Monday, March 26, 2007

Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson

Biographical Essay

By Richard E. Noble

King abdicates throne for “love”.
What a wonderful story, huh? It could have been written by Eric Segal, and produced and directed by little “Oppie” of the Andy Griffith show. The stars should have been Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. Ahh Yes, how sublime. But reality turns out to be quite different. Not only doesn’t Mrs. Simpson resemble Grace Kelly in appearance or character, the real story could have been written by Stephen King, or Robert Ludlum.
You can find a pretty good outline of the other side of this story in “Hitler and His Secret Partners”, written by James Pool or a biography of the colorful couple written by Charles Higham. It is quite a story.
The King of England turns out to be pretty much a Nazi; his mother, after all, was of German royalty.
Whatever attractive force Mrs. Simpson had, as my mother-in-law used to say, certainly didn’t show. I’ve looked at every picture of Mrs. Simpson that I could find, and as far as I can determine, I’m sure that she had to shave at least twice a day. Man, she is one rough looking female! But what she lacked in exterior beauty she seems to have made up for in her studies of the Karma Sutra and her meandering in Chinese brothels. It is not only pointed out that she spent some time in Oriental brothels but that she may have even been employed in a couple of them. She seems to have been a well known playmate for the upper crust, and one of her chums was the future son-in-law of Mussolini. We can only assume that the King’s interest in Mrs. Simpson wasn’t Platonic.
It also doesn’t seem to hold up historically that the King abdicated for “love”. In actuality, it does seem that he had his royal butt booted out of the Palace by Stanley Baldwin, Winston Churchill and some of the other boys from the British Government. He couldn’t seem to keep his German sympathies to himself, and every time he brought home any top secret information from the Parliament it turned out to be tomorrow’s news in the Berliner Tageblatt.
Not only does it turn out that the King of England is a Nazi himself, and Mrs. Simpson a royal humper for the “Rodney” class, she ain’t even nice to our little lord Edward Adolf VIII. She abuses him in public everywhere they go, ridicules him, has numerous affairs with both men and woman, and continually calls him a bonehead for giving up the Crown. Because when Eddy decided not to be King anymore, he also decided that Mrs. Simpson wouldn’t be Queen, ever; a much more serious offense in the mind of Mrs. Simpson, and a lot of other woman just like her, I suppose.
As for Grace Kelly, boy, ain’t she Sweet!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dixie Does Nashville

“I’m a Country Songwriter” “Fact and Fantasy”

By Richard E. Noble

[This is another review that I’m publishing in the Franklin Chronicle – I don’t know if it has any international value but what the hey?]

A young man came walking into my ice cream parlor over in Carrabelle one afternoon. This young man was a Country Songwriter.
After reading a number of my poems that I had framed and hung here and there, he came up to me and confessed his passion.
“I’m a Country songwriter,” he said.
“No kidding?” I responded in awe and admiration.
“Well, I mean, I am a musician and I can write songs. I play and teach guitar.”
“That’s great,” I said. “Who have you written songs for?”
“Well, I was thinking that I would write some songs for Tom T. Hall. I heard that he lives around here somewhere.”
“I’ve heard that too.”
“Do you think that he would buy some songs off me?”
“Sure,” I said. “Sing me one of the songs that you have written for Tom T. Hall. I would love to hear it.”
“Well ... ahh ... I haven’t actually written any songs for Tom T. Hall yet.”
“Oh? Why not?”
“Well, it is a lot of work to write a song. You know first you have to think up a melody that people will like and then you have to write all the notes down; and then you have to figure out what words go with the notes and all that sort of thing.”
“Yeah, I realize that. But don’t you think that you should write one of your Tom T. Hall songs down and show it to him. How else would he know if he wanted to buy it?”
“Well, what if he doesn’t like it? Then I will have gone to all that trouble for nothing?”
“That’s true. I never really thought of it like that. But then tell me; how were you intending to sell a song to Tom T. Hall if you haven’t written any yet?”
“Well, I don’t really know. I heard a story once about how Kris Kristofferson landed a helicopter in Johnny Cash’s back yard and then sold him ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ or something like that. You know that was a really stupid song. ‘I got up in the mornin’ and drank me a beer. Then I made a fried egg sandwich and ate some baloney...”; what the hell kind of a song is that? That ain’t no song; it’s a paragraph And not even a good paragraph at that. I could write a better song than that.”
“Well maybe you better get started. I have heard that Kris Kristofferson has really made a lot of money writing those paragraphs.”
“Yeah, but I don’t even know where to rent a helicopter. It takes money to make money, you know what I mean? The rich get richer while the poor get to give damn guitar lessons.”
“Forget the darn helicopter’ I mean - write a song.”
“Well, what if I just went out to Tom T. Hall’s house and asked him if he would like me to write some songs for him? Do you think that he would hire me?”
“I certainly don’t see why he wouldn’t. Why I’ll bet that old Tom T. is just sitting out at his mansion behind all those armed guards wishing that somebody would bust into the Plantation and his ten million dollar home, knock down his door and offer to write songs for him. I mean, he probably don’t know how to write a darn song himself anymore. I heard that he made his wife write his last hit song - Redneck Riviera. Watermelon Wine, ya sure? It was that black guy who was sweeping the floor that night that deserved all the money. Tom T. just had to write down what the guy told him for god’s sake!”
“Do you really think so?”
“Yeah! Do you know where the Plantation is? I’ll give you directions to it, if you don’t?”
Well, I don’t know if my young friend ever made it to Tom T. Hall’s house or got himself a helicopter, but I do know that he didn’t make it to the Dixie Theatre where this last Friday and Saturday (March 9, 10) all these great Country Songwriters were right there on the Dixie Theatre stage.
I went Friday and saw Karen Staley, T.W. Hale and Don Poythress. On Saturday night Tony Mullins of Mullintone Music (his own company), Danny Orton, and Jason Matthews performed. Among them they have written songs for Faith Hill, Michael Martin Murphy, Reba McEntire, George Jones, Billy Ray Cyrus, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Tim McGraw, Billy Currington and many more.
I am sure, being a fantasy songwriter and poet-musician myself, that none of these big singing stars mentioned above would be anything if it weren’t for these talented but not yet so famous songwriters.
I personally had a song that 1 carried around in my wallet for about eight years that would have made Tom T. Hall into a “real somebody”. I wrote a song for Erroll Garner’s Dreamy – but he died before I could get it to him. And that darn Alan Jackson. He actually came into my ice cream parlor one cold winter night with his beautiful wife and stole the title for his most famous album right off one of the poems on my wall “Under the Influence”. I’m the one who wrote that - those three words, I mean. But what can I do? You can’t sue a guy for stealing three words. I mean all these words that I have used in this story right here were probably once used by Mark Twain and Charles Dickens and they probably used words that were used by some previous famous writer. So what can you do? You just have to sit here and suck it up!
I am going to tell you what, even the life of a Fantasy Country Songwriter can be tragic. Ask me sometime, I’ll tell you about it.
No wait a minute, maybe I’ll write a screenplay about it. Then I’ll find out where Clint Eastwood lives. I’ll rent a helicopter - but should I write the screenplay first or rent the helicopter? It is a lot of work writing a darn screenplay - especially when I don’t even know if Clint Eastwood will like it or not? What if he don’t like it? Then who pays for the darn helicopter? Maybe I could write to Clint Eastwood and ask him if he would pay for the helicopter that I’m going to rent if he doesn’t like my screen play?
Do you think that he would do that?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The American Empire

