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Franklin bifocals Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Humorist Will Rogers    Young Will Rogers
[1879 - Will Rogers, humorist, born in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)]

Actor Gig Young
[1913 - Gig Young (Byron Elsworth Barr),
Academy Award-winning actor,
born in St. Cloud, Minnesota]

Actor Art Carney    Art Carney as Ed Norton in the Honeymooners
[1918 - Art (William Matthew) Carney, Academy Award-winning actor, born
in Mount Vernon, New York]

Actor Martin Balsam
[1919 - Martin (Henry) Balsam, Academy Award-winning actor,
born in The Bronx]

Poet T.S. Eliot
[1948 - T.S. Eliot wins Nobel Prize in literature]

President Dwight D. Eisenhower    34th President Dwight Eisenhower
[1952 - Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected 34th president]

Iranian armed militants
[1979 - Iranian terrorists storm U.S. Embassy, take 90 hostages]

Exit Strategy

On this day in 1979, radical Islamic fundamentalist followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 90 hostages. The Ayatollah released some non-U.S. captives, females, and minority Americans. The remaining fifty-two U.S. male captives remained hostages of the Ayatollah for the next 14 months. President Jimmy Carter was unable to resolve the crisis, and in November 1980 Carter lost to Ronald Reagan. The day of Reagan's inauguration almost $3 billion in frozen Iranian assets were released by the US, and the Iranians were promised $5 billion more in US financial aid. Minutes after Reagan was sworn in, an Algerian airliner flew the 52 U.S. hostages out of Iran.

So much for campaign rhetoric about foreign terrorists never influencing a United States presidential election. They did a pretty good job of it in 1980. So much also for Reagan's vow not to negotiate with terrorists. Someone clearly did so in order to get him elected, and he himself acknowledged to the nation in 1987 during the Iran-Contra scandal that he had been involved in the decision to secretly sell arms to the Iranians. At least President Reagan had the decency to apologize to us.

To his credit, President Reagan moved swiftly to clean the White House. John Poindexter and Oliver North both took bullets for the President, who denied knowing what they were up to. Sure. The only reason imaginable why smart guys like North, Poindexter, (and later Scooter Libby) would engage in stupid acts of lying to Congress or to the Grand Jury is to protect the Chief. You and I have probably worked for a boss or two. We learned the first day on the job that you do not put your boss in harms way without telling him or her about it first. Can you imagine that Presidents Reagan and Bush, and Vice President Cheney were not in the loop when these loyal soldiers did what they did? Do you still believe in the Tooth Fairy?

With adoration of the late President Reagan in mind, the Bush administration apparently took a page from his book and paid off most of the former insurgents in Iraq to bring about a decrease in violence in that occupied land. The trouble is that with our economic meltdown on the home front we can ill afford the ten billion dollars a month it is costing us to keep an uncertain lid on the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan while millions of American families are losing their jobs, homes, and health care.

Iranian Terrorists burn US Flag in 1979

William's Whimsical Words:

Upon leaving the presidency in 1961, President Eisenhower warned the nation of the danger of too much power being concentrated in the Military-Industrial Complex. Apparently, no one listened.

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