Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hooked on Books - America's Nazi Secret

America’s Nazi Secret

By John Loftus

Book review

By Richard E. Noble

This is my second adventure into the world of espionage and Nazi hunting with John Loftus.

Make no mistake, this is a very confusing and deceptive business with agents, double agents, triple agents, counter spies, terrorists and most frightening of all, U.S. government agencies. Mr. Loftus is not appreciated in the world of governments. His books have all been censored for years. He was warned with the threat of imprisonment not to print certain information in his possession thirty years ago and has been restricted accordingly.

In this book Mr. Loftus takes on the Justice Department, the CIA, the OSS, the DoD, the State Department, several presidents and numerous bigwigs in the business of espionage and spying. He names names and gives addresses. There is no doubt in this reader’s mind that this author’s life and that of his family has been under constant threat for many years of his adult life. He is playing with some of the worst people on the planet. He is one of a small handful of writers who have taken up the justifiable cause of exposing Nazis in the United States and around the world. This is a mighty scary business but yet he remains very civil and extremely understanding of people and their mistakes.

The philosophies of Nazism and fascism are philosophies of guiltless slaughter.
Unlike socialism and communism which are based on idealistic, utopian principles that have been corrupted by unscrupulous individuals, Nazism has no idyllic base. It is a declared philosophy of unconscionable acquisition, genocide and murder. I know of no other political philosophy as horrendous and deserving of suppression.

I see no political prejudice in this author’s work. He is harsh to both sides but mostly to individuals.

Certain names keep reappearing in these books: the Dulles Brothers, Gehlen, John J. McCloy, Wisner, Cheney, Bush, Bohlen, William Casey, the Carlisle Group, Averell Harriman, George Kennan, Joe McCarthy, Henry Kissinger, General Patton, Ronald Reagan, Radio Free Europe, Rockefeller, Harold and Kim Philby, William Donovan, Edward, the Duke of Windsor and others.

“Of the 15,000 Nazi war criminals officially estimated to have lived in America, fewer than one hundred received any form of mild sanction from the Justice Department, and that at the staggering cost of more than a half-million dollars per case. Congress had delivered the money, but Justice never delivered the goods. Nazi hunting may have been the least effective program in Justice Department History.”

This lack of efficiency does not seem to be totally bureaucratic or institutional but contrived and purposeful. Most folks dismiss all this lack of desire to capture and bring ex-nazi war criminals to justice to the Cold War mentality. But the more I read it seems much more complicated. There is more to this negligence than simple anti-communism.

“…the Muslim Brotherhood was the original Arab Nazi movement, working for the British intelligence to crush the infant state of Israel. In the 1980s it was hired by American intelligence to recruit the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, and it is now the parent organization of every Sunni terrorist group in the Middle East.”

The point that there is an Arab/Nazi connection in this Middle East situation does not get very much attention or consideration when discussing Middle East problems. But the Arab nations supported Adolf Hitler and his Nazis and the Axis cause during World War Two.

We hear much more about Lawrence of Arabia and his little band of pro-western supporters than about a whole world of Arab Nazi enthusiasts. Not too much is written or reported on the great bulk of Arab nations and their connection to Nazism.

In our own home politics much is made of the connections of the left to socialism and communism but the obvious links of conservatives to fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism are very rarely discussed.

In this book the author concentrates on the Belarus area of Russia.
Once it was successfully occupied by German forces during WWII large segments of the Byelarussian population turned against their own people and became active, willing and supportive of the Nazi intruders.

They joined enthusiastically in the slaughter of their own. They participated in the Nazi occupation government. Certain among them organized mass executions of area Jews, slaughtering as many as five thousand in one incident. They turned in their neighbors, worked in the prisons and extermination camps and apparently relished their new dominance and power over and their fellow citizens. They formed armies and fighting organizations who fought shoulder to shoulder and side by side with the

Nazis. They were traitors and collaborators.

After World War II they were reorganized into paramilitary groups by US intelligence agencies to prepare for the predicted and inevitable war with Russia. For the most part this was accomplished by a man named Wisner who was a leader and power broker in the US intelligence organization.

The Byelarussians were incorporated into spying networks and as time went on many, thousands, were smuggled into the United States under one guise or another.
The author presents detailed documentation of how certain of these war criminals were brought to the United States and granted citizenship with complete government knowledge of their heinous war crimes.

He wants the victims of these murders to receive justice and the government agencies and individuals involved in these cover-ups to be investigated and appropriate penalties applied.

He fingers individuals like Emanuel Jasiuk, Jury Sobolewsky, Anton Adamovitch, Mykola Lebed, Radoslaw Ostrowsky, Franz Kushel, and Mikolai Abramtchik.

The author brings to the table a completely different point of view.

Typically we see the threat to America and the American way of life via communism. This author sees the more realistic and vile threat of Nazism.

Since World War II ended and the Nazis’ plan for world domination defeated, America has dismissed the Nazi problem as a threat as if all the Nazis have been dead and buried. This author indicates that Nazism is alive and well and prominent in the Middle East and dominant among certain Arab groups, the Muslim Brotherhood in particular. It is alive also in South America and in the United States and Canada.
The author closes his book with this insight and his personal positive scientific prediction.

“Arab terrorism will continue as long as we continue to import Arab oil. A group of us in a group called Liquid Light, are preparing a bit of a shock for the Arabs. We have found a way to manufacture the Holy Grail of Alternative Energy, the Indium Gallium Nitride Solar cell (InGaN). Not only does this InGaN solar cell use 100% of the sun’s bandwidth (as opposed to 20% for existing cells) but it can be manufactured so cheaply that an InGaN solar cell can produce electricity at two cents per kilowatt hour versus 10-15 cents per KWH for a carbon based power plants.
“The long dark night of corporate corruption of the Justice Department may be coming to an end.”

