The Advocates- 7-30-08 “Unionization of the White Plains Taxis”


“The Advocates”


Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

July 30, 2008

All archived Shows at:


Wednesday, July 30, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our show is about “The Unionization of the Taxi Cabs in White Plains, What are the Implications?”


Our special guests are Mr. Michael Carriere of District Council 9, Mr. Mario Alfonso, a taxi operator from White Plains, NY and Mr. Glen Hockley, a Member of the White Plains City Council.


Mr. Carriere, who has been a Union member for 20 years, came from a Union family. He started a glazier for Local Union 1087 and held many elected positions, before and after, the merger with District Council 9 and the consolidation of Local Unions 206 and 1087.  He is also a strong advocate of apprentice programs, and has contributed his time, and the efforts his union in many charitable projects that include the YMCA rehabilitation in White Plains, food pantries, toys for tots, The Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, various projects in Yonkers and church rehabilitations in Port Chester and Brewster.


Mr. Alfonso is a resident of White Plains, and is an owner operator of his own taxi. He has been actively involved in this effort to not only unionize his drivers, but to make sure that the standards regarding drivers, their conduct and dress are improved.



The some of the issues that will be discussed:


·        How did this effort to organize cabdrivers begin?

·        What role did Councilman Glen Hockley play?

·        How is the price of gasoline impacting on taxi service?

·        What role will unionization play in the upcoming years?

·        How has this rich and poor society of the last decade affected the average working man?


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. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”


The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at and one can also see and hear all of the archived shows at:  Over the next few weeks we will be discussing politics and especially FDR with Dr. HS Goldsmith and Robert Schlesinger.


Richard J. Garfunkel 







The Death of Miriam Rosenberg 7-26-08

The Death of Miriam Rosenberg


Richard J. Garfunkel

July 26, 2008


Yesterday, July 25th, two days before my 39th anniversary, I was informed of the sad news regarding the passing of Miriam Rosenberg, the mother of my great friend Alan.  Miriam, who was every inch a lady,  reminded me greatly of my own mother, Peggy, who died a little over two years ago as she approached her 99th birthday. Both Miriam and my mother represented a generation quickly disappearing from our midst that exuded class, style, and a high level of manners and decency. Both knew how to dress well, speak wonderfully and take care of their family. Their middle name was “responsibility.” Miriam grew up in Mount Vernon, and in 1928 was the first ever Bat Mitzvah in Mount Vernon. She was married to her husband Ben for 54 years and was always strongly committed to the Jewish community of Mount Vernon and the security of Israel.


I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Miriam a number of times. Alan grew up in the Fleetwood section of Mount Vernon and since I lived across town near Pelham, our paths did not cross until we met at the YM & YWHA on Oakley Avenue. My first encounter with Alan was probably during the winter of 1959-60 when we contended over a ping-pong game. I was told he was the ping-pong champion of Mount Vernon, and I asked him “how was that possible since you have never beaten me.” From that inauspicious moment, a three game match for the “new” championship of Mount Vernon ensued. All three games went to the limit of 22-20 or above, and frankly I am not sure who won the best of three. It was after that titanic struggle and many basketball games at the “Y” we became friends. Of course, I was a bit wilder than the even-tempered Alan, but we still got along. One of my great memories of our friendship was when we attended the NIT championships, which featured NYU, his school, and the eventual winner Brigham Young University. Alan took me in the locker room and I met their two stars, the famous Mal Graham, the great basketball star from White Plains HS and Bruce Kaplan a terrific player from Brooklyn’s Madison HS. Over the years we have attended baseball games at Yankee Stadium and basketball games at the Madison Square Garden, the Meadowlands, and the County Center.


Eventually I met his mother, when I barged into his apartment one morning to the chagrin and surprise of his housekeeper, who warned me that he was still asleep. That didn’t deter me and after I rustled him out of bed, I got my first lesson in the Jewish ritual of laying tefillen. For some reason, I had never seen that practice even in a book. But after his prayers, he showered, dressed and his mother invited me to have some breakfast. Around this time I also met his father Ben, who was a well-known CPA and worked for the State of New York. In his room, one could readily see the nexus of Alan’s passion for collecting sport’s memorabilia. I can easily recall seeing all of the Willie Mays pictures on his walls. If one visited his office in Manhattan or Scarsdale or his basement in New Rochelle, one could marvel at how his collection has grown exponentially. It is like being in the Hall of Fame of every sport, and I never tire viewing his treasures. 


At times I would see Miriam at Alan’s home and again when I was invited to attend Alan’s second Bar Mitzvah, about ten years ago, at the new location of Congregational Brothers of Israel (CBI) on Crary Avenue. By the way, in Mount Vernon’s first synagogue was built, in 1892, and it was the Congregation Brothers of Israel. CBI eventually found a home on 8th Avenue and First Street, and remained there for many years until 1980. They had a number of rabbis, and Alan’s grandfather Morris J. Rosenberg, served as an acting rabbi there in the 1930’s. He also read Torah there from 1910 through 1952. CBI eventually moved from the south side of Mount Vernon and up to a year ago or so it resides in a former church on Crary Avenue and next to the old Sinai Temple location, which is also now a church.


Alan and his mother had a marvelous relationship and from my perspective there was never a more loving and concerned son. After the passing of Alan’s father a number of years ago, and the period of paralysis and death of his brother Lenny, Alan was a great supportive force for his mother. This special relationship was quite evident during our last meeting over the weekend of our high school’s 40th class reunion. I had the distinct pleasure of eating lunch with Alan and his mother at the Marriot, and I was quite impressed with her memory of me. She was in her late 80’s at that time, still quite sharp, elegantly dressed, and wonderful company. My wife Linda eventually joined us and had the same impression.


