Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Biographical Historical Essay
By Richard E. Noble
Senator Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin precipitated hysteria in the United States that seems to be only surpassed by A. Mitchell Palmer and the Wilson administration’s “Red Scare”.
The word “McCarthyism” was added to our language in his honor. As of this moment, I know of no one, right or left, not even one time McCarthy defender William F. Buckley Jr., who now classify McCarthy as an honorable character.
He even had his own little scandals going with cohort Roy Cohn and Cohn’s “chum” G. David Schine who was drafted into the Army to the dismay of Cohn - his whispered male sexual partner.
J. Parnell Thomas chaired the House Un-American Activities Committee. Thomas eventually went to jail for payroll padding and taking Kickbacks. Richard Nixon and Robert Kennedy were both on the McCarthy payroll at this time also.
During this fiasco many Hollywood celebrities like Robert Montgomery, Ronald Reagan, Adoiphe Menjou, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart and a host of others became infamous in leftist circles for ratting on their friends and fellow movie stars.
McCarthy was born on November 15, 1908 on a dairy farm in Appleton, Wisconsin. In 1942 McCarthy, age 35, joined the Marine Corps and received a direct commission as a first lieutenant. In an initiation in honor of the event of crossing the equator, he broke his left foot. A medic removing the cast burnt Joe’s leg with some glacial acetic acid. Using this injury, he evidently forged a letter describing his “heroism” and signed his commanding officer’s name to it. This resulted in a citation signed by Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Although Roosevelt won every election handily and always had a Democratic majority in both the house and the Senate, by the time that Truman came along the public was ready for a change. Truman won over Dewey in a real squeaker, but the Democrats lost both the House and the Senate. From then on the Truman administration was under fire. The suggestion that the Democrats had been soft on Communism had been prevalent all during the Roosevelt years, but with the Republican victories in 1946 and 1948 the poop really hit the fan.
Alger Hiss was first on the Republican hit list. Hiss was not convicted of treason or on charges of espionage. He was convicted on December 15, 1948 on two counts of perjury. He had stated in his testimony that he had never turned any documents over to George Crossley (Whittaker Chambers) and that he had not seen Mr. Crossley after Jan. 1, 1937. Hiss was indicted on two counts of perjury. In a second trial - the first ending in a hung jury - he was convicted. The statute of limitations had run out on any espionage charges against Hiss. The material that it was accused he had secreted to the Russians was deemed harmless and insignificant but yet he was still convicted. He was convicted of lying under oath to the Commission that he didn’t know Whittaker Chambers and had no recollection of ever transferring any documents to him.
In 1949, China was lost to the Communist movement and then in February of 1950 came the arrest of Dr. Klaus Fuchs for espionage. Fuchs was one of the distinguished nuclear physicists who had worked on the Atomic bomb. Shortly after Fuchs, McCarthy came onto the scene in red, white and blue. These events, coupled with the joyous defeat of Adolf and Nazism left the American public unconcerned about profiteering on the part of American business and their trading with the Nazis; obfuscated any threat from right wing Nazis in American government, and put the onus on “the Communist threat” and Stalin.
The stage was set and McCarthy, an Irish-Catholic representing a German-American constituency, jumped in with both feet. McCarthy is credited with starting an epic hysteria often compared to the Puritan Salem Witch hunts promoted by playwright Arthur Miller. McCarthy accused everyone short of the Pope (the Pope was, of course, a Nazi and Fascist sympathizer and supporter being adamantly opposed to the atheistic Communist movement) of being a Communist or a “pinko”, including General George Marshall. McCarthy, was more anti-Democratic Party than anti-Communist Party. He attacked any Democrat - even the staunchest of Capitalists and party stalwarts.
Truman had sent Marshall to China to survey the situation there. In his report, Marshall recommended that we should seek to get a union between Mao Tse-tung and Chaing Kai Shek. He didn’t think much of Chaing. This led McCarthy to accuse Marshall of heading up the biggest spy ring that America had ever known and led to a right wing investigation of the entire U.S. Army and eventually McCarthy’s downfall.
The Rosenbergs were convicted and then executed during this era. They were the only couple ever to be executed for espionage during a time of peace in American history.
The Eisenhower administration is usually credited with bringing down McCarthy. But he was also anti-Communist. He passed Executive order 10450, which intensified Truman’s system of making government employment a privilege and not a right. This was a battle between Republicans and right wing Republicans. Most main stream Republicans didn’t like McCarthy any more than the Democrats. McCarthy’s tactics were underhanded and abusive and he was personally brash, rude and belligerent. Eisenhower was ready to split the party if push came to shove. Eisenhower thought Truman had handled McCarthy all wrong; “In sheer political terms I was increasingly convinced that I would defeat him by ignoring him.” Eisenhower considered McCarthy a big-mouthed attention getter. His goal was to give the man as little attention and press as possible.
But when McCarthy and Cohn got into a battle with the Army over the drafting of Schine - McCarthy and company had bit off more than they could chew. When he started calling U.S. war generals Communists, the Army formed ranks and fought back. It wasn’t long before the Army and Eisenhower had McCarthy backing up.
