Sunday, September 30, 2007

Eli Whitney 1765-1825

By Richard E. Noble

If there were no Eli Whitney there may have been no Civil War.
What do you think about that? Does seem rather far-fetched, doesn’t it? Eli Whitney, as we all know, invented the Cotton Gin, whatever the heck that is, and then became a multi-millionaire, right?
Wrong. The Cotton Gin was one of those simple inventions that once you saw it, and if you were of the mechanical type, you could put one together yourself. So old Eli was constructing his Cotton Gin down South with a bunch of good-old-boy, shade-tree, mechanic types peeking in through the cracks of his barn. No sooner did he complete his Cotton Gin than every good-ole boy in the neighborhood had one, and was buzzing it around his cotton field, or whatever they do with a Cotton Gin. Eli yelled and screamed and sued everybody that he could possibly sue, but never got very much for all his efforts.
But aside from all of this, I am told, that his little invention revived a slave industry that may have been on its way out in America. Believe it or not they say that the slave industry was all but fading out in the South due to the economics of keeping slaves.
To keep a slave healthy and in working condition, cost bucks; and if the slave owner couldn’t figure out a way that his slave could make him more than he cost him - them damn slaves had to go. Even poor slave holders, and there were a bunch of them, were getting tired of planting another row of peas for lazy old Amos. And around the rest of the world, moral indignation was rising against the concept of some people owning some other people. Besides, why have the trouble and upkeep of owning and caring for a slave when you could rent an Irishman or some other starving immigrant by the hour, and you didn’t have to worry about where he slept or got his vitamin pills, and if he died he died.
Even after the Civil War there were black intellectuals and authors who denounced the immorality of replacing bodily, chattel slavery with the even worse moral outrage of wage-slavery.
But, getting back to old Eli, it seems that at just about the time that slave owning folk were tiring of maintaining their slaves, old Eli invented the Cotton Gin which made having a captured labor force once again a profitable endeavor. Even slaves that had been freed were rounded up once again and harnessed up to Eli’s old Cotton Gin.
But although Eli made very few dollars on his Cotton Gin he eventually made up for the loss by designing a rifle for the government with interchangeable parts. Actually Eli was America’s first Henry Ford. He initiated the notion of interchangeable parts and had his rifles put together on an “assembly line”.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Know Thy Self

By Richard E. Noble

It was the traditional Thanksgiving reunion at my place. It had been a wonderful day - many old friends and family and lots and lots of food. We were all stuffed to the gills - or as they say in the South, as full as a tick. A nucleus had formed in the living room and many of us were sitting around and reminiscing.
“I feel that I have always taken after Uncle Ray,” said my older brother Ernie.
My mind fell onto my dear old departed uncle. A very kind and thoughtful man was he - loved by everybody. A simple man of simple tastes; a World War II Veteran; a retired Postal Worker; a member and treasurer of the VFW and the Postal Workers Association; a good looking man, a father of three, a ballroom dancer ... As I compared my brother to my Uncle Ray, I began to struggle.
My brother was a six-month-wonder in the Army Reserve and told me time and again that he hated every minute of it. He never belonged to any organization - never mind the VFW or a Union. He had no children. Where my Uncle Ray was pacific and accommodating, my brother was intense and excitable. My Uncle was of average height and my brother was six foot four and a high school athletic superstar. My Uncle was rather uncoordinated. I never saw him even throw a ball or swing a bat. My brother wouldn’t even dance with his wife at a wedding.
“In what way,” I asked cordially, “do you find yourself similar to Uncle Ray?
“Oh you know ... in temperament and personality,” my brother Ernie said causally and matter-of-fact.
I nodded my head knowingly and pondered. I didn’t really see much resemblance. I felt like I do when somebody says; “Don’t you think that I look somewhat like Sophia Loren or Robert Redford?” Yeah sure - if Sophia Loren weighed 250 lbs. and worked behind the counter down at Luegi’s Beegie’s Pizzeria or if Robert Redford was short, red-faced and bald and had a nose the size of a walrus.
I continued to struggle trying to think how my brother resembled my Uncle Ray. I took another sip on my glass of Gallo Burgundy 2007 and said; “Could you be a little more specific?”
“Oh come on,” my brother said, “me and Uncle Ray were like clones - get along with everybody; keep the peace at all costs; try to make everybody happy; don’t rock the boat - you know?”
I took another sip on my Gallo and in the spirit of accommodation, reminiscence and family reunion, I said; “Yeah, I guess so. I suppose that we all feel that way.” The room got slightly still and everybody turned momentarily to me as I reflected. “I feel that I was pretty much like Uncle Ray myself.”
There was a brief and unanticipated silence. I thought that everybody would just say; “A-huh, I suppose,” and move right along. But that was hardly the case. Suddenly my brother, who had just taken a sip on his glass of wine, jerked forward and spit wine all over. He began coughing and choking as he rushed for his handkerchief and covered his mouth. His wife began slapping him on the back. The entire living room burst into a roar of laughter. I sat quietly wondering what the heck everybody suddenly found so humorous.
I looked around the room. Everyone was gawking towards me and laughing and pointing, slapping their thighs and nudging whoever was sitting next to them. I turned and looked over my shoulder thinking that my wife must have dropped her pantaloons or there was a cat on the table with his nose in the gravy or something.
“What the hell is so funny?” I asked.
“You’re not serious?” my brother said while his wife grinned sheepishly and everybody else stared with huge smiles spread across their faces - the laughter momentarily quelled.
“Of course I’m serious. Why in the world wouldn’t I be serious? I liked Uncle Ray too.”
“You may have liked Uncle Ray, but you certainly weren’t “like” Uncle Ray.”
“Oh really?”
“How were we different?”
“Are you kidding me? Do you really think that you are the kind of guy who tries to keep the peace; who doesn’t rock the boat; who tries to keep everybody happy?”
“Why, of course I am. My entire life has been a continuous series of compromises and adjustments.”
“Yeah sure. When somebody gets in your way, you adjust by knocking them over or pushing them out a window. Instead of rocking the boat, you sink it. You think that when somebody disagrees with you that you are compromising if you don’t kill them.”
“Well,” [I hardly knew what to say.] I stammered. “That’s a pretty big compromise, don’t you think? It has saved your sorry butt a good many times.”
“I’ll bet it has ... and your wife’s also.”
I turned and looked to my wife expecting some moral support. She turned away from my glare and tried to give everybody the impression that she hadn’t been paying any attention to this conversation.
“What do you think, honey?” I asked.
“About what, sweetheart?”
“About what Ernie here is saying about me.”
“Oh? Ah ... what did he say?”
Everyone in the room immediately burst into laughter.
I decided that it would be best if I pretended that I understood the joke; after all, this was Thanksgiving. I laughed ha ha ha ... then smiled exactly as my Uncle Ray might have done.
I have never stopped thinking about that incident. I’ll be honest with you, I still think that me and my Uncle Ray are like two peas in a pod - or at least have a good many matching positive qualities. He adapted in his way and I adapted in mine. Not killing people who disagree with me is a rather large compromise on my part - don’t you think? My God! Give a guy a little slack for pity’s sake.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Noam Chomsky

“Imperial Ambitions”

