Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Little Something


By Richard E. Noble

The majority of my friends, and myself, spent the most of our young adult lives ... looking for love in all of the wrong places. I don’t think that we knew what we were doing. I don’t think that we realized that we were looking for love. But that is what we were doing. That is what we are all doing ... no matter how we express, or try to deny it. That is what we are doing.

Mister Duchnowski was the Dad of one of my bosom lifelong buddies. Every time that we saw him, he had the same advice for us. We had heard his advice so many times, that we knew his lecture by heart. We were always respectful to Mister D., but for the most part we thought of him as somewhat odd. I think that he knew what we thought, but he continued to give us the same speech nevertheless. There were times when we just laughed. We never took him seriously. We never really listened to his well intended lecture. And, we never followed his advice.

Today, Mister Duchnowski is no longer with us, but I can still see him smiling, his teeth back home on the bureau soaking in a glass, his stained, flat-topped golf cap stationed askew atop his wavy gray, and those polish eyes sparking sincerely and hopefully as he offered to us his best thought considerations with regards to our future love life. I still smile as I hear his voice, but now that I am the age that he was then, I have to think twice about what he was trying to say to us. I don’t think that we should have been laughing.

Here’s to you Mister D; and here’s Mister D to the all of you.


Listen to me ... listen to me!
You guys is entirely on the wrong track, ya see.
Skip the nightclubs, the booze, and the dim lights.
Take yourself down to a church bean supper one of these nights.

The prettiest girls that you have ever seen,
are right there in the line, spoonin’ out the beans.
I know, I know, you think that I’m old and outta my mind,
but believe me, at them ham and bean suppers are the prettiest
girls that you’ll ever find.

You wouldn’t believe the girl last night slicin’ up the German rye.
It gave ten years back to my life just to see that sweet look in her eye.
And next to her, with the Polish Kielbasey,
was an Italian girl by the name of Bonacarsee.

That dark hair and olive skin ... she could a been a movie star.
And there you guys are, down some dive or two bit bar.
What do you think you’re gonna meet down there?
You guys are missin’ it, I’m tellin’ ya ... But I don’t care.

My life’s over. It’s no matter to me.
But if it’s beautiful girls that you’re lookin’ for
them bean suppers is where you oughtta be.
That’s right! That’s right!

Oh yeah, you can laugh all you want,
but them Church bean suppers
are the places you guys oughtta haunt.
The prettiest girls that I’ve ever seen,
spoonin’ out pork ‘n beans like outta some dream.

You guys is just missin’ the boat.
Why it puts a lump right here in my throat
to think if I was you guy-es age,
I’ll tell ya, I wouldn’t be watchin’ some nude-y dancin’
in some cage.

I’d be down to one of them bean suppers, in a rush
tryin’ to steal a smile or pinch a blush
from one of them lovelies with sauce on her apron,
and bread flour smearin’ her chest.

Take it from me, it’s at them bean suppers
where the girls are the best.
You can leave it behind ... you can forget all the rest,
try one of them church bean suppers

and then you tell me if them girls ain’t the best.
That’s right! That’s right!
You try one of them bean suppers some night.
then you come back and tell me if old Mr. Duchnowski didn’t tell ya what’s right.

You just try one of them bean suppers some night
and see if what I tell you ain’t right.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf

This is a small compliation from my book:

Mein Kampf - An analysis of Book One.

Adolf Killing ideas:

“...Thus, summing up, one can say the following: Every attempt at fighting a view of life by means of force will finally fail, unless the fight against it represents the form of an attack for the sake of a new spiritual direction. Only in the struggle of two views of life with each other can the weapon of brute force, used continuously and ruthlessly, bring about the decision in favor of the side it supports. It was on this account that the fight against Marxism had failed so far. This was also the reason why Bismarck’s anti-socialist laws finally failed and were bound to fail, despite all efforts. The platform of a new view of life was lacking for the rise of which the fight could have been fought ...”

Adolf on the destruction of an idea

“...the following fundamental realization is the result; Conceptions and ideas, as well as movements with a certain spiritual foundation, may these be right or wrong, can be broken at a certain point of their development with technical means of power only if these physical weapons are at the same time the supporters of a new kindling thought, an idea, or view of life. Use of force alone, without the driving forces of a spiritual basic idea as presupposition, can never lead to the destruction of an idea and its spreading, except in the form of a thorough eradication of even the last representative and the destruction of the last tradition.”

