Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just a little bit of crime here and there

George Anastasia. Gotti’s Rules: the Story of John Alite, Junior Gotti, and the Demise of the American Mafia. New York: HarperCollins, 2015.

John Alite spent 25 years following order of John J. Gotti and then his son John A. Gotti, two generations of Gambino crime family bosses. He enforced their order by shooting around 30 or 40 men, beating about a hundred with a pipe or a baseball bat, stabbings, and killing six and possibly more. John A. Gotti denies Alite’s allegations. Both (as of 2015) are free men. Gotti faced trial which resulted in a hung jury. Alite was imprisoned and is now free.

John A. Gotti unsuccessfully attempted to make a deal with prosecutors. In a proffer session, where nothing stated can be used in court until a deal is made, and none was reached with Gotti, Gotti spoke of murders, political corruption, police corruption, and of organized crime’s influence with the Queens District Attorney’s office.

John A. Gotti, in following his father’s career, was one “whose sense of entitlement was his undoing. He was all about status and power. He liked the idea of being a mobster, but never really understood how it worked. The Cosa Nostra organizationally is declining. Omerta, the code of silence, has been discarded. The brightest offspring of its members become professionals. “The mob is scraping the bottom of the gene pool. That’s where the Gottis were located.”

Alite fled to Brazil and was imprisoned there on an Interpol warrant. Brazil prisons are known for their violence, abuse, and murderous prisons overrun by rats and bug infested food.

The Gottis were involved in heroin trade and sports betting. Previous mob generations stayed away from being involved in drugs. Altie explained “they told me one of the rules was you couldn’t deal drugs. What they meant was if you got caught, you were on your own. But they wanted their end.” Gotti received $100,000 monthly from a heroin dealer.

Paul Castellano, the Gambino crime family boss, was murdered in 1985. This was against mob rules as only a commission of the five New York crime family leaders could approve such a killing. John J. Gotti took control of the Gambino operations anyway, escaped retaliation, and became involved in selling drugs.

Drugs were a huge risk crime that old time mob leaders avoided. Drug dealers were more apt to sell out others to law enforcement. Plus, the police tended to combat drug sellers more than they did the types of crimes which traditionally involved the mob.

Anthony Caponigo, who dealt heroin, arranged for the murder of Angelo Bruno, Philadelphia’s mob leader. He did this both because he disapproved of Bruno’s ban against Bruno’s ban on dealing in drugs and for Bruno’s hypocrisy as Bruno was taking money from the meth trade.

Alite was t pay half what he made t Gotti. He admits he lied about his share but that everyone did that. As long as Gotti got enough, he was happy.

Alite observed about the mob was that “it wasn’t about honor and loyalty. Those were just words. It was about absolute power. That’s what the mob wanted.”

Bookmaking has long been a major source of mob earnings. State lotteries hurt the mob’s numbers racket. Yet sports betting remained lucrative for the mob.

John J. Gotti was arrested for a number of murders. Informants told of Gotti’s illegal activities. Among the informants was Philip Leonetti, the former underboss of the Philadelphia mob. Leonetti explained “I never did nothing ruthless besides, well, I would kill people. But that’s our life. That’s what we do.”

Mobsters wre “serial philanderers” yet their wives were expected to be faithful.

Alite and the mob unionized bouncers. A head bouncer would get $85 a might while Alito and Gotti got $15. A second bouncer would get $65 a night while Alito and Gotti got $10. There were hundreds of bouncers working each night at places Alite unionized.

Alite shot three bouncers at a club that refused to unionize. After that, all the clubs unionized.

John J. Gotti dislisked announcer Curtis Sliwa, was also headed the Guardian Angels volunteer citizens protection organization. Associates warned Gotti that a member of the press should never be attacked. Gotti ordered Sliwa beaten. A mobster shot him in the thigh and groin.

When bars and restaurants opened along the Philadelphia riverfront in the mid-1970s, Alite gained control of the valet services. Competitors were threatened and, if needed, beaten.

Alite testified against John A. Gotti’s trial that ended in a hung jury. Some jurors declared that “Alite was the least credible of the government witnesses.” It was decided not to retry Gotti.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Back When There Were Rockefeller Republicans

Cary Reich. Rockefeller: The Life on Nelson Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer 1908-1958. Doubleday, 1996.

Nelson Rockefeller was driven in ilife to accomplish things. He gained control of Rockefeller Center from his father’s associates, led improvements at the Museum of Modern Art, increased his responsibilities as a war time bureaucrat. and led a United Nations conference. William Rusher, “National Review” publisher, theorizes Rockefeller went into politics “because it was one of the few things that resisted his approach.”

Rockefeller once explained that many wealthy people are liberals because of a guilt complex. He added “I have no guilt complex.”

As New York Governor from 1959 to 1973, New York built more bricks and mortar construction than under any other Governor in U.S. history. He expanded the State University from 38,000 students on 28 campuses to 246,000 students on 71 campuses.

As Governor, Medicaid served 45% of New Yorkers, the highest percent of state residents in the country. 55 new state parks were created The Council on the Arts funded nay projects statewide. The state government debt increased from $900 million in 1959 to $3.4 billion in 1973 plus $6.6 billion in debt accumulated in fiscal maneuvers.

Rockefeller was very anti-communist, opposed nuclear test treaties, and supported fallout shelters

Rockefeller was Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and guided post World War II policies towards Western Hemisphere countries.

Rockefeller’s grandfather was U.S. Sen. Nelson Aldrich. Aldrich supported businesses and  supported high tariffs protective of American businesses. Rockefeller’s father had much inherited wealth and taught his children that their “good name was a sacred trust.”

Rockefeller attended Dartmouth, He was dyslexic which hurt some grades. Rockefeller’s thesis was a defense of his grandfather’s business dealings with Standard Oil Company. He argued companies that sold out to Standard Oil were not forced to do so and were paid fairly and generousy, He argued it legally achieved its monopoly power. He stated Standard Oil charged high prices yet did so to have funds for investments to more rapidly develop the oil industry, He received an “A” for his thesis.

