Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Honour and the American Apocalyse

Preface: Nothing more beautiful than rhetoric with the power of wisdom and indignation that challenges monsters. From the Dark Wraith.

Manifesto in Black

I know little that is genuine truth, but of this I am most certain: the United States government, as a matter of policy set each and every day to practice, systematically and of necessity lies. Its elected representatives, its civil servants, its judges, its contractors, its instrumentalities, agencies, commissions, operatives, and private advocates lie. They lie with numbers, and they lie with words.

Most perniciously, they lie with facts.

Their reports, their pronouncements, their justifications, their declarations, their accusations, their claims, their projections, and their promises are, prima facie, lies. The fruit of this poison tree issuing forth from the seeds of prevarication are the laws of the land: by the very nature of the seed from which is born this foodstuff that nourishes our civil society may not come a rule of law that is fit for all who live under the flag of this nation.

We have, in the words of the former neoconservative favorite Francis Fukuyama, come to the end of history: the legislation enacted by the Congresses, the affirmations by the Presidents, the interpretive and legislative rules crafted by government agencies are uniformly in their effect to the end of predating upon the weak to provide foul swill to a wanting public that is appeased by hateful violence of the state masquerading as law enforcement. No further history may be written when a civil society has become a docile mob living vicariously, even while cowering in fear, ignorant of the difference between compliance and obedience, assuming the latter is a refined and civilized extension of the former.

To believe anything that emanates from this government is to be at peril of embracing a lie, whether that lie be from a conservative or from a liberal. The individuals who comprise the sentient heart of this government are liars, and they must be such in order to be a part of this government. They cannot help themselves; they cannot even so much as see that they are lost to the lies they must sustain in order to remain a part of the official instrumentation of something far greater than they and far more corrupt than they should want themselves to be.

This, I know: only the truly evil conservatives and liberals want the nation we have come to have in this degraded century; yet, none of better nature can stop it. Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama is a bad man in any materially moral sense. Although the details of their visions of this nation may differ markedly, each wants a good place for the citizenry, a safe place for the people, and a free place for the men, women, and children of this world.

Neither, however, can give us back that which we have lost; so they must lie with earnest promises, meaningful plans, serious vows, and reasoned logic about the way forward to better times. And people will believe them; people will vote for them and be excited about them, and many of those people will remain hopeful even as these men, each in his own ways, renders evidence of his intention to do other than what his acolytes think he will do.

This is the way of the foolish as they goad their putative leaders forward along the narrowing passage of perilous lies below which is the chasm of precipitous, calamitous consequences.

For example, we can stay in Iraq as an occupation force, as John McCain would have us do, or we can leave in short order, as Barack Obama would want; but these two roads converge in a wilderness, and that place is called collective damnation. If we stay, we continue the destructive imposition of military presence ruling over people who want us gone; but if we leave, we wash our hands of the horrific tragedy we—yes, we a people—created. Both John McCain and Barack Obama must lie to the American people, for each is compelled to craft a platform to hide from those who would elect them the miserable truth that we have already made monsters of ourselves, and whatever we now do is to the purpose of serving ourselves, even as we, both liberals and conservatives, find our own convenient reasons for dismissing our absolute, categorical responsibility for the wreckage we have made of a sovereign nation.

Take a long, hard look at a killed Iraqi child. Tell yourself that this is not your doing. Soothe yourself. Tell yourself you are not responsible; it's someone else's doing. It's an insurgent; it's a bad American airstrike; it's George W. Bush. It's someone else who did it, not you. Then, once you feel all better, be sure to vote for the candidate who will tell you what you want to hear: we need to leave Iraq, or we need to stay there. It's all the same: seeds from the fruit of a poison tree of lies that will, themselves, bear lies tailored to your need for self-exoneration.

This is how the valence of Hegelian historical inevitability gets assigned, and the folly of self-deception cannot long be held at bay, certainly not this time, because the same force that makes corrupt any choice we now select in our dealings in the Middle East will one day become tangibly manifest in the fire and shrapnel of embittered terrorists who will unmercifully punish us just as we unmercifully butchered their ancestors and kin.

Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama can mitigate the inevitable: lies beget consequences, and those consequences are not only the superficial catastrophes of far away places we can keep at bay by hiding in our homeland.

The United States economy cannot now be saved from tribulation because no leader could be elected on a platform of truth about that which must be done. Neither can our United States of America as a nation of free people be saved, for it is already dead: freedom has become a commercial slogan in the unrelenting program of law enforcement run amok by fearful legislators whipped forward by those whose appetite for obedience by the people has become married to the unstoppable train of technological innovations that cynically thwart the simplicity of constitutional due process.

To the extent that an engine of systematic lies is the foulest of enemies of a free people, the United States government is, then, an enemy of the American people that was once collectively free; and to the extent that collective freedom exists only when each within that aggregate is free, this government of pervasive, metastatic lies is an enemy to each and every person who is free by natural law that transcends the particulars of time, place, and circumstance.

In passing, I note that this conclusion I herewith openly publish, even as it defiantly expresses my intention to freedom, at once definitionally serves the repressive state to the end of actionable claim against me. I have no harbor in the Constitution, for it is now subservient to what the highest court of the land calls "constitutional law," which is the body of that very same court's own rulings, which are mandatory precedent upon all lower courts in the land. Even if, by some oddity of case, the courts were to defend my right to speech, the federal legislature has both actively and tacitly given its permission to the President to do as he pleases in extra-judicial pursuit of "terrorism," however the government chooses to define it. Both pretenders to the throne of Empire have endorsed the wretched disposal of constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, yet their respective supporters refuse to see them as two faces of the same tin coin of authoritarianism ringing mightily while delivering nothing of value to the besieged Constitution and those it rightfully protects.

I am not afraid of this government, for I know it is the engine of empire dying before my mortal eyes. I need do no more than write and speak of its collapse, for it hastens its own death with each passing day, with each passing, more outlandish, more insistent lie.

I need only wait, write, and teach; and in that last modality of my death watch upon this wrongful and elderly monster whose name is Anathema, I shall prepare the young for the time that is to come that they may be not only prepared through revelation for a circumstance of awful tribulation, but knowing of why it has come, how it will proceed, and to what ends they must dedicate their learning and, indeed, their very spirits that they may continue on past the time when this government, of its own tragic destiny, has passed into sullen history, yet one more failed state of glorious ideals eviscerated by the consuming and all-destructive spiral of lies and their consequential burden of corrosive, suicidal distension.

And so I pause in the course of my own journey to the end of days to defy this government—nay, to challenge this government—to silence me. I dare this government to call me its enemy as I have, in this place for all to see, called it the enemy of my freedom.

Silence me lest I remain to my solemn task of shining a light down the darkling and now inexorable path that is the way to the cemetery of empire.

I wish only that the light I cast could illuminate for me that which lies beyond the graveyard, for I know that the better place—a bright place of learned hope and vigilance in freedom—exists, yet I know neither its form nor its time. That good place is there, but I cannot see it, so I must craft my hope of its good and great landscape within my soul, that place where lies cannot make permanent camp, that place my government long ago abandoned to the ill shadows of fleeting fortune and paltry powers that sovereigns so willingly substitute for a living spirit fed by the wellspring of a people unbridled in their freedom.

While hope is never enough, knowledge is abundance; and so, even as I sound the clarion call of the end of this history, I offer a horn of plenty to those who can steadfastly endure this government's crying shame of decadence in political oppression and economic misery in its last years and days. In caution, though, be forewarned: the wrath of generations to come will lay to waste the lives and deeds of us all for the disdain with which we dispensed with hope through action in the name of safety through surrender. Woe be our name as the truth we cannot see becomes the justice we shall suffer.

As both meek and magnificent promise, I give you this: the time of tribulation, bearing as it must the cruel twins of consequences and truths, will someday and inevitably pass; then all of us, both the living and the dead, shall once again be free.

Free we shall be until, of course, lies once again become empire and ignorant, self-serving people find life in the shadow of empire preferable to death in defiant rebellion.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Wolves and Poodles

A Soul Defying, Tacit Approval Of Torture:
How Did We Come To This?

