Underground

The Book of the Week is “Underground, My Life With SDS and the Weathermen” by Mark Rudd, published in 2009.

March 1969 saw the start of Nixon’s secret bombing campaign against Cambodia. The author wrote, “I was so sure I knew better than my parents; after all, their generation had brought the world to this state of affairs, if only by their acquiescence.”

Rudd became the poster boy for the media as a protest leader at Columbia University during its period of violent unrest in the spring of 1968. He started his degree there in the autumn of 1965. At the time, the school employed African American female maids to clean the dorm bathrooms, a service included with the boarding fee.

Rudd joined the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in March 1966. He had grown up in a suburban Jewish family. His father had fought in the Second World War, during which Hitler was perceived as “Absolute Evil.” The United States used its powers for good to defeat the latter. However, twenty years later, when Lyndon Johnson’s war crimes began to be revealed, Rudd became disillusioned with his own country.

Rudd and his contemporaries didn’t support any presidential candidate in 1968 because “Electoral politics was beneath our concern.” He and his fellow political activists were concerned, however, about the deleterious effects of a senseless war perpetrated by the federal government, along with the university’s related and other nefarious activities.

For at least the last half century, hypocritical liberals have sought to “… co-opt the energy of radical young people into working for meaningless reforms…” However, with Vietnam, some would say the protests were justified. For, the American president started a needless war that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and ruined lives– recruiting cannon fodder against their will. The stubborn, arrogant president didn’t take a lesson from the stubborn, arrogant French, who epically failed in clinging to their fast-fading colonialism in mid-1950’s Indochina.

Columbia University had secret contracts with the U.S. government– researching both war weaponry for the Pentagon and war policy for the execution of the war. In spring 1968, this accounted for 46% (!) of the nation’s budget. The university was also abusing eminent domain in planning both to construct a segregated sports complex in Morningside Park, and more dormitories on West 114th Street off of Broadway near its campus. For years, it had quashed the formation of a union of black and Latino cafeteria workers.

Rudd and his fellow activists held rallies and went on protest marches. He wrote to school publications. The protesting led to occupations of campus buildings by, eventually, thousands of activists in the last week of April 1968.

Although Rudd’s became the most recognized name and face associated with the historical event (possibly because he was a white male), there were plenty of other activist organizations of different ethnicities whose members were arrested and got beaten up by law enforcement sent in by New York City Mayor John Lindsay; those fighting for civil rights, black-power, and peace.

The New York Times propagandized that the destructive and immature hooligans provoked the police; the police were the good guys. It should have come as no surprise to the cynical that the university was in bed with the newspaper. The school’s board of trustees claimed the newspaper’s publisher as one of their own. He was also an alumnus. The Times’ employees were alumni of the Columbia School of Journalism. Nevertheless, the university actually met about half of the six-odd demands of the activists.

After he was expelled from Columbia, Rudd became a recruiter for SDS, visiting various chapters and speaking at universities around the nation. The two major issues were always Vietnam and racism. Various groups within and without SDS, including the Weathermen (a spinoff of SDS), the Maoist Progressive Labor Party, the Black Panthers and the Revolutionary Youth Movement began arguing among themselves and with each other at conferences they jointly held in the next few years.

Rudd was in the Weathermen. He believed that the way to rebel against “the man” was through armed struggle. According to his FBI dossier, he urged college kids to kill cops. But his group was anti-racist, pro-Communist and anti-reactionary.

In the summer of 1969 in New York City, he and his fellow revolutionaries came across as so violent, they turned people off when they spoke at a Central Park rally. The other SDS factions thought the Weathermen (or, as they had renamed themselves, the Weather Bureau) were anarchistic, chauvinistic, masochistic and Custeristic.

In Chicago, there were clashes between sadistic cops and radical protestors. “Cook County Jail was overflowing with the addition of almost three hundred Weathermen, the total number arrested over the three days. The period was named ‘Days of Rage.’ ” After that, Rudd’s group went underground and broke off from SDS.

Rudd’s group’s heroes continued to be: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Vladimir Lenin, Malcolm X and Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panthers.

By the mid-1970’s, Rudd’s group had claimed responsibility for more than twenty-four bombings, which were intended to destroy only property. There occurred three accidental deaths of its own radicals from a botched bomb-making operation in Greenwich Village in spring 1970.