Noble on Killing ideas

And this is exactly what Adolf proceeded to do. He fought the notion of peace with the militarist glory of war.

He fought fear of death with the inevitable notion of the Social Darwinist that death is for the weak and sickly.

He preached immortality through the preservation of the race and nation to which he belonged; your death is of little significance when put aside the advancement of ‘your kind’.

He challenged democracy with the practicality and efficiency of dictatorship.
He challenged the principle of kindness and charity with the obvious unkindness and lack of charity provided by the everyday example of the All Mighty and exhibited through the vision of his pitiless disciple, Mother Nature.

He combated socialism with elitism, and appeals to the glory of the individual.
He combated the growing spirit of internationalism, with the more personal and less humanitarian notion of nationalism and patriotism.

He likened debate and thoughtful argumentation to a lack of resolve and an inability to make a decision and thus a lack of leadership.

For every thesis out there in the world about him, he provided an antithesis. He provided the practicality of Hegel with the fanaticism of Nietzsche.

Without doubt, Adolf was the spokesman for a faith. The preacher and the defender of the principles of the barbarian, the warlord, the defender of the sword; a preacher for the righteousness and glory of destruction; the gallant, fearless, defender of the dominant, the unsympathetic, and the right of might; a true defender of the principle of selfishness, and cruelty, all for the sake of the survival of ‘culture’ and the true chosen people. The modern day Ayn Rand political ideals and much of our conservative notions of today, Glenn Beck for example, are a spin-off from the above fundamentals of Hitler-ism in my opinion.

So Adolf provided along with terrorists tactics, a new faith, a new religion, a new philosophy – the principles of this new religion being Race, Country, Might.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Richard Dawkins

The God Delusion

By Richard Dawkins

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

Richard Dawkins is British. He is a scientist and an avid supporter of Darwin and the concept of Natural Selection. He is a professor at Oxford University. He is also an atheist – or as close as one can get to an atheist by his own definition. He offers no support for “faith” or religion. The Bible and the God of the Old Testament are not two of his favorite things. In case there is any doubt about where Mr. Dawkins stands on those issues let me quote a snippet from page 31 of this text:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty, ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously, malevolent bully.”

I should think that quote by itself should absolve the author from any returns made by purchasers claiming that they bought this book by mistake. They thought that the author was a Christian Theologist and now they would like their money back.
He defines “faith” as belief beyond reason. And he further states that this is not a good thing. To encourage others to believe in what is not reasonable, or beyond logic and scientific reasoning, is the source of most of the world’s problems and has been for centuries. He feels it should be discouraged.

He is not a supporter of organized religions. He supports those who feel that teaching religion to children is a form of child abuse. He feels that educating children into religions should be stopped. Everyone notices the outrage of this practice when viewing the practice among religions not of their choice but find the whole process legitimate with their own children and their religious choice.
I would say that this book is basically an argument against belief in God or a God and the dangers of organized religion. The author deals with this controversial subject intellectually and reasonably. His views are very strong but he supports them with logical arguments and science.

He dismisses the proofs for the existence of God by St. Thomas Aquinas in as quick and a simple a fashion as I have ever read. He covers many of the basic philosophical arguments in a simple and direct language. For a more in depth analysis of this subject I would recommend “The Impossibility of God” edited by Michael Martin and Rici Monnier.

The author says that he is attempting to open people’s awareness and especially their awareness of the ramifications of Darwin’s principle of Natural Selection.
He has got my curiosity. I am interested in his explanations and I am certainly not as aware as he would like me to be.
For example: At one point in the book he argues with those who contend that the Universe and Life could not have been a matter of chance. The author agrees but contends that the argument is not between chance and design by a supernatural creator but between chance and Natural Selection.

I’m of the opinion that chance is fine. It is the only reasonable alternative and an acceptable answer. To posit God as an answer to the complicated origin of life and the Universe when there is no evidence of the existence of such a phenomenon is the same as saying Santa Clause did it or it was the Fairy Queen who is responsible for life and the Universe. It is a non-sequitur.
I can understand the author’s position in choosing Natural Selection as the origin of life but I do not see how Natural Selection answers the question of the origin of the Universe. Natural Selection is also subject to the infinite regression argument as is God.

