Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Truman Era 1945-1952

By I. F. Stone

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

I. F. Stone is not a big fan of Harry Truman or his Cold War Policy. He did not disparage the character of President Truman; he just didn’t think that Mr. Truman was all that bright, I would say.
F.D.R. felt that he could “work with Stalin.” Truman felt the exact opposite. Truman was a Democrat but far to the right of his predecessor. Truman was a “conservative” Democrat. He had no patience for Stalin or Communism. If F.D.R. had the correct approach to Stalin and communist Russia and China we will never know. We got what Truman and his advisors planned - a Cold War with the perpetuation of a huge military buildup for the duel purpose of promoting economic stability here at home and establishing a strong front against Russia and the spread of “communism” in Western Europe.
In the previous works that I have read of I. F. Stone, I would say that Mr. Stone “hides” his personal feelings and political leaning behind a wall of exhaustive investigative journalism. This book is slightly less so. It may be the time period (McCarthy, Cold War, and rabid outspoken anti-Russian, anti-communism and anti-socialism) but Stone lets his hair down in this volume of “A Nonconformist History of Our Times.”
The style is similar but the point of view seems to me more personal and philosophical. Mr. Stone even goes so far as to give us an insight into his understanding of God and his relationship to mankind in the last entry.

He has Dr. Einstein questioning and beseeching God with regards to his creation of a species (humankind) with the capacity to destroy itself. In this parable Mr. Stone reveals himself as a deist – one who believes that God created the world and then went elsewhere or onto other challenges.

God claims in this debate that he could either make man free with the capacity to destroy himself or turn man into a mechanical robot – programmed to conform.

The first problem with this argument is establishing that man is free and is possessive of freewill. A second problem would be the morality of a God who could create such a choice. Stone argues that men are “rational” and being rational then are reserved the right to act “irrational.”

But even if one could “free” God from any moral responsibility in his creation of a potentially irrational, murderous, self-destructive humankind with such an argument, the establishment of all “evil” still goes unaccountable.

Man does not constitute the whole of “evil” and man is not responsible for all the evil that exists – death, disease, pain, natural disasters etc. If man’s freewill and rational nature gives him the capacity to act irrationally and in a self-destructive and immoral manner, God as man’s creator cannot simply walk away from his creation free of moral responsibility. As with Pontius Pilate of Biblical fame, he cannot wash his hands of mankind and go hide behind a cloud in the infinite universe and bask in his glory and self-righteousness. He must take his share of the responsibility in creating such a powerful creature and offering to it such a potential – like a parent handing a flamethrower to a two year old.

Man is granted by this stretch of logic the potential to destroy or perpetuate evil and total destruction of humankind and God has created the circumstance and provided the choices. This possibility is in itself morally illogical and impossible.

I. F. Stone in this parable does not solve the problems of freewill or the existence of evil but he does provide us with an insight into what makes I. F. Stone go.

Man is free to do the right thing or the wrong thing and Mr. Stone has dedicated his writing career to present rational facts to man in the hope that he can persuade rational men to make rational choices. Man by the nature of his “Godly gift” of freewill can make choices to bring about a better world or destroy himself and the world lives in.

I agree with the argument that some men have the ability to make rational or irrational choices that can make a better world for all or destroy the one we have, but my advice would be to not complicate the issue by bringing God, a god or “the gods” into the equation. When discussing rational vs. irrational this is the equivalent of “taking a bite of the snake that bit you.” Another shot of whiskey does not cure the hangover.

On the political level he brings up and directs the spotlight on many popular figures – Allen and John Foster Dulles, Henry Wallace, Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers, Ed Sullivan, William Z. Foster, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Tesung, Justice Douglass, and many others.

He delves into his views on socialism, communism, fascism and totalitarianism. This volume by Stone is not only a wealth of historical political information and insight; it also presents the man and his personal search and philosophy. I would say that this volume gives the reader more insight into I. F. Stones personal political views than any of his other works that I have read thus far. It is the most outspoken, in my opinion.

In 1953 I. F. Stone moved on to his “Weekly” which he sold directly to his subscribers. This volume on The Truman Era may provide the insight for that decision. It is clear that he is, at this stage of his career, a critic and “advocate.” He now has opinions and answers – and his opinions and answers are not those of the ruling class or the popular majority. He is now unabashedly a radical and a nonconformist. His leftist, radical views, his opposition to war and Truman, the Cold War, his sympathies towards socialism and Russia and the pursuit of peace are now too leftwing for the right-leaning press and conservative America. If he wants to be read, he will have to sell to his own audience – and he does.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If you enjoyed this story and would like to know more about this book or purchase a copy, click book cover to the right on this page. Thanks.

