Bella Abzug – BONUS POST

The Bonus Book of the Week is “Bella Abzug, An oral history (sic)” by Suzanne Braun Levin and Mary Thom, published in 2007. Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Abzug was a pioneer in law and politics, not just due to her gender. Females in each of their respective times had to be tough as nails to be taken sufficiently seriously to wield influence to effect change.

In this day and age, the Web, TV and radio are dominant sources of voting-influence. However, it is difficult to measure how much influence specific individuals (pundits, politicians, celebrities, etc.) of those outlets, have on voters. When users, viewers or listeners merely acknowledge that they like a show or read the messages or posts of someone specific, it is likely they are seeking to confirm what they already believe– those “influencers” aren’t changing the audiences’ minds. Therefore, candidates must try to influence impressionable people who are voting for the first time who make up their minds ahead of time, and try to gauge how significant a sector, are voters who decide at the last minute.

The 2020 presidential election will likely have unprecedented last-minute surprises, so no one really knows how to fully prepare to influence the outcome of the election. Nevertheless, one unbiased open-ended survey question asked of high schoolers, college students, and last-minute voters– which might actually turn out to be all voters in 2020– could be, “What was the biggest influencer of your voting decision for or against a certain candidate– an individual, website, TV show, TV commercial or radio show? Name him, her or it, and specify the candidate, and whether for or against.”

Anyway, born in 1920 in New York City, Abzug graduated from Columbia University Law School during WWII. After the war, she applied for a job as an attorney at a law firm that practiced labor law. She said the firm (because they were sexist) “… would offer me money which was lower than the minimum wage paid the workers they were representing!” In those days, law firms didn’t hire attorneys who were female, let alone ones who were Jewish, as was Abzug.

Abzug intentionally avoided learning how to use a typewriter so bosses wouldn’t order her to do typing rather than practice law. In 1972, she was the first member of Congress to call for president Richard Nixon’s impeachment.

There was plenty of political violence during the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Nixon. According to Margot Polivy’s recollection, “Every month or so, there was a major demonstration. Half the time all of downtown Washington (D.C.) reeked of tear gas… All the Nobel Prize winners started to get arrested, and they didn’t have jail space for them.”

In 1974, Abzug coauthored the Privacy Act and FOIA, which required federal government agencies to send unclassified documentation to any member of the public who requested it in connection with the government’s operations and records. Unfortunately, times have changed. Radically.

Read the book to learn much more about Abzug’s personality, family, career and accomplishments.

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.