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hooked On Books - Fortress America

Fortress America

By William Greider

Book Review

By Richard Edward Noble

Fortress America was published in 1998. At the time of the publishing of this book the Berlin Wall was gone and the U.S.S.R. had collapsed. With the disappearance of Russia as Public Enemy number one for the U.S., America was now in a quandary. The Cold War was over. What do we do about our massive military? Our Cold War enemy was gone. The Russian threat to our security was gone. Should we dismantle our military? Reorganize? Downsize? How do we do it?

Fortress America is a book that analyzed the problem in store for the U.S. in downsizing its military capacities.

I’m sure it was not Mr. Greider’s intention to present an apology on the impossibility of downsizing our military and the necessity for America to seek new enemies and unnecessary but available wars but this book, in my opinion, is the explanation for just such a scenario.

Mr. Greider in his thought provoking manner, his exhaustive research and his presentation of the facts and figures, makes our present state of affairs obvious.
“If the world is at peace, why should America now have to remobilize? There are no persuasive answers at present.

“To justify the significant budget increases that might rescue the military from its dilemma of competing obligations, political leaders will first have to find convincing dangers – a rising threat of actual war, and on a very large scale. Until they can do so, military leaders must keep hacking away at their own institution … People in the armed services know this…
“The political base that always supported the Cold War defense structure endures, too, without a strategy for the future except to change as little as possible from the past.”

Mr. Greider goes on to talk about our “Military Socialism” and our basic socialized Military Industrial Complex. He then explains the scope of this book.

“In short, our tour of Fortress America is about more than defense spending “in an era of general peace.” It’s about national vision and the “limits of empire,” about whether Americans really wish to govern the world with U.S. military power …
“This is a new world order that will require much more than the accumulation of weaponry, and it might even be subverted by a new global arms race.”

Now let me point out, I haven’t left the introduction to this book yet. We have yet to hit page one.

The book begins with a tour of the massive weapons storage facilities at Fort Hood, Texas: Bradley fighting vehicles, Dragon missiles, M-1 Abrams main battle tanks, Humvees, HEMTTs, HETS, and more than two hundred Apache and Kiowa helicopters. There are forty-eight separate equipment yards at Fort Hood – miles and miles of parking spaces with multimillion dollar units in every parking space.

“The Cold War is over, but not really, not yet … Too many tanks with nowhere to send them ... Defense spending, as one strategic analyst put it, has become ‘the new third rail of American politics.’ Most politicians are afraid to touch it.”

Then we come to the panic of peace.

“The Pentagon has been dumping old tanks like an army-navy surplus store conducting frantic ‘going out of business’ sales. Giving them away to friendly nations. Selling them at deep discounts. Offering them free to local museums. It dumped one hundred old Sherman M-60s into Mobile Bay off the Alabama coast to form artificial reefs for fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Several hundred more are being sunk along other coastlines for the same purpose. One year it gave forty-five tanks free to Bosnia and another fifty to Jordan. It shipped ninety-one tanks to Brazil under a no cost, five year lease, and thirty to Bahrain on the same terms. Another 160 were sold to Taiwan for $130,000 each, priced at ten cents on the dollar. Egypt got seven hundred free by picking up transportation costs … One way or another the Army has disposed of nearly six thousand older (1980 models) tanks during the last six years.”

To actually train men on all our fancy fighting equipment is too costly “It takes two thousand dollars an hour to operate a single M-12 tank in the field.” Instead we pay to build simulators. We have 25 million in video games sitting in one of our military video arcades.

Well, why don’t we mothball everything and then pull it out when we need it?
Unfortunately we can’t mothball very much in our new high-tech military. The electronics deteriorate; the crews take years to train, not weeks; things must be upgraded to stay on top or ahead of the competition. And in many cases we seem to be our own competition. Our independent “capitalist” arms merchants are selling to the highest bidder in the free market global arms race. Of course, we get dibs on the latest, most modern stuff – as long as we subsidize our arms manufactures with their storage costs, their labor costs and their research and development costs – cost plus contracts are nice too. And the fact that all American National arms merchants are basically one big interlocking network, doesn’t hurt the bottom line either.

The first time I read about this technique of selling to potential enemies was in The Arms of Krupp by William Manchester. When Adolf Hitler demanded the German arms manufacturer, Krupp, to stop selling arms to Germany’s enemies, Krupp threatened to take his whole operation, his knowledge and expertise, to Russia. Hitler and Mr. Krupp made a compromise. Krupp agreed to sell only last year’s models to Germany’s enemies. Hitler acquiesced.

They tried to dismantle Krupp industries after the war but found the task impossible. They denied Krupp the right to practice his craft in Germany. Krupp went to China and then to other international sites and became the richest man alive in his day – a great life for a man who should have been executed as a war criminal.

“After the Cold War ended, the government added 2,662 Tomahawks and other missiles to its arsenal. It increased air power capabilities by modernizing 961 night-capable aircraft and 707 precision-guided munitions-capable aircraft.
“The Air Force has so many long range bombers – the old reliable B-52, the troubled B-1, the new stealthy B-2 that costs 2 billion apiece – that it cannot afford to keep them all in the air. Yet, if you can believe its plans, the Air Force intends to increase the operational bomber force 25 percent by 2001.”

But there is always hope Mr. Greider explains: “After all there is always the dim hope that somehow the circumstances will change. Maybe North Korea will invade South Korea. Maybe China will turn belligerent. The (our) nation’s political and military leaders seem to be searching forlornly for a “they” that can restore purpose to the country’s mighty armaments.”

If the reader hasn’t got the point yet, Mr. Greider takes us to a few more military bases and arms storage facilities. The costs are monumental.
Mr. Greider then takes us for a brief look at the investment side of Arms merchandising.

“A decade ago, fifteen leading contractors accounted for two-thirds of the Pentagon’s spending on weapons. By 1995 the list was down to eight. Now, (1998) there are three ...