Many thought McCarthy was pushing for the presidency. His lies, fabrications, and total lack of moral ethics may really have had more to do with his downfall than the efforts of his opponents.
But were there really people in the Democratic Party who were sympathetic to the Communists in the government? There were plenty; just as there were people in the Republican Party who were sympathetic to the Nazis. There were people who were pro-Communist and people who were pro-Nazi working daily in the Roosevelt Cabinet and administration - and Roosevelt knew it. Roosevelt wanted everybody out in the open where he could keep track of them.
After the War the U.S could have gone either right or left. That is why McCarthy becomes important as an historical figure. Instead of having Congress investigating people in the government and the business community who had been carrying on treasonous activities with Hitler, McCarthy actually succeeded in turning the focus on the Communists and turning people who had supported an alley into traitors. It was a truly masterful “spinning” of circumstances and events and, of course, Uncle Joe Stalin did not do anything to hurt the cause either. Throughout the entire population of the United States there were pro-Communists and pro-Nazis. The country had been divided on which side to support right up to December 7, 1941.
McCarthy was without doubt an extreme right wing Republican, but really he was not any more extreme than many of the right wing Republicans of today. Many Americans supported McCarthy and McCarthyism and many Americans supported Hitler and Nazism and many Americans supported Marx and Communism and Norman Thomas and Socialism and Labor and Unionism - and all the very same battles and arguments go on today - only the vocabulary has changed. Today’s “ism” is not Socialism, Communism, Unionism, Capitalism, Anarchism, Bolshevism, Americanism, Nationalism, Patriotism, Elitism; it’s Globalism, Terrorism, Militarism and most of all Extremism. I think the most fearful of these “ism’s” is still the last - Extremism. Extremism implies more than enthusiasm and zealousness - it implies excess, abuse, fanaticism, fear and hatred.
McCarthy lost his Senate seat, became an alcoholic and died in 1957.
Friday, January 26, 2007
By Richard E. Noble
It’s Friday morning and I wake with a start. My eyes pop open and the word “garbage" flashes before my mental screen. I jump into some street clothes and run out to where I have my Green Monster hid from the bears, boars, beavers and what ever other garbage eaters are out there. I have to do this because I never know at what time the “Garbage Guy” is going to arrive. One morning he was out there at 6 a.m.
As I drag my big green, plastic dumpster with the wheels on the bottom out to the side of the road, I always think of the same things. I always think about the way it used to be. The way it was when I was a kid. And let me tell you “children” the garbage business ain’t what it used to be!
When I was a child growing up (have you ever heard this intro before?) garbage was important. You had to know somebody to get to be a garbage man in my neighborhood. It took some pull. There was a long line of eager young men waiting to get a permanent position on the garbage department. Sometimes when things were tough, your dad could go to the neighborhood councilman (like county commissioner) and get temporary garbage duty - and your dad would be mighty glad to get it, let me tell you.
Garbage meant City and City meant steady, dependable, reliable job - with benefits. The majority of us “way back then” didn’t think of college as a way out of the old neighborhood. College was for rich kids and the “brain class” guys. But you know even today with all the talk of education and college only 10 to 14 percent of the working population are college graduates. So that still leaves 86 to 90 percent of us looking to a good job with the garbage dept. More optomistic sources offer a figure as high as 25% - but even with that figure we're still left with 75% looking for the garbage dept. job.
But any-whoo, when it was garbage collection day in the old neighborhood, the first thing you saw was these four guys - four dirty, grubby looking guys - rounding the corner of the block. There were two guys on each side of the street and it was their job to go into everybody’s backyard and roll out the metal, fifty gallon drum garbage cans. And these guys were good at it too. They could roll two full garbage cans on their edge at the same time - one with each hand. As kids we used to run down the street and watch them - it was like going to the circus. These guys were great!
A short while after the four “rollers” finished the block a big garbage truck would come rounding the corner. The old-time garbage truck looked pretty much like today’s garbage truck in size, color and smell but it was slightly different. It used to have a giant container strung along the back. The garbage from the fifty gallon drums was dumped into the container and then somebody flipped a lever or pressed a button and the container slid up the back of the truck like a basket or carriage on a Ferris Wheel. Watching that thing slide up to the top of the truck - open the “secret” trap door - and dump all the garbage, was another big childhood wonder for us city kids. It was a noisy wonder of modern day science. We were all thrilled. We would drive the garbage guys nuts pulling on their shirts and bugging them with questions and requests. They all wore big dirty industrial gloves and either had a cigarette butt dangling from a corner of their mouth or a short piece of a stogie jammed between their teeth.
Each truck had two “tippers”. The tipper was a better job than the rollers. The tippers actually had a step built on each side of the truck that they rode on. One of the tippers would let out with a yell when the truck had reached the proper position between two flocks of garbage cans. The tippers would jump off the side of the truck, stroll over to the sidewalk, roll a can over to the troth and then they would each grab a side and lift the drum and dump it. They had a technique of dumping it whereby they bounced it on the edge of the troth in a rhythmic fashion. It was neat - we kids liked that also.