By Richard E. Noble

The United States of America has been around now for over two hundred years. The Roman Empire survived for nearly one thousand years. As I read about the Roman Empire I see that it was on the brink of catastrophe at nearly every moment of its existence. It was constantly under attack from without or within. How it survived is a constant study for scholars, and historians. The two hundred years for the U.S. doesn’t really seem to be any different.
The American Revolution almost didn’t happen. Most colonists really weren’t all that excited about the whole idea. I truly think that if it wasn’t for the inflammatory writings of Tom Paine it would never have gained enough popular support to get off the ground.
It then nearly collapsed from lack of support with the tentative Articles of Confederation. They no sooner got passed that, than everybody was ready to tuck it all in over taxes, federalism, and the idea of maintaining a military ... the symbol of power, war and aggression to most colonists. Then the British were back, and the Capital was sacked.
After that, slavery brought the States to the brink of dissolution. The Union could have very easily been dissolved over this issue. The United States could have very well went the way of the Old World and divided up into many separate republics. It took the bloodiest war to that point in history to keep it together ... for better or worse.
The Civil war was followed by a long period of internal turmoil and discontent. Not only was the South unhappy, undergoing reconstruction, but the spread of Capitalism and the no holds barred antics of the Robber Barons and the powerful and prosperous in general was spawning a revival of Roman Christian Communism, more commonly called Socialism. This was a period filled with violence, terrorism, and battlefield size confrontations. Wilson had his hands full, and if it weren’t for our involvement in World War I, it could have been all over for America the beautiful.
Next we have Alcohol and big-time gangsterism, coupled with the re-invigoration of the Christian-communist/socialists; unionism, strikes, and their counter-part ... strike breakers. It was war in the streets, all culminating in the Great Depression. Herbert Hoover, the hero bureaucrat of World War I was now the most hated man in America. He was booed, attacked and surrounded by armed guards everywhere he traveled. Then, according to some, came our first Socialist president. The super wealthy were so unhappy with the antics of F.D.R. that some of them (Duponts and friends) organized a subversive militia, and actively pursued an armed takeover and assassination of the president and the Government. Roosevelt nearly triggered a rightist coup, but his presence quelled a leftist uprising that could have easily resulted in a Russian style American revolution.
World War II was then followed by internal (McCarthyism) and external challenges to the Republic (Korean War).
Then we had civil rights and Vietnam. This was the worst period in American History for my generation. And for those of us who were there, it wasn’t pretty. John F. Kennedy and his brother gunned down; followed by Martin Luther King and other black rights activists. I remember thinking that the United States of America, the home of the brave and the land of the free was about to dissolve right before my eyes.
And today, it’s Osama bin Ladin. He almost seems easy.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ludlow Massacre 1913 - 1914 Colorado

By Richard E. Noble

One would probably not stumble onto information about the Ludlow Massacre in a traditional history book or a general American history book. But it was famous enough to have a song written about it by Woody Guthrie.

The Ludlow Massacre

It was early springtime when the strike was on,
They drove us miners out of doors,
Out from the houses that the company owned,
We moved into tents up at old Ludlow,
I was worried bad about my children,
Soldiers guarding the railroad bridge,
Every once in a while a bullet would fly,
Kick of gravel under my feet.
We were so afraid you’d kill our children,
We dug us a cave that was seven feet deep,
Carried our young ones and pregnant women
Down inside the cave to sleep.
That very night you soldiers waited,
Til all us miners were asleep,
You snuck around our little tent town,
Soaked our tents with your kerosene.
You struck a match and in the blaze that started,
You pulled the triggers of your Gatling guns,
I made a run for the children but the fire wall stopped me,
13 children died from your guns.
I carried my blanket to a wire fence corner,
Watched the fire til the blaze died down,
I helped some people drag their belongings,
While your bullets killed us all around
I will never forget the look on the faces,
of the men and women that awful day,
When we stood around to preach their funerals,
And lay the corpses of the dead away,
We told the Colorado Governor to phone the President,
Tell him call off his national guard,
But the National Guard belonged to the Governor,
So he didn’t try so very hard.
Our women from Trinidad they hauled some potatoes,
Up to Walsenburg in a little cart,
They sold their potatoes and brought some guns back,
And they put a gun in every hand.
The state soldiers jumped us at the wire fence corners,
They did not know that we had these guns,
And the Red-neck miners mowed down them troopers,
You should have seen them poor boys run,
We took some cement and walled the cave up,
Where you killed those 13 children inside,
I said, “God bless the Mine Workers Union,”
And then I hung my head and cried.

