1967 - Bill Clinton                                   Home

In 1967 I was still attending the University of Illinois and living off campus in an apartment with a roommate whom I had been living with for a year or so (Vic Fein). Vic and I were different in many ways. Vic was neat and always cleaning and I was a slob. Vic was very social and I was more withdrawn. He had to have a woman around and had much more experience with women than I did. He was constantly having parties in the basement which he had fixed up as a social room. He was majoring in English and getting to know people in the drama department and inviting them over for parties which usually included some marijuana.

His older brother Verne was one of the leaders of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) which was becoming more radical and anti-war. I got to know Verne, and although I was not a member of SDS I was on the fringes of the movement and knew the players.

One of Vic's friends from high school who was also attending the university and who I had come to be good friends with was a guy named Jim Kornibe, who was also majoring in English. Jim was more serious than Vic about literature and read a lot. I was taking Electrical Engineering and had not read much literature and was fascinated to hear Jim talk about the books he was reading and listen in on discussions he would have with his acquaintances. I began hanging around with him and we were often together. Some of the books he was talking about at the time was “King Lear”, “End of the Road”, James Joyce's “Ulysses”, and ”Catch 22”. It was my first introduction into a more intellectual strata and I was captivated. We saw a lot of movies together; Bergman's “The Seventh Seal”, “Zorba the Greek”, “Blowup”,”One-Eyed Jacks”,”A Thousand Clowns”,”Dr Stangelove”,”Cat Ballou”,”Dr Zhivago”,”The Pawnbroker”,”The Professionals”,”Alfie”,”Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf”,”Cool Hand Luke”,”In the Heat of the Night”,"To Sir - With Love",”Bonnie and Clyde”,"The Graduate"  to name a few.

In the fall of 67 Verne and some of the SDS students were talking about going to Washington, D.C. to join in the anti-war demonstration and Jim and I decided to go. There were two or three buses that went from our university. As we arrived we walked to the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and joined the thousands of others there to listen to the speeches. There was lots of pot floating around and I took a few tokes as we sat on the ground and listened to the speakers.

Later in the afternoon we all marched over to the pentagon. I got separated from Jim and wound up with another acquaintance named Rick. At the Pentagon there were thousands of young people with soldiers and/or national guardsmen in front of the Pentagon keeping the students from getting too close. On the left there was an inclined ramp leading up to the side of the Pentagon and there seemed to be something going on up there so Rick and I went up there.

As we got there we saw a camera crew standing around where the protesters met the guardsmen and I went over to check it out. As I got there I saw a young male protester talking to a guardsman whose gun was pointing out at a 45 degree angle in front of him. As I saw that the cameras were rolling and the young man was putting a flower in the gun I decided to try to get in the picture and walked between two guardsmen behind the guardsman whose gun the flower was being put in. At that point I thought if I turned around and waved I'd get in the picture but it would ruin the shot and it would never get on TV. So instead I just satisfied myself with reasoning that if it made it to TV I would know that the shot of the person from just above the waist on down walking behind the guardsman was me.

I then walked out from behind the guardsmen back to in front of them about 20 feet. As I did I looked down from our elevated position and could see a line of guardsmen in front of the entrance to the Pentagon with thousands of protesters in front of them. As soon as I turned back around toward the camera a guardsman's helmet landed right at my feet. A protester must have removed it from the head of one of the guardsman and flung it. My first thought was to put it on my head and wear it, but I thought that might be a little dangerous. Instead I picked it up and threw it as far as I could down in front of the Pentagon behind the guardsmen keeping the thousands of protesters away. Because of our elevated position the helmet traveled quite a distance (maybe 30 or 40 yards) before hitting the ground and was in the air for quite awhile before landing. Because of that and the fact that many of the protesters had already been looking in the direction of the cameras to see what was going on most of them saw the helmet fly through the air and land behind the guardsmen. As they let out a huge cheer I raised my fist.

Soon after that the protesters in front of the Pentagon began pushing in closer and Rick and I decided to go down there. Some tried to break through and ran into the Pentagon and were arrested. It started to get a little emotional and I was beginning to feel angry and frustrated about the war, the Kennedy assassination, and powerlessness of not being able to do anything about it and standing right in front of the building of one of the organizations that I believed to be responsible for it all.

