The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Fifty Years Ago

Rich Galen

Monday December 30, 2019

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  • Given the publication calendar for MULLINGS, this will be the final edition of the second decade of the third millennium of the Western calendar, first introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.

  • Every producer, editor, reporter and blogger has begun lining up their "End-of-the-Year" and/or "End-of-the-Decade" stories.

  • Because of my contrarian nature, I began thinking about what has changed, not in the past 20 years, but in the past 50 years - 1970.

  • Here's a partial list. The first number is the 1970 number. The number in parentheses is the 2020 (in most cases, the estimated) number, follow:
    World population: 4.4 billion (6.1 billion) +38.64%
    U.S. population: 205 million (333.5 million) +62.68%
    U.S. GDP: $1,076 trillion ($20.49 trillion) +1,763.64%
    Median Family Income: $9,870 ($61,937) +527.58%
    Median Family income - Minorities: $6,520 ($41,511) +536.67%
    Poverty Level 3-person household: $3,099 ($25,750) +730.91%
    Federal Minimum Wage: $1.60 ($11.00) +587.5%
    McDonald's Big Mac: $0.65 ($3.79) + 483.08%
    Dow Jones Opening: 809.20 (28,645.26) + 3,440.79%
    U.S. Privately Owned Cars: 88.8 million (263 million) +195.51%
    Ford Mustang Convertible: $3,126 ($32,170) + 929.11%
    Marietta College Tuition: $2,950 ($26,040) +782.71%
    U.S. Troops Stationed in Vietnam: 334,600 (0)
    Smartphones: 0 (272.6 million)
    Networked emails (1971) : 1 (293.6 billion - per day)
    Basic IBM Computer: $4.6 million ($348) -99.99%
    Rich Galen's Age: 23 (73) +217.39%

  • When people - younger people - talk about how bad the divisions are in American society as we approach 2020, I remind them about those days 50-ish years ago.

  • Two years earlier, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The Democratic Convention deteriorated into a week-long riot. Sections of major U.S. Cities were set afire. There were machine guns mounted on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

  • In 1970 the Kent State Shootings took place during which four students were killed (and nine injurec) by Ohio National Guard troops who had been sent to the school to put down riots.


    I was a member of the Ohio National Guard at the time, but our unit had been to Ohio University and to Ohio State University, so we were off the rotation for Kent State.

    According to Wikipedia, the soldiers were armed with M-1 rifles which fired 30-06 rounds. I thought we had been issued M-14 rifles (which fired 7.62 mm NATO rounds) by then, but I could be wrong. In any event it was not until long after that Guard units were issued rubber bullets for use in crowd control.

    My unit was an anti-aircraft unit which underwent minimal training in civil disobedience situations. The closest we ever came to having to deal with a riot was at Ohio State where students threw rocks at us.

    At someone's suggestion, we threw rocks back at the students and they dispersed.


  • On the political front, Richard Nixon was President. If anything, Nixon generated even harsher reactions than Donald Trump. The biggest difference between Watergate and Ukraine-gate is that the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.

  • The other biggest difference was that Nixon was caught on tape talking about how to cover up the break. When Nixon, in response to a Congressional subpoena, turned over edited summaries of the tapes, claiming executive privilege to protect the source material.

  • Arguing on behalf of Nixon, his attorney stated:
    "The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment."

  • The Special Prosecutor appealed directly to the Supreme Court which, in an 8-0 ruling held:
    The president cannot use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence that is "demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial."

  • Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.

  • The point to all this is we survived the 1968 riots, the 1970 prices, and the 1972-74 Nixon investigation.

  • Fifty years from now, someone will look back on 2020 and marvel at the relative calm compared to 2070.

  • Happy New Year!

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Gregorian Calendar, to 1968, to Kent State, and to the U.S. v. Nixon court case.

    The Mullfoto is from the meat counter at a local high-end grocery store. It is of a steak that costs $100/lb. I thought that was Mullworthy.

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