“In the interminable war between capital and labor, the bloodiest battlefield may have been the mining towns of Colorado … Since 1894 martial law had been declared ten times in Colorado as well as several times in Idaho. After the brutally suppressed coal mine strikes in 1903 the operators had replaced the American, Welsh and Irish miners with presumably more tractable immigrants: Finns, Mexicans, Poles, Italians, and Japanese ... some of them thought Rockefeller was president of the United States. A miner of greater than average experience and sophistication described the camp superintendents as ‘a most uncouth, ignorant, immoral, and in many instances, the most brutal set of men that we have ever met … blasphemous bullies.”(1)
In September, 1903 local delegates voted to strike unless their demands were granted. These included an eight hour day, semi-monthly pay, the abolition of payment in company scrip, a 2,000 pound ton instead of a 2,400; and better ventilation in the mines. Only the demand for an eight hour day was not required by statutes; in fact, in the main, the miners were merely calling for the enforcement of the state laws.
“When the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company and the Victor Fuel Company refused to negotiate, the miners struck on Nov. 9. Immediately striker’s families were evicted from the company houses; union organizers were arrested; the strike breakers were rushed in, protected by company guards and state troops. After the company guards had killed and wounded several strikers, many of the strikers acquired weapons in order to defend themselves. Finally military rule was established financed by coal companies, railroads, merchants and property owners. Military arrests followed, and between four and five hundred striking miners were rounded up by the state soldiers and the armed guards and loaded into two trains. One was dispatched to Kansas and the other to New Mexico. The men were unloaded in the prairies and warned to keep away from Colorado. This massive state intervention on the side of the coal companies broke the strike, and in October, 1904, it was called off.” (2)
The 1903 strike was put down brutally in this Colorado labor/management war zone. The 1903 strike was lost and no changes had been made. By the year 1913 the only real change was that many of the miners now employed were strikebreakers who had been imported in 1903.
John D. Rockefeller Jr. was the owner of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. His office was in New York and he admitted to only a cursory knowledge of the operation and supposedly left the management of the mine to his operators and managers in Colorado. Most history books imply that Mr. Rockefeller was more than aware of what was going on but presented naiveté and detachment as a rouse to garner public support and sympathy and avoid legal and possible criminal responsibility. When he did finally speak out he made the claim that he was fighting for the rights of workingmen. He didn’t want to deprive the American working man of his right to choose whom he wanted to work for. Rockefeller was fighting for freedom, justice and the American way - security of private property and capitalist investment.
Once again the United Mine Workers formulated a strike. “They were supported by a veteran labor organizer, 83 year old Mother Jones, just released from jail for having helped the West Virginia coal miners in their fight against company feudalism ... The convention voted unanimously to strike on September 23 for union recognition, a ten percent increase in wage scales; the eight hour day; pay for ‘dead work’ (timbering, removing fall, handling impurities, etc.); checkweighmen in all mines to be elected by the miners; five choice of stores, boarding houses, and doctors; enforcement of the Colorado mining laws; and abolition of the notorious guard system which has(d) prevailed in the mining camps of Colorado for many years ... As in the case of the 1903 strike, nearly all the demands were already on the statute books of Colorado but had been ignored by the company ... The UMW leased land just outside the company property, brought in tents from West Virginia, and set up tent colonies in Ludlow, Suffield, Forbes, Berwind, Starkville, La Veta and seven other sites.” (3)
The situation only got worse and more and more lopsided.
“The miners wives and children tried to keep warm that winter in temperatures as low as forty to fifty degrees below zero … The Baldwin Felts agency brought in a special automobile, with a Gatling gun mounted on top . . . The Death Special . . . On October 5, the operators shipped four machine guns into the strike zone. The miners threw up breastworks and dug pits under the tents to protect the women and children ... Governor Ammons ordered the National Guard into the strike zone ... The thousand or so soldiers under Adjutant-General Chase’s command were literally strikebreaking agents of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. The company paid their salaries and the soldiers were quartered in company buildings and furnished with supplies by the company ... In searching the miners tents for guns, the militiamen robbed them and even raped some of the woman. Strikers were thrown into jail without the slightest provocation and were held without any opportunity to prove their innocence. Mother Jones was arrested and held incommunicado for twenty days, with two armed sentries posted outside her prison door.”
Even by the standards of many in the Federal government the state of Colorado had gone mad.
“Mediators sent by President Wilson to try to negotiate a settlement, reported that the mine operators became ‘wild men’ when the strike was discussed . . . ‘They fly into a rage, curse the federal government, and froth at the mouth.’ One of the mediators, dismayed at the intransigent spirit, wrote that ‘the state (Colorado) ought to be disenfranchised.’ The United Mine Workers considered calling out all the mine workers in the country.” (4)
“George P. West who investigated the strike for the U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations noted that ‘the Colorado National Guard no longer offered a pretense of fairness or partiality, and its units in the field had degenerated into a force of professional gunmen and adventurers who were economically dependent on and subservient to the will of the coal operators.”
Armed battles ensued and a dozen or so strikers were killed.
Lieutenant Kenneth E. Linderfelt, known to the strikers as Jesus Christ because of claims of that nature made by Linderfelt “On the morning of April 20 ... approached the camp at Ludlow and demanded that Louis Tikas (strike leader and union organizer) release an unidentified person ... Tikas assured him (Linderfelt) that no such person could be found ... Then, exactly at 9 a.m., the dull clatter of a machine-gun began and the first bullets ripped through the canvas of the tents. The clatter became a deafening roar as more machine-guns went into action. The high powered rifles of the militia joined in and poured a hail of explosive bullets into the tents. Five strikers and a 10-year-old boy were killed ... men dashed from tent to tent ... many of the women had been undressed when the firing began ... Fifty of the women were pregnant and one of the mothers gave birth to a baby as she fled from the colony. Some of the women managed to run off into the hills and hide in nearby ranch houses. Other crawled with their children into the dark pits and caves which had been dug under a few of the tents ... As Tikas was attempting to help a woman and two children escape from one of the cellars, he was captured by the troops ... Surrounded by his men, the burly Lieutenant (Linderfelt) greeted his captive with; “Oh it’s you, you goddamn redneck.” Then as Tikas replied, the lieutenant seized his army rifle and brought the stock crashing down on the head of the defenseless prisoner with such force that the stock of the heavy gun was broken. Muttering that he had ruined a good rifle, Linderfelt turned and walked away. Three rifle bullets tore into Tikas’ back killing him.” (5)
In Page Smith’s account of this incident he credits Linderfelt with not only busting the gun butt over Tikas’ head but also shooting four bullets in Tikas’ unconscious body as he lay sprawled on the ground before him. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn has Tikas being shot in the back as he ran to rescue a child. Howard Zinn has Tikas being lured up into the hills where he is then “shot to death by a company of national guardsmen. In the military’s report of the incident, “Linderfelt swung his Springfield rifle, breaking the head of the prisoner, Tikas.”
In any case, Tikas was definitely dead and probably murdered under unpleasant circumstances. Others were also claimed to be executed; James Fyler, Bartoloti, Costa, Rubina, and a boy named Snyder.
“The soldiers now moved slowly alongside the tents. They drenched the canvas with coal oil. At approximately 5:30 p.m., the southwest corner of the tent colony caught fire ... The militiamen became a murderous pillaging mob. The soldiers deliberately applied torches to the tents which had not yet caught fire. They looted and smashed their way through the miner’s homes, systematically destroying what they were unable to steal ... On Tuesday morning, April 21, the sun shone down on a pitiful scene. The Ludlow tent colony, which had for seven months been the homes of the striking miners and their families, was now a miserable shambles. Here and there, an iron bedstead, a stove, a child’s toy, and bits of broken pottery and glass marked the former site of a tent. It was then that a telephone lineman, going through the ruins, lifted a twisted iron cot that covered one of the larger pits and discovered the bodies of two young mothers and eleven children, ranging in age from three months to nine years. The coroner’s jury which investigated the cause of the burning of the tent colony concluded that the cause of the deaths was “fire started by militiamen under Major Hamrock and Lt. Linderfelt, or mine guards, or both ... The number of fatalities at Ludlow may never be known for certain.’ concludes George P. McGovern in his study of the strike. But it’s likely that thirty-two persons were either shot or burned to death. After a farcical trial, Linderfelt and others connected with the outrages were found guilty and ‘punished’ by trifling charges in their eligibility for promotion.” (7)
The number of actual deaths ranges from thirty to sixty-five. The sixty-five number comes from the most recent account published by Howard Zinn in his “People’s History” in 1999.
The Ludlow Massacre got headlines all over the U.S. Upton Sinclair organized a group of demonstrators who marched in front of Rockefeller headquarters at 26 Broadway in New York. News of the Massacre at Ludlow turned Colorado into a battlefield. “The enraged strikers attacked company camps and mines throughout southern Colorado and even in the vicinity of Denver. Governor Ammons tried to stem the violence by ordering an additional six hundred militiamen to report to duty, but only about twenty-five percent of the men responded. At last, in desperation the governor admitted that the situation was beyond his control and asked President Wilson for Federal troops. On April 28, Wilson declared a state of emergency in Colorado and directed that Federal troops proceed immediately to the strike area ... thus the fighting ended.” A similar incident erupted in Arkansas that same year.
Rockefeller continued to voice his defense of the American working man and more specifically for the “open shop” concept which he claimed was a principle worthy of the “ultimate sacrifice”. We can presume that he was referring to the ultimate sacrifice of others than himself or his loved ones. When testifying before the Commission on Industrial Relations and questioned as to the killing of men, women and children, Rockefeller replied:
“We Believe that the issue is not a local one in Colorado. It is a national issue whether workers shall be allowed to work under such conditions as they may choose. As part owners of the property, our interest in the laboring men in this country is so immense, so deep, so profound, that we stand ready to lose every cent we have put in that company rather than see the men we have employed thrown out of work and have imposed upon them conditions which are not of their seeking and which neither they nor we can see are in our interest.” (9)
Surprising enough even with these courageous words Mr. Rockefeller did not become a national hero to the American working man. Even after handing out hundreds and thousands of dimes to little children and setting up in later years numerous charities and philanthropies dispensing hundreds of millions of dollars Mr. Rockefeller still stands in extremely low regard in the annals of labor historians.
“The two government agencies that heard Rockefeller’s testimony concluded that the strike could have been settled, but that Rockefeller would rather spend the money of the company for guns, pay for detectives and mine guards and starve the miners into submission.
“Federal troops began to leave Colorado on January 1, 1915 … After fifteen months, the strike had been crushed by a combination of guns, bayonets, and hunger. At least sixty-six men women and children had been killed. Not one militiaman or mine guard had been indicted for murder, but John R. Lawson, the leader of the strike against Colorado Fuel & Iron, was tried and convicted of murder (his conviction was overturned on appeal). The union had not won recognition. Instead a company union - the Industrial Representation Plan - was installed in the mining camps ... Soon known as the ‘Rockefeller Plan’ it represented the birth of company unions ... After a careful study, U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations investigator George P. West agreed with the union that it was a company tool which offered the workers only the illusion of collective bargaining. The plan, he pointed out, embodied ‘none of the principles of effectual collective bargaining and instead is a hypocritical pretense of granting what is in reality withheld.’ It was a plan devised, not for the benefit of the employees, he declared, ‘but for the purpose of ameliorating or removing the unfavorable criticism of Mr. Rockefeller which had arisen throughout the country following his rejection of President Wilson’s plan of settlement’ ... Today on the site of the ‘Ludlow Massacre’ there stands a monument erected by the United Mine Workers. Annually, thousands of union-conscious motorists turn off the main highway between Trinidad and Pueblo to look at the shrine. On the monument is the inscription ‘In the memory of the men, woman, and children who lost their lives in freedom’s cause at Ludlow, Colorado, April 20, 1914.” (10)
I am always struck when reading about accounts such as this in my American History books, that these were Americans brutalizing other Americans. It does sometimes seem to me that if Americans were not engaged in a foreign war or an Indian war, they were busy killing one another. I suppose that if I ever get to research the history of all nations, the situation will probably be much the same. It does seem rather sad but I am sure that I am not the first to point this curiosity out to his readers. (11)

