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In one exchange with a Congressman this morning, Hillary Clinton acknowledged that there was an over-reaction that led to war when the U.S. claimed that weapons of mass destruction were in the hands of the Iraqui government. I wonder if this was code language that explains why U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice cited in a TV interview mob violence as the reason for the Benghazi attack, and did not mention that it was conducted by terrorists, at a time she would have known the truth?

At a juncture when a public accusation that a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11 was behind the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans might have lit a candle of retailiation that could have led to war across the middle east, or lack of faith in a Presidential candidate for re-election, is it possible that the geniouses in Washington decided the American people couldn’t handle the truth?

If you doubt the plausability of this interpretation of events, consider that in 1968, recently released papers of President Lyndon Johnson confirm that he decided against accusing Richard Nixon of treason for blocking peace talks regarding Vietnam so the war in Vietnam couldn’t be concluded before the fall election, which Nixon won. The reason Johnson didn’t go public with his charges against Nixon was because Johnson’s advisors believed that such an accusation on the eve of an election could destabilize the American public.

If this suggests to you, as it does to me, that Obama’s advisors felt the American people couldn’t handle the truth that America was successfully attacked again on the anniversary of 9/11, and on the verge of another Presidential election, then perhaps you are ignoring the lessons of history. “Weapons of mass destruction” looks like just such code-language regarding Benghazi.  

Just hit a cumulative 30,000 hits on my WordPress blog. Yeah! Not major media but more than my Hotmail and Facebook friends list combined.

Guess I have work to do to maintain this little franchise…

The new Steven Spielberg film, where Daniel Day Lewis looks like a photograph of the real Lincoln at least 73% of the time, is something more: it is a test.

It is a test of how much we are willing to trust the lawyerly class to govern our nation. We recognize rhetorical debates and deal-making dominating ethics and logic until the last minutes of the final vote on the 13th Amendment. The fundamental truth and benefits of human political equality is portrayed as secondary to securing postal managerships and other influence-peddling. We are taunted by how crass and dogmatic and vain is the human condition.

We are tested by this newsreel of a period film to wonder at how humanity has managed to move forward, occasionally, in the face our selfishly aggressive nature. Yet sometimes we do make progress, and this portrays such a moment, in all it’s angst.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Apparently, Ackerman McQueen of Tulsa is the long-time PR agency for the National Rifle Assn. Their new video, suggesting that the Secret Service protection given the President’s children justifies similar armed protection for all children in schools, seems to me to reflect how out of touch the NRA is with reality, or else that they have No Respect for America!

Nixon, who would have turned 100 last week, cost America 20,000 lives in Vietnam. I left for Saigon a few weeks after he won the election in ’68, using dirty tricks to deny the U.S. a peace under the democrats. I was lucky to not be among the 20,000, unlike so many others. I wrote about this episode in my essay, “All That Glitters” which can be searched on the web. More details are in a new article for the Guardian by distinguished author Michael Cohen at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/10/richard-nixon-100-criminal-traitor#start-of-comments

Fred had just observed his 80th birthday, and had served for nearly a decade as Chairman Emeritus of McDonald’s Corporation, the world’s largest restaurant company and a Dow Jones 30 Industrial. He began his McCareer as one of entrepreneur Ray Kroc’s first employees, as a grill man.

Over the years he developed the operating system (Quality, Service and Cleanliness) that made McDonald’s famous. He kept a low profile outside the company, but was a lion to those inside the 34 thousand restaurant organization — employees, franchises and suppliers — which he called the three-legged stool upon which McDonald’s stood. Fred created the training system that introduced millions of employees to the world of responsible work. Hamburger Universities and their home campus, the Fred L. Turner Training Center (which I named) in Oak Brook, IL, are taken very seriously by the generations of managers who are graduates. I hold a Bachelor of Hamburgerology degree, 1985.

I wrote about Fred, as well as fellow business legends,Dick McDonald and Ray Kroc, in my essay for the Chicago Literary Club, “Breakfast With Mr. McDonald.” You can Google it, or go to http://www.chiit.org and search under Ebeling. Fred was a wonderfully irascible character.

I heard it again on Face the Nation Sunday — both Nancy Pelosi and Bob Scheifer used the term “middle class” in speaking about middle income Americans. Come on! This is America, where we cherish the ability, or at least the potential, for people to move up through the income strata, and not be forever bound by a social “class” structure. Yet our politicians and news media, a the highest levels, refuse to align their semantics with American ideals. Hence, they contribute to perpetuating the premise that we are bound to social “classes” in the United States.

I wrote about this semantic phenomenon at some length in my blog on September 23 last year. There are plenty of “lower income” people who are anything but “lower class.” They may have degrees, creativity or just a work ethic that gives them potential for social mobility, and not everyone values mere economic mobility in the same way. And there are certainly the “upper income” types who are anything but “upper class,” eg. the Trumps of the world. As for those of us at various levels of “middle income,” we are certainly not bound to the “middle class.”

Like most of us, I find the endless reporting of the daily habits of British royalty interesting, if not fascinating, but only in the sense of voyeuristic appreciation of celebrities who are famous for being famous. But they are anachronisms of  bygone times, and to my mind they have no place in a modern democratic society which allows both social and economic mobility. While yes, there are some people of every economic strata who are “classy,” isn’t it about time we left social caste or classes to history, and take them out of our politics, our news media and our modern lives. It is time our semantics and our realities become better aligned.

NBC-TV’s Today show this morning did a feature on the question of whether French Fries are really French, or from Belgium. Michelle Kosinski reported from Europe, while Willie Geist and the Today team speculated in New York.

The real answer to the question, and the fascinating history of the tantalizing tuber can be found in my 2005 essay, “French Fried: From Monticello to the Moon,” which I researched and presented to the Chicago Literary Club in 2005. Having headed corporate communications for McDonald’s for 15 years, I had a head start on the subject.

You can read the essay online by going to http://www.chilit.org and entering “French Fried” in the search box.

P.S.If you can’t wait to know, the answer is…what we call French Fries probably came from Belgium!

January 2013
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