By Richard E. Noble

Noam Chomsky is/was a professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT in Boston Massachusetts. He feels that the present Bush administration should be prosecuted in a Nuremberg Trials type setting where he is convinced that they would then be convicted and promptly executed.
So that should give you some idea where he is coming from. Mr. Chomsky is Jewish but I doubt if the administration over there in Israel is doing a lot of bragging about that fact.
In a debate that I listened to recently Alan Dersherwitz accused Mr. Chomsky of being an alien from space where he resided on the planet Chomsky.
Alan Dersherwitz on the other hand was very popular a few years back as a commentator. But recently he has disappeared. I imagine it has something to do with his rabid defense of anything done by the state of Israel and his notions about torture. Alan feels that torture is a good tool in the hands of nice people like those in control of the free world.
Mr. Chomsky disagrees not only with Alan Dersherwitz but with the United States, Israel and most of what is termed the free world. Most recently Hugo Chavez of Venezuela held up a copy of Mr. Chomsky book “Hegemony or Survival” and it went to number one on the best seller list around the world. So whether he is being read here in the U.S. or not he is being read around the world. If you have ever asked yourself what are these people thinking or why in the world is everybody so hateful of the U.S., Mr. Chomsky’s writings are a good place to start in seeking an answer.
Mr. Chomsky reminds me of Karl Marx - and I say that positively. Karl Marx was a very intelligent man. Karl Marx was no Joseph Stalin. In fact Marx was not a supporter of the Russian Revolution. I like what Karl Marx’s mother said about her little boy. She supposedly said that she wished that he had spent less time criticizing Capital and more time trying to earn some. Ah yes that’s Mama for ya! Sounds just like my mama.
In any case, if you have ever read any of the articles that Karl Marx wrote and sold to newspapers in his day you will probably be very impressed. Karl did his homework. He knew what was happening economically anywhere in the world. If any powerful nation made a move on any lesser country he could tell you why and how much money was involved. From an historical point of view, he is very interesting. His personal life is also sensitively tragic.
Mr. Chomsky is of the same ilk and he has come to his conclusions based on the same premises that were associated with Mr. Marx, I would say.
Karl Marx if you will remember was not a fan of Capitalism or the Industrial revolution. He didn’t believe that Supply and Demand or profits should be the bottom line for a society. He was also not too heavy on the concept now known as Social Darwinism. Though he was a big fan of Darwin; he even wrote a letter asking Charles Darwin to write a dedication to his book “Das Capital”. Darwin declined the honor - he was in enough hot water already.
Chomsky like Howard Zinn writes in defense or explanation of the “victim”. Karl defends the victims of the Industrial Revolution and the new capitalism; Noam defends the victims of Imperialism and the old, now established, capitalism. Howard, the historian defends all the victims of everything. Karl, Howard and Noam are all really champions of the underdog and not supporters of the privileged. They each have a lot to say on a great number and variety of subjects. I feel their books must be read, whether we like it or not.
Karl actually felt that he had discovered the evolution of human civilization. And there are some today who may still think that he may have been correct. Mr. Chomsky may be one of them. He says that his views have grown out of the “anarcho syndicalist tradition”.
Anarchism and syndicalism have never been all that popular here in the states. In fact it wasn’t all that long ago that if you admitted that you were an anarcho-syndicalist here in the United States you would find yourself in a federal penitentiary or on a boat back to wherever country that you came from - or maybe even one that you would like to go to if they would have you.
Mr. Chomsky explains his anarcho syndicalism as “worker control of industries and popular control of communities”. And the book ends with this statement: “Do corporations have to be controlled by management and owners and dedicated to the welfare of shareholders instead of being controlled by the people who work in them and dedicated to the community and the workers? It’s not a law of nature.”
I have often thought about that. I wonder how it would be if the workers hired the bosses instead of vice versa? Wanted CFO reasonable pay, good benefits - MUST WORK WELL WITH OTHERS! And then, “Ah Sorry Mr. Ford (Mr. Carnegie) but we are going to have to let you go - you’re just not what we had in mind.” I wonder? It sounds rather impossible but that is exactly what they said about democracy. Who ever thought the people would “choose” their leaders - not King George III or Marie Antoinette and Louis IV. Ah yes, very interesting.
I have also wondered what the world would be like if children were able to choose their parents rather than the helter-skelter method put upon us today. I have the strong feeling that there would be a lot of parent-less couples out there. And when those childless couples asked each other, What is wrong with us? It certainly wouldn’t have anything to do with all that sperm and egg business. That would be refreshing.
Well now that I’m wondering about things. What if God gave us all a look at what our lives were going to be like down here on earth and a glance at the world that we would be forced to live in before we were born? And then gave us the choice of being born or not being born?
I have a strong feeling that over-population would not be one of our biggest concerns.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The House of David - Jerry Landay

“The House of David”

by Jerry M. Landay A Bible Story

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

Samuel is the spiritual leader of the Jews at this time. He is kind of like a Jewish Pope. Saul is the King (Alexander the Great). Samuel (the Jewish Pope) is in a constant rivalry with Saul (the Jewish Alexander the Great). Samuel who praises Saul in public and was instrumental in Saul’s rise to Power and fame, has a jealous streak. He thinks Saul has become too big for his beanie. He keeps whispering negative propaganda into the ears of rival leaders and trying to get Saul killed. Saul would really like to kill Samuel’s dumb ass, but killing the Pope (even a Jewish Pope, gets nobody anywhere.) Instead he frets about his whole situation, and in between conquering and killing his non-Jewish neighbors (sometimes his Jewish neighbors) he has fits of depression (and rightfully so, I might add). He paces up and down his castle (probably his tent - he’s basically an Arab), talks to himself, and can hardly find time for any of his many wives and multiple children. He really sounds like he is totally out of his mind, but yet he has good days and bad days. Everybody knows this, and consequently they avoid him on his bad days and speak with him only on his good days.

Jonathan (a son of Saul) hears about David, a shepherd, who plays a mean harp or lute or something, and sings songs.

Jonathan brings David to Saul, and David strums out some tunes (Yanni). Saul likes David and his music, but in between playing “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on the harpsichord or lute or whatever, David must also earn his keep. So in-between concerts David is sent out to kill people in the neighborhood. He is real good at it and supposedly kills a giant with a little stone one day. David becomes a rather popular folk hero, and has all the little Jewish girls swooning - including Saul’s daughter.

David’s success on the battlefield brings Saul to a state of total distraction. He grows to hate the little bastard.

He throws a spear at him and nearly kills his ass one day. Jonathan, who has no particular aspirations of ever becoming king of the Jews (he’s seen what it has done to his father) takes a shine to David. He fixes David up with one of his sisters, Michal, in hopes that dad will like David better. Michal and David decide to get married, but dad demands a dowry of the poor little shepherd boy. David must go out and slay one hundred Philistines.

The Philistines are a rival ethnic neighborhood gang. David bravely slays one hundred Philistines and brings back a hundred foreskins to prove it. You’d think scalps, or skulls or something would have been better than foreskins, but obviously foreskins are important to Jews. So David brings back Saul a bag of Philistine foreskins, but even so, Saul tries to Kill David while he is in bed with Michal. (Maybe Saul felt that he got shorted a foreskin or two. I wonder what foreskins were selling for in the open market?)