For the last three years Miriam was a resident of the Hebrew Home for the Aged, and Alan was always there for her. His dedication and concern should be an example for all to follow. One can also find her obituary in Saturday’s edition of the Journal News at .


The Advocates – with Doug Garr, talking about presidential politics 7-23-08


“The Advocates”


Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

July 23, 2008

All archived Shows at:


Wednesday, July 23, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our special guest is Mr. Doug Garr, an author, writer, editorial consultant, speechwriter and former Editorial Director of the New York State Urban Development Corporation.

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.

The Advocates will focus on “Presidential Politics in the Post FDR Era.”

Mr. Garr and I will discuss some of the pivotal elections, which include the following:


·        Truman- Dewey-Wallace-Thurmond, 1948

·        Eisenhower –Stevenson, 1952

·        Kennedy-Nixon, 1960

·        Nixon-Humphrey-Wallace, 1968

·        Carter-Ford, 1976

·        Reagan-Carter-Anderson, 1980

·        Clinton-Bush-Perot , 1992

·        Bush-Gore, 2000



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. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”


The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at and one can also see and hear all of the archived shows at:  Over the next few weeks we will be discussing politics and especially FDR with authors, Doug Garr, Dr. HS Goldsmith and Robert Schlesinger.


Richard J. Garfunkel






Freedom of the Press and the Fairness Doctrine -July 18, 2008

Freedom of the Press and the Fairness Doctrine


Richard J. Garfunkel

July 18, 2008


As usual when it comes to Freedom of the Press issues, Mr. William O’Shaughnessy, the President of Whitney Radio, is in the forefront of the battle. With regards to this issue, it may not be as complicated as it once was thought to be. As most people with a half a wit about them know, Freedom of the Press is not only an international issue of titanic proportions, but its nexus and birth came about not more than a few miles from the WVOX-WVIP studios. John Peter Zenger is well regarded as the progenitor of the issue, which arose over a tainted election held at the Saint Paul’s Church in what is now the city of Mount Vernon back in 1735. It was there, under the so-called watchful eye of the then Governor William Cosby that electoral indiscretions were observed and recorded by reporter and publisher Zenger. He was later arrested for reporting the “truth” as he witnessed it, and was counseled in court ably by his Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Hamilton. (The term “Philadelphia Lawyer” became synonymous with the definition of an excellent lawyer.) As it was reported, his arrest, and incarceration, ended on August 5, 1735, as twelve New York jurors returned a verdict of “not guilty” on the charge of publishing “seditious libels,” despite the Governor's hand-picked judges presiding. Hamilton had successfully argued that Zenger's articles were not libelous because they were based on fact. Zenger published a verbatim account of the trial as A Brief Narrative of the Case and Trial of John Peter Zenger (1736). “No nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves” stated Zenger. Because of this landmark action, the concept of Freedom of the Press, became imbued


Since those days we have, to a degree, a free and unfettered press. But, of course, many of us know that from those early days of the pre-revolutionary period, up until the struggle for freedom from Britain, the American-style newspaper played the pivotal or even a monopolistic role in the “information delivery” business. There were other forms of communication, the church pulpit, pamphleteering, broadsides, and public debate. But in those days, the printed news reigned supreme. But for sure, most of the newspapers, in the wake of the revolution, and the establishment of our republic, became political and therefore philosophical organs of their owner’s beliefs. Certainly the philosophical division between the Jeffersonians and the Federalists led to our first real political differences, beyond classic regional needs and issue of slavery. Therefore, these disparate voices and views were articulated mostly in party-supported newspapers. The issue of “freedom of the seas,” and the continuing struggle between Great Britain and France led to feelings that the Jeffersonians were Jacobists, and the Federalists, led by John Adams, were for conservatism and isolationism. The animosities from both sides were most often and affectively spewed forth from their “party-controlled” press. 


Therefore in the age when the “printed word” was king, politics and written opinion were married either in an unholy alliance of strange bedfellows, or with their own hired sycophants. So Freedom of the Press was to a degree, more or less illusionary, because it was more conventionally used to promote a vested political interest. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong or sacred about that reality. Ironically, today the press, both written and electronic, is still a captive of its advertisers and the politically correct police. Media is always loath to alienate large segments of the population, whether they are gender, racial, religious, or sexually oriented. The so-called “liberal” reforms, which the “right” decries, especially in the workplace, did not come from altruistic legislation alone, or bleeding-heart judges, but the fear of litigation, and secondary boycotts. So it was not our representatives that forced insurance companies to give “domestic partnership” status to people living together, without the sanctification of marriage, but demands from potential customers and clients.  was not our legislature that put “gays” on television in sit-coms and reality-based shows!


Therefore, the concept of Freedom of the Press is not as pure as the driven snow, but it still maybe our strongest freedom. Unlike Freedom of Speech, which means little if  one’s own home or backyard, where one can almost yell epithets to the high heavens, Freedom of the Press has the unique multiplier affect of reaching large multitudes of people. Therefore this power has the ability to affect public policy even on a worldwide basis. Any student of history can relate the power and affect of Gutenberg’s printing press. Many people regard his invention as one of the most critical and important in recorded history. Therefore, one can look at Benjamin Franklin’s early life and learn how he was able to make a small fortune by creating one of America’s first newspaper chains. Without embellishment, we all understand the old saying by George Santayana, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat.” In the same way “those who control the past, control the present and therefore will dominate the future.”  There is ample evidence of the power one can derive from controlling the “message.” Of course, with that in mind, we want a dispersed and independent media, which falls not under the control, or monopoly of one man, or movement. We want an unfettered “free” press, which is able to express its own views and opinions. But is that a bit too sophomoric? Is that just an idealistic, honor’s class view of the real world.