1 “America Enters the World - A People’s History of the Progressive Era and World War I”, Page Smith. Volume Seven, page 391.
2 “History of the Labor Movement in the United States - The AFL in the Progressive Era 1910-1915”, Volume 5, by Philip S. Foner 3 199-201
4 “A Peoples History”, Page Smith, volume seven pp. 394.
5 “History of the Labor Movement”, Philip S. Foner, volume 5, pp. 205-206.
6 “A People’s History”, volume seven, page 394.
7 “History of the Labor Movement” by Philip Foner, Volume 5, pp. 206-7.
8 Ibid. pp. 208-9.
9 Ibid. pp. 209.
10 Ibid. pp. 211-12.
11 Books used in this essay include: The History of the Labor Movement in the United States, Vol. 5, Philip Foner; A People’s History, Vol. 7, Page Smith; A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn; Romantic Revolutionary - A Biography of John Reed, Robert Rosenstone; The Rebel Girl, an autobiography 1906-1926, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn; A History of American Labor, Joseph G. Rayback.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mein Kampf Chap. 7 Part 2

By Richard E. Noble

Most people go through life half dead, half alive; half constructive, half destructive; half positive, half negative. Adolf is what I would call a positive-negative personality. Adolf actually tried to make positive qualities out of hate, revenge, vindictiveness, prejudice and even brutality. Much as the Marques de Sade attempted to make sexual abuse, torture, and perversity into a positive good.
We can all find symptoms of this duality of positive and negative within ourselves. We smoke and jog at the same time. We read and study to improve our brain, and then drink excessively in attempts to destroy it. We live safely all week long then on weekends we sky dive, drive motorcycles and fast cars, or climb mountains. I sometimes find myself judging people on how positive they are in their own lives. Are they trying to build or destroy? I also think that good therapy for destructive tendencies is to force oneself to be involved in positive pursuits. Part of the challenge of personal relationships is the battle between positive and negative. She loves me, she loves me not; she loves me, she loves me not.
Most of our psychological love stories are based upon this very theme. People attempting to bring love towards them and at the same time trying to chase it away. When I think of the so called love relationship, or of what we call romance, the puppet show of Punch and Judy always comes to mind. “Oh Judy, Judy, Judy, Judy; I love you. Won’t you come over here and play with me, please, oh please?” Then ... bang! bang! bang! right on the head; the classic story of Doctor Jeckel and Mister Hide by Robert Louis Stephenson. A man artificially torn between the positives and negatives of his personal self Most of us are exactly Doctor Jeckels and Mister Hides.
But, in getting back to the text, we find Adolf once again defending the righteousness of the war, and attributing the current post war problems of the German nation, not to its defeat, per se, but to the treason of the revolutionary, backstabbing, Marxist-Jew who quit the cause when victory for the Germans was near at hand. We, the heroic German soldiers did not lose the war. It was the dreaded October criminals who really defeated Germany. He goes on;
“… Thus in reply to the statement that the lost war is guilty of the German collapse, the following is to be said:
“The loss of the War was certainly of terrible importance to the future of our fatherland, but this loss is not a cause, but in turn, again only a consequence of other causes. That an unfortunate end of this fight for life and death was bound to lead to very disastrous consequences was certainly entirely clear to every sensible and not malicious person, but unfortunately there were also those whose intelligence seemed to be lacking at the right time, or who, contrary to their better knowledge, nevertheless first disputed and denied this truth; these were for the greater part those who, after the realization of their secret wish, now suddenly receive the belated realization of the catastrophe which they helped to bring about. They, therefore, are the culprits of the collapse, and not the lost war, as it now pleases them to say and to believe. For the loss of the war was only the cause of their activity, and not, as they now assert, the result of ‘bad’ leadership. The enemy, too, did not consist of cowards; he, too, knew how to die; his number was, for the first day, greater than that of the German army, his technical armament had the arsenals of the whole world at his disposal; thus the fact that the German victories which were gained by fighting against a whole world during four years were due, with all heroic courage and all ‘organization,’ only to superior leadership, cannot be denied in the face of reality. The organization and the leadership of the German army were the most colossal affair which the earth has ever seen so far. Its deficiencies were within the bounds of general human imperfection as a whole...”
This is a bit confusing to me, but it seems that Adolf is saying here that ‘War’ is not the thing that should be despised here; it is the ‘loss of war’ one should hate. The War was good, the only thing wrong with it, is the fact that we lost. War is good, great, glorious, and heroic. The German people should be proud of their leaders and their soldiers because they battled the whole world and nearly won. If it weren’t for the enemy within their own country, they could have been the victors and the new rulers of all Europe. Once again we have Adolf completely oblivious as to the ‘rightness’ and ‘wrongness’ of a thing and concerned solely with the winning or loosing.
My personal belief that all wars are a sad tragedy of the basic human condition, put me at somewhat of a loss here. I see no glory in war only human death and defeat. I see war as a failure among peoples of the world to solve their problems and get along with one another. I can only interpret this as the basic rhetoric of a competitive instinct. I have heard ex-Vietnam veterans utter this same logic, and with the same vindictive for ‘the traitors’ back home, and the ‘American Marxist or Communist or Leftist’ press.
Adolf is obviously the embodiment of a dominant personality. All the conquerors throughout history must be of a similar ilk; Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Constantine etc. I don’t like dominating type people, but yet there are those that consider me dominating. The difference, or a difference between them and me, as I see it, is that I have no desire to control or manipulate the lives of others. I voice my views in defense of my right to live independently, and as a protection against those who, as Adolf, feel they have a right to dominate me.
The enemy, as I see it, is ‘War’ itself. And War is the attempts of Peoples and Nations to solve their problems by violence. So it is plain to see that Adolf and I are at complete odds on this issue. So, what does a man like myself do when confronting a man like Adolf?
Unfortunately, I fight. So where are we? I do not have the courage nor the love and respect for my fellow man, as a Gandhi, or a Christ, to resist passively, or to turn the other cheek. So how do we solve this problem? How do Adolf and I co-exist?
Somehow I and those like me must present stronger logic and defeat those with the Adolf inclination from blooming within the society. Adolf, and those like him could be as dominating as they wished, but if they gained no followers, they could accomplish very little. But how do we pick out the Adolfs from the Gandhis, or the Christs?
Well, one obvious difference is that one preaches of hate and destruction, while the other preaches of love and cooperation. Another is that one speaks of the necessity of War while the other speaks of the futility of War. Adolf pulls no punches here, he isn’t hiding his true motives. He is an outright advocate of War and violence. Obviously ‘his kind’ has an appeal to the belligerent side of mankind.
“...Do nations perish at all by a lost war as such? … The answer to this can be very short: Whenever nations receive in their military defeat the return for their inner corruption, cowardice, and lack of character, in short for their unworthiness. If this is not the case, then the military defeat will become the impulse for a coming greater rise rather than the tombstone of a nation’s existence ... Unfortunately, the military defeat of the German people is not an undeserved catastrophe, but rather a deserved punishment by eternal retribution. We more than deserved this defeat ... Had not one in many circles actually expressed joy at the misfortune of the fatherland in the most shameless way? But who does this if he does not really deserve such punishment? Indeed, did one not go even farther and boast of finally having caused the front to retreat? And it was not the enemy who did this, no, no it was Germans who piled such disgrace upon their heads! Did misfortune perhaps hit them unjustly? Since when, however, does one step forward in order to attribute the war guilt to oneself? And this, despite realization and knowledge to the contrary!”