In any case, David runs away and becomes a kind of Quantrill’s raiders, after which he forms his own Foreign Legion and hires himself and his band of professional killers to the king of the Philistines. Throwing spears and gathering foreskins obviously provided a more exhilarating life than shepherding.

That is as far as I have gotten. I’m losing interest and foreskins as well as ancient Jewish History are beginning to seem rather obscene to me.

“Jerry M. Landay is a well known journalist and broadcaster with a distinguished career at home and abroad.”... it says in the back of my book.

Wow! I’m impressed. I presume that he must have acquired great wisdom in overcoming the lunacy and basic insanity of his traditional religious training.

(Oh Yeah, and don’t forget that they are all doing what they are doing for Yahweh - the Jewish version of Allah. And pretend that you didn’t see the word Yahweh in print because it is not allowed to be written or spoken. I don’t know if you can say Yahweh to yourself in silent prayer - but maybe if you could go out and gather up a bag or two of foreskins it would be acceptable. And you know the Jews think that the Muslims are crazy.)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Economics Explained

By Robert Heilbroner and Lester Thurow

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

“Everything you need to know about how the economy works and where it is going” - this is the sub-title of this book. And I must say that it is a rather ‘large’ statement.
And does it live up to that declaration?
Well, first this book tries to establish for us a definition of Capitalism: what it is; when, how and why it began; how it works and how it doesn’t work; who were some of its key participants in generic terms and a brief introduction to a few of history’s economic theoretical greats.
We are introduced briefly to Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes and one or two more modern day contemporaries in the study of economics. It is explained that this is not one of the natural sciences but a social and theoretical branch of learning. It is relatively new in terms of the history of mankind never mind the history of the Universe.
We tag all the traditional bases; supply and demand, labor and management, profit and loss, investment and savings ecetera, ecetera. But we do kick it all up a notch by including in our discussion some previous unmentionables; labor theory of value, surplus profits, humans as commodities and the overall morality of a for-profit society. This was very refreshing.
We then kick it up another notch by getting into a discussion or should I say ‘instruction’ on the private and public sector, deficit spending and the national debt, and nationalism and the global economy. Again this was very refreshing.
The authors’ explanation or apology for the National Debt I found especially intriguing.
The authors explain that ‘debt’ is common to both the public and the private sector, but they are evaluated differently by the sectors and the general economic public.
All private enterprise and all of the nations and the world’s largest corporations have debt, we are told. But debt in the private sector is not termed debt - it is called “investment”. For a company to expand, grow and make more profits it must borrow and invest. This is normal and usual and to be expected.
But when the government borrows to stimulate growth and expansion in the nation and the society it is termed as “debt”. It is never labeled as “investment” as it is in the private sector. In other words the authors suggest that the National Debt could be equally and more fairly categorized as the National Investment.
The authors go so far as to make the following analogy. Rather than stating, as the politicians do, that we are saddling our children and grandchildren with the enormous burden of the National Debt we are instead leaving our children and grandchildren a safe deposit box full of interest bearing National Treasury Department bonds and securities.
I find this logic not only troubling but possibly deceptive or at best maybe naive.
When our grandchildren go down to that safe deposit box and retrieve the great legacy of Treasury Notes and securities that we have left them it will only be a small percentage that will find to their delight interest bearing certificates. Only the top ten percent of our society will be receiving this inheritance. The remaining 90% of us will find mortgage payments that we will all be required to pay to the ten percent among us whose ancestors were prudent and successful enough to leave their children and grandchildren all these securities. Not only that but at the present time 25% of our National Debt is owned by foreign countries. So the 90% of our children and grandchildren who will be inheriting the mortgage payment on the interest bearing treasury notes will be mailing 25% of their payments to China, Japan, Russia, India, France, England etc.
The other point that I find troubling in this discussion is that the authors give the impression that debt (investment) is not only good but that it is as things are and should be. In other words, they suggest the notion that without borrowing and going into debt how else for god sake is any business supposed to expand and grow? Debt in the name of investment and growth is normal and usual. It is an a priori fact of economic truth.
Well what about this. What if a business or corporation made profits? And what if the executives of these businesses saved some of the profits or transferred some of these profits into future reasonable and affordable investments and growth without borrowing any money from anybody?
Now far be it for me to suggest that this is actually possible in the real corporate world but let us just theorize. Let us just say hypothetically that this were actually possible. Would this not then be a better alternative than borrowing and creating future debt with future deductions in future profits from future interest payments?
And so as for the Federal Government; What if the Federal Government did not spend all of the money that it got every year and placed so much in a contingency fund to be spent when necessary for investment, growth and overall stimulus to the national economy? Now again though all the Practical Philosophers (economists) out there may deem this in the realm of paradoxical or self-contradictory let us continue to fantasize or theorize. If it were in fact possible for the Federal Government to not spend more money than it takes in every year and to put some aside for a rainy day would this not be a better economic plan for the future than a closet full of treasury bonds and securities owed to the wealthy among us and our economic rivals throughout the world? I mean if it were possible, wouldn’t it be better to have no debt in place of any debt? In other words I am going so far as to suggest that “debt” is bad and “no debt” is good.
In addition, we borrow to expand our business and at some point are we not supposed to be paying this borrowed money back. Isn’t our expansion supposed to bring us profits and then from those profits our debts are paid before we go off and borrow more. How long can we simply borrow and pay interest without ever paying down the Principal?
This is meant to be understood as a question not as an answer. As Andy Rooney so often states, I was just wondering did any of you ever think about such a possibility?
I did enjoy this book as you can see it did give me much to think about. I found the authors’ discussions on the public and private sectors and globalization, objective and well balanced.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mein Kampf