Read the book to learn a wealth of other details of the tenor of the times, the mentalities of Rudd’s contemporaries, and how Rudd fared after his Chicago arrest.

BONUS POST

I am pleased to announce that my book: “The Education and Deconstruction of Mr. Bloomberg, How the Mayor’s Education and Real Estate Development Policies Affected New Yorkers 2002-2009 Inclusive” is available through the following online channels:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg

http://booksamillion.com/search?id=5606815363948&query=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg&where=book_title&search.x=48&search.y=14

https://www.alibris.com/booksearch?keyword=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg&mtype=B&hs.x=26&hs.y=13

http://www.fishpond.co.nz/c/Books/q/the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg?rid=1694205135

http://www.thenile.com.au/books/Sally-A-Friedman/The-Education-and-Deconstruction-of-Mr-Bloomberg/9781450099035/

http://www.shopireland.ie/books/search/the%20education%20and%20deconstruction%20of%20mr%20bloomberg/

http://www.wantitall.co.za/Books/THE-EDUCATION-AND-DECONSTRUCTION-OF-MR-BLOOMBERG__1450099033

http://www.ebooknetworking.net/books_detail-1450099033.html

http://www.bookdepository.com/search?searchTerm=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg&search=Find+book

http://www.uread.com/book/education-deconstruction-mr-bloomberg-sally/9781450099035

https://play.google.com/store/search?q=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr.+bloomberg

http://www.booktopia.com.au/search.ep?keywords=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg&productType=917504

http://www.betterworldbooks.com/the-education-and-deconstruction-of-mr-bloomberg-H0.aspx?SearchTerm=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg

http://www.northtownbooks.com/search/apachesolr_search/the%20education%20and%20deconstruction%20of%20mr%20bloomberg

http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9781450099028

http://www.textbookx.com/book/The-Education-and-Deconstruction-of-Mr-Bloomberg/9781450099028/

http://www.commongoodbooks.com/book/9781450099028

http://www.chegg.com/textbooks/the-education-and-deconstruction-of-mr-bloomberg-1st-edition-9781450099028-1450099025

http://www.bol.com/nl/p/the-education-and-deconstruction-of-mr-bloomberg/1001004011058757/

http://www.regulatorbookshop.com/book/9781450099028

http://www.wildrumpusbooks.com/search/site/Sally%20a%20friedman

http://www.kinokuniya.co.jp/f/dsg-02-9781450099035

http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/books/the-education-and-deconstruction-of-mr-bloomberg-sally-a-friedman/p/9781450099028

BONUS POST

I am pleased to announce that my book: “The Education and Deconstruction of Mr. Bloomberg, How the Mayor’s Education and Real Estate Development Policies Affected New Yorkers 2002-2009 Inclusive” is available through the following online channels:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg

http://booksamillion.com/search?id=5606815363948&query=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg&where=book_title&search.x=48&search.y=14

https://www.alibris.com/booksearch?keyword=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg&mtype=B&hs.x=26&hs.y=13

http://www.fishpond.co.nz/c/Books/q/the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg?rid=1694205135

http://www.thenile.com.au/books/Sally-A-Friedman/The-Education-and-Deconstruction-of-Mr-Bloomberg/9781450099035/

http://www.shopireland.ie/books/search/the%20education%20and%20deconstruction%20of%20mr%20bloomberg/

http://www.wantitall.co.za/Books/THE-EDUCATION-AND-DECONSTRUCTION-OF-MR-BLOOMBERG__1450099033

http://www.ebooknetworking.net/books_detail-1450099033.html

http://www.bookdepository.com/search?searchTerm=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg&search=Find+book

http://www.uread.com/book/education-deconstruction-mr-bloomberg-sally/9781450099035

https://play.google.com/store/search?q=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr.+bloomberg

http://www.booktopia.com.au/search.ep?keywords=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg&productType=917504

http://www.betterworldbooks.com/the-education-and-deconstruction-of-mr-bloomberg-H0.aspx?SearchTerm=the+education+and+deconstruction+of+mr+bloomberg

http://www.northtownbooks.com/search/apachesolr_search/the%20education%20and%20deconstruction%20of%20mr%20bloomberg

http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9781450099028

http://www.textbookx.com/book/The-Education-and-Deconstruction-of-Mr-Bloomberg/9781450099028/

http://www.commongoodbooks.com/book/9781450099028

http://www.chegg.com/textbooks/the-education-and-deconstruction-of-mr-bloomberg-1st-edition-9781450099028-1450099025

http://www.bol.com/nl/p/the-education-and-deconstruction-of-mr-bloomberg/1001004011058757/

http://www.regulatorbookshop.com/book/9781450099028

http://www.wildrumpusbooks.com/search/site/Sally%20a%20friedman

http://www.kinokuniya.co.jp/f/dsg-02-9781450099035

http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/books/the-education-and-deconstruction-of-mr-bloomberg-sally-a-friedman/p/9781450099028

