Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bloggin' Be My Life - War and Economics

War and Economics Part III

Conclusion – Utopia Revisited

By Richard E. Noble

We have established in War and Economics I and II that War as business can not be profitable unless the residual businesses and the secondary revenue sources are able to bring in returns greater than the initial and subsequent investments. In other words the government’s spending on producing a War must be out-distanced by the taxes collected, plus the expanding residual industries created, plus the excess sales of superfluous or outdated weapons produced by the War Industries and manufactures. If all this truly happens, as it seems to be happening and as most Americans consciously or subconsciously believe - then War is in fact profitable. And just to repeat for clarity’s sake - War is basically a Government business which manufactures a product that is given away for free or actually used to destroy other things.

If, in fact, this is the case then we see why governments promote war and we substantiate the basic notion brought forward in the beginning of this thesis - “War is a profitable and good business practice.”

War begins with government spending or investment. Government investment leads to profit and employment. Profits and employment lead to consumption in residual industries. If tax returns from the War Industries amount to 1/3 of initial government outlay and tax return from residual industries return the other 2/3 - then we have a government or taxpayer based industry that is paying for itself.

If returns from residual industries (some of which have real products to produce) are greater than 2/3 of original taxpayer outlay and borrowed money to create the industry then we have a profit making industry without even selling or using the products produced by the Industry or collecting booty from a war.

Is this really possible? Can an industry be created where an actual product is not necessary? Where no capital goods are necessary? Well, it seems to be the case. War it does seem is exactly that type of industry.

What we are suggesting here is that all we need to do is expend taxpayer’s dollars (or even borrowed dollars - or better yet un-borrowed, debt free, created dollars) so that they are redistributed to a portion of the public in the form of wages and profits which are then spent for real products that then start a chain economic reaction of societal sustaining residual industries - with the original tax investment returned to the taxpayers to fund future investment? We have thus created perpetual economic motion.

If we can sell the products from our War Industry we can further increase the profits from our Tax funded business, but this would be gravy - not necessity. The products can be sold or they can be thrown away - or blown up or exploded - or buried in a land fill or whatever.

If what has been established in the above is true - war is in fact a profitable business which has cured depressions, recessions and monetary catastrophes of any kind and serves as a viable policy for the sustenance of a nation - then how could we apply the principles learned above to benefit our nation in a more positive way - possibly eliminating all the death and destruction?

Well, if you have understood and accepted the above formula it should be quite obvious that if war can work as a profitable business venture - anything can work.

This is all pure Keynesian economics. In other words; we the people or the government get investment capital via borrowing, deficit spending and general taxation (or just employing a free monetary printing press). We invest that money in any enterprise that creates jobs. The jobs produce a product - the majority of which is thrown away, given away or destroyed. If any of this product is sold to anybody at any cost - that’s gravy. Our real profits come from the taxes collected on the new jobs created and on the profits of the new businesses and corporations along with the residual businesses established as a result of the prosperity created by our “seed” industry.
So for example, if we wanted to replace the Military Industrial Complex with the Health Care and Drug Industrial Complex, it would be simple. We start “factories” with our government seed revenues that produce drugs that cure diseases. As with bombs and bullets we don’t sell these products; we give them away. We hire researchers to find new products and we set our goal to cure every disease known to mankind. We hire additional people to go around the world curing people with these drugs. Or we can be “Capitalistic” and loan the money to the sick people so that they can buy these drugs from our company. When they become well we employ them in our industry or a residual industry of their own creation (free enterprise) and then they pay us back with interest or simply by creating more prosperity from which we all gain.

Now we have money coming in from the income taxes on the employees and the profits of the employing company.

The increased spending from the people with the good jobs in this industry promotes residual enterprises and more jobs. These businesses and jobs are also taxed and now we have more “cash flow”. As with arms, we sell our drugs to countries who can afford to pay for them – wherever and whenever we can. Through our research we make new and better drugs but then we sell the old technology to lesser developed countries. They will be more than happy to buy our old drug technologies - even if there are better products available, just as they have eagerly bought our old guns and bombs.

This whole scenario is exactly the same as our war machine but instead of destruction we bring Health. We have no cleanup program but instead we have an absence of sick and diseased people - who will work to produce other products that will serve to increase the World Gross International Product.

All our other industries - banks and whatever - will continue to work in their traditional ways - nothing will change. We will still have profits, salaries, wages, investments, invention, stocks and bonds, entrepreneurship and Capitalism. We will simply have constructive Capitalism instead of destructive Capitalism.
Different countries can pick different humanitarian industries to promote and they can develop their own Industrial Complex - if anyone can think of an Industry that actually sells a useful product so much the better.

We will all, of course, still be required to have our militaries but they can be geared down due to the obvious “peace divided’ that will result from an economic system that is clearly designed to do good and promote prosperity and health and happiness for all.

Almost any “business” that we could invent would be better than War. The products of our War industry are all blown up and destroyed and they are used to destroy other things. If we substitute producing an actual product - like health care drugs - we eventually sell them - possibly at a profit - instead of just giving them away. They develop in spin off industries and other residual business that involve building things instead of blowing things up. This creates rents, loans, interest payments salaries and whatnot. The world’s populations are employed, taxes are collected and this utopian business Complex becomes self perpetuating.

This whole concept is created on the idea of concocting a business without a true viable product - as the business of War does. The “product” of war is destruction; the product of our new industry will be creation - creation of anything positive.
If we accept that war works in the way that I have described it, then this business based on manufactured creation - as opposed to manufactured destruction - should work even better.

But if this whole scenario is false and War is nothing more than a sophisticated Ponzi scam that can only be sustained by another war and which will then only come to an end with the eventual destruction of all nations and their populations - then my Ponzi scam will also end accordingly but with positive as opposed to negative results.

The difference is that my economic Pozi scam, based on the “creation” of a better world, will only end after the whole world and everyone in it has been cured of all disease and benefited from every kind of knowledge; and every nation in the world has improved the living conditions of all of its population to the point where nothing better can be created or conceived.

If this be Ponzi, then so be it!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