“The companies can’t keep boosting stock prices by doing more takeovers since there’s nothing much to take over ...

“The point people miss,” Gansler (an analyst) says, “is not that the defense companies are making huge profits. It’s that they’re charging huge costs to government to pay for all of this excess capacity that they’ve got lying around. The government pays for all that. The problem is, if a company becomes a sole-source contractor and there is no competition, then they have no incentive to reduce costs.”

Now it is onto the Global marketplace.

“We’re serious about being a global company, and that means expanding our workforce outside the United States,” says Lockheed Martin.
“LockMartin itself combines seventeen different companies that have collectively eliminated more than one hundred thousand jobs ...
“The American motive for expanding NATO is selling weapons ... American arms producers are loaning new NATO countries the money to buy their weapons and then moving their factories to these countries.”

Now you know why Poland was upset with President Obama and the new Obama European defense strategy. We were rapidly approaching the boom days of the “Merchants of Death” back in the pre-World War I era – sell weapons to anybody, lie, cheat, steal but sell, sell, sell.

“Provoking inadvertent crisis may be profitable for weapons firms, but it does not seem to be in the national interest – or for that matter the world’s”

I suggest that you all read “Merchants of Death” by Engelbrecht and Hanighen. You may have to hunt your library for it, but it will be worth your effort if your goal is to understand the present times. You can also read about the life and times of Sir Basil Zaharoff.

But what is coming in the future? Can we bend the Iron Triangle (Pentagon, military, government). Can we design a meaner leaner military? Can we cut, lower costs, contain, or redesign our mammoth military complex?

“Even if futuristic ideas prove to be sound, the pentagon and the arms industry are still reluctant to give up what already exists – their vast arsenal of conventional overkill. They cannot have it both ways, one would think, but so far they are doing their best to accomplish just that, with very little resistance from the political system.”

In his conclusion Mr. Greider says that first the American people must “say no to empire.”

“The global economic system, led by the United States, governs trade, financial markets, and the rights of capital by imposing complex rules but insists that fundamental human freedoms are not a legitimate basis for global regulation. Raising questions of environmental protection, labor rights, or social equity – not to mention the democratic principles of free speech and freedom of assembly – is described as an intrusion on the trading system, possibly even an impediment to the spread of prosperity. National sovereignty (including America’s) is told to yield to the efficiencies of the global enterprise.”

Mr. Greider goes on and on with one good suggestion after another on transitioning from a militarist nation to a less militarist nation, but that is now all behind us and this book falls into the category of wasted effort.

In retrospect we see that Mr. Greider had it right in his introduction. Finding new wars to fight and devising a new Cold War was easier and much less demanding than attempting to restructure the Iron Triangle and bring America back to a peace loving, cooperative nation.

So if you are wondering why we have two wars going and military spending through the roof, you might pick up Mr. Greider’s book Fortress America for a description of the details. But it appears clear to me – war is easier and more profitable than peace – especially when our system has been set up to deal with it for the last 100 years. We can’t afford peace we have too much invested in war. Sadly, achieving peace is too costly and too complicated. If you are hoping for an end to this “bully-bully” warmongering mentality it is going to take a lot more than wishful thinking.

Bloggon' Be My Life - Catch 22

Bloggin' Be My Life

The Hobo - Philosopher

Catch 22

It is rather shocking for me to think that here I am today a citizen of, without doubt, the greatest, most powerful, wealthiest, most culturally and scientifically sophisticated, nation state to be established to this date by mankind, and realize that two of its most basic sources of economic wealth are provided by the proliferation of drugs and the creation, manufacture, and sale of military weapons.

In the closing moments, and the subsequent years immediately following World War I, the peoples of the world were shocked and outraged to learn about the exploits of men such as Sir Basil Zaharoff, R. L. Thomson, Hirum Maxim, Alfred Krupp, M. Eugene Schneider, etc., arms manufacturers and salesmen, to mention but a few, who were involved in the promotion and “marketing” of war on an international basis. They were labeled, “Merchants of Death.”

Their mercenary, profit hungry, competitive tactics turned nearly the entire world against the capitalistic system. German bodies were being strung along miles of barbed wire sold to the French by German manufactures just weeks before. Frenchmen were being slaughtered by bombs and bullets manufactured by French industrialists and sold during the war to their enemies at high profits. British arms merchants sold to all combatants while the patriotic sons of their proud island died by the hundreds of thousands to protect the right of these “Merchants of Death” to make millions and billions on the blood of a naive free market mankind.

The international marketing of arms went on right through the war, and was supported by all the arms producing nations of the world – including the U.S.A.

These antics of international arms merchants when exposed to the world at large precipitated a disgust so great for the capitalistic system that the entire Russian army walked off the battlefield and into the humanitarian notion of a “not for profit” communist utopia, and the less drastic notion of socialism took root throughout the entire world.

Hatred of war flourished in the aftermath of this our first world war, in the form of pacifism. Resistance to war, and the novel notion of conscientious objection to military service became organized, and was supported by some of the greatest minds in the world.

A dialogue between war haters and warmongers began in the twenties and ran through the thirties. The “no war” notion was championed by men like Albert Einstein and Sigmond Freud and the “pro war” campaign championed by the distinguished Winston Churchill and the vociferous German champion of bombs and bullets, Aldolf Hitler.

Discussions were cut off with the outset of World War II.

During World War II, it was business as usual. The international arms industry flourished. While London was being bombed by German planes powered by Rolls Royce engines, Americans were being killed on the beaches of Normandy and elsewhere, by material and weapons of destruction sold to Nazi Germany by powerful American companies.

The Historian, William Manchester points out in his History “The Arms of Krupp” that F.D.R. was well aware of this fact but did not expose it to the American people for fear of undermining the morale of the war effort and consequently precipitating the victory of Adolf Hitler and his pure Aryan race advocates at home and abroad.