Rockefeller was a member of the secretive and high prestige Cusque and Gauntler at Dartmouth. He was chosen as one of the five senior fellows whose graduation was guaranteed so they could sudy any subjects their senion year without being examined or graded Rockefeller’s father made an anonymous donation to Dartmouth Despite suspicions, the author does not believe this donation would have affected Rockefeller’s being chosen as a Senior Fellow. Rockefeller, an Economics student, spent his senior year studying. This would prove useful later in life when Rockefeller was involved with the Museum of Modern Art, deciding artowork for Rockefeller Center, and in supporting the Council on the Arts.

Rockefeller went into business for himself. He created a marketing and merchandise distribution business with two others.

Rockefeller rose in importance at Rockefeller Center. He consolidated power and was running the operations. Rockefeller was upset when Diego Rivera painted Lenin on a public mural at Rockefeller Center. Supporters of the mural rallied behind Rivera and called Rockefeller a censor. Rockefeller had the mural destroyed.

Rockefeller handled labor crises. He reached an agreement with unions at Rockefeller Center. The agreements were barely noticed by the press. He put a spirited pro-labor Anna Rosenberg on his payroll as a researcher.

The Rockefeller’s General Education Board gave grants to the Lincoln School, which was operated by Columbia University. Teacher’s College. Columbia sought to merge Lincoln with Horace Mann School. Many Lincoln parents wanted to maintain Lincoln’s independence.Rockefeller sought to resolve the conflicts He attempted to allow the merger yet let Lincoln keep its identity, its governance, and its own Board of Trustees.Columbia representatives claimed the schools lacked diversity with 39% o students being Jewish. It is noted that anti-semitism kept Jewish students out of many other prep schools. The deal Rockefeller received was one with Lincoln being preserved with an independent advisory board. Many Lincoln parents were upset with this agreement. Rockefeller had ignored the request of many parents to keep Lincoln a separate school. Rockefeller resigned due to this bitter opposition. Rockefeller was critical of what he considered subversive, left wing, communist educators who sought the discredit the anti-communist dean at Columbia. It is true one member, John Woods, who was a former communist, Many did not see the paColumbia later closed Lincoln.

Rockefeller gave copies of Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” to friends. Rockefeller urged them to study Communist methods as well as theory. He haw the methods of Lincoln School parents as an example of how “Communists wrecik free institution.”

Rockefeller visited oil fields in Venezuela in 1939. He visited local newspaper editors and oil field crews. He charmed many he met although some believed his visits were hypocritical as his family was doing little to improve the lives of local residents.

Mexican President Lazara Cardenas sought for his country to expropriate oil wells. Rocketeller met with Cardenas as a layman on behalf of the other oild companies. Rockefeller offered making the Mexican government a minority partner. Cardenas sated the issue was about national pride and not economics. Cardenas rejected Rockefeller’s plan.  Rockefeller did learn the importance of honoring national pride.

President Eleazar Lopez Contreras of Venezuela wanted foreign investment in a hotel. Foreign investors would do so only if it included a casino. Contreras did not want a casino. Rockefeller saw investing in the hotel as a sign of good will. Plus, oil companies needed more hotel spaces. While Rockefeller and his family provided most of the financing, he involved investors from other il companies, including Edward Robbins, a cousin of President Franklin Roosevelt. It was also seen as important that American investors gain sympathy of Western Hemisphere countries in competition with German investors.

Roosevelt, initially through an intermediary, approached U.S. Commerce Secretary Harry Hopkins about inter-American relations. Anna Hopkins used her influence to contact President Roosevelt. It was noted that the Argentine army announced its support for Hitler. German nationals in Chile and Brazil urges for support of Germany President Getulio Vargas, a dictator, considered an arms deal with German manufacturers. The U.S. countered with sales of ships and guns to Latin American countries.

The economies of Latin American countries were suffering from being cut-off form some European markets. Rockefeller proposed the U.S. purchase surplus Latin American goods and refinancing their debts. In addition, he advocated for strong education, cultural, and scientific exchanges.

Hopkins urged for greater private investment and for protecting U.S. trade. He asked Rockefeller to set up an investment company in every Latin American country. The Roosevelt Administration established he Inter-American Trading Company to buy and distribute surplus inter-American goods.

Rockefeller had proposed an advisory committee which had not been established. Rosenberg called Roosevelt. Roosevelt agreed to establish it. Roosevelt cautioned that Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Wells had reservations about Rockefeller. Roosevelt named James Forrestal special assistant for Latin American programs. Rockefeller was not named to anything.

Forrestal had Paul Nitze analyze the situations. Nitze designed a plan of action including creating a new position, the Coordinator for Inter-American Affairs. Roosevelt chose Rockefeller from a list of three names recommended for the post. Rockefeller met Wendell Willkie, who was planning to run for President against Roosevelt. Willkie told Rockefeller to accept the post.

Rockefeller had a beginning government budget of $3.5 million for his office. He added family money to this wor While i was neve implemented, Rockefeller guaranteed loans he office offered. This was he first time an individual bonded a government program

Rockefeller’s office set up a trade and finance section and a motion picture division, John Hay Whitney, who had provided financing for “Gone With the Wind” led the motion picture division.

Rockefeller’s office surveyed Latin American resources of strategic commodities, arranged financing fo a steel mill in Brazil, studied air transportation problems, sent art exhibiis, and created documentary films to be shown throughout Latin America.

Rockefeller became a source who leaked news to columnist Drew Pearson Rockefeller also developed a relationship with and provided information to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. While the FBI was supposed to iit their wor to within the US, the FBI created a Special Intelligence Service that had several hundred agents in Latin America. Rockefeller agreed to work with Hoover and the FBI. FBI agents were disguised as part of Rockefeller’s programs.

Rockefeller was helped by Jesse Jones, the head of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation who later became Commerce Secretary in 1940. Jones was a wealthy and leading Texan owners of banks, construction companies, and lumber companies.

Rockefeller feared social disorders in Latin American could threaten trade relations. He got President Roosevelt to approve a study of al shipping options American manufacturers were full with domestic orders. Rockefeller acted to get goods shipped to Latin America.