War and Economics Part II

War and Economics

Part II

By Richard E. Noble

If we accept all the positive economic attributes of War and we admit that War is economically favorable - Then the question is “how” does it work?
If we can figure out the techniques and the technicalities of “how” war works maybe we can then apply this knowledge to other industries.
If war is in fact a business - a business that works - then its principles should be applicable to other endeavors.
The most profitable sector of war is the production and manufacture of the tools of war.
Of course in ancient times men marched off to war with very little preparation or implements - sticks and stones and their bare hands were good enough. In those times it was not the production or manufacture of the implements of war that made war profitable. It was the plunder; the booty; the slaves, the pillaging along with the joys and pleasures of rape, torture and killing serving as residual spirit enhancers. In those times the armies and the individuals actually profited from the spoils of war - like pirating or thievery.
In today’s world it seems that Wars are not fought for such fundamental principles. Pirating and thievery are rarely even mentioned - though rape and torture are still quite popular on either side of any encounter.
The individuals involved do not necessarily gain personally from their efforts. Many of the participants actually suffer irreparable damage - even death - with no reciprocating financial reward. The profits of war are still democratically distributed but different segments of the warring populations are rewarded differently.
The soldiers are usually some of lowest compensated. Soldiers are the least organized. They have no unions; they have very few rights and a multitude of duties. The bulk of them are traditionally garnered from the poorest ranks of the societies involved. They have been the least educated overall. They are typically the “blue collar” employees working in the factory of War.
Officers and Generals fare somewhat better. Some of the high ranking officers actually do quite well. All militaries are based on a class structure - the higher ranking traditionally coming from the wealthier more prosperous families. They are better organized and consequently fare much better in wages.
The real beneficiaries of war are not the consumers but the suppliers - the manufactures, the producers, the corporation heads, the CEOs, the stockholders and their employees. This has always been the case.
As we all know if you can keep your homeland uninvolved in the actual conflict of the War, and send your armies overseas to war in other lands, the war becomes substantially more profitable. Even when one takes into consideration the costs of exporting the war, the profits are still enhanced by conducting the war abroad. You do, of course, have the dead and maimed who must be transported back to their homeland but nevertheless you avoid the impact and the damage to the infrastructure that the war inflicts on the country of destination.
Although the soldiers carry the war to the enemy they are not a valuable asset in the profiting from war. Similar to the employees in a consumer factory they are an unfortunate but necessary expense. Their value is that they carry on their backs and in their arms the accouterments of the war. They wear or service or harness the equipment; they throw the hand grenades; they shoot the bullets; they drop the bombs; they fly the jets; they sail the ships; they guide the missiles etc., etc.; but just as with the employees in the conventional factory they are considered a cost of production. Their up-keep and maintenance are to be considered as an expense and not as a profit.
But the war produces products which are bought and sold. Who are the consumers of the products of war?
The host country receives the abundance of the factories of War but it does not buy them and in most cases does not pay any of the expenses or cost for their production. They receive all of the products of the war factories free of charge.
The soldiers are not consumers either. They are given their products to dispense also free of charge. So who buys and pays for all the expenses of war?
Governments pay for War. They purchase the products and they then consume them.
They consume them by donating them free of charge to foreign countries. These countries, of course, didn’t ask for these products, nor do they really have any need for them; but they get them nevertheless. It is also not a matter of consequence to what country these products are donated. One country will serve the purpose just about as well as another.
These countries do not usually receive these products in a usable state. They do not receive these products to use themselves, but rather have these products used on them.
Once these products have been used, in most cases, they no longer have any positive value.
So you might say that governments create these products for War while also creating the demand and the market for these products.
Of course governments contend that there is a demand for these products. They usually contend that the countries that receive these products have asked for them.
After a war is over the country who has received the bulk of these products always denies ever having asked for them.
But in any case, from the business perspective, if we delivered these products to planets in outer space the business cycle of profit and loss would be much the same.
In other words, in order to create this cycle of profitability governments really do not need a host country.
The idea of having a viable host country simply makes the war easier to sell to the domestic manufacturing entity or nation.
But if the consumers of War are governments then we are lead to ask; Where do they get the money to buy and pay for the War?
Most Americans would say that their Government gets its money from taxpayers. But this is not entirely true. If the only money that the U.S. government had access to was what it takes in from the taxpayers then at most points in its history it would not have had the money to manufacture any of its wars.
The difference between what the American taxpayers have paid the U.S. government and the money that the U.S. government has spent is actually calculated and kept in a log book.
This log book is called the National Debt. Unfortunately this does not provide an accurate record because all the unpaid expenditures from past deficit spending are recorded in aggregate.
But the question is if the government didn’t collect this money from the taxpayers, where did this money come from?
Most people would say that the government simply printed it up - created it via the treasury. In which case the logical question would be; If the government simply printed up the money why didn’t it print up enough money to cover any deficit?
The notion that the government prints up money is only partially true.
If they just went to the treasury and had money printed up - much as a counterfeiter would do in his garage or cellar - that would be bad; or good, depending on your point of view with regards to proper monetary policy. But what the government does, seems to me to be worse yet.
They go to the Treasury and print up lOUs that they sell to customers for an agreed percentage of interest in return for cash up front. Why do they do that? Only J. P. Morgan knows.
So not only as critics claim have they created more money (inflating the currency in circulation) but they have also created future debt payments.
Again, why do they do this?
I don’t know.
But even though this is interesting to think about, it takes us away from the fundamentals of our War Industry.
All that we need to know is that the consumers of war are the Governments. And the governments buy the war by taxing its citizens now and in the future via the debt borrowing. So the consumers of the War are the citizens of the countries involved in promoting the War in question.
So then, what do the citizens of the war producing countries get for their dollars (or whatever) invested via their taxes in War?
They get support for their businesses; they get jobs and a prosperous economy. At least this is what most people think and this is what most Americans have come to understand.
So the government collects the taxes and cash from borrowing from the people. The government takes these taxes (money and borrowed cash) and invests it in the industries and products of war. The government uses some of this tax money to pay the soldiers while the industries producing the products for the war pay their employees and extract their management salaries and profits while also paying dividends to their shareholders.
Those that are not directly involved in the industries of war themselves benefit residually by supplying consumer goods and services to all of those employed and benefiting from the War industry. This is no different from the grocery store built outside the automobile factory or the textile mill or the gold mine or whatever. The Boom-town that lives by catering to needs of the gold miners.
So what is the fundamental economic cycle taking place here?
Well, we have several factors. We have people; we have governments; we have money; we have factories; we have products; we have producers; we have consumers; we have soldiers; we have employees; and we have an overall concept that we call War.
The taxpayers give their money to the governments; the governments give their money and the money they have borrowed on their bonds (that will be paid for in future increments by present and future taxpayers via inflation) to the factories and the industries; the industries pay their managers, their stockholders and their employees; the managers, stockholders, and soldiers (or families of) spend the money from their earning on non-war consumables.
But eventually the government spends all of its collected tax revenues plus the money it has borrowed. It then must collect more taxes and borrow more money. The governments get more taxes by taking a portion of the incomes gained from the war industries plus the residual benefiting consumer industries and continue to borrow as is necessary.
Now, since the government only extracts a portion from the wages of those in the society, unless the residual industries surrounding the War industry is greater proportionately than the War Industries themselves - the Government will inevitably run out of money. Because if we theorize that it pays for all of the products and salaries and costs of war; and if the war industry only manufactures for the war at hand - since its products return no revenue it can add no money to the original money invested.
Let’s start at the beginning here once again.
Let us imagine that the whole economy is based solely on the Industry of War. Its factories only manufacture the products and implements of war - all of which are given away in one way or another. The planes, the bombs, the bullets, the tanks etc. are all used in the War effort - nothing is sold.
The war is financed by taxpayers and by extending credit on the collected taxes from future taxpayers. The only increased revenue to the government comes from the taxes collected from the new jobs created by the War Industries and the stimulation generated in the residual economy. If War is the only source of this economy’s income - this society will not be able to sustain itself.
If the industries of war do not sell their products to someone other than the taxpayers or the War itself does not produce spoils - war conducted in this fashion will be unsustainable.
War for the sake of war; war that gains no outside spoil; wars that are solely sustained by the taxpayers will eventually bankrupt any nation.
But what if the war is financed by future taxpayer debt and alternative weapons sales?
Well, financing via future taxpayer debt is basically a Ponzi operation. The scam will be sustained until the debt reaches a point beyond which the economy and the earning population has expanded.
This would be comparable to reaching a point in your personal debt where you must borrow money each week to be able to meet the interest payments on your credit cards.
The only way this could be sustained is if your borrowing power is infinite.
Unfortunately War is not profitable. And it must follow that it is being sustained by the legitimate business world - or simply creating debt on future taxpayers. The only way that a war can pay for itself and be profitable is if the country manufacturing the weapons and instruments of war is not expending them itself but selling them to other countries who are bankrupting their national economies.
This is much like the drug business - if you’re a user you’re a loser.
In the United States of America we do both. We fight wars and we manufacture and sell the weapons of wars. Oftentimes we do both at the same time. In many instances while our government sends weapons and soldiers to a selected country at the taxpayers expense, our businesses and manufactures sell their wares not only to our government but to surrounding countries including the country being attacked - World War II being a prime example.
But the theoretical question remains: How is war profitable?
Making War is only profitable if booty is attained. If there is no booty the only way a nation involved in a war can profit is via employment - soldiers and workers participating in the war efforts receiving wages. This will increase revenue to a nation by way of new or additional income taxes; but the income taxes collected are only a portion of the tax dollars expended - even if the profits of the war industries are taxed also - rather than subsidized. We have the Law of Diminishing Returns setting in here. But if the people employed in the War Industries spend their money on homes, refrigerators and the like and this creates jobs and consequently additional tax revenue to compensate for the war expenditure then one could theorize a profitable situation.
Let’s say that taxpayers pay one third of their incomes in taxes to the Federal Government. If a residual industry is built around the War Industry at least three times the size of the War Industry in profits and employees - then the nation could theoretically break even. If the residual industry is greater than 3 to 1 then the nation could actually make a profit.
So, we must assume that this is the theory of the profitable Military Industrial State. This is how we merchandise and capitalize War. To use and old phrase this is how we become established “Merchants of Death”.
Now that we have established the method for making War profitable, how can we use this method to establish other industries - possibly industries that do not involve Death and Destruction? Let’s review the business of war.
Governments “create” money through debt and establish additional revenues via taxation. The money created through debt and taxation is invested in the production of war. The majority of the products produced for war are destroyed via the war - and are given away for free. The government gets it “profits” from the war by taxing the new war industries and their employees and managers. But this alone would not give a return to compensate for the initial investment necessary to produce a war. There must be secondary sources of revenue to compensate for the enormous investments necessary to conduct war.
One compensating source of revenue is the sale of weapons and explosives or whatever to “observer” countries or third parties who watch the war taking place and realize that they must prepare themselves for the inevitable war that may strike them at any time.
Another source of return for investments is money gained through additional borrowing - this, of course is an eventual loser but it keeps the ball rolling and like all Ponzi scams it could go on forever as long as people “keep the faith”.
Probably the major source of war revenue comes with the cleanup and exploitation (spoils) after the host country is devastated. Of course if you lose the war or the aggressor nation gives up the war before it is brought to a conclusion - all of these potential profits go down the drain. But even this operation is a “catch-22” because there is no one capable of paying for the cleanup investment. Consequently the money for the clean up must be advanced once again via taxation, inflation or borrowing (debt).
The bottom line of this industry should be becoming obvious. The only way to continue to profit from war is to promote another war. As with all Ponzi scams new blood must be continuously brought into the equation. This would be the same for any business idea that is based on investment without sales. If you have no product to sell - or you blow it up or throw it away - you have eliminated the main source of revenue for any business adventure. Even if the business is service orientated - some one must “buy” the service.