Of course each tipper was an experienced roller. You couldn’t get to be a tipper if you hadn’t put in your apprenticeship as a roller - everybody knew that.
The best job of all was the driver. It probably took ten years or more to actually become a driver - you had to have been a roller and tipper first of course. The driver was almost always a big fat guy and he was invariably eating something - a bag of potato chips or an apple or something.
The rollers walked and the tippers strolled and the driver moved the truck at an even paced, methodical lumber. It was smooth man.
I remember one time I asked my dad if being a garbage man was a good job. He was a mill worker at the time and had worked in the “hole” (engine room) when he was in the Merchant Marines. He said; “Are you kidding me. Good pay, good bennies, and there you are out in the fresh air all day. Man, I could only dream of a good steady job like that.”
I asked one of the rollers one day if he liked his job. He said that it was all right but he was hoping to become a tipper one day and get out of people’s back yards - with all the dogs, cats and rats. The tippers made ten cents an hour more than the rollers. The tippers aspired to be drivers; “Just sit on your fat butt all day and give everybody orders,” one tipper once whispered to me out the side of his mouth. “No eaten diesel fuel behind this stinken truck all day.”
When I told the driver how lucky he was and how much all the other guys admired his position he told me that being a driver was nothing. The big jobs were up at the incinerator. He himself was hoping one day to be the crane operator up at the main dump.
In my youth, I always thought of garbage as a potential career. But I got sidetracked with the basics of everyday life and just making a regular living and I never got to pursue my real dream of garbage - and now it is too late. The “garbage guy” now works alone. He has no assistants - no tippers or rollers. He has a big mechanical arm and I would guess a computer inside the cab to tell him when to stop the truck. That’s progress I guess.
Interesting though; the truck is pretty much the same. It’s got a big mechanical arm on the side instead of a troth on the back. But everything else looks and smells pretty much the same. The driver on the modern day garbage truck doesn’t sit in the cab eating potato chips and stopping and starting at a modest leisurely pace. The man is always going at top speed. As I rode by him the other day I waved - he was so busy and moving so fast he didn’t even see me. He had no kids following his truck or watching him work, admiringly. I don’t know if he makes good money or has any benefits, but I would doubt it. But I can tell, I no longer want his job. It doesn’t look like as much fun as it used to seem. I don’t know, either the job has gotten worse, or I have gotten spoiled.
But progress in the garbage industry seems to have been getting rid of a lot of workers, cutting benefits, having the customers roll out the garbage themselves, and installing expensive computers and hydraulic lifts and video sensors. I sometimes wonder which was the better way of doing things - a bunch of guys with good, rather easy, unskilled jobs or one guy running his butt off with a world of new million dollar technological devices to pay for.
We’ve made much the same kind of progress at gas stations, grocery stores, fire stations, banks and elsewhere. On my last visit to the grocery store I not only bagged my own groceries and wheeled them to the car but I rang them up myself on a new self-serve cash register computer and gathered up six carts in the parking lot just to be nice. I know this progress is good - at least that is what all the pointy-heads say - but pretty soon, if this type progress continues - everybody will be unemployed and we’ll all be at the dump picking through the garbage instead of paying somebody to collect it.
But new dreams replace the old in the ever hopeful human being. My wife would like to be the biscuit lady at a Hardy’s one day and I have been kind of playing with the notion of becoming a “greeter” at a Wal-Mart. That really looks good to me and I’ve been practicing: “Hi! (big smile). Welcome to Wal-Mart. How about a cart? Have a good day shopping now.”
I don’t have any teeth any more so maybe I should skip the big smile - ahh, who cares. I’m just as pretty as I ever was with or without any teeth. If you don’t believe me ask my wife.
You know I’ve heard that Wal-Mart is paying nine dollars per hour. If I am able to get that greeters job and it really does pay nine dollars an hour - that would be more than I have ever made in my life working for the other guy anywhere in America. Man, now that’s progress!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
“The Causes of the Collapse”
Chapter 7 Part 1
By Richard E. Noble
In chapter ten, Adolf discusses Germany’s present condition, and the reasons for this lowly state, in his opinion:
“... The easiest and therefore also the most widespread explanation of today’s misfortune is that the consequences involved are those of the lost war, and that therefore the latter is the cause of the present evil ... Now there may be many who will seriously believe this nonsense, but there are many more out of whose mouths such an explanation can only be a lie and conscious untruth. This may be said of all those who today have their place at the government’s mangers. For, did not once the very announcers of the Revolution most urgently point out, again and again to the people, that for the great masses it would make no difference whatsoever how this war would end. Have they not, asserted most seriously that at the utmost only the ‘great capitalist’ could have any interest in the victorious end of this colossal wrestling of nations [Communists] but never the German people itself, or even the German worker? Indeed, on the contrary, did not these apostles of world reconciliation assert ‘militarism’ could only be destroyed by the German defeat, but that the German people would celebrate its most glorious resurrection? Did one not praise in these circles the benevolence of the Entente, and did not one charge Germany with the entire guilt of bloody struggle? But would one have been able to do so without the explanation that even defeat would have no special consequences for the nation? Was not the entire revolution trimmed with the phrase that through it the victory of the German flag would be prevented, and that thereby the German people would face all the more its inner and outer freedom?