Lawrence – My Hometown

Ragman, fruit vendor and knife sharpener

Richard E. Noble

Okay, everyone out there who remembers feeding the ragman’s horse please raise their hand.
The ragman in my neighborhood was a brown-skinned, chubby little guy. My staff of researchers has informed me that the ragman’s name in our era was George Layland. “Rumor” had it that George died a millionaire.
He had an old horse that pulled his junk wagon. He had a thin whip and at varying intervals he snapped the horse from a slow walk to an even slower walk - my kind of horse. As the ragman rolled very slowly up and down the streets of our neighborhood, he would chant … zharr rags, zharr rags. He would buy bags of rags and old clothes. He would also take broken bicycles, wagons, busted scooters … anything. He never paid anybody very much for their junk. My mother complained about him all the time. But nevertheless, he filled that old wagon up every day.
When someone from one of the tenements would halt the ragman he would tie his horse up to a telephone pole and little kids would gather all around to touch and pet the old horse. Some of us would run off hunting grass or pulling up straw-like stuff that grew around the fence edges or popped out of the cracks in the curbing. The old horse liked apple cores and bananas also.
The horse always pooped along the street somewhere. My grandmother would be off her rocker and out into the street with her snow shovel. She would tote the poop out behind the garages in the backyard and spade it into the dirt around her greens and her rhubarb. It was great fun finding a kid who had never eaten rhubarb before. We would all stare silently and wait as he took his first big bite and started chewing. When his face puckered up, the roar of laughter would erupt.
The fruit and vegetable vendor would set all the neighborhood moms scurrying also. He had a truck and a hanging scale dangling at the rear of his truck. I am sure the Department of Weights and Measures never accessed that scale.
He crawled up and down the streets never getting out of first gear. He would yell out … Apples, peaches, water mel … loans. He would sing it. It would start off high with the apples and peaches and then trail off into the water mel … loans. Apples … peaches … water mel … loans.
When the price was right my mother would buy a bushel of something and have me cart it down to the landing in the cellar. The cellar was always the coolest spot, even in the summertime. The peaches, pears or apples in the cellar landing would last a good while and provided a nice treat. When the fruit started to overripe we had pies. That was an all around good deal.
Then we had the Hood Milk delivery truck guy, who arrived early every morning and left clanking glass bottles of milk on the doorstep. Each jug had a cup or so of cream floating at the top of the bottle.
Me, Ray Dolan and Jack Sheehy once applied for jobs at the Hood Milk Company on one of our unemployment walking tours of Lawrence. When the man asked us why we applied for a job at Hood Milk he caught us off guard. He clarified his question by mentioning that he had placed no ad in the newspaper asking for help. Our method for finding a job had nothing to do with checking want ads. We would just go wandering off each morning and walk into anyplace that we figured had more than a mom, dad and junior employed there.
The man’s question seemed rather stupid, I thought. Hood Milk had numerous milk trucks, hundreds, running all over town. Every milk truck had a driver. One of the drivers could have died over the weekend, maybe fell out of the damn truck or got a better job mowing the lawn in the Common or running numbers for one of the many local bookies. What kind of a question was this guy putting forward?
Jack and I sat there dumbfounded but Ray went into a prayer type monologue about all the things he loved and cherished about Hood Milk and being a delivery man. Ray loved the white milkman suit and the white police cap that topped it off. He loved the taste of Hood milk ever since he was a baby. One look at that Hood milk bottle sitting on the kitchen table with all the thick, rich cream floating near the top of the bottle and even his mother’s breast was a second rate substitute. He finished his love story about the Hood Milk Company with, “Ever since I was a little boy, I always dreamed of one day becoming a milkman and delivering Hood milk door to door. If I were to get a position here today, it would be the highlight of my entire life – a dream come true.”
The interviewer was quite impressed. A tiny tear came peeking out from the corner of his right eye. He pulled himself together, cleared his throat and told Ray that in all of his career he had never heard an applicant make such an emotional plea. Jack and I sat speechless.
When we got outside to the parking lot Jack and I both confessed to Ray that we had similar thoughts as children ourselves. The white uniform and the white police cap were especially vivid memories.
Ray said, “You guys got to be kidding me. I hate milk. The sight of the stuff makes me gag. I never thought of being a milkman once in my life.”
“You made that whole thing up? How did you ever think of that?”
“Well, I figured here’s this sucker stuck down there in the Hood milk building all his adult life. He probably started out as a milk delivery man himself. He is sitting there looking out the damn window thinking how he has wasted his whole life peddling milk. I figured what would a poor slob like that like best to hear? How about a story about a kid who spent his entire childhood dreaming of becoming just like him? He had probably been sitting staring out that window all morning. Hasn’t had an applicant in three weeks. He probably has nothing to tell his wife when he gets home from work every night. Tonight when he goes home he’ll have this great story about a boy who always dreamed of becoming a milkman.”
“So you made the guy’s day?”
“Why not? What else am I doing? I’m unemployed, remember.”
And how could anybody ever forget the Cushman Bakery delivery man and the tinkling bell of the ice cream truck, or the block ice delivery man. He had those huge ice tongs and that leather sheath he threw over his shoulder and last but not least, the knife sharpening guy.
The knife sharpening guy had his own rig. He was another very old man. He had a wheelbarrow type thing that he pushed down the street. He had a chant also but I don’t recall how it went. In place of the carry bucket on his wheelbarrow he had a giant stone wheel. As I remember the big stone was white in color. I remember my mother frantically searching out every dull knife in the silverware draw, sticking them into a paper bag or wrapping them up in a towel and sending me out in a run after the old man and his giant stone. I guess the “don’t run with scissors” admonition was also after my time. Of course, children were a good deal cheaper in those days.
This guy had a neat business though, I loved to watch him. First he would set his wheelbarrow down and then he would flip back this buggy seat he had folded over at the handle end of the barrow. He would climb up into his buggy seat and then put his feet on the bicycle peddles he had hooked up to his stone. He would peddle his stone and get it rotating and then start edging the knives. It was neat to watch him. He had a rhythmic pace to his peddling and scraping. He also had a water bottle and he poured water onto his rotating wheel occasionally.
He would test the knives for sharpness by touching his thumb along the edge. When I would get the knives home both my mother and I would test a knife edge as the old man had done and invariably we would each cut our thumbs. I remember examining that old man’s thumb each time I brought him knives. He had a mean looking thumb, man, let me tell you. Wow, if thumbs could talk. That thumb had obviously been to hell and back.
Hey, somebody ought to write a book with that title “To Hell and Back.” That would be a million seller, I’ll bet.
PS – Don’t write. I know all about Audie Murphy.

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and columnist. His local column, the Eastpointer, won the first place 2007 humor award from the Florida Press Association. He has published several books. All of his books can be viewed and purchased on Contact Richard at Noble Publishing for bookstore discounts and volume sales.

Friday, September 18, 2009

William McKinley

(President from 1897-1901, the 25th)

By Richard E. Noble

McKinley is the last of the Civil War presidents. He enlisted in the Union army, a private, and emerged a major. His commanding officer, Rutherford B. Hayes, claims him to have been one of the bravest and finest officers in the Union army.
In 1871 he married Ida Saxton. Ida had problems with child birth and from then on had problems with depression and epileptic seizures. William is a good friend and cares for his wife diligently. His wife insisted on attending the White House banquets and balls. If she had a seizure poor William grabbed her up, threw a handkerchief over her face and escorted her from the room. Prominent guests often sat in horror and shock. He seems to be the only president for whom the presidency is an escape and a possible therapy for the trials and tribulations of his personal life.
His daughter Ida died at birth and his surviving daughter, Katherine, died at the age of four.
William found a loyal and extremely wealthy patron in Marcus Hanna. Hanna managed McKinley's career, campaigns and his finances. Hanna felt the job of politics was to help and promote big business.
This is the beginning of the age of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. Hearst and Pulitzer were given the credit for successfully promoting the Spanish American War.
You remember the Maine, of course, which was mysteriously exploded in Havana Harbor in Cuba. And Teddy Roosevelt in his Brooks Brother's uniform storming up San Juan Hill to victory over the senseless death and destruction of his troops?
The War with Spain begins as a patriotic, humanitarian endeavor to rescue Cuba from Spanish persecution. It ends in the Philippines as a blot and a disgrace to the history of the United States. I have read nothing in U.S. history to rival this action in the Philippines for disgrace and horror on the part of the U.S. military and government.
The issues of the time are still money, civil service reform and tariffs. McKinley's financial acumen comes into question when as Governor of Ohio he loans money to an old friend, Robert Walker, to the tune of 130,000 dollars and finds himself bankrupt. Mark Hanna bails him out, and the incident apparently disappears.
As president, the Gold Standard Act is passed, civil service is really not reformed, and the tariffs go on. The Dingley Tariff of 1897 being the biggest, and most controversial.
McKinley believes that the days of isolationism are over, and internationalism is at hand. He "opens the door" to trade with China, but the Boxers close it.
Twice McKinley battles with William Jennings Bryan for the presidency and wins. William Jennings Bryan is the guy who had the famous debate with Clarence Darrow at the John T. Scopes trial in Tennessee over the teaching of evolution in the public schools.
In 1886 the famous front porch campaign takes place as Bryan travels all over the country and Hanna pays to bring the country to McKinley's front porch.
In 1901 on September 6, another president is shot to death. Now, in less than forty years, we have Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. This certainly has to be a trying time for anyone whose life happens to span this period.
McKinley was shot by anarchist, Leon Czolgosz and vice president Teddy Roosevelt takes the reins.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn 1890 -1964