Preface: the above face is not that of the author of this article, but of David Hicks held in Guantanamo for six years. His face and his story (though he is Australian) seem to belong with this article.

By Phil Rockstroh

29 September, 2006

"True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that False Self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality ... and through this death a rebirth, the ego now being the servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer." —R. D. Laing

The pathology of American culture is as ubiquitous as its strip-mall ugliness. It is abundantly evident, in almost every aspect of contemporary life. From the predatory (to the point of psychopathic) practices of its morally scurvy pirates at the helm of the corporate/governmental ship of state, down to the pandemic enervation and proliferate anomie of its galley slaves languishing in their soulless cubicles -- from the genitalia-devoid mascots at Disney World to the genitalia-obsessed torturers of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo -- the soul-sickness spreads before us like George W. Bush's taunting, executioner's smirk.

Ronnie Laing's profound dictum leaves us confronting many poignant questions regarding the true nature of the psychic lives of us so-called ordinary citizens of The United States of America and our ability to function within this corrupt and crumbling empire. In short, is it sane to be able to adapt to an insane culture?

Moreover, it begs the following question. If an individual’s conformity to group, cultural, and national pathology is rewarded -- thereby encouraging the formation of the "False Self” -- how might one, stranded within the dysfunctional dynamic, resist it all and begin to work towards an awareness of their own essential nature, then perhaps arriving at an individual reckoning involving how to live, flourish, and subvert the life defying demands of the present era.

First off, what engenders the formation of the False Self? Laing grasped: When we were children, authority, in the form of parents, educators, clergy, loomed before us. Alternatively menacing and comforting, these powerful figures could just as easily have crushed us as comforted us.

Tragically, all too often, they perpetrated the primary. Hence, to accommodate the overwhelming demands of authority, we learned how to curry favor from these baffling, seemingly implacable forces by the creation of a cipher persona, a False Self, a tricky and/or obsequious, tap-dancing, little apple polisher, who strives to garner approval and acceptance, thereby avoiding punishment, rejection and scorn, by means of the reflexive subjugation of his true nature.

The victims of False Self adaptation are the quintessence of the corporate/consumer citizen. Although, they're presence is far from benign: While they are compelled to show an agreeable face towards unyielding authority, this trope merely serves to mask a mind seething with misplaced resentments and shallow subterfuge. Doesn’t this read like a personality profile of Condoleezza Rice or any other member of that present day Executive Office cast of Lord of the Flies known as the Bush administration?

This process of metaphysical identity theft begins in childhood. Then, as now, the presence of individuality-decimating authority can create irreconcilable anxieties within us, because the actions and activities of authority figures seem as overwhelming and unpredictable as nature itself.

Now add this to the already haunted landscape of childhood -- our present day government’s campaigns of perpetual fear mongering, plus the dominate corporate culture's modus operandi of commercial exploitation -- and we’re left with one freaked out populace – one comprised of both children and alleged adults.

Consequently, this fear-ridden existence has rendered us a society of grotesques: In the present day United States, children have grown as fat as steroid-fed, corporate-farmed livestock; this has transpired because we overfeed them a diet consisting of steroid-fed, corporate-farmed livestock -- as well as – myriad other variations of nutrient-devoid, calorie-laden faux food dispensed at a mall's food court, through a drive-thru window, or out of a cardboard box delivered by a franchised junk food chain.

Our motives for doing this shouldn’t be a mystery to us: We habitually shovel high fat, high carbohydrate, high sugar-content junk into their grousing gobs, in a desperate, futile attempt to stuff down the boredom, the anxiety, the lassitude they suffer due to their confinement inside the commercially branded, repressed, empty, holographic facsimile of childhood we have created for them.

This is the reason why our children overeat like neurotic domestic pets. As is the case with housebound, bored, anxious domestic animals, what do they have to look forward to -- but dinner? Accordingly, the corporate food industry provides plenty (at a bloated profit, of course) of junk food -- the table scraps fallen from the table of the ruling elite of our fat-ass empire – in order to keep them (and all the rest of us) obese, obedient, and anxiously waiting by our master's table for more.

And these proto-fascist, behavioral control tricks are not just for kids. Corporate Capitalism has left us Americans psychologically arrested in a pathetic simulacrum of childhood where our inchoate fears of being preyed upon by our (so called) protectors (who we internally and accurately recognize as monsters) are displaced into compulsive consumerism (including overeating) and a reflexive fear of outsiders.

If we were to awaken to this subterfuge, we would apprehend: Our individual uniqueness is being robbed from us on a daily basis due to our enslavement to a mindless system that lives for no other reason than it lives -- a system that eats its fatted young (giving new meaning to the term consumer economy) -- and exists only to perpetuate itself -- a system that has become a soul-devouring monster -- the embodiment of Alan Ginsburg’s Moloch.

Why do we accept this soul defying situation? For most of us, the price we would have to pay for confronting authority would be far too prohibitive; hence, we learn it is acceptable (as well as politically useful to our power mad leaders) to displace our anger and fear upon outsiders. Ergo, the so-called Clash of Civilizations is unloosed and slouches, by way of the Washington Beltway, to Iraq, Iran and beyond to be born.

This is the manner that we as a society came to believe we can “compromise” on acts of torture committed in our name and not fear the loss of our souls as a result of our complicity. Although, the loss of our national soul would only prove redundant: Years ago, we decided our souls, both individual and national, were somewhat less than useful to us – and not nearly as compelling as a new widescreen, plasma TV and the like -- hence they were discarded into the reeking landfills of this toxic country like an old appliance.

These actions are what the corporate/military/consumer empire demands of us: For it does not take long for us to learn which aspects of our personalities are accepted and rewarded, and, conversely, which ones will be punished and scorned. In essence, the roles we’re expected to play in exchange for being loved, fed, clothed, and sheltered.

This exchange insures us that we're given a "safe" place within the community -- not cast out into the wilderness and fed to the wolves. This fear is not an outrageous fantasy: It is, in fact, a primal memory. Due to the fact, numerous forms of infanticide were once common practices in nearly all cultures, including the act of abandoning outcast children to die in the wilderness.

Moreover, this knowledge still lingers within our psyches, where the memories of such terrors still howl just beyond the tree line of our waking awareness, instilling within us the terror of ridicule, of failure, of being ostracized. Far too many of us succumb to these fears and begin playing the roles circumscribed by their families, communities, and cultures. Tragically, their true selves, for all practical purposes, were smothered in their cribs.

In itself, the False Self, as well as other varieties of habitual self-centeredness, is a variety of imprisonment. The world is spread before the cell of the self, yet we prisoners cannot leave the confines of our small, self-involved anxieties; therein, mind, heart and imagination become atrophied by a lack of experience, empathy and spontaneity. The bars of the cage might be invisible, yet the sense of confinement is palpable across our corporatized culture. Ergo, a collective numbness and apathy levels upon the land – and ultimately our desensitization to genocide and torture.

To begin to free oneself from the bondage of the False Self, one must become aware of one’s own fraudulence. That being: the awareness of one's desperate machinations before exploitive authority.

Self-knowledge can provide us with a point of entry to the act of empathy. Yes, even extending it towards one as loathsome as George W. Bush. Years ago, the sorry ass son of bitch put on a mask (its contours, both menacing and ridiculous) in a vain attempt to shield himself from being crushed by power. Imagine having his parents: that soulless cipher of a father and blood-freezing Medusa of a mother. Try to imagine the psychological carnage involved. It’s the same trauma we experience daily due to our own powerlessness against the dictates of the corporate state and its threats, both implied and overt, to cast us into the howling wilderness of financial ruin, poverty, and homelessness.

(A caveat: The proffering empathy to Dick Cheney would be pushing the parameters of empathy to the breaking point: Upon being subjected to Cheney's glowering, reptilian aura, even Mahatma Ghandi would be reaching for a pair of brass knuckles.)