[This has completed part II of War and Economics. Part III will be my next entry.]

Monday, April 16, 2007

War and Economics

War and Economics

By Richard E. Noble

War is good for our national economy. It creates employment; encourages investment; builds new industries; promotes higher wages and raises values on the stock market.
I am convinced that the majority of Americans believe that the above is true - some have a conscious belief that it is true and others only a sub-conscious belief. But, all in all, most Americans believe, though it may be unfortunate - even sad - that war is good for business. It brings prosperity. Of course, you must be fighting the war in another country, but that has not been a problem.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans in the United States Government are pro-War.
The Democrats want to promote “moral” Wars - wars that the country can engage in for humanitarian purposes. “Fight for Right but not for Might”. The Republicans are not quite so conscientious. The two parties’ only disagreement seems to be in the choices and the methods and logistics - but both want war. The reason is because War is necessary to America’s economic well-being.
I have had people today tell me that even with our present government spending on these two foreign wars we are now engaged in, even with the looming deficits, the burgeoning National Debt, and the inevitable inflation that follows with it, they are still better off financially because of the increased value of their investments in the stock market and the rising interest rates on their CDs and bonds. They feel that their stock market and other investments are outperforming the debt and inflation that the war encourages. So economically war is a winner, not a loser.
Peace-nicks and pacifist for decades, maybe centuries, have tried to counter these arguments by presenting to the people all the negative moral, social, environmental, personal and world impacts of War. Everyone nods their head in agreement and says ... yes, yes - but it must be done.
World War I basically made the United States the richest country in the world. And World War II cured the Great Depression - the biggest economic disaster in modern history. During these conflicts the businessmen prospered, the industrialists and Bankers prospered, even the workers prospered.
The Vietnam War brought with it the greatest period of continuous increased economic growth yet to be seen in American History - with no tax increases.
Most Americans believe - though some might not say it openly - America needs war to feed its thriving Military Industrial Complex. Without the stability that is brought to this nation via spending and investment in the Military and it supporting Complex, America would go into an economic tailspin and precipitate a World Depression like never seen before in human history.
Instead of debating with this economically accepted principle and trying to prove that it is not true - let’s accept that it is true. Let’s sit down and figure how War is able to produce prosperity; and then with that knowledge under out belt, try to figure out how to use the methods employed in promoting and sustaining War (Cold or Hot) to the positive advantage of our nation - and residually for mankind.
How does War work; how does War make money?
After World War I we had a good many people who tried to expose War as evil, pernicious, and negative. They made a good run at it; they precipitated a number of investigations and caused a number of National and international scandals. You can check into the “Merchants of Death” investigations for more on this topic.
But this attempt to convince the world that war was bad or negative failed miserably. Those who promoted the idea were labeled cowards at best and, more often than not, traitors.
For a brief enlightenment on this matter you can check into the Nye Committee investigations on War profiteering; the DuPont Munitions Plant controversy; and the public lives of both Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell.
Strangely enough it was Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler who won the argument in favor of War. War does make strange bed-fellows.
Adolf Hitler was the advocate for the Glory of War. Adolf not only considered War to be a positive, but that it was an absolute necessity and the Will of Divine Providence - we seem to be having a revival of Adolf’s philosophy on War today around the world - both in Muslim and Christian countries.
Winston Churchill was also somewhat infatuated with the glory and character building nature of war. But he came more to his positive War position from the point of view of self-defense and cruel necessity. I would say that most of America supports the Winston Churchill position today. War may be terrible but it is necessary and all those who participate are heroes - all those who refuse are basically, if not cowards, severely misguided.
So it was not World War I that turned War into a positive economic policy. With no War the War suppliers and purveyors had to cut back, slow down or close up entirely.
After World War I the U.S went into an immediate recession or depression - employment fell, business investment fell, consumption fell but nevertheless, prices went up. Labor struck out demonstratively. In the year 1919 alone, 4,000,000 workers walked off their jobs. There were 3,630 strikes in the year 1919. The lack of a continuous War produced economic disaster. This has always been the case.
Then came the Great Depression. And the Great Depression led to a Great Economic Debate. This Great Economic Debate centered on the questions of how this collapse could have happened and how the economy could or should be revived.
Albert Einstein and others talked about over-production and the too rapid increase in technology. John Maynard Keynes talked about a mysterious disappearance or drying up of savings. Others commented on the sudden shortage of money in circulation and about the lack of consumption and incentive for business investment.
Contrary to popular knowledge Hubert Hoover doled millions of federal dollars out to the wealthy and the investment community in the form of tax breaks, incentives and outright gifts. But the business community wouldn’t spend it - at least not here in the United States. So down and down things went.
The poor, the unemployed, and the partially employed screamed for the government to do something. The wealthy and the business community said that economics was not a matter of government control. The country and the people of the United States would just have to tighten-up and endure until the “business cycle” once again started rolling in the right direction. It was just a matter of time and waiting it out. And beside a little time without a job would give all these striking workers something to contemplate.
In 1932 along came Franklin Roosevelt. His overall philosophy was basically rather simple. He would take tax dollars - money basically collected from the rich and the wealthy - and spend it on creating jobs for the unemployed, starving and homeless - the Robin Hood Principle.
Needless to say, the rich were not happy with this solution. They had all come about their money the “old fashioned way” - they had earned it - in a very competitive market place. They didn’t go out on strike to get it - they worked for it.
But with unemployment approaching 30% with another 20% only employed part-time and even those with jobs receiving pay cuts and threatened with the loss of their jobs - Roosevelt’s philosophy prevailed.
In the light of the recent developments taking place in Russia, Conservatives called this Roosevelt policy Bolshevist or Communist inspired.
The poor, the unemployed, the homeless didn’t really give much of a damn what they called it, as long as it meant food in their mouths and hope for the future.
Now this is the Great Debate - Did the Roosevelt, Robin Hood policy of Government spending - taking the money from the wealthy and giving it to the poor - work to bring back investment and prosperity or not?
Well, though I have read many interesting books arguing and analyzing this historical economic experiment, it seems to me that the consensus - certainly the consensus in the minds of the average citizen - is that this policy did not work. What solved the problems precipitated by the Great Depression was - World War II.
So, War is the answer and everybody knows it. It was not Government spending but War that returned America to prosperity.