Rebel Girl

By Richard E. Noble

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn is one of those little girls who grew up to be a Jane Addams, or a Harriet Beecher Stowe, or an Emma Goldman, or a Susan B. Anthony, or a Mother Jones, or a Florence Nightingale, or a Margaret B. Sanger or a Rosa Parks, or a Sojourner Truth or - I suppose one could even say - a Joan of Ark.
All these little girls are either good or evil depending on your point of view.
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn is not so well known as some of these others because she was an American Communist. American Communists do not get a lot of space in American history books, whether they are male or female. She was, first a Socialist, and then a Communist.
Ms. Flynn was an American, born and bread, Communist and proud of it. In The Rebel Girl, an autobiography, she puts it this way; “Many have written as ex-Communists. This second book will be the story of an active American Communist and one who is proud of it. No matter what are the consequences, ‘I will never move from where I stand.’... I feel it is important for me to set down here my personal recollections of this earlier part of the century, a period full of heroic struggles on the part of the working class, especially the foreign born. As the reader will see, the years 1906 to 1926 were full of ‘force and violence’ used by the ruling class in America against the workers, who gave their lives, shed their blood, were beaten, jailed, blacklisted and framed, as they fought for the right to organize, to strike and to picket. Struggles for a few cents more an hour, for a few minutes less a day - were long and bitterly fought. Nothing was handed on a silver platter to the American working class by employers. All of their hard-won gains came through their own efforts and solidarity.
“It was my privilege to be identified with many of these earlier labor struggles and the heroic men and women, particularly of the “Left” who made labor history in those days. I feel I have a responsibility to share my memories of them with younger generations and to make this record of their noble words and deeds. They were flesh and blood of the American working class. I hope that this book will help to encourage and inspire others to follow in their footsteps, not only along the path they made wider, smoother and clearer for us today, but to travel far beyond, towards the horizons they glimpsed - peace on earth, and an America free from poverty, exploitation, greed and injustice.
Except for a couple of words and phrases - i.e. working class, exploitation - Elizabeth sounds pretty American to me.
I picked up a copy of this book in the United States of America - at a National Historic Park in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Lowell National Historic Park is a preserved textile mill. You can walk around the streets of Lowell and go from huge mill building to mill building and see actual operating machines from America’s Industrial Revolution. It was quite an adventure.
I watched a movie while there about the New England Industrial Revolution and the establishment of the textile industry here in America, and specifically in Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill, back in the mid-eighteen hundreds. The story that was related was not very flattering to this country’s economic history or its industrial entrepreneurs. I have the strong feeling that if J. Edgar Hoover were alive and functioning at the FBI today he would be investigating the curators of this National Historic Park for their un-American propagation of anti-American propaganda. Some of the Capitalists who were pointed out in this film were actually portrayed as not very nice people.
Then I went to the little bookstore in the complex and picked out a book written by a “proud” American Communist who was alive and kicking until the year 1964. She was a well read woman who was alive and knew all about the Russian Revolution, Lenin, Stalin, World War I, World War II and Korea, and even the beginnings of Vietnam, and she was still proud to be a Communist? Makes one curious doesn’t it? What did she know that I don’t know; or I know that she didn’t know?
There were many other books of a subversive nature on sale at that little bookstore also. I’m sure A. Mitchell Palmer, J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy and even Woodrow Wilson would not approve if they were alive and kicking today.
History speaks volumes, but it doesn’t speak on its own. It doesn’t explain the past - history provides the statistics, the figures, the numbers, the events and even the details - but we must be the interpreters. But before we can interpret it; we must read it; in some cases we must find it.
It wasn’t long ago that the only woman of any consequence in American history books was poor Barbara Fritchie; the only black man of consequence was George Washington Carver (the peanut guy); the Indians were savages who met their enlightenment or were saved from their ignorance and savagery by the wondrous and magnanimous European; and now we have somehow returned to the notion once held by the Romans and Alexander the Murderer that peace on earth and good will toward man is established by the sword.
Today, I am being taught that Jesus Christ was actually a practitioner in this philosophy and will return one day to conquer the world with his sword - kill all the bad guys and make angels out of all the good guys.
But Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a Communist - and proud of it. She was tried under the Smith Act in 1952. The trial took place in Foley Square in New York. She was found guilty and sent to Alderson Reformatory in West Virginia in 1955 and was released in 1957. She wrote a book about her stay in prison, The Alderson Story: My Life as a Political Prisoner. Strange - one does not think of America as having Political Prisoners.
Her picture is on the cover of this book. She looks pretty, petite and tiny. She has the face of many a little Irish girl who sat on one side or another of me in the classrooms of my youth. She has the face of a nun. She was born in 1890 in Concord, New Hampshire. I first discovered her name while researching a famous labor strike that took place in 1912 in my hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts The Bread and Roses Strike.
She was at first a Socialist and then an IWW agitator. She knew and was one of the big labor “troublemakers” of her time. She was an associate of Mother Jones, Big Bill Haywood, Vincent St. John, and Eugene V. Debs, among many others. She was one of Teddy Roosevelt’s, Undesirable Citizens. She gave speeches around the nation to burley truck drivers, mine workers, mill workers, and railroad men. She was exciting crowds in Lawrence, Paterson, Pittsburgh, and the Mesabi Range. She was fighting for free speech in Montana and the Constitution in Spokane. She was in and out of prison while at the same time, being a girl, falling in love and having a baby.
When I read about girls like this Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, I wonder where they have all gone. For that matter, I wonder where all of the champions of the Common Man have gone - male and female.
Today is full of a brave new world of defenders of the fat and sassy, the well off, the elite and obnoxious, the rich and the I-want-to-be-richer. The psychiatric counseling in today’s world is for those who suffer “irrational” guilt from their overindulgence in one thing or another. “Tell me,” asks the Psychiatric therapist, why do you feel sorry for the poor, do you somehow feel that you are the cause of poverty?” As far as I can see, this country seems to be packed to the brim with the same old social abuses - poverty, slums, addictions of one type or another, child abuse, people abuse in general, lack of health care, violence and crime, dysfunctional families, and social disorganization of one type or another; yet nobody seems to be all that concerned. Even our literature is primarily escapist fantasy or works lacking in any consequence or socially redeeming value. Is it that the human race is simply tired of trying to make the world a better place?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fazio's Beauty School