Chapter 10 Part 1

Syphilis and the Arts

By Richard E. Noble

“...Syphilis began to spread more and more, especially in the great cities, while tuberculosis was steadily reaping its harvest of death almost throughout the entire country...”
A footnote attempts to explain this remark;
“...the essential point is that Syphilis and ‘Rassenschande’ (i.e. cohabitation between German and a person of impure blood) are placed on the same level...”
Even more interesting to note is that the Germans even have a word in their language, a derogatory term, relating to intermarriage with a Jew. I think that the notion that Hitler ‘mesmerized’ the German population and led them to act against their natural conscience and Will must be dismissed.
“...In all cases which involve the fulfillment of apparently impossible demands or tasks, the entire attention of a people has to be united uniformly on this one question in such a manner as though indeed its existence or non-existence depends upon its solution. Only thus will one make a people willing and able to undertake truly great achievements and efforts...”
In order to understand or be in agreement with this passage, one must initially believe that there is such a thing as ‘truly great achievements and efforts’. This again can only be understood from the vantage of the over estimated, self indulgence of the inflated human ego. Can anyone truly look at the history of this human race and deem any effort on the part of any individual or nation as ‘truly great’. Or do we not appear as more or less a struggling bunch of ants or apes securing position, through cunning, ingenuity, and most prominently, violence.
The only truly great act that I could see for the human race would be to find a way to live in peace, with respect for one another, and find the means and methods of providing for the population of ‘our kind’ on this planet. Even to find another planet to populate if only for the purpose of the expansion of our basic cruelties and our destructive inclinations, could only be termed sad.
If the human race is to continue along on this see-saw of self destruction abuse and debasement, then it might be better, for the sake of the Universe and its other inhabitants, if it were to simply ‘fade away’ like General MacArthur’s old soldier, into the final peace of extinction, and leave the Universe to God and other simple beasts.
The remainder of this chapter deals with some of the contemporary social problems facing Hitler’s Germany in those years between the Wars. We are now going to delve into the world of art, music, prostitution, physical fitness, venereal disease, and the plague of the day, syphilis, (the Aides epidemic of the time), and how they are all related to the Jew in German society.
Wow! This is a trip isn’t it? But, as you will find, the problems are applicable to our day, and his horrid answers are as much a part of our current day philosophy as they were to Adolf’s. The battle wages on.
“...The great masses of the people, anyhow, can never see the whole way before them without getting tired and without despairing of the task...”
Adolf, once again we see as the ultimate Ego, Prophet, and Leader. Somewhere along the line here, Adolf went from a dutiful, obedient Corporal to a commanding General. Something blew him up entirely beyond reasonable proportion.
From what we have read so far, I trace it back to his first public speaking experience. This experience exhilarated him. He was obviously ‘stage struck’. It is also very clear that Adolf has a flare for the dramatic. He considers himself an artist. He is very concerned with image, and places it even above the ‘truth’. He is clearly an aspiring actor. He is playing the part of Leader, Orator, Great General, and brave War Hero. And it is more than clear that he sees himself as some sort of Religious Prophet.
He professes the Religion of Reality, based on the cruel truth of nature. And his observations are factual as far as I can see. His conclusion with regards to God and what type of Creature He must be are the problem.
He basically sees God as the embodiment of what most of us would consider as evil. He then goes on to justify the evil of this cruel God with a ‘plan’. His moral is much like that of Johnny Cash in his song, ‘A Boy Named Sue’.
This song tells the story of a boy who goes through life with the name Sue. A girl’s name given to him by what he considers a sinister father - a father who he doesn’t know and has never seen. Finally the young boy is confronted by the sinister father in a barroom. They have a bitter fight. But amidst ‘the blood, the guts, and the beer’ the boy discovers the true intent of the Father. The Father named him Sue, to make him ‘tough’. He knew that the world was a severe place, and that getting along with other human beings was a challenge in dominance and brutality. So, he named the boy Sue.
He knew that as a boy named Sue, he would be forced to fight, and being forced to fight his whole life through, would in turn make him ‘tough’; tough enough to endure the pressures of his struggle for survival in this cruel, cruel world.
Adolf is a boy named Sue, forced to fight his whole life through. But the morality of the constant fighting amidst ‘the blood, the guts, and the beer,’ is totally accepted without question and in the end we will all find out that God has a reason for being cruel.
His reason is?
To make a racially pure, perfect human species; a species who will eventually go on to rule over his Dominion...The planet Earth.
We are dealing here with the age old philosophical problem. We are trying to justify the evil of our existence with an ‘all good’ God. Adolf gives his ‘Boy Named Sue’ justification, and all religions and faiths have their similar version of the Johnny Cash parable.
As far as I can see there is no reasonable, sensible justification of evil. I must here agree with Bertrand Russell’s assessment. If the world contains legitimate irreconcilable ‘evil’, then evil must be a part of God. Since it is impossible for ‘evil’ to exist within a concept defined as ‘all good’ or infinitely good, the concept of ‘God’ must be faulty. Bertrand Russell’s conclusion was that rather than believe that the universe was created by an ‘evil’ source, he would much rather not believe in the notion or concept of God.
Albert Einstein believed in what he termed a ‘Cosmic God’. This Cosmic God was bound by the principles of science and nature, and could not act otherwise. God had no need to justify Himself or ‘evil’, or provide a reason for our or anything’s existence. These questions are all a puzzle, and will only be discovered when we understand fully all of the workings of the Universe. Albert is basically saying that he believes that there is a God, a Creator of the Universe. This God speaks to us through nature, and the natural phenomenon. We discover Him by studying the nature of the Universe. As far as justifying the ‘evil’ of the world, He had no answer, but he had Faith that as our knowledge increased, an answer would be found.
So Albert was, despite public accusations to the contrary by all the religious groups of his day, a ‘believer’; a man of Faith.
Adolf is also a man of faith, and the basic tenets of his religion are much the same as all religions. All Religions recognize evil in one shape or form or another. They differ primarily in how they attempt to justify this ‘evil’ with their concept of ‘God’. Some go so far as to claim that there is no ‘evil’, and that in truth evil is merely a ‘shade’ of good. This is interesting, but totally indefensible logically, as far as I can determine.
Adolf and Albert established their faith on the same fundamental principle, that God can be observed and studied through His Agent, Mother Nature. Albert saw Mother Nature much the same as Tom Paine and other Deists. She is the Genius of the Cosmos to whom God has turned over the Universe. She reveals Herself through her Miracles; miracles that can be understood through the microscope of the scientific method, and logical thinking.
Albert seems to have been at peace with Nature, and felt unthreatened by death. When asked on his death bed if he feared dying he responded in the negative, and further instructed his questioner to look out the window and observe nature in order to find the reason for his assurance. Albert found a peace in the wonder of nature, as did Tom Paine and the Deists, and as do most who profess belief in conventional religions.
Adolf clearly did not find peace in observing the antics of Mother Nature. He discovered Her to be an unremorseful killer, but yet a Killer with a cause; a cause which Adolf considered rational, purposeful, and reasonable. God had created ‘evil’, but for a ‘good’ cause. To pursue this evil, but in the name of a ‘good’ cause is to be God-like, or to act in the manner of God.
Certainly a case could be made to place Adolf among the greatest of deranged serial killers who has ever lived, but our history books are full with similar deranged people; Attila, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, and the list goes on. Unfortunately we who consider ourselves as Civilized must deal with these people, and challenge their principles or the world will forever be in the hands of the Destroyers, and not the Creators.
But Adolf did not act alone, or in secret. He had a huge army of followers, a rationale, and a philosophy. God is cruel, but He has a purpose. His purpose is to establish perfection of the Human species through a process of evolution. Evolution of the human species involves the killing off of the diseased, sick, weak and imperfect by the natural methods of disease, famine, and war. War is a natural weapon of the Sublime Creator. Many are chosen, but few accept His call to be a leader in His army, and pursue His Goal. Only the greatest men throughout History have accepted His challenge, and pursued His Goals. Adolf was on a religious mission, inspired by his Faith in God.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

John W. Stallman

Camp Gordon Johnston Reunion

The Greatest Generation - John W. Stallman

By Richard E. Noble

[I have just recently learned that John W. Stallman has passed away. I conducted this interview with Mr. Stallman and I thought it might serve as a fitting remembrance.]