Of course, there is a “free” press and Freedom of the Press. My sense is that a “free” press, is a press that is independent and unfettered by editorial influence fulminated by sponsors. It was not long ago that Albert Camus said, “A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad… Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better, whereas enslavement is a certainty of the worse.” On the other hand, basically means that the government can make no law to inhibit its editorial view, or what it wishes to report. But government has often controlled what it could depict. Magazines, books, newspapers, and other periodicals were limited by censorship laws regarding language and depiction. In fact, up until the 1930’s and in the late1950’s, when first the Supreme Court declared that the novel Freedom of the PressUlysses was not obscene and later that Lady Chatterley’s Lover also was not prurient, censorship regarding the printed word was rife. Newspapers were no freer to publish obscene language or graphic sexual descriptions than were books. Motion pictures also fell under their industry’s Hays Code in the early 1930’s and these restrictions on content lasted until the 1970’s.


In the same sense, commercial radio, and later television were also subject to strict and wide censorship. On the publicly licensed “free” channels, censorship is still strict, and violators like Howard Stern and the NFL have been heavily fined for indiscreet content, language, or partial nudity. Of course, all of these above issues are probably more of an issue of Freedom of Speech or expression, and not Freedom of the Press. In Jefferson’s day the issue of a free press was not as complicated, and the era of the telegraph, motion pictures, radio, television, and the Internet were generations far into the future.


As media expanded, including the emergence of the nationwide newspaper chains, like Scripps-Howard, Hearst, Gannett and others, the expression of editorial power became more exquisite. Obviously Hollywood, radio, and the newspapers, including the news distribution services; AP, UPI, INS, Reuters, were controlled by a tiny group of individuals and they quite often controlled what was seen, broadcasted, or printed. Apropos of that reality, William Randolph Hearst arrogantly stated to his paid artist-in-residence in Cuba, the famous painter Frederic Remington, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”


The small independent radio station, newspaper publisher, or studio, could hardly be seen, no less heard, above the roar and reach of the powerful. These powerful and loud “voices” were not controlled by political machinery or a specific party. They were controlled by a small group of individuals who had their own financial, and or, social agenda. Therefore, these individuals could easily and legally use both their editorial power to promote their own interests, or their news reporting to possibly slant the news. Is Rupert Murdock much different than a Hearst, a Roy Howard, a Cissy Patterson, or a Colonel McCormick? As the author and wit AJ Liebling said, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed to those who own one.”


No one had or has the legal power to force them to devote one line of their valuable space to serve some “equal time” master. Obviously, some newspapers did devote some of their Op-Ed pages to diverse and diverging views. I am sure they also allowed some critical “letters to the editor” to reach their readers. But frankly, Freedom of the Press basically allowed them to do with their space what they wished to do, plain and simple. There was no hue and cry, others were always free not to buy their paper, or raise the capital to finance another. The marketplace up until mid-century, allowed quite often a multiplicity of newspapers to be available for public scrutiny. But one always had the right to be turned off, and go elsewhere. Unfortunately, in the one paper town, there are few viable alternatives.


As the visual electronic media roared into the public ken, in and around 1949, television started to overwhelm all of the other existing media. Newspaper readership declined. Large chains battered by the Depression, who survived and prospered during the “demand for news” era of the late New Deal and the onset and full fury of the 2nd World War, found the post war market place more demanding. Television, with Hopalong Cassidy, Milton Berle, along with others, started to attract incredible audiences. In the wake of that attraction, Big Bands, who were hurting because of large traveling expenses, went broke, the Hollywood studio system started to quickly erode, and newspaper chains and their ownership, began to consolidate. Even radio, which had been in excellent shape for decades, started to feel the pressure as all their stars like; Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, Bob Hope and others bailed out for the lucrative television medium. Newspapers obviously are still surviving, but as advertisers started to cut back, and the huge old department stores started closing, newspapers started to feel acutely the threat of the competition from the Internet. Today the average age of a newspaper reader is calculated at 60! Purchasing through the Internet is soaring and the information they provide is instantaneous.


In the not so distant past, the three dominant networks were monopolizing their venue of communication. Along with this powerful audience, their news departments started to grow more important and profitable. Opinion generated from these networks took on great cachet and influence. Unlike newspapers, these networks were granted expensive and renewable Federal licenses by the FCC, an arm of the United States government. They were also much more censured and their content was highly regulated. Unlike books, which could print or depict virtually anything, or movie industry that had disbanded the Hays Office for self-censorship, the television networks were afraid to risk renewal of their important and incredibly valuable licenses.


Eventually this domination over their “captive” audience attracted cries for editorial “fairness” and balance. In the era before the onset of cable television, as the networks vied for an edge in viewership for their lucrative news shows, they started to integrate editorial opinion into their news schedule. To many this was like “Big Brother” talking in 1984. It was for many, well-meaning folks on the right and the left, a form of “newspeak” created right out of George Orwell’s fertile mind.


Ironically, in those early days when television was exploding into the living rooms all over America, the Fairness Doctrine came into our lexicon and law, because of the anti-Communist fervor emerging in 1949. Eventually certain of its provisions were inculcated into the existing FCC regulations. The regulations never required “equal time” to be devoted to any one or many issues, but it required broadcasters to set aside some of their broadcast time to the discussion of subjects of public concern. It also encouraged the airing of opposition views. After a number of legal challenges, the case of Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC was decided in the Supreme Court. The Court upheld the law in the case of an “on-air attack.” The court had ruled against this type of public policy with regards to the press. Because the press was considered so wide-spread and universal, any abridgement of its right to control its own reportage was considered an infringement of Freedom of the Press.