Lawrence – My Hometown

Fazio’s Beauty School

By Richard E. Noble

I don’t know how the beauty school bubble got inflated in the 50’s and 60’s but it was big. In Lawrence there was Fazio’s Beauty School. My mother is a past graduate of Fazio’s beauty school. This fact is really more amazing than any of you realize. My mother had serious difficulty in certain areas - reading, learning and school for example. She always claimed that my father never graduated from high school but she did. Whenever she made this claim I demanded to see her diploma. She would run off to her bedroom and start foraging in an attempt to add fire to this obvious exaggeration. She was never able to produce that high school diploma but threatened that one day it would turn up and then she would have the last laugh.
It took my mother 11 years to pass her driver’s license test. My older sister gave mom driving lessons for several years, then I took over and my older brother actually gave it a try for a year or two. It had become a sort of family tradition. I anticipated that my oldest son would take up the burden when he came along.
My sister’s reaction to the experience was one of frustration. I became seriously frightened. I had nightmares that by some fluke of fate, my mother would actually have a good day and the guy at the driver’s license bureau would pass her. It didn’t happen while she was under my tutelage.
My brother was a saint. He had the best reaction of any of us. After every driving lesson he gave my mother, he would walk in the kitchen door, take one look and me or my sister and burst out laughing. My sister and I would both nod our heads knowingly.
But my mother did have her areas – knitting, sewing and doing hair. She was the daughter in her large family who did everyone’s hair.
I had the same attitude to Fazio’s Beauty School as my mother did to the first Kentucky Fried Chicken joint that opened up in our neighborhood. As I remember it was on Broadway on the next corner just past the Star Theater heading towards Essex St (Daisy St.) My mother said, “Why in the world would anybody buy something as simple to cook as fried chicken from a store? That joint will be out of business in a week.” And as you all know, she was right again. It moved to a bigger location leaving that corner to become a Syrian sandwich shop, specializing in homemade kibbi salad sandwiches which, of course, were served on fresh Syrian bread and topped with a fantastic secret Syrian dressing.
When all the girls, including my mother in her mid-life crisis, started signing up at Fazio’s beauty school, I said, “Why would anybody go to beauty school when everybody has a sister who will do it for nothing.” And, of course, I was right as usual. I also predicted the early demise of McDonald’s and gave the Carol Burnett show no more than a month on the air.
Frankie Avalon actually recorded a song admonishing young girls for dropping out of high school and going to beauty school. I bet he thought he was pretty cleaver too. [Press control and click on link below to see and hear Frankie give warning to a “Beauty School Drop Out” in this classic Grease presentation. The lyrics are below if you would like to memorize them and sing along. Man this is just like going to the RATS (STAR Theater)]

Your story's sad to tell, a teenage ne'er-do-well
Most mixed up non-delinquent on the block
Your future's so unclear now,
What's left of your career now
Can't even get a trade-in on your smile
Beauty school drop-out, no graduation day for you
Beauty school drop-out, missed your midterms
And flunked shampoo
Well at least you could have
Taken time to wash and clean your clothes up
After spending all that dough to have the doctor
Fix your nose up Baby get moving (better get moving),
Why keep your feeble hopes alive
What are you proving (what are you proving)?
You've got the dream, but not the drive
If you go for your diploma, you could join a steno pool
Turn in your teasin' comb and go back to highschool
Beauty school drop-out, hangin' around the corner store
Beauty school drop-out, it's about time you knew the score
Well they couldn't teach you anything,
You think you're such a looker
But no customer would go to you,
Unless she was a hooker
Baby don't sweat it (don't sweat it),
You're not cut out to hold the job
Better forget it (forget it), who wants their hair done by a slob
Now your bangs are curled, your lashes twirled,
And still the world is cruel
Wipe off that angel face and go back to highschool
Baby don't blow it, don't put my good advice to shame
Baby you know it, even Dear Abby's say the same
Now I've called the shot, get off the pot, I really gotta fly
Gotta be goin' to that maltshop in the sky
Beauty school drop-out, go back to highschool
Beauty school drop-out, go back to highschool
Beauty school drop-out, go back to highschool

One of my good buddies married a graduate of Fazio’s beauty school and to this very day they have a thriving beauty business. Today they have a school teaching all the various techniques of hair and skin care.
Some of the old gang question our good buddy’s importance in this enterprise. I’ve been told that they actually got together and hired a detective agency to follow our pal around in an attempt to find out what he actually does to contribute to this company’s viability. After several months of intense investigation, the agency reported that they had no idea what this fellow’s actual responsibilities are – and to this day nobody really knows what the heck he does. I suppose we could ask his wife but you all know how women are. Women and their men are like guys and directions. They just go on and on. But I have confidence that he is responsible for something even if no one yet has been able to determine exactly what it is.
Einstein had the very same problem at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. To this day no one knows what Einstein actually accomplished at Princeton. I always felt that if he wasn’t such a radical and maybe if he studied a little harder he might have gotten into Harvard. As it was there were many Americans who wanted to have him deported because of his unpatriotic attitudes towards war and the draft … E = mc² or not.
I have a niece who once worked at the Yellow Strawberry on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale Florida. She made more in tips in one day than I ever earned in a week. Of course, she had a lot of “funny” looking friends – but don’t we all.
Now my mother, on the other hand, never got past doing her sisters’ hair. You might be saying, Well if she never got her driver’s license how could she get a job if she couldn’t even drive to work?”
Well, she did get her driver’s license. I could not believe it when she came walking through the kitchen door waving that license in her hand. I asked her for the name of the man who had passed her at the driver’s license bureau. I went down to the office and spoke with him.
“Did you have an applicant by the name of Mary Noble recently?”
“I have had an applicant by the name of Mary Noble about once every month for the last eleven years,” he said defiantly.
“Yes,” I said. “And on each of those occurrences over those eleven years you have been consistently wise enough to flunk her. She returned home last week with a certified driver’s license in her hand. Do you have an explanation?”
“Not a good one,” he said. “Basically, I figured she was not going to quit trying and if I kept flunking her she would probably keep returning until she killed the both of us.”
“So you just decided to let her loose on the general public?”
“Better them than me,” he said lowering his head and returning to his paperwork.
There is of course a very important lesson to be learned from this sad story. The lesson as I see it is, What the heck is wrong with your daughter or mother going to beauty school? Or, Why should anyone take advice from Frankie Avalon?