So then - the truth is the majority of the people of America believe in the teachings of Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler. In Adolf’s case some today still agreeing with his Solution to the Jewish problem and some not agreeing, but nevertheless, all accepting his basic premise with regards to the positive-ness of War in general.
At the end of World War II a new twist was added to this theory or proposition - War is the answer to continuing and sustained prosperity.
The problem was that the War had come to an end - again. That is one of the biggest problems with Hot War - they keep ending. Now what?
Well the answer to that question was pretty simple. Without a War the prosperity would die. It would be the same old story. It happened after every War. Business investment would decrease, soldiers would be idled - and looking for real jobs - women would be replaced from the workforce along with many men; wages would fall, consumption would decrease; business investment would be further cut and once again the vicious cycle of recession/depression would be on the rise. Not only that but we had Uncle Joe and the Russians to worry about. What do we do?
No amount of consumer goods could ever replace the investment and job promotion precipitated by War. As Mr. Grumman once said: It takes a lot of canoes to make up for one F-15. Even planned obsolescence and, pre-ordained product disintegration could not compete with the producing and immediate destruction of bombs, bullets, tanks, ships, and airplanes. In what other industry are products manufactured for the sole purpose of destroying? Only for War. And only with war is this type of production approved and supported by the overall population - after all it is the way that it must be.
In War every unacceptable business practice is tolerated - graft, corruption, profiteering, kick-backs, pay-offs, excessive inordinate costs, excess wages, faulty production techniques, black marketing in the war-torn countries; you name it and it is overlooked during a War. The business community loves War. No legitimate peace-time business can beat it for unchallenged, unadulterated PROFITS. It is the best business and business idea ever devised - save possibly Banking. [Banks are able to give IOUs to their depositors and collect “cash’ from their borrowers. If the depositors come rushing back for their money which the bank has loaned out, the government will sustain the banks with low or no interest loans. And even if the bank fails totally in its obligations via a series of bad loans, possibly to friends and relatives, the government will pick up the loss. There are not too many businesses like that in the world.
But, if we let the inevitable, post-war business cycle continue we will be setting ourselves up for another Pearl Harbor. Once again we will be unprepared - and the Russians will get us just like the Japs did. So, what do we do?
Basically what was decided was that we would keep the machinery and the investment in War in place - just as if the War had never ended. This was called “The Cold War”.
So now we had Hot Wars and Cold Wars. We would keep up this exorbitant investment and inevitable waste in over-production of War implements and goods stockpiled (if the war is Cold, unfortunately we have no place to blow these products up) by explaining to the taxpayer that it was necessary in order that we “be prepared”. But whether it is a Cold War or a Hot War we once again had the proper answer to the question of continuous prosperity ... War.
War is once again the answer.
The Cold War was a good solution but it was not the perfect solution.
The problem was that under the Roosevelt Robin Hood economic policy the rich taxpayer paid the greater portion of the expense for this solution to continuous economic prosperity. Roosevelt actually increased taxes on the wealthy to pay for the War. This is something that Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and GW have chosen not to do. A better answer had to be devised to spread the burden of the peace through War policy via this Cold War economic enterprise.
The answer was Deficit Spending.
Of course this was also a part of the Roosevelt Robin Hood policy to help the poor during the Depression years. But what was necessary in the more prosperous post war era to satisfy the complaint of injustice by the rich was a redistribution of the costs. Instead of increasing the taxes to the rich and super wealthy - they would be cut. The resulting shortfall would be gradually compensated by borrowing - Deficit Spending.
But how does borrowing take the burden of payment off the backs of the rich?
Inflation spreads the total costs out over the entire population. It does this via the compensating effects of inflation.
All classes of people then pay proportionately. The wealthy and super-wealthy pay extra for their yachts, sailboats and racing horses; the poorer class pay extra for their bread and butter. The middle class pay extra for their cars and pickup trucks. And even the wino pays extra for his bottle of M-D 20/20. So everybody is happy and the idea that the rich should pay more because they benefit more is dissipated. Inflation is egalitarian and democratic.
In addition borrowing for the Deficit also provides the wealthy and the super-wealthy the opportunity to purchase the treasury bonds that the government has issued to borrow for its deficit spending. So instead of the rich having their incomes confiscated by the government via taxes, they actually get to invest their money and their dispensated tax rebates and gain a profit from the newly established debt. So with this system not only are the wealthy not taxed additionally to pay for the war, they are given the opportunity to invest and profit from the war. Of course this is much more appealing to the wealthy than the Roosevelt option.
So Deficit Spending and borrowing is a win-win situation for the super-wealthy. They collect on both ends and the middle.
Since the Republicans have learned about this method of paying for Deficit Spending they no longer have any fear of borrowing for anything and everything.
Now we have what is being called the reverse Robin Hood policy - the government takes from the poor and middle class while sending interest payments to the wealthy and the super-wealthy and providing tax cuts at the same time.
It a good deal for the rich and famous. They profit from their investments in the machinery of war; they profit in the secondary sale of the over-produced weapons - many of them are involved in arms merchandizing and arms sales; they profit on the interest payments on the national debt. And if there is an actual Hot War they profit from their ownership in the Military Industrial Complex; they profit from the international sales of the weapons of mass or minor destruction; they profit from the increased interest rates on treasury bonds and notes; many of them even profit from the inflation because of the higher interest rates and any lag that they can manufacture between the wages that they pay and the real inflation rate. As long as the general pubic can be convinced that inflation is not escalating and wages can be kept low or even decreased - they can downsize and they can take domestic factories abroad and simply shut down their pension and wage burdened domestic enterprises.
So now we have War, Hot or Cold, and we have everybody paying for the cost - rich and poor alike - a few participating in the gigantic profits; some profiting modestly; and most profiting somewhat.
War works. War is the answer. War is the way to build a strong economy and promote the general welfare.

[To be continued - this is a three part series.]

Saturday, April 14, 2007

If you liked this review, my book Mein Kampf - analysis of book one you may also find interesting. Thanks.

Bill O’Reilly

Culture Warrior

By Richard E. Noble

A friend of mine sent me “Culture Warrior” by Bill O’Reilly. He said his son gave the book to him after he had read about twenty pages. His son who is in his thirties or forties said; “Dad, maybe I’m too young for this guy; I don’t know what he is talking about. See if you can figure it out.”

My friend, the father, said that he read about fifty pages and he gave up. He said why don’t you give it a try. So I started reading.

I’ve reached page 98 but I have decided to quit. I feel rather lazy minded to just quit - after all I am the same person who has written nearly 800 pages, a page by page analysis of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. If I could finish that certainly I should be able to complete a little 200 page rant by a modern day right-winger with an ax to grind or a bat to swing. Adolf had a big ax to grind but Bill seems even angrier than Adolf - if that’s possible.