“Richie, you have asked me a lot of questions and I’ve rambled on, but I always want to say that I’m proud that I had the opportunity to serve my country. I enlisted but that doesn’t make me any better than anyone who was drafted. We were all soldiers together. I’m proud of my unit; I’m proud of my uniform; Lord knows I’m proud of it. But it took everyone to win that war. It was a popular war - if there is such a thing as a popular war. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a gun; I could shoot back. I’ve got to say this; any infantryman who goes into combat and he doesn’t understand the idea, that it is - kill or be killed - he’s got two strikes against him. We Americans are basically peace loving people. The guys who serve in most of these things (wars), they weren’t born to kill people. They were trained to do it. If you take any other attitude, you ain’t going to have much of a chance in combat. It is a cruel thing, but …”
As I sat there listening to John W. Stallman, a proud infantryman, originally from New York, who volunteered for the Army at nineteen years of age - now eighty-two - and who trained for the invasion here in Carrabelle, Florida, my mind was a jumble. Everything about this man was striking me to the core - even his accent; he was a damn Yankee, like me. He asked my name, and I said Richard - he immediately began calling me, Richie. Nobody calls me Richie. There were only three other people in my entire life who ever called me Richie. Not even my mother and father called me Richie. My Grandmother and two of her sons - my uncles, Ray and Joe, were the only ones who ever called me Richie.
Both of my uncles served in World War II. My uncle Joe was also an infantryman. He was in the Pacific. He returned from the war with malaria - and was never quite the same as he was before he left - mentally or physically - but that’s another story.
John W. Stallman, my uncle Joe and my uncle Ray - they all had that same look in their eye; that same attitude, and for some strange reason they all called me Richie. Suddenly, there I was listening to Mr. Stallman as I once did as a ten year old looking up into the eyes of sincerity and concern of one of my most beloved and idolized uncles. Mr. Stallman didn’t realize it, but after that “Richie” business he could have told me anything and I would have been on his side and in his defense.
Mr. Stallman was actually old enough to be my father. There aren’t too many men around that fit into that category these days.
I couldn’t help but to think of that “Greatest Generation” notion by Tom Brokaw. Was this guy, John W. Stallman, from a different breed of people? Was there really something different about him and his generation?
My generation was Vietnam, and I’m not going to get into that but - we don’t have that Mr. Stallman look in our eyes - none of us. We are not an “us” either. We are a - you or me; a - we or they; a - this side or that side; we are not an “us”. We all have in our eyes; suspicion, anger, mistrust, hostility, confrontation, bitterness, hurt, fight, regret, guilt, belligerence; we have all sorts of things in our eyes, but we don’t have what I saw in Mr. Stallman’s eyes. It just ain’t there.
Go back to the first paragraph of this article. Look at some of the words and phrases used by Mr. Stallman: enlisted, drafted, proud; kill or be killed; Americans are a peaceful people; soldiers are trained to kill - they aren’t born that way; it took everyone to win that war; the guys; all soldiers together; I was lucky, I had a gun - I could shoot back. I know that Mr. Stallman didn’t realize it, but every word out of his mouth was a subject of books, controversy, discussion, dissent and argumentation. So I asked;
“Do you think that your spirit is different - that Greatest Generation thing - do you think that your values and your attitudes are different or were different when you were growing up?”
“I’ve tried to ponder that question to myself sometimes and I was real worried when they went to Iraq the first time - you know, the first Bush - I thought, boy, I wished I was fit to go with them. I could settle them down with my experience. But they proved to me that they were just as good as soldiers as we were. Everyone serves in their own time and copes with the situation as it is.”
You see? ... it sounds like Mr. Stallman is a part of a team. He belongs to something.
John Chancellor in his memoir divided the people of this country into two groups. Those that felt that this country was a Zoo and those that felt that it was a Jungle. One group he called Democrats and the other he called Republicans. I’ll let you figure out which was which.
I’m kind of a half-breed. I wish that I lived as a wild, independent beast that I am, enjoying my natural habitat, but with the protection, care and concern found in the loving environment of a Zoo - but I don’t. At least I have never felt that I have.
I live in a Jungle. It has been my responsibility to take care of mine and my own, and I have never had anybody volunteering to help. It has always been - pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and every man for himself - as I have viewed it. Maybe that is not true in reality, but that is the way it has always seemed to me. It has always seemed very clear to me; if I don’t have the money to pay for it, I ain’t going to get it - and nobody else cares if I do or I don’t.
Now listen to me. I don’t sound like Mr. Stallman, do I? Are we from two different generations - his, the Greatest; and mine - the not so great? I’d like to be more like Mr. Stallman; but, I’m not.
Mr. Stallman had joined the Army in hopes of becoming a paratrooper. A paratrooper could earn an extra fifty dollars per month. As a paratrooper he could earn 100 dollars a month - the regular guys got 50 dollars a month. But Mr. Stallman got “crashed” out of the paratroopers and next found himself on a train to who knows where.
“So anyway, they loaded us onto a train about three days later. We thought that we were going to Texas ... One of the other guys told me that we weren’t going to Texas, but to this “hell hole” somewhere in Florida. I asked the conductor, but he told me to just go back to my seat. He said that he had told me too much already
So anyway, we went off on a switch and we ended up here in Carrabelle, at Fort Gordon Johnston.
“But I’m proud that I came through here - but it was a hell hole. They tried to make it a hell hole. Bradley (Omar) was our commander - he was our division General. He said that whoever picked this place (Carrabelle) as a training site ought to have been court-martialed. Walter Winchell said that this was the Alcatraz of the Army ... Our floors were sand; you slept on a cot; you stood up to eat; you had your mess kit on a table about fifteen inches wide; cold showers - that is, if you got a shower; they just tried to make life as miserable as they could for you down here. We had forced speed marches - fifteen miles, no break. Of course, no one wanted to fall out. Our platoon sergeant said that it took more guts to stick it out than to quit. We didn’t think about it though, we just did it. You didn’t talk back to no NCO or officer or anything like that, not even a PFC in those days ... They were good sergeants though. They knew what they were doing. I didn’t know what they were doing. I just did what they told me ... You thought that you were physically fit, but you weren’t. They had four different obstacle courses. We did everything. We were training for the invasion ... I was here from January in 1943 until the last of May in ‘43