Although I had not come there with any intentions of burning my draft card, I decided to do it then. The only problem was I had two draft cards and one was expired. As I didn't think anyone was going to be watching and it would just be a symbolic act I decided to burn the expired one. I asked Rick if he wanted to burn his card and he said yes. He took his out and I took my expired one out. I didn't tell him about my card being expired. As we prepared to burn them a young man came up from behind us and asked us in a southern accent if we were going to burn our draft cards. We said "Yes" and he asked if we would wait till he went and got the cameras. We said "OK" and he said to wait right there. I figured that he must have been working with the media and had seen me throw the helmet and decided to follow me.

As he left to get the cameramen I began to worry about two things. One - whether I wanted to be seen on national TV burning my draft card and two - if someone would check my draft card before I lit it up. I could have switched back to the non-expired draft card while waiting but for some reason I decided not to. Maybe I didn't want to admit to Rick that I was planning on burning my expired draft card.

After a few minutes the young man showed up with the camera crew. Sure enough the first thing he did was ask for our draft cards. I decided just to give it to him and see if he caught it. He examined mine and started to give it back and then exclaimed "Hey!" My heart sunk. Then he just laughed "HA HA" in his southern guffaw and said "OK" and handed it back to me. He had caught the expiration date and decided to let me slide and he thought it was funny. Rick and I burned our cards on TV and the camera crew and the young man and cameras departed.

On the trip back to campus I started to worry about what I had done. Would I be recognized? The young man had our names. Could they wind up getting to the FBI or CIA? Rick and I never talked about it and I never told anyone else about it. I don't remember if I saw the news that night and realized immediately that we were on TV all over the world. I didn't watch TV much at that time, so it might have been some time before I actually saw the film and realized the importance of it but I never told anyone about it until the 90s when I told my older brother who served in Vietnam.

I remember feeling grateful that they had not exposed our faces and that they had reversed the film. But there was still the matter of whether our names had been divulged to higher authorities, which I thought about through the years. After reading more about Bill Clinton I am of the opinion that he was monitoring the student demonstrations at the time for some intelligence agencies, probably the CIA and that he did give them our names. I have since read that the CIA infiltrated the major news agencies heavily at that time, especially ABC. I read that while in England leading demonstrations Bill reported back to Cord Meyer, a CIA agent whose ex-wife was having an affair with Kennedy at the time of his assassination. She was murdered on the streets of DC in 64. On his deathbed in 2001 Cord Meyer said he thought she was murdered by “the same sons of bitches that killed Kennedy.” One has to consider however that with his close association with Angleton that he was in the loop and would have a little extra motivation for wanting JFK dead.

In my opinion the major force in the USA responsible for the JFK assassination was James Jesus Angleton, the head of counter-intelligence at the CIA and who at the time was spying on domestic anti-war protesters. So I don't doubt that he would have wanted to know who those two individuals who burned their draft cards in front of the Pentagon were. Since my former classmate Larry Ellison was working on the database that kept track of the CIA's information I feel he might have noticed my name in there. I know from my experience in database programming that the programmer usually has to have access to the data to debug the software in-house.

The next weekend I happened to walk into 'The Red Herring', a local coffee house where this young long haired guitar player was singing a song about a restaurant and some hippies who were arrested for dumping garbage. In the last verses he started singing about being drafted and going to the draft board and having to meet with a psychiatrist and being asked to sign a form saying he had been rehabilitated from his criminal past after which he was rejected for service as being morally unfit. Since I had just recently burned my draft card in front of the Pentagon on national television I found it quite interesting.

I later learned that the singer was Arlo Guthrie and the song was "Alice's Restaurant" and it would soon go on to become a famous anti-draft plea. It was the first time I had ever heard of him or the song, although I was aware of some of his dad's work (Woody). The fact that he was on our campus at that time and singing about that topic seems quite a coincidence to me.