To say that the Universe always was and always will be in one shape or form or another is fine with me. I see no other rational alternative at this time. To say that it “came about” via a process of “Natural Selection,” I find confusing. Clearly I need to be made more aware. I have another of the author’s books on my reading shelf “The Extended Phenotype.” I will read that and see if I can become more aware.
This book, The God Delusion, is simple, easy to read and covers the basics of apostasy as I see it. The author pulls no punches and presents his view confidently and unabashed.

I commend the author, Richard Dawkins, for speaking out as forcefully as he does. Theologists and the modern crowd of evangelicals are not the least bit timid in making their superstitions public. I see no reason why those of a contrary and more rational opinion should not do likewise.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Strike Heaven On the Face

By Charles Calitri

Book Review

By Richard Edward Noble

It is claimed that the setting of this book is Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts – specifically the Methuen and Lawrence areas. There are enough tiny references in the work to confirm that suspicion. That is the reason I picked it up. I’m from Lawrence.

But the book is not about the area. It is generic. It could have happened anywhere in America.

It is a school teacher’s story. It is idealistic and at the same time very earthy and real. The characters are real people. The plot is believable and even exciting. There is no doubt in the reader’s mind that the author of this work is an intelligent human being.

Mr. Calitri was a school teacher and then a college professor. One of his students was Frank McCourt of Angela’s Ashes fame.

This book made Mr. Calitri wealthy. He sold the movie rights to Strike Heaven in the Face for a quarter of a million dollars – in 1950 dollars. It was sensationalized and Mr. Calitri said that he laughed all the way to the bank. But as a consequence of this success he was able to pursue another work which he felt to be of a much greater significance, Father.Mr. Calitri’s dad, it seems, was also a Catholic priest. His father had a great influence on Mr. Calitri’s life. I imagine the book “Father” will also be an interesting read.

In Strike Heaven on the Face we are introduced to a typical 50’s type school system in a strongly religious community. We have the young rebellious teacher and the practical minded principal and in between we have our hero. The book is loaded with characters that everyone will recognize. They are you and your neighbors. They are your daughters and your sons. They are everyday people from anywhere U.S.A.

A “gang” or more accurately a club evolves among the students. The activities of the students of this club become known and shock the community. And thus the intrigue begins.

This is an old book and is no longer in print but it is claimed to have sold over a million copies so with some hunting a person should be able to find a copy if they are interested. It is a good story, a story that continues in one form or another to this very day. It is intelligent and thoughtful and it is very well written. I enjoyed it and have no fear in giving it a positive recommendation.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Exorbitant Privilege

Exorbitant Privilege

The Decline of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System

By Barry Eichengreen

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

I chose this book to read because I wanted to know more about paper money and the U.S. dollar in particular. We can learn even by reading books that we disagree with.
This book is well written, easily understandable, informative, and not beyond the scope of any student of history or economics.

I am sure that Mr. Eichengreen feels that he has presented the economic facts of life and that his analysis and conclusions are the only common sense economic alternatives. I disagree and I have no doubt that he will disagree with my criticisms of his philosophy and alternatives. But first I will give credit to the author for writing a very interesting and informative book and state some of the things that the author has taught me or made me better informed about.

I now know what the Exorbitant Privilege is.

The Exorbitant Privilege is a negative description of the advantage given to the Dollar by virtue of its being the currency of international choice. It is an actual monetary advantage that the Dollar enjoys (as high as 6%) because of its history and the fact that it has been the number one choice as a reserve currency of central banking systems throughout the world. This is a condition not necessarily admired or appreciated by other nations competing for economic equality in the world of international finance. Because of this “Exorbitant Privilege” the U.S. is able to operate with a 6% deficit spending and still break even in the international market place.

Secondly, I learned what it means to be a reserve currency. Where nations once horded precious metals, like gold and silver, in reserve to back up their paper money, they now use Dollars. The Dollar is and has been the new financial world’s gold. The Dollar is, at present, gold in 68% of the central banking systems of the world. It was once even higher but in recent years it has been challenged by the Euro. The Euro is now gold in 32% of the central banking systems of the world.
To be the reserve currency to the world gives numerous advantages but harbors many perils. Pointing out these advantages and perils is the major scope of this book as I see it.