Politically, Americans could have voted with their feet, just as the Russians had done in World War I and toppled America into a similar utopic, communist dilution. F.D.R. had his political hands full. Many right-wingers were already calling him a Communist and worse.

It now seems that World War II has settled the issue. America is the leading trafficker in the international arms market. And, from what I can see, most Americans consider the marketing and manufacture of bombs and bullets for an international market an acceptable economic necessity. After all, if we don’t sell it to them, someone else will.

It is true that we have stiff competition in the bombs and bullets marketplace coming from France, England, Russia, China, and elsewhere. War, its promotion and preparation for, has become our most profitable industry. Without which, we tell our top-secret-clearance defense plant workers, our American economy would collapse, and topple us and the world into a depression that would make the rupture of 1929 seem like a time of economic prosperity.

So eat, drink, sell and drop bombs, and be merry, for tomorrow, as an economic necessity you, your children and your grandchildren may be selected to die.

As has often been stated, those who live by the bomb shall also die by the bomb.

Understanding this evolution in the bombs and bullets, international, marketplace makes me think of our drug industry. Is it now also out of control in this truly Joseph Heller-Catch 22 world that we are living in today?

Is it too, an industry, the promotion of which, our economic livelihood can no longer survive without?

We now have whole nations of people who are involved in the production and manufacture of drugs. We have whole armies that are buying their bombs and bullets from the profits accumulated through illegal drug trafficking.

The drug industry has been growing and profiting all of my life. It has not only infiltrated my cultural and social existence, but my government and its agencies – you do remember Ollie North and Iran Contra – the business community, banking, real estate and finance.

Though we pretend to be fighting it, as we pretend to be avoiding war, is it now true, as with war that it is now also an economic necessity. Drugs being a business, the promotion of which we, as Americans, can no longer survive without?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hooked on Books - Agrarian Justice by Tom Paine

Agrarian Justice

By Tom Paine

The following is an organized series of excerpts from Tom Paine’s essay, “Agrarian Justice:”

“It is wrong to say that God made rich and poor; he made only male and female; and he gave them the earth for their inheritance.”

Argument for improving the condition of the unpropertied:

“To preserve the benefits of what is called civilized life, and to remedy, at the same time, the evil it has produced, ought to be considered as one of the first objects of reformed legislation ... The most affluent and the most miserable of the human race are to be found in the countries that are called civilized.

“To understand what the state of society ought to be, it is necessary to have some idea of the natural and primitive state of man; such as it is this day among the Indians of North America. There is not, in that state, any of those spectacles of human misery which property and want present to our eyes in all the towns and streets of Europe. Poverty, therefore, is a thing created by that which is called civilized life ... Civilization, therefore, or that which is so called, has operated two ways, to make one part of society more affluent and the other part more wretched than would have been the lot of either in a natural state.
“The thing, therefore, now to be done is to remedy the evils and preserve the benefits that have arisen to society by passing from the natural to that which is called the civilized state.

“Taking the matter then upon this ground, the first principle of civilization ought to have been, and ought still to be, that the condition of every person born into the world, after a state of civilization commences, ought not to be worse than if he had been born before that period. But the fact is that the condition of millions in every country ... is far worse than if they had been born before civilization began, or had been born among the Indians of North America of the present day. I will show how this fact has happened.

“It is a position not to be controverted that the earth, in its natural uncultivated state, was and ever would have continued to be the common property of the human race ... And as it is impossible to separate the improvement made by cultivation from the earth itself, upon which that improvement is made, the idea of landed property arose from that inseparable connection; but it is nevertheless true that it is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property. Every proprietor, therefore, of cultivated land owes to the community a ground rent...
“... neither Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Job, so far as the history of the Bible may be credited in probable things, were owners of the land. Their property consisted, as is always enumerated, in flocks and herds and they traveled with them from place to place.

“Man did not make the earth, and, though he had a natural right to occupy it, he had no right to locate as his property in perpetuity any part of it; neither did the Creator of the earth open a land office, from whence the first title-deeds should issue ... when cultivation began, the idea of landed property began with it ... It is only by tracing things to their origin that we can gain rightful ideas of them … The additional value made by cultivation, after the system was submitted, became the property of those who did it, or who inherited from them, or who purchased it. I advocate the right, and interest myself in the hard case of all those who have been thrown out of their natural inheritance by the introduction of the system of landed property, I equally defend the right of the possessor to the part which is his ... it is a right and not a charity that I am pleading for.

“To create a National fund out of which there shall be paid to every person, who arrived at the age of twenty-one, the sum of Fifteen Pounds sterling, as a compensation in part for the loss of his or her natural inheritance by the introduction of the system of landed property; and also the sum of Ten Pounds per Annum during life to every person now living of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.

“The fault is in the system, and it had stolen imperceptibly upon the world, aided afterwards by the Agrarian law of the sword … It is proposed that the payments, as already stated, be paid to every person, rich or poor such persons as do not choose to receive it can throw it into the common fund.

“Taking it then for granted that no person ought to be in a worse condition when born under what is called a state of civilization, than he would have been had he been born in a state of nature, and that civilization ought to have made, and ought still to make, provision for that purpose, it can only be done by subtracting from property a portion equal in value to the natural inheritance it has absorbed ... it will be the least troublesome and the most effectual, and also because the subtraction will be made at a time that best admits it, which is at the moment that property is passing by the death of one person to the possession of another. In this case the bequeather gives nothing; the receiver pays nothing. The only matter to him is that the monopoly of natural inheritance, to which there never was a right, begins to cease in his person. A generous man would wish it not to continue, and a just man will rejoice to see it abolished.

“It will always happen that the property thus revolving by death every year, part will descend in a direct line to sons and daughters, and the other part collaterally, and the proportion will be found to be about three to one; that is, about thirty millions of the above sum will descend to direct heirs, and the remaining sum ... to more distant relations and part to strangers.

