Category Archives: Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“All politics is local.” — Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill

HAIL TO THE CHIEF

Admit it, the first time you heard or read the words Mitch Daniels and president this morning, your heart skipped a beat.

Once you caught your breath and realized he’s only going to become the big boss at Purdue University after his gubernatorial term concludes, you might have thought, Good, now we won’t have to worry about him running for Prez of the USA in 2016.

Ladies And Gentlemen, The President Of…

Not so fast, kiddies.

I direct you to your history books. A fellow named Dwight Eisenhower took the gig as president of Columbia University after he’d helped whack the Nazis in World War II. He held the job for a year, during which it was clear he was far more interested in using the post as a platform to position himself as a statesman than he was in running the university. Next thing people knew, he was being dragged into the 1952 Republican National Convention, saying Aw, shucks, and running for the White House.

Part of Ike’s reasoning for taking the Columbia job was, as he put it, to advance the cause of education in a democracy.

Follow me here, now. Mitch Daniels has taken his lumps as the governor who oversaw massive budget cuts for Indiana schools. Daniels’ rep as a benefactor of public schooling was shot all to hell.

Now, mirabile dictu, he’s going to lead one of the state’s two most high profile educational institutions after he leaves Indianapolis.

Sounds to me like a very nice strategy for a guy who wants to repair his image. In fact, he might hope to become known as a respected educator by the year 2016.

PLAYTIME

Click.

SMILE FOR BRIAN

Happy 70th birthday to Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson

The leader of the Beach Boys was one of the musical geniuses of 20th Century America. The BB album “Pet Sounds” has been lauded as one of the five best discs in the history of the rock era.

The harmonies he arranged throughout the Beach Boys’ run verged on the spiritual at times.

If the very idea of Beach Boys’ music makes you smirk, I suggest you give some of their cuts a listen once again. Try to hear them as music rather than as cheesy cultural artifacts of the 60s. You’ll be surprised.

More Than This

THE CONSCIENCE OF A NATION

The Bloomington City Council is thinking of making a statement about a policy that’s anything but local once again.

Our elected municipal leaders want to make sure the world knows they disapprove of the US Supreme Court Citizens United ruling that essentially gave corporations and big organizations the same free speech rights as individuals. You know, the corporate personhood idea that the Reagan/Bush/Bush court so lovingly bestowed upon us.

Some Of Our Best Friends Are Corporations

It reminds me of the letter the council sent to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer a couple of years ago when she was fixing to sign that state’s draconian immigration bill.

My guess is Gov. Brewer tossed the letter into the circular file.

I mean, honestly, did our councilors really hope that Brewer might read the letter, take her glasses off, stare out her office window, and muse on the moral implications of the bill? Did they expect her to whisper to herself, “Golly gee, these people really make sense”?

Now That I Think About It…

Now the Council wants to proclaim itself in favor of a constitutional amendment to un-declare corporations as people.

My only hope is they didn’t spend too much time debating the point.

(And, just to clarify my position, the Citizens United decision was among the dumbest-assed things the US Supreme Court has done in decades.)

GOD ONLY KNOWS

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I got my head bashed in at a demonstration against the Vietnam War. Police were losing control because they were up against a world they really didn’t understand.” — Terry Gilliam

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

Gotta tell ya, folks, I hate to see Little Rickey Santorum go, for the loss of his entertainment value alone.

Now the presidential race is down to two politico-economic fraternal twins, each of whom is about as exciting as a can of beige paint.

Definitely Not Beige

If it wasn’t for guys like Santorum, I’d have to actually take the Republicans seriously and you know how disconcerting that prospect would be for me.

Digging the Santorum campaign was like having a daredevil hobby — bungee jumping off tall bridges, say, or rowing across an ocean. Exciting, sure, but if things go wrong, you’re screwed.

In this case, the worst-case scenario would have been a Santorum presidency

So, bye-bye Rickey. We knew you all too well.

A SIMPLE QUESTION

Does it surprise anyone that the first media creature George Zimmerman has spoken with is Fox News’ Sean Hannity?

Sympathetic Ear

DANIEL ELLSBERG, PATRIOT

I missed this. Saturday, April 7th was Daniel Ellsberg‘s birthday.

You want a hero? You got him.

Ellsberg

Here’s the story of Ellsberg’s heroism as told by Howard Zinn in his compelling graphic narrative book, “A People’s History of American Empire.”

Zinn and Ellsberg became friends in 1969 during the anti-war movement. Ellsberg earlier had worked for  the RAND Corporation, which was assigned by the US Department of Defense in 1967 to write up a history of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg actually did much of the grunt work researching this nation’s involvement there.

He learned that President Harry Truman authorized the funding of France’s colonial war against Vietnam independence fighters as far back as  the 1940s. President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s threw US support behind Vietnam strongmen who opposed free elections in that country.

Throw in a pile of other falsehoods, exaggerations, forgeries, and intentional inaccuracies on the parts of generals and politicians executing the slaughter in Southeast Asia, and Ellsberg understood that our stated aims there were a colossal sham.

Thanks to the study, Ellsberg saw that President Lyndon Johnson’s assertion that the North Vietnamese had started a war just for kicks in the summer of 1964 was an out and out lie.

Johnson, see, had said some North Vietnamese in a little motorboat had attacked a couple of American cruisers just sitting in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and minding their own business. Johnson parlayed this whopper into getting Congress to sign him a blank check and the next thing you knew, a half million American soldiers were fighting for who knows what in Southeast Asia.

Johnson, Finally Grasping What Vietnam Had Become

Ellsberg and some other RAND researchers privately agreed that they had to say something to the American public about our country’s shenanigans in Vietnam.