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and columnist. His local column, the Eastpointer, won the first place 2007 humor award from the Florida Press Association. He has published several books. All of his books can be viewed and purchased on Contact for bookstore discounts and volume sales.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lawrence – My Hometown

Julian’s Problem

By Richard E. Noble

Julian was a grammar school buddy of mine. I remember riding my bike up Park St. to call Julian and then us both riding over, with Julian on the crossbar or handle bars of my little red bicycle, to Johnny Welsh’s house to play or hangout.
Julian had no yard to play in but Johnny lived in a complex with a few tenements clustered onto a big lot. We had plenty of room for stickball, outs, or catch. We had old baseball gloves and could kill a whole afternoon just tossing a baseball around a dirt yard or hitting a few grounders.
I met Johnny and Julian in the first grade at St. Rita’s. Julian had a very noticeable problem in school. It was not so noticeable in the earlier grades but it became more and more noticeable as we progressed through the grades. Julian had big trouble with oral reading. Now me and Johnny were not all that great either. We used the old finger pointing technique, going from word to word on the page and we stuttered over sounding out unfamiliar words too. But Johnny and I gradually improved. We were never great at it, but other kids didn’t laugh at us when our turn came. Julian, on the other hand, got the kids giggling. He was exceptionally bad.
By the time we were all up to the fifth and sixth grade he was still reading on a first and second grade level. The fifth grade nun was a toughie. She had no sympathy for Julian. I felt bad for him but many in the class laughed. It was easy to laugh when a kid in the fifth grade was stumbling over words like ‘running’ and ‘jumping’. Everybody figured that Julian wasn’t doing his homework. He wasn’t practicing his oral reading at home or wherever.
I knew Julian wasn’t stupid. We played together all the time. He spoke as well as anybody and he certainly wasn’t dumb. Me and Johnny were both considered somewhat smart (for boys) and we were better at sports than Julian. So Julian started drifting off – even from Johnny and me. He made the grammar school basketball team but he never started (played on the 1st team) and only got to play when we were winning by a good margin.
The fifth grade nun figured that Julian was just goofing off or being a wise guy. She would call on him for oral reading all the time. When the class broke up laughing she took up standing behind Julian and giving him a little slap to the back of the head every time he stuttered over a word. She would also use her “clicker” to poke him behind the ear or on the shoulder. Occasionally she poked a little too hard even for Julian who had become accustomed to her abuse. He would jump from his desk and grab the afflicted area.
When the nun finally realized that Julian wasn’t going to sit for her “encouragements,” she resorted to a tall pointed dunce cap. She sat Julian at one of the corners in the front of the room and made him sit there with his dunce cap on his head for the entire class. By this stage most of the kids weren’t laughing anymore. I know I sat in dread waiting for her to call on Julian to read. It was unpleasant to watch this day after day.
When the dunce cap petered out and Julian continued in his negative demonstrations, she ordered Julian to come to the front of the room and crawl under her desk. I can still see Julian scrunched up under her desk as the class progressed. I don’t remember anything that the teacher was teaching, but I do remember Julian sitting there. He never cried. He never protested. He sat there with his head hidden against his knees. I remember feeling terribly guilty and, of course, very sad for Julian. But what could be said? He should be practicing his reading. He should have been improving. He clearly wasn’t trying. So under the teacher’s desk or in the corner with a dunce cap on his head was the appropriate consequence.
One day while Julian was sitting under the teacher’s desk a woman’s face peeked through the tiny window in the classroom door. I saw the woman looking in. Suddenly the door flew open and there was Julian’s mother. “Where is my son,” she demanded. “I know this is his classroom, now where is he?” Julian remained under the teacher’s desk. Julian’s mother went directly over to the nun. The nun rose from her chair and Julian’s mom boldly pushed her chair aside and looked under the desk. “Oh my God,” she said. “Julian told me about this but I did not believe him. Come out from under there son.” After Julian reluctantly crawled out from under the teacher’s desk, his mother pulled him to her side. “What is wrong with you,” she demanded staring heatedly into the teacher’s eyes.
This was a difficult situation to analyze for us young tough Lawrence kids. Was Julian a sissy because he told his mother about being punished in school? Did the nun have the right attitude or was Julian’s mother justified?
Julian was never considered a tough guy. He had no schoolyard reputation to uphold. He was always rather quiet and sensitive and, of course, got more so as the school years went by. Some of the nuns in the earlier years just passed Julian by when it came to oral reading or instructed him to practice more at home and never called on him again. I don’t know what grades Julian got in his other subjects but he was promoted each year and was moved along. I figured that he was simply a poor oral reader. Some kids were afraid to read out loud or to stand up in front of the class and recite or complete a math problem on the blackboard.
The nun and Julian’s mother went out into the corridor. I really don’t remember what was the consequence of that day’s events but many, many years later, I bumped into Julian at the 5 O’clock Club at Salisbury beach. I remember being excited to see Julian again after all the years. We had a few drinks and talked. He had grown up to be a sensitive and well spoken young man. We talked of those days back at St. Rita’s. This was the first that I ever heard of dyslexia. I remember thinking at the time that he was making this dyslexia thing up but it didn’t matter to me. We all go through our tough times and we all grow up.
It was a week night at the beach and I was the only cottage member who was staying at the cottage fulltime. We had both had a number of drinks and Julian told me that he was going to spend that night sleeping in his car because he didn’t feel sober enough to drive back to Lawrence. I invited him down to the cottage. I told him no one was there but me and we had a number of empty beds. He accepted my invitation and slept over that evening. We went out to breakfast in the morning and I remember thinking what a nice kindhearted person little under-the-teacher’s-desk Julian had grown up to be.
It was only two or three weeks later I met Julian at the 5 O’clock Club once again. We were both in the same condition as the first meeting and I invited him back to the cottage. He refused. Accepting once was fine but he couldn’t impose every weekend. I insisted but he declined.
I read in the paper that next morning that Julian R a young male from Lawrence, Ma. was found dead in his automobile with the engine running. His car was parked in a public parking space at the end of the beach. I couldn’t believe it. I had told him that he could come over to our place any week night. The place was empty for god’s sake. But he couldn’t impose. He didn’t want to be a “sponge” or a “leach.” It was so senseless and I felt so bad. Why?
I have always had the same problem with death. I find all death a tragedy. I agree with Ernest Hemmingway who considered every life a tragedy, because every life ends in death. I can’t make qualifications either. I can’t say well he was a bad guy, or he drank too much, or he deserved to die because he didn’t live properly, or he was old. I do understand that there are some people who are better off being put to sleep for the sake of the rest of us, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden for example, but nevertheless I find nothing that excuses the tragedy of death. I find the whole thing totally unjustified from any point of view. It is always sad. I have learned very little from my many experiences watching it happen to others. But as with my grade school buddy, Julian, there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it. There is nothing that any of us can do about it. We can only watch as our friends, relatives, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, wives, husbands, grandparents, boyfriends and girlfriends, treasured family pets, celebrities, national heroes and in some cases, our own children die right before our eyes. It is no fun – no fun at all.

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and columnist. His local column, the Eastpointer, won the first place 2007 humor award from the Florida Press Association. He has published several books. All of his books can be viewed and purchased on Contact for information on writing a column for your publication or for bookstore discounts, volume sales and Noble Publishing special offers.