But, because radio stations had access to a limited competitive venue, the Court said that radio could be regulated regarding “fairness.”  Interestingly the US Supreme Court dealt with the Fairness Doctrine over the issue of licensing.

A license permits broadcasting, but the licensee has no constitutional right to be the one who holds the license or to monopolize a… frequency to the exclusion of his fellow citizens. There is nothing in the First Amendment which prevents the Government from requiring a licensee to share his frequency with others…. It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.

U.S. Supreme Court, upholding the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 1969


Mr. Dooley, as written by Peter Finley Dunne, famously said, “No matter whether the country follows the flag or not, the Supreme Court follows the election returns.” Therefore as the country chose Ronald Reagan, and a GOP dominated Congress, the Courts started to follow the rhetoric of the right. But, ironically in 1984, Justice William J. Brennan, a renowned liberal, wrote for the majority opinion, noting that the Fairness Doctrine was “chilling speech.” FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler, a Reagan supporter began to repeal parts of the Fairness Doctrine. In 1986, Appeals Court Judges Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia wrote that the Fairness Doctrine did apply in certain cases, but the FCC was not required to enforce it. Eventually it was abolished by the FCC with a 4-0 vote in 1987. Any efforts from Congress to bring back a modified Fairness Doctrine have been thwarted by a Reagan veto, and a threatened veto by George H.W. Bush. Even though the “personal attack” and the political editorial” rules stayed on the books until 2000, they were difficult to enforce. Eventually they were removed by a ruling by a US Court of Appeals decision in the District of Columbia Circuit. But times again do change, and there are now current efforts to bring back the Fairness Doctrine in the next Congress. Of course this action is violently opposed by conservatives. Will this effort to re-instate the Fairness Doctrine succeed if the Democrats control Congress and the White House? Who can tell?


In light of the vast amount of choices provided by cable television and the Internet, the argument regarding the Fairness Doctrine may have become antiquated. Obviously conservatives, who dominate talk radio, want no part of sharing their venue. Most moderates, progressives, and liberals would blanch when they are made aware that Laura Ingraham, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Times oppose the re-instatement of a Fairness Doctrine. Is it no surprise that Judges like Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia opposed that doctrine? Of course, the question is why? Is it that they are just “strict constructionists,” who see any infringement on speech as a violation of the Constitution? It is interesting that strident voices, of who some might call the “lunatic fringe” of the right, are supported by moderates on this issue. One could also ask very pointedly, why is it that these right-wingers on the radio are so popular. Of course, my sense is that the conservatives in our midst feel uncomfortable with the obvious changes in our society, and wish to publicly grouse about it. In their lifetimes they have experienced the change from the progressive and liberal oriented New Deal through the inclusive Great Society, a period of twenty-five years, to a more conservative era where their leaders and ideas have failed. What has changed for the right? Do they have a balanced budget? No! Have they rolled the clock back on foreign adventurism? No! Have they reversed the so-called intrusive gains of the civil rights movement? No! Have they cleaned up the movies, the magazines, the literature, the language? Obviously not! There is more to hear and see today then ever. Have they driven the “gays” underground? No! In fact, many even admit that their own family members are gay! Have they put women back in the three “Ks,” – (German- Kirche, kuche, and kinder) or in English, the church, the kitchen and the nursery? No! Have they increased religious attendance and worship? No! Have they made abortion illegal? No! But it is really amazing that a vast amount of Americans believe that the earth is flat, that faith-healing works, in creationism, in space creatures, and the literal interpretation of the Bible. There are large numbers who believe that we never landed on the moon. It would be healthy that all 6th graders in America be forced to see Frederic March and Spencer Tracy in “Inherit the Wind.”  In fact, United States Senators Vitter and Craig, staunch conservatives, who will soon be retired by their constituents, will join a long list of GOP sexual offenders who have suffered the same fate. How ironic is it that most conservatives favor and support censorship. How ironic is it that the Catholic Church sponsored a censorship list for decades. How ironic is it that the right wing has opposed the expansion of “freedom of expression” at every cultural turn. It was not long ago that our faux “hero” of the 9/11 tragedy, our famous former Mayor wanted to close down the Brooklyn Museum because he was offended by a work of art. I saw the so-called work of art, and I was unimpressed by its quality, but I wouldn’t support the closing or the de-funding of the museum. Wasn’t that censorship? In fact, if the Mayor hadn’t opened his hypocritical mouth, no one would have even paid attention to that forgettable piece. But the former Mayor has his own moral “cross to bear.”  Remember it was a famous newspaperman named Horace Greeley, who once said, “I never said all Democrats were saloon keepers. What I said was that all saloon keepers were Democrats.”  So the publisher’s sickle can cut both ways!


As to the failure of leadership, over the last 35 years we have seen the self-destruction of Richard Nixon, which led to big Democratic gains in Congress, and Jimmy Carter. Though I dislike the former President Carter intensely, his 1979 speech on energy was right on the money that is “petro” dollars. We then had the big guy from California, Ronald Reagan and his reign of tax cuts and deregulation for the rich, which led to the Savings & Loan Scandal, incredible deficits, and an average of 7.5 % unemployment for seven out of his eight years in office. Certainly Reagan never really fought against abortion rights or cultural diversity. We are finally left with twelve years of the two Bush twins. I can’t say much more about them. The older one was the poster child of the “Peter Principle,” and the younger one is arguably in the class of Warren Harding, and a few others, like Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce who share proudly the mantle of abject failure and scorn. By the way, the court houses have been jammed with Nixon, Reagan and Bush appointees. So one could easily understand the frustration of the conservatives, and therefore see easy justification regarding their thirst for right-wing, radio clap-trap. How can any station justify paying a provocateur like Bob Grant unless there was a ready and large audience drooling for his brand of fascism.       