Even in this fear-ridden era, there are some among us -- types such as non-conformists, creative thinkers, and artists -- who welcome (rather than cower before) the metaphorical wolves (that are recognized, each to each, as fellow outcasts). Instead of being eaten by the wolves, they are suckled and raised by them.

Nourished by their outsider status, the creative spirit thrives when freed from the constraints of a mindless adherence to groupthink. The dark terrain of societal abandonment becomes their natural habitat: they howl at the moon; they reject the daylight world of bland consensus; they learn to see in the dark, apprehending their own interior darkness and, as a result, gain an understanding into the hearts of darkness beating within those in power.

The wilderness of political activism, of poetry, of art becomes their home: they don't clean-up nicely for polite company; they don't let themselves be bred down (as a few domesticated wolves did) to yapping Toy Poodles, in exchange for a few food scraps.

Yes, when you’re looking at a Toy Poodle -- you're looking at a former wolf, as when your looking at the corporate press corps, you’re looking at folks whose ancestors long ago were journalists.

One moment, you're loping through the woods, snout held high, smelling the scent of fresh game on the wind, then the next thing you know -- you're being led around on a leash and collar, encrusted with tacky rhinestones and you're salivating at the sound of an electric can-opener. One moment, you're a child, entranced in play, hardwired to eternity -- the next thing you know, you're sitting at work and your passions, hopes, and yearnings have been shrunk down to Toy Poodle-sized agendas ... You're truckling for your boss's approval; you're counting the minutes until break time, when you can devour some junk food. Like a domesticated pet, or an unfortunate animal incarcerated in a zoo, you are no longer a noble animal – you’re a Thing That Waits For Lunch.

To resist, we must cast off the fear of being an outcast. I remain hopeful: There is yet a molecule or two of the wild wolf left within us cringing, cloying Toy Poodles.

One must always remember this: We human beings are of nature too. Accordingly, within us lies an indomitable self, encoded with the grace and fury of the natural world, and, if acknowledged and respected, it will awaken and arise. Then the real dogfight begins: The fur will fly, as we fight, fang and claw, to retake our own essential natures, and, by extension, begin the struggle to restore health, imagination and empathy to a nation of cage-accepting, torture-countenancing sick puppies.

Phil Rockstroh, a self-described, auto-didactic, gasbag monologist, is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Evil Eyes Bush & Friends

Politicians are well trained actors; they can produce a laugh or any facial expression upon will, depending on what is called for in a situation. In the days of yore, photographs were planned and the technology was cumbersome. But today, with a camera in every cell phone, every expression and movement of our politicians can be recorded, even the ones they don't want us to see.

I like to look a faces; not for beauty, but for truth and spirit.
Most of us will never meet the Masters of the Universe face to face. So we will never have the luxury of observing all the subtle cues that provide meaning to our personal opinions of those in power; we instead get the well marketed media image they wish us to believe.

Below is a compilation of moments in time the Bushites have revealed themselves for the camera and told us some truth about themselves that perhaps they did not mean for us to see. Granted, these photos are taken out of context in an openly biased way here. But the photos reveal some truth; you can judge for yourself what that is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dark Tourism

Preface: If someone were to ask me, Why doesn't the West care about Africa?, I would say because they know nothing of it; people are dependent upon the bits and pieces thrown at them through the media. If Westerners were to see, really see firsthand, the devastation capitalism imposes on real people, perhaps they would open their hearts to Africa.

Better yet, if we could get then to pay for it themselves; and then enlist them as agents to spread the word, to create a human context of African suffering in which people can understand all the convoluted and confusing news stories about events there.

There is no doubt that this capitalist enterprise exploits the misery of others. The intentions and profit structure of the venture are not made clear here.

However, I am not above exploiting the exploiters for making a more aware world. What do you think about the benefits or offensiveness of this industry? Is this one way to get the message out, odious though it may morally be?

Dark Tourism: A Fine Line Between Curiousity and Exploitation

A dark field: Sektordura
Posted by Amanda Kendle on January 24, 2008
Editor's note: This is part one in a multi-part series exploring dark tourism.

SOMETIMES we travel to see a beautiful landscape, a precious artifact or a well-known painting. But other times our purpose is to experience something a little darker: to see a concentration camp where thousands of people were gassed to death, to visit a natural disaster zone that we’ve seen plastered across our TV screens, or to gawk at people living in poverty, sometimes with the intention of trying to help them.

All of these things and more have been encapsulated recently by the umbrella term of dark tourism. And while some people are quick to say they’d never be involved in something with a name like dark tourism, the scope is broad and you might be a dark tourist without realizing it.

So What Exactly is Dark Tourism?

Well, that kind of depends who you ask. But let’s go for someone who sounds quite authoritative: the University of Central Lancashire, which is actually undertaking academic research into dark tourism. They say:
Dark tourism is the act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions and exhibitions which have real or recreated death, suffering or the seemingly macabre as a main theme.

It’s a term that has only arisen in the past couple of years, perhaps brought into sharper focus with the rush of tours that followed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. But people have been visiting so-called “dark tourist” sites for a much longer time – the concentration camps at Auschwitz in Poland spring immediately to mind.

Like rubberneckers at a car crash, it’s somehow human nature to want to be an eye-witness to suffering. A morbid curiosity grips many of us and although we might outwardly say we don’t want to visit the site of a natural disaster or a mass murder, a lot of us, secretly, really do.

The reasons, like the reasons we travel at all, are many and varied, but range somewhere between wanting to understand how other people live through catastrophe and showing sympathy to victims, all the way through to an out-and-out interest in death and depravity.

What Kinds of Dark Tourism Are There?

Are you a dark tourist? Nearly everyone has interest in at least one or two kinds of dark tourism, even if they wouldn’t initially characterize themselves that way. But it’s certainly a matter of degrees. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring a range of different traveling ideas that fit somehow into the idea of dark tourism. Here’s an overview of one way of categorizing dark tourism.

Grief Tourism

You might be surprised to learn there’s an entire website dedicated to grief tourism. I sure was. But when you get into the detail, grief tourism is a kind of sightseeing that many of us have been doing naturally for years. Basically, you can define grief tourism as being when you travel somewhere to visit a scene of some tragic event.

Ground Zero, New York City Ground Zero, New York City © wili_hybrid
The most common examples of grief tourism are war-related, like visiting the concentration camps and battle sites, seeing cemeteries, and tourists coming to see where tragic crimes or events happened, for example in Soham, England, when floods of tourists visited the small village where two young schoolgirls were murdered. And perhaps the ultimate example of grief tourism is the wave of visitors to Ground Zero in New York after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Disaster Tourism

Some might say disaster tourism is a subset of grief tourism, but it deserves its own category after getting so much attention of late. An onslaught of visitors following some kind of natural disaster, such as those visiting south-east Asia following the 2004 tsunami crisis, or people traveling to New Orleans to see the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, are both examples of disaster tourism. It’s a shade more controversial than grief tourism. You could argue that those who visit disaster zones – especially when little time has elapsed since the disaster – may hinder the efforts being made to restore communities to a normal way of life. On the other hand, promoting this kind of travel might bring in much-needed income at a difficult time.

India Morning Shampoo in Kolkata, India © Shayan (USA)

Poverty Tourism

It’s a natural human trait to be interested in how the other half live. That’s why we line up in droves to trundle through exquisite royal palaces or mansions belonging to the rich. But some are more interested in how the other, other half live: the very poor. Poverty tourism usually features tours to slum areas and poverty stricken towns. Some claim to help these poor by using profits from the tours to improve their lot, but this seems counter-productive – if they broke the poverty cycle here their tour business would close down. As you can see, I’m a bit cynical about the idea of poverty tourism. Touring a squatter camp in Soweto, South Africa, or similarly poor settlements in India, and driving through the favelas of Rio de Janeiro all belong to this category.
Suicide Tourism This particularly dark side of dark tourism generally takes two forms. The first involves people traveling to a particular destination with the intention of committing suicide, often by jumping from a famous landmark.