Monday, September 07, 2009

War and Economics Part III

Conclusion – Utopia Revisited

By Richard E. Noble

We have established in War and Economics I and II that War as business can not be profitable unless the residual businesses and the secondary revenue sources are able to bring in returns greater than the initial and subsequent investments. In other words the government’s spending on producing a War must be out-distanced by the taxes collected, plus the expanding residual industries created, plus the excess sales of superfluous or outdated weapons produced by the War Industries and manufactures. If all this truly happens, as it seems to be happening and as most Americans consciously or subconsciously believe - then War is in fact profitable. And just to repeat for clarity’s sake - War is basically a Government business which manufactures a product that is given away for free or actually used to destroy other things.
If, in fact, this is the case then we see why governments promote war and we substantiate the basic notion brought forward in the beginning of this thesis - “War is a profitable and good business practice.”
War begins with government spending or investment. Government investment leads to profit and employment. Profits and employment lead to consumption in residual industries. If tax returns from the War Industries amount to 1/3 of initial government outlay and tax return from residual industries return the other 2/3 - then we have a government or taxpayer based industry that is paying for itself.
If returns from residual industries (some of which have real products to produce) are greater than 2/3 of original taxpayer outlay and borrowed money to create the industry then we have a profit making industry without even selling or using the products produced by the Industry or collecting booty from a war.
Is this really possible? Can an industry be created where an actual product is not necessary? Where no capital goods are necessary? Well, it seems to be the case. War it does seem is exactly that type of industry.
What we are suggesting here is that all we need to do is expend taxpayer’s dollars (or even borrowed dollars - or better yet un-borrowed, debt free, created dollars) so that they are redistributed to a portion of the public in the form of wages and profits which are then spent for real products that then start a chain economic reaction of societal sustaining residual industries - with the original tax investment returned to the taxpayers to fund future investment? We have thus created perpetual economic motion.
If we can sell the products from our War Industry we can further increase the profits from our Tax funded business, but this would be gravy - not necessity. The products can be sold or they can be thrown away - or blown up or exploded - or buried in a land fill or whatever.
If what has been established in the above is true - war is in fact a profitable business which has cured depressions, recessions and monetary catastrophes of any kind and serves as a viable policy for the sustenance of a nation - then how could we apply the principles learned above to benefit our nation in a more positive way - possibly eliminating all the death and destruction?
Well, if you have understood and accepted the above formula it should be quite obvious that if war can work as a profitable business venture - anything can work. This is all pure Keynesian economics. In other words; we the people or the government get investment capital via borrowing, deficit spending and general taxation (or just employing a free monetary printing press). We invest that money in any enterprise that creates jobs. The jobs produce a product - the majority of which is thrown away, given away or destroyed. If any of this product is sold to anybody at any cost - that’s gravy. Our real profits come from the taxes collected on the new jobs created and on the profits of the new businesses and corporations along with the residual businesses established as a result of the prosperity created by our “seed” industry.
So for example, if we wanted to replace the Military Industrial Complex with the Health Care and Drug Industrial Complex, it would be simple. We start “factories” with our government seed revenues that produce drugs that cure diseases. As with bombs and bullets we don’t sell these products; we give them away. We hire researchers to find new products and we set our goal to cure every disease known to mankind. We hire additional people to go around the world curing people with these drugs. Or we can be “Capitalistic” and loan the money to the sick people so that they can buy these drugs from our company. When they become well we employ them in our industry or a residual industry of their own creation (free enterprise) and then they pay us back with interest or simply by creating more prosperity from which we all gain.
Now we have money coming in from the income taxes on the employees and the profits of the employing company.
The increased spending from the people with the good jobs in this industry promotes residual enterprises and more jobs. These businesses and jobs are also taxed and now we have more “cash flow”. As with arms, we sell our drugs to countries who can afford to pay for them – wherever and whenever we can. Through our research we make new and better drugs but then we sell the old technology to lesser developed countries. They will be more than happy to buy our old drug technologies - even if there are better products available, just as they have eagerly bought our old guns and bombs.
This whole scenario is exactly the same as our war machine but instead of destruction we bring Health. We have no cleanup program but instead we have an absence of sick and diseased people - who will work to produce other products that will serve to increase the World Gross International Product.
All our other industries - banks and whatever - will continue to work in their traditional ways - nothing will change. We will still have profits, salaries, wages, investments, invention, stocks and bonds, entrepreneurship and Capitalism. We will simply have constructive Capitalism instead of destructive Capitalism.
Different countries can pick different humanitarian industries to promote and they can develop their own Industrial Complex - if anyone can think of an Industry that actually sells a useful product so much the better.
We will all, of course, still be required to have our militaries but they can be geared down due to the obvious “peace divided’ that will result from an economic system that is clearly designed to do good and promote prosperity and health and happiness for all.
Almost any “business” that we could invent would be better than War. The products of our War industry are all blown up and destroyed and they are used to destroy other things. If we substitute producing an actual product - like health care drugs - we eventually sell them - possibly at a profit - instead of just giving them away. They develop in spin off industries and other residual business that involve building things instead of blowing things up. This creates rents, loans, interest payments salaries and whatnot. The world’s populations are employed, taxes are collected and this utopian business Complex becomes self perpetuating.
This whole concept is created on the idea of concocting a business without a true viable product - as the business of War does. The “product” of war is destruction; the product of our new industry will be creation - creation of anything positive.
If we accept that war works in the way that I have described it, then this business based on manufactured creation - as opposed to manufactured destruction - should work even better.
But if this whole scenario is false and War is nothing more than a sophisticated Ponzi scam that can only be sustained by another war and which will then only come to an end with the eventual destruction of all nations and their populations - then my Ponzi scam will also end accordingly but with positive as opposed to negative results.
The difference is that my economic Pozi scam, based on the “creation” of a better world, will only end after the whole world and everyone in it has been cured of all disease and benefited from every kind of knowledge; and every nation in the world has improved the living conditions of all of its population to the point where nothing better can be created or conceived.
If this be Ponzi, then so be it!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