Meanwhile, back to the subject at hand, the concept of giving equal time to rebut a specific editorial statement or a personal attack, which was broadcasted on one of the three networks, may have had some justifiable appeal in a previous era. Those networks had a vast viewing audience and therefore they had a quasi-monopoly on the dissemination of opinion. Today it may be just a case of a new statute being unenforceable. I, for sure, am opposed to a new bureaucracy of “thought police.” One could easily spend the whole day rebutting the editorial comments on FOX News that poses for reporting. I am sure no one really cares. I say live, and let live. If FOX News wishes to say what it wishes to say, so be it. If you are offended watch something else. If you think that they are brainwashing their audience, get a life. Their audience knows what it wants. Also, in a sense, the whole issue may fall into the category of “censorship.” In the same way, the courts have allowed great leeway in subject matter to be aired.. I am personally against most censorship for persons over 14 years of age. Anyway, it should be the role of the parent. If the parent is incapable of setting decent standards for their child, then we as a society must live with the consequences. The jail population reflects that end. We have more people in prison (3 million) than the whole world combined, exclusive of China I believe. Without the Chinese population of 1.3 billion, there are 5.3 billion people left. We currently are the home to about 315 million, counting the undocumented. Therefore we represent only 5.94% of the world’s population and we have more prisoners than the other 5 billion people! Seems like we haven’t changed much after decades of GOP-Dixiecrat rule!


In truth, America is a big country with a great deal of resiliency. We have weathered many storms, and our people are made of sterner stuff. They can easily choose what to listen to, and how to think. Therefore I find the struggle over the Fairness Doctrine a battle not worth fighting. Will it come back on the books again, who knows? But I for sure will not add my two cents to its re-birth.





The Advocates- Nick Taylor, author of American Made-the WPA 7-16-08


“The Advocates”


Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

July 16, 2008

All archived Shows at:


Wednesday, July 16, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our special guest is Mr. Nick Taylor, the author of “American –Made, The Enduring Legacy of the WPA, When FDR put the Nation to Work.”

Nick Taylor has written ten books of non-fiction, both solely and in collaboration, on a wide variety of subjects.  His history of the Works Progress Administration, American-Made – The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, was published last February to wide acclaim.

Taylor’s other subjects include tournament bass fishing, the Mafia, and life in a small church. His memoir, A Necessary End recounts a baby boomer’s growing concern and care for his parents in their final years.  His story of an intrepid Israeli’s journey into the German neo-Nazi underground, In Hitler’s Shadow, written with Yaron Svoray, was adapted as the HBO feature movie, The Infiltrator, starring Oliver Platt.  His account of a Mafia family in the government’s Witness Protection Program, Sins of the Father, is currently under a motion picture option.  Laser, published in 2000, tells the story of the laser’s true inventor and his thirty-year fight to win the patents that would make him rich.  And he worked with astronaut and Senator John Glenn on the bestselling, John Glenn: A Memoir.

His pro bono work includes four years as president of the Authors Guild, the oldest and largest organization of published writers in the United States, which advocates for authors’ rights.  He is a native of western North Carolina who today lives in Greenwich Village with his wife Barbara Nevins Taylor, who is an investigative reporter for Fox TV’s New York stations Fox 5 and My 9 News.

Mr. Taylor will address some of the following questions:

·        Who was Harry Hopkins and how did he get to run the WPA?

·        What role did the WPA play in preparing us for WWII?

·        Why was the WPA so criticized and by whom?

·        Where was the work of the WPA concentrated?


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. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”


The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at and one can also see and hear all of the archived shows at:  Over the next few weeks we will be discussing politics and especially FDR with authors, Doug Garr, Dr. HS Goldsmith and Robert Schlesinger.


Richard J. Garfunkel







The Advocates- “Freedom of the Press” with Richard Blassberg 7-9-08


“The Advocates”


Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

July 9, 2008

All archived Shows at:


Wednesday, July 9, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. 


Our special guest is Mr. Richard Blassberg, the author of “The Jeanine Machine,” an expose of former Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro.  He is also the Editor-In-Chief of the hard-hitting local newspaper the, The Westchester Guardian.  He was born and raised in the 41st Precinct, “Fort Apache” the Bronx, Richard holds a degree in psychology from Adelphi College, and a law degree from Pace University School of law. A former Youth Board Worker for the City of New York, and Probation Officer for the County of Westchester, he has worked for nearly three decades with formerly home-less, and disadvantaged individuals.


The subject of “The Advocates” will be “Freedom of the Press,” and how he sees the small newspaper’s role in the following:


1)    Corruption in the courts and the justice system

2)    Justice for the oppressed and forgotten

3)    The growth of layered, duplicative government, and is it out of hand

4)    The game of incestuous politics: elected officials, the courts and law enforcement


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. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”


The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at and one can also see and hear all of the archived shows at:  Next week it will be author Mr. Nick Taylor talking about the critical role the WPA, and its dynamic head Harry Hopkins played in the New Deal recovery.







