Category Archives: Political

Holy War: The Rise of Militant Christian, Jewish and Islamic Fundamentalism

Author: David S. New

Pub. Date: 2002

Publisher: McFarland & Co.

Reviewer: Don C. Marler

Holy War is one of those books that tantalize with little known facts and then uses those facts to scare the reader; the combination is powerful. For example: who knew that Ronald Reagan was “hooked” since childhood, on Apocalyptic Dispensational Millennium and Armageddon? Who knew that he was later heavily influenced in these beliefs by Pat Boone, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson , W.A. Criswell, Jimmy Swaggert and others.

President Reagan believed that Armageddon and the coming of the Messiah were near and he wanted these things to happen during his term of office. Along with many other fundamentalist Christians he believed that the actions of men could hasten or bring on this event. And with this event the “saved” would be immediately caught up to heaven and would not have to endure the conflagration.

The author relates the unease and fear the Presidents staff felt about where these beliefs might lead the president. In short we barely dodged the bullet with President Reagan.

Given his wild, impulsive nature we dodged a bigger bullet when Pat Robertson was not elected to the presidency.

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SOCIALIST IN AMERICA

by Don C. Marler

[NOTE: The bulk of this story came to me as anonymous. I have edited, changed and added to it. There is much more to the real story, but you get this point.]

This morning I was awakened by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly, regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility and drank some water from the same source since its safety is regulated by governmental agencies. After that I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Weather Service Administration determined the weather was going to be, using satellites designed, built and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking drugs that have been determined safe by the U S Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time, as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory, I got into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved automobile and set out for work on roads built by the state, local and federal departments of transportation, stopping to purchase fuel of a specific quality determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. On the way out the door I deposited my mail so the US Postal Service could deliver it and then I dropped my children off at the public school.

While at work I went to the local airport that was built by local, state and federal funds, to pick up fellow employees returning to the home office. I was pleased that they had all made a safe round trip, due in large part to the regulations and inspections of facilities and planes, and in part to the government required and supported training for pilots, controllers and other essential employees.

After work, I drove my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to a house that had not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire Marshal’s inspection, and that had not been plundered thanks to local law enforcement.

I then logged onto the Internet that was designed and developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and posted on freepublic.com and Fox News. There I learned about how SOCIALISM is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

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The Plot

THE PLOT TO SEIZE THE WHITE HOUSE:

The Shocking TRUE Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR.

Jules Archer

The plot to overthrow U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and to install a fascist government constitutes one of the most serious threats to Democratic America and is no doubt one of the most thoroughly squelched episodes in the history of the U.S. During the late stages of the Hoover administration the government reneged on its promise to pay WWI veterans a bonus. As a result a huge veterans march on Washington occurred and President Hoover ordered General Douglas MacArthur to break it up. The veterans were camped in tents and shacks erected in fields in Washington. MacArthur drove them out at bayonet point and burned their shacks. Several veterans were killed and all, including wives and children were driven out.

At a subsequent meeting General Smedley D. Butler, an enlisted man’s general, spoke to a large contingent of these men. He was so well received that a large group of individuals and corporations who were developing a plan to take over the now Democratic government headed by FDR, chose him as their choice to run the government according to their desires. These plotters had already studied the methods of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. They preferred the Mussolini model. They may have succeeded had they selected another potential figurehead. Ex-Marine General Smedley was a bad choice to lead a treasonous plot.

Without giving too much of the story away suffice to say that they wanted General Butler to lead 500,000 disgruntled vets against Washington and overwhelm FDR. Butler would then become an assistant to the president and would do the bidding of the plotters. The plotters included Al Smith, the American Legion and many wealthy people and corporations whom the reader will recognize.

After gathering his facts and evidence, General Butler took the story to the McCormack-Dickstein Committee (A Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities). This was a huge story with a lot of investigative work to be done. Unfortunately, the committee was up for renewal and funding; instead, it was allowed to die. Later the HUAC led by Martin Dies and J. McCarthy was created to replace it.

Before the death of the McCormack-Dickstein committee a report was submitted and promptly buried. The report did survive however and it verified the veracity of the Butler story.

The book is well researched and well written. It is a Must Read for anyone interested in the history of the United States of America.

Reviewed by: Don C. Marler

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

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Limits On Tolerance and Respect

Don C. Marler

Given the circumstances of my upbringing the chances that I would develop a liberal worldview were slim indeed. It did happen though and I am somewhat amazed at the transformation. Now that I approach the 8th decade of my life I have been reviewing the journey that brought me here. I ask myself if I can be objective enough about my liberal views, especially on tolerance and respect for those of different lifestyles, religious beliefs and customs to make an honest critique. One can only give it his best try.

I was born in the swamps of central Louisiana in 1933 to a family and community that was hardworking, very conservative and that reflected the essence of extreme fundamentalist religion. Having spent almost half of my life cultivating a worldview that was in harmony with this background I have spent the second half transforming it into a more liberal worldview.