War and Economics

Part II

By Richard E. Noble

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

Biographical Historical Essay

By Richard E. Noble

Senator Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin precipitated hysteria in the United States that seems to be only surpassed by A. Mitchell Palmer and the Wilson administration’s “Red Scare.”
The word “McCarthyism” was added to our language in his honor. As of this moment, I know of no one, right or left, not even one time McCarthy defender William F. Buckley Jr., who now classify McCarthy as an honorable character.
He even had his own little scandals going with cohort Roy Cohn and Cohn’s “chum” G. David Schine who was drafted into the Army to the dismay of Cohn - his whispered male sexual partner.
J. Parnell Thomas chaired the House Un-American Activities Committee. Thomas eventually went to jail for payroll padding and taking Kickbacks. Richard Nixon and Robert Kennedy were both on the McCarthy payroll at this time also.
During this fiasco many Hollywood celebrities like Robert Montgomery, Ronald Reagan, Adoiphe Menjou, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart and a host of others became infamous in leftist circles for ratting on their friends and fellow movie stars.
McCarthy was born on November 15, 1908 on a dairy farm in Appleton, Wisconsin. In 1942 McCarthy, age 35, joined the Marine Corps and received a direct commission as a first lieutenant. In an initiation in honor of the event of crossing the equator, he broke his left foot. A medic removing the cast burnt Joe’s leg with some glacial acetic acid. Using this injury, he evidently forged a letter describing his “heroism” and signed his commanding officer’s name to it. This resulted in a citation signed by Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Although Roosevelt won every election handily and always had a Democratic majority in both the house and the Senate, by the time that Truman came along the public was ready for a change. Truman won over Dewey in a real squeaker, but the Democrats lost both the House and the Senate. From then on the Truman administration was under fire. The suggestion that the Democrats had been soft on Communism had been prevalent all during the Roosevelt years, but with the Republican victories in 1946 and 1948 the poop really hit the fan.
Alger Hiss was first on the Republican hit list. Hiss was not convicted of treason or on charges of espionage. He was convicted on December 15, 1948 on two counts of perjury. He had stated in his testimony that he had never turned any documents over to George Crossley (Whittaker Chambers) and that he had not seen Mr. Crossley after Jan. 1, 1937. Hiss was indicted on two counts of perjury. In a second trial - the first ending in a hung jury - he was convicted. The statute of limitations had run out on any espionage charges against Hiss. The material that it was accused he had secreted to the Russians was deemed harmless and insignificant but yet he was still convicted. He was convicted of lying under oath to the Commission that he didn’t know Whittaker Chambers and had no recollection of ever transferring any documents to him.
In 1949, China was lost to the Communist movement and then in February of 1950 came the arrest of Dr. Klaus Fuchs for espionage. Fuchs was one of the distinguished nuclear physicists who had worked on the Atomic bomb. Shortly after Fuchs, McCarthy came onto the scene in red, white and blue. These events, coupled with the joyous defeat of Adolf and Nazism left the American public unconcerned about profiteering on the part of American business and their trading with the Nazis; obfuscated any threat from right wing Nazis in American government, and put the onus on “the Communist threat” and Stalin.
The stage was set and McCarthy, an Irish-Catholic representing a German-American constituency, jumped in with both feet. McCarthy is credited with starting an epic hysteria often compared to the Puritan Salem Witch hunts promoted by playwright Arthur Miller. McCarthy accused everyone short of the Pope (the Pope was, of course, a Nazi and Fascist sympathizer and supporter being adamantly opposed to the atheistic Communist movement) of being a Communist or a “pinko”, including General George Marshall. McCarthy, was more anti-Democratic Party than anti-Communist Party. He attacked any Democrat - even the staunchest of Capitalists and party stalwarts.
Truman had sent Marshall to China to survey the situation there. In his report, Marshall recommended that we should seek to get a union between Mao Tse-tung and Chaing Kai Shek. He didn’t think much of Chaing. This led McCarthy to accuse Marshall of heading up the biggest spy ring that America had ever known and led to a right wing investigation of the entire U.S. Army and eventually McCarthy’s downfall.
The Rosenbergs were convicted and then executed during this era. They were the only couple ever to be executed for espionage during a time of peace in American history.
The Eisenhower administration is usually credited with bringing down McCarthy. But he was also anti-Communist. He passed Executive order 10450, which intensified Truman’s system of making government employment a privilege and not a right. This was a battle between Republicans and right wing Republicans. Most main stream Republicans didn’t like McCarthy any more than the Democrats. McCarthy’s tactics were underhanded and abusive and he was personally brash, rude and belligerent. Eisenhower was ready to split the party if push came to shove. Eisenhower thought Truman had handled McCarthy all wrong; “In sheer political terms I was increasingly convinced that I would defeat him by ignoring him.” Eisenhower considered McCarthy a big-mouthed attention getter. His goal was to give the man as little attention and press as possible.
But when McCarthy and Cohn got into a battle with the Army over the drafting of Schine - McCarthy and company had bit off more than they could chew. When he started calling U.S. war generals Communists, the Army formed ranks and fought back. It wasn’t long before the Army and Eisenhower had McCarthy backing up.
Many thought McCarthy was pushing for the presidency. His lies, fabrications, and total lack of moral ethics may really have had more to do with his downfall than the efforts of his opponents.
But were there really people in the Democratic Party who were sympathetic to the Communists in the government? There were plenty; just as there were people in the Republican Party who were sympathetic to the Nazis. There were people who were pro-Communist and people who were pro-Nazi working daily in the Roosevelt Cabinet and administration - and Roosevelt knew it. Roosevelt wanted everybody out in the open where he could keep track of them.
After the War the U.S could have gone either right or left. That is why McCarthy becomes important as an historical figure. Instead of having Congress investigating people in the government and the business community who had been carrying on treasonous activities with Hitler, McCarthy actually succeeded in turning the focus on the Communists and turning people who had supported an alley into traitors. It was a truly masterful “spinning” of circumstances and events and, of course, Uncle Joe Stalin did not do anything to hurt the cause either. Throughout the entire population of the United States there were pro-Communists and pro-Nazis. The country had been divided on which side to support right up to December 7, 1941.
McCarthy was without doubt an extreme right wing Republican, but really he was not any more extreme than many of the right wing Republicans of today. Many Americans supported McCarthy and McCarthyism and many Americans supported Hitler and Nazism and many Americans supported Marx and Communism and Norman Thomas and Socialism and Labor and Unionism - and all the very same battles and arguments go on today - only the vocabulary has changed. Today’s “ism” is not Socialism, Communism, Unionism, Capitalism, Anarchism, Bolshevism, Americanism, Nationalism, Patriotism, Elitism; it’s Globalism, Terrorism, Militarism and most of all Extremism. I think the most fearful of these “ism’s” is still the last - Extremism. Extremism implies more than enthusiasm and zealousness - it implies excess, abuse, fanaticism, fear and hatred.
McCarthy lost his Senate seat, became an alcoholic and died in 1957.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Lawrence – My Hometown