“Was this perhaps not so, you miserable and lying fellows?
“It really takes a truly Jewish impudence to attribute the cause of the collapse to the military defeat ...”
Here once again Adolf is counter-punching the current Marxist communist reasoning. The Marxist preached that a new world would arise if only the ‘workers’ and ‘peasants’ would rise up against the capitalist war lords. War is only a battle of the poor, and against the poor from which only the wealthy benefit. If we all help now to overthrow the Capitalist Military Industrial Complex, our enemies will befriend us, and a new nation ruled and comprised of the true German people will evolve. Continuing the war only benefits the bomb and bullet manufacturers. Your leaders have been the culprits in this catastrophe. They have forced this war upon you and led you in the direction of your own destruction, and all in the name of their own personal wealth and prosperity.
Here again we hear Tom Paine. The only difference being that the old ‘inheritance’ Kings have been replaced by the new manufacturing and industrialist Kings. But the same promises that inspired the American Revolution, a world of prosperity, free education, and economic freedom along with a true government of, by, from, and for the people would all be possible if only we can rid ourselves, we, the common people, of these war mongering ‘Kings’ and Industrialists.
True or False?
I say false. On this point, I agree with the religious prophets and social thinkers.
The evils which plague and have plagued the human race come from within the basic nature of each and every one of us. Before the human race can move on in its quest of a more perfect civilization, we all must, or the majority of us must come to grips with the imperfections of our own natures, and be able to sublimate these tendencies into social and personal good. We also must be able to recognize and admit to, and understand the destructive tendencies of our human natures. We must grasp an understanding of human hate, competition, jealousy, egotism, revenge, aggression, abuse, power and the like before progress for a world of peace can be accomplished.
One day we can only hope that even talk of war will immediately be considered as a sign of a disease, a symptom of an illness that will be attended to immediately by the nations of the world with the weapons of love and understanding. Cruelty and violence must be judged unacceptable by all, and discouraged on all levels. As it is considered within our home nation, it should be between all nations.
These type arguments by the Marxist rang with a degree of truth all over the world. And after the war information exposing Arm Merchants, as enterprising war mongers, and manipulators of blood money were published. ‘Merchants of Death’ was a popular phrase. I have a book in my collection with that very title, written by H. C. Engelbrecht and F. C. Hanighen. The bibliography in the back of the book lists pages more of similar material. Their arguments are strong, believable, and substantiated. I don’t think that it can be denied that there were in fact Merchants of Death. The debate on the issue centers on which came first the ... War or the Weapons Manufactures.
William Manchester’s “The Arms of Krupp” is interesting reading on this matter. My mind is not made up, but I intend to pursue the question.
There are those today who contend that the war in Vietnam was really nothing more than a warehouse clean out program for Arms Manufactures. The old inventory has to go in order for ‘business’ to grow. President Eisenhower warned of the growth of the Military Industrial Complex - a warning that, as far as I can see has gone unheeded, primarily because of the justifiable logic that a strong defense is our best offense. The history of the arms merchant is a dirty business, but then, of course, so is the history of the human species. That the human animal has feed its civilization on the blood of its own can not be denied either.
Thirdly, it can’t go without notice that all of the ills of ‘the homeland’ are of Jewish origin, according to Adolf. Marxism is a Jewish philosophy. The ‘evils’ of capitalism, its greed and internationalism are Jew inspired. The revolution at home after the war we will now learn is Jew inspired, the monetary and banking problems are a Jew problem. This all borders on insanity.
I’ve recently purchased a book, entitled ‘Hitler’s Willing Executioners’ by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. It is an analysis of German anti-Semitism. It traces the German hatred of Jews back to the establishment of Christianity when Jews were labeled as Christ killers, up through the Protestant Reformation and the anti-Jew preaching of Martin Luther. The point of the book in particular is to make evident the fact that the Germans were trained and conditioned from their history, their social, political and religious training, and their familial and everyday life to hate Jews and consider them to be outsiders and negative infiltrates working towards the destruction of German Nationalism.
This sheds a whole new light on this subject to me. Any anti-Jew indoctrination that I have experienced as an American has been more or less subliminal, or background, but it has certainly been there. I could recount quite a bit of anti-Jew talk from my childhood and since.