“We would get onto the landing craft at about four o’clock in the morning. We’d go out here to Dog Island… They’d rendezvous. We’d go round and round in circles. Then, just before daylight, they’d make a run for the beach. You’d get to the beach - maybe a quarter of a mile in-land or so; you’d dig a foxhole. They closed this place down because they had twenty-six men drowned out there…”
“We’re you here when that happened?’
“Yes, I was here at that time. It was my division but a different regiment. There were about 17 thousand men, at strength, in three regiments. A regiment is about 3,500 men. If they asked you if you wanted a pass to Carrabelle, we laughed. There was nothing (in Carrabelle). We could ride up in the truck to Wakulla Springs. I never did. I was always too busy. I needed my rest, or was shining my shoes, or cleaning my rifle. They called the whole “problem” off. They said that thirteen men had drowned, but I have since talked to a coxswain who was out that night. He said that he knew that they had said that it was only thirteen but that he would go to his grave saying that it was twenty-six. He said that he had told one of the other coxswains who was involved in the tragedy that he didn’t have no business being where he was. There was a storm out there. The other coxswain never spoke to him again. The Coxswain who I met felt that it was negligence ... He said that he was told never to get into those kind of waters when there was trouble ... ‘It was rough out there on the other side of Dog Island … We came up the river and we had no problem. We brought all of our troops to shore,’ he told me.
“Now, we were on shore, waiting to board on. When that storm hit, I had never seen it rain that hard in my life. I had seen a lot of hard rains in my day, but I never saw it rain that hard in my life. We just laid on the ground and just took it. Finally at about daylight, they just called the “problem” off. They called all of those things “problems” - a maneuver, they would call it a problem.
“But anyway, I’m glad that I went through this place. They took us out of here on a Pullman train. I told the fella that I was with (on the train) “Popul,” that was his last name, I said; “I never thought that I was going to get out of here alive; but I’ll sure tell you one thing, I’ll never, ever come back to this place - I’ll never come back to this place again.”
“So did you ever get over to Europe?”
“Oh yeah, we went into combat. The 28th fought all through Europe. I got five battle stars. I was wounded twice and I have a combat infantry division badge - that’s the thing that an infantryman is most proud of. This isn’t true what I’m gonna tell ya, but those that were in the infantry - we look at the combat infantryman’s badge, which is a blue crest with a rifle across it, as next to the Congressional Medal of Honor - but it isn’t. The only people who can get the infantryman’s badge are infantrymen, machine-gunmen and mortar-men. Later on, they did create a Combat Medic’s Badge and they deserve it, because if there is anyone who has got guts, it the medics.
“Men were dropping like flies. In Normandy we lost an awful lot of men. We were the first division to enter Germany in strength. The Hearken Forrest that was a terrible, terrible place. We should never have attacked as we did. The German’s had the high ground; we had the low ground. Read “Follow Me and Die” if you can get it. It is out of print, but that book tells about my division.”
Mr. Stallman went on and on. He was eager to talk about his experiences. It wasn’t always that way he told me. But he thought that it was great that people were interested to hear about it today.
There were other people, like myself, there at the World War II Museum in Carrabelle. There were a couple of college girls from FSU; they were doing a thesis. A couple of the Veterans were showing them around the museum and relating to them the personal nature and meaning of many of the artifacts and mementos.
Another gentleman was there with his video camera. He had been there the year before also. He was recording the reunion. He said that his film was going to be used as a part of a teacher’s education program in combination with the local high schools, colleges and universities.
Mr. Stallman thought that this new interest in his war and his times was really a great thing. He had made tapes about his life and times for his own children and grandchildren and he felt that this attempt at preserving this history and tradition was a truly necessary part of the American heritage.
As I left the Camp Gordon Johnston Museum, I felt somewhat ashamed that I had not been there before. This museum has been progressing and growing now since 1995. The museum is presently housed in 2500 square feet of a 1943 former movie theater, most recently the home to the old Gulf State Bank. It is located at 302 Marine Street in downtown Carrabelle. Admission is free. The Museum is open weekdays from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M., and on Saturdays from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. Everyone involved in the project is a volunteer and no one receives any pay.
The Museum artifacts are on display in six different rooms, each room with its own theme. There is a gift shop with books, hats, and other memorabilia. Private and/or educational tours can be arranged. A tour can be arranged by calling (850) 697-8575. This should be a must field trip for the schools in this area, and any history class on whatever level. I met Mrs. Minichiello, the current president and volunteer tour guide, and she is a wealth of anecdotes, and pertinent information. Her personal, tragic story with her own Dad, a World War II veteran, which I think provides a good deal of her spirit and enthusiasm for the project, is a war memento or memorial in itself I’m sure that all of those involved in the project have equally compelling stories.
Don’t be like me; get yourself over there. The people and the atmosphere are more than friendly, and the stories and the information are pertinent, memorable and compelling. I’ve been there twice now and I intend to go back more often. Everything and everyone in there is a story and a part of American history. To have such a museum as this in our tiny community is truly something to boast about. It is a great idea. It could very well grow into an attraction for Franklin County and something for the local people to take pride in. They are adding new materials everyday, and are enthusiastically open to gifts and donations of artifacts and memorabilia from the World War II era. If you have never been over that way, take a trip over.
The Camp Gordon Johnston Reunion which has been taking place now, for the last seven or eight years, may be coming to an end. Unfortunately, all the veterans are getting too old, the trip is difficult for many, and, of course, many are passing on. Mrs. Minicheillo tells me that they are going to try to keep up some sort of yearly celebration, though. A parade, like the one that they had this past weekend would be nice, but ... time (money and volunteer participation) will tell.
Over thirty World War II Vets came to this year’s celebration - realizing that this may be their last chance to meet up with some of their old buddies and tell war stories. They looked to me to be having a great time.
Most everything was volunteered or provided at cost. Many things were free where they could be provided or offered by local business people.
If you haven’t been there to see it, you should. And if you can afford to join up and you haven’t, you should. I can’t think of anything more worthwhile for those with the energy and spirit. As they say today - it’s a good thing.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Harry S Truman

