Saturday, May 31, 2008

John Tyler

John Tyler

President from 1840 to 1844

By Richard E. Noble



Serves them right! Ha ha! John Tyler is just what those Whigs deserved. They spent all their bucks on bribes, lies, phony advertising, political propaganda, and backroom skullduggery in order to get their old puppet William Henry Harrison elected, and before he even gets to serve one day he drops dead. In came John Tyler, a man not of their sympathies, not of their philosophy, and in basic disagreement with everything that they stood for. They had selected him as vice president to balance the ticket, never thinking for a second that he would ever become president. He vetoed everything they brought up and within five months of his first year in office his whole Whig cabinet, led by Henry Clay, resigns. Only Daniel Webster chooses to remain by the new president's side. But even old Daniel decides to resign before the term is over.
John Tyler is not a federalist or a nationalist. He supports state's rights. Well, he liked state's rights for most states, Rhode Island not included. Old John (I guess I shouldn't call him old. He was the youngest president to that date) hated Andrew Jackson for stating that he would send the federal troops into the states to settle the nullification controversy, but then threatened the same tactic when Rhode Island had a problem with its franchise requirements.
He presented the first presidential crisis. Should a vice president be allowed to step in when the elected president didn't even serve one day? Should we have another election? Should somebody else be appointed? Was this fair? The Whigs wanted to get rid of him but the Constitution was in their way. It pretty much said what should happen if a president dies. It didn't mention if he died after one day or three hundred days. So Tyler was it, and the Whigs and everybody else would just have to live with him.
He wanted to annex Texas into the Union, and thought that the slavery issue would go away if everybody just ignored it. I wonder? Do you think that it would have? Would there ever have come a time that slavery would have just dissipated because it wasn't economical or practical, or desirable, or moral? It's strange but slavery has had its longest life in Africa - among the all black nations.
He did manage to get Texas annexed by the end of his term, but nobody was willing to ignore slavery for long.
If John had lived long enough, he would have spent his last years in a federal penitentiary or in disgrace, or wherever it was that those who were elected to the Confederate Legislature ended up, but instead, he died in 1862.
John was, to say the least, prolific. He had seven children by his first wife before she finally died of a stroke, and then seven more by his second wife.
His second father-in-law was killed one day while they were all enjoying a cruse down the Potomac on the frigate, the Princeton. A new, super-large, bow-canon was being demonstrated. They tried to fire it and it exploded. Tyler just missed getting blown up himself. Then he almost fell off the gang plank while rescuing his new bride, and then at the mass funeral his horse and carriage ran away. The new president almost got killed three times in one week.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bouncer Genius and God

Genius and God

Commentary

By Richard E. Noble

The other night on TV they found the man with the highest I.Q. in America. He was working as a bouncer in a night club, and his main intellectual interest in life was to prove the existence of God, mathematically. He said that the existence of God has yet to have been established by any human thinker to date, and that he had taken up the challenge, and that it was now his life's goal.
I am not one of the greatest thinkers to have ever lived, but I have also been concerned with this problem for as far back as I can remember in my life, and I am going to be so bold as to predict the results of this man's mathematical inquiry even though I have almost no mathematical skills whatsoever.
First of all, as it stands today the world believes in basically two Gods. Today there is the God of religion, and the God of science.
The God of religion is a sociological, psychological, human entity. This God is a composite of reason, compassion, power, love, justice, conscience, intellect, and all of the qualities admired by humankind extended or expanded to infinity. This God of religion will never be discovered mathematically. The reason being, is that compassion, truth, justice and beauty etc. are qualities that can not be reduced to a formula of A square plus B square - all of the mathematical calculations in the world will not prove the Bible, the Koran or the Upanishads to be the word of God, or Jesus to be the Son of God, or Mohammed to be the prophet of God. And as Saint Augustine and others after him have pointed out, God is beyond the capacity of human reason and intellect and a matter for faith.
On this point the true believer and the atheist are as two adjacent but at the same time, extreme points on a circle. From one point of view they are as far apart on the circle as two points can be, yet from another point of view, almost one and the same. The only difference between the philosophical atheist and the philosophical true believer is that the atheist says that nothing is beyond the capacity of human reason and intellect. What is necessary at the point where human reason seems to fail is more knowledge, not faith or belief, or revelation.
Once a definition is placed on God and God is given any attributes, the concept of God becomes paradoxical and illogical. If you give a secular or atheistic philosopher a definition of your God, he can prove by whatever definition that you provide that your concept of God is unreasonable, illogical, or paradoxical - and therefore untrue. The only requirement for true being - that it conforms to reason and logic. If you throw out the requirement of reasonableness or logic then, of course, any and all definitions of God are equal and acceptable.
The God of science is another God entirely. This God can be reduced to the notion of a Force or Power operating to keep the Universe in motion and afloat in the heavens. This God is not connected with sociological criteria such as morality or justice. He is simply an unexplainable, yet to be discovered or determined or defined force, power or physical principle - a physical principle governing, or at the root of, all of the so far discovered principles behind the motion and matter of the Universe.
Mathematics will not discover this God either - because mathematics is not a science of discovery but explanation. Like a computer you can only get out of it what you put into it. You can not discover new facts from mathematics, you can only suppose them. And they are supposed by hypothesis which is guessing. So my prediction is that our bouncer genius will come to the mathematical conclusion that our Universe is self perpetuating, or as yet unexplainable. He will not discover that A square + B square - the square root of 0 = God.
Considering that all definitions of God can be proved to be logically impossible, to suggest that life is fantastically improbable and that therefore there must be a God is to replace the highly improbable with the totally impossible.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Eastpointer

What about a Storm?

By Richard E. Noble

As most of us who were around in the "good old days" know, the good old days weren't really all that "good." I was talking with some folks the other evening who had never been seafood workers. They wanted to know what we used to do with our valuable oyster boats when a storm was threatening off shore.
Pictures began to pop into my mind, but the first thing I remembered was that our old oyster boats were not all that valuable. We rented our first oyster boat for a-bag-a-day. We called the boat, bail-a-little sail-a-little. The boat leaked so badly that I had to take a break from tonging every half hour or so, walk to the back of the boat and start bailing it out. Our bail bucket used to be an old Clorox bottle or plastic milk jug with the cap screwed back on and the bottom cut out.
Many oystermen that I knew didn't own an oyster boat or a motor. They rented their boat and motor from the dealer who they worked for - one bag of oysters for the boat and one bag for the motor. Some other oystermen shared one rented boat. Some dealers had a small fleet of old boats and motors that they rented. At one point in our career, my wife and I owned three oyster boats that we rented out to other aspiring self-employed businessmen in the "trade." It was somewhat of a losing proposition. Most of the time, the fellow who rented a boat would get behind on his rent. He would then unload his oysters down on Cat Point or elsewhere and when he came back to tie out the boat, he would have no money to pay.
But the boats were cheap. I think we bought our old boats for between $150 and $250. For most of our career we never had a trailer for any of our oyster boats - and most other folks we knew didn't either.
After many storms we simply joined the large crowd of oystermen who were digging their boats out of the sand along the shore line. At that time there were at least 1500 registered oysterman. The channel in Eastpoint could have five to six hundred boats crammed in that tiny stretch of beach. If you didn't get your motor off your boat in time, you would have to take it apart, get all the salty water out of the carburetor and squirt lots of oil into the cylinder heads, get some new spark plugs and you were back in business again within the week.
If it started blowing unexpectedly during the night, I would crawl out of bed, hop in the truck and head down to the shore.
There was a time when there was no breakwater in Eastpoint and every stormy night the shore along highway 98 would be lined with pickup trucks. They would shine their headlights on their boat to make sure another boat hadn't “drug” anchor and was now rubbing up against theirs. If that eventuality did happen, the owner of the endangered boat would have to wade or swim out to his boat, crank it up, move it and re-set his anchors. If it was raining, which was usually the case, and you couldn't afford a battery and an automatic bilge pump, you would have to wade out to your boat and bail it out periodically. Sometime it would get too windy and too rough and all us oystermen would just sit there and count the boats as they went under.
Several times in my own career, I remember wading out to my boat with the wind blowing and the waves crashing, and unscrewing my motor from the stern and carrying my 40 horse Johnson to shore on my shoulder. The boat might go under but at least I would have my motor.
A stormy night in Eastpoint meant glowing headlight beams filled with the sparkle of raindrops, cigarettes flickering behind each steering wheel, and a host of invisible worried, sleepy faces set and determined to face Mother Nature and whatever she had in mind for their future.
When a big storm was announced to be on its way, pickup trucks would be along every bank dragging oyster boats up on the hill as far as they could get them. The trunk of every old car would have the foot of an outboard dangling. Others would be out in the woods hacking down small cypress trees. The cypress trees would be sunk into the mud and used as mooring posts for your old boat if you wanted to take your chances that it wouldn't blow as bad as they said it would.
Digging out your boat after a big storm was a rather strange experience. I remember my wife and I were standing on the beach looking at our old boat that had washed up 300 yards from where we had it moored. Old Pappy Millender came up beside us. He looked at our faces. We hadn't said a word.
"Yeah but," he said. "Sure it looks bad now but you'll have it up and running before the week is out and you won't even remember today. What you want to think about today is the beautiful sun peeking up on the horizon on a foggy morning as you're heading out to work, the cool breeze blowing in your face, the clunking of them oysters being tossed into a metal bagging can. What you will remember tomorrow, is all the good times and all the fun that you have had making your living right out there on this beautiful bay with nobody telling you what to do, or how fast you have to move, or when you have to leave, or how hard you have to work. Take my word - you'll forget about today and you will remember the good times and all those good days."
And so it was!

Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble, a freelance writer who has lived in Franklin County for over thirty years. Both books are now available on Amazon.com. If you would like to stock my books in your store or business, contact me at 670-8076 or e-mail me at richardedwardnoble@gtcom.net

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Sherman, Clayton, Norris-LaGuardia

Striking America

By Richard E. Noble

The notion that business had gotten too big for it britches was no longer a notion. Everyone knew about the power of the trusts and the super-wealthy. The Pujo Committee of 1913 had established the links of consolidation in business and finance in the U.S. The finances of the entire nation were proven to have been consolidated into the hands of a few. No one liked the idea. Every president from Grover Cleveland on, had jawboned about the horrible state of affairs. Teddy Roosevelt was even labeled as "the Trust Buster". But as early as 1888, committees in the Benjamin Harrison administration were investigating monopolies. In 1890, the Sherman Anti-trust Act was passed in response to public opinion. The Act prohibited conspiracies in restraint of trade among the several states. America had been a country based on competition. Competition was considered good. The elimination of competition via monopolies, trust, and other such evolutions was bad. To gain wealth was good. But to become so wealthy and so powerful that all competition could be stifled was bad, but, what to do, what to do? The Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890 was the government's first attempt to do something.
The Sherman Act sat around rather idle and difficult until 1894 when, ironically enough, it was put to use against workers and not business monopolies or trusts. It was in the Pullman strike that the Sherman Act was brought into play. On the few occasions where it had been brought against business, it was dismissed or interpreted to the advantage of business trusts and monopolies. It was only when it faced labor unions that it developed a legal significance.
In the Pullman strike, the strikers and their sympathetic associates who cooperated against Mr. Pullman in other states were declared to be a labor monopoly. Their actions in refusing to handle Pullman cars at different railroad stations were declared to be in restraint of trade. An injunction was ordered and the Pullman strike was deemed illegal. Eugene Debs, union leader, refused to comply with the injunction. He was arrested and tried for contempt of court. He was convicted.
In the Danbury Hatter's case of 1908 the financial penalty of the Act was imposed. The Union involved was ordered to pay triple the claimed damages. Used in this manner, the Sherman Anti-trust Act could break the back of any union declared to be in violation.
In retrospect, it becomes rather apparent that the Sherman Anti-trust Act was passed purely as a placebo to placate public outrage. The government was controlled and operated by big business, as was everything else. The only thing that remains in question, is whether or not the legislature passed the Act, worded so obscurely, with the intention of using it in the future as an anti-labor initiative. If the act was passed sincerely by the legislature, then we clearly become aware of the peril of a judicial system where individual judges have the option not to read the intent of the law but the letter of the law, or to interpret law as they see fit. The only option to this behavior in a democratic society seemed to be that laws would have to be written in the future with a good deal more attention paid to specifics and details.
In 1914, Congress, again supported by strong public opinion, went back to the drawing board. An attempt was made to refine the Sherman Act and exempt labor unions from its anti-trust provisions. The Clayton Act was passed. Labor hailed the Clayton act as the Magna Carta of labor-management relations. This was not quite the case. In fact, conservative or anti-labor judges throughout the country saw the Clayton Act as basically synonymous with the Sherman Act.
So, in the beginning, laborers were not allowed to join together for any other than fraternal purposes. They could not "conspire" to better their working conditions, increase their wages, or damage or interrupt their employer's business. As time progressed laborers were able to combine and to petition their bosses peacefully. But if their peaceful petitions were rejected by their bosses, their only recourse was to quit and seek new employment.
Of course, we have no cases where bosses were restricted from joining together for their mutual business benefit. We have no cases where bosses are brought to trial for restricting the opportunities or wages of laborers. We have no cases where any management group is accused of manipulating prices or conspiring to raise prices. Nor do we find any cases of bosses working together against the rights of their workers. Up until this point we have what seems to be very much a one way street. All men are created equal. But, of course, bosses are more equal. The question still remained as to what were the rights of labor? What could laborers do in response to perceived injustice on the part of their bosses? Picketing was not permitted; boycotts were not permitted; sympathy strikes were not permitted; sit-downs were not permitted; work stoppage and slowdowns were not permitted; interfering with another man's opportunity to go to work in a striker's position was not permitted and the courts were obviously prejudiced towards management.
Workers could quit or take action and go to jail. Workers had, of course, taken action, and they were beaten, clubbed, put in jail or machine gunned in the streets. But by 1932, with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt the tide began to turn ever so slightly.
The Norris-LaGuardia Act was called the anti-injunction act. The injunction had become a legal tool of management that was used to the point of abuse. An injunction could be issued without the consent of both disputants. An injunction could be issued simply on the word of management. A judge could issue a stop strike order without even hearing the side of the strikers. If the strikers then refused to comply, troops could be called in, and as we have seen, usually were. With the Norris-LaGuardia act the legislature got specific. Half the bill imposed restrictions on the manner in which the federal courts might grant injunctions. The remaining half of the bill dealt with the subject matter of an injunction.
The bill reviewed old injustices and attempted to correct them. It seemed to be an attempt to put unions on an equal footing with corporations. Picketing seemed to be legal under the statute. Unions could restrain trade, just as corporations could, as long as they acted "reasonably," - no fraud or violence was permitted. Violence was always a problem. Violence could be initiated by both sides and who would know or be capable of determining the true aggressor.
With the election of Roosevelt, the passing of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, and the appointment of new pro-labor judges, labor found a new freedom, and they took advantage of it. The moral of the story seems to be that judges may be even more important than the law or the legislatures.
From 1931 to 1939 things went pretty much in labor's direction. But, by 1939, pubic opinion was swinging back once again. Labor organizing tactics, sympathetic support, sit-down strikes, property damage and violence against industry and non-union workers took its toll on public opinion. States began to reconsider Norris-LaGuardia and make qualifying legislation of their own. By 1941, the unions had been calmed down, but yet were on a freer footing than they had ever been in history. The New Deal leaned towards more balanced labor-management relations. There was even talk of a man's "right to work"; a man's natural right to sustenance; a man should have a right to sustain his life even in a world owned entirely by other people, shouldn't he?
Of course, from management's point of view, the government had caved. Labor had always had all the rights that they deserved. There was no Constitutional right to a "job." There was no natural right to "employment." There was no such thing as an American guarantee of "freedom from want," or "freedom from fear" for that matter. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion had their obvious limitations also.
Freedom of property was the fundamental principle of this society. Freedom to accumulate wealth, uninhibited by government is another right that the forefathers should have been more specific about. Wealth and property, these were the true "unalienable" rights of man. Without these two "rights" there was no such thing as freedom. Where property rights are not protected and sustained, human rights are without consequence.


"Labor Problems in American History", by Carroll R. Daugherty; "American Economic History", sixth edition, by Harold Underwood Faulkner.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mein Kampf