Rockefeller’s cultural division gave out $80,000 of Federal funds for scholarships in Latin American. Rockefeller asked, and Roosevelt approved, calling these Roosevelt Scholarships.

Rockefeller issued a report on Axis infiltration in Latin America. He upset some U.S. corporate leaders whose local employees there were listed as members of pro-Axis organizations. Rockefeller asked companies to voluntarily replace their pro-Axis employees. 84% of companies voluntarily complied. One large company, General Motors, refused stating they did not consider politics in their business operations. Rockefeller threatened to make it public that they had pro-Axis employees on their payroll, General Motors then complied

Rockefeller had ads placed in the Latin American press on U.S. tourism. This was mostly pro-American propaganda. Some ads were placed in pro-Axis papers in hopes they could be bought off. This was met with some backlash Most people in Latin America could not afford such travel. There was criticism of giving funds to the pro-Axis press. Pro-American press who received no ads were upset, Su=ner Wells told President Roosevelt that Rockefeller had overstepped. Sumner wrote a leter that Roosevelt signed state all arrangements in Rockefeller’s office had to be approved prior by the State Department. From then on, plans for all programs were sent to the State Department for approval. In time, the rivalry between Wells and Rockefeller would develop into an alliance.

It was determined there needed to be a propaganda effort in each Latin American country. The Axis powers had begun theirs. Rockefeller was placed in charge of this.

Vice President Henry Wallace was interested in Latin America. He was a pro-New Dealer unlike the previous Vice President John Nance Garner Wallace, whose socialist utopianism, agrarian populism, and benevolent internationalism” as well as his “Confucian economic doctrine” had many regard Wallace as a “foremost eccentric.” Rockefeller liked Wallace and became his tennis partner Rockefeller kept Wallace updated on his operations. Rockefeller created an institute to seek to development of tropical crops that would not compete with American agriculture, something Wallace supported

Jack Whitney’s office reviewed and censured movies that could offend people in Latin American, He also stopped the release of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” as it presented the U.S. negatively.

MGM produced “The night in Rio” that included a publicity tour or Latin American for stars Dorothy Lamar and Aice Faye. Disney produced four cartoons for Latin American audiences.

Orson Welles was convinced to produce a documentary on the Brazilian Rio carnival. Rockefeller promised a subsidy against losses of $300,000. Welles upset the Brazilian government by filming in slum neighborhoods. The film was halted and never seen until 1993 as “It’s All True”.

Rockefeller and Whtney had major studios agree to produce at least 24 movies showing Latin American positively

Rockefeller had newsreels produced German newsreels showed he glory of Aryans and of German victories. American newsreels heralded he governments and militaries of Latin America.

Rockefeller’s office produced a magazine, It would reach of circulation of over 550,000. The Germans responded with an imitation magazine.

Rockefeller provided $200,000 of Federal funds o the World Wide Broadcasting Production to have the most powerful transmitter in North America in return for 700 hours annually f programming to improve relations with Latin America.

Bill Donovan was named to head intelligence operations as Coordinator of Information Donovan felt his effort had priority over Rockefeller’s operations. Rockefeller objected. Donovan stated he had a Presidential directive. President Roosevelt confirmed the Coordinator of Information had superiority. Rockefeller had Ana Rosenberg deliver a letter to Roosevelt to sign to Donovan sating Roosevelt’s efforts in Latin America were quite different from programs elsewhere. Roosevelt made some minor changes o the letter and signed it.

 After Pearl Harbor, Argentina, Chile ad Brazil refused to break relations with Axis countries. Sumner Wells agreed to meet their “freedom of action”. Cordell Hull was livid that Sumner did this. here developed an ideological split between keeping harmony with the Americas versus insisting on supporting the Allied war effort.

A new agency, the Office of War Information, sought to oversee Rockefeller’s propaganda, film, newsreel, and magazine operations. Rockefeller had Henry Wallace sea on his behalf before the Office of Information presented these plans o Roosevelt. Wallace had Roosevelt sign an order exempting Rockefeller’s operations from the Office of War Information.

The Office of War Information absorbed Donovan’s office. Donovan was named to remain in charge of covert activities in a new Office of Strategic Services.

Rockefeller proposed having 100 ships made in Latin American shipyards They would be designed to handle a million tons of cargo annually. They would be built of wood instead of metals which were needed for military purposes. This was designed to boost Latin American economies, The shipyards found this idea impractical and only one vessel was made.

Mexico had zinc, lead, copper, and tin useful for military purposes. Mexico lacked an effective rail system to deliver these goods. Rockefeller’s office invested $7.5 million to improve Mexican rails.

Rockefeller sought to fight diseases in Latin America with better water, sewage, and health care. Henry Wallace supported this. Wallace told Roosevelt the U.S. needed to show it would help the poor and uneducated of the word. In 1943, $12.6 million of efforts were towards building new sewers and hospitals plus train more doctors and fight malaria in Latin America. Sen. Hugh Butler opposed these efforts, which was the beginning of conservative opposition to Rockefeller.

The U.S. embassies in Latin America were torn between being forbidden in a State Department memo from investigating political subjects while the Rockefeller office wanted information on political activities. Many large businesses were worried about sabatoge. Some feared the large business leaders were “most reactionary” in seeking to find possible enemy agents.

Rockefeller wanted the U.S. controlling its economic development efforts in Latin America. He rejected a memo that the U.S. should act “upon request” of Latin Americans.

In clashes with the Agriculture Department and the State Department, Rockefeller lost ground in influence as the food supply to Nicaragua was ceased and the food supply to Brazil was greatly reduced. The U.S. was winning the war and was less concerned about keeping Latin America in check.

Edgar Hoover informed Roosevelt about Sumner Wells’s homosexuality and drinking. Former Ambassador William Bullitt spread this news around the Capitol. Roosevelt was forced to ask for Wells’s resignation which he received.

Rockefeller, having lost his ally Wells, tried to improve his relationship with Cordell Hull. Rockefeller also sought other allies. Yet he found allies Henry Wallace and Jesse Jones were removed from their authorities.The Foreign Economic Administration over much of Rockefeller’s operations Hull resigned. Undersecretary Edward Sttettinius became the new Secretary of State. Stettinium appointed Rockefeller as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America.