Statistics prove that a significant proportion of suicide cases at well-known tourist attractions are tourists, although it’s not clear whether their trip was planned around this.
A second form of suicide tourism takes into account the various laws related to euthanasia in different countries. For example, in several European countries like Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, active euthanasia is not illegal, and terminally-ill people sometimes travel there to end their life legally.

Doomsday Tourism
The end of the world is coming, some people believe. Or at the very least, the end of certain tourist attractions is coming. Doomsday tourism refers to the thinking that you should hurry up and visit particular places which are under threat, usually as a result of environmental problems and globing warming. For example, there’s been a rush on visits to see Arctic glaciers because many travelers (nudged by their travel agents) are scared they’re going to disappear.

Some visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Galapagos Islands follow the same line of thinking. Of course, it’s not entirely logical, because the act of traveling to these places is in turn creating environmental pressures – but perhaps these travelers won’t mind, a touch selfishly, because they’ll have seen what they wanted.

Additional info: Overview of South Africa

Water riots - South Africa

We are on our own; but we are together

Inkani is a short film which follows the riots in Durban South Africa over water and sanitation facilities. A piece of the puzzle in understanding Africa is beautifully given here, one that makes sense of the many other difficult aspects to understand about South Africa, for myself anyway. Umlazi info

Durban: The Third Force

by S'bu Zikode Friday, Nov. 18, 2005 at 10:08 AM The shack dwellers' movement that has given hope to thousands of people in Durban is always being accused of being part of the Third Force. In newspapers and in all kinds of meetings this is said over and over again. They even waste money investigating the Third Force. We need to address this question of the Third Force so that people don't become confused.

I must warn those comrades, government officials, politicians and intellectuals who speak about the Third Force that they have no idea what they are talking about. They are too high to really feel what we feel. They always want to talk for us and about us but they must allow us to talk about our lives and our struggles.

We need to get things clear. There definitely is a Third Force. The question is what is it and who is part of the Third Force? Well, I am Third Force myself. The Third Force is all the pain and the suffering that the poor are subjected to every second in our lives. The shack dwellers have many things to say about the Third Force. It is time for us to speak out and to say this is who we are, this is where we are and this how we live. The life that we are living makes our communities the Third Force. Most of us are not working and have to spend all day struggling for small money. AIDS is worse in the shack settlements than anywhere else. Without proper houses, water, electricity, refuse removal and toilets all kinds of diseases breed. The causes are clearly visible and every Dick, Tom and Harry can understand. Our bodies itch every day because of the insects. If it is raining everything is wet - blankets and floors. If it is hot the mosquitoes and flies are always there. There is no holiday in the shacks. When the evening comes - it is always a challenge. The night is supposed to be for relaxing and getting rest. But it doesn't happen like that in the jondolos. People stay awake worrying about their lives. You must see how big the rats are that will run across the small babies in the night. You must see how people have to sleep under the bridges when it rains because their floors are so wet. The rain comes right inside people's houses. Some people just stand up all night.

But poverty is not just suffering. It threatens us with death every day. We have seen how dangerous being poor is. In the Kennedy Road settlement we have seen how Mhlengi Khumalo, a one year old child, died in a shack fire last month. Seven others have died in fires since the eThekwini Metro decided to stop providing electricity to informal settlements. There are many Mhlengis all over our country. Poverty even threatens people in flats. In Bayview, in Chatsworth, a woman died of hunger earlier this year - she was fearing to tell the neighbours that she had no food and she died, alone.

Those in power are blind to our suffering. This is because they have not seen what we see, they have not felt what we are feeling every second, every day. My appeal is that leaders who are concerned about peoples' lives must come and stay at least one week in the jondolos. They must feel the mud. They must share 6 toilets with 6 000 people. They must dispose of their own refuse while living next to the dump. They must come with us while we look for work. They must chase away the rats and keep the children from knocking the candles. They must care for the sick when there are long queues for the tap. They must have a turn to explain to the children why they can't attend the Technical College down the hill. They must be there when we bury our children who have passed on in the fires, from diarrhoea or AIDS.

For us the most important struggle is to be recognised as human beings. During the struggle prior to 1994 there were only two levels, two classes - the rich and the poor. Now after the election there are three classes - the poor, the middle class and the rich. The poor have been isolated from the middle class. We are becoming more poor and the rest are becoming more rich. We are on our own. We are completely on our own.

Our President Mbeki speaks politics - our Premier Ndebele, and Shilowa in Gauteng and Rasool in the Western Cape, our Mayor Mlaba and mayors all over the country speak politics. But who will speak about the genuine issues that affect the people every day - water, electricity, education, land, housing? We thought local government would minimise politics and focus on what people need but it all becomes politics.

We discovered that our municipality does not listen to us when we speak to them in Zulu. We tried English. Now we realise that they won't understood Xhosa or Sotho either. The only language that they understand is when we put thousands of people on the street. We have seen the results of this and we have been encouraged. It works very well. It is the only tool that we have to emancipate our people. Why should we stop it?

We have matured in our suffering. We had a programme to find a way forward. Our programme was to continue with the peaceful negotiations with the authorities that first started ten years ago. But our first plan was undermined. We were lied to. We had to come up with an alternative plan.

The 16th of February 2005 was the dawn of our struggle. On that day the Kennedy Road committee had a very successful meeting with the chair of the housing portfolio of the executive committee of the municipality, the director of housing and the ward councillor. They all promised us the vacant land on the Clare Estate for housing. The land on Elf Road was one of the identified areas. But then we were betrayed by the most trusted people in our city. Just one month later, without any warning or explanation, bulldozers began digging the land. People were excited. They went to see what was happening and were shocked to be told that a brick factory was being built there. More people went down to see. There were so many of us that we were blocking the road. The man building the factory called the police and our local councillor, a man put into power by our votes and holding our trust and hopes. The councillor told the police "Arrest these people they are criminals." The police beat us, their dogs bit us and they arrested 14 of us. We asked what happened to the promised land. We were told "Who the hell are you people to demand this land?" This betrayal mobilised the people. The people who betrayed us are responsible for this movement. Those people are the second force.

Our movement started with 14 arrests - we called them the 14 heroes. Now we have 14 settlements united together as abahlali base mjondolo [shack dwellers]. Each settlement meets once a week and the leaders of all the settlements meet once a week. We are prepared to talk but if that doesn't work we are prepared to use our strength. We will do what ever it costs us to get what we need to live safely.

We have learnt from our experience that when you want to achieve what you want, when you want to achieve what is legitimate by peaceful negotiations, by humbleness, by respecting those in authority your plea becomes criminal. You will be deceived for more than ten years, you will be fooled and undermined. This is why we have resorted to the streets. When we stand there in our thousands we are taken seriously.

The struggle that started in Kennedy Road was the beginning of a new era. We are aware of the strategies that the police are coming with to demoralise and threaten the poor. We don't mind them building the jails for us and hiring more security if they are not prepared to listen to what we are saying. It is important for every shack dwellers to know that we are aware of what is happening in Alexander in Johannesburg, in P.E., in Cape Town. We know that our struggle is not by itself. We have sent our solidarity. We will not rest in peace until there is justice for the poor - not only in Kennedy Road there are many Kennedy Roads, many Mhlengis, many poor voices that are not heard and not understood. But we have discovered the language that works. We will stick with it. The victims have spoken. We have said enough is enough.

It must be clear that this is not a political game. This movement is a kind of social tool by which the community hopes to get quicker results. This has nothing to do with politics or parties. Our members are part of every political organisation that you may think of. This is a non political movement. It will finish its job when land and housing, electricity and basic services have been won and poverty eliminated. It is enough for us to be united until our people have achieved what is wanted - which is basic. But until that is materialised we will never stop.

The community has realised that voting for parties has not brought any change to us - especially at the level of local government elections. We can see some important changes at national level but at local level who ever wins the elections will be challenged by us. We have been betrayed by our own elected councillor. We have decided not to vote. The campaign that has begun - 'No Land, No House, No Vote', is a campaign that has been agreed upon in all 14 settlements.