Another smaller point of interest to me was the author’s economic insights to the famous Marshall Plan. We always hear the Marshall Plan being touted positively as the greatest act ever of generosity and sound economic thinking. Very rarely is the perilous side of this generosity expounded upon. The biggest point of interest to me is the fact that in order to perform this act of generosity the U.S. had to put its own economic position and the stability of the Dollar in jeopardy.

The author tells us that the money to supply to our European allies did not exist. It had to be printed up and in excess to the gold that backed it at the time. It was extremely inflationary and dangerous but who was to complain? Certainly not the recipients.

In today’s conservative parlance money was manufactured from nowhere. In effect, the post war world was rescued by “fiat money.” By what gold bugs would call worthless pieces of paper.

If the countries in Europe took the dollars given to them and instead of investing them in their own countries and people, chose to speculate and cash them in for gold, they could have bankrupted the U.S. treasury. They could have made themselves or a few of their bankers and super-wealthy, very rich. They didn’t because it was to their advantage not to … at first. They could become richer by using the Dollar to invest in their people and their country’s reconstruction.

By the time we arrived at the post World War II Nixon administration the economic situation had changed. Some of our European beneficiaries now felt that the U.S. had been manipulative and overly demanding with their almighty Dollar. They started turning them in for U.S. treasury gold. It was then that Nixon took America off the gold standard. The U.S. would no longer trade their treasury gold for dollars. Nixon and the legislature who approved this action, in effect, created this paper world that so many conservative thinkers are so hateful of today. The dollar would now “float” in the international market place. It would become a commodity as opposed to a security, I guess one could say. From that point forward all paper money would be valued against all of its competitors in an international marketplace.
The author then continues to present the international Dollar situation, describing alternatives and possibilities that could be on the international economic horizon.
The author uses his trained economic “conventional wisdom” to outline what he thinks must now be done … only giving ground to a lack of political will in doing what he suggests is economic reality and common sense. It is here that he falls back on Thomas Carlyle’s “dismal science” that he has learned to know and love in his college and university training.

His prognosis is to basically downsize the American standard of living, cut the middle class, cut wages, cut government, cut benefits, negatively spin unions and prepare for the flood of superior foreign global competition by advising Americans to put on nose plugs and resign themselves to gulping and swallowing large amounts of economic foreign overflow as they slowly go under until we reach a parody with China, India, Asia and the middle East.

In demanding this balanced budget on the backs of the middle and lower class and an overall downsizing of Middle American life, he dismisses military cuts and imperial aspirations in two very short statements. One statement philosophizing the inevitability of war and the necessity for defense spending and the other referencing a rather dubious figure equating military spending and GDP. In closing that door, he then closes the door on tax increases to the power of the Republicans leaving the only alternative of domestic and social cuts. This is monumental understatement and absurdity. I assume the author is attempting to be glib.

In all fairness the author does not state his prognosis in the exact terms as I have above but this is how I read it, nevertheless. He closes the book by stating that the fate of the Dollar is all in our hands and not the hands of the Chinese. He says this is the good news. But this was all prefaced by the necessity of solving our Dollar problems in accordance with his dismal notions of necessity.

I would like to counter some of his conventional wisdom with some of my radical Americanism.

The author keeps closing open doors and boxing himself and us in his dark economic cave of limited possibilities. The first door he closes is that of the global economy. He accepts it unquestionably. I disagree strongly.

There is no product that we can manufacture here cheaper and more efficiently than it can be manufactured in some foreign country. Therefore to compete on a global, totally free market basis is an outright loser for the U.S. Anyone that says otherwise, in my opinion, is simply pulling your leg. We can’t do it.

Our standard of living is too high. Our values are too high. And rightfully so. We should not throw our hands in the air and give up our values and our standards. We also cannot change the standards and values of our worldly competitors. We must fight, not conform.

We must nationalize our own standards and values and protect them with incentives and legislation as the situation demands. Japan, China, Germany and other countries have been doing this all along. We have got to start competing by designing a level playing field where we make the design and not our competitors and to the advantage of our workers and our national industries. And I emphasize National to the exclusion of international.