Counsel for the Defense – BONUS POST

The Bonus Book of the Week is “Counsel for the Defense, The Autobiography of Paul O’Dwyer” by Paul O’Dwyer, published in 1979.

Born in County Mayo, Ireland in 1907 to a family of farmers, O’Dwyer was the youngest of eleven children. Gruff and authoritative more than affectionate, his father organized a teachers’ union at the one-room schoolhouse, angering the local priest, whose power was diminished thereby.

When he was eighteen, O’Dwyer emigrated to the United States, following four of his older brothers. While studying pre-law at Fordham University, he remarked, “The contradiction in our giving munificent foreign aid while letting poor whites remain illiterate and hungry was difficult to understand. (The injustice to the Negro community was not even discussed and I did not then think about it.)” In 1926, he attended law school at the then-Brooklyn campus of St. John’s University and joined a political club comprised of Jewish democrats. At that time, Irish Catholics were liberal democrats. U.S. citizenship was required before he was permitted to practice law. He attained that honor two years after passing the bar exam.

O’Dwyer was made a law-firm partner at 26 years old, litigating cases of labor law. In the late 1930’s, his oldest brother was elected to the post of Brooklyn District Attorney. By 1945, the brother was mayor of New York City. O’Dwyer represented the National Lawyer’s Guild, an organization that defended victims of the Communist witch hunt of the McCarthy Era.

Read the book to learn of the author’s adventures in running for offices; why he identified with the Jews who were fighting for the independence of Israel– which led him to handle an arms-smuggling case; of O’Dwyer’s opposition to a literacy test required for voting in some states in the early 1960’s; and his eventual senatorial career, among other legal and political activities.

The Good Fight – BONUS POST

“The Good Fight, Hard Lessons From Searchlight to Washington” by Harry Reid, published in 2008 is an autobiography that describes the life of a man who suffered many hardships in his early years and has overcome much adversity.

Born in December 1939, Reid grew up in a limited environment in a small mining town– Searchlight– in Nevada. The area’s economy was based on mining and prostitution, not unlike Washington, D.C.

Reid’s father gravitated toward a career (gold mining) suitable for his personality–introverted loner. The author became a lawyer and U.S. senator. One issue that stuck in Reid’s craw was America’s continued involvement in President George W. Bush’s Iraq war which Bush started in 2003. Years later, when Reid was Senate Minority Leader, he visited Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld to try to convince him that the United States should withdraw troops from Iraq. Rumsfeld blew Reid off and treated the war like a joke.

When Reid and other politicians visited Iraq personally, they realized that the emperor really did have no clothes. General David Petraeus put on a show for them, exhibiting soldiers who were training Iraqis to fight on their own, similar to the way the late President Richard Nixon tried to implement “Vietnamization.”

In early 2006, the author and his fellow Democrats defeated an attempt by Bush to privatize Social Security. “We knew we had won when the White House simply stopped talking about it.”

Read the book to learn of Reid’s adventures as chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission starting in 1977, a few of his interesting law cases, and much more.

Behind the Times

The Book of the Week is “Behind the Times, Inside the New York Times” by Edwin Diamond, published in 1993. This book tells the history of the newspaper and the people who, through generations, to help it stay in business, changed its contents, its target readers (and therefore its sales territory) and its personnel.

In the 1950’s, the Times consisted of four realms: the weekday paper, the Sunday edition, the foreign correspondents, and the Washington bureau. Each had its own hierarchy, but all employees encountered an arrogant corporate culture because their difficulty in getting hired helped project an image of an exclusive club from which they derived prestige.

In the 1980’s, the paper was forced to look to the suburbs for readers, and acquire various west-coast newspapers, a magazine group and broadcast properties. Advertisers were able to glean significantly more marketing data and more predictable circulation numbers on readers with expanded home delivery.