Chapter 13 Part 3

By Richard E. Noble

"...The same boy who is nauseated by the drivel of the ideal pacifist is ready to throw away his young life for the ideal of his nationality..."
That a young boy will throw away his life for almost anything seems to be a given. Young boys are fighting in our streets today, often to their death, for nothing more than a particular corner on a city street. Young boys, old men, and women and girls not excluded, always seem to be willing to sacrifice their lives and the lives of others for any number of reasons, nationality being one reason among many. In our individual nations we try to teach a respect for life to all of the population. We establish laws to punish those who do not act accordingly. But then on an international basis we try and teach to the same child and population the righteousness, and bravery of killing others. At one time we here in the U.S. tried to limit this killing to the qualification of self-defense, but as to what now determines our self-defense has expanded to include our military presence all over the world. Protecting economic and political notions is now even included under the category of our self-defense. Dying for some principal or cause seems to be all too prevalent an excuse to kill oneself and/or others, throughout all of human history.
"... The Jew forms the strongest contrast to the Aryan. Hardly in any people of the world is the instinct of self-preservation more strongly developed than in the so called 'chosen people.' The fact of the existence of this race alone may be looked upon as the best proof of this. Where is the people that in the past two thousand years has been exposed to so small changes than this one - and yet has always come forth the same from the most colossal catastrophes of mankind? ..."
Yes, and how does this attribute for the Jews become a point of derision and for the German and Aryan a point of pride?
"... In the Jewish people, the will to sacrifice oneself does not go beyond the bare instinct of self-preservation of the individual ... The Jew remains united only if forced by common danger or attracted by a common booty. If the Jews were alone in this world, they would suffocate as much in dirt and filth, as they would carry on a detestable struggle to cheat and to ruin each other, although the complete lack of the will to sacrifice, expressed in their cowardice, would also in this instance make the fight a comedy ... The Jew is led by nothing but pure egoism on the part of the individual ..."
Well, the whole history of the Jewish people must stand as a testament to the falsity of this outburst. But, as always with Adolf, there is that slight sparkling of truth, but in this case the truth of the above can apply to all of humanity. The demands of the individual ego burst forward in every group no matter how large or how small. The notion that a group will eventually feed upon itself, is as true of our own Nation as it was of the Nazis. In fact, the holocaust could very well be considered an example of German feeding upon German, and a lack of loyalty on the part of the German people as a whole. For, in fact, Jews were Germans, as Christ was a Jew. The competitive human instinct will feed upon others until there are no others and then it seems will turn to digesting itself.
I often wonder about the nature of competitiveness, and whether or not it is another of those human defects that we must guard with a vigilant restraint. We are all raised in the spirit of competition from our earliest days. We are taught that competition is good. But one does not have to be the most astute to recognize the bitterness, jealousy and hate that competition engenders. It may be this very quality that has filled our little Adolf to the gills in this book of his.
"... therefore he (the Jew) never was a nomad, but always only a parasite in the body of other peoples. That thereby he sometimes leaves his previous living quarters is not concerned with his intention, but is the simple logic of his being thrown out from time to time by the host nation he abuses. But his spreading is the typical symptom of all parasites; he always looks for a new feeding soil for his race ... In the Jews life as a parasite in the body of other nations and States, his characteristic is established which once caused Schopenhauer to pronounce the sentence, already mentioned, that the Jew is the 'great master of lying.' Life urges the Jew towards the lie, that is to a perpetual lie, just as it forces the inhabitants of northern countries to wear warm clothes ... His life within other peoples can only exist in the long run if he succeeds in creating the impression as though he were not a people but only a 'religious community' though a special one ... The Jews were always people with definite racial qualities, and never a religion ... The Jew can not possess a religious institution for the very reason that he lacks all idealism in any form and that he also does not recognize any belief in the hereafter ... The Talmud is then not a book for the preparation for the life to come, but rather for a practical and bearable life in this world ... His life is really only of this world, and his spirit is as alien to true Christianity, for instance, as his nature was two thousand years ago to the Sublime Founder of the new doctrine. Of course, the latter made no secret of his disposition towards the Jewish people, and when necessary He even took to the whip in order to drive out of the Lord’s temple this adversary of all humanity, who even then as always saw in religion only a means for his business existence ..."
Well, there is a mouthful. The fact that the Jews, up until this point, had no 'country' has certainly been a fact that has been used against them. But do the Roman Catholics have a country? Do the Lutherans have a country? Do the Muslims have a Country? Do Calvinist have a homeland? Does any Religion have a particular country? If we consider the Jew as a member of a Religion as it certainly must be considered, then we must disregard this notion as a justified criticism. One must wonder why Adolf did not consider the Democratic Christians as a group worthy of extermination. Why were not German Catholics thought of as people with a loyalty to a crown outside of the German nation? We know that German communists were to be repulsed, but if a 'good' German Communist recanted and became a Nazi, would he be forgiven his sins and be allowed to join in with his fellow Germans? A Catholic can become a Protestant, but can a Jew become a Jehovah's Witness? Is Karl Marx a Jew or a Protestant? It does seem that in World opinion - a Jew is a Jew, is a Jew, is a Jew.
It is interesting to note here that there is a theory that Adolf was himself part Jew. His Father being the illegitimate offspring of a relationship between his Grandmother, and a Rothschild in whose home she worked in one capacity or another. This 'fact' was supposedly known to Mr. Dollfuss, in Austria, the exposure of which allegedly led to his assassination by Nazi henchmen. In any case, it seems that it was necessary here for Adolf to 'expose' the Jews as a race and not a Religion, for the purposes of complete alienation.
Has this always been a problem with relation to the Jews? Have the Jews throughout History been considered as a 'Nation' rather than a Religion, or is this theory of German or Anti-Semitic Origin? The Jewish religion is and has traditionally been composed of many sects. These sects seem to span a range all the way from conservative orthodoxy, to a liberal agnosticism. It is also interesting to note that although Adolf criticizes the Jew for not having a nation, and being nothing more than a parasite on other nations, he is equally critical of the Zionist movement. It seems to me here that as a Jew, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. But once again Adolf is consistent. You are either willing to fight or a coward. But if you are willing to fight, but choose to fight against Adolf, you are a traitor.
"The Sublime Founder of the new doctrine"? And one must notice that Adolf chooses to capitalize the words "Sublime Founder". Is this an acknowledgement of the divinity of Jesus Christ? Is Adolf here proclaiming his Faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity? We must also remember his reference to the Philosophy of Love established by the Sublime Founder. Does Adolf consider himself a Christian to be aligned with the likes of say Constantine and other historically great Christian leaders of the past? Is Christianity a doctrine of 'Love', or a doctrine of War and conquest? I would imagine today that most Christians would align themselves with the former and not the later, but what does History say of this union?
Was there not an Inquisition? Were there not Crusades? Were there not Popes who were military generals? Onward Christian soldiers? Did not the new Christians persecute and attack and kill the Christ killers among their ranks? New Jew against Old Jew - could not Christianity be considered just another Jewish sect and Islam but another? Is the whole western civilization but one Jewish sect or another? We have to travel far to the East before we shed the Old Testament, and the legacy of the Jew. If we could estimate a historical body count, which religion would be the greater killer?
Adolf was born and raised a Roman Catholic, and right up until 1938 he received the praise of the reigning pope of the day. The question for investigation would be, at this point in history (1920 or so) what were the attitudes of the Roman Catholic Church? What was their attitude towards both Fascism, and Nazism? Whose side was Italy on in World War II? Why wasn't Italy partitioned after the war? Were there trials for Italian war criminals after the war? Did the Pope have to leave Rome in fear for his life? What did the Pope or the Popes of this era say about Fascism and Nazism? I know that the Pope of the day, Pius XII, established Vatican City as an independent state because of a compromise with Mussolini. The Christian voice was diminished because of another compromise made with Adolf and his Nazis. I also know that he stood and spoke out against atheistic communist Russia. "How many divisions has the Pope?" asked Stalin of the French leader M. Laval sarcastically in the early 1930's when the French were negotiating with the Russians for an alliance against Adolf. Could World War II be considered a 'Religious War', a modern day Crusade - believers against non-believers, Christians against Jews? On what side did the Arab nations of the world align themselves at this point in History? Were they Nazi and anti-Semites? Did they align themselves with Hitler and Mussolini during the war? Were they united or disunited in their cause? Lawrence of Arabia? Who the hell was he? And who was he fighting? Were the Arabs like the French, and Lawrence of Arabia like De Gaulle? Where was De Gaulle in the 1920s and 1930s? Where was he when the Germans attacked Paris? From whence sprang the Vichy government? How did this historical enemy of Germany develop their courtship with their age old rival? What led Frenchmen who fought so courageously at Flanders and the Marne and elsewhere, to cozy up to Adolf? What was the state or condition of anti-Semitism in France? What part of the French nation in terms of land area and people capitulated with the Nazis? Was the hatred of the Jews the banner of the Adolf Hitler Crusade? And was it this hatred of Jews that led to Adolf's support all over the world? General Petain? What was his story?
I have heard anti-Semites in my time ask the question that had Adolf succeeded in killing all of the Jews would not the world be a better place. But is the problem here Jews, or the nature and quality of hatred and jealousy in the human beast? If it were not Jews, would it not then be 'niggers'? If it were not niggers would it not be 'gooks', if it were not 'gooks' would it not be Puerto Ricans, or Cubans, or Chinks. In Bosnia it’s Croates, and in Croatia, it is Serbs. In my neighborhood it was once the 'harps' against the 'ginnies' followed by the Ginnies and the Harps against the Polacks. It almost seems that it is a part of the human condition to hate. And if there were no one to hate would the hatred then turn inward? And could it not be that all of this hatred is inward hate turned outward?
If one truly loved oneself and all of those qualities that made him human, would he then be able to truly hate anyone? Did Adolf love himself? Were not all of the things that he hated about the Jews, the exact same things he despised in his own people? Could we not follow this back to the psychological principal that what we hate and try to suppress in others, is exactly what we hate and try to suppress in ourselves?
Adolf tries to suppress in the world about him fear of evil. He tries to suppress evil by justifying it in terms consistent with his religious faith. Hence evil becomes not evil but good. Cruelty becomes kindness to the human species as a whole. Of course, I suppose that one could say that Adolf did not try to suppress evil or fear, but instead tried to promote these things. What he tried to suppress was any feelings of guilt that one might have for the promotion of evil acts or inculcating horror and fear into others. So if Adolf was suppressing anything in the world about him, it would be guilt or conscience.
Adolf hated anyone who was afraid to fight. Was he once fearful of battle and confrontation himself? Was he so frightened of the fighting in World War I that he had to incorporate a rationale that would give him the strength to understand and face his fears? Was Adolf an abused child? A testimony from Adolf's brother states that Adolf's father once beat Adolf into unconsciousness. Is an abused child more or less inclined to abuse others? What would be the human beings’ typical reaction towards abuse? 1) To pass this abuse onto others? 2) To shield and isolate oneself from the abuse of others? 3) To take steps to prevent abuse to ourselves and others? 4) To accept abuse as right and necessary, and therefore punish ourselves and abuse others? 5) To look upon abuse as an entitlement coupled with maturity, or rank?
I suppose that there might be as many different reactions to abuse as there are human personalities. Is courage and fear but opposite sides of the same coin? Was Adolf so fearful of death that he had to embrace it, seek it out and make it a part of himself in order to conquer his fear of it? Is this how we each react?
What is your personal reaction to your impending death? For that matter what is my reaction? I guess that my first reaction is and always has been resentment - at least to death in general.
When my father died when I was a child, I was very bitter. I was bitter and resentful. I was bitter towards society. It was the 'society' who refused to care for my dad in the manner I saw fit. It was the society that didn't provide my dad with a decent job. This made it impossible for him to provide for his wife and family. This made him feel that he was unworthy to be alive and to feel that he was not a decent man. This made him drink. This made him not want to be alive.
I was bitter towards my mother. She did not treat my dad in the manner I saw fit either. I was bitter towards my father. He did not do his best to try and stay alive. I felt that somehow he had died on purpose. Today when someone or something that I love dies, I feel a profound sadness and a deep loneliness. I feel personally inadequate. I always feel that somehow it has been my fault. I should have done something else, or something more.
What do I think when I contemplate my own death? I think that I will find peace and freedom from pain - but one never knows. I will miss those that I love and those that have loved me, but I don't know if I would want to perpetuate these relationships into an eternity.
When a little tabby cat that had been with me for over fifteen years died, I had the strongest urge to die with her. I felt a horrible pain of inadequacy. She was in such terrible fear. She was crying and screaming. She was experiencing a combination of stroke and heart failure. She didn't want to go. Even though she was paralyzed in her back legs, she crawled, and dragged herself to my bedroom door. She had always depended on me. I had named her Buddy because she followed me everywhere. For a time she even slept in the bed beside me. I felt that she didn't know what to do. She was frightened. I had picked her up into my arms, but in her confusion and fear she snapped at me. When she realized that she had almost bitten me, she immediately began to lick my hand on the spot that she had just snapped at. I felt that she was the bravest most lovable little thing that I ever knew. Even in this horrible fear, with her heart stopping, and her legs not working and who knows what else, she still realized that she had struck out at me, and so she licked at me in apology for fear of losing my friendship. I have never experienced such friendship from another human being. I was so sad. But even at this moment, my mind turned to Philosophy. If I were to die right there and then, simultaneously with my little Buddy, would we pass through that final mist together? Or would we just both disappear each into our own oblivion?
What of my wife? Are we not equally good friends? How could I leave her? And is it not a fact of this life that we must live it until the end? I can not die and be with you, for in truth I may not be with you, ever. So I must stand and watch my Buddy die, as I will eventually stand and watch myself die. I must visit with death without resentment because the resentment only causes anguish and pain. I must stay alive and bleed for your memory, for in fact, all that is sure is what is. All that is real is what we are at the moment and what we have shared together, and there may never be any more. And it too will disappear when we disappear.
Strangely, in a way, Buddy will be alive as long as I am alive. And how I make these lovely things live is by keeping them alive forever in my memory, and then possibly forever by passing them onto you. For then once my loves have infiltrated your memory, they will continue to live even beyond me. So when I write about these things and myself, I am really tricking you into carrying me into the future - possibly into eternity.
I can not go, even to comfort anybody. I can only sit and wait. The words, 'I want to die, I want to die' just kept repeating over and over in my mind. I wanted to pass through the barrier of death with my little Buddy in my arms so that I could show her that there was nothing to be afraid of. But I could not, because this would be just a wish - a wish with no support, only one of any number of possibilities.
Could we then not interpret fear of one's death as the inability of one to come to grips with his own mortality and/or the death of those one loves, and thusly an inability to reconcile himself with his own existence or creation? Then do we not once again return to the possible source of all hatred as being steeped in the frustration of our lives, and the lives of those we love being placed in an arbitrary state of existence? A cruel hard existence culminating in death, no matter which way we turn, no matter how we try to prevent it? Isn't this the state or condition of all mankind? Isn't this the reason for all philosophy, theology, and religion? And isn't this exactly what Adolf is all about - the rectification of a philosophy or faith that conforms to the reality of his life? And the reality of life being, as for us all, a witness to death and cruelty, our own suffering and death, and the suffering and death of those we love.
How could God kill us and those we love without explanation or answer? We must find and answer, or live in a state of anguish, and fear. Anguish and fear leads to frustration, anxiety, and discontent. Discontent leads to hate and anger and the desire to free ourselves of the situation that has caused us these problems.
Was Adolf subconsciously seeking suicide? But being unable to face his own destruction and death, he opted for the next best alternative - punishing and destroying others?
Killing others satisfies the personal frustration caused by ones self-hate and confusion and frustration just as one might punch a tree or kick a dog to release minor personal frustration. Is sadism at its root, masochism?
Adolf wished to die, but could not face his own death. He satisfied the feelings of ambivalence engendered in this attitude by wishing for, instigating and indulging in administering and torturing and participating in the pain, suffering and death of others. One can not kill God. One can only show ones disapproval for the life situation, the arbitrary life situation, by punishing oneself, or by punishing other people, animals or even other living things. But what would be a positive reaction to this frustration of the arbitrary life and death situation? Can we not accept ourselves and this life as a finite experience, to be taken at its worth or basic face value? To be enjoyed, or not to be enjoyed, a matter of our own selection, or attitude - life, with oblivion before it and oblivion after it with no necessity for redemption, or justification? Simply being in itself and for itself, and nothing more? Can we not accept this as the fact of life as we can only know it, with everything and anything else being only speculation and human fantasy, imagination and wishful thinking? Is not creativity but a positive way of channeling our personal frustrations into some positive direction? Could it not be that birth and the creation of new life is one of the frustrated answers of the human to the irreconcilable question of life and death? Is the concept of loneliness a part of all of this? And is it not true that the miserable love company? How many bring new life into the world in an attempt to alleviate their personal pain and suffering?
A positive reaction towards death is to fight for life, to promote longevity in ourselves and others, to create new life, and try to sustain and preserve the old. To try and conquer death, to expand on the human life span, possibly widening the gap between life and death to eternity. Conquer sickness and disease. Fight against cruelty, war and destruction. To try and figure out the causes of pain, suffering, war, killing, death and destruction.
Hate? If it is innately human, how can this energy be channeled for good? Hate the evil? Hate the pain? Hate the cruelty? Hate the frustration? Hate a God who is the supposed source of all of these frustrations, the Creator of good and evil? Or more 'existentially' hate our lack of intellect and our personal inability to psychologically cope or find the root to our own frustrations - evil? Hate the attitudes that promote these things, and seek rational reconciliation.
To seek spiritualism and faith and hope in a cruel God, I do not see as a positive answer, but more in line with contributing to the overall hate and frustration. Belief in an evil or abusive God does not provide a rational answer or solution and leaves the burden on mankind. If we could rationally correlate God with the Devil then burden the Devil as the source of all of our personal frustrations and inadequacies, and then make the devil our object of derision we could then alleviate our guilt and frustration. The problem is in separating good from evil or God for the Devil.
Religion is the attempt of theologians to accomplish this feat.
Adolf followed conventional religious thinking but took it one step further. He coupled the Jew with the concept of the devil. Adolf found an external object for his internal hatred. How much better off we all would have been if he had simply shot himself.
But Adolf also hated guilt. He would not accept guilt for any part of his actions in life. So he vented his personal frustration, pain, anguish, and hatred on others. Obviously he was not inclined to the notion and attitude of the Sublime Founder of the Philosophy of Love who said - Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. And could we reinterpret these words as saying in effect - why blame others who are no better off and basically in the same boat as we, in their understanding of the nature and source of human hatred.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Galileo vs Aristotle