Argentina, the only Latin American country to maintain relations with the Axis countries through the war was a particular problem. Nazi spies were based there who tracked Allied ship movements. Some military coups happened in Argentina. Jews were not allowed to hold key government positions in Argentina. Jewish newspapers were halted.

In 1943, the leader of Argentina, Pedro Ramirez, was threatened with the U.S seizing Argentine assets in the U.S. Ramirez agreed to cut ties with the Axis nations. A military coup ousted Ramirez. Juan Peron, an admirer of the Axis powers who believed in German style militarism, became the de facto leader behind Edelmio Farrel. The U.S. refused to recognize the Farrell government Great Britain reluctantly went along yet with concern as they consumed much Argentine beef. The U.S. offered to replace most of the lost beef market.

Rockefeller feared the U.S. image as non-interventionists would be destroyed by standing up to the Farrell-Perot government. He also feared that the U.S. criticizing them would only make Farrell and Peron more popular in the region. Rockefeller argued against punishment Argentina.

Roosevelt sought a conference that would create the United Nations. Roosevelt wanted only countries who had declared war on the Axis powers to attend Besides Argentina, this would exclude the Latin American countries of Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Paraguay. Some of these countries had aided the Allie cause and allied Allied bases to be established in their countries. The Allies did not want them to delcare war as this would have extended the range of protection needed.

Argentina stated the wanted nothing fro the U.S and asked for continued non-recognition from the U.S.

At the conference of the U,S,, U.S.S.R., and the U.K. in Yalta, Soviet leader Josef Stalin demanded Argentina be punished. Roosevelt responded by defending the people of Argentina who were stuck with bad leaders. Stalin replied “if Argentina was in this section of the world, I would see that she is punished.” Argentina was discussed no further at Yalta. The Yalta agreement set a March 1 deadline for any nation to declare war on the Axis nations in order to attend the United Nations meeting.

J.Edgar Hoover showed Rockefeller much evidence that the Argentine government worked with Axis agents. Hoover also showed communications that Germany ad Argentina were behind a coup in Bolivia and were working to undermine governments in Brazil and Chile.

A conference at Chaduepec regarding the Americans was established. Rockefeller, knowing the Mexican and other governments were unhappy with the status quo, encouraged these disgruntled countries to raise their concerns. Rockefeller was hoping the U.S. would change its policies. Peron offered to reconcile with the U.S. so long as Argentina was able to keep its national pride. Peron claimed that the collapse of his government could lead to communists taking control of Argentina The U.S. insisted Argentina declare war on Germany and Japan, fight Axis subversives, and withdraw its troops that appeared threatening along the Brazilian and Chilean borders, The F.B.I. bugged phones and restaurant tables at this conference Peron turned down this offer.

Sen. Warren Austin objected to a conference resolution that went beyond wartime. The resolution committed U.S. troops in peacetime to respond to a regional conflict if a majority of Latin American countries requested the troops. Austin stated this was against the U.S. Constitution. Austin amended the resolution to apply during wartime only, when the President had war powers, and that in peacetime a request for troops would be subject to the U.S. Constitutional process. There were concerns that Sen. Tom Connally, who was arriving later, would object to this amended resolution. Connally arrived too tired to read the resolution and said little the next morning. The resolution was approved.

It was counter-offered to Argentina that they declare war on the Axis nations and they agree to the conference resolutions on regional peacekeeping. Some participants insisted the resolution must pass only if Argentina would agree to it. Argentina responded by declaring war on Japan and on Germany :in it s capacity as an ally of Japan.”

An international conference of 46 nations arrived to create the United Nations. The U.S.S.R. wanted two of its republics, Byelorussia and Ukraine, admitted as independent conference members. To get this to pass, the votes of Latin America were needed Harold Stassen created a compromise admitting Argentina, Byelorussia, and Ukraine.

Truman was opposed to Argentina joining the U.N. yet relented on the Soviet issue. Truman insisted Argentina not sign the U.N. declaration. The Soviets then complicated the previous agreement by insisting Poland be included as an admitted nation. While the Soviets objected to admitting Argentina, Argentina, Byelorussia, an Ukraine were admitted while Poland was not.

Walter Lippman ran a column observing the Western Hemisphere had more votes than was its share of world political clout. He feared this would lead to clashes with the Soviet Union.

Sen. Arthur Vanderberg recognized that Rockefeller had put together a voting block against the U.S.S.R. The Soviet resistance to Argentina helped solidify the Latin American voting block. Henry Wallace was upset as he hoped the U.N. would unite the world rather than pit the Western nations against the Soviets.

Rockefeller admitted an anti-Soviet block was being created. He stated Argentina was the most anti-Soviet nation in Latin America.

The U.S., U.K., France, and U.S.S.R.recognized the U.N. Security Council would have the power over regional agreements. This would have destroyed the U.S.-Latin America regional agreement. Rockefeller got Vanderberg to object. Vanderberg stated he would work to kill the U.N. in th Senate if the U.S.-Latin American agreement was ended.

Rockefeller and Latin American representatives warned there were communist networks in Latin America Harold Stassen suggested that nation’s right of self-defense include mutual security pacts like the Chadutepec Latin=American pact where an attack on one is an attack on all. Rockefeller liked this. New language was added to the U/N. charter on collective self-defense in Article 51.

Rockefeller was a leading force in getting the Latin American voting block to support what he desired. When two countries in the Latin American block abstained on a vote,Stettinium was upset. Rockefeller responded he “did not intend to club the small powers into line.” Stettinium replied Rockefeller should take “more vigorous action.” Rockefeller responded “I am taking the course which in my opinion is best suited to the interest of the United State in the long run.”

Rockefeller saw Argentna’s economic was in crisis. He sent 500,000 tons of fuel oil for Argentine vegetable oil. Brazil was upset as it had been told it could not purchase U.S. fuel oil and then Argentina was offering to sell it fuel it had bought from the U.S Brail’s Ambassador to the U.S. Carlos Martins told Rockefeller they no longer trusted him nor the State Department.