When you hear the president or anybody else boasting about the competitiveness and superiority of the American labor force they are blowing smoke up the American workers butt and it is as simple as that. Any worker can sit on a forklift or tractor or press the green or red button. Don’t kid yourselves. This “global” reality must be recognized.

The author then states that we have a negative trade balance that must be corrected. He explains arguments for devaluating the dollar and thus making our exports more attractive to foreign countries. He demonstrates how this is a delusion and does not work.

But there is more than one way to balance our negative trade balance and it has nothing to do devaluating or inflating anything. Our economy is our working people. The Dollar is the tale of the dog, not the dog. Manipulating the tale does not wiggle the dog. It’s the reverse that is required.

We could increase our exports … if we had anything to export. Rather than increasing our exports, we could decrease our imports. No we are not going to tighten our belts, stop buying and start doing without. We could decrease our imports by reclaiming production and manufacturing markets here at home. We all wear shoes. We all wear underwear. These manufacturing outlets and a thousand more can be reestablished here at home via incentives to national companies who have no overseas attachments. Don’t call General Electric, let them call us. The author dismisses this notion by stating that this type manufacturing America should be glad to be rid of. This is foolishness. Eighty-three percent of Americans agree that the U.S. must increase its lost manufacturing capacity.

We can also encourage new domestic manufacturing. But for any new manufacturer to invest here at home, he will have to be granted incentives and some security. China has manufacturers competing for the right to put a plant in their country. We have the largest market in the world. We should be doing the same. No one is going to invest millions here at home in electric cars or wind mill motors only to see their investment go down the drain in a year or two because of cheaper imports from China, Asia, India, or Europe.

The author points out that too much of our national debt is in the hands of foreign governments. We can thank Ronald Reagan who was the first to borrow and spend more than American’s could buy. I suggest we declare a war on foreign debt. Let’s get our government back in the War Bond business. Start a campaign offering bonds to American investors ONLY … common working people as well as big money people, a bond a week at work etc. Pay us a little worth while interest and then use our cash to gradually buy back some of this foreign debt. Most of us regular people will spend and invest our interest right here in our own backyard. It’s a win/win situation. Give Americans the chance to own America once again. We all may be surprised at the results.

I could go on and on but the point is simple. Think nationally. We can actively participate in the global market place but with reservations and to our advantage. Any company currently importing to the United State could be required to establish 20% of their totally manufacturing here in the U. S. or pay a premium. Make trade agreements fair to working Americans not international investors. And the truth is if our government can no longer be trusted to do this for us, Americans are going to have to figure out ways to do it for themselves.

P.J. O'Rouke

All the Trouble in the World

By P.J. O’Rourke

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

I am very surprised that there are not more reviews panning this book. Since no one thus far has put a review in the single star category, I will take pleasure in being the first.

“Oh how do I dislike thee, let me count the ways.”

This is not a funny book. This is a vicious hard hitting rightwing diatribe – couched in sarcasm disguised as humor. Most of what the author disparages as ridiculous has already come about since the publication of this book of dystopian, mental lethargy.

Unless you are of the opinion that all is right with the world and nothing can change it; that poverty is Devine Wisdom with regards punishing the lazy; that wealth to any degree is God’s way of rewarding his “chosen people”; that sickness is the problem of the diseased and under the purview of Providence and not man; that education is meant for those who can afford it; that protecting the wealth and property of the rich and famous is the sole purpose of government and so forth and so on, you will find nothing endearing in this book – and nothing new. It is the same old same old, page after page after page.

The author is most definitely making the attempt to appear obnoxious. The picture on the cover should be enough to substantiate that claim. Being obnoxious clearly wins applause by other folks who also are of the opinion that this is the best of all possible worlds and any attempt to make it better is pure folly.

I had intended to close this review by making the disparaging remark that P.J. O’Rourke was nothing more than a sophisticated Rush Limbaugh. But I have decided against that. This book is really not that sophisticated either.

I picked up this book exiting a goodwill store. It was in a basket marked “free.” I often return books to the goodwill when I’ve finished with them but not this one. This one is going directly into my trash can. Unfortunately, this has not been a case of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure. This is more like: one man’s trash being another man’s trash.