Jack Sheehy

By Richard E. Noble

So how long have I known John Robert Michael McSheehy Sr.? Well, I suppose there were a couple of years in the beginning of my life that I didn’t know Jack, but they were very few. The psychologists say that love is mutually compensating neuroses. Well in the love that constituted our life long friendship, I was certainly the neurotic and Jack did a lot of compensating. Jack was my sounding board. We talked and talked and talked. That is not exactly true. I talked and talked and talked and Jack listened and listened and listened.
My wife has been my sounding board for the last thirty years, but she has never been as good a sounding board as Jack. She talks back sometimes. Jack never talked back - most of the time he laughed. Occasionally he would say, F’em Nobes, if they can’t take a joke just F’em. He never questioned my motives. He knew where I was coming from and he knew that was a good place to be from. He had trust in my good spirit and my intensions – if not always in my judgments and decisions.
I made him laugh. I did so many right things for the wrong reasons and so many wrong things for the right reasons, that I was funny to him. I was often more funny in his eyes than when viewed from my own perspective. When I would relate my latest tragedy to him, I would even make me laugh.
I made his mother laugh too. I can remember sitting in the Sheehy’s little kitchen on Center St. As kids we used to stand out on the sidewalk and yell our buddy’s name up to the proper tenement floor. We would direct the volume of the yell by cupping our hands on each side of our mouth.
“Hey Jack-eee,” I’d scream. His mother would come out onto the porch and say, “Come on up, Richie.”
I liked Mrs. Sheehy. I would go bounding up the stairs trying to think of what stupid kind of a story I would make up for her this week. She loved to hear me talk about my mother. She was raised with my mother in Lawrence. They knew one another as kids. Mrs. Sheehy knew what a proper lady my mother was. So when she would ask what my mother was up to these days and I would tell her that mom had just got a job driving a forklift or running the crane at the city dump or driving a sixteen wheeler cross country, Mrs. Sheehy would crack up laughing.
“It is not the smell of the garbage from the dump that bothers the rest of us in the family so much, it’s those little stubby cigars she’s smoking now. You know those Italian rope things? Boy do they smell.”
I’d have Mrs. Sheehy rolling on the linoleum before I left. I’d still be hitting her with one liners as Jack would be pushing me along out the front door. “Come on Groucho, let’s move it.”
We went to grammar school together. We went to high school together. We went to college together. We hung on the Corner together – several Corners. We thumbed to the beach together. We went to the CCHS dances together. We rented cottages at the beach together. We sat in a hallway on Park St. on many a cold winter evening next to Erslow’s bakery eating Sicilian style pizza. We liked it because it was BIG and it sold for ten cents a slice. It was like good Italian sauce on a half a loaf of fresh Italian bread.
We would walk all the way over to the Immaculate Conception Church to get a homemade lemon slush. There was a guy on Park St. who had something similar but we liked the guy over by the church. Walking didn’t bother us. We walked everywhere. We had a game we played. We called it “flipping.” We would walk to an intersection then stop and flip a coin - heads we go left, tails we go right. We walked all over Lawrence and Methuen.
I have been a writer forever and when I started Jack got first crack at all my poems and short stories. His criticism was always the same, “You always write exactly what happened. You are hung up on the truth. You think you have to live everything before you can write about it. If you want to be a real writer you have to forget about the truth and learn to make things up.”
When Jack finally read my book A Summer with Charlie he said, “Nobes, I don’t know what is happening to your memory but you screwed everything up in this book. The only thing that is true and really happened is Chuckie was in the Navy and stayed with us one season at the beach and then he died. The rest is total fiction.”
I said, “Aren’t you proud of me. I finally wrote a story that I made up, just like you have been telling me to do all these years.” He laughed.
Me, Jack and Dutch grew into drinking companions. When we got old enough to get served and could drink “indoors” we would sit around at some club or bar after work each evening and talk all night. Well, me and Dutch would talk and Jack would listen. We did this for years. We were the three ‘old maids’. All the other guys had deserted the Corner and run off and gotten married.
One evening after about eleven or twelve years, Dutch and I realized that Jack never said anything. We said we have to get Jack into this talking business. Dutch and I decided that we would dedicate a special evening each week to conversation initiated by Jack.
The first week we tried it. Jack said, “Screw you two guys. You guys say the same thing every night and you think you’re having a new conversation. All you guys do is manipulate the letters a little and change the punctuation here and there and you think you said something new. It is the same old stuff every night – night after night after night.”
Dutch and I were rather shocked. We not only thought that we were having new and stimulating conversations every night, we thought that Jack was having a good time too. Now the first time we let Jack speak and he hits us with this.
“Well then,” I said. “How come when we call you every night – like we have been doing for the last forty years – you always come with us? We were both under the false impression that you were having a good time.”
“I am having a good time.”
“You are? Listening to us say the same thing over and over every damn night? How can that be fun?”
“I have fun if the people around me are having fun. As long as you two buttholes are happy, I’m happy.”
“All right! Did you hear that, Dutch? Jack is happy as long as we are happy. And if we are ever NOT happy, we will just carry Jack off to a nearby table with people sitting there who appear to be happy, set him down and then he will be happy.”
“Ok, you see now,” said Dutch. “You shared that with Rich and me and now we know how to make you happy. That’s great Jack. You did really well on your first time out of the garage with this conversation business. Now next Thursday we are going to let you talk again. You have a whole week to think of something ‘new’ to say. Now don’t give us this ‘I’m happy if your happy stuff’ next week. We want some NEW conversation. And don’t try just moving the letters around because, thanks to you, we are now onto that trick.”
“Oh F--- you guys,” Jack said, “Can we get another round of drinks over here. These two clowns are running out of conversation and they’re blaming me. They need something to jar their tongues loose and kill a few more brain cells.”
Over the years, I have had the good fortune to always be able to reach Jack via the telephone at the Pizza Pub and practice my latest routine on him or relate my latest tragedy.
One Friday evening when I needed a boost, I gave Jack a call. I had completely forgotten that it was Friday night – Jack’s busiest night at the Pub for call-in pizza orders. I had a few beers and was babbling away. We talked until 10 or 11 o’clock. Jack laughed and laughed and never said a word about his business. I found out later from one of the help that people were trying to call all night but every time he went over to Jack to remind him that he was in the business of selling pizzas, Jack would wave him off and say, “I’m talking to my buddy Nobes, don’t bother me.”
When Ray Dolan, one of the old gang, died they had a reception/party of sorts, I was told. Everything was free and paid for by the Dolan family. When it was over one of Ray Dolan’s kids came over to the table where Jack and the other Howard Associates were sitting. “We have a problem,” Dolan’s kid said. “We ran out of money before everybody got tired of drinking. We’re short seven or eight hundred dollars.” While the guys tried to figure out how much was in the treasury and where to find the treasurer, Jack got up from the table and went into the men’s room. When he returned, he handed Ray Dolan’s son the required number of hundred dollar bills. “That’s from the Howard Associates,” Jack told him. It seems Jack always kept a little cash money in his shoe to cover emergencies. When I was told that story, I was not the least bit surprised. It was just what I would have expected Jack to do – if he could.
He loved the town of Lawrence and its people. He wasn’t going to leave even if it meant making the Pizza Pub into a military style bunker with bars on the windows and bullet proof doors. Everyplace was Lawrence to Jack – simply buildings and people with a barroom here and there.
Jack grew up to be that little Irish Leprechaun that we chased around the corridors of St. Rita’s grammar school as kids every St. Paddy’s day. Catch that little elf and you got to share in his pot of gold. He had money for every cause and a little for anybody whenever he could – even if their cause was not all that heartbreaking or justified. He was my shamrock and good luck charm. He never stopped smiling or laughing. He was born under the astrological sign representing laughs, good times, and happy memories. He was the same for a lot of folks.
Jack died yesterday - Friday, August 14, 2009.
I know what is going to happen now. I’m going to get feeling low and my mind will say, Give your buddy Jack a call down at the Pizza Pub. By the time I get to the phone and start looking through my numbers, it will hit me that there is no more Jack and I can’t call him. I’m going to be sitting at the phone holding back the tears and trying to remember how his laugh sounded.
I hope you get a good table up there Mister Sheehy – Mister John Robert Michael McSheehy Sr. – and if the other people at your table are not all that funny, give me a call. I’ll think of something.
War and Economics

By Richard E. Noble

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