Truman named James Byrnes as Secretary of State, This in part was done to appease Democratic Party leaders who realized the Secretary of State was next in line for the Presidency. Byrnes, as a former Supreme Court Justice and former U.S. Senator, had the support of party leaders. Stetinium was not seen by Democratic leaders as Presidential material.

Peron was upset by U..S reporters writing negatively about Argentina. He threatened that a “fanatic” might kill Arnoldo Cortesi of the New York Times. The U.S. Ambassador to Argentina warned that Peron “is dangerous:.Byrnes considered this “very grave”. Rockefeller agreed Peron had gone too far.

After Japan surrendered, Peron suppressed people celebrating he Allied victory with shootings and beatings.

Byrnes asked for Rockefeller’s resignation.Rockefeller gave one last speech as Assistant Secretary praising the Argentine people and their “spontaneous manifestos”. He stated he hoped these actions would lead the Argentine people to demand and create a constitutional government..Spruille Bradan replaced Rockefeller.

Braden worked to undo much of Rockefeller’s work. Braden was upset over ARgentina’s support of Nazis. Perot claimed the U.S. was interring in Argentine affairs. Perot used this as one of his issues in his being elected his country’s leader,

Rockefeller chaired the Victory Clothing Committee which accepted three million pounds of clothing sent to Europe. He also chaired the United Jewish Appeal’s non-sectarian community community raising funds for displaced Jews in Palestine.

New York City Mayor William O’Dwyer asked Rockefeller to hep Parks Commissioner Robert Moses and others in an attempt to have the U.N. placed in New York CIty. Also bidding were San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Rockefeller got his gather to purchase the land where the U.N. was constructed and then donated the land to the U.N.

The Rockefeller brothers bought Rockefeller Center from their father for the appraised value of $2.2 million. They had the Center’s debt transferred to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Charity.

Rockefeller sought to use private donations for humanitarian aid to Latin America He created the American International Association for Economic and Social Development. His father chaired it. Venezuela was threatening that its government would take over its oil industry. The aid provided to Venezuela allowed them to view the oil industry positively as altruistic.

Rockefeller bought a farm in Venezuela. He demonstrated on it how modern techniques could be used by others there.

Rockefeller reached out to Benjamin Hardy, a speechwriter in the State Department. Rockefeller spoke of the assistance his office had provided. Hardy decided this could work in Greece and Turkey. Hardy’s superiors were not interested in the idea. Hardy went to George Elsey, one of President Truman’s speechwriters, with the idea. Elsey wrote it into Truman’s inaugural speech. The Marshall Plan arose fro this would hep rebuild Europe and prevent the spread of Soviet influence.

Rockefeller favored the use of private sector and public sector partnerships. He enticed investors to work with the Brazilian government and with the Venezuelan government. Rockefeller hired Robert Moses for $100,000 to plan a superhighway between Caracas, Venezuela and La Gyaia, Brazil.. Moses used most of the money to hire trusted aides in developing a master plan.

Petty corruption was commonplace in Venezuela. The project was slowed by the project personnel’s refused to engage in payoffs. The project developed a large deficit. Rockefeller turned to his father for help nothing this was in the U.S. national interest. His father instead offered to loan him money at twice the prime interest rate. Rockefeller turned down the offer He applied for a bank loan instead.

Rockefeller created the International Development Advisory Board. Rockefeller had impressed Ambassador Averell Harriman. Rockefeller argued that communism spread amongst the hungry and economically devastated. Harriman recommend Rockefeller to lead this Board. Truman appointed Rockefeller to this post. The State Department created the Technical Cooperation Administration in pat to keep a check on Rockefeller. Averell Harriman was named in charge of foreign aide, this diminishing Rockefeller’s influence. Rockefeller resigned his post.

Rockefeller was among those was Thomas Dewey, Sen. James Duff, and others in persuading Dwight Eisenhower to run for President in 1952. Many of those urging Eisenhower to run were not happy with the conservatism of Sen. Robert Taft. Rockefeller’s uncle Winthrop Aldrich who was Chase Bank President had been a major contributor to To Dewey such hat critics called him “Chase Bank Dewey”. Aldrich saw Eisenhower as the leader of Republican internationalism. Taft, meanwhile, ran against “Eastern internationalists” like Winthrop Aldrich and John Foster Dulles.

Rockefeller tried to join the Eisenhower campaign. Tom Dewey say Rockefeller as a political amateur and kept him out of the campaign.

Rockefeller paid for a nonpartisan study of un-enacted recommendations of government improvement recommended by the Hoover Commissions. President Eisenhower recommended Rockefeller to chair the Special Committee of Government Organization. The other two committee members were Dwight’s brother Milton Eisenhower, the President of Pennsylvania State University, and Arthur Fleming, President of Ohio Wesleyan University

Rockefeller’s committee recommended creating a Presidential Commission on loyalty and security Eisenhower ignored this recommendation.

Rockefeller’s committee proposed a report on reorganizing the Defense Department. Eisenhower liked this report. Congress approved it although opponents loudly denouced it.

Rockefeller’s committee also lead to transforming the Health, Education, and Welfare Department. A Foreign Operations Administration was created, Rockefeller felt his work was done. Eisenhower insisted it was ongoing.

Rockefeller created the Government Affairs Foundation The public, as well as Rockefeller, would learn from its research.

Liberal Party leaders approached Rockefeller about running for New York City Mayor in 1953, The incumbent Vincent Impellitteri had taken over when Mayor O’Dwyer resigned in the midst of scandal to become Ambassador to Mexico. Rockefeller instead accepted an offer to become Undersecretary of Heath, Education, and Welfare (HEW).

Rockefeller hired many women in his HEW post, Rockefeller noted “they’re cheaper” to hire than men, Rockefeller stated he trusted female employees yet few were promoted. It was noted that the females hired were “smart, young, and attractive.”