The Times was a family-owned enterprise whose eventual patriarch, Punch Sulzberger served as the top leader for three decades, into the early 1990’s.  Unfortunately, he was resistant to change, so finalizing a decision to make a major revision to the paper, say, to add a section or column, took months or even years.

A task force did not always help speed up the process because the business and news departments had different goals. Finally, in 1982, the business side sold out in the name of staying in business. The managing editor began to allow “product placement” in news stories. In the 1980’s, a financial turnaround was enjoyed by the paper, in large part thanks to fashion reporting.

Around the same time, the Times’ hegemony reached its peak when competing print news sources had gone out of business. Many readers used the paper as their bible as to which performing arts shows to attend, which movies and videos to view, and which books to read. The paper was eventually taken to task– for its conflicts of interest in its exertion of extreme undue influence of such entertainment for decades– by someone who had a point. However, that someone also had an ulterior motive aside from exposing greed and abuse of power.

Sadly, the 1990’s gave way to more and more opinion writing rather than conveyance of new information. Read the book to learn much more about the reasons for the changing Times.

No Heroes, No Villains

The Book of the Week is “No Heroes, No Villains– The Story of a Murder Trial” by Steven Phillips, published in 1977.

In late June of 1972, an off-duty cop was shot in the Hunts Point subway station in the South Bronx, New York City. If the accused was convicted of all charges against him, he faced the electric chair. However, his lawyer was the famed William Kunstler.

Read the book to learn of the spirit of the times on issues of race, guns, criminal law and jury trials in early 1970’s New York City.

The Brethren

The Book of the Week is “The Brethren” by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong, published in 1979. This book documents the power struggles of, and kinds of cases decided by members of the U.S. Supreme Court– the highest court in the land– covering the period from autumn 1969 to the spring of 1976, during President Richard Nixon’s administration.

Annually, the Court received about five thousand petitions that were handwritten, mostly from prisoners appealing their cases. The justices ruled on only a tiny number of cases. The ones they chose to rule on, gave rise to weeks or months of scrutiny, debate, hours of research, and reams of writings. When the justices or their clerks (assistants) gave further consideration to a case, they might procrastinate reviewing the case until the next court session in the fall, or order it remanded to a lower court.

The major controversial cases involved desegregation, pornography, monopolies, abortion, freedom of the press, and the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court had the final say on where local control (States’ Rights) ended and Constitutional protections began.

Warren Burger, a conservative, was the Chief Justice. His authority was exceeded only by the President and Vice President.  Nevertheless, there were usually two or three justices who might vote one way or the other in any given case, as tiebreakers. So they had the real power. The Court members were always divided in their votes along liberal/conservative lines.

The early 1970’s were eventful years for the Burger Court, what with the replacements of a few justices who retired due to ill health; and attempted lobbying of two justices on a monopoly case (considered not just a conflict, but an overtly aggressive act that would have biased the justices had they not been sufficiently principled in demanding the departure of the lobbyist forthwith). Oh yes, and a near-impeachment of a president.

In June 1971, the first installment of the 47-volume Pentagon Papers was published in The New York Times. It was the job of the Court to decide the extent to which publication of the 1945-1967 study of Vietnam would affect: national security, the process of the termination of the war, and release of prisoners of war. However, the government had lied too much about the war already.

The Court– at least five justices– had to decide whether to expedite the case relating to Nixon’s turning over of audiotapes consisting of conversations of administration officials. The overall dispute was not uncommon, over the authority of two branches of the American government– the Executive and Judicial. Nixon (a member of the Executive) was attempting to claim executive privilege (invoking Constitutional protection) in not turning over the tapes. Seven of Nixon’s top aides had already been indicted by a grand jury. They had implicated unindicted coconspirators. One was the President himself.

Those portions of the tapes containing Nixon’s voice engaging in interactions of a conspiratorial nature were not protected by executive privilege. At least one justice believed that such audio evidence bespoke of obstruction of justice.

Nixon’s attorney attended the hearing that would determine the role the Court would play in presiding over Nixon’s conspiracy case. It was the attorney’s contention that Nixon would basically be the judge at his own trial, as he should get to interpret the Constitution, after the Court made a recommendation on the case law.

Read the book to learn the details of the office politics in the Court, different aspects of the endless ideological debates on various super-controversial issues, how the justices dealt with the Chief Justice’s actions, as well as Court-related lore– during a particularly tumultuous time in the nation’s political history.