We are driven by the Third Force, the suffering of the poor. Our betrayers are the Second Force. The First Force was our struggle against apartheid. The Third Force will stop when the Fourth Force comes. The Fourth Force is land, housing, water, electricity, health care, education and work. We are only asking what is basic - not what is luxurious. This is the struggle of the poor. The time has come for the poor to show themselves that we can be poor in life but not in mind.

For us time has been a very good teacher. People have realised so many things. We have learnt from the past - we have suffered alone. That pain and suffering has taught us a lot. We have begun to realise that we are not supposed to be living under these conditions. There has been a dawn of democracy for the poor. No one else would have told us - neither our elected leaders nor any officials would have told us what we are entitled to. Even the Freedom Charter is only good in theory. It has nothing to do with the ordinary lives of poor. It doesn't help us. It is the thinking of the masses of the people that matters. We have noted that our country is rich. More airports are being built, there are more developments at the Point water front, more stadiums are being renovated, more money is floating around, even being lent to Mugabe. But when you ask for what is basic you are told that there is no money. It is clear that there is no money for the poor. The money is for the rich. We have come to the decision of saying 'enough is enough.' We all agree that something must be done.

S'bu Zikode is the elected Chairman of the abahlali base mjondolo [Shack dwellers] movement which currently includes 14 settlements in Durban and will march on Mayor Obed Mlaba on 14 November. [This march was later banned and violence unleashed on abahlali base mjondolo members when they tried to march from Foreman Road]


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lahde Thanks Idiots

Lahde Quits Hedge Funds, Thanks `Idiots' for Success

By Katherine Burton Oct. 17 (Bloomberg)
Andrew Lahde, the hedge-fund manager who quit after posting an 870 percent gain last year, said farewell to clients in a letter that thanks stupid traders for making him rich and ends with a plea to legalize marijuana.

Lahde, head of Santa Monica, California-based Lahde Capital Management LLC, told investors last month he was returning their cash because the risk of using credit derivatives -- his means of betting on the falling value of bonds and loans, including subprime mortgages -- was too risky given the weakness of the banks he was trading with.

``I was in this game for money,'' Lahde, 37, wrote in a two-page letter today in which he said he had come to hate the hedge-fund business. ``The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government.

``All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other sides of my trades. God Bless America.''

Lahde, who managed about $80 million, told clients he'll be content to invest his own money, rather than taking cash from wealthy individuals and institutions and trying to amass a fortune worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.

``I do not understand the legacy thing,'' he wrote. ``Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.''

Request for Soros

He said he'd spend his time repairing his health ``as well as my entire life -- where I had to compete for spaces at universities, and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management -- with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not.''

He also suggested that billionaire George Soros sponsor a forum in which ``great minds'' would come together to create a new system of government, as the current system ``is clearly broken.''

Lahde ended his letter with a plea for the increased use of hemp as an alternative source of food and energy that segued into a call for the legalization of marijuana.

``Hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products,'' he wrote. ``Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa. Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term.''

`Innocuous Plant'

He added, ``The evil female plant -- marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country.''

Lahde said the only reason marijuana remains illegal is because ``Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other addictive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers.''

Lahde graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in finance and holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles. He worked at Los Angeles-based hedge fund Dalton Investments LLC before founding his own firm two years ago with about $10 million.

Lahde wasn't available for comment. A woman at his firm, who asked not to be identified, confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Burton in New York at
Last Updated: October 17, 2008 16:27 EDT


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oil in the Sudan

Preface: This excerpt is from World Energy "Areas To Watch"
I would appreciate any comments on any of the material contained below.

Main Concerns: The United States imposed economic sanctions against Sudan in November 1997, prohibiting trade between the two countries, as well as investment by United States companies and persons in Sudan, in order to "deprive the regime in Khartoum of the financial and material benefits of US trade and investment, including investment in Sudan's petroleum sector." In February 2000, the Clinton administration broadened the sanctions to include a prohibition against US citizens and companies conducting business with the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), an international consortium of petroleum companies currently extracting oil from Sudan. The sanctions, however, did not apply to the foreign individual parent companies of GNPOC, which include Calgary-based Talisman Energy, Malaysia's Petronas, and the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). In October 2002, the US Congress passed the Sudan Peace Act, which outlines stiff sanctions, ranging from a downgrading of diplomatic relations to a UN arms embargo, that could be imposed on the Sudanese government if it negotiates in bad faith with the main southern rebel force, Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

As of January 2003, Sudan's estimated proven reserves of crude oil stood at 563.3 million barrels. Current crude oil production averages about 250,000 bbl/d, with exports of about 220,000 barrels per day. Output has been rising steadily since the completion of a vital pipeline in July 1999. Development of Sudan's oil resources has been highly controversial. Numerous international human rights organizations have accused the Sudanese government of financing wide-scale human rights abuses with oil revenues, including the mass displacement of civilians living near the oil fields.

The SPLA has declared that it considers oil installations a "legitimate military target," as oil development has provided the Sudanese government the financial resources to expand its war effort. In late March 2002, SPLA rebel leader John Garang stated that his group would continue to attack oil installations in the center of the country despite an agreement to protect civilians and civilian targets and in September 2002, the SPLA said that it had destroyed the main oil well on the Heglig oil field. In November 2001, southern rebels claimed to have ambushed an army convoy traveling near GNPOC facilities, and stated that such attacks would continue until "oil exploration, exploitation and development come to a halt." In August 2001, an attempt by rebels to blow up Sudan's oil export pipeline was thwarted, but rebels claimed to have killed 42 government soldiers in an attack earlier in the month, and also to have inflicted "extensive damage" to oil facilities at Heglig. The government and a representative of Talisman Energy both denied the latter claim. Rebels also claimed to have launched a successful attack on oil facilities in Bentiu in mid-October 2001, but this claim also was refuted by the government.

Sudan remains under a State of Emergency, originally declared on December 12, 1999. Despite this, security risks remain high, particularly in southern Sudan. In March 2000, Swedish company Lundin Oil was forced to suspend operations in Block 5A due to safety concerns and logistical problems associated with the construction of an access road to the site. On March 27, 2003, OMV of Austria announced that the consortium of which it is a member, along with Lundin of Sweden, Petronas of Malaysia, and Sudapet of Sudan, was renewing exploration activities in Sudan after being suspended in January 2002 due to a deteriorating security situation.

There is another article here which is quite interesting concerning the Niger Delta. Again, comments on this content as to its bias or accuracy are appreciated.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Baby tigers monkey around

Click here to read this amazing story and for an unforgetable photo slideshow.

I love the Irish 'Left'

How I love Irish politics. We definitely have our problems here, but all in all, the country is quite humane and compassionate. I think we will be very lucky in the coming financial downturn.

Fat cats are solely to blame for financial crisis

Sunday, October 12, 2008
By Vincent Browne

These are bewildering times. Nobody has any idea whether the world economy will collapse in a few days, weeks or months.

Nobody seems to have a plan to save the world from the looming disaster - and nothing tried so far has worked.

The debate between the US presidential candidates last Tuesday night seemed abstracted from the potential catastrophe.

John McCain and Barack Obama addressed the issue as though it were merely another campaign debating point, rather than the survival of the social and political system to which both are committed.

The scale of the possible disaster is terrifying. The president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, said last Thursday that, ‘‘while people in the developed world are focused on the financial crisis, many forget that a human crisis is rapidly unfolding in developing countries. It is pushing poor people to the brink of survival.”

The number of malnourished people globally will grow by 44million - to 967million - this year, according to the World Bank.

The crisis will also have devastating effects on people elsewhere in the world. In America, the richest country in the world, the poverty level, as measured by the US Census Bureau, will rise appreciably from its current level of 35 million.

The proportion of the black population in poverty will rise from the 25 per cent mark to around one-third.

Incidentally, wasn’t it extraordinary that Obama - the first black presidential nominee of either major party, and the candidate more likely to succeed - has not mentioned the impoverishment of the black population in either of the debates so far?

How could a black nominee contribute to the invisibility of the phenomenon? If that is what it takes to become president, is it worth it? Likewise in Europe and elsewhere in the ‘developed’ world.