AFL-CIO President George Meany was concerned that career people in he Social Security Administration were being replaced by Republican patronage workers Meany told Rockefeller the AFL-CIO did not want any of the position but they wanted to protect the career people. Rockefeller agreed to speak with the HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby. Rockefeller also checked with the AFL-CIO for their approved of a new Social Security Commission, which they did approve.

The job purges in he social security office continued though at a reduced rate, Rockefeller, though, had tried his best to ironically help a political enemy of Republicans. Rockefeller and Meany had known and respected each other, George Meany would later declare “the Eisenhower Administration, in my book, was by no means a bad time for labor” due o Rockefeller,

Rockefeller knew working with the AFL-CIO could earn him anger from Republicans. He knew working with them would hep get programs through Congress, Rockefeller also knew he someday would be a candidate.

Rockefeller discovered that of  $9.4 billion in U.S. medical bills ony $1.4 billion was insured. Rockefeller proposed a private, voluntary plan to expand health insurance through a reinsurance fund set up million with $25 million in Federal funds that would insure the insurance companies against “abnormal losses.” House Speaker Sam Rayburn disliked fellow Texan Oveta Culp Hobby. The House killed a bill Republicans had thought would pass easily.

Rockefeller created a school construction program. This also was rejected by Congress.

Some Republican leaders urged Rockefeller to run for Governor in 1954. Anna Rosenberg was among those advising Rockefeller not to run. Rockefeller declined to run, Averell Harriman defeated Irving Ives by 11,000 votes, leading many to conclude Rockefeller would have been a better candidate than Ives.

Rockefeller wanted a position concerning foreign economies. Secretary Hobby had vetoed this idea initially yet saw Rockefeller’s restlessness. She then approved his taking a new position

Rockefeller was in charge of “international understanding” or “military propaganda”. Radio Free Europe was part of these operations.

Rockefeller argued against an Agriculture Department plan to send surplus wheat to the U.S.S>R. due to their poor production. Rockefeller wanted the Soviets to be embarrassed their system failed. Eisenhower agreed with Rockefeller.

Rockefeller urged inancing of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt to keep Egypt from turning to the Soviets. Egypt had purchased arms from Soviet block countries he U.S. offered and withdrew its support when Egypt recognized Mao’’s China. Egypt responded by nationalizing he Suez Canal.

Rockefeller saw spreading nuclear power as boosting the U.S. image.

Rockefeller had a landscape architect look at Eisenhower’s new home near Getysburg, Pa, Rockefeller donated several trees and flowers. Eisenhower was grateful.

Rockefeller also purchased, for $35,000, the table, chars, and carpet Eisenhower had in London while planning D-Day and then gave it to Eisenhower. Rockefeller also gave Eisenhower $2,5000 to produce a Presidential Medal to give to Winston Churchill.

Rockefeller helped create a Civil Defense exercise to demonstrate the idea that the U.S. could receive a nuclear hit and continue operating. Eisenhower thought this was a strange idea.

Rockefeller helped Eisenhower propose that the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. be able to verify each other’s armaments. The world view tended to be that the U.S.A. was supporting disarmament while the Soviet Union was a closed society preventing disarmament. A Western Europe poll found 69% surveyed believed Eisenhower was working toward peace and 47% thought the Soviets were working towards peace.

Rockefeller attempted to gain the favor of Vice President Richard Nixon They both were anti-communists who feared communist colonization.

Rockefeller proposed creating an International Development Authority. It would cost $1 billion. Rockefeller also prosed an idea from his aide Henry Kissinger to create a mobile ready force to handle small wars before they became big warns, This would have cos $4 billion to create over a year and a half and then almost $2 billion afterwards, Rockefeller argued the U.S. had a $3 billion Federal government surplus with a projected $6 billion surplus the next year, Eisenhower never acted on these recommendations,

Rockefeller resigned Roscoe Drummond observed Rockefeller “had no well defined area of policy responsibility...he was so busy accomplishing so little that it was ime to step aside.” Rockefeller stated “I’ve learned one thing.you cant have influence if you haven’t been elected.” Rockefeller still chaired the President’s Advisory Commission on Government Operations.

Henry Kissinger in 1957 published a book describing the U.S. being in a position for a limited nuclear war was “our most effective strategy.” Rockefeller agreed that the U.S. could win a nuclear war

Jud Morhouse was New York state Republican Chairman. He was neutral between fighting factions so was a consensus choice to lead New York Republicans. Morhouse developed a public relations effort that got his comments into early parts on columns on political events. Morhouse approached Rockefeller about running for the U.S. Senate. Rockefeller stated he had no interest in being a legislator. Attorney General Jacob Javits was recruited to run instead. Morhouse then though Rockefeller would be a good candidate for Governor in 1958.

Governor Harriman appointed Rockefeller to chair a Temporary State Commission on a Constitutional Convention. Harriman believed his fend Rockefeller would never use the position as a springboard to run against him.

Morhouse advanced Rockefeller for Governor. Morhouse did this as risk to his political future as he was supposed to be neutral Tom Dewey thought Rockefeller “couldn’t get elected dog catcher” and suggested that Rockefeller work his way up to running for Governor.

Former U.S. Rep, Leonard Hall led in early polls for the Republican nomination. Assemblyman Malcolm Wilson, a conservative legislator known for being effective, endorsed Rockefeller and campaign for Rockefeller. Wilson was able to secure support for Rockefeller from many low populated conservative county leaders, not because they liked Rockefeller, but because of the funding Rockefeller would provide to his campaign and to the Republican ticket.

The “National Review” was critical of Rockefeller’s liberal politics which it labeled “Rockefeller Republicanism.”

Rockefeller’s wife, Mary Clark Rockefeller, was asked about her cousin Sen. Joseph Clark, a Pennsylvania Democrat She replied she had “respect ad esteem” for him yet :he flew the coop.”

Rockefeller asked Malcolm Wilson to be his running mate for Lieutenant Governor.

Democrats tried to make rent control an issue. While Rockefeller had not spoken on this issue, Democrats noted how some Republican legislators wanted to get rid of rent control.

