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As an old tank driver (see my tank driver’s license above, issued at The U.S. Army Armor School in 1966), I took more than a passing interest in reading “Killing Patton,” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Henry Holt, 2014). The clear suggestion of the book is that the most famous U.S. armor general died not innocently in a roadside auto accident in Europe just after the end of WWII, but was secretly assassinated at the order of General Wild Bill Donovan, founder of the OSS, the precursor of the CIA, in league with the Soviet NKVD, precursor to the KGB of today.

Further reading on this long-ignored assassination theory suggests there are logical explanations that counter it, and maintain the official position that Patton’s death was strictly an accident. However, which ever way Patton died, it is clear that he perceived more clearly than most that the ailing Roosevelt was a weak negotiator with the ruthless Stalin, and too readily gave up Soviet control of much of eastern Europe, which remained in the Soviet block for a half century after the war, and changed the course of history. Just before his untimely death, Patton was about to resign from the Army and go public with his concerns about post-war Europe, which would obviously become an embarrassment or worse for the U.S. and British government.

That story, of equivocation by the American and British governments in the final days of World War II  and its immediate aftermath, and the resulting long-term costs in terms of lives and global power, is a story that the authors of “Killing Patton,” and now myself, believe is yet to be fully embraced by history. That, and the circumstances of his death, need more light.   .

Governor Walker is apparently proposing state legislation that would require drug testing of welfare applicants. Is his logic that those who would receive state money deserve testing to prove they are drug free? If so, how about those receiving pay from the state, like himself and legislators? What about the rich who are receiving tax breaks for their businesses? What about taxpayers who receive tax deductions on their state income taxes? What about investors, big and small, who receive tax breaks?

Either Walker and his people have no idea what they are doing, or they believe that the state has some special power to deny state benefits to an unfortunate subset of the population because of lifestyle decisions, to the exclusion of that censure on others who the state chooses to favor. While, wearing a blindfold, some may see his proposals as a “social benefit,” the fact is that it is an undemocratic, prejudicial proposal that would indecently subject the weakest members of the state economy to a state-ordered litmus test that spares those who are simply better off.

Can’t understand why Allstate Insurance is sponsoring the Walenda skywalk. I thought insurance is about supporting risk reduction, not risk optimization. From a public affairs and consumer viewpoint it seems totally inappropriate. From a crass exploitation perspective, one might congratulate The Leo Burnett Company.

When I served in corporate public affairs at Allstate’s North Brook HQ in the late 60s, we worked across multiple platforms to help prevent and penalize drunk driving, which made sense for the Good Hands people. Guess perspectives on serving the public have changed a lot there over 50 years.

November 2014

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