From researching Arlo's biography I now know that Arlo first came up with the idea for the song after getting out of jail on Thanksgiving 1965 and that an album was released in 1967. I have to wonder if his presence there at that time didn't have something to do with word getting to him that the draft card burners on TV at the Pentagon were from the U. of Ill. My future encounter with my draft board in Chicago would be similar to his account in Alice's Restaurant which you will read about in the next Bill Clinton encounter.

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Alice's Restaurant
By Arlo Guthrie
This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the
restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant,

that's just the name of the song, and that's why I called the song Alice's

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant

Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the

restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the
church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog. And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
room downstairs where the pews used to be in.  Havin' all that room,
seein' as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn't
have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it'd be
a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump.  So

we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW
microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed
on toward the city dump.

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
dump saying, "Closed on Thanksgiving."  And we had never heard of a dump

closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

We didn't find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the

cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
decided to throw our's down.

That's what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
dinner that couldn't be beat, went to sleep and didn't get up until the

next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie.  He said, "Kid,
we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it." And
I said, "Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
under that garbage."

After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down

and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
police officer's station.  So we got in the red VW microbus with the
shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
police officer's station.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
the police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for

being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and
we didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
and told us never to be see driving garbage around the vicinity again,
which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station
there was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
both immediately arrested.  Handcuffed.  And I said "Obie, I don't think I
can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on."  He said, "Shut up, kid.
Get in the back of the patrol car."

And that's what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the
quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of

Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop
signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the
Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars,
being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to
get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of
cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer's station.
They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and
they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each
one was to be used as evidence against us.  Took pictures of the approach,
the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to
mention the aerial photography.

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail.  Obie said he was going to put
us in the cell.  Said, "Kid, I'm going to put you in the cell, I want your

wallet and your belt."  And I said, "Obie, I can understand you wanting my
wallet so I don't have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you
want my belt for?"  And he said, "Kid, we don't want any hangings."  I
said, "Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?"
Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the
toilet seat so I couldn't hit myself over the head and drown, and he took
out the toilet paper so I couldn't bend the bars roll out the - roll the
toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape.  Obie
was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice
(remember Alice? It's a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few
nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back
to the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat,
and didn't get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.

We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back

of each one, sat down.  Man came in said, "All rise."  We all stood up,
and Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he
sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the
twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows
and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.
And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry,
'cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American
blind justice, and there wasn't nothing he could do about it, and the
judge wasn't going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us.  And
we was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but thats not
what I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about the draft.

They got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street,
where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,

neglected and selected.  I went down to get my physical examination one
day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning.  `Cause I wanted to
look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
me a piece of paper, said, "Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604."

And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill.  I mean, I wanna, I
wanna kill.  Kill.  I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and

guts and veins in my teeth.  Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
KILL, KILL."  And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and
he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
yelling, "KILL, KILL."  And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Didn't feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections,
detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me

at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four
hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty
ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was
inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no
part untouched.  Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the
last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there,
and I walked up and said, "What do you want?"  He said, "Kid, we only got
one question. Have you ever been arrested?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacre,
with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all

the phenome... - and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, did you ever
go to court?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on

the back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want
you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W .... NOW kid!!"

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W's
where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after

committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
looking people on the bench there.  Mother rapers.  Father stabbers.  Father
rapers!  Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me!  And
they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the
bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly
'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?"  I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay
$50 and pick up the garbage."  He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?"
And I said, "Littering."  And they all moved away from me on the bench
there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
said, "And creating a nuisance."  And they all came back, shook my hand,
and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
bench.  And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of
things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it
up and said.

"Kids, this-piece-of-paper's-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-

officer's-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say", and talked for
forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had
fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there,
and I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it
down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the
pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the
other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on
the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the
following words:


I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to
ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm

sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench
'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women,
kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug."  He looked at me and
said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints
off to Washington."

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints.  And the only reason I'm

singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into
the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say "Shrink, You can get
anything you want, at Alice's restaurant.".  And walk out.  You know, if
one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and
they won't take him.  And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
organization.  And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
walking out.  And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the


With feeling.  So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
sing it when it does.  Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

That was horrible.  If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it

for another twenty five minutes.  I'm not proud... or tired.

So we'll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part
harmony and feeling.

We're just waitin' for it to come around is what we're doing.

All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back

Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice's Restaurant

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