Rockefeller was elected, expanding his Republican base to anti-DeSapio Democrats, New York Post readers who read many pro-Rockefeller articles, and by running well among Jewish Democratic and independent voters.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

He Did Support One Republican: John Lindsay

David Axelrod. Believer: My Forty Years in Politics. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Press, 2015.

Axelrod worked in over 150 political campaigns.

When in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama worked well with Republicans. As President, he initially saw Republican House Speaker John Boehner as a “prospective partner”. Yet Boehner wanted support from Tea Party Republicans who did not want to work with Obama. Obama notes Boeher is the only person who has refused to take his phone call.

Axelrod’s mother worked with I.F. Stone on his “Underground to Palestine” published in 1946. His uncle worked with John Kennedy on a children’s version of “Profiles in Courage”.

As a chid, Axelrod worked on Robert Kennedy’s 1964 election to the U.S. Senate. He then did volunteer work for John Lindsay’s campaign for New York Mayor. He also worked for Andrew Stein who at age 23 was elected to the New York State Assembly.

Aexlrod attended the University of Chicago. Elements of the Democratic Party machinery had ties to gamblers and and labor racketeers. Marshall Korshak was in chage of patronage for the Democratic Party machiner. Leon Despres was a leading critic of the machine. Both Korhak and Despres would provide Aexlrod with political advice

Axelrod was a journalist. He discovered that a member of the Democratic machine worked where county contracts were approved. A number of construction contractors made last minute donations that helped elect a first time candidate as Alderman. While the contributions were legal, Axelrod ha some oontributors admit that they did not even know who the candidate was to whom they had contributed.

Axelrod covered Jane Byrne’s campaign for Chicago Mayor. She upset Mayr Michael Bilanidic.

Mayor Byrne feuded with State Sen. Richard Daley, who ran against Byrne’s candidate in the primary for State Attorney. Byrnce accused Daley of seeking to deny racial minority contractors from obtaining work permits to work in some wards that were mostly whilte A source gave Axelrod information that one of the alleged racial minority contracts was in fact whilte. Daley won a the primary and the election.

Axelrod worked on a story that the Chief of Police Detectives was arresting independent thefrt rights on behalf of organized crime. The newspaper killed the story. Years later the same Chief of Police Detectives was indicted on jewel theft charges in cahoots with organized crimes.

Axelrod was upset that his articles were edited or buried. He accepted an offer to work on U.S. Rep. Paul Simon’s Senate campaign.

Axelrod was Paul Simon’s Communications Direcor. Their opponent was incumbent Sen. Paul Douglas. Percy had become more conservative on economic and school prayer issues to gain support from Reagan Republicans.

Axelrod was later elevated to being Simon’s campaign manager. He worked with David Wilhelm, who would later manage Bill Clinton’s campaign and become Democratic National Committee Chair, and Rahm Emanuel, who was a policy expert who would later become Chicago’s Mayor.

Axelrod became Vice President of a public relations firm. He then opened his own firm Axelrod and Associates. They hired a local actor Dan Castellanota for ads. Castellanota would later become the voice of Homer Simpson.

Axelrod was hired to work on Neil Hartigan’s campaign for Governor. When Axelrod discovered Hartigan had not given much thought to the abortion issue and asked what the Pope’s position on it was, Axelrod felt Hartign was “fatally flawed”. Axelrod left the Hartigan campaign.

Axelrof joined Adlai Stevenson’s campaign for Governor. When a LaRouche candidate, Mark Fairchild, defeated Stevenson’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Stevenson resigned from the Democratic ticket in order to not run with the LaRouche supporter and ran as an independent. He lost the general election.

Axelrod worked on Mayor Harold Washingtons reelection campaign. Washington won yet died seven months later.

Axelrod worked in Paul Simon’s 1988 Presidential campagin. Axelrod notes Simon “may not have been the best messenger but there was power in his message.” Simon’s campaign failed. When Simon ran for reelection to the Senate,, Simon hired advisors to the Gephardt for President campaign. Aexlrod knew that candidates prefer hiring those who had better success than those who handled failed campaigns.

Axelrod worked on Dick Daley’s successful campaign for Chicago Mayor.

Axelrod worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign with past allies campaign manager David Wilhelm and Rahm Emanuel.

Axelrod declined to work for Rod Blagojevich for Governor. Axelrod asked Blagojevich why he was running for Governor. Blagojevich replied “you can help me figure that out” to which Axelrod replied “if you can’t tell me why you’re running, I can’t help you explain it to others.”

Axelrod observed as Barack Obama challenged State Sen. Alice Palmer and had her name removed from the primary ballot for insufficient signatures on her petitions. Axelrod noted Obama had engaged in bare knuckle politics that they didn’t teach in Harvard.

Obama ran for Congress challenging incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush. Obama asked Axelrod to work on his campaign. Axelrod declined yet Aexlrod provided some behind the scenes advice. Rush won.

Obama was financially broke. Obama decided to run for the U.S. Senate. If he lost, he had agreed to his wife Michelle he would leave politics and earn a living with his law degree.

Obama stated his opposition to the war in Iraq. declaring “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.” The incumbent Senator Peter Fitzgerald decided not to seek a second term..

When Philadelphia Mayor John Street discovered a Federal government bug in his office a month before the election, Street feared news of a possible investigation could cause him to lose the election. Axelrod advised Street aide George Burrell “hold a press conference...and accuse (U.S. Attorney General) John Ashcroft of trying to steal this election.” Axelrod observed voters “decided that an enemy of John Ashcroft was a fied of mind: and Street won in a landslide..

Axelrod helped convince former Senator Paul Simon to endorse Barack Obama. Simon died a few days later. Word got out that Obama was s Simon protege. Obama won 53% in the Democratic Primary. Obama easily won the general election.

Axelrod was hired by the John Edwards Presidential campaign in 2004. He argued with Edwards that changing his view on the Iraq War would hurt him. In fact, the Bush campaign did successfully use the change in positions taken by John Kerry and John Edwards in defeating the Democratic ticket.