They figured Middle American folks would trust them, sub-contractors to the Pentagon with 7000 pages of damning documents in their hands, rather than wild-eyed hippies carrying peace placards.

So they sent a letter to major newspapers around the country calling for an end to the war. The New York Times and the Washington Post both published the letter, but nobody really gave a damn about it.

Meanwhile, the United States military went on happily killing and bombing in Vietnam. Then there was a Green Beret murder scandal and the My Lai Massacre. Ellsberg already was wracked with guilt for his country over what he knew and these atrocities only pushed him over the edge.

Destroying The Town In Order To Save It

He contacted another former RAND colleague and together they photocopied the 7000 pages with the goal of releasing the classified documents. The two agreed it was worth going to jail for exposing government secrets if it might shorten the war somehow.

Their hope was the release of the papers would turn even the most die-hard patriots against the war. They contacted the offices of a few congressmen and found no one willing to touch their hot docs.

Finally, they went to the New York Times with their bundle of papers. After a few months, the Times went ahead and published what would become known as the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg was charged with theft and violations of the Espionage Act. He faced 115 years in prison. He turned himself in to the FBI in Boston on June 28, 1971, after having run off many more copies of the Papers and distributing them to other newspapers.

Setting The Type For The New York Times Pentagon Papers Edition

While Ellsberg was on trial, it was learned that the Nixon White House had ordered mugs to burglarize his psychiatrist’s office in hopes of finding incriminating notes against him there, and other mugs to harass him at public appearances. The federal judge declared a mistrial in Ellberg’s case due to these government interferences.

He was lucky.

He was also, as I mentioned earlier. a hero.

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

The Buffalo Springfield played this song on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, February 26th, 1967.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.” — Gore Vidal

NEVER MIND WHAT WE SAID; LISTEN TO WHAT WE SAY

Nothing like a bogeyman to unite a bunch of scaredy cats, no?

Back in the late 1980s when the Reagan presidency was being readied for its final nap, a bunch of conservative economists and policy wonks (including ideologues from the Heritage Foundation) got together to create a plan for health care reform.

This funny little gang was all in a tizzy because many Democrats at the time were pushing hard for a single-payer health insurance system.

Since the gang understood that such a government-run system would naturally lead to Stalinesque purges of the population with death tolls reaching into the tens of millions, they needed to come up with an alternative pronto. And so they did.

They came up with a health insurance mandate. The goal, they crowed, was to find a “market-oriented” alternative to the Dem/commie plot and to protect the righteous citizens of this holy land against “free riders” — you know, all those ne’er do wells who don’t have health insurance and then, when they happen to suffer a little sucking chest wound from a shotgun blast or some other trivial hangnail, all of a sudden want to be treated in an emergency room on our dime.

“Are You A Free Rider?”

So under this alternative, blessed-by-god plan, the conservative ideologues proposed that every American be compelled to purchase health insurance. The Republicans loved it; the plan would be a boon for their sugar daddies in the health insurance rackets. Over the years, a couple of future GOP aspirants for the White House named Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich would hold pep rallies for the health insurance mandate.

Meanwhile, the Dems decided they couldn’t survive anymore without becoming Republicans, so they adopted the plan as well.

Then, under George W. Bush, who lost the 2000 presidential election by half a million votes, thereby winning the 2000 presidential election, America embarked on a tri-fold policy of fighting disastrous wars, ignoring the plight of a major city that had been nearly wiped out by a hurricane, and giving free reign to degenerate Wall Street gamblers so they could sink the world’s economy.

“Can You Believe It? They Said I Won!”

The American electorate thought this strategy to be lacking. So they elected a Democrat to be president. Now remember, the Democrats had come to the conclusion that they could never triumph over the Republicans without themselves becoming Republicans. Accordingly, the new Democratic president championed ideas that would have made Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and even the sainted Ronald Reagan proud.

The only problem was, the new president was half black. The real Republicans wet their pants. After changing their shorts, the Republicans announced that their sole goal in this challenging, complex, threatening world was to sabotage Barack Obama.

So, my dear friends, that’s how we get to this strange day. The Heritage Foundation, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and every other conservative and/or True Republican in these Great United States, Inc. are waving their pompons in favor of the US Supreme Court overturning the health insurance mandate proposed by the half-black, half-Republican Barack Obama.

Is it any wonder why fewer than half the eligible voters in America are expected to go to the polls this November?

The Pencil Today:

WAR IS THEFT

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower, five-star general of the US Army, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, planner of Operation Overlord, first Supreme Commander of NATO.

And a guy who considered war a catastrophe.

HELL IN A HANDBASKET

About a month ago, a spate of random shootings, assaults, and a couple of high profile murders got local folks to thinking that maybe this erstwhile happy little town is turning into a hellhole.

Things soon settled down. But there’s been raft of vandalism targeting Christmas decorations of late.

And guess who had to file a police report last night. Yup. Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff.

His outdoor Christmas decorations were stolen Monday.

Victim

The Herald Times reports there’ve been a dozen or so such complaints within the last week.

IF I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU

This holy land is everlastingly in love with guns but thinks things like book larnin’ are nothing more than rotten socialist plots.

True Love

Need more proof?

NPR this morning ran a report on states enacting more and more stringent voter ID laws. One little tidbit caught my ear. The state that gave us George W. Bush, Rick Perry, and Chuck Norris considers artillery ownership a more trustworthy identifier than, ugh, intelligence.

In Texas, a citizen can gain access to the voting booth by flashing a gun permit. College photo IDs, on the other hand, just won’t do.

SHOTGUN!

I don’t know which act was cooler: Jr. Walker & The All-Stars or Booker T & The MGs. What say you?

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