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April 2, 2012

The Corporate State of Fascism

Pug Winokur
Part One of this saga served as an introduction to Pug Winokur, how he rose from being the son of a Jewish pawnbroker to being mentored by Harvard's "whiz kids" at the Pentagon.
 A generation after Robert McNamara and his boss, Charles Bates (Tex) Thornton at the close of WWII had impressed the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense with their ability to organize statistics in a way that made numbers understandable to the average military moron, Pug was learning the same subject at their alma mater. Of course, money--to an accountant--is just another number, one which can be organized or manipulated in the same way as kill ratios in a cold war against communism. Pug's boss at the Pentagon, Robert McNamara, was described by David Talbot in Mother Jones magazine in 1984, as:
the cost-control wizard who thought the war could be run like a Ford assembly line: body counts, kill ratios, bombing raids. And when he saw that it wasn't adding up, that it did not compute, he repeatedly lied—to Congress, to the press, to the American public.

by Linda Minor © 2002


Harvard in the Decade of the Sixties

After finishing his Ph.D at Harvard in applied mathematics (decision and control theory) in 1967 during the peak of the Vietnam draft, Pug ran out of reasons to seek deferment from the military and entered the Army while one of Harvard's own whiz kids, Robert Strange McNamara, was Secretary of Defense. It is not unfeasible to suspect that Harvard had much to gain by the ongoing war in the Vietnam region, given the fact that some of its largest donors during the previous century had acquired their first surplus capital during the days following Great Britain's Opium Wars with China to force that country to allow Indian opium to be sold to the Chinese market, in violation of China's prohibitions against the importation. The hidden history was there for all researchers to discover.

It is also not unfeasible to imagine that those running Harvard's endowment in 1960, the year alumnus John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House, anticipated that Harvard's star might be on the rise; alas, such hopes, if they in fact existed, were soon dashed by the discovery he was not anyone's pawn. While hosting these men at a black-tie White House stag dinner,

President Kennedy had made it quite clear in his speech that May of 1963--with his wry, if not cynical, wit--that he held their vaunted positions within the vestibule of power in no great esteem:

McNamara's Band

At any rate, President Kennedy was a mere memory by the time Pug exited Harvard's ivied halls and found himself ensconsed within Robert McNamara's Pentagon, as cataloged in Part One. President Kennedy was assassinated by persons unknown--definitely not by Lee Harvey Oswald--in late 1963. Only a few months before his death, JFK appointed Harvard friend, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., as the United States ambassador to South Vietnam, at a
"critical period in the evolution of American policy there. During the first of Lodge's two embassies in Saigon, a U.S. government-approved coup overthrew President Diem of South Vietnam and another U.S.-inspired coup brought to power a Vietnamese general trained in America.... [Anne E. Blair's book, Lodge in Vietnam], focused on Lodge's ambassadorship from 1963 to June 1964, examining the constraints and possibilities inherent in the Vietnam situation at that time and revealing the role Lodge played in shaping President Lyndon Johnson's 1965 decision to commit U.S. troops to the war."
James W. Douglass in his book, JFK and the Unspeakable, shows, according to the review by James DiEugenio, "how men like Henry Cabot Lodge ... did not just obstruct, but actually subverted President Kennedy's wishes in Saigon." Douglass gives an example of how single-minded JFK was on pursuing a neutralization policy in Laos by excerpting a phone call the president had with his point man on the 1962 Laos negotiations, Averell Harriman:
"Did you understand?  I want a negotiated settlement in Laos.  I don't want to put troops in."

Secretary McNamara
More than anyone else it was Robert McNamara who helped LBJ subvert JFK's expressed desire not to send troops to Laos, even though the Irish Catholic was trusted implicitly by the martyred President who had appointed him, according to conclusions reached by Peter Janney in Mary's Mosaic.  Janney based his conclusions on conversation set out in a 1998 book called One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964 by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy J. Naftali.

LBJ announced his decision not to run for reelection March 31, 1968--five days before Martin Luther King, Jr. would be assassinated and sixty-six days before Robert F. Kennedy would be killed while campaigning in California. Befor that date McNamara had already announced his retirement in order to assume the presidency of the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development), where he would remain until 1981. 

Pug Winokur remained at Defense, working for Averell Harriman's friend from Truman days, Clark Clifford, an attorney from Truman's home turf, Missouri, whom LBJ named to replace McNamara. Yale grad Harriman, Ambassador to the Soviet Union for both FDR and Truman, also served as one of the non-Harvard elite surrounding Kennedy, who sent him a telegram, dripping with arrogant humor which only the upper class finds witty, making reference to the above-mentioned Harvard dinner hosted by the White House in May 1963:

Morgen Witzel in The Encyclopedia of the History of American Management, wrote:

Excerpts from page 365

Tex Thornton
1968 Horrors

It will be recalled from Part One that after leaving the Army Pug helped to create the Inner City Fund in 1969 with two other Defense Department analysts. This first attempt at setting up a business occurred only a few months after the horrendous last page of the 1968 calendar had been turned, and the country was still in shock from the events of that year.

In March the Kerner Commission -- President Johnson's "own carefully selected commission on racial disorder ... came out with a dire warning that we will have to spend about as much [money] at home as we are in Vietnam or else experience guerrilla fighting here as well as in Saigon, and end up another South Africa, divided, separate and unequal,"  as by columnist Drew Pearson eloquently phrased the situation the week the report was first issued.

Pearson emphasized the budget constraints of attempting to ameliorate the possibility of massive race riots in the inner cities if money was not poured into improving conditions in the ghettos, while war was at its peak in Vietnam, hinting that the Texas President was putting pressure on "his man" on the commission to convince the others to back off their dire warnings:
The only real holdout — though he also signed [the report] — was Charles B. Thorton, an old Texas friend of LBJ's. It was significant that the first cold water poured on the report came from another Texan, the President's good friend, Rep. George Mahon, of Lubbock, Tex., who also is worried about cutting domestic spending....
Thornton, as head of the far-flung Litton Industries, had a somewhat  embarrassing conflict between money for war and money for big cities. He is chairman of an industrial complex which includes Aero Service, Airtron Inc., Clifton Precision, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Kester Solder Co., Kimball Systems,
Litton Precision Products, Monroe Calculating Machine, and Protexray.
He even has a contract with the military dictatorship of Greece to bring industry to Greece on a 10 per cent commission basis. Litton's Industrial complex drew down $180,100,000 from the taxpayers in defense contracts during fiscal 1967, plus another $18,396,000 in research grants. Although voicing objections during the commission sessions, Thornton finally went along with its vigorous warning to the nation. Since publication, however, he's been talking to friends privately, including his friend LBJ.
During this time Pug was still in the Army stationed in the Pentagon. In 1969 he left to set up a "venture capital fund" to start small business operations and train minority entrepreneurs. By the time he left in 1974, the business would be transitioning into one which acted as a consultant to big business donors who wanted to get tax breaks for aiding in President Nixon's new policies with regard to curing the problems of minority businesses, into a corporation that began acquiring other corporate entities.

After his marriage to Deanne Howard (a program analyst for the National Endowment for the Humanities) in March 1971, Pug sought employment in California, where his wife grew up; he found a job there in 1974, working for Pacific Holding Corporation, a company which had recently acquired a private real estate sales and development group in Los Angeles owned by descendants of James Polk McCarthy. It too was beginning to change, strangely enough, the very year Pug Winokur arrived on the scene. We'll save that for Part Three.