I recently met a man in a local restaurant who most certainly had to be of Nazi orientation. My wife and I listened to him for over an hour, as he ‘exposed’ the evil workings of the Jew of today’s world to us. I listened to the man simply because I had never heard anything like it. He basically established the Jew with all of the moral and economic corruption in our society today. He had Rabbis blessing Kellogg’s corn flakes for a fee, and established a Jewish link to every profitable enterprise in the world. Interesting enough he was also able to involve the blacks in this conspiracy to destroy ‘our’ country. The stupid, immoral black race, he claimed, was being guided and manipulated by conniving Jews. The blacks, with their Jew backers, had destroyed the American automobile industry; every large American city; the labor union movement; pride in workmanship; they were responsible for all of the nations drug problems; they were behind prostitution and crime all over America; they had dumbed down and ruined our nation’s school system; he even linked the blacks to the U.S. loss of the war in Vietnam.
As I sat there listening to him make his case, it was very evident to me that his explanation had a definite appeal. He praised me as a common man and a hard working white person. He attempted to establish a bond between me and himself and all white people. He praised me as being hard working, diligent and law abiding, but explained to me that these were the very attributes that the Jews and blacks were using and counting on to destroy me. The appeal of his arguments was that as a white man, I would now be a member of a sort of club or fraternity. My membership was guaranteed, and because of my whiteness couldn’t be denied. Our group would not be afraid to fight, and to fight anybody, to regain the dignity of our racial superior heritage, and reclaim our country.
One frightening part of this experience was that if I were a little less strong in my individuality and independence, a little worse off economically, a little more in need of fellowship, and slightly more susceptible to talk of patriotism and loyalty, this man could be very, very convincing. I had to go back all the way to the early days of my teenager-hood to re-establish my sensitivity to most of these appeals. Actually if it weren’t for my cynicism and my basic distrust of all human beings and not just those that are black or Jewish, I could easily feel the emotionalism of his drive.
This scenario is bad in two ways. One, that there are people in the world like this man, and two, that my chief defense against his emotional appeal of good will and fellowship towards me and ‘our kind’ was my learned skepticism of humans in general. I attribute this strength of my personality to more negatives of my own upbringing.
The conclusion of these experiences, I have always considered clear and without question. If you cannot trust your own mother and father to be decent loyal and faithful; if you can not trust that even these people will turn like a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hide upon you; if you cannot trust even those closest to you; those responsible for your very birth, to love you and be concerned for your well-being and success, then who or what in this world is worthy of that trust?
So my strength in this case, was my cynicism. What of those of ‘my kind’ who were not fortified appropriately?
This is a very sad observation, isn’t it? I would like to believe that I was just born with a rational, critical mind, but these influences of my youth are too strong. For me to imagine the evolution of my present personality without them is impossible. So my question is; what gives ‘normal’ people their strength to resist the influences of such a man? I suppose that if you are the product of a loving household you would not be bitter and susceptible to preaching of hate and jealously. But my experiences and observations of others in this life lead me to think otherwise. That is why I attribute ‘hate’ to the basic human condition, even without the influences of a poor environment, and negative social relationships.
Even Adam, created directly by the hand of God, was not happy. He found himself in the gardens of paradise, lacking and unsatisfied, and even with the addition of Eve, rebellious, and hostile. I think of this as a fairy tale or folk lore explanation of the very psychological foundation for the human condition and propensity to aggressive behavior that I have spoken about here and elsewhere in this analysis of hate that we are currently involved in.
And, then, how is this natural inclination towards hate and aggressive behavior overcome? Well, a simple look at the history of the human race and mankind shows that it has not been overcome. And as far as I can see no one has even identified the root source of the basic problem. I have read nothing in all of my readings that state the case.
Many religions have stated the notion that man is basically evil, and must work towards overcoming this. They go on to establish this notion with elaborate tales of Gods and Demons, and havens of pleasure and dens of doom and despair. To me this is more fairy tales and fantasy.
I hold no quarter with ‘Goodness’ or ‘Evil’, or ‘Gods’ or ‘Devils’. I think that Man’s basic hostility stems from being born without question of his will, into a hostile natural environment. An environment which will eventually destroy him no matter what course or choices he makes. His death is a fact. His reactions to it vary. This is the closest that I can come to what is termed ‘free will’.
Humans do have the ability to make choices but how much of this ability is influenced by genetics and a predisposition? There is a basic dichotomy in the nature of the notion of ‘free will’. But simply stated you can not choose to be alive without first being alive. Once you are alive you are by the fact of your nature and existence prejudice towards an answer influenced by ‘Being’. You have no ‘free’ choice with regards to life. Your parents chose life for you, and “God” chose your existence. You had no say in either of these matters. Some writers and philosophers claim that somewhere along the line of our conscious existence we make the choice to live or to die. This is the hidden scenario of many a great novel - the awakening of the human to the fact that he does really want to be alive. But can this choice be considered truly ‘free’? Life has been chosen for us, and this is injustice. In relation to a god, free will is impossible. Life then stands as a basic injustice that must simply be endured.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
DuPont, Gunpowder, and World War I
“Old Hickory” Tennessee
By Richard E. Noble
The DuPont family is an American saga but it’s the World War I gunpowder factory established in Tennessee that has caught my interest at the moment; but before we go there let’s briefly hit on the DuPont’s.