I must once again point out the phrase ‘eternal retribution’. Adolf is a believer in something, and his God, a God of war obviously, has revenged the German people for their cowardice. He has revenged all of the German people for the cowardice of only a few of the German people; the ones who had turned away from victory, and renounced the righteousness of the cause. These are the people who undermined the war effort, defeated the troops in the field, collapsed the government at home, and surrendered the nation to its enemies. Because these Germans had stooped to worshipping a false idol (Marxism and peace) their God had chosen to punish them with servitude, poverty, and the loss of their birthright to a nation.
Does this all sound familiar? And now Moses, I mean Adolf, will lead his people to the Promised Land via the battlefield, of course. I hate to say this but here again

I must fault the preconditioning of Religion for setting the groundwork for the ready acceptance of an unfounded logic.
Religion convinces its followers to accept a course of action based on faith, and this faith should be adhered to even above reason. Religion convinces its followers to believe in a God whose existence cannot be substantiated, or proven. So Religion is basically founded upon an unconfirmed suspicion. From this unconfirmed suspicion Religion then proceeds to establish a foundation of principals, supposedly provided by, from and directly through this Unconfirmed Suspicion. And this is achieved primarily through a mystical and divine revelation.

Talk about a house built on a weak foundation?
My belief is that if a person can accept this notion as a truth, then this person’s commonsense has been undermined, and the groundwork has thus been set for almost any kind of outrageous thinking on any subject. If one can believe in an illogical, irrational God, then one has to ask what is beyond his believing possibilities.
Adolf, though indirectly, continues to tap into this fertile, already cultivated ground of Divine interpretation of events. The Bible has already set the ground work for a vengeful and malicious and abusive God who will punish and destroy nations for any number of illogical and emotional transgressions. And of course, no one ever hears from God directly, but only through his divinely inspired agents. I think that it is becoming clear that Adolf considers himself as some sort of Prophet. As he said earlier, to defeat a religious belief, you must replace it with a stronger one. I think that Adolf is making up his own religion.
It is also difficult to understand why Adolf is working so hard here to shift the burden of blame away from the army, but on the following page we have a very revealing footnote.
[“After the War a strange frenzy of jubilation was indulged in by various groups of Germans. There was dancing all night in the streets and villages and towns; delirious welcomes to homecoming sweethearts shocked the sedate. The German government sent emissaries to welcome troops returning to Berlin and to invite their support in putting the new government on a firm basis; but few consented to stay, and those who did were normally soon out of control. Soldiers who took up quarters in the Berlin Schloss at Liebknecht’s behest re-emerged decked in the ex-Kaiser’s uniforms, their pockets stuffed with silver from the Imperial cupboards. Most striking detail of all, Berlin was on Christmas Eve, 1918, perilously close to the brink of revolution. The government had no armed forces on which it could rely; the revolutionaries had amassed considerable strength. But as if at a prearranged signal, everybody went off to celebrate and the crisis was over. For years nationalist referred to these things as indications of the base qualities that were hidden in the German psyche ... On both sides orgies of lust and madness, for which Europe could hardly parallel in history, marked the end of the conflict. In Germany, American and British observers saw passers-by ... beset officers, tear the insignia from their shoulders, and bash their sabres against the pavement. One observer wrote in his diary ... ‘there will be a reaction against these things, and it will not be pleasant to contemplate’...”]
One can only read this and think of the terrible treatment of Vietnam veterans returning from that disaster. I remember being totally shocked to even hear of these things. It was beyond my comprehension how a nation could ‘demand’ military service and unwavering loyalty to its causes and then spit in the faces of its returning soldiers. But this footnote informs us that we were not the first nation to treat our soldiers thusly. What a scar this must leave on any loyal soldiers mind. To risk his life, and see his friends die, to kill others on behalf of a commitment to loyalty for the most part, and then return to the nation for which he expended this effort, only to be abused and mistreated.
And the footnote goes on;
[“...Yet such phenomena did not illustrate the sentiment of either the people or the army as a whole. In November, 1918, a battalion of veterans, covered with grey mud, starved to the bone, marched homeward through the streets of Munster. On they came with firm tread, rifles slung on their shoulders, looking for all the world like a procession of wraiths arisen from the battlefields of the Marne. The thousands gathered along the streets stood in awe-struck silence, until finally a universal sob that shook the crowd seemed to come from every throat ... They were utterly stunned by the sadness of their defeat, for which nothing had prepared them. And they were left to carve out their own destiny by officers who, after years of dictatorship, wished now to get the ruins off their hands...”
So, immediately after the loss, the people in the streets turned against the war, the soldiers, the leaders that preached of the glory of the war, and the generals who lead the war. Adolf obviously took all of this very personal. He felt this to be a symptom of a disease within the German people; a self destructive disease, because the German people had turned upon themselves, exhibiting a split psychotic personality.
Again, I think this to be a common psychological problem within any nation of people. We all grow up thinking that our opinions and our values are the opinions and values of all of the people of the nation. It takes considerable learning and understanding, and maturity of point of view to come to grips with the notion that there are people who are of ‘our kind’ and a part of ‘our nation’ who are at complete disagreement with ‘our’ principles, and are working within the same nation and government for the purpose of achieving opposite and conflicting goals.
Adolf is so convinced of the righteousness, and correctness of his views that he considers any point of view to the contrary to be psychotic.
In our country today we have people who think that this society is founded on the principals of cooperation and kindness to others, especially the less fortunate and less capable, and that the state in its capacity as a government should be directed towards this goal. In other words we should be a country involved in the spirit of love and sharing. There are others who believe that this country was founded on the principles of individual achievement, personal ambition and even greed and that any attempts by the government to stifle these tendencies are not within the spirit of the land, and its founders, or the basic principles of human nature.
But isn’t this once again the personal dilemma of each and every one of us in all of our relationships with others. To whom do we show love, and where and in what circumstances should this love be held back? How much should we give to our children, and how much should they be required to get on their own? How do we raise respectable self-sustaining children and yet give into the demands of our love for them and the tendency to provide for them, their every need. Who is truly in need and who is simply lazy; which is doing his or her best and still not able to reach our minimum standards?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Simple Matter of Black and White