The financial billionaires have taken a hit from the financial crisis - and, very likely, there are more hits to come.

But do you remember the night that Lehman Brothers was going to the wall? Limousines were lined up outside the bank’s Wall Street headquarters to ferry the directors home - the same directors who had personally made billions of dollars out of the reckless, financial scavenging in which they had engaged for more than a decade.

Did you see Richard Fuld, the chairman and chief executive of Lehman Brothers, acknowledge to a congressional committee how he had taken millions from the company he had wrecked? Last year, this gent earned $45 million. From 1993 to 2007, he received nearly half a billion dollars in total compensation.

Fuld may have to sacrifice an executive jet or two, but he is unlikely to share the fate of tens of millions around the world whose lives have been devastated by his greed and recklessness.

Of course, the financial crisis in Ireland is not the sole creation of the Fianna Fáil-PD governments of the last 11 years. The worldwide financial crisis has played a major part in precipitating the crisis here. But Fianna Fáil and the PDs have contributed to it massively.

They fuelled the property boom, which they must have known would end in tears - not for them, but for hundreds of thousands of others.

They courted - or at least held hands with - the property developers, many of whom became billionaires. They spent, spent and spent, while cutting taxes - particularly taxes that affected the rich: income tax and capital gains tax.

Now, having devastated the tax base, they will ravage the lives of hundreds of thousands by committing them to poverty, misery, poor health and early deaths, for these are the direct results of the inequality that they created and will now deepen.

Mary Harney’s initiative last Thursday, even by the standards of this deplorable government and of the despicable PDs, was breathtaking. Just when the government was risking the economic lifeblood of this society in order to rescue the powerful and wealthy financial institutions, she was proposing to take life savings and homes from the poorest and most helpless old people to finance residential care.

As Eamon Timmons of Age Action asked: ‘‘Does it mean that an older person who is medically assessed as being in need of full-time medical and nursing care, but who refuses to sign up to the new charging arrangement whereby he would pay 80 per cent of his income and up to 15 per cent of the value of his estate, would be refused essential care by the state?

‘‘In effect, it means that people who have been paralysed by stroke or who are suffering from dementia will be charged in a completely different way to people who, for example, have a heart attack or are being treated for cancer.”

In spite of this crisis, we still have a hugely wealthy society. The average income for every man, woman and child is around €36,000. Nobody would be in want or have their life chances compromised if everyone had such wealth. The problem is how it is distributed.

The ‘Masters of the Universe’ in the banks, for instance, think they are individually worth in excess of €2 million.

The government believes that the balance of the economy would be disturbed if this were to be pared back - hence the massive bailout now under way for the institutions, so brilliantly managed by these Masters of the Universe.

Brendan Drumm, whose performance has been questionable since he took over the management of the Health Service Executive (HSE) - aided and abetted by Harney - thinks it is okay for him and a few of his colleagues to share a bonus in excess of €1 million.

Is this justified on the basis that he would be earning far more than €450,000 had he remained a hospital consultant?

Obviously, it did not occur to him that this is very much part of the problem and that his mentality - which, one assumes, is widely shared in the medical profession - is a major part of the problem.

The Irish solution to the financial crisis seems increasingly a piece of madness that could impoverish this country for generations. If any one of the financial institutions now guaranteed goes under - and the likelihood of that happening seems to be increasing by the day - then this society could be saddled with a debt of something like €20 billion to €150 billion.

This would cripple the economy here for decades. Would it not have been preferable to commit to the survival of, say, AIB and the Bank of Ireland by a state takeover, and let the others go to the wall if necessary?

Isn’t it extraordinary that we have allowed our societies to become vulnerable to the vagaries of the mere facilitators of its functioning, the financial institutions?

How did we ever allow them to become so much a central part of our societies? How ever did we justify giving these penny-pushers such vast wealth and power, so much so that their greed and recklessness now threaten the economic future of our societies?


To Hell with War

This article, I found while shuffling about through old links in my bookmarks; serendipitous learning I like to call it. The article is long; but skimming through the material, I suddenly began to doubt the date of authorship and had to double check. Indeed, this same article could most aptly describe the global environment of the new millenium, 65 years after it was written.
The world may have progessed to a modern civilisation and technology, but the problems of war are exactly the same. This man, Smedley Butler, now long dead, was a soldier all his life and shares with the reader the insights he gained from inside the military. The insights are chilling because they are the same ones we are struggling with seeing and believing now about global militarisation. Everything changes and still remains the same.

And exactly why is that?

War is a Racket

By USMC Major General Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940) Published 1935
Chapter One
War is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the [First] World War, a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns, no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war, nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep's eyes at each other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over the Polish Corridor.

The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters. Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other's throats. Italy was ready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are looking ahead to war. Not the people – not those who fight and pay and die – only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.

Hell's bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?

Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He, at least, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, Il Duce in "International Conciliation," the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said:

"And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace... War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it."

Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war – anxious for it, apparently. His recent stand at the side of Hungary in the latter's dispute with Jugoslavia showed that. And the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are others in Europe too whose sabre rattling presages war, sooner or later.

Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace. France only recently increased the term of military service for its youth from a year to eighteen months.

Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the "open door" policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less than $200,000,000.

Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war – a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends.

But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?

What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?

Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn't own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington's warning about "entangling alliances." We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.

It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people – who do not profit.

Chapter Two


The World War, rather our brief participation in it, has cost the United States some $52,000,000,000. Figure it out. That means $400 to every American man, woman, and child. And we haven't paid the debt yet. We are paying it, our children will pay it, and our children's children probably still will be paying the cost of that war.

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! that is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it.

Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed. Let's just take a few examples:

Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people – didn't one of them testify before a Senate committee recently that their powder won the war? Or saved the world for democracy? Or something? How did they do in the war? They were a patriotic corporation. Well, the average earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6,000,000 a year. It wasn't much, but the du Ponts managed to get along on it. Now let's look at their average yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918. Fifty-eight million dollars a year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than 950 per cent.

Take one of our little steel companies that patriotically shunted aside the making of rails and girders and bridges to manufacture war materials. Well, their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump – or did they let Uncle Sam in for a bargain? Well, their 1914-1918 average was $49,000,000 a year!

Or, let's take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the five-year period prior to the war were $105,000,000 a year. Not bad. Then along came the war and up went the profits. The average yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was $240,000,000. Not bad.

There you have some of the steel and powder earnings. Let's look at something else. A little copper, perhaps. That always does well in war times.

Anaconda, for instance. Average yearly earnings during the pre-war years 1910-1914 of $10,000,000. During the war years 1914-1918 profits leaped to $34,000,000 per year.

Or Utah Copper. Average of $5,000,000 per year during the 1910-1914 period. Jumped to an average of $21,000,000 yearly profits for the war period.

Let's group these five, with three smaller companies. The total yearly average profits of the pre-war period 1910-1914 were $137,480,000. Then along came the war. The average yearly profits for this group skyrocketed to $408,300,000.

A little increase in profits of approximately 200 per cent.

Does war pay? It paid them. But they aren't the only ones. There are still others. Let's take leather.

For the three-year period before the war the total profits of Central Leather Company were $3,500,000. That was approximately $1,167,000 a year. Well, in 1916 Central Leather returned a profit of $15,000,000, a small increase of 1,100 per cent. That's all. The General Chemical Company averaged a profit for the three years before the war of a little over $800,000 a year. Came the war, and the profits jumped to $12,000,000. a leap of 1,400 per cent.

International Nickel Company – and you can't have a war without nickel – showed an increase in profits from a mere average of $4,000,000 a year to $73,000,000 yearly. Not bad? An increase of more than 1,700 per cent.

American Sugar Refining Company averaged $2,000,000 a year for the three years before the war. In 1916 a profit of $6,000,000 was recorded.