But I hate to spend as much time as I have reading Bill and not getting something out of the experience to write about. So here is my review of the first 98 pages of Bill O’Reilly’s million seller book “Culture Warrior.”

The cover of the book is red, white and blue on a black background. Bill is sitting in the foreground with an American flag waving behind him – he is wearing an American-flag-blue windbreaker. He has a very familiar Irish looking face. He has those “twinkling” Irish blue eyes and a warm friendly altar boy smile. He could easily have been walking a beat in my old neighborhood. He has the well-known Irish temper - as he admits himself throughout the book - or the first 98 pages.

Bill has discovered a conspiracy. Now I’m a true believer in conspiracies so I can’t knock him on that one. It seems that there are a group of people, living right here within the borders of the United States who are presently involved in the overthrow of our government. They are not doing this by means of a revolution or violent overthrow. They are too cleaver to come right out and fight like men. They are doing it by guile and persuasion and trying to sway voters and by real sneaky, underhanded, dirty methods like using their money to twist the media and the “truth”. Bill has a lot of terrible names for these people but overall he benignly refers to them as Secular Progressives or S-Ps.

These S-Ps are a very cleaver group of evil and vile people and they have a horrible anti-American agenda; wait until I tell you about it, you won’t believe it. It is truly beyond your widest dreams.

In the beginning of this book he has a fictitious spokesperson mouth the future as seen according to these S-Ps. This spokesperson is a imaginary future American President. She is a female and her name is Gloria Hernandez.

Gloria and her friends it seems have some horrible ideas - like right out of George Orwell’s 1984.

First and foremost these S-Ps do not believe in God; they are very anti-Judeo/Christian. They want to take all the money from the rich people and use it to make their version of a “better world.” For example they want everybody to have their own home - with no mortgage; they want all children to have an education - for free! And that includes college if they are that cleaver; they think that everybody should make a living wage - whether they deserve to be alive or not! (my God! these people are horrible); they want businesses and corporations to act and conduct themselves in the world market place with a moral conscience (what a pernicious method for undermining capitalism and the American way); they want prisons to be reformed and drug crimes to be looked upon as an addiction to be treated as a sickness and not simply incarceration; they want any and all sick and even healthy people to have access to health care - even if they don’t have a penny!; they actually want the United States to be attacked before the United States attacks anybody else; and one can only conclude from all of the above that these S-Ps would probably try to outlaw war if they could get away with it.

In contrast or in opposition to this group of S-Ps there are the Traditionalists.
Traditionalist love Christmas, and Santa, and lots of presents and Christmas trees and Christmas shopping. They particularly like the word “Christmas.” They love their country and support their country in whatever it chooses to do - especially war.

Charles Dickens and Tiny Tim were both Traditionalists who would have liked Bill O’Reilly, Bill claims. Charles Dickens was a Traditionalist says Bill. You remember, he wrote that great book about celebrating Christmas, “A Christmas Carol.” As you will remember in that wonderful tale a man named Scrooge (an S-P no doubt) was poo-pooing Christmas and all the other characters, including some ghosts, tried to educate Scrooge to the wonders of Christmas (Traditionalist’s Holiday). And as you will recall in that story, Tiny Tim and his mom and dad and Scrooge’s nephew and all the Ghosts and everybody but Scrooge were strongly in favor of patriotism and war, and capitalism. They were adamant on the rich being able to do as they damn well pleased with their money and that the poor should be damned and get up off their lazy butts and get a job. After all, didn’t Scrooge pay his taxes and support the prison system? What more could anyone ask of him and his rich friends? And that dirty old Scrooge wanted to open orphanages, and feed the poor, and do all sorts of kind things with his money. But Tiny Tim and his mom and dad and all the other characters and all the ghosts of Christmases past, future and present would have none of it. They all said; So what if we are poor, sickly and crippled, we are in this condition because that is the way we choose to be. And we want to be free. You take all your damn money, Mr. Scrooge, and shove it! If God wanted us to be rich also he would have had us born in a welfare state - not in a country like this one where we can all be poor, crippled, and homeless if we choose to be. That’s freedom, man!

John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were both traditionalists. They loved their county and thought that rich people should have everything that they wanted - remember Fiddle and Faddle and Marilyn Monroe. Teddy Kennedy is kind of like the diseased afterbirth of the Kennedy family - he is an S-P and Bill cannot figure out how that happened. Teddy may be the only Kennedy who is not really Irish. Bill didn’t say this but I have heard the rumor that Rose may have actually had an affair with Eugene Debs or possibly Norman Thomas that resulted in Teddy “the social dwarf."
Bill is fearless in exposing this underground of S-Ps in the U.S. population - he names names and shows their pictures. You will not believe who some of these people are. I will list a few but you should buy the book to get them all and see for yourself.

Many S-Ps are or have been in the media - Walter Cronkite has just recently come out of the closet. He was probably an S-P since day one but he fooled all of America for about 80 years. Tom Brokaw, Bill Moyers, Jim Lehrer, Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric are all definite S-Ps. Dan Rather and Peter Jennings are wannabes but tried their best to keep their S-P nature secret.

But some of the worst S-Ps who have ever been born are celebrities and appear on T.V. regularly. Wait until you hear this! Two of the biggest are Jay Leno and David Letterman - Jon Stewart ... of course is another. These S-P people are all over Hollywood - just tip over any rock or slime covered growth and you will probably find one of them.

And Bill, who looks to be over six feet tall and a couple of hundred pounds, keeps getting tricked and beat up by these little Jew-boy intellectual types with glasses and speech defects. These people have been harassing Bill to no end. He has even had to go so far as to buy himself a multi-million dollar mansion and hibernate and take respite. He has been forced to hire bodyguards because these S-Ps are the type of people who will resort to anything.

There is one among these riffraff who is a billionaire. He was born a Jew in Germany but to escape being baked in an oven he went so far as to change his name and maybe even pretend to be a Protestant. The cowardly S-P then escaped to Hungry or some place where the Russians discovered his S-P tendencies and he had to escape to America. When he got to America - just like all the rest of his kind - he somehow tricked everybody and became a billionaire. But now that he is a billionaire he has finally come out of the closet and now he is attempting to get all the money from all the other rich people in the world and give it to the poor. Isn’t that just like a rich billionaire - I should have known it.

So that’s how it has been going up to page 98. There are a lot more of these pictures of angelic looking people who are really S-Ps and are out to steal from the rich and give it all to the poor and ... and heal the sick ... and ... and clothe the naked and feed the poor and put a chicken in everybody’s pot and a car in everybody’s garage. You will not believe it! You must read this book for yourself.

And don’t worry because Bill has these people’s number and each week on the Fox News Network (of which he is an executive producer) you can see him expose all these vermin. The only thing is that now most of these people are afraid of Bill and they keep refusing to go on the air with him and have an intelligent conversation. You may have seen Bill and Geraldo having an intelligent conversation just the other day on the FOX news.

I agree with Bill. I can not understand why any person would not want to come on to his show and discuss their political perspectives. These S-Ps are like roaches. They just want to stay hidden in the dark and sneak around at night eating all our crackers and hors d’oevures. I don’t know about you but I think these roaches need to be exterminated. OOPS ... wrong book. That was Adolf. I’ve read Adolf’s book four times now but I don’t remember if he liked Christmas or not. He was a Catholic but I don’t think that he was a good Catholic. He wasn’t Irish; I know that for sure.