“Eisenhower and Clark, the Struggle for North Africa and the Mediterranean” 7-8-2008


Eisenhower and Clark

“The Struggle over North Africa and the Mediterranean”


Richard J. Garfunkel

July 8, 2008



In General Eisenhower’s chronicle, Crusade in Europe, about his actions, before and during his command of SHAEF, he does not mention either the February 18, 1943, letter he sent to Lt. General Mark Wayne Clark, or really anything in the past that would reflect on its meaning. Of course all of this begins with Clark’s brave action of landing in Algiers to meet with the French leadership, Vichy and non-Vichy before our invasion of French North Africa. (See the attachment, showing the actual letter, which is in the possession of fellow collector and correspondent, Mr. Gary Schulze.)


In Martin Blumenson’s book, Mark Clark, the Last of the Great WWII Commanders, he talks of Clark’s farewell note to his wife on October 18, 1942. “Darling sweetheart, I am leaving in 20 minutes on a mission which is extremely hazardous, but one I should do and one which I volunteered to do…if I succeed and return, I will have done great things for my country and the Allied cause. Of course you know my life is dedicated to military service, and now the opportunity has come for that service. If I do not return, know, I loved you and our Bill and Ann more dearly than I could ever write. You have been an angel to me, and I owe everything to you. God bless you all and keep you. My devoted love to my mother and yours, I love you Wayne. (This was handed to Jack Beardwood who had instructions to deliver it if he did not return.)


General de Corps Armee Charles Mast, the anti-Vichy Chief of Staff of French forces in Algiers, who with four civilians (known collectively as the “Five”) had met earlier with Robert Murphy, from our State Department, who was dressed in mufti as an American field grade army officer. As a result of this meeting, an emissary of Admiral Jean Francois Darlan, who was next in succession in the Vichy government to Marshal Petain, approached Murphy. Darlan, who was despised by most Frenchmen as a collaborator with the Nazis, had posed a choice to Murphy. The choice was that he get closer to the Germans or join the Allies. According to Charles MacDonald in his book The Mighty Endeavor, “ If he were afforded guarantees of American aid, Darlan might switch, bringing with him the French fleet.”


Therefore it was up to then Brigadier General Mark W. Clark to finish the negotiations with the French, who were split between different factions led by Darlan, Mast and General Henri Giraud. It was left to Giraud, by the “Five,” to have him meet with Clark. They proposed to have Giraud rendezvous in a villa near the Mediterranean, with a landing party, led by General Clark, who arrived in small rowboats from an American submarine based in Gibraltar. Eventually Clark had to sort out all the machinations and internecine politics of the French High Command from Petain to Laval and down to the leadership of Darlan in North Africa. Most people give Clark high marks for his dealings with the fratricidal French. He was firm with both Darlan, and the other disparate factions in the French Army in Algeria, as he had attempted to bring them into line with the Allies. Even though he, Eisenhower and the Allied High Command, Roosevelt and Churchill, did not like to deal with Darlan, they realized, at the time, it was most expedient. After difficult, and threatening negotiations rife with bluff, bluster, and threats, Clark and his party returned back to the submarine. The trip was extremely difficult in the choppy waters and all of the boats, except Clark’s had capsized at least once. They were battered and bruised, their cloths had been lost and all of their equipment, arms and much of their personal gear was lost in the effort. (Of course, eventually the invasion of North Africa would proceed, and the French, who initially resisted with their fleet at anchor, and their poorly under-armed troops, would surrender. That was the plan!)


Meanwhile, the so-called “Deal,” collapsed very quickly, and in fact, Darlan had contributed very little. According to MacDonald, “he had sanctioned a ceasefire in Algiers only when military defeat was inevitable, and he had delayed the overall ceasefire until it was no longer needed at Oran; it probably had little to do with the armistice in Morocco, and it accomplished almost nothing in Tunisia. And Darlan did not deliver the French fleet.”  The “Darlan Deal” never promised French resistance against the Germans, and on November 27, seventy-three ships of their fleet, at that time the fourth largest in the world, was scuttled at their naval base in Toulon. The story of Admiral Darlan, and the negotiation with him was fraught with political problems right from the start. He had to be handled by kid gloves almost immediately.  According to the renown military historian and expert, Sir Basil Liddell Hart, in his History of the Second World War,  “that Eisenhower came to realize, like Clark, that Darlan was the only man who could bring the French around to the Allied side, and he remembered Churchill’s remark to him just before he left London: ‘If I could meet with Darlan, much as I hate him, I would gratefully crawl on my hands and knees for a mile if by doing so I could get him to bring that fleet of his into the circle of the Allied forces’’” But even though a “deal” with Darlan was supported by Roosevelt and Churchill, nothing could remove the sinister pro-Nazi image of the Admiral. The press in both America and Britain excoriated any contact with Darlan, and the fact that de Gualle and his supporters in London were also very critical, did not make matters better. Roosevelt sought to calm the storm of public and press indignation by a open statement in which he called the arrangement with Darlan, according to Hart, “is only a temporary expedient, justified solely by the stress of battle.” Moreover, in an off-the-record press conference, he described it as an application of an old proverb of the Orthodox Church: “My children, it is permitted you in time of grave danger to walk with the devil until you have crossed the bridge.” Of course this statement, among others, did not make the situation easier, and the French forces in North Africa, both loyal and disloyal to Darlan were disappointed. They all, in their own way and for their own reasons, wanted to make the best deal with the Allies and weren’t happy with either FDR’s or Churchill’s lukewarm backing of the work Clark, Murphy and others did with Darlan. Aside from all the bitterness and animus, a deal was made with Clark for co-operative action. He eased the way for the West African port of Dakar, along with French controlled airbases, to be available for the Allies. For the Allies, and all who were involved, the issue of Admiral Darlan was solved on Christmas Eve. A fanatical young man, Bonnier de la Chapelle, a member of the Royalist and Gaullist circle, who was virulently opposed to any deal with Darlan, assassinated him. Churchill later commented in his memoirs: “Darlan’s murder, however criminal, relieved the Allies of their embarrassment in working with him, and at the same time left them with all of the advantages he had been able to bestow during the vital hours of the Allied landings.” Chapelle was immediately arrested, court-martialed on de General Giraud’s orders, and quickly executed.  