Listen to Senate Document No. 259. The Sixty-Fifth Congress, reporting on corporate earnings and government revenues. Considering the profits of 122 meat packers, 153 cotton manufacturers, 299 garment makers, 49 steel plants, and 340 coal producers during the war. Profits under 25 per cent were exceptional. For instance the coal companies made between 100 per cent and 7,856 per cent on their capital stock during the war. The Chicago packers doubled and tripled their earnings.

And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers. Being partnerships rather than incorporated organizations, they do not have to report to stockholders. And their profits were as secret as they were immense. How the bankers made their millions and their billions I do not know, because those little secrets never become public – even before a Senate investigatory body.

But here's how some of the other patriotic industrialists and speculators chiseled their way into war profits.

Take the shoe people. They like war. It brings business with abnormal profits. They made huge profits on sales abroad to our allies. Perhaps, like the munitions manufacturers and armament makers, they also sold to the enemy. For a dollar is a dollar whether it comes from Germany or from France. But they did well by Uncle Sam too. For instance, they sold Uncle Sam 35,000,000 pairs of hobnailed service shoes. There were 4,000,000 soldiers. Eight pairs, and more, to a soldier. My regiment during the war had only one pair to a soldier. Some of these shoes probably are still in existence. They were good shoes. But when the war was over Uncle Sam has a matter of 25,000,000 pairs left over. Bought – and paid for. Profits recorded and pocketed.

There was still lots of leather left. So the leather people sold your Uncle Sam hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles for the cavalry. But there wasn't any American cavalry overseas! Somebody had to get rid of this leather, however. Somebody had to make a profit in it – so we had a lot of McClellan saddles. And we probably have those yet.

Also somebody had a lot of mosquito netting. They sold your Uncle Sam 20,000,000 mosquito nets for the use of the soldiers overseas. I suppose the boys were expected to put it over them as they tried to sleep in muddy trenches – one hand scratching cooties on their backs and the other making passes at scurrying rats. Well, not one of these mosquito nets ever got to France!

Anyhow, these thoughtful manufacturers wanted to make sure that no soldier would be without his mosquito net, so 40,000,000 additional yards of mosquito netting were sold to Uncle Sam.

There were pretty good profits in mosquito netting in those days, even if there were no mosquitoes in France. I suppose, if the war had lasted just a little longer, the enterprising mosquito netting manufacturers would have sold your Uncle Sam a couple of consignments of mosquitoes to plant in France so that more mosquito netting would be in order.

Airplane and engine manufacturers felt they, too, should get their just profits out of this war. Why not? Everybody else was getting theirs. So $1,000,000,000 – count them if you live long enough – was spent by Uncle Sam in building airplane engines that never left the ground! Not one plane, or motor, out of the billion dollars worth ordered, ever got into a battle in France. Just the same the manufacturers made their little profit of 30, 100, or perhaps 300 per cent.

Undershirts for soldiers cost 14¢ [cents] to make and uncle Sam paid 30¢ to 40¢ each for them – a nice little profit for the undershirt manufacturer. And the stocking manufacturer and the uniform manufacturers and the cap manufacturers and the steel helmet manufacturers – all got theirs.

Why, when the war was over some 4,000,000 sets of equipment – knapsacks and the things that go to fill them – crammed warehouses on this side. Now they are being scrapped because the regulations have changed the contents. But the manufacturers collected their wartime profits on them – and they will do it all over again the next time.

There were lots of brilliant ideas for profit making during the war.

One very versatile patriot sold Uncle Sam twelve dozen 48-inch wrenches. Oh, they were very nice wrenches. The only trouble was that there was only one nut ever made that was large enough for these wrenches. That is the one that holds the turbines at Niagara Falls. Well, after Uncle Sam had bought them and the manufacturer had pocketed the profit, the wrenches were put on freight cars and shunted all around the United States in an effort to find a use for them. When the Armistice was signed it was indeed a sad blow to the wrench manufacturer. He was just about to make some nuts to fit the wrenches. Then he planned to sell these, too, to your Uncle Sam.

Still another had the brilliant idea that colonels shouldn't ride in automobiles, nor should they even ride on horseback. One has probably seen a picture of Andy Jackson riding in a buckboard. Well, some 6,000 buckboards were sold to Uncle Sam for the use of colonels! Not one of them was used. But the buckboard manufacturer got his war profit.

The shipbuilders felt they should come in on some of it, too. They built a lot of ships that made a lot of profit. More than $3,000,000,000 worth. Some of the ships were all right. But $635,000,000 worth of them were made of wood and wouldn't float! The seams opened up – and they sank. We paid for them, though. And somebody pocketed the profits.

It has been estimated by statisticians and economists and researchers that the war cost your Uncle Sam $52,000,000,000. Of this sum, $39,000,000,000 was expended in the actual war itself. This expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits. That is how the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires got that way. This $16,000,000,000 profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite a tidy sum. And it went to a very few.

The Senate (Nye) committee probe of the munitions industry and its wartime profits, despite its sensational disclosures, hardly has scratched the surface.

Even so, it has had some effect. The State Department has been studying "for some time" methods of keeping out of war. The War Department suddenly decides it has a wonderful plan to spring. The Administration names a committee – with the War and Navy Departments ably represented under the chairmanship of a Wall Street speculator – to limit profits in war time. To what extent isn't suggested. Hmmm. Possibly the profits of 300 and 600 and 1,600 per cent of those who turned blood into gold in the World War would be limited to some smaller figure.

Apparently, however, the plan does not call for any limitation of losses – that is, the losses of those who fight the war. As far as I have been able to ascertain there is nothing in the scheme to limit a soldier to the loss of but one eye, or one arm, or to limit his wounds to one or two or three. Or to limit the loss of life.

There is nothing in this scheme, apparently, that says not more than 12 per cent of a regiment shall be wounded in battle, or that not more than 7 per cent in a division shall be killed.

Of course, the committee cannot be bothered with such trifling matters.

Chapter Three


Who provides the profits – these nice little profits of 20, 100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay them – in taxation. We paid the bankers their profits when we bought Liberty Bonds at $100.00 and sold them back at $84 or $86 to the bankers. These bankers collected $100 plus. It was a simple manipulation. The bankers control the security marts. It was easy for them to depress the price of these bonds. Then all of us – the people – got frightened and sold the bonds at $84 or $86. The bankers bought them. Then these same bankers stimulated a boom and government bonds went to par – and above. Then the bankers collected their profits.

But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.

If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst of which I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men – men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed at home.

Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made over; they were made to "about face"; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed.

Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another "about face" ! This time they had to do their own readjustment, sans [without] mass psychology, sans officers' aid and advice and sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn't need them any more. So we scattered them about without any "three-minute" or "Liberty Loan" speeches or parades. Many, too many, of these fine young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final "about face" alone.

In the government hospital in Marion, Indiana, 1,800 of these boys are in pens! Five hundred of them in a barracks with steel bars and wires all around outside the buildings and on the porches. These already have been mentally destroyed. These boys don't even look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically, they are in good shape; mentally, they are gone.

There are thousands and thousands of these cases, and more and more are coming in all the time. The tremendous excitement of the war, the sudden cutting off of that excitement – the young boys couldn't stand it.

That's a part of the bill. So much for the dead – they have paid their part of the war profits. So much for the mentally and physically wounded – they are paying now their share of the war profits. But the others paid, too – they paid with heartbreaks when they tore themselves away from their firesides and their families to don the uniform of Uncle Sam – on which a profit had been made. They paid another part in the training camps where they were regimented and drilled while others took their jobs and their places in the lives of their communities. The paid for it in the trenches where they shot and were shot; where they were hungry for days at a time; where they slept in the mud and the cold and in the rain – with the moans and shrieks of the dying for a horrible lullaby.

But don't forget – the soldier paid part of the dollars and cents bill too.

Up to and including the Spanish-American War, we had a prize system, and soldiers and sailors fought for money. During the Civil War they were paid bonuses, in many instances, before they went into service. The government, or states, paid as high as $1,200 for an enlistment. In the Spanish-American War they gave prize money. When we captured any vessels, the soldiers all got their share – at least, they were supposed to. Then it was found that we could reduce the cost of wars by taking all the prize money and keeping it, but conscripting [drafting] the soldier anyway. Then soldiers couldn't bargain for their labor, Everyone else could bargain, but the soldier couldn't.