Axelrod never fully understood Edwards. He resigned from the Edwards campaign to work for another candidate with whom he had a better relationship. Axelrod notes Edwards was a great speaker yet was “plastic” in his relationships with people one on one. Axelrod also found Edwards as one whose “interest in the substance of issues was thin.” Alexlrod found Obama “was just the opposite drilling three and four levels deep on issues.”

Obama gained much positive notice for his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

As U.S. Senator, Obama found John Roberts qualified to be on the Supreme Court yet voted against his confirmation because he feared “that in a contest between the powerful and the powerless...he’ll find a way to make sure the powerful win.”

Obama criticized the “absence of a coherent strategy” on the Iraq War.

Obama kept a low profile. He turned down weekend traveling to speaking engagement to stay with his family. Obama’s acceptance of an offer to speak to Florida Democrats one weekend was an early signal that Obama wanted to get to know key Democratic leaders in a key election state. Obama’s speech was well praised.

Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer feared Hillary Clinton would be the 2008 Democratic Presidential noinee and that she would lose and cause Democrats to lose several Senate seats. They urged Obama to run.

Obama wrote a second book. It sold well. As he toured for his book he began considering a run for President. He decided to run. Hillary Clinton began with a large lead. Obama won the Iowa Caucus with John Edwards finishing second. Obama caught up to Clinton and then Obama became the front runner. Obama got a big boost by winning the South Carolina Primary by 28 percentage points.

The Obama kept its focus on winning delegation. Often Hillary Clinton would win more votes yet Obama would win more delegates.

Tony Rezko’s sale of property to Obama was a potential political liability. Rezko was indicted, A further problem emerged when tapes of Obama’s minister were found offensive by many. Obama was criticized for claiming Pennsylvania voers “get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy towards people was aren’t like them; or anti-immigration sentiment, or trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Obama won the nomination and worked on unifying the Democratic Party.. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy setting off a financial crisis. Republican nominee John McCain was critizied for declaring the “fundamentals of our economy are strong” when it was apparent they were not.

Obama was elected. He convinced Rahm Emanuel to leave his seat in Congess with his being the fourth ranking position in the House Democratic Caucus.in order to become Chief of Staff, Robert Gates was kept on as Defense Secretary. Hillary Clinton was named Secretary of Sate which surprised Axelrod as his former opponent was not in the immediate inside of the Obama circle. Axelrod handled communications.

The financial crisis was a major issue. A stimulus plan increased spending and got the economy improving,

Obama made providing health care to all Americans his priority Republicans took a look at a Frank Luntz poll indicating the public did not consider health care as a crisis. Luntz advised Republicans to resist Obama’s health care proposal and claim it was too much government involvement and that it would liit care and access to doctors. Obama fought hard against the negativity and lack of bipartisan cooperation and got health care approved Obama lost political popularity yet believed his Presidency needed to accomplish its primary goal

After two years, Obama replaced Axelrod with David Plouffe.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Democratic Secrets, Unlike Us Totally Open Republicans, Except When Keeping "Those" Secrets

Terry Mutchler. Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, a Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America. Berkeley, Ca.: Seal Press, 2014.

The author had a committed lesbian relationship (they considered themselves “married” although gay marriage was not then legal) with State Sen. Perry Sevens, who had also been a nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.. When Sevens died without a previous will, Mutcher learned that Seven’s words and instructions were legally meaningless. The house and possessions they had bought together became the property of Sevens’s relatives who took away the house, car, and belongings Mutchler had.

Mutchler and Sevens met while Mutchler was the Illinois Associated Press Bureau Chief and Sevens was in the State Senate. Mutchler fell in love with Sevens at first sight. When she learned she was a Senator, she knew it would be unethical for a journalist to date someone she reports on. That did not stop her for dating Sevens. Mutchler had previously dated an aide to Pennsylvania House Speaker Robert O’Donnell while she was a reporter. She was dating a man and she disclosed the relationship to her boss and al that happened was she was not allowed to report on the State House.

Mutcher gained note for writing about the involvement of organized crime in the Poconos. Mutchler was able to interview someone in the Witness Protection Proggram.

Sevens was the lead budget negotiator for the Senate Democrats. She was the first woman in this position. Mutcher interviewed Sevens hoping Sevens was available to dating. The interviews turned into dinners which turning into dating which, after six weeks of daitng, turned into living together.

Sevens unsuccessfully ran for Governor while they were dating. Sevens had to figure out how to down down appearances at political events for secret dates with Mutchler.

Sevens ran for State Treasurer. A candidate for Governor in the Democratic Primary, Dick Phelan, asked Sevens to run on a ticket with him for Lieutenant Governor. Sevens agreed to this. Sevens had fears that her campaign could be destroyed if the public learned of her relationship with Mutchler  Sevens also learned during the campaign she had cancer.

Phelan lost the primary for Governor. Sevens was thus on a ticket with Dawn Clark Netsch running for Governor. This was the first time in U.S. history where a major political party had women as nominees for both Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Sevens went public with news of her breast cancer. The press was generally favorable in showing that breast cancer patients can continue being active.

Sevens and Mutchler both paid for a new house. To hide their relationship, Mutchler’s name was not put on the deed.

Mutcher left journalism and entered law schoo. Mutchler handled media relations for Mutchler’s reelection campaign.

Sevens ran for Illinois Secretary of State. Sevens had emergency surgery due to a malignant tumor in her skull. The cancer had spread to her spine and ribs. Sevens meanwhile had a primary fight against Tim McCarthy, Orland Park’s Police Chief. A city employee was suspended for using a city vehicle to follow people gathering ballot petition signatures for Sevens. After a person would sign, this city employee would interview the person who signed.

The McCarthy campaign successfully challenged the Sevens nominating petitions House Speaker Michael Madigan supported he challenge despite initially denying he did It was determined the Sevens campaign was 176 signatures short and she was not placed on the ballot.

Sevens died for metastatic breast cancer.

Mutcher experienced the lack of legal rights that a gay partner had even though they lived their lives as if they were married. She even lost the sympathy cards.

Mutcher drank heavily and almost dropped out of law school. A friend helped her refocus. She graduated from law school and worked for a law firm. he supported Marriage Equality legislation. She became the first Pennsylvania Open Records Office Executive Director.