Keep up the good work Bill. Keep that light shinning! And don’t you worry, I’ve got your back, buddy. You are a true American and don’t let any of them commie, Jew, atheist, fascist, pussy, cowardly, treasonous, manipulative, tricky, lying, drug-addicted, parasitic (I don’t think he used that one - Adolf really liked that one), scum sucking pigs get you down. I know how depressing it can get for sensitive, kind, generous, fair-minded types like you and me. Gosh, oh golly gee, sometimes I just want to go over into a corner or lock myself in my room and cry. But whatever you do Bill - Don’t let the bastards see you cry.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Franklin County

Franklin County - 25 Years Ago

By Richard E. Noble

I attended a gathering the other evening and the speaker asked the assembled crowd how many of them would like to see Franklin County return to the way it was twenty-five years ago. To my surprise a large number of the attendees raised their hands in eager support of the suggested notion.
Well, since I was here twenty-five years ago, my wife proposed that I should write a little article reflecting on those “glorious days of yesteryear”. So let’s all take a little trip “back to the future”.
Apalachicola twenty-five years ago looked like a ghost town as I remember. Both sides of the main street were for the most part abandoned buildings. Many of the storefronts were boarded up. I remember thinking as we passed through the little town each week on our way to the IGA that there must have been an industry or factory here that had recently closed its doors, like so many other spots we had seen around America, and all the little downtown businesses had gone bankrupt.
The side streets and other roads leading down to the water and the mouth of the river were in no better shape. No one that I knew in those days was calling Apalachicola “quaint” or “rustic”. The older homes weren’t often referred to as Historic or antebellum back then. For the most part they were called po’ or dilapidated, rundown or neglected. A familiar expression would be “ain’t that durn place sorry” or “what a shame” or “ain’t that sad”.
The Gibson Inn (present-day established tourist destination) was there on the corner, but it had been condemned. They were going to tear it down. But some “rich” guy bought it, we had been told. Everybody that I knew considered that rich guy to be some kind of a fool. Why in the world would anyone want that old run down Gibson building?
When my wife and I had saved enough money and decided that we might like to settle here we actually went door to door asking folks if they knew who owned that empty field or that patch out in the “wilderness”. One patch was actually called Wilderness Road and it was considered to be out in the boonies in the “undeveloped” section of Eastpoint.
There were a few well known families who owned just about everything and they weren’t selling anything - at least not to strangers. There wasn’t much of a real estate or construction industry here at that time. We ended up buying our land from a man who was recommended to us by an oysterman. This fellow was not one of the founding fathers and he took payments from oystermen.
Though many of the oystermen who we knew were steady, dependable and reliable, there were many who lived outside of the oystering community who felt otherwise. And seafood workers in general had very little “discretionary” income
Our acre didn’t cost all that much when compared to prices these days. But nevertheless it took all we had and then some.
On rainy days or when the Bay was too rough for oystering we would run over to a greasy-spoon that was on the ground floor at the Gibson and get some grits, eggs, toast and coffee for 99 cents. If you left a quarter under the saucer of your coffee cup everybody was happy; if you left fifty cents they would know your name the next time you stopped in.
There was a little barroom off the main street one block and within walking distance from the water called the Oasis. It was known to be a seafarer’s hangout. The first night we went there, a young lady was talking on a pay phone that was hanging on a wall on the outside of the building. “You’ve got to come down here Gurty,” she screamed joyously into the phone. “This place is great. I just got shot!”
My wife and I both stopped and looked at the young lady. With a few teeth missing, she flashed us a big grin then eagerly rolled up the sleeve on her T-shirt. She had been “winged” and a good flow of blood was running down her arm and over her several tattoos. She had a real neat tattoo of a butterfly and several others less striking.
“Are you okay?” my wife asked not being able to forget her hospital emergency room personality.
“Hell yes! This ain’t nothing. It is going to make a great scar! Don’t ya think?”
“Sure will,” my wife offered in a feigned admiring tone. “It will be neat.”
The Weems hospital over in Apalach was in business in those days, but it didn’t have a really great reputation either. I remember this one story that appeared in the Apalachicola Times. I think the headline was “Man Dies of Stab Wound to the Leg”. I was never one to spend a lot of time reading a newspaper but that headline intrigued me. How does somebody die from a stab wound to the leg, I wondered? It must have been something really complicated. I mean modern medicine has come to that point where a stab wound to the leg is usually curable these days. That must have been a pretty unusual wound I thought. Well, now don’t sue me but what I remember was this.
A young boy over on the “hill” had gotten into a little dispute with his sister. She lost her temper and grabbed a kitchen knife and ran at him. In the melee, she stumbled and inadvertently lodged the kitchen knife into his thigh. She was, of course, distraught over the whole thing and rushed him over to the hospital emergency room. They told somebody their story and were instructed to go and sit in the waiting room.
They sat there waiting patiently until the poor boy fell from his chair and onto the waiting room floor. He was then quickly picked up by an “attentive” employee and rushed into an emergency room. But unfortunately he had lost so much blood sitting in the waiting room that he died. But, I am happy to inform all you Law and Order buffs out there, this incident did not go unnoticed by the proper authorities. The sister of the deceased was immediately apprehended and charged with murder. Thank god for the police department.
So you tried to avoid going to the hospital by not seeing either of the two doctors that practiced over in Apalach. Just plain dying was better than being tortured to death anyway. There were no doctors in the rest of the County as far as I know or remember even if you had enough money to afford one.
The Po’lice Department and the County Jail were also other interesting phenomena. The sheriff at that time was a very nice man as I heard it from some of his guests who often stayed out at his “hotel” for a week or so at a stretch. His first name was Jack. Many of these acquaintances of mine told me that they liked Mr. Jack’s hotel and it served to give them an often needed break from the rigors and stress and strain of life on the outside. They called Mr. Jack’s hotel, Jack’s Jolly Jail.
It seems that the catering was good at Jack’s Jolly Jail and my friends and associates that resided there periodically said that they never wanted for anything while they were on their “vacation” at Jack’s place. Anything that could be had on the outside, I was told, could be had on the inside - without Jack’s knowledge, of course - but nevertheless available one way or another from a friendly innkeeper or relative or whatever.
The budget for the Police Department was probably very reasonable in those days. In Carrabelle they used a telephone booth as their police station and you could only vacation at Jack’s Jolly Jail for so long. They didn’t have reservations in those days and the state couldn’t rent space for any of their favorite guests either. It was first come, first serve. And when a new guest came in, an old one went out - ready or not. There weren’t very many rooms available. Consequently they didn’t arrest a whole lot of people on a regular basis either.
Family squabbles were usually settled within the family. So if the little woman was beating up on the old man once again or vise versa an officer would go over to the house and tell them to knock it off. If after two or three calls the battle continued, either the husband or the wife would be carted off for the evening to sleep it off at Jack’s Jolly Jail. My guess is that on most of these occasions the judge was not even brought into this business.
Pot growing and smoking was always a criminal consideration but as I understand it - only at election times. Most of the year, the folks that I knew bought and sold pot and handled their problems by beating or shooting one another when it became necessary. Hardly ever did they have to bring the police into it - never mind the judge. Besides if you were going to arrest everybody who bought, sold or smoked pot, my god, you would have the whole darn County in jail as I understood it.
So in those days most of the “criminals” in Franklin County were out walking the streets and if they wanted to take up residence here on the outside, they had to pay rent just like everybody else. All the housing was affordable - even if it wasn’t sanitary or all that healthful - but nothing was free not even for criminals. If they had a leaky roof they had to go steal enough money or sell enough pot to fix it themselves - it was the same for their teeth and their Doctor bills. You might say that we had a completely laissez-faire type economy back then.
Most people that visited the area stayed in campgrounds or fish camps or with friends. There weren’t a lot of motels or hotels or “cottages” out on the Island in those days.
Business people didn’t complain about the quality or reliability of the “help” in those days. They didn’t usually have enough business to need any help other than the wife and some of the relatives when necessary. If for any reason a large number of people came to town, most businesses and eateries closed down - they didn’t want all the aggravation.
Most people, as high as 85%, worked in the seafood industry way back then. The work was hard, the pay was poor and the benefits were nil. Yet there was never any recorded unemployment in Franklin County. One reason was because Franklin County had no unemployment office. You could be unemployed if you wanted - but nobody was going to know about it. Besides everyone in the seafood industry was “self-employed” or “contracted” labor - which meant basically that you were not entitled to unemployment compensation or workman’s compensation. So even if you had an unemployment office, why in the heck would you want to go there? We still don’t have any unemployment office here - and our employment rate is still recorded as very low.
Most seafood workers that I knew were not all that eager to “hand down” what they had learned to their children. They all hoped that their children would get an education and learn to do something more lucrative. Most hoped for a richer and more prosperous community so that their kids would not have to go off to some distant land, like Tallahassee, to earn their living.
As far as self-employment and contracted labor goes, I always thought Franklin County was behind the times on this type business. But as I understand it we were really ahead of the rest of the nation. I read just recently in an economic journal that by the year 2020 it is estimated that between fifty and sixty percent of American workers will be either contracted labor or ‘self-employed”. The rest, if I am any judge of present American business trends will probably be working part-time with no benefits just like the “self-employed” and the “contracted”. It is kind of like the 1930’s all over again. Ah yes, the roaring 30’s. No, I’m sorry, it was the roaring 20’s. It was the snoring 30’s with bread lines and soup kitchens. I like both bread and soup - and for free! I can hardly wait.
The volunteer fire department was run much more economically back then. They didn’t have all this “fancy” equipment like they do today. In fact, in Eastpoint they used to pull a water truck behind the old fire truck with a discarded shrimp boat mooring line. Oh yeah, there were no fire hydrants in most places either. It was a rather slow operation, getting the mooring line hooked up and all; so usually by the time they got to the house that was burning, it was beyond saving. So they would hose down the surrounding area and soak it as best they could to keep the nearby property owners happy.
There was no darn fire tax either. Instead of taxing everybody they more or less depended on good will or charity. That’s how they got the mooring rope and the used, leaky water truck in the first place, I would imagine.
Road paving wasn’t a big expense back then. And they kept the cost down by simply not paving most of the roads. They kept the dust down with spay trucks.
I liked living on a dirt road. I didn’t care about fire hydrants either. The strategy was to live in a dwelling that didn’t cost so much to build so that if it burned down you could afford to replace it yourself - you didn’t need FEMA, the National Guard and Lloyds of London to insure it. And if you had half a brain at all - you didn’t build a darn mansion out on a barrier reef; what are you just plain dopey or what?
There was a Goodwill store here in Eastpoint once but most of the stuff that they sold was too expensive for most Eastpointers. It closed down.
We didn’t waste a lot of money on the Humane Society in those days either. For a while there was some kind of “animal hugger” that set up sidewalk feeding stations for all the stray cat, kittens and mange infested “independent” dogs over in Apalach. He called them dog and cat cafes.
Mangy, sick and diseased dogs wandered all over Apalach, Eastpoint and Carrabelle. They had some out on the Island too. Every temporarily abandoned dock or wooden structure had a mangy dog living under it. When I asked the local authority what to do about a mange infested dog that had taken up residence under my trailer, he told me that if it didn’t have any dog tag I could just shoot it.
So there you have it. D’ems was the good old days that everybody’s longing for these days. Yes sir “take me back; to my home ... back to those Country roads, la la lala, la la la”
When we reflect on the past it usually appears much prettier than it actually was. If you lived through a past of any kind, the very fact that you are now still alive and kicking makes your memory of what happened seem not all that bad. Those of us who remember a horrible past as it actually was often end up in mental institutions suffering from severe depression or find ourselves on some sort of medication. So, I guess it is good not to remember the past accurately - especially if it was bad.
Most of the people in that room the other evening who were wishing for the Franklin County of twenty-five years ago most likely don’t have the memories that I have of Franklin County 25 years past. And I have no doubts that even though we were neighbors back then as we are now, they wouldn’t want to go back 25 years and live in my Franklin County.
I imagine those who are reflecting nostalgically, with a little tear in the corner of their eye about the way things used to be, were all escaping to Franklin County. To them coming to this County was a step into the past; it was unique, different even romantic. But for those who actually lived and survived here in Franklin County it really wasn’t all that romantic and their dreams were not of stepping back into the past but hopefully to move ahead to a better and more prosperous future. Most of those who survived here in that anachronistic past feel that prosperity may be here and knocking on Franklin County’s door. To turn their back is to give up a long held dream of a better future, and better lives for their children.
I suffer from conflicting aspirations. As always I want all the good things that I remember from the past sprinkled with the sparkle of all the dreams and hopes of a better and more prosperous future. Then again there always remains “Hobo-ing America”. On the road one has no time to build picket fences or to worry about the neighbors. There is new hope everyday just over the next horizon.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Impossibility of God