Harry S. Truman

(President from 1945-1953)

By Richard E. Noble

Truman was another of our non-lawyer, non-General/war hero presidents. He arrived at the office without a formal education. He and Andrew Johnson were both self-taught. At least Andrew was a tailor and had a trade. Harry was a public high school graduate and a failed entrepreneur. He and a buddy, Eddie Jacobson, tried to sell hats after World War I but went bust because “they” went an elected a damn Republican. Harding and Hoover both went to college. Harry, though having a really rough go, is obviously the most successful of our non-lawyer, non-General crowd thus far. Andrew Johnson was impeached, Harding was disgraced, and Hoover was a flop. Truman was controversial but got reelected on his own in 1948 even though the press had already awarded the victory to Dewey.
Harry who wore thick glasses and therefore had to be an empire rather than play on the local ball team as a kid, claims to have read every book in his hometown library. He didn’t claim to have understood them all but he says that he did read them.
Harry was in World War I. He started as a private in the Missouri National Guard. He attends all his meetings, takes a gov’t mandated and publicly financed trip to Europe and ends up a Captain.
Roosevelt had been elected for the forth time and within three months he had a brain hemorrhage and was dead. Harry Truman had been chosen as vice president over the previous vice president Henry Wallace. Wallace was considered more to the left than even Roosevelt. Right wingers even accuse him of being a communist or Russian spy, but, of course, they said the same thing about Roosevelt. Harry was more center or right for a Democrat, so he got the job.
It may be every boy’s dream to become president of the United States, but who could envy Harry Truman? Roosevelt, no matter what his critics might say, was the most popular president ever in American History. He had been elected four times in a row and it was never close. His last run against Dewey was the closest, and he won by nearly four million popular votes and an electoral vote of 432 to 99. Nobody was really that wild about Harry, not the American people (God save us from Truman, they chanted); not the Republicans, not the Democrats; not the American press; not the ex-president’s staff and cabinet, not General MacArthur; not even Winston Churchill.
Winston told Harry many years later that he had resented seeing Harry in his old friend Franklin’s place and felt that Harry was not up to the job.
Harry came in just in time to drop two atomic bombs on Japan and totally alienate Uncle Joe and all his staff. So Harry gets the Historical credit for not only dropping the “big one” but starting the Cold War.
Uncle Joe sends Harry his first test by blocking off the road to Berlin. Harry avoids a physical confrontation by the famous Berlin Airlift. He flies in supplies to Berlin for over a year. It wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t World War III either.
Harry then gets the pleasure of dealing with the infamous Senator Joe McCarthy. McCarthy was only a blip on the American history radar screen but he became very powerful politically, and very quickly. Thousands of people were fired and lost their jobs through this man’s fabrications and accusations. He called everybody a dirty, commie, pinko traitor, even General George W. Marshall whom Truman called the greatest living American.
Truman and Marshall, together, instigate the famous Marshall Plan which basically seems to have been the U.S. Plan to buy back Europe from the Communists who appeared to be taking over everywhere. Not only Russia and China but Spain, France, Italy, Germany; nearly all of Europe was going Communists. One has to wonder, with the Fascists and Nazis all defeated why the Communists were so popular. Where were all the Democrats, or even the democratic Socialists?
In any case, Marshall claimed that his plan was not political and was designed to relieve the poor and devastated of Europe. He even offered help to the Russians but Uncle Joe refused. He refused the American Capitalist pig’s money and he even refused Harry’s offer to the United Nations to share, mutually, nuclear technology, which even shocked the Hell out of Harry. It does also seem rather strange that at one point we are offering the secrets of the atomic bomb to the Russians as a method of assuring world peace and then a few years later we are executing people who were accused of doing just that.
Harry then had Korea to deal with. The North Koreans invaded the South Koreans. What we were doing in Korea, I don’t know but after the War an “Iron Curtain” had fallen over Europe; lines had been drawn in Vietnam and Korea; the Jews had been recognized as a Nation in Israel; and Truman had started his Cold War and the Truman policy of containing the communist threat.
General MacArthur, who had been given the task of reconstructing Japan after the war, was now given the job of fighting the North Koreans. It wasn’t easy, but after a number of initial setbacks “Dugout Dug” MacArthur had chased the North Koreans back to where they had come from. But suddenly the Chinese come swarming over the Yalu River by the millions. MacArthur wanted to take the war to the Chinese, but Truman who had petitioned the support of the United Nations, and feared the start of a third world war, had promised to keep the conflict contained.
MacArthur felt that a war had to be fought to win, not to be “contained”, He voiced his views publicly, even after he had been ordered by Truman to shut the hell up. MacArthur wouldn’t shut up and after several warnings and direct orders, Truman fired his butt.
Well, while MacArthur was getting ticker-tape parades in New York, Truman was getting beer bottles and paper cups thrown at him at the ball park, as he threw out the first pitch of the season in the Taft tradition. As it turned out, MacArthur didn’t even get the Republican nomination in 1952, his secretary, Eisenhower got it. So there you go.
Harry, it seems, got no respect. I guess that he didn’t look like a president. Or maybe he didn’t look like “the” president. Roosevelt, known as “the” president had been the only president that many people had ever known. It doesn’t seem that there was any leader out there that wasn’t man enough to challenge old four eyes, Truman. But “give ‘em hell Harry” gave ‘em hell. He fired Mac. He dumped staff and cabinet members. He challenged bosses and unions alike. He threatened to punch newspaper reporters in the nose if they continued to make fun of his daughter’s piano playing. He actually chased John L. Lewis and other union leaders back to work. At one point he was before Congress, about to draft a whole union membership into the army and order it back to work when it was whispered into his ear that they had gone back to work voluntarily. At another point he had the gov’t take over some coal mines and threatened big business with the nationalization of their industry.
They are still arguing about Harry today. Was he good or bad; was he right or left; was he wise or a nit-wit. Well Harry has written his own memoirs which should be a real trip. Harry is one politician who didn’t practice double-speak and never worried about being politically correct. Those memoirs should be fun.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Steunenberg is Dead

"Striking America"

“Labor Day Tribute”