“A Modest Proposal”

By Richard E. Noble

[This is another episode from a local county commission meeting here in Franklin County. I thought this to be important to the world at large because of the racial issue as it concerns democracy at the grass roots level. This, of course, is another product from your novice journalism student, R.E. Noble.]

Richard Harper – Concerned Citizens of Franklin County Inc.
“My name is Richard Harper and I am here this morning to represent the Concerned Citizens of Franklin County Inc. I’m sure that you have seen some of our ads in the local paper … We already have over a hundred a sixty members and are excited about having the human resources to help the Commission study how the budget works – or doesn’t work as some would say and how each department spends tax dollars. Our early focus was going to be on property tax relief and county spending. But we have been asked by many, many Franklin County citizens about what the Commission intends to do concerning “at large” voting. It is not an issue that we intend to bring before you at this time but it seems to be on everyone’s mind. As you know 69% of the voters want this changed ... It has been almost three months since the election in November last year when you elected to put this question on the ballot … You put it on the ballot to find out what the people wanted you to do – now you know what they want you to do. We have heard rumors about your plans. What we have heard is that the Board intends to take no action. We ask that you schedule a public hearing for March 20th and take action on that date. Chairman Crofton we ask that you schedule this meeting at this time.”
“A public hearing?” offered Mr. Crofton. “I think that there ought to be a little more education of the citizens on what the entire impact on this would be – and the legal aspects. I would be in favor of a public workshop to educate everyone and then proceed from that point. I could do that.”
“I want to get our lawyer’s opinion on this,” said Mr. Lockley.
“Commissioner there is a federal injunction that prohibits us from going to “at large” voting at this time. There has been an order that has released us to redistrict but it did not release us to go back to at large voting. So that is the legal opinion. We are prohibited by law.”
“So Mr. Shuler,” asked Mr. Harper, “we are still under that 1986 court order?”
The discussion then turned to a more recent court order. Mr. Harper was of the opinion that the recent order had relieved the County of its Federal obligations. Attorney Shuler disagreed.
“I am the lawyer that attained that court order, Mr. Harper and I think that I am in the best position to know what it means and what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that we have been released to go back to at large voting. It does not mean that. If you disagree, there is a forum in Tallahassee and we can go see Judge Stafford in Tallahassee and see if he agrees with your opinion. However it is my opinion that the County is still subject to the at large injunction.”
Mr. Harper then submitted to the Board a copy of an order vacating the injunction which he and his group interpreted as permission from the court to release the County from the federal mandate against at large voting. Mr. Shuler disagreed explaining that the order was ambiguous and could be misinterpreted by those not familiar with legal terminology. Mr. Harper then asked the Board and the audience to put aside Mr. Shuler’s legal expertise along with his opinion and read the order vacating the injunction themselves and see what they felt that it said.”
“If you disagree with my interpretation,” said Mr. Shuler. “You have relief. You can go to the judge yourself and ask him that question. Go to the source.”
Mr. Harper was not content with Mr. Shuler recommendation and persisted in his desire to make his opinion public knowledge. Mr. Lockley then advised the Board to accept the County Attorney’s advice that the issue not be addressed and that Mr. Harper seek enlightenment at the source - and go to the judge who wrote the court order.
“All that order says,” explained Mr. Shuler, “is that we can redistrict now or redistrict later and we don’t have to go back to the court. It does not mean that we have been released from the at large issue. I know that one lawyer that you (Mr. Harper) talked to is not even licensed in the state of Florida and he told you that it did not mean, in his opinion, that you have been released from at large. He also said that it was overly broad …”
“He did not tell me that!” stated Mr. Harper. “I don’t know where you got that.”
“I got it from his mouth to my ear,” said Mr. Shuler.
“I’m not a lawyer but I can read. I see what the judge wrote and you have to assume that is what the judge meant.”
Ms. Sanders then stated that she was also present when the decision under discussion was rendered and “not once was at large even mentioned”.
“That is exactly right,” emphasized Attorney Shuler. “And my whole point is that the court is not going to provide relief that it is not asked for. I think that it would be astoundingly irresponsible to say that the judge gave us relief that was not asked for.”
“Well, it says what it says,” argued Mr. Harper.
“What I am saying is when you go to court there is a thing called due process. Part of that is that you clarify the issues before the court by filing pleas and motions. That way the court and all the parties know what issues are being argued. The judge then renders opinions and judgments that are based on the issues as they are framed in the pleas. In the 2003 case the exclusive issue was a redistricting plan and a release from the injunction to implement the redistricting plan. There was never a moment’s thought – not the first word; not even the first bit of evidence on at large voting. The County did not ask to be released from the at large injunction ... My recommendation is that the Board take my legal advise and if they (Concerned Citizens) think that I am wrong then the burden is on them to go to the court. I recommend that you do not ask me to seek a verification of the court’s order and accept the interpretation that I have given you. And if they disagree with that, they have a remedy.”
An argument then ensued with Mr. Harper claiming that his view represented the opinion of 70% of the voters of Franklin County. Mr. Shuler then pointed out that the 70% figure that Mr. Harper was quoting merely represented the number who voted in the November election and in actuality barely represented a third of the registered voters of Franklin County - all of which would be moot in relation to a valid Federal Injunction which takes into consideration the rights of the majority and the minority when it is rendered. The Supreme Court has also rendered several opinions on this issue, the most prominent of which was Baker v Carr in 1964 which set the priorities for our present required districting. A decision which Chief Justice Warren said was the biggest decision of his career.
There were other people in the audience who wanted to comment and they began to speak out from their seats.
“If I start taking public comments on this, it will turn into a public fiasco,” suggested Mr. Crofton.
“Mr. Crofton,” interrupted Ms. Sanders. “I would like to hear some of the public. I think we need to hear from the public. And if it takes all day, it takes all day because this is an important issue.”
“Allen Feifer, president of the Concerned Citizens of Franklin County. It is important to talk about the five hundred pound gorilla that is in the room at the moment. There is a conflict of interest here with the status quo maybe wanting to keep things the way they are versus what the citizens want. The only issue in my mind is whether it is legal or not. I would like everyone in the audience to understand that this is an issue that is of paramount importance to change in the County. I plead with the County to don’t make us have to go out and sue the County or make the County spend money to defend this position if in fact it is an indefensible position. If there is an easy way to find out if the judge in fact meant what he said in writing – to vacate the entire paragraph 5 of his decision – let’s do that ... We’ll do it if we have to (sue Franklin County) but the citizens have spoken. Let’s not subvert their wishes. Let’s do County-wide voting if it is feasible; if it is not then we have other avenues that we can follow to get to that point.”
“Commissioners there is nothing unclear about the order,” advised Mr. Shuler.