“It is not charity but a right – not bounty but justice, that I am pleading for ... though I care as little about riches as any man, I am a friend to riches, because they are capable of good. I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it. But it is impossible to enjoy affluence with the felicity it is capable of being enjoyed, whilst so much misery is mingled in the scene.

“There are in every country some magnificent charities established by individuals ... It is only by organizing civilization upon such principles as to act like a system of pulleys, that the whole weight of misery can be removed ... The plan here proposed ... (It) will immediately relieve and take out of view three classes of wretchedness: the blind, the lame, and the aged poor.

“When a young couple begin in the world, the difference is exceedingly great, whether they begin with nothing or with fifteen pounds apiece. With this aid they could buy a cow and implements to cultivate a few acres of land; and instead of becoming burdens upon society, which is always the case where children are produced faster than they can be fed, they would be put in the way of becoming useful and profitable citizens.
“The great mass of the poor in all countries are become an hereditary race, and it is next to impossible for them to get out of that state of themselves. It ought also to be observed that this mass increases in all the countries that are called civilized. More persons fall annually into it than get out of it.

“It is from the overgrown acquisition of property that the fund will support itself ... War ... has already laid on more new taxes to be raised annually upon the people ... than would annually pay all the sums proposed in this plan.

“Land, as before said, is the free gift of the Creator in common to the human race. Personal property is the effect of society, and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without aid of society as it is for him to make land originally. Separate the individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He can not become rich ... All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands can produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came ... if we examine the case minutely, it will be found that the accumulation of personal property is, in many instances, the effects of paying too little for the labor that produced it.

“It is, perhaps, impossible to proportion exactly the price of labor to the profits it produces; and it will also be said, as an apology for injustice, that were a working man to receive an increase of wages daily, he would not save it against old age nor be much the better for it in the interim. Make then society the treasurer to guard it for him in a common fund; for it is no reason that because he might not make a good use of it for himself, that another shall take it.

“When wealth and splendor, instead of fascinating the multitude, excite emotions of disgust; when instead of drawing forth admiration, it is beheld as an insult upon wretchedness; when the ostentatious appearance it makes serves to call the right of it in question, the case of property becomes critical and it is only in a system of justice that the possessor can contemplate security. When the more riches a man acquires, the better it will be for the general mass; it is then that the antipathies will cease and property be placed on the permanent basis of natural interest and protection.”

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rick Scott Strikes Out Again: Federal Court Blocks Florida Attack On Early Voting

Rick Scott Strikes Out Again: Federal Court Blocks Florida Attack On Early Voting: pGov. Rick Scott (R-FL) has been relentless in his push to restrict the right to vote. He’s advanced an illegal voter purge that would have disproportionately impacted the minority citizens in his state. And a federal court blocked his effort to suppress voter registration last May. On Thursday, a federal court in Washington, DC concluded [...]/p

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lobster Prices Hit Rock Bottom Thanks To Climate Change | Alternet

Lobster Prices Hit Rock Bottom Thanks To Climate Change | Alternet

Hooked on Books - Tolstoy

Tolstoy - A Russian Life

By Rosamund Bartlett

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

What this book has taught me is how little I really knew about Leo Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy.

Like everyone, I was aware that Leo Tolstoy was a great Russian novelist, the creator of the monumental “War and Peace.”

“War and Peace” is that giant classic that we have all promised to read one day but just haven’t got to yet.

I did read “Anna Karenina” ages ago when I was a freshman in junior college. It was a struggle.

Leo was born of the Russian nobility at Yasnaya Polyana in the Tula Province in Russia. Yasnaya Polyana is not a town but the name of the family estate.

I suppose that it would not be unfair to compare Yasnaya Polyana to a Southern Plantation. It was a couple of thousand acres and loaded with slaves.

Leo begins his writing career by keeping a diary. How he got interested in writing, the author doesn’t say.

He publishes a book about his childhood entitled “Childhood” In 1852. Then writes his first war memoir “Sebastopol in December.” It was a big success.

As a young, rich man his life parodies the life of many young, rich men worldwide. He drinks, gambles and indulges himself sexually.

He is a bad gambler and drinker and keeps going into debt and selling off portions of his estate to pay his debts and finance more gambling.

He can’t get enough sex. He visits brothels regularly; he has numerous affairs and is even guilty of seducing some of his slave girls.

He is clearly a wild and crazy guy. He’s a party animal and a gambling fool.

In the midst of all this he serves in the Russian Army, participates actively in battles and continues to write.

He publishes a series about his war experiences. Kind of a “letters from the front” type thing which is extremely popular. His reputation as a writer grows and grows.

In the meantime Leo is going through all types of intellectual transformations. The Tzar, Alexander II, decided to free the serfs in 1861. From then on he was a constant target for assassinations. He was assassinated in 1881 by a left wing radical group called the People’s Will (Narodnaya Volya) who wanted liberal democratic reform. Unfortunately they killed the man who was about to initiate just such reforms.
Alexander II was followed by his son Alexander III who immediately abandoned his father’s plans and intentions.

Leo has an epiphany.

He is totally in favor of the freeing of the serfs and has all sorts of plans for their improvement and education.

I found it very interesting that shortly after the Tzar freed the slaves, Leo went rushing back to the plantation with a contract for all his slaves to sign. The author doesn’t elaborate on that contract other than to tell the reader that Leo felt it was positive to his serfs’ future well being and a good thing.

Nevertheless not one of his slaves was willing to take him up on his contract. Leo was devastated. He felt himself to be a benevolent slave owner. He thought all his slaves loved and trusted him.

I would be interested in seeing a copy of that contract.

What comes to my mind is the reconstruction period in this country after the Civil War. The plantation owners here in the U.S. also offered their freed slaves contracts. These contracts basically re-enslaved the poor beggars. Eventually an amendment had to be added to the Constitution, number XIV, outlawing these laws and contracts.