As you have probably guessed the DuPont’s were from France. The old man was a supporter of the American Revolution and democracy but when “revolution” hit France he and the wife and kids had to blow Dodge. They landed in the Colonies and settled in Delaware.
Papa DuPont had one boy who had a pretty good job in France before the hasty departure. E. I. DuPont was working with Lavoisier, known today as the Father of Chemistry, at the national arsenal making gunpowder for the French government. Lavoisier knew his stuff and E. I. DuPont learned all the details. Thomas Jefferson was actually the one who put the bug in DuPont’s ear about a gunpowder plant. And in 1802 E. I. DuPont started to manufacture black powder in Delaware. Lavosier who had been moonlighting as a government tax collector on the side got his head chopped off.
The gunpowder business had its ups and downs - not to mention an explosion every now and then but there was one industry that helped this business along considerably - war.
The War of 1812 was good for the DuPonts and then the Mexican War in 1842 moved things right along. The Civil War was just what the Doctor ordered and the Spanish American War put the frosting on the cake.
But by the time World War I came rolling along the gunpowder business is “exploding”. Gunpowder is being used everywhere; in mining, in bridge building in railroad construction - the gold rush and the 49ers didn’t hurt anything either. Then there was the Panama Canal and Dams and whatever. By this time the DuPont gunpowder business didn’t really need World War I. But World War I needed the DuPonts.
When the European Allies had exhausted and pushed all their powder manufactures to capacity they came to the DuPonts. But the DuPonts had learned about the trials and tribulations of the warring business. War was good business but it also had its problems. There are two big problems with war; wars often start without much notice and they stop in the same manner. As a business you can’t afford to stock up for a possible future war and then stop production on a dime. Having steady business with consistent sales and a predictable growth rate is better than the boom and bust of a war economy. And by this time the DuPont civilian business was great - lots of money, good steady growth. The DuPonts were fat and happy.
So when the Allies came along and asked them to increase there plant and production by about ten to thirteen times - and do it now - the DuPonts were hesitant. The DuPonts told the Allies that they didn’t have the money to expand their facilities to about thirteen times their present capacity. Colonel Buckner, DuPont vice president, said; “We can produce the explosives you need and we think that we can produce them in time, but only if you assume the financial risks of an emergency expansion. You are asking us to build costly plants that will have value only as scrap when the war ends. You are asking us to contract, on your behalf, for raw materials that may not be needed next month, or even next week, and which may never reach the stage of finished goods. I repeat, it’s your war and the risks must be yours.”
The Allies had no choice. They started loading the DuPont’s treasury up with money. They paid a fifty percent advance on powder and agreed to pay a price per pound that would cover the cost of building new plants.
DuPont then really started rolling. Engineering and construction employees went rapidly from 800 to 45,000 and then to 100,000; 8 million pounds of explosives went in one year to 200 million pounds and by the war’s end they were producing 893 million pounds of explosives. In the four years of war nearly 7 million was destroyed in accidental explosions and 347 men lost their lives.
But in 1917 the United States wants to get in on the action. The U.S. doesn’t have a single world scale munitions plant in the country. They contact DuPont. They want the DuPonts to build a plant that can produce 900,000 pounds of powder per day. The DuPonts really, really don’t need any more business. Colonel Buckner was at it again; “The Ordnance Department of the Army has already asked to reserve for the Army our entire unsold capacity, and we feel confident that the Allied Governments will require large additional quantities of powder ... How this large amount of powder is going to be supplied to the United States and their Allied Governments we do not know, unless all the Allied Governments confer upon the subject and determine upon a plan of procedure which will involve the construction of increased capacity.”
On Oct 3, 1917 the U.S government asked the DuPont Company to submit a proposal. Five days later the proposal was in the hands of Major-General William Crozier, Army Chief of Ordnance. The estimated construction costs were for 90 million and the operating costs for a twelve month period were approximately 180 million. This was the largest project the War Department had ever considered.
The government agreed to pay for the whole works. The plant would be in Tennessee and it would be called Old Hickory. But then Pierre DuPont received a telegram from Newton D. Baker, secretary of War, “Have just had presented to me the details of the proposed contract with regards to increased capacity for powder production. The matter is large, intricate and important. Do nothing until you hear further from me. Stay all action under the order until I can acquaint myself thoroughly with all features of the matter.”
Robert S. Brookings, a member of the War Board, had been looking over the contract and had decided that the DuPonts were making too much money on the deal. The DuPonts agreed to step aside. The War Board then appointed D.C Jackling of San Francisco to handle the operation. The first thing Mr. Jackling tried to do was hire the DuPonts’ chief engineer, Harry M. Pierce. Harry said; “You can’t do it that way, Mr. Jackling. You need an organization of trained men, not just one man.” He told Jackling that they had to hire the DuPont Company and their whole shebang or do it themselves. Jackling tried here and there and was then back at DuPont Company.