Aristotle vs. Galileo

Deep Thoughts

By Richard E. Noble

Aristotle first observed that a body at rest tends to remain at rest, and that it will not move unless acted upon by some external force. For example, a rock will remain on the ground unless somebody picks it up and throws it; or a bullet will remain in a gun, an arrow in a quiver, or a canon ball in a canon. Everybody seemed to like this type of thinking until Galileo came along.
Galileo, being an astronomer, concluded from his observations that a body in motion tends to remain in motion and will not be stopped or diverted from its course unless some sort of external force was brought into play. Scientists now claim that Galileo was correct and Aristotle was wrong.
In observing the planets and stars out in space Galileo does seem correct, but in observing this situation here on earth Aristotle seems to be doing fine.
The planets in space seem to be in constant motion. But the question persists, how did they originally get moving? If you say that they are in motion and have always been in motion, and that their motion is the product of mutually compensating, perpetually infinite initiatives. You are an atheist, or a pantheist or at least stating the Divinity or Eternity of the Universe. And I dare say you would agree with Galileo's observations, and the notion that a body in motion tends to remain in motion, and will forever do so.
If you say that the Universe was initiated by a Big Bang, then you still must explain where the energy from the "Big Bang" originated. But the very fact that you postulate a Big Bang presupposes that you are really an Aristotelian. You are suggesting that bodies in motion need a start or an external force in order to get them into motion. You therefore must believe as your basic tenet that a body at rest tends to remain at rest and will only be put into motion by some sort of external force acting upon it. So then if Aristotle and Galileo are truly in opposition, your Big Bang stance suggests that you believe Aristotle and not Galileo.
Isaac Newton suggested that there was a force acting upon all bodies in the Universe called Gravity. He further stated that this force could be calculated, and he did so. But when asked how everything got moving in the first place, he suggested that everything was first tossed into movement via the hand of God. God started motion by tossing the stars and the planets out into space, then instituted gravity and whatever other forces of nature to keep everything "floating."
To the followers of Newton, the world will end whenever God decides to remove his force or his hand in the matter.
To the proponents of the Big Bang, the Universe will end when the energy expended in the Big Bang expires.
But, if Galileo speaks the truth, and "a body in motion tends to remain in motion" is the first principle of the Universe, then there was no Big Bang and there is no God, and just like "a country boy" the Universe will survive.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