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

Almost everyone has some sort of relationship with the concept of God. The vast majority of human beings believe in the reality or the real existence of such an entity. But in the midst of all this profound belief, very few adherents have ever taken it upon themselves to prove rationally or logically the verification of this concept. One would think that acquiring reasonable proof would be the prerequisite for holding or advocating any belief.
When I was still a teenager this seemed to me to be the obvious task of any true believer. How could one truly expect others to share ones belief and profound faith in something, if it could not be, at least, rationally substantiated - never mind brought forward in terms of the concrete.
This was an obligation that I put onto myself. I found that many others had taken this task upon themselves also - not the least among them being St. Thomas Aquinas.
I was fascinated to read that Thomas Aquinas expressed my exact motivation. He wanted to prove, once and for all time that this concept that he so passionately believed in, was the truth and could be demonstrated rationally and logically to anyone who would take the time to listen.
This is where I started nearly forty years ago - and I’m still involved in that debate. In fact, several years ago, I began a personal project to compile a book of all the proofs and disproofs of the existence of God. It is a difficult subject and many of the arguments seem to turn into mental tongue twisters. Then the other day I was browsing through the Theology section in a Borders Book Store and I saw a book entitled ‘The Impossibility of God”. I thought to myself; This should be good. I picked it up and went over to a table and with a cup of good coffee; I began perusing its contents.
I bought it.
I don’t know if this book contains every argument ever thought up or written on this subject, but it is a good start. This book contains more arguments than my nine volume Encyclopedia of Philosophy or even my multiple Dictionary of the History of Ideas. This book edited by Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier has some arguments that I not only have never heard but that I don’t even understand.
The book is handled in a professional philosophical manner. It is not somebody simply mouthing off either positively or negatively. It is all laid out in propositions, premises, therefores and conclusions. This book is published by Prometheus Books.
I have enjoyed reading this book, but it is not a night table or bedtime book - it is a study; it is a text. This book requires considerable analysis and thought.
It gives both sides of the arguments. It provides footnotes at the end of each chapter and sources are most often provided for further reading.
I am still working on this book. I must admit this book has put a crimp in the book that I have been writing. I will continue with my efforts understanding all too well that my book will be a dumbing down of the efforts contained in this work. But in today’s world “dumb” seems to have a great appeal - not only in politics but in real life. So my book may have a greater public appeal and even larger readership than this effort.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How I Became Rich


Interview with “Bernie the Billionaire”