The DuPont Company then said that they would and could do the job but only if the government agreed to stay out! The government agreed.
In ten months they built Old Hickory from miles of vacant fields. It was a city of 30,000 people. It contained 3,867 buildings - homes restaurants, schools etc. During the ten month building period DuPont hired over 250,000 workers. They built seven and a half miles of single track railroad; they built a 540 foot suspension bridge and the whole works cost two and a half times the maximum rate of expenditure for any year on the Panama Canal - a total of 85 million.
When the war ended tens of thousands of employees had to be let go, whole factories were immediately shut down, wages cut, and economic unrest swamped the nation. All over the world investigations were opened by governments and newspapers into Arms profiteering. The bookstores were flooded with accusations against “The Merchants of Death”. DuPont and Old Hickory were not immune. A story in a Tennessee newspaper accused the DuPont Company of as much as $100,000,000 in fraud and overcharging of the government. An investigation ensued that went on for years. DuPont was finally cleared of any profiteering.
But that was not the end of it. There were those who thought that DuPont and others had been let off the hook by the unscrupulous politics of the time. Investigations into the Munitions Industry were reopened in 1934. The committee was headed by Senator Gerald P. Nye a Republican from North Dakota. It is interesting to note historically that one of the examiners on that committee was none other than Alger Hiss of future Cold War fame. The World War I veterans were one group who were very upset after learning about the enormous profits earned by munitions companies during World War I. The emphasis of the committee was on - How to take the profits out of War. Much of the New Deal’s ardor was prompted by resentment of the corporate greed that had preceded and in part precipitated the Depression,” says Mr. Hiss.
It is interesting to note that Alger Hiss was the Senate Committee’s examiner on the Nye committee. “... it was normal practice for an aviation salesman to use actual or potential purchases of warplanes by one South American country to impress upon its neighbors their need to make matching or superior purchases so as not to be faced with an arms “gap”. Use of the fear factor proved to be an effective way of bringing about spiraling military budgets. Bribery copiously supported the implanting of fear. The resulting picture was of American business stirring up tensions in an already unstable area and corrupting friendly governments in our hemisphere. One salesman’s letter complained of a U.S. Foreign Service officer as “fomenting peace.”
In the Committees vigorous attempt to regulate the arms and munitions industries one big question kept returning; “Who will regulate the regulators?”
The Committee turned it focus to the DuPont Company and the Old Hickory plant. “This factory (Old Hickory Plant) was paid for by the government on the basis of contracts that called for payment of the costs, plus a percentage of those costs as a fee to repay the company for its efforts. Contracts of this kind provided little incentive for keeping costs low - the higher the costs, the bigger the fee. The urgency of wartime need adds to the mood of prodigality and greed that seems always to accompany such contracts. These twin specters haunt all military procurement. The monopoly position of DuPont played a large part in its ability to demand huge amounts either as costs or as compensations. The company was, to be sure, not alone in its insistence on being paid what it wanted. The government had no alternative. At times the threat was clear: Pay what we demand, or we won’t produce. The Nye Committee likened this to a strike by capital, noting that, in wartime, strikes by labor were forbidden. The issue of wartime profiteering was the one that most concerned labor as well as veterans, who felt their contributions to the war effort had been inadequately reimbursed when compared with corporate profits.”
Alger Hiss did not make any friends on this job - including the DuPont brothers and Bernard Baruch - and it may serve to explain somewhat what happened to him in later years. But he continues: “Examination of the extensive records of the board (Nye Committee) including its voluminous minutes led the committee to discern that the general public’s impression of profiteering during World War I was correct.”
Hiss also states that the acclaimed Bernard Baruch and the War Board of which he was a member had not really done much to protect the interests of the “people” in supervising the actions of the arms and munitions industries. “Not long after Baruch’s appearance, the committee issued its report on wartime profiteering, emphasizing that the imperatives of wartime demand made control of profits impossible. In other words, Baruch’s efforts were ineffective in preventing “the strike of capital”. In the committee’s parlance, the only way to take the profit out of war was to avoid war ... Not surprising, therefore, the Nye Committee switched its main interest to ways to stay out of war.
“Pursuing this tract, the committee after some months, devoted its hearings to the huge American loans made to the Allied Powers before our entry into the First World War. These loans by J. P. Morgan and other bankers had enabled the Allies to purchase from us armaments and other vital goods. In the committee’s view the loans gave the American bankers a vested interest in seeing the Allies emerge victorious and able to pay their debts, even if this required our entry into the war. And, they reasoned further, the huge, profitable trade with the Allies tilted our economy towards their side. The hearings on our economic ties to the Allies furthered the prompt passage of the Neutrality Act of 1935.”
Interestingly enough the FDR administration did take steps to curb the profits during World War II. FDR put enormous taxes onto the super wealthy and placed extreme excess war profit taxes onto the business community who would all benefit from the war.
These tactics did not prevent World War II nor did they stop greed and selfishness or profiteering but they certainly spread the wealth created from the war around a little more equitably.