By Richard E. Noble

Sigmund Freud is listed in every book of great thinkers that any of us have probably ever encountered. Freud's area of discovery was the human mind. Trying to figure out what it is that he actually discovered is not so easy. His discovery with regards to the human mind is called Psychoanalysis. Via processes and techniques, Freud tried to analyze how the human mind functioned. How it worked. How a human being actually thinks. Today his ideas are so commonplace in all of our lives that it is impossible to imagine that there was a time when these ideas were not known and accepted.
If you want to know what makes your husband tick, for example. You will want to know what his parents were like. What kind of a childhood he had. What was his education? What kind of company did he keep? What books does he read? What does he aspire to? What are his fears? What are his hopes and dreams, his idiosyncrasies, his peculiarities? What does he believe in? What is his Faith? What were the social mores and customs of his native land? Who does he admire? Who does he hate? We can go on and on, and it all seems like plain, old common sense. Yet, this is all supposedly Freudian. It's called psychoanalysis. It's sublimation and repression, and sub-conscious and conscious. It's association. It's transference. It's ego and id and super ego. Even a misplaced word or slip of the tongue could be defined as Freudian. The influences of our particular sexuality on our ways of thinking and our conclusions and actions, is all Freudian.
So how did we analyze the workings of the human mind before Freud? I don't know. And what is worse, I can't even imagine. Today many people tell us that Freud was wrong. About what?
Freud was interested in the human mind; in diseases that were the product of mental processes and not physical conditions within the body. He was interested in dreams and their reason and origin in the human mind. When he expressed many of his fundamental theories and discoveries, he was literally laughed at by the medical community of his day. He discovered that many mental illnesses were merely an exaggeration of "normal" inhibitions, fears or aspirations.
He studied hysteria and hypnotism under a doctor named Charcot. He worked on his dream theories with Carl Jung. He proposed theories like the Oedipus Complex. This Complex suggested that a child has a tendency to fall in love with the parent of the opposite sex and harbors feeling of competition and resentment towards the parent of the same sex. My personal theory is that a child has a tendency to like people who treat him kindly and tends to dislike people who treat him unkindly. This goes for parents as well as strangers. In fact, the child often times can't tell one from the other.
Freud theorized that even small children had a sexual nature. I feel that sex comes to most of us somewhat suddenly and is quite a shock. We then learn a little more about it from friends, neighbors, relatives and parents, after which, we give some form of it a try, and then can't stop doing it. During this compulsive period we justify our neurotic, psychotic, irrational, perverted antics in every possible way. When suddenly the urge dissipates and we wake up, we can hardly believe that we were ever inclined to behave in such a manner and we try to guide our children and the rest of mankind accordingly. It doesn't seem to be working.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The Eastpointer

Buying a Shower

By Richard E. Noble

In Honor of Hobo-ing America now being on sale at Amazon, I thought a hobo tale would be appropriate.
For those of you who have never spent five or ten years living in a Chevy van under bridges, farmers' equipment shelters, in orange groves, apple orchards, grocery store parking lots, rest areas etc., this should be a new insight.
One big memory that both my wife and I still talk about today is stopping to buy a hot shower.
I'll bet that you didn't know that you could buy a hot shower. Well, when we were on the road you could buy a hot shower at most any campground.
Bathing with a gallon jug, a sponge and a face cloth has its rewarding aspects, but after a while the thought of a lingering hot shower becomes overpowering. To think of standing under a continuous flow of clean hot water and luxuriating, actually became a compulsion and periodically through our years on the road we had to give in and throw away a dollar each on that extravagance.
Never since our return to civilized living have I ever turned on our shower or our water tap at home without thinking of the wonder of it all. That little turn knob or lever on your sink or bath tub is not actually connected to God. And the fact that water comes spewing forth is not really a miracle. It takes a whole bunch of pipes and a whole system of people to make that experience the reality which is taken for granted by us all.
How many of us ever wonder where that water comes from and how it gets to our homes? When we first "homesteaded" our place here in Eastpoint, my brother-in-law and me pounded down both our water wells. We still have our well functioning. We use the water for the garden.
I can remember the guilt caused by my lingering at one of those $1.00 campground showers. I often thought the lady or fellow who sold me the shower would grab me on my way out and yell, "Do you realize that you used 150 gallons of hot water just now!" But it never happened.
We often got by on five one gallon containers of water per week in our travels. It takes five gallons of water just to flush the average house toilet one time. Your automatic clothes washer and dish washer are unbelievable in the number of gallons of water they consume. Carol and I once hauled every gallon of water that we used. I don't think that there are enough hours in a week for us to haul all the water we use today in our civilized existence.
As back-to-the-land-ers in Arkansas we got our drinking water from a mountain stream that ran through our property and we bathed in rain water that we caught in our canoe. We thought that we were doing great until we heard a warning on the radio about the danger of drinking water from a mountain stream. Pure mountain stream water is filled with chemicals and herbicides sprayed on the wilderness forests. Just because you live in the middle of a National Forest or wilderness area that doesn't mean your water is safe to drink. Form then on we had to drive 20 miles once a week to a free artesian well in Mena, Arkansas for our water.
In some primitive campsites that we stayed at, water had to be hauled from a central location via a hand pump. When you have to walk to a well and then pump by hand every gallon and then haul it back to your home, you become very stingy in your use of water.
Here in Eastpoint my wife and I use 900 gallons of water per month each, but that is nothing compared to what most average city folks use today. The average person in the U.S. uses more than 3,000 gallons per month. Americans use 408 billion gallons a day. If we had to haul all that water from the pump in town to our homes I'll bet that 408 billion would shrink considerably. If we estimate the difference between what we actually need to live and what we use, to be waste - holy moley!
Today my wife and I really feel spoiled: we have indoor plumbing, we hop into the shower whenever we feel like it, and we have electricity - in every room! We even have an automatic dishwasher. I don't know whether to feel grateful, guilty, or privileged. I guess I should feel a whole bunch of each. In this respect one can truly say, God bless America!

Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble. They are now both available on Amazon.com. If you would like to stock my books in your local bookstore or business, contact me at 670-8076 or e-mail me at richardedwardnoble@gtcom.net

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Does Anybody Know There's a War Going On!

Commentary

By Richard E. Noble

I think it was 1968. I was at what would today be called a "Sports Bar." There were large TVs elevated on every wall. The place was packed. The bar which was in the center of three large rooms was full. People were lined up to get a round of beers or mixed drinks. There were two bartenders that doubled as waiters but they were swamped. The back room was filled with older people and families. The placed served great sandwiches. The nightly news was on all the TVs. The news was all about Vietnam. It seemed as if it was the same news every night over and over.
Three young men came in the front door. They looked to be around 18 or 20 years old. One of them looked up at the Vietnam news on one of the TVs and then looked around the packed restaurant. Suddenly he screamed, "Does anybody here know there's a war going on?"
The whole place went quiet. Everybody turned and stared at the guys standing at the door. I was playing cards with some of my friends at a table. The card game stopped as all my friends turned.
After a few moments, the two guys who were with the boy who yelled grabbed him by the arms and hustled him back out the door.
In a moment or two the rumble of the crowd resumed. People returned to their sandwiches and beer and their conversations. No one at my table mentioned the incident. I don't think that anybody mentioned it.
I know that the two bartenders were World War II veterans. One of them had a boy who was in the Airborne. He was jumping out of planes and was at that moment in Asia someplace.
I know that there were a couple of Korean War veterans sitting in the family room with their wives having sandwiches.
I was pretty young myself. I was wondering what everybody else was thinking. One really couldn't tell by just observing the faces. Nobody looked angry or upset. They had all just stopped and stared.
A few months later Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not run again for President. Then the Democratic convention in Chicago broke out. When I saw that on TV, I remember thinking that America was over. It was a horror story.
The polls at the time said that 80% of the American people were against the war and they wanted out. This was the worst period in America's history in my lifetime.
The Democrats were not popular, they had started this war. Richard Nixon, a Republican, promised that he would end it. The war went on until 1977. Nixon got thrown out of office because despite his claims to the contrary, he was a crook. According to the memoirs of Gerald Ford, admitting his criminal guilt was a mandatory condition of his pardon. He supposedly signed a document admitting his guilt.
The war ended during Gerald Ford's administration, but Gerald Ford did not end it. The legislature ended it by refusing to allocate more finances. I imagine that was a first in American History. We had another first. We had a president and a vice president who were both appointed by congress and not elected by the people. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, of all people, was the vice president.
Some attributed the end of the war to the massive protests, and the college students. Others claim it was the press and the media.
Interestingly enough Mr. Hoffer, former owner of the Franklin Chronicle, who was a staunch Vietnam veteran, and a media fanatic, disagreed with both of the above mentioned causes. I was rather surprised. I asked him what stopped the war in his opinion. He said that it was the thousands of returning Vietnam veterans who year after year after year reported to their friends and families what was happening over there. The press simply did what it was supposed to do, he said and the college students were yelling and screaming to no avail for years. But when the veterans came home and told their moms and dads and their friends and relatives what a horror and disaster the whole thing was, that is what roused the negative support of the nation; that is what got all the voting parents and adults writing to their Congressmen and Senators; that is what ended the war, he told me.
I don't know what really ended the Vietnam War but I do think that I know what those people were thinking in that sports bar that evening.
Yes, everybody in that room knew that there was a war going on. It was on everybody's mind day and night. They were all well aware that there was a war going on. They knew how many were dying - they got a body count every evening. Everybody knew that there was a war going on. Some were rebellious, some were angry, some were worried, some just cried - but they all knew. And today everybody knows that there is a war going on. And as in 1968 most have no idea what to do about it - but don't you worry, they know!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The Bonus Army of 1932