In retrospect, General Clark’s negotiations with Darlan and the French forces in North Africa, reflected tact, strength and brilliance. He certainly wasn’t weak with the French. According to Robert Murphy, the American diplomat in North Africa, during those crucial days, said in his book, Diplomat Among Warriors, “Clark did not pretend to understand French politics, so he found it easy to hold unwavering to an oversimplified view of French-American relations, and to ride roughshod over all delaying tactics.”  In his communication with Eisenhower in his first days in Algiers, he used a personal code for describing any or all, French officers. In his letters he used the acronym, “YBSOB,” which stood for “yellow-bellied son-of-bitch.” According to Murphy, this was “applied by Clark, at one time or another, to most French officers with whom Clark conferred.” Clark would use table-thumping and colorful language, which many of the French officers could easily understand.  Murphy recalled a time when he was escorting Darlan to his car, and the Admiral paused to speak. He said to me, “Could I ask a favor? Would you mind suggesting to Major General Clark that I am a five-star Admiral? He should stop talking to me like a lieutenant junior grade.”  Murphy repeated this to Clark, who took it in good spirit.


Omar Bradley, in his biography, A General’s Story, written with historian Clay Blair, both Secretary of War Stimson and General George Marshall vehemently opposed Churchill and FDR’s support for the landings in North Africa. Obviously they were overruled and though they felt the effort was peripheral and a sinkhole with no bottom for troops and treasure, they wound up being wrong. Strategically both FDR and Churchill understood that the Russians wanted, and needed, a second front, and they both knew that a possible cross-Channel invasion was still two years away. The landings and the subsequent fighting in North Africa allowed American troops to get into the action, squeezing the German and remaining Italian forces between the British 8th Army coming across from Egypt, through Libya and into Tunisia. It was finally in Tunisia, despite a number of American problems, especially their bad beating at the Kasserine Pass, where the German Army surrendered en masse. During the setup for this whole operation back in Louisiana, General Leslie McNair’s chief of staff, Mark Clark, who because of McNair’s poor hearing, became an important liaison between him and Eisenhower. Marshall who became quite impressed with Clark’s skills promoted him from Lt. Colonel to Brigadier General and asked him who he thought was the best suited for the job of war plans head, he replied with gusto, “I can give you one name and nine dittos.” Clark’s choice was Eisenhower.


Of course, Clark did want command, and he pressed Eisenhower for a battle mission. According to Blumenson, “As Eisenhower recalled, Clark and some of his staff began to ‘plague’ him for action. They were most unhappy… and Eisenhower assured Clark of his eventual participation in a major operation.” Therefore, Blumenson quotes part of the letter of September 18th, “You will never know how close I came within the past few days when the pressure was on me was very, very drastic indeed to call upon you once more to come and help out when I found it impossible to be in three distinct places at once. There is no one whom I depend on more.” Blumenson leaves out the part where Eisenhower gently chastises him for doubting him, over what I believe is his (Eisenhower’s) promise of command. I assume his frank talk was about Clark and his staff’s protestations about action. Eisenhower, on one hand, feels that he needs Clark because he trusts his brains, loyalty and bravery. But on the other hand, he must balance the needs of his other commanders like Patton and now Bradley, so they get their share of the action. He also understands in his statement that he is drawn in three different directions, and needs, with confidence, others to share his increasing burden. Eventually Eisenhower would send General Ernie Harmon, a tough, no-nonsense soldier to bolster the faltering General Fredendall and his II Corp in Tunisia. The Americans, and their week French allies, were driven back by a Rommel counteract, that pushed them fifty miles back to the Kasserine Pass, and threatened to throw the allies out of Tunisia. In the wake of that disastrous retreat, Eisenhower relieved Fredendall, replaced him with Patton and had Bradley as his deputy corps commander. They quickly turned the situation on the ground around. With decisive action, the battle line was re-enforced, the initiative was regained, and Patton passed the corps command to Bradley. Patton returned to his job planning for operation “Husky,” the invasion of Sicily. It was in this atmosphere that Eisenhower felt his greatest pressure and self-doubt. Eventually combat in Tunisia would be over in May of 1943, as Bradley took Bizerte.


In retrospect, Bradley was critical of Eisenhower’s inability to extemporize, and to master a quick stroke in Sicily after the unexpected sudden collapse of German forces in Tunisia. Marshall also so that flaw in Ike’s planning ability. But the lack of landing craft and his inability to talk both Harold Alexander and Monty (Bernard Law Montgomery) into moving up their timetables doomed a quick strike into Sicily.