Rose Etta McCoy – educator from Apalachicola – then stepped to the podium.
“I would like to remind the Commissioners that you really didn’t have the majority of the electorate in November. You actually had about 35.3% that voted yes. You didn’t have a majority percentage. I would also like to remind you that our district has come a long way. We have made tremendous progress. We are extremely proud of that progress. We are extremely proud of Franklin County. That progress has allowed us to insure opportunities for the election of a minority in our County; not only on the Franklin County Commission but on the Franklin County School Board. I stand here to tell you that the 1986 ruling in the United States District Court for the northern district of Florida upheld the plaintiff’s complaint that “at large” system in Franklin County denied African American citizens of Franklin County an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and to elect candidates of their own choice. I urge you and there are others here that urge you not to even reconsider going back to court or getting another opinion - especially if it means the retention of the single member district. And if accountability of all commissioners that are present here is a major concern to all of the voters, then I suggest to you that you make changes within the structure to make all commissioners accountable to “all” of the people in Franklin County. That is what you are up there doing. You are making provisions for us – not a select few. The December 3, 2003 ruling allowed the County to simply implement what you asked for in your resolution. It allows the County to implement a new redistricting plan if that is your pleasure. It does not stipulate that the Commission vacate the single member district or that you do away with the at large voting (restriction). If you take a look at the resolution that was presented ... They did not tell you that you had to eliminate your single member district. They did not give you permission to go back to your at large voting. I would urge you to not consider doing this. The system is working. It is very functional. We are proud of the progress that all of you have made. And we want you to consider all of the people, and all of our desires, not just a select group. Thank you.”
Clarence Williams
“The reason I am here today is because a few years ago we went through this same thing. It was because there was no way that a black man could win an office ... The only way that we could get a black man elected is when the court went to a single member district. Mr. Tollover served for ten full years; I came and then served eight; and Mr. Lockley has completed two. When you go to the at large system there is no way that the black man can win – it has been proven in court. We don’t need to be fighting here among ourselves; we need to be here together ... What we need to do is leave this just the way it is so that we don’t have people left out of this election system.”
Mr. Williams also spoke to the increased cost of campaigning involved in county wide voting; his point being that it will take more money and be more difficult for a candidate with fewer dollars to spend.
Another speaker spoke to the issue of “power” – discounting the race issue.
In an at large system an organized minority of voters could theoretically elect all of the commissioners; thus making Franklin County less democratic, less diversified, and less representative. If the “Concerned Citizens” or the seafood workers, or the real estate industry and developers were capable of voting as a block, they could control the entire County Commission. In other words the same powerful “minority” of voters voting county wide could elect all the candidates. With the present system that can not happen – each candidate must get a majority in each district.
Mr. Lockley then made the motion that this issue be left to stand and that the Concerned Citizens of Franklin County seek a clarification at their own initiative and expense – much the same as the black community was forced to do in their original petitioning process.
The motion was passed 4 to 1 with Commissioner Crofton voting against. Mr. Crofton was of the opinion that the question was one that needed an answer.
“I make the motion,” advised Mr. Putnal, “that we continue with Mr. Lockley’s motion until somebody can put written proof in front of us that this thing has been done away with (Injunction against county wide voting).” This motion was approved unanimously.
As has often been said there are few issues that are simply a matter of black and white, unfortunately this issue is just that. The five hundred pound gorilla in the room mentioned by Mr. Fiefer was not the County Commission’s obstinacy or obfuscation of this issue but the perception of racism; a perception clearly visible by the division of races sitting in the Commission room and the clear contrast of opinions being expressed at the podium. Franklin County is between 15 and 20 percent African American and Apalachicola is 35 to 40 percent African American.
This whole thing smacks of “Hearst-ism”. I have no doubt that this issue will sell newspapers – but I fear if this issue is pursued it will bring to Franklin County not fame and publicity but shame and notoriety. In fact, I think that it can be guaranteed.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865

By Richard E. Noble

Abraham Lincoln may not be all that he is cracked up to be, according to Gore Vidal in his book “The Second American Revolution and Other Essays”.
Nancy Hanks, Abraham’s mother was illegitimate, and this is documented by Abraham himself, says Gore.
He was no shy, modest, warm, gentle person. “No great man is ever modest. It was his intellectual arrogance and unconscious assumption of superiority that men like Chase and Sumner could never forgive,” says John Hay, Lincoln’s secretary.
He was no little po-boy, rail-splitter from a log cabin in the backwoods. By the time he became president he was a thriving, well to do, ambitious, aggressive lawyer.
Lincoln was not a good Christian. In fact, he wrote a book, Infidelity. “Lincoln, in that production, attempted to show that the Bible was false: first on the grounds of reason, and, second, because it was self-contradictory; that Jesus was not the son of God any more than any man.” Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner, friend and biographer confirms this account in his biography of Lincoln.
Lincoln spoke of God in later speeches, according to Gore, because of political pressure, but even so, made no references to Jesus.
Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, went mad, and they had three sons who all died prematurely. This may be due to the fact that Lincoln around 1835-1836 went to Beardstown and contracted syphilis. He got treatment for it by a Doctor Daniel Drake in Cincinnati. He may have infected his wife, Mary, with the disease and hence her madness and the death of his three boys. This, claims Gore, may also explain his terrible bouts with melancholy, depression and “chastity”.
In 1846, as a Congressman, he opposed the war with Mexico on the grounds that it was a nasty, aggressive business started by the United States to seize new territories from an obviously weaker opponent. In a speech thirteen years before the Civil War he declared... “Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better.” OOPS!
Old Abe wasn’t even a friend of the Negro, according to Mr. Vidal. He didn’t precipitate the war to free the slaves or to abolish slavery, but to save the Union. “If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong,”... but ...”if I can save the Union without freeing any slaves, I will do that. If I can save the Union by freeing some and leaving others alone, I will do that.”
Early in his administration he and his Republican buddies “acquired” a bunch of land in Central America for the purpose of re-locating American blacks. I guess he didn’t know about Liberia. OOPS, again.
Gore goes on to credit Lincoln with the “creation” of the American Nation State. In other words, he says... Lincoln, with his war, destroyed the “Union”, and created a “Nation”.
I think old Gore has got his history mixed up with his fiction here. Lincoln did not start the Civil War; the South did when it attacked Fort Sumter. And Lincoln did not deny the South their “right” to secede from the Union. The South gave up that right when they signed onto the Constitution... “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance OR CONFEDERATION ... ENTER ANY AGREEMENT OR COMPACT WITH ANOTHER STATE OR WITH A FOREIGN POWER OR ENGAGE IN WAR...”
So much for legal and social contracts, I suppose?