By Richard E. Noble

So Bernie, just recently you rose into the ranks of the top ten richest men in America. All of America wants to know the answer to this question - How did you do it Bernie?
“Well it is really quite an interesting story. I can hardly believe it myself. Let me start at the beginning. A while back, my wife and I were just sitting around the trailer.”
You lived in a trailer?
“Oh yeah! And it wasn’t much of a trailer house at that. But there we were, Rose and I, just sitting around watching “How to become a Millionaire” when I got this idea.”
Just like that? You were watching TV and you got this idea?
“Yeah I did. It just come to me sitting there. It just, like came to my mind all at once. Before I got this idea, I really hadn’t been thinking anything. I was just watching the TV when it came to me.”
Ain’t that something!
“And I’ll be honest with you I’m not really the kind of guy who has a lot of good ideas. I mean most of my life I hardly thought of anything.”
Bernie, I have the feeling here that you are being just a little too modest. You are one of the ten richest men in America today. That just doesn’t happen to anybody. There is a reason why some people become rich and some people don’t.
“True, I believe that also. A person makes his own luck I have always said. It is not like you just sit around and great things just happen. You’ve got to put yourself in the right places. You can’t just wait around for success and good fortune to stumble onto you. You have got to get off your butt and do something. You’ve got to move. You got to shake things up. You know what I mean?”
That’s for sure.
“So in any case, Rose and I are just sitting there and I get this idea. I explain my idea to Rose. At first she doesn’t think all that much of the idea but then it starts to grow on her. After about an hour or so of back-and-forth she finally agrees with me that my idea is pretty good. But then, of course, we get into the financing. I mean where are we going to get the money to put this idea into operation? You know what I mean?”
Oh yes, I certainly do. So what did you do?
“Well, we started fishing under the cushions of the living room furniture.”
You’re kidding me? You started off on the road to your first billion with change you found in the couch?
“Well, in the couch and the other chairs in the living room. Then we searched on all the counter tops and then in the bureau draws and finally we went out to the pick-up truck and checked the floor and the seats out there.”
Wow! This is beginning to sound unbelievable.
“It is unbelievable. But isn’t that how many great ideas start out - I mean Goodyear and his rubber idea; and J. C. Penny and his “golden rule” store; Carnegie and Steel; Rockefeller and Banks; Dupont and DDT; Willie Sutton and “Where’s the Money?” - think about it?”
Oh I don’t have to think about it. I get it. I know where you are coming from. But not everybody has an idea like you had.
“Well, I don’t know about that. Lots of people have good ideas - some probably had the exact same idea that me and Rose had. But it takes more than just having an idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen. You have to be the type of person who acts on his ideas. Like I said, you can’t just have an idea and then sit there on your butt. You have to do something. You have to act. You have to put yourself in the position. You have to buy that ticket. You can’t just sit there and think about it and dilly and dally. You have to get out there and DO IT! I have never been the kind of a guy who just sat around and waited for things to happen. You’ve got to make things happen man. That’s what I mean about making your own luck. You can’t just sit around wishing and hoping; you’ve got to do something; you’ve got to get out there; you’ve got to get into the game.”
I get ya! So then what happened?
“So then once we had the financing straight and we knew we had the money to do it; we pushed the boat from the shore and headed out to sea. But now the question was; Which way do we go? What road do we take? Do we go the conventional path and follow the crowd, or do we take that road less traveled? Do we venture out? Do we play it safe or do we take our chances and gamble? Go for broke?”
And you did it. You went for it.
“Exactly! There we were at the Jr. Store on Pine Street - not the one on Broadway that was right around the corner from the trailer. We took that road less traveled and went to the one way down on Pine Street. And if we didn’t make that decision none of this would have ever happened. So any way, there we were; my pocket full of nickels and dimes and wouldn’t you know they had Miller Lite on sale. This is hard to believe but if Miller Lite hadn’t have been on sale at that particular Jr. Store we wouldn’t have had enough money left over from buying the beer and potato chips - which was the original idea in the first place - to buy that darn lottery ticket and we would never have become billionaires in the first place. So you see, it takes more than just a great idea - you have to have a little bit of luck too.”
Wow! That’s quite a story. Like ... that could have happened to anybody?
“Really? I don’t think so. You really think that just anybody could have thought that they wanted beer and potato chips at the exact same time as me and Rose did? And then ... then dig up the money from all the furniture and the pick-up and all? And then make the choice to go to the Pine Street Jr. Store as opposed to going just anywhere? And then have the guts to spend our last few coins on a lottery ticket instead of say buying some gasoline for the truck? I mean, we didn’t even know if we had enough gas in the pick-up to get back to the trailer - for god’s sake. That's what they call taking a chance, man; that's gambling! There were a lot of important decisions that were made there my friend. This wasn’t just the workings of an idle mind. This took thinking and decision making! Sure there were some variables involving chance or “luck” if you want to look at it that way. But tell me, if it was so easy to do - why didn’t you do it? Why doesn’t everybody do it? I’ll tell you why; because they can’t do it. We did it, me and Rose, and we deserve every darn cent of that money. I mean it ain’t like we found it just laying on the sidewalk; it didn’t just fall out of the sky. We made decisions; we thought it all out; we somehow found the money and then we went and did it. That ain’t for nothing my friend. Let me tell you - God helps those who help themselves!”

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lavoisier (1743-1794)

By Richard E. Noble

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier is known as the father of modern chemistry. He was born in France to a very well off family. He was provided with the best instructors as a child and loved learning. He absorbed mathematics, chemistry, astronomy and business. He received a medal from the King of France at just twenty three years of age. He had written a brilliant essay concerning the artificial lighting of the streets of Paris.
He was a rich kid, with not only a love for learning but for personal wealth as well. He married a girl named Marie Paulze in 1771. She was as wealthy as he; in both money and scientific curiosity. She became his lifelong mate and laboratory assistant.
Lavoisier had many scientific interests, but one that he found most concerning was the well established notion of “phlogiston”. A professor Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734) who had been inspired by his teacher Johann Becher (1635-1682), had “discovered” phlogiston.
Phlogiston was the supposed substance that was released from an object when it was set afire. It was a logical assumption and it was the basis of truth for nearly one hundred years. Lavoisier took the discovery of a man named Joseph Priestly (1733-1804), applied it to his inquiries on the nature of fire and came to a very strange conclusion. Fire was not the escaping of something (phlogiston) but the addition of something (Priestly’s Oxygen). He proved this by weighing things in his laboratory, before and after burning, for a period of over eleven years. All this weighing led Lavoisier to come to another conclusion that has since become a scientific principle. That principle, simply stated is that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Later on a similar conclusion was arrived at in relation to the phenomenon of energy by a man named Mayer. Albert Einstein then devised his famous theory, E = mc², and established a relationship between both matter and energy.
For Lavoisier, chemistry was his passion but success in business was his occupation. He invested in a “privatization” notion of his day. It was called the Ferme. It purchased in advance from the king, the right to collect taxes from the people. Needless to say, this organization was not loved and admired by the French people.
Lavoisier then got himself involved in another money making government monopoly, a Powder Works. The government, at Lavoisier’s suggestion, took over the manufacture of gun powder. Interestingly enough, Pierre DuPont, seeing the potential of such and occupation, got his son, Etuthere Irenee, a job as assistant at the Arsenal. This training lead the DuPonts to fame and fortune in America after they escaped the perils of the Guillotine in France.
Lavoisier, unlike the DuPonts, in 1794 on May 8, was lined up with other key executives of the Ferme to have his head chopped off. He was forth in line. His father-in-law was third. Lavoisier was a rich and wealthy nobleman. He had profited greatly from the much hated government. He was a key investor in the government’s hated privatization program of tax collecting. His discoveries in chemistry did not impress Mister Marat. The bodies of the Ferme executives were thrown into nameless graves in the cemetery d’Errancis. Lavoisier was dug up and given a more appropriate burial two years later when the government’s judgment against him was reversed.
“Better late than never”, does not seem to apply all that well in this situation.