Ironically Clark was also not happy with the forth-coming invasion of Sicily, and in his diary he summed up his thoughts, “This coming move in the Mediterranean (Sicily) will be no great move. In reality, we will get no place by doing it and the result will not be commensurate with the effort and losses involved.” In the long run, Clark wanted to prepare for the continent, and did that only mean France?  Ironically, Husky, the code name for Sicily went decently well. The quick history is that the British who were give the short route up the eastern coast of the island from Syracuse to Messina, faced heavy resistance. Wherein Patton wheeled his way up the western end of the island, using enveloping actions with landing craft and got to Messina and the straits before the British. The failure for the Allies was of course, the escape of the bulk of the German army to Italy, in their own version of Dunkerque evacuation. Maybe Clark was right in his assessment at the time, but it seemed logical to conquer Sicily first, establish air bases and a port facility on the European side of the Mediterranean and then proceed on to Italy. It was in Italy where bloody and prolonged fighting under Clark’s command would later seem unnecessary to both the foot soldier and later historians.


With regards to Clark commanding the Firth Army, Bradley said the following, “I had serious reservations about him personally (he had not yet commanded large-scale forces in combat in World War II). He seemed false somehow, too eager to impress, too hungry for the limelight, promotions and personal publicity. Patton didn’t trust him either. He thought Clark ‘too damned slick’ and ‘more preoccupied with bettering his own future than winning the war,’” In fact, Bradley stated, that “Eisenhower told him that if ‘should anything happen’ to Clark, I would replace him as the Fifth Army commander.” Was Eisenhower losing faith in Clark? Was Eisenhower affected by the carping of Patton? Was Eisenhower worried about Clark’s background? In an interesting exchange reported by Blumenson, in the wake of Clark’s appointment to be second in command to “Operation Torch,” the invasion of North Africa, Patton met Eisenhower in Gibraltar, and Patton reported to his diary, they talked of “trivial things.” Maybe Patton was experiencing Eisenhower’s attempt at bonding after Patton’s obvious disappointment. Patton wrote, “He asked me if Clark was a Jew, I said at least one quarter, probably one half.” Of course, according to Blumenson it was idle talk. Eisenhower was bored in his cave-like headquarters in the “Rock” while Clark ran the show in Algiers. Of course because of Marshall’s directive that personal stories of heroism be immediately revealed to the press, Clark’s personal bravery made him an instant national icon.


Of course Patton’s angst over the Clark’s command and efforts in North Africa, and his selection as the commander of the new Fifth Army, knew no bounds. He stated, “I doubt the wisdom of it. (Clark’s appointment!) Patton later wrote in his diary that evening “He (Clark) may be too intrusive.”  What probably distrusted, according to Blumenson, was Clark’s lack of combat and command experience, his youth (he was later to be the youngest Lt. General, age 46, in the Army’s history), his brashness and his quick climb to equal rank with the older Patton. Of course by being ”intrusive,” Patton meant “pushy” and not our kind, what the French called in a more general sense “arriviste,” a person who sought to get ahead by any means. This was a guarded intimation of anti-Semitism.


All, in all, Patton was very disappointed over his lack of overall command opportunities. The slapping incidents in Sicily, his constant carping, his loose talk, all disturbed and worried Eisenhower. He had great confidence in Clark and therefore turned over the training, development and leadership of the Fifth Army to him. Bradley went on to great success in Europe as the American counterpart to Field Marshall Montgomery. Patton was given the command of a phony army in East Anglia. This was to deceive the Germans into thinking that the long-anticipated invasion would come across from Dover to Pas de Calais. Patton was quite bitter over this assignment, and thought that he would eventually miss “the big show.” But events have their strange way of turning, and Patton eventually was given command of the Third Army. His spectacular race across France, and his northern pivot to relieve Bastogne was legendary. On the other hand, Montgomery’s and Bradley’s inability to trap the whole German army at the Falaise Gap, along with later mistakes at Market-Garden and the Rhine River helped embellish Patton’s comparative work. Clark would eventually liberate Rome, after a long struggle and disappointments at Cassino, the Rapido River and the failure to exploit the Anzio landings. The fog of war blinds even the clearest vision and the best drawn plans of action.

The Advocates The Graying of the Great Powers 7-2-08

The Advocates


Wednesday, July 2, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. 


Our special guest is Mr. Richard Jackson, the author of “The Graying of the Great Powers: Demography and Geopolitics in the 21st Century.”  Our program will explore what Richard Jackson has written, “The world is entering a demographic transformation of unprecedented dimensions… therefore the coming transformation is both certain and lasting. There is almost no chance that it will not happen — or that it will be reversed in our lifetime.” In fact, Mr. Jackson warns, “In the developing world, the transformation will give rise to dangerous new security threats!”


Mr. Jackson will answer the following questions:

1)    Is the developed/modern world facing a crisis of fertility?

2)    What are the consequences of high birth rates in the developing world?

3)    Will there be a large enough labor force to maintain a society with a huge population of the elderly?

4)    How will 2050 be different from today?

5)    Why are people in the US, Western Europe and Japan not having children?


Mr. Richard Jackson, Ph.D. is a Senior Fellow & Program Director, of The Global Aging Initiative, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1800 K. Street, NW, suite 400, Washington, DC 20006. This research program explores the economic, social and geopolitical implication of the aging of the population of America and around the world. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute and a Senior Advisor to the Concord Coalition. Mr. Jackson is the author of numerous policy studies, including, “The Aging of Korea,” “Long-term Immigration Projection Methods:  Current Practice and How to Improve It,” “Building Human Capital in an Aging Mexico,” and “The Graying of the Middle Kingdom.” In 1994, he served as a Blackstone Group Chairman Peter G. Petersen’s liaison to the Kerrey-Danforth Commission on Entitlement and Tax reform.  Mr. Jackson was awarded his Ph. D. in economic history from Yale University and currently lives in Alexandria with his wife Perine and his children.



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. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”


The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at and one can also see all of the archived shows at:


Richard J. Garfunkel