Abe and the War

As previously stated Abraham Lincoln did not start the Civil War. The Cotton South started the Civil War even before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated. They had been threatening secession and rattling their sabers for over twenty years. The Atlanta Confederacy proclaimed
“Whether ... Pennsylvania Avenue is paved ten fathoms deep in mangled bodies ... the South will never submit to ... the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln.” The South was so aggressive and adamant on this slavery issue, I actually wonder if they intended or had a plan for conquering the North. With their aggressive attitude, it does seem difficult to believe that if they had been the victorious party in this conflict that they would have allowed the North to go on harboring runaway slaves or even continuing in their free slave state status. Did they want independence, or domination?
Abe, though a member of the right wing, abolitionist Republican Party was not about to abolish slavery anytime soon. He was in favor of a slow turn over of the policy, one that might take ten, even twenty years. He even talked of a colonization program for transplanting discontented black and freed slaves in South America. His initial emancipation proclamation outraged his Republican cohorts in 1863. It freed slaves only in those areas of the Confederacy still in rebellion, not in any Southern States already occupied by the Union army, nor in any loyal slave states. After much criticism he announced to strong critics, such as Horace Greeley and William Garrison, that his goal as president was not to abolish slavery but to preserve the Union.
Lincoln was a hands-on Commander and Chief. He fired McClellan and replaced him with Burnsides. Burnsides was replaced by Hooker, and Hooker by General George Meade.
At the battle of Gettysburg a defeated and escaping Lee was trapped by the flooding Potomac. But disregarding Lincoln orders, Meade hesitated and Lee escaped. Lincoln blamed Meade for missing the opportunity of ending the war.
It wasn’t until U.S. Grant came along that Lincoln found a man that he trusted. When the press went to Lincoln criticizing Grant on his unwillingness to provide information about the war or his plans, Abe told them not to feel bad because General Grant wouldn’t tell him anything either. When they criticized Grant for drinking too much whiskey, Lincoln asked them to find out what brand General Grant drank so that he could send a case of it to his other Generals.
When John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln, point blank in the back of the head at the Ford Theater, while the newly re-elected president and his wife and some friends were watching the comedy, “Our American Cousin”, Mister Booth may have executed the best friend a defeated army could ever have had.
There were many in the North who were screaming for execution for Confederate generals and political leaders, firing squads or imprisonment for officers and lesser personages, military occupation of all the rebellious states and land reform and redistribution of all Southern plantations and wealth. Lincoln’s attitude was saintly when looked at from the point of view that this group of Southern conspirators and “traitors” were responsible by their belligerent attitude for the death of 600,000 thousand of their fellow citizens and probably double that number in wounded and maimed. And all for a cause that is considered by almost everyone today to be, not only immoral but unjust and criminal to humankind – the buying, selling, torture, abuse and trading of human life. Some say, cutely, that the issue of the Civil War was not slavery but State’s Rights. But the right that the Southern States were trying to secure was slavery. So no matter how one attempts to “spin” it, the issue was slavery.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

John Stosel, Give Me a Break

“Slight of Mind”

By Richard E. Noble

John Stosel has developed a very interesting technique; I call it “slight of mind”. Magicians perform what they call “slight of hand” where right before our very eyes they are able to make things change or even disappear. It’s magic.
John Stosel does a similar trick. He takes conventional wisdom - accepted truism - and right before our common sense or rational thinking process, he is able to make it all disappear or change from a matter of importance to something that is inconsequential and more often silly and nonsensical. He turns “up” into “down” and wrong into right. And he does it right before our mind.
It is wonderful to watch him perform his act each week but, unfortunately, I have lost interest. Whenever I see John Stosel on the tube I take my magic wand and flip the channel. I do this in self-defense. Just like I push myself away for the table in order to avoid getting fat; I push myself away from John Stosel in order to avoid becoming stupid.
I have read and studied all my life in the attempt to learn to think correctly; to form proper decisions; to come to reasonable conclusions; to leave no stone unturned. John Stosel’s “slight of mind” technique is an attempt to undermine my lifetime objective. I feel that his program is an attempt to make me lose my mind; my rational thinking; my quest for truth and justice; my common sense. And he does this by using the very weapons that I have developed to establish my guidelines and proper techniques.
I compare him to the Moonies who used the democratic principles of Protestant Christendom to steal the churches right from under their congregation’s very principles. These poor Protestants, being good Christians, welcomed the Moonies into their fold and then watched their fold and its possessions all disappear.
I don’t know exactly when I began to lose faith in John Stosel, but I think it was when he tried to convince me that Mother Teresa was a manipulative, scumbag and Michael Millikan, the junk bond criminal, was the proper moral idol for my do-gooder aspirations.
He used a kind of P. J. O’Rouke-Adam Smith self-interest principle to somehow prove that an old lady who spent her life living in garbage dumps in India trying to help the poor find food and salvation was truly an evil manipulative witch. While, on the other hand, a super-wealthy stockbroker, who escalated the value of worthless bonds and peddled them to lesser educated individuals - thus defrauding them, in millions of cases, of their entire life’s savings, was somehow a paragon of moral virtue. He ended this comparative analysis with the conclusion that what the courts had decided was an evil man who consciously and premeditatedly had swindled millions of people of millions, or maybe billions, and had been sent to prison, had actually performed an act of social kindness. And that Mother Teresa who had spent her life in garbage dumps and leper colonies trying to give people hope and lessen their pain and suffering was actually contributing to the moral squalor of the planet.
I thought John had really done a good one there. I mean, that was great. I knew, like when watching the magician, something tricky had just taken place, but for the life of me, I had to admit that I didn’t see it. He had performed this feat right before my mind. I knew it was a trick but I couldn’t figure out how it was done.
I have since defeated most of Mr. Stosel’s deceptive demonstrations by simply investigating more thoroughly than he chooses to do and gathering more facts, and applying them more logically and consistently - in other words doing more “home work” and thinking it through “intelligently”.
I really don’t know what Mr. Stosel is doing; it certainly isn’t journalism; it definitely isn’t reporting; it is the opposite of educating. It is truly magical though; I guess you would call it “stupid-fyng”.