recession followed with the layoff of 3 million workers. FDR quickly primed the pump, increased spending and the Federal Reserve loosened credit and by April 1938 that short, but sharp recession was over. In truth there was not enough spending.

 

The business community was resistant to the Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934, and the Wagner Act of 1935 that allowed labor to collectively bargain. FDR saved capitalism, saved the farms, saved the banks and people’s savings and brought needed regulation to the markets. When one includes the programs of the New Deal, unemployment wasn’t much different then the Reagan Era, where it ranged from 7.5 to 9.5 % over seven of his eight years. In fact, government employment in 1928 was 4%, in this day and age it is 16% without including all the employment directly connected to defense spending. Cut that defense spending out and reduce government employment and there would have been 12-15% unemployment before the recent collapse.

 

The GOP and the right-wing fiction writers, inside and out of Congress, keep on denigrating the New Deal, but unemployment has gone down in every Democratic Administration and risen in 7 out of 9 GOP administrations since 1928. Get real you plutocrats, start paying your fair share of taxes, end the golden parachutes and corporate welfare for big business, and start competing. Too many tax loopholes, too many petro dollars to OPEC and too many dollars flowing from Walmart to China! The Bush Years are the worst since Hoover, and he maybe our worst president ever. As to the Depression, statistically it ended after 43 months and therefore four months after FDR's inauguration.

 

Basically recessions or depressions reflect quarterly shrinkage in the economy. As to Europe, the Depression never really ended, but for sure what little democracy and representative government there was, ended with the triumph of totalitarianism of the right and the left. The quote by former Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau has been over-used and has been taken out of context for years. Obviously novitiates of history seem to have forgotten history they have not lived or really read about in depth. The right-wing doesn't seem to have any solutions except more blood in the water. How would the so-called “market” provide for the nine million Americans who lost their life-savings in 5000 so-called secure banks in the economic meltdown under Herbert Hoover? Today we face another market place plagued by phony derivatives and other idiotic investment devices created by our modern brand of Wall Street flim-flam artists. If anything we need more transparency, more watch dogs and more regulation over these wolves that have caused our recent meltdown. We will get through this mess, but it will cost more money, we will be poorer in the short run and maybe if we are smart we will be better off and have a more stable economic society in the long run.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

Host of The Advocates- WVOX Radio

http://www.wvox.com

 

 

Virginians know there’s no such thing as free money


By: Barbara Hollingsworth
Examiner Columnist | 6/1/09 6:21 AM

Three contenders are still duking it out for Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination, but party strategists have already turned their attention to the general election, where either Creigh Deeds, Brian Moran or Terry McAuliffe will take on Republican “Bob for Jobs” McDonnell.

Common Sense Virginia, an out-of-state group funded by the Democratic Governors Association, is running a series of negative TV ads admonishing McDonnell for his supposedly “career-long failure to stand up for laid-off Virginians,” and for leading the fight to reject $125 million in federal stimulus funds to extend unemployment benefits. This despite the fact the former attorney general wasn’t even in the legislature when Virginia became one of the first states to refuse it. What heartless monster, the ads imply, would turn down free money for laid-off workers?

But they don’t tell what the late Paul Harvey used to call “the rest of the story.” The real question is what responsible public official would take the money, knowing full well that the federal strings attached will strangle future job creation?

The House of Delegates rejected the $125 million because they would have been forced to make permanent changes in Virginia law that extended unemployment benefits to 6,867 part-time workers and another 1,043 in retraining programs– who would still be eligible for benefits after the federal stimulus funds ran out.

States that accept the money are not allowed to include an automatic cut-off date, so the expansion would be a permanent new entitlement. The governors of Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas also turned down all that “free money” because it would wind up costing employers millions more down the road.

Virginia’s unemployment benefits had already been extended from 26 weeks to a year and two months without the disputed $125 million, House Speaker William Howell told me. So why is three percent of Virginia’s $4 billion stimulus package becoming such a big issue in the campaign?

Under Gov. Tim Kaine, who also happens to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee, unemployment in Virginia nearly doubled to 6.8 percent. That’s not exactly something to brag about when you’re asking people to keep your party in office.

Attacking McDonnell for a vote he didn’t even make diverts attention from the real issue: Virginia is losing jobs. Raising payroll taxes will accelerate this process, not reverse it.
The government can force employers to lay off workers, but even President Barack Obama himself can’t force them to hire. FDR found this out the hard way when all of his make-work efforts barely dented the double-digit unemployment that plagued his administration long after the Great Depression had ended in Europe.

In “New Deal or Raw Deal?,” historian Burton Folsom, Jr. quotes FDR Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, who frankly told the House Ways and Means Committee: “…We have tried spending money. We are spending more than ever spent before and it does not work…after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!”

It was only when FDR launched a massive military buildup in 1941 that unemployment finally fell below 10 percent. But since President Obama plans to scale back military production, so there won’t be surge of ship-building in Newport News anytime soon.

The current strategy could very well backfire when it becomes clear that two Democratic governors are leaving Virginia with growing ranks of unemployed workers  – not exactly something they want voters to think about when they go to the polling place this November.

Barbara F. Hollingsworth is The Examiner’s local opinion editor.