Striking America

By Richard E. Noble

In 1932 nearly one out of every four workers were unemployed, approximately twelve million individuals. Of those that were employed half were working part time or on temporary status, and almost all were receiving wages on a subsistence level or lower. A million and a half to two million "hoboes" were estimated to be riding the rods and living beside the railroad tracks in hobo jungles. Hoovervilles were springing up next to luxury flats, food and grain were abundant in storage elevators while people went hungry, lined up at soup kitchens or starved in the streets. The U.S. had emerged victorious from World War I. It was now the richest country in the world. It had gleaned nearly all of the world of its gold and had most of Europe sending it payments. So what was going on?
John Maynard Kaynes tells us of the mystery of the disappearing "saving". Most every historian tells of inflated stocks and over speculation. We hear stories of sagging business spirals and the re-occurring peeks and valleys of the investment "cycles". Some talk of a banking conspiracy and the collapse of paper currency or the Federal Reserve System. Only the Communists tell us of a class war between the rich and the poor, between the profiteers and the profitless. Being, of course, stanch anti-Communists we deny any possibility of linking the truth to anything that these Communists propose.
It was not so in 1932. Many Americans were Socialists and Communists and a belief of a conspiracy of the rich against the poor was prevalent and wide spread in the U.S. This notion was still being denied in the 1950's by even the liberal economist, John Kenneth Galbraith.
"No one was responsible for the great Wall Street Crash. No one engineered the speculation that preceded it. Both were the product of the free choice and decision of hundreds of thousands of individuals. The latter were not led to the slaughter ... True, as the liberal misanthropes have insisted, the rich were getting richer much faster than the poor were getting less poor..."
Galbraith and Kaynes are both very convincing and extremely knowledgeable and intelligent, but they are both members of the class being accused of the crime or conspiracy. I am impressed both by what they say and how they say it. But I am more impressed by what they both seem to leave out of their analyses. My common sense tells me that a rich man is not going to move quickly and easily toward condemning the rich and wealthy. But in reading my history it becomes quite obvious that the rich have traditionally been very willing to challenge the poor to the right to what little they possess. To overlook or dismiss the notion that the wealthy and super wealthy may have played an active part in undermining the middle and upper middle and, of course, the lower classes via underhandedness and conspiratory behavior, would be extremely naive and certainly a disservice to history and the exploration of truth.
The post Civil War period, extending up to the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt was a time of great exploitation of the poor and the working classes. The Robber Barons of the later part of the 19th century, the investigations into the financial holdings of the trusts and conglomerates of the time under the Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson administrations; the financial scandals under the Grant and Harding administrations; the exploitation and profiteering exposed in investigations after Word War I; the nefarious history of industry in general and the armament industry in particular; the exploits of businessmen bankers and financiers throughout the American Industrial Revolution would make anyone who cavalierly dismissed the possible unscrupulous role of the "rich and famous" in the 1929 disaster, naive to say the least.
I would be more inclined to take Kaynes and Galbraith with a grain of salt, knowing that they were both well aware of what happened to the rich and wealthy in Russia in 1917 and to the rich and wealthy of France in 1793. For them to start accusing the rich and wealthy of dirty deeds might very well be a candle that neither of them was inclined to ignite. I don't blame them. But for myself, I want to know the truth. I have no ax to grind and no one type or class of people who I wish to see eliminated. I have no doubt that when the poor or the middle become the upper and the super, there would be those among this new crowd, despite their background and their roots, who would act in no less an unscrupulous, immoral manner. We have only to look at the collapse of today's Mother Russia to find the truth in this proposition. But only in knowing and understanding what really happened can anything in the future ever be corrected. Money and markets don't collapse by themselves. Markets are manipulated by investors and money comes from the pockets and bank accounts of individuals. People caused the stock market crash of 1929 and people caused the depression.
Money "disappeared" says John Maynard Kaynes. Money does not disappear. It goes someplace. It is also not water flowing in an uncontrollable rush. It is controlled and manipulated by individuals. Very few people controlled a huge portion of American capital in those days. A congressional investigation under Teddy Roosevelt showed that as few as a dozen men were in control of nearly eighty percent of the U.S. economy. None of these men lost in the 1929 collapse. Good fortune, I suppose.
We know, or should know, from reading our own history that our Government has from its very beginning been in the hands of the rich and the powerful. We also know that all of these governments have favored the advancement of their class. They have invariably been on the side of business and big business. We also know from reading "Striking America" that the working man and his Labor Unions have not been overly successful in convincing the "haves" of their obligation to share what they have accumulated with the "have-nots" up to this period.
Herbert Hoover when asked in 1932 why so many people were now selling apples on street corners told his inquirer that selling apples on a street corner must clearly be more lucrative than what these people were previously engaged in. In 1932 Herbert Hoover had machine guns on the roof of the White House. He lived as a virtual prisoner in the Nation's Capital. He expected, as did many others, an armed revolution. Legislators were giving speeches on the House and Senate floor about how America needed a man like Mussolini in Italy, or Adolf Hitler in Germany. Men who were not afraid to put down the peasant rabble, bust the unions, and imprison their leaders. Of course we had Woodrow Wilson who performed all of these tasks, and joined in a World War to suppress similar activities abroad to boot. But even these measures had not stemmed the tide of discontent. Years of persecution and war had certainly weakened the man in the street.
Abroad, the common man had been pitted against foreign armies in battle for his life. At home they were pitted against one another in their struggle for decent wages, better working conditions and life with hope for themselves and their children. By 1932 most of the common heard were tired of fighting. They were confused by the patriotic propaganda and turned against the violent and reactionary behavior of their own kind. They had been drafted and sent off to war; they had their heads battered in by hired bullies, Pinkertons, strike breakers, Militia, police, state and federal troops. But, yet, here they were once again unemployed by the millions, their families without food or homes, and they were living in the wealthiest country in the world. What was going on? Where had all the money gone?
Hoover was getting rid of the federal government's share of wealth as fast as he possibly could. The cry in the streets was that Hoover had billions for the wealthy and nothing for the poor. This seemed to be fairly accurate. Hoover was not only giving tax cuts to the wealthy and the super wealthy, he was giving out billions to the rich industrialist. They were all supposed to be using this money to invest in America. Their investment would then "trickle down" to the unemployed and the less fortunate. But the moneyed people had a different plan for their dollars. They were converting them into gold and shipping them out of the country as fast as they could. Gold was leaving the U.S. to the tune of one hundred million a week. So much for the "trickle down" theory.
The rich were bailing off the sinking, socialist, American ship and seeking greener pasture in "safe" countries like Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark etc. America was no longer a safe place for capital, and maybe capitalists. The Fascists had the right idea. Bring out the troops; bust some heads; better a dead, than a red. The rich and the wealthy were not even paying their taxes where they could get away with it. And they were getting away with it big time. Not only that, Hoover and this administration were helping them with abatements and refunds wherever possible.
Plenty of individuals had profited from the stock market crash in 1929. Joseph Kennedy, Bernard Barauch, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan and others. The Federal Reserve, under J. P. Morgan, cashed in vast holding shortly before black Friday. The Rothchilds, Montagu Normand of the Bank of England, and the Bank of France all seemed to benefit somehow. Lots of wealthy people suddenly became super-dupper wealthy people. I suppose this all could just be coincidence.
In any case, in May of 1932 in Portland, Oregon, some unemployed World War I veterans got together. Probably inspired by Coxey's army of unemployed who marched out in the name of Christian brotherhood and charity during the depression of 1893, they too headed for Washington D.C. They chose as their leader, Walter W. Waters an ex-sergeant and unemployed cannery superintendent. Waters had been unemployed for eighteen months. They decided that the only money that any of them had coming was in the form of a "bonus" promised to them by the U.S. Government as an "Adjusted Compensation" for doing their part in World War I. This bonus was not due, according to Congress, until the year 1945 but it was being considered form immediate payment under a bill submitted by Wright Patman. On June 15, the House had passed the Patman Bill. The bonus, if they could get it, amounted to five hundred dollars. Not a lot of money but substantial for their circumstances in 1932. They called themselves, sarcastically, the Bonus Expeditionary Force, B.E.F.
They met their first resistance in St. Louis where they were greeted by officials of the B&O railroad. The National Guard was called out and the B.E.F. was loaded onto trucks and deported out of the state. But the B.E.F. was not deterred and by the time they had arrived in Washington, they had an Army of a thousand or more. Other veterans had heard about the Bonus Expeditionary Force from the press about the "Battle of the B&O" and very shortly thereafter there were 20,000 veterans or more stationed in Washington D.C. Many of their families would soon arrive. The administration wanted to bring out the machine guns that they had used on the Communists hunger marchers the year before. But the chief of Police, Pelham D. Glassford, the youngest brigadier-general in the AEF in France, was sympathetic to their cause. He helped them set up camp and even brought them supplies.
The Senate defeated the bill. Hoover would not even go out and speak to the men. He said that they were nothing but red-rabble troublemakers. The ex-soldiers, who had marched up to the Capital in anticipation of the vote, formed into ranks and marched in order and defeat back to their makeshift quarters. With nothing else to do, and no jobs in their future a good many of them decided to stay right there camped along side the Anacosta River, "Stay till 1945" was the cry. Glassford contributed a thousand dollars worth of food and supplies out of his own savings. But by the end of two months, things were getting pretty rank in the rank and file. The B.E.F. was not a bunch of happy campers.
Hoover was talking to boy scouts, housewives and collage sororities but he had not a word for the B.E.F. On July 26, Secretary of War Hurley complained of the law-abiding nature of the group. If there were and incident of violent behavior, they could then declare martial law.
On July 28, the District Police would create just such an incident. They went in to roust out some veterans who were holding up in a number of abandoned buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue. Some of the veterans lost their tempers and resisted. A jittery policeman drew his gun and began shooting into the crowd of disgruntled vets. Then other policemen began firing. Glassford ordered the men to stop shooting at the unarmed veterans, but not before two vets were killed and several others wounded. Hoover then called out the federal troops.
It was General Douglas MacArthur, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower and Officer George S. Patton Jr. who came to put down the B.E.F. with tear gas, tanks, machine guns and bayonets. Eugene King, a seven year old, was stabbed in the leg trying to return to his tent to rescue his pet rabbit, and Joe Angelo watched as a young officer whose life he had saved in Europe burnt his tent and all his possessions to the ground. Joe Angelo had received the Distinguished Cross for saving, now regretfully, the sorry butt of George S. Patton. Patton didn't and couldn't deny that it was Angelo who had saved his life, but stated that Angelo may have exaggerated his deed. I suppose if we listen to Patton's version of the story, he should have been the one to get the medal. Or maybe Patton didn't feel that saving his life was really worth awarding a Distinguished Cross to anyone.
MacArthur said that the ex-soldiers were about to seize the U.S. government. MacArthur had bravely and fearlessly saved his commander and chief and his senate cohorts from a horrible death in the hands of an unarmed group of World War I veterans, assisted by their terrifying screaming wives and children. A group that had been camped peacefully for over two months, living in poverty and squalor at the base of our Capital, and within walking distance of our National monuments, petitioning for what they had been promised for their brave overseas heroism. This sad, pathetic group of ex-soldiers was separated from their wives and children, cut off at every possible exit, until they were totally defeated in spirit and everything they had was burnt to the ground.
Old soldiers never die, they are simply routed, burnt out, cheated and scattered by younger soldiers on horseback, brandishing swords and bayonets. I wonder if MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton got a "bonus" themselves for that day's activities? I certainly hope so.
The American people were told by Hoover and his administration that the B.E.F was mainly composed of criminals and Communists. Later historical investigations show this to be false. Almost all those assembled at Anacosta were World War I veterans. In any case America's reaction to the incident was one of universal apathy. In the year 1932 it appears that the American people were not only down and out, but on their knees.