These tactics during the war did not endear the rich and wealthy to the FDR administration - the DuPont’s in particular. I read one account where it is alleged that the DuPonts actually fomented attempts on Roosevelt’s life along with a domestic revolution to overthrow the U.S. government.
So much for all of those who believe that the country was “united” during World War II.
Books used in this essay include: “DuPont – One Hundred and Forty Years” William S. Dutton; “Alger Hiss – Recollections of a Life” Alger Hiss; “The Rich and the Super Rich” Ferdinand Lundberg; “Great American Fortunes” Gustavus Myers; “Merchants of Death” H.C. Englelbrecht and F.C. Hanighen.
Monday, January 08, 2007
By Richard E. Noble
I had been in the restaurant business or been working in some type of food service for most of my life. I have been involved in food from the field to the dinning room table; I picked it, I packed it, I processed it, I delivered it, I prepared it, I cooked it, I served it, I sold it - you name it; I did it. But here I was at the Florida Food Service Health and Sanitation Training Program. The State of Florida and several other like-minded States had come to the conclusion that a restaurant was not a healthy place to eat - primarily because of people like me and many others who worked in these unhealthy establishments. Not necessarily because we were dirty, unwholesome, slovenly, derelict, illegal, diseased, unhealthy or had been living under a bridge or sleeping in someone’s hedges, but because we were lacking in food handling knowledge. I for one considered this to be a definite step in the proper direction.
There was a very nice man conducting the lecture. He looked normal. He spoke ... normal. He seemed like the kind of a person that you might have living right next door. He was dressed nicely. He was wearing a tie and a suit jacket. He spoke well and had lots of funny little stories about the restaurant business and preparing and eating food. But it soon became obvious that he considered a restaurant equivalent to a toxic dumpsite. By the time that this man had finished his lecture I realized that operating “a healthy” restaurant was an impossibility.
Raw Chicken, for example, should really not be touched. If you must touch it, it should be boiled first. If for some insane reason, you touched a piece of raw chicken before you boiled it, unfortunately, you must now be boiled. If you do not boil yourself within a reasonable time after touching a piece of raw chicken, you will probably die. Even worse than that, you may be the cause of some innocent person’s death - possibly even a small child or a dog or a cat.
Hamburger? Hamburger is a very scary material. How and why people ever started using hamburger as a food product is a study for historians and anthropologists. Hamburger needs its own building. If you make a hamburger patty and then touch a piece of raw chicken, you could spontaneous combust. The man showed a slide program of people who instantly exploded while standing in front of a twenty thousand dollar stainless steel sink.
Any utensils that are used in processing any raw meat product must be destroyed after using or sent to Nevada to be buried miles under the ground. And the people living in Nevada must never be told that these utensils are buried in their state otherwise it could cause a panic.
Any and all raw meat products are extremely dangerous but cooked meat products aren’t much better. Chicken salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad etc. should be eaten simultaneously with their preparation - or sooner. If you must let a shrimp salad or chicken salad sit in a refrigerator before serving - it should be blast frozen first.
Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and other condiments are perfectly safe as long as they are kept in hermetically sealed unopened containers or air tight packaging. If for any reason you must open any of these type containers or packages they should be immediately discarded - or buried in Nevada. Once again, please don’t tell any of the people in Nevada about any of this stuff.
Heating things in a restaurant is extremely problematic. Anything heated by an open fame or by convection or convention should reach an internal temperature of 642 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and then should be thrown away before serving.
If you must “hold” something that has been heated for any length of time you should wear heavy Teflon gloves or have an assistant do it – preferably an illegal immigrant.
You should have no unhealthy people working in your restaurant - that includes hunchbacks, midgets, and the cross-eyed.
If you serve only white people in your restaurant, you should only have white people working in your kitchen - the same goes for Blacks, Asians or whatever.
If you serve all types and kinds of people in your restaurant without concern for race, religion, heritage, sex, ethnic background, nationality or political affiliation - you are just looking for trouble.
If you would like to know more about the do’s and don’ts of the restaurant business, you can get a free 9,253 page booklet from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services. If you live in Florida ask for Jerry. If you live anywhere else in the United States ask for Bob - if Bob isn’t there ask for Evon.
After the instruction course ended, I had to go to the men’s room - the instructor had the same problem and was at the bathroom door just ahead of me.
He took a clean handkerchief out of his breast pocket and wrapped it around the bathroom doorknob. Upon entering the facility he went over to the sink turned on the hot water and washed his hands. He closed the lever that operated the water at the sink with his elbow. After stepping up to a urinal and doing his business he returned to the sink once again and repeated the original procedure. He pressed the button on the hand dryer with his elbow, then once again opened the door with his handkerchief and exited the bathroom.
After listening to this man for over three hours and watching his men’s room procedure, I had one thought that wouldn’t go away; how did this man have sex?
Wow, being privy to a visual of that would be a real study in modern day sanitation and human ingenuity. I can only imagine – but I will try not to.