It seems evident to me that different cultures confuse religious beliefs and practices with customs. The results are sometimes monstrous. For example: mutilation of the genitalia of young girls so they will not experience sexual pleasure, feeding the first born male child to crocodiles, restoring family honor by killing a number of women in the family, bride burning, murder of those who do not believe in one’s god, burning at stake of a law abiding citizen because his belief differs with that of the established state religion.

Liberals are champions of showing tolerance and most of all “respect” for those who possess different religious and cultural differences. Tolerance, at least for the short term may be, well “tolerable”, while the world tries to model a more humane way for those who practice those inhumane behaviors described above.   I find it unpleasant when someone wants to force me to follow their beliefs and practices, especially when they try to kill me for not obliging. I find it difficult to tolerate or respect their position in those circumstances.

Respect is different from tolerance and more immediate.  It is quite different from tolerance given the generally accepted attributes of the concept. The principal attribute of respect is to hold the belief or practice in esteem. Is it reasonable for me to hold someone or some group in high esteem who wants to kills me?  Is it unreasonable for me to hold someone or group in low esteem who kills innocent family members to restore family honor or kill someone because they don’t accept and worship their god? Is my difficulty in holding such concepts and practices and those who perpetrate them in high esteem a holdover or throwback to my swamp upbringing? Perhaps, but I don’t have another 40 years to work on it, so in the meantime it would be a mistake for someone wishing to be a martyr to try to kill me. I will not in this instance be respectful or tolerant. I will however do all I can to assist him in his goal to reach martyrdom. How long can a civilized world show respect and esteem for the practices. Described above. What does it say about those who show respect for such views and practices.

Tolerance and respect works both ways or not at all. If respect between two parties is not mutual there can be no meaningful relationship in the positive sense.

What of the right to chose ones religion and cultural beliefs and practices? Can a liberal respect the right to choose but not respect the choice if it is destructive? Indeed, isn’t tolerance of certain destructive beliefs and practices unethical and irresponsible? Is the principle of tolerance more important than the harmful belief/practice itself? Do tolerant people hide behind the principle when confronted with the need to be intolerant of inhuman treatment of others?

Liberals and conservatives in America respect the right to choose one’s political party, but often do not respect, esteem or feel tolerant toward the choice of concepts and practices the opposition espouses. The rejection of political ideas and practices often revolve around religion, customs, class, race or ethnicity. Does this lack of tolerance and esteem make a mockery of the liberal stance on those two issues? If I don’t feel tolerance and respect for the concept that wage earners should pay a higher percentage in taxes than the super rich, does that make me a conservative? The nature of my lack of tolerance and respect for those who wish to kill me and those who wish to tax me higher than the super wealthy is a difference in degree rather than a difference in kind.  

Does it make sense for me to show tolerance and respect to someone who does not show tolerance and respect for my countrymen and me, while I don’t show the same respect and toleration toward those ideas and practices of the opposition political party. Is it consistent to show respect for ideas but not for the tactics used to promote them.

The liberal position is not without its problems of internal consistency. The dilemma posed here illustrates a major difference in the liberal/conservative paradigm. For the conservative the issues are usually black and white; right or wrong. For liberals there are almost always exceptions, mitigating circumstances that change cases. I will continue being a liberal according to my view of that condition, but honesty and the reality of an increasingly dangerous world compels me to keep my eyes and mind open. 

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LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE CHINA?

LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE CHINA?

 

Don C. Marler

 

The major defining feature of Conservatism is its affinity for preserving the old beliefs, practices, values, worldview and philosophy of life. The term “old” as used here refers to those beliefs, values, etc. that were present in the culture in which we are born and includes beliefs of the founders of the USA, family values, traditions, religion, cultural mores and taboos as well as lifestyles. Conservatives fight hard to protect the status quo and they perceive change as a threat to their way of life. They believe the old ways brought us to where we are now and feel threatened and frightened at the prospect of giving up that heritage.  This is the state of mind of the “Hard Right” Conservative.

 

“Hard Left” Liberalism is the polar opposite of Hard Right Conservatism. There are many who lie in between these two extremes, but it may be helpful to draw an extreme contrast in order to see the differences more clearly. Conservatism and Liberalism as used here is in no way confined to any particular political party.

 

Being the polar opposite of Conservatives suggests that Liberals welcome change, are more tolerant of differences of opinion, practices, beliefs, values and way of life. They perceive the old ways as having brought them to the present and as being instructive for moving into the future. The old ways are, for Liberals, helpful primarily when melded to the circumstances of the present. The old ways need to be examined for relevance to current reality, knowledge and situations and retained when they serve the needs of perceived current and future reality. Liberals believe that the old way is best viewed as an evolving and modern tool for progress rather than as an anchor holding us in a fixed position regardless of the circumstances.

 

Illustrations and examples of these differences from our own culture are likely to evoke feelings that hinder objective thinking; therefore, it may be enlightening and perhaps would foster objective thinking if we took our examples from a foreign culture. Toward this end let us ask the following question.

 

Knowing that China is changing, would I prefer to see it develop as more Conservative or Liberal ?

 

China is dictatorial, contemptuous or indifferent to the plight of its common citizens, demeans women, violates international laws, steals intellectual property such as patents. It is militarily aggressive, secretive, imposes self-isolation, and maintains a hostile