1) The Crisis of the Old Order 1919-1933, Arthur M. Schlesinger, JR.
2) the Crisis of the Old Order, A. Schlesinger, JR., page 252.
3) Books used in this essay: "The Crisis of the Old Order", 1919-1933, Arthur M. Schlesinger, JR.; "The Great Crash" 1929, John Kenneth Galbraith; "The Rise of Industrial America, Page Smith; "The Glory and the Dream", William Manchester; The Annals of America vol 15, 1929-1939.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


John Brown

Hero or Villain

By Richard E. Noble

John Brown was an abolitionist (anti-slavery advocate) who was hung by the neck until dead in the year 1859. He became a symbol for the cause of the abolitionist and was made into a folk hero of sorts by many prominent writers and the people of his day. Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the famous attorney for the damned, Clarence Darrow, all write of John Brown in glowing terms. "One of the purest and bravest and highest-minded patriots of any age," says Mister Clarence Darrow. Clarence goes on to compare John Brown with other famous personages of the past, among them; Oliver Cromwell, Mahomet, John Calvin, and even Jesus Christ.
John Brown may have a legitimate comparison with John Calvin, Mahomet, and Oliver Cromwell, but John Brown was no Jesus Christ. John Brown was no advocate of peace. John Brown is quoted as saying that if any man came between him and what he felt to be the will of his God, he would kill him. John Brown was a murderer. John Brown is a man that took the law into his own hands, made himself the judge and jury and without any right to appeal, he slaughtered people as he saw fit. Clarence Darrow claims that John Brown was doing God's work, the work of programmed Destiny. He was fighting the abomination of slavery. This sounds rather ludicrous coming from a man who in another essay gives one of the most cogent defenses of atheism that I have ever read. Clarence Darrow was obviously a lawyer first and a philosopher and moralist second.
Lawrence Kansas, a non-slave community, was sacked and burnt to the ground by a band of bandits who advocated slavery, and in Washington D.C. in 1856 an abolitionist Senator by the name of Charles Sumner was nearly beaten to death right on the Senate floor by a pro-slave advocate, a Senator Andrew Butler. John Brown, incensed by these atrocities, decided that revenge was justice. He and his sons with knives and sabers in hand went on a killing spree. Their goal was to kill any pro-slavers in their neighborhood. And if they happened to get an innocent person by mistake, here and there, oh well nobody's perfect.
John Brown then decided that the only way to solve this slavery problem was by way of war and/or revolution. He decided to raid the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, steal all the weapons, start his own army and overthrow the government. If you like John Brown and his methods, then you would probably also like some of these people today who in the name of Jesus go around blowing up abortion clinics or shooting doctors through their kitchen windows in front of their wives and children. You would probably also like the Oklahoma bomber, and these other terrorist who kill first and ask for justice later. History is full of murders and killers who think that the end justifies the means.
John Brown was no Jesus Christ. He was no Mahatma Gandhi. He was no Martin Luther King. He was a man filled with murder, hate, self righteousness, and religious fanaticism. The problems, injustices, and hatreds promoted by slavery were not solved by the violence of John Brown or by the Civil War for that matter. As far as I can see no war in history has ever solved the problems and disagreements that precipitated them. Minds must be informed, enlightened and convinced in order to produce change. Beatings, bombs and bullets just don't seem to hold up under the tests of time. If John Brown was a hero then I suppose Osama bin Laden is also.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


The Eastpointer

Unemployment and My Depression Mentality

By Richard E. Noble

A friend of mine just lost his job and went to Tallahassee and filed for unemployment. Even though he had worked steady for the last five years, he didn't qualify.
Less than 30% of those who lose their jobs in the State of Florida qualify for unemployment. On a national basis the figure is pretty much the same. A few states are better but most states are the same as Florida or worse.
The rules for collecting unemployment have been changing ever since the Reagan revolution in the 1980s. In most states you can no longer collect if you were fired, or let go, or you quit. The period of required working time has been extended. You can't collect if you have been working part time - even if you have been working 90 hours a week at 3 different part time jobs. The amount of the compensation checks has been cut and the length of time that you are allowed to collect has been cut. The current administration wants to lower (or already has) by 75% the employer's contribution to the fund and turn over the administration of the program entirely to the states. Staffing has already been cut to a minimum and retraining programs and finding jobs for people is secondary or nonexistent.
I have what is termed, sociologically, as a "Depression Mentality." I was not a "Depression baby," nor was I a child in the 30s. But my Mom and Dad were, and to add insult to injury in the late 40s and through the 50s my hometown suffered through Great Depression unemployment rates. During the 50s in my hometown unemployment was between 30 and 40 percent.
Many people in my old neighborhood didn't consider the 1929 Depression to be an accident. It was considered to be retribution against the workers by the powerful big business owners of the period. The 50s depression in our mill town was considered to be more of the same. The mill owners didn't want to pay the local workers so they shut down the mills and took their equipment and machines elsewhere. They left us the polluted waterways and the redbrick monster mill-buildings to clean up or dismantle. This is much the same as what is happening today. The industries and the explanations have changed but the tactics are the same.
But even though 4 out of every 10 workers were unemployed in my hometown, 6 out of every 10 still had a job. When I talk with many of my old friends about those times, only those whose fathers didn't have a job remember those days as hard times. And in reading about the Depression I find that the same obliviousness applied to the people of that era.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt actually hired newspaper photographers to go out and take pictures of soup kitchens and people sleeping in the streets and under bridges, and children living in squalor so that the Americans who still had their jobs could see and then believe the extent of the economic collapse. It seems that if the flame wasn't burning their fanny they couldn't see it. They needed pictures.
My Dad was one of those who worked most of his life in one of the mills. When he lost his job, he collected checks. Those checks were a life saver.
It is beginning to look to me that the good old unemployment check is on its way out – it has morphed into another “entitlement” as opposed to a benefit or right or a social responsibility.
It does seem that there are a lot of things that are now on their way out: college education for regular folks, retirement pensions, social security, health care, savings accounts, home owner's insurance, immigration, the bill of rights, free flu shots, low income housing, affordable drugs, good government jobs, mental health institutions, fathers, good paying jobs, American Industry, American exports, free public education, freedom from torture, a right to privacy and the sanctity of your home and your personal possessions, safe and honest banking, the volunteer army, the middle class, income tax, nursing homes, a skinny Oprah, a stable economy, local government, federal spending on anything but war and active duty personnel, aid to dependent children, racial tolerance, religious tolerance, peace, security, a roof over one's head and hope for the future.
But being an optimist, I always turn to the positive. There are today more millionaires than ever before in American history, gated communities are growing in leaps and bounds, tummy tucks, liposuction and nonessential plastic surgery is booming and I have heard recently that an updated version of Queen for a Day is in the making.
For you young folks who never saw Queen for a Day, I think you guys will love it. This show would gather up all these desperate, poor, distraught, women - pregnant, husbandless, abused and battered. They would bring them out onto the stage to relate their tragic stories. The one with the worst, most degrading, humiliating, depressing story as determined by an applause meter would be crowned Queen for a Day. She would usually win a new washing machine, a stove or a refrigerator. Everyone watching at home would be in tears because they also needed new kitchen appliances. It was a wonderful show, and it looks like the times are coming where it will be considered wonderful once again. I can hardly wait. Let’s all follow the bouncing ball and sing along! Happy days are here again …

Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble. They are now both available on Amazon.com. If you would like to stock my books in your store or business, e-mail me at richardedwardnoble@gtcom.net

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

THE SYNAGOGUE

Commentary


By Richard E. Noble

I had never been to a Synagogue before. Actually I had never seen the inside of any pagan place of worship. I was at this particular Synagogue on this particular evening, at my older brother's request. Strangely enough, we were both here at this Jewish temple, on this cold winter evening, due to the fact that my brother was dating a very lovely older Arab woman. She had dark Arabian-night eyes, black shiny hair, and a warm sweetness that could be enjoyed even at a distance. She wouldn't be with us on this occasion but her other potential suitor would be. He was not Jewish either. He was the American Ambassador to one of the Arab nations. He would be lecturing here tonight, at this Synagogue, on the Palestinian problem in the Holy Land.
Although it did seem interesting to be pondering the thoughts of an Arab Ambassador expounding his views on the Palestinian problem in the Holy Land to a room full of black beanies in a tiny local Jewish Synagogue, I suspect that, though it was never mentioned by my brother, we were in attendance this evening scoping out the competition.
My brother's competition for the fair Arab maiden's hand was very eloquent indeed. But not only was he eloquent, he was also fairly handsome, well educated, well dressed, worldly, knowledgeable, mature. My brother actually liked the guy which was the first indication of his defeat. But, of course, we were not there to make chauvinist comparisons, or to butt male egos. We were actually present on an expedition of intellectual enlightenment. What the hell was a Palestinian anyway?
The Arab Ambassador gave his speech. It was filled with facts and figures and lots of things that I never heard about in the newspapers. I felt that it was information well stated, and, of course, very diplomatic. Actually, I didn't hear anything that I considered radical. Basically, what he said was that with the establishment of the state of Israel after World War II, a lot of Arab people ended up homeless. He didn't really explain why, or how or even discuss who was to blame. He simply pointed out that there had been an injustice perpetrated in some type way, manner, or fashion. But, quite to my surprise, the Jewish people were very much upset by what the Ambassador had to say. All during his lecture, they were huddling in their chairs and sputtering and whispering at various sentences and phrases. I confess I was not very well informed. At the time my Arab knowledge consisted of an intense love for fresh, hot, flat, unleavened Syrian style bread, and a tremendous respect for lamb on a stick served on a bed of rice pilaf. I also had a passable knowledge of stuffed grape leaves dipped in a mixture of homos and tahini, stuffed tripe, baked squash and a delicious hamburger type mixture called baked kibbie.
As for the Jews, I had read numerous accounts of the Nazi attempt to annihilate their whole race. I had heard of a Matzah ball, but had never eaten one, and I was well aware of the fact that all peoples of virtually every national origin love to hate a Jew. And armed with this knowledge, I sat quietly as a self appointed judge and jury.
After the speech a question and answer period ensued and the cover heads were bouncing out of their seats: And what about this! And what about that! - the Jewish attendees were screaming. Some stood up and read statements. Others scolded and shook their finger menacingly at the Ambassador. But the Arab representative stood his ground. He was very calm; very even tempered. He uttered one particular statement that literally shot the patrons from their seats. "Yes that is true," he responded to a wagging random finger, "but what about the Israeli run concentration camps constructed for the segregation and internment of formally free innocent Palestinian residents?"
"Those are not concentration camps!" one Jewish man screamed.
"Those are not prisons!" roared another.
"Then why are they surrounded with barbed wire and armed guards?" the Ambassador questioned, for the first time revealing the heat of his inner spirit.
As we left the temple that evening, a little man, obviously a spokesman for the temple group, grasped onto our hands at the door. His eyes burnt with sincerity as he thanked us for taking an interest in the problems of "others."
This temple gathering took place in the early sixties. Years before the hostage crisis and terrorists and the Kennedy assassinations and the death and slaughter of thousands and thousands of Syrians and Lebanese, and Egyptians, and Israelis - before the war between Iran and Iraq which stole over a million lives, and thirty years before Operation Desert Storm where four hundred thousand have been estimated dead as a result. And now, of course, we have Desert Storm part II.
I felt rather guilty as I left the temple that night. I could see the Rabbi's burning eyes staring up into mine, and I could still feel the strong, hard press of the palm of his hand against mine as he praised and applauded us for our interest and concern for the distant intellectual and political problems of others. I felt guilty because I didn't go there because of a concern and interest in the intellectual and political problems of others, but, primarily to scope out my brother's romantic competition, and to indulge my sincere hopes for an Italian veal cutlet sandwich and a few beers after the lecture with my brother.
It is amazing (not the above monologue) but the fact that it has been a couple or three million lives past that I knew nothing of the Palestinian problem in the “Holy Land,” and today, even after all of this human slaughter and sacrifice - after our own country's involvement in two wars in the area - after all of the news banter and bluster, I still don't know a damn thing. I certainly know nothing of the Palestinian point of view, other than they hate Jews, and very little of the Jewish point of view, other than they hate Arabs. And I don't dislike or hate either group.
Both Arabs and Jews lived in my neighborhood. I was employed in my working career by both an Arab and a Jew. They were very memorable men. I think of each of them often. As children I played in the school yard with Arabs and Jews. I hope for the day when the United States of America will again be a Peacemaker. I wish for peace in the Middle East – it is way past due.
Martin Van Buren

(President from 1836-1840)

By Richard E. Noble

Martin Van Buren a savvy, experienced, wily professional politician is credited with being the power behind the throne or the brains behind "country bumpkin," Andrew Jackson. He was so well liked by Andrew Jackson that Jackson actually suggested retiring and thus leaving the presidency to Van Buren without need for an election.
This didn't come about. In 1836, campaigning on the democracy versus aristocracy platform that he had done so well with when managing Jackson's campaign, Van Buren defeated his opponent William Henry Harrison. No sooner did he become president and take his seat from behind the throne, than the throne collapsed. The bank panic of 1837 finally set in and a depression ensued. The problem with the banks and the paper money controversy that had plagued Jackson's second administration finally come to a head. Jackson was a hard money man and Van Buren a tight fisted conservative. Between Jackson's demands for gold and silver, and Van Buren hoarding of federal funds, money in circulation dried up and a depression ensued. Gold and silver are harder to come by than paper, demanding it automatically cuts the money in circulation and undermines the value and trust in paper. Couple this with the notion that it is not the government's place to spend tax money on anything other than internal an external security and you have a severe money shortage.
Jackson saw the evils of having independent bankers printing up their own money and felt that the only solution was to go back to gold and silver or hard currency. Having the money supply in the hands of independent businessmen put them in charge of the nations economic security and undermined the power of government. But was his solution really any better? Who did he think would be in control of the gold and silver supply? And how would more money be put into circulation when population increased, and businesses needed to expand? There is only so much gold and sliver in the world. What if nothing could advance until more was discovered or dug up?
Van Buren had another idea, and in 1840, at the end of his term he finally got his idea of an independent federal treasury established. Now an independent government agency would determine how much paper would be in circulation. The only trouble with this idea, as we know today, is trying to keep the independent treasury truly independent.
Van Buren had been widowed before he got to the White House but that little ball of fire Dolly Madison found a honey for Van Buren's oldest son and the White House had a new hostess and female presence in the person of the former Angelia Singleton.
Van Buren, known often as "Old Kinderhook", formed the habit of signing his official papers with the initials of this favored nickname. Thus we have today the legacy of that Old Kinderhook signature of approval - O.K.
Old Kinderhook was defeated in his next bid for power by his very own campaign strategy. His opponent William Henry Harrison and the new Whig party, painted Old Kinderhook as a fancy-smancy with elegant ways and effeminate European tastes. A good American who ate fried meat and gravy, hominy and hog jowl washed down with hard cider, could no longer get into the White House for fear that his boots might be muddy. My oh my!