Our southern Plantation owners were more or less unscrupulous and criminal minded. Mr. Tolstoy was obviously not of that type, as his later life went on to prove. Yet I would still be interested in seeing what this idealist, young, Russian nobleman thought to be a good deal for his serfs.

He managed to get his drinking and gambling under control and then bumped into Sofya (Sonya) Bers. She is much younger than him. And it is a good thing. By age 34 he should have had some of that sexual passion subdued. Nevertheless, he got little Sonya pregnant 16 times during their long marriage. He nearly killed her two or three times. Nine of the children lived and six of them died, several at childbirth.

Sonya almost died giving birth to her fifth child and then decided to have a little talk with Leo about all of this.

Leo may have been liberal minded on many issues but woman’s rights was not one of those issues. Though he evolved into a Russian spiritual leader, he was no Mahatma Gandhi when it came to women’s rights and male sexual restraint. Women were designed to indulge the sexual appetites of men and bear children. Their duty was to manage the household and care for their children.

This book could have been titled “The Trials and Tribulations of Little Sonya Bers.” The author makes Sonya’s case well. Sonya is a sensible, sensitive, loving, loyal wife and helpmate. She bears the children, tends the garden, and manages the serfs and the ranch. She keeps the books, transcribes Leo scribbling all while in the throes of endless pregnancies. She is a practical, organized woman who is aware that she has married an eccentric, totally insane genius.

Tolstoy wants to teach all the peasants in Russia to read. He gets seriously interested in the art of education. He opens his own school. He writes a series of textbooks for children. Sonya is sick over it. These books are not making a ruble.

She wants more novels and stories. The stuff that sells.

Tolstoy starts reading the Bible and researching the life of Jesus Christ. He becomes outraged at the Russian Orthodox Church. And he goes right to the head honchos and tells them all about it. They sprinkle holy water on the madman and tell him to go home and repent.

Tolstoy becomes a peasant in mind and spirit. Like Gandhi in India, he takes on the garb of the peasant. He walks everywhere. He is disgusted with wealth and the wealthy. He tries to give away everything he owns, even the rights to his written works. He lives the lifestyle of a peasant … but remains at his plantation.
Sonya is beside herself. She resists his lunacy and somehow manages a compromise. Leo can dress, act, and hang out with the peasants but she handles the finances. This is not entirely the case, but somehow Sonya manages to keep some of the finances together and maintain inheritances for all her children.

Leo has come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was not God and that there is no promised hereafter. Jesus was a good man and a social reformer but not divine. He rewrites all the gospels of the Bible and begins preaching his word to all the peasants.

He is in big trouble now. The Tzar and the Russian Church are both on top of him. They have him followed everywhere. They ransack his property every time he goes for a walk or a visit to a new peasant village.

But the authorities are afraid to do anything to him. They arrest his friends, associates and harass his followers instead.

Tolstoy literally starts a new faith or religion. His followers are called Tolstoyans. They are back-to-the-lander peaceniks and conscientious objectors. They form communes.

As far as the State and the Church is concerned this guy, like Jesus centuries before him, has turned into a big social problem.

Under the Tzars, Tolstoy managers to keep his head attached and he fumbles along. He writes nasty letters to the Tzar and to the heads of the Orthodox Church. One wonders who this man thinks he is.

Then comes the Bolsheviks.

Lucky for Leo, he’s dead. He died in 1910. But his wife, his family, his works and his followers are still there big time.

One might be inclined to think that a man who loved the peasants and the workingman would be just what the Bolsheviks ordered.

Not so.

Though Leo was a thorn in the side of the Church while he was alive, he was still a Jesus freak. The Bolsheviks under the leadership of both Lenin and Stalin wanted nothing to do with Jesus freaks.

Jesus, whether one believed he was God or not, was an advocate of peace and love.
Being an advocate of love was not all that stultifying to Bolshevik indoctrination, but that peace business did present an obstacle.

Even advocating peace wasn’t all that bad. It was that hell-no-we-won’t-go business that they found troubling.

The new revolutionary government considered Tolstoy a traitor to his homeland and some of his works seditious and undermining of the public good.
They could only tolerate Tolstoy with provisions. All his writings would have to be reviewed and reclassified.

But the Russian people loved their man Tolstoy. They wanted him remembered and revered.

The last section of the book deals with the family, friends and admirers and their attempts to overcome the State’s objections and build a fitting monument and literary archive to Russia’s greatest novelist and spiritual hero.

As I said in the beginning of this review, I knew nothing about most of this man’s work and life. His role as a spiritual leader and founder of a religion was not on my radar screen. And it seems I am not alone. The Russian Bolshevik government stamped out his religion and his followers and censored all of his writing on the subject.

They Bolshevized all his works and reconstructed his philosophy and his image. I get the impression that the Russian people are today somewhat in the dark about all of this just as I have been.

Today his legacy is being reconstructed by an international group with an emphasis on what the man actually said and who he thought himself to be.

My interest in Tolstoy has been reinvigorated. I’ve got a lot of reading to do.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bill O'Reilly

Culture Warrior

By Bill O’Reilly

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

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

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

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

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

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

He has the wellknown Irish temper – as he admits himself throughout the book – or the first 98 pages anyway.

Bill has discovered a conspiracy. Now I’m a true believer in conspiracies so I can’t knock him on that one.

It seems that there is a group of people, living right here within the borders of the United States who are presently involved in the overthrow of our government. They are not doing this by means of a revolution or violent overthrow. They are too clever to come right out and fight like men. They are doing it by guile and persuasion and trying to sway voters and by real sneaky, underhanded, dirty methods like using their money to twist the media and the truth.

Bill has a lot of terrible names for these people but overall he benignly refers to them as Secular Progressives or S-Ps.

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

In the beginning of this book he has a fictitious spokesperson mouth the future as seen according to these S-Ps. This spokesperson is an imaginary future American President. She is a female and her name is Gloria Hernandez.
Gloria and her friends, it seems, have some horrible ideas. They’re like right out of George Orwell’s 1984.

First and foremost these S-Ps do not believe in God. They are very anti-Judeo/Christian. They want to take all the money from the rich people and use it to make their version of a better world. For example, they want everybody to have their own home – with no mortgage. They want all children to have an education – for free!
That includes college if they are that clever. They think that everybody should make a living wage – whether they deserve to be alive or not!

My God! These people are horrible!

They want businesses and corporations to act and conduct themselves in the world marketplace with a moral conscience.

What a pernicious method for undermining capitalism and the American way.
They want prisons to be reformed and drug crimes to be looked upon as an addiction to be treated as a sickness and not simply incarceration.

They want any and all sick and even healthy people to have access to health care – even if they don’t have a penny!

They actually want the United States to be attacked before the United States attacks anybody else.

One can only conclude from all of the above that these S-Ps would probably try to outlaw war if they could get away with it.

In contrast or in opposition to this group of S-Ps there are the Traditionalists.

Traditionalist love Christmas, and Santa, and lots of presents and Christmas trees and Christmas shopping.

They particularly like the word “Christmas.”

They love their country and support their country in whatever it chooses to do – especially war.

Charles Dickens and Tiny Tim were both Traditionalists who would have liked Bill O’Reilly, Bill claims.

Charles Dickens was a Traditionalist says Bill. You remember, he wrote that great book about celebrating Christmas, “A Christmas Carol.” As you will remember in that wonderful tale a man named Scrooge (an S-P no doubt) was poo-pooing Christmas and all the other characters, including some ghosts, tried to educate Scrooge to the wonders of Christmas (Traditionalist’s Holiday). And as you will recall in that story, Tiny Tim and his mom and dad and Scrooge’s nephew and all the ghosts and everybody but Scrooge were strongly in favor of patriotism and war and capitalism. They were adamant on the rich being able to do as they damn well pleased with their money and that the poor should be damned and get up off their lazy butts and get a job. After all, didn’t Scrooge pay his taxes and support the prison system? What more could anyone ask of him and his rich friends? And that dirty old Scrooge wanted to open orphanages and feed the poor and do all sorts of kind things with his money. But Tiny Tim and his mom and dad and all the other characters and all the ghosts of Christmases past, future and present would have none of it.

They all said: So what if we are poor, sickly and crippled. We are in this condition because that is the way we choose to be. And we want to be free. You take all your damn money, Mr. Scrooge, and shove it! If God wanted us to be rich also, he would have had us born in a welfare state – not in a country like this one where we can all be poor, crippled, and homeless if we choose to be. That’s freedom, man!

John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were both Traditionalists, says Bill.

They loved their country and thought that rich people should have everything that they wanted – remember Fiddle and Faddle and Marilyn Monroe.

Teddy Kennedy is kind of like the diseased afterbirth of the Kennedy family. He is an S-P and Bill cannot figure out how that happened.

Teddy may be the only Kennedy who is not really Irish. Bill didn’t say this but I have heard the rumor that Rose Kennedy may have actually had an affair with Eugene Debs or possibly Norman Thomas that resulted in Teddy “the social dwarf.”

Bill is fearless in exposing this underground of S-Ps in the U.S. population. He names names and shows their pictures. You will not believe who some of these people are. I will list a few but you should buy the book to get them all and see for yourself.

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

Some of the worst S-Ps who have ever been born are celebrities and appear on TV regularly. Wait until you hear this! Two of the biggest are Jay Leno and David Letterman. Jon Stewart, of course, is another.

S-P people are all over Hollywood. Just tip over any rock or slime covered growth and you will probably find one of them.

Bill, who looks to be over six feet tall and a couple of hundred pounds, keeps getting tricked and beat up by these little, ethnic, anti-American, intellectual types with glasses and speech defects.

These people have been harassing Bill to no end. He has even had to go so far as to buy himself a multi-million dollar mansion and hibernate and take respite. He has been forced to hire bodyguards because these S-Ps are the type of people who will resort to anything.

There is one among these riffraff who is a billionaire. He was born a Jew in Germany but to escape being baked in an over he went so far as to change his name and maybe even pretend to be a Protestant.

The cowardly S-P then escaped to Hungry or some place where the Russians discovered his S-P tendencies and he had to escape to America. When he got to America, just like all the rest of his kind, he somehow tricked everybody and became a billionaire.

Now that he is a billionaire he has finally come out of the closet and is attempting to get all the money from all the other rich people in the world and give it to the poor. Isn’t that just like a rich billionaire – I should have known.

So that’s how it has been going up to page 98. There are a lot more of these pictures of angelic looking people who are really S-Ps and are out to steal from the rich and give it all to the poor and ... and heal the sick ... and ... and clothe the naked and feed the poor and put a chicken in everybody’s pot and a car in everybody’s garage.

You will not believe it!

You must read this book for yourself. And don’t worry because Bill has these peoples’ number and each week on the Fox News Network (of which he is an executive producer) you can see him expose all these vermin.

The only thing is that now most of these people are afraid of Bill and they keep refusing to go on the air with him and have an intelligent conversation.

You may have seen Bill and Geraldo having an intelligent conversation just the other day on the news.

I agree with Bill. I cannot understand why any person would not want to come on to his show and discuss their political perspectives.

These S-Ps are like roaches. They just want to stay hidden in the dark and sneak around at night eating all our crackers and hors d’oevures.

I don’t know about you but I think these roaches need to be exterminated.
OOPS ... wrong book. That was Adolf.

I’ve read Adolf’s book four times now but I don’t remember if he liked Christmas or not. He was a Catholic but I don’t think that he was a good Catholic. He wasn’t Irish; I know that for sure.

Keep up the good work Bill. Keep that light shining! And don’t you worry, I’ve got your back, buddy. You are a true American and don’t let any of them commie, Jew, atheist, fascist, pussy, cowardly, treasonous, manipulative, tricky, lying, drug-addicted, parasitic (I don’t think he used that one – Adolf really liked that one), scum sucking pigs get you down.

I know how depressing it can get for sensitive, kind, generous, fair-minded types like you and me.

Gosh, oh golly gee, sometimes I just want to go over into a corner or lock myself in my room and cry.

But whatever you do Bill – Don’t let them see you cry.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Building America

Building America

By Richard E. Noble

The United States of America has been around now for over two hundred years. The Roman Empire survived for nearly one thousand years. As I read about the Roman Empire I see that it was on the brink of catastrophe at nearly every moment of its existence. It was constantly under attack from without or within. How it survived is a constant study for scholars and historians. The two hundred years for the U.S. doesn’t really seem to be any different.

The American Revolution almost didn’t happen. Most colonists really weren’t all that excited about the whole idea. I truly think that if it wasn’t for the inflammatory writings of Tom Paine it would never have gained enough popular support to get off the ground.

It then nearly collapsed from lack of support with the tentative Articles of Confederation. They no sooner got passed that, than everybody was ready to tuck it all in over taxes, federalism, and the idea of maintaining a military ... the symbol of power, war and aggression to most colonists. Then the British were back and the Capital was sacked.

After that, slavery brought the States to the brink of dissolution. The Union could have very easily been dissolved over this issue. The United States could have very well went the way of the Old World and divided up into many separate republics. It took the bloodiest war to that point in history to keep it together ... for better or worse.

The Civil war was followed by a long period of internal turmoil and discontent. Not only was the South unhappy, undergoing reconstruction, but the spread of Capitalism and the no holds barred antics of the Robber Barons and the powerful and prosperous in general was spawning a revival of Roman Christian Communism and Democratic Socialism. This was a period filled with violence, terrorism, and battlefield size confrontations. Wilson had his hands full and if it weren’t for our involvement in World War I, it could have been all over for America the beautiful.

Next we have Alcohol and big-time gangsterism, coupled with the re-invigoration of the Christian-communist/socialists; unionism, strikes, and their counterpart ... strike breakers. It was war in the streets, all culminating in the Great Depression.
Herbert Hoover, the hero bureaucrat of World War I was now the most hated man in America. He was booed, attacked and surrounded by armed guards everywhere he traveled.

Then, according to some, came our first Socialist president.

The super wealthy were so unhappy with the antics of F.D.R. that some of them (Duponts and friends) organized a subversive militia and actively pursued an armed takeover and assassination of the president and the Government. Roosevelt nearly triggered a rightist coup, but his presence quelled a leftist uprising that could have easily resulted in a Russian style American revolution.
World War II was then followed by internal (McCarthyism) and external challenges to the Republic (Korean War).

Then we had civil rights and Vietnam. This was the worst period in American History for my generation. And for those of us who were there, it wasn’t pretty.
John F. Kennedy and his brother gunned down; followed by Martin Luther King and other black rights activists. I remember thinking that the United States of America, the home of the brave and the land of the free was about to dissolve right before my eyes.

And today, it’s Osama bin Ladin and al Qaeda. He almost seems easy.

"Inside Job" Director Charles Ferguson: Wall Street Has Turned the U.S. into a "Predatory Nation"

"Inside Job" Director Charles Ferguson: Wall Street Has Turned the U.S. into a "Predatory Nation"

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Speech - Bernie Sanders

The Speech

By Bernie Sanders

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

This is the historic written account of the filibuster given by Senator Bernie Sanders on December 10, 2010 on the senate floor. It exposes the bill that resulted via a backroom deal between the president of the United States and the Republican Party.

This filibuster was Bernie’s attempt to explain the negatives of this bill to the American people, gain support from the people and defeat the bill. That did not happen. Bernie made this gallant attempt but failed. The bill passed with all of its unfortunate consequences for the American people – particularly the middle class and the poor.

I listened to most of the speech and tried my best to take notes. Unfortunately I could never become a secretary. My note taking was a failure. So I bought the book to get the information.

Bernie repeated his major points over and over in the text which is fine with me. I am a big supporter of repetition. That is how I learned my ABC.

The main point of the book is why are we giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and international conglomerates while running huge deficits and a substantial growing National Debt. The Republicans agree with the urgency of fiscal responsibility but choose to target the middle class and the poor for the cut backs while exempting their rich supporters from paying their legitimate share.

Bernie is very outspoken in defining who has been responsible for our current economic woes. He pulls no punches. His fearlessness to call a spade a spade is reminiscent of Harry Truman. I’ve heard no other present day politician tell it as Senator Bernie Sanders tells it. And in my opinion he is right on the mark. I find nothing in this book or Bernie’s presentation that I disagree with.

The book is filled with Democratic talking points. He explains why a payroll tax holiday is no holiday but a Right Wing rip-off designed by Republicans to suit the Republican historic goal to kill Social Security. He explains the “death tax” and tells us why it was instituted and why it should be continued. He deals with the off-shoring of jobs, the U.S.’s foundering industrial base, the Chamber of Commerce and its anti-American attitudes, corporate tax avoidance in offshore banks and federal loopholes, lobbyists and their overpowering impact on legislation and the legislators, our detrimental “free trade” policies, the perils of the global economy for the American worker and America, the enormous greed of the over-wealthy, the anti-American attitude of many large corporations, the corruption going on in Washington and in the corporate and business community, and Republican hypocrisy and chicanery on all fronts.

The book is written in the simplest of language. The rich and the powerful have declared war against the middle class and the poor, says Bernie. This fact should be more than obvious to any objective observer.

The points that Bernie makes are explained in detail and over and over again. Bernie makes everything very clear. This is an excellent book and an enlightening learning experience. I only wish more people would read it.