By Richard E. Noble

On December 20, 1905, as the ex-governor of Idaho opened the gate to his home in Caldwell, a bomb exploded. The Governor was mortally wounded and moments later, after being carried inside his home, he expired.
Idaho, Montana and Colorado had been a war zone since the 1880. Telluride, Cripple Creek, Colorado City had been the scene of many a labor/management confrontation. Hundreds had been killed. Feelings ran very strong on both sides of the picket lines. Governor Streunenberg had been elected with the support of labor. He held a union card himself He was a printer. As governor during the Coer d’Alene strike, he opted for martial law and sent in the Militia instead of supporting the union and some form of arbitration. Many miners were killed. The miners and union members looked upon Streunenberg as a traitor. The authorities naturally figured that the union had something to do with the Governor’s death.
The Western Federation of Miners was under the leadership of three men, Charles H. Moyer, George Pettibone, and William D. “Big Bill” Haywood. This union and these men were hated by the powerful Mine Owners Association and the civil authorities.
A man who went by the name Harry Orchard was arrested. Orchard was also known as Tom Hogan, but it seems that his real name was Albert Horseley. He was originally from Canada. He had abandoned his family in Canada and took up another or others in the States. He was a bigamist and had a clouded and sordid criminal reputation. He was found in a hotel room not too very far from the scene of the explosion and killing of Governor Streunenberg. He had been a member of the Western Federation of Miners and had been seen in the company of Moyers and Haywood. He was discovered in his hotel room days after the crime still hoarding string and dynamite associated with the crime. At least, that is what was claimed by the arresting police. For weeks Orchard denied any involvement in the crime. But, then the local authorities called in detective John McPartland of the Denver Pinkerton agency. From this point on this case gets rather strange. First, why would the police call in a private detective from another state? Labor Lawyers who had taken up Orchard’s defense questioned the legitimacy of such an action. William J. Pinkerton said that his agency had been hired by the governor of Idaho and that it was strictly business and had nothing to do with the reward money that had been posted.
McPartland had been around for a long time. In 1875, he was a key player in the strange case of the Mysterious Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania. He had infiltrated the Ancient Order of Hibernians. His testimony was directly responsible of the execution of ten members of the United Mine Workers Benevolent association and the imprisonment of several others. He was a well known advocate for management and anti-unionism. Now he was hired by the governor of Idaho, Gooding, to investigate, and personally interrogate Harry Orchard?
Harry Orchard is then transferred to the Boise Idaho State Penitentiary. There he is given private accommodations on death row. After getting the opportunity of sitting on death row and absorbing the feeling of what it might be like to await one’s own execution, he is then closeted in more congenial surroundings with the honorable Detective McPartland. The detective and he are treated to some fine cuisine after which they smoke cigars and Mister McPartland explains to Mister Orchard some of the ramifications of his present position. He is told the tale of Kelly the Bum who testified in the case of the Molly Maguires and saved his life. Not only that, he was given money and freed from prison. He was told about other such men who had repented their past and testified for the state to their later good fortune. He was also told about his most likely state, at the end of a rope, if he chose not to co-operate. Within a short period of time Harry Orchard not only confessed to killing governor Streunenberg but to nearly every other murder and crime committed in the western states, remotely relating to any Western Federation of Miners disturbance. And as proof of the authenticity of this elaborate confession, Harry Orchard proclaimed his salvation to the word of God as found in the Christian Bible as explained to him by “Father” McPartland.
Orchard implicated Moyer, Pettibone and Haywood. He alleged that he was on the Western Federation of Miners’ payroll, and had been given money for his crimes by its executives. He implicated two other men in his statements. One was Jack Simpkins, the other was Steve Adams. Simpkins disappeared shortly after Moyer, Pettibone and Haywood were arrested and was never heard from again. Adams was resettled and homesteading in Oregon. Adams was assured that he was only wanted for questioning. Nevertheless he ended up on death row discussing his situation with Orchard and then with McPartland. It took but a few days to get Adams to confess to crimes in support of Orchard confession.
The prosecution’s case was progressing smoothly; now to arrest Pettibone, Haywood and Moyer. They were all living in Colorado. They were not living in Idaho at the time of any of the alleged crimes. Problems arose with their extradition. They were not “fugitives” from Idaho. Technically, they could not be extradited. The Governors of the states of Idaho and Colorado and accomplices decided to simply disregard the law and basically kidnap the accused. Now Moyer, Pettibone and Haywood were sitting on death row in the Boise Penitentiary. Adams and Orchard had been moved to a private cottage on prison grounds. The case of the kidnapping was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the accused were extradited illegally, but since the defendants were now imprisoned in Idaho, it was not within its jurisdiction to do anything about it. Dah? Although Adams was under strict scrutiny, an uncle of his was snuck in to see him somehow. The uncle told him that the union was going to get the famous Clarence Darrow to defend his case. Adams immediately recanted his confession. He announced that not a word of it was the truth and that he had been pressured and intimidated by McPartland and friends. McPartland and friends then decided to get Adams hung. In his confession, Adams had admitted to joining in with Orchard to kill two non-descript claim jumpers. Adams had supposedly killed a man named Tyler. Adams testified that McPartland had told him that it was his intention to get Pettibone, Haywood and Moyer. That was what this whole case was about. They wanted to bust the union, once and for all. Adams testified that McPartland had threatened and intimidated him, and that he was interrogated by McPartland before he ever had a chance to talk to a lawyer. The jury couldn’t make a decision. The Adams’ case was scheduled for a retrial. Before Adams could be retried, Haywood was brought before the court for murder. Clarence Darrow would be his defender and the soon to be famous Senator, William E. Borah, would be leading the prosecution. President Theodore Roosevelt hearing of the proceedings tagged the defendants as “undesirable citizens”. Union members all over the country were now wearing buttons that proudly stated, “I am an Undesirable Citizen”. The trial began in May of the year 1907. By July 29 of that same year it had been decided. In the mean time Harry Orchard had written his autobiography. He was rapidly becoming nationally infamous. The momentum of the trial had gone back and forth. Darrow criticized the evidence and the tactics of the opposition. In his final plea for the defendants which lasted for eleven hours Darrow made the argument that this business was not about Big Bill Haywood’s involvement in the murder of Governor Struenenberg. The prosecution had no such case. They had trumped up charges and bribed and intimidated witnesses. The real case on trial was the right of workers to organize and form unions. This was a case of the rich against the poor. This was a case of the bosses against the workers. The biggest worker of them all, Big Bill Haywood, was being railroaded, on the sole word of a known criminal. Big Bill Haywood, if found guilty, was going to be killed by the Mine Owners Association and their paid and bought political flunkies.
Darrow cried. The jury cried. The onlookers cried. Darrow had the whole room sobbing by the time that he was through.
But when Borah got his chance he was equally convincing. He argued for justice on behalf of the dead ex-Governor. He also had the jury and onlookers in tears. The outcome was thought to be a toss of the coin. Haywood was noticeably worried. The Haymarket Square Anarchists had been railroaded and hung. The Molly Maguires were hung. Union men and women were in prisons all over America. Why should his life be spared? He was without doubt the most wanted union organizer in America. His hanging could nail down the lid on this gang of radicals for a good time into the future. A jury of twelve small town farmers stood between he and martyrdom. One of the jurors had confessed in the pre-jury selection that he would hang an anarchist on sight. Darrow, nevertheless, accepted the man as a juror. Haywood had been kept in jail for eighteen months awaiting his trial. The trial lasted eleven weeks. The jury deliberated for twenty one hours. It was unanimous. Big Bill Haywood was found... not guilty. This was probably the biggest trial in American history, since John Brown was found guilty and hung.
Pettibone was then tried and acquitted. Charges were dropped against Moyer. Adams was tried a second time. The jury was once again hung. Adams was then extradited to Colorado where he was tried for another shooting. He was finally acquitted and freed. Orchard was tried and sentenced to death. His sentence was then commuted to life. He lived another fifty years in the Idaho penitentiary before he died in 1954.*

*Books used in the essay; “Attorney for the Damned” Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom, Edited by Arthur Weinberg; “Roughneck” The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, Peter Carlson.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Epicurus 342-270 B.C.

By Richard E. Noble

Epicurus was not an “Epicurean”. He believed that in life Man should seek happiness and pleasure, but yet he ate only bread and water, an occasional piece of dried cheese and a sip of wine, and didn’t have sex. He didn’t like eating because it caused indigestion, drinking led to a hangover, and sex led to passion, frustration and, least we should forget ... children. He didn’t like politics because expressing a political point of view led to the creation of enemies and if one is to be happy one should only have friends. He believed in God, or the Gods, and liked Church. Supposedly he worshipped daily and was considered devoutly religious, yet he hated and despised religion because it promoted mysticism, superstition, fear, and barbaric human sacrifices. He believed in the Gods but realized that if the Gods were to remain happy they had to ignore mankind (a good point, don’t you agree?).
The Gods didn’t control anything, and atoms acted independently often without rhyme or reason. Chaos ruled the universe and not design or divine planning. Because of this notion Epicurus is basically considered an atheist.
He is criticized on two counts by believers. One, he gives no account of “consciousness” or an explanation of how unconscious matter can produces conscious thought. And two, if random atoms or particles, chaotically bumping into one another are the building blocks of man and his universe, who or what sets them or keeps them in motion? How can anything “revolve” without a “Revolver”?
But do we have an answer to either of these questions today? What is the source of consciousness, reflection, thought?
No one knows.
And what is the source of motion?
Gravity and electromagnetism are simply possible descriptions of the movement as observed, but the cause or the source of the motion as of yet has not been determined.
Those that posit the Big Bang Theory, as an explanation of the motion of the universe still have the problem of explaining the source of the energy causing the Big Bang to bang. And those that posit God still have the age old problem of answering from whence came God, His power, consciousness and energy?
From what I can see “conscious thought” is really no cause for divination. Human consciousness seems to me to be a most primitive, elementary, and imperfect a process of understanding that only the immense ego of man could assign it to the ranks of the Godly. Even our so called scientific method when viewed objectively must appear to any “conscious” observer like a poor ram butting his head up against the dam, or a spider reconstructing his bridge from wall to wall, over and over and over. Man’s inductive process of learning is mighty slow. Computers have already surpassed the most of us, and who knows what the future has in store?
Epicurus was a poor guy, unlike Plato and Aristotle. He started up his school in what appears to have been “a bad neighborhood”. He took into his school a lot of local riffraff, for which he has received endless bad mouthing.
I don’t get “schools of Philosophy” in ancient Athens and Greece. Everybody and his uncle seemed to have had one. I picture these schools to be on every street corner, kind of like barrooms in South Boston, or independent churches throughout the South.
What was the deal on this, man?