Napoleon once said,

"All men are enamored of decorations...they positively hunger for them."

So by developing the Napoleonic system – the medal business – the government learned it could get soldiers for less money, because the boys liked to be decorated. Until the Civil War there were no medals. Then the Congressional Medal of Honor was handed out. It made enlistments easier. After the Civil War no new medals were issued until the Spanish-American War.

In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn't join the army.

So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our is His will that the Germans be killed.

And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and murder conscious.

Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to end all wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."

Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided to make them help pay for the war, too. So, we gave them the large salary of $30 a month.

All they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear ones behind, give up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill and kill...and be killed.

But wait!

Half of that wage (just a little more than a riveter in a shipyard or a laborer in a munitions factory safe at home made in a day) was promptly taken from him to support his dependents, so that they would not become a charge upon his community. Then we made him pay what amounted to accident insurance – something the employer pays for in an enlightened state – and that cost him $6 a month. He had less than $9 a month left.

Then, the most crowning insolence of all – he was virtually blackjacked into paying for his own ammunition, clothing, and food by being made to buy Liberty Bonds. Most soldiers got no money at all on pay days.

We made them buy Liberty Bonds at $100 and then we bought them back – when they came back from the war and couldn't find work – at $84 and $86. And the soldiers bought about $2,000,000,000 worth of these bonds!

Yes, the soldier pays the greater part of the bill. His family pays too. They pay it in the same heart-break that he does. As he suffers, they suffer. At nights, as he lay in the trenches and watched shrapnel burst about him, they lay home in their beds and tossed sleeplessly – his father, his mother, his wife, his sisters, his brothers, his sons, and his daughters.

When he returned home minus an eye, or minus a leg or with his mind broken, they suffered too – as much as and even sometimes more than he. Yes, and they, too, contributed their dollars to the profits of the munitions makers and bankers and shipbuilders and the manufacturers and the speculators made. They, too, bought Liberty Bonds and contributed to the profit of the bankers after the Armistice in the hocus-pocus of manipulated Liberty Bond prices.

And even now the families of the wounded men and of the mentally broken and those who never were able to readjust themselves are still suffering and still paying.

Chapter Four


WELL, it's a racket, all right.

A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.

The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation – it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

Let the workers in these plants get the same wages – all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers –

yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders – everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!

Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.

Why shouldn't they?

They aren't running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies mangled or their minds shattered. They aren't sleeping in muddy trenches. They aren't hungry. The soldiers are!

Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket – that and nothing else.

Maybe I am a little too optimistic. Capital still has some say. So capital won't permit the taking of the profit out of war until the people – those who do the suffering and still pay the price – make up their minds that those they elect to office shall do their bidding, and not that of the profiteers.

Another step necessary in this fight to smash the war racket is the limited plebiscite to determine whether a war should be declared. A plebiscite not of all the voters but merely of those who would be called upon to do the fighting and dying. There wouldn't be very much sense in having a 76-year-old president of a munitions factory or the flat-footed head of an international banking firm or the cross-eyed manager of a uniform manufacturing plant – all of whom see visions of tremendous profits in the event of war – voting on whether the nation should go to war or not. They never would be called upon to shoulder arms – to sleep in a trench and to be shot. Only those who would be called upon to risk their lives for their country should have the privilege of voting to determine whether the nation should go to war.

There is ample precedent for restricting the voting to those affected. Many of our states have restrictions on those permitted to vote. In most, it is necessary to be able to read and write before you may vote. In some, you must own property. It would be a simple matter each year for the men coming of military age to register in their communities as they did in the draft during the World War and be examined physically. Those who could pass and who would therefore be called upon to bear arms in the event of war would be eligible to vote in a limited plebiscite. They should be the ones to have the power to decide – and not a Congress few of whose members are within the age limit and fewer still of whom are in physical condition to bear arms. Only those who must suffer should have the right to vote.

A third step in this business of smashing the war racket is to make certain that our military forces are truly forces for defense only.

At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair admirals of Washington (and there are always a lot of them) are very adroit lobbyists. And they are smart. They don't shout that "We need a lot of battleships to war on this nation or that nation." Oh no. First of all, they let it be known that America is menaced by a great naval power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only.

Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh.

The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline on the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast.

The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the united States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles.

The ships of our navy, it can be seen, should be specifically limited, by law, to within 200 miles of our coastline. Had that been the law in 1898 the Maine would never have gone to Havana Harbor. She never would have been blown up. There would have been no war with Spain with its attendant loss of life. Two hundred miles is ample, in the opinion of experts, for defense purposes. Our nation cannot start an offensive war if its ships can't go further than 200 miles from the coastline. Planes might be permitted to go as far as 500 miles from the coast for purposes of reconnaissance. And the army should never leave the territorial limits of our nation.

To summarize: Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket.

We must take the profit out of war.

We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war.

We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.

Chapter Five


I am not a fool as to believe that war is a thing of the past. I know the people do not want war, but there is no use in saying we cannot be pushed into another war.

Looking back, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that he had "kept us out of war" and on the implied promise that he would "keep us out of war." Yet, five months later he asked Congress to declare war on Germany.

In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether they had changed their minds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on uniforms and marched or sailed away were not asked whether they wanted to go forth to suffer and die.

Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?


An allied commission, it may be recalled, came over shortly before the war declaration and called on the President. The President summoned a group of advisers. The head of the commission spoke. Stripped of its diplomatic language, this is what he told the President and his group:

"There is no use kidding ourselves any longer. The cause of the allies is lost. We now owe you (American bankers, American munitions makers, American manufacturers, American speculators, American exporters) five or six billion dollars.

If we lose (and without the help of the United States we must lose) we, England, France and Italy, cannot pay back this money...and Germany won't. So...

"Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations were concerned, and had the press been invited to be present at that conference, or had radio been available to broadcast the proceedings, America never would have entered the World War. But this conference, like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy. When our boys were sent off to war they were told it was a "war to make the world safe for democracy" and a "war to end all wars."

Well, eighteen years after, the world has less of democracy than it had then. Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.

And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us that the World War was really the war to end all wars.

Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms conferences. They don't mean a thing. One has just failed; the results of another have been nullified. We send our professional soldiers and our sailors and our politicians and our diplomats to these conferences. And what happens?

The professional soldiers and sailors don't want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful, just the same, are the sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously limit armaments.

The chief aim of any power at any of these conferences has not been to achieve disarmament to prevent war but rather to get more armament for itself and less for any potential foe.

There is only one way to disarm with any semblance of practicability. That is for all nations to get together and scrap every ship, every gun, every rifle, every tank, every war plane. Even this, if it were possible, would not be enough.

The next war, according to experts, will be fought not with battleships, not by artillery, not with rifles and not with machine guns. It will be fought with deadly chemicals and gases.

Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and ghastlier means of annihilating its foes wholesale. Yes, ships will continue to be built, for the shipbuilders must make their profits. And guns still will be manufactured and powder and rifles will be made, for the munitions makers must make their huge profits. And the soldiers, of course, must wear uniforms, for the manufacturer must make their war profits too.

But victory or defeat will be determined by the skill and ingenuity of our scientists.

If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more fiendish mechanical and explosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive job of building greater prosperity for all peoples. By putting them to this useful job, we can all make more money out of peace than we can out of war – even the munitions makers.

So...I say,


Original Source
Additional Info
The Nye Report
The Plot to Overthrow FDR video


All blogs are really just small snapshots of a person's mind, heart and soul as they evolve together through life....

Small bits of the thread of life we weave together into the fabric of ourselves, in the hope we will make sense of our existence, individual and collective.

On this page, is the cloak I have fashioned from my fabric to warm myself in a universe which often makes little sense.

Inside my cloak, it is warm enough to face the blistering cold winds of the insane world in which I find myself.

If you find some a bit of 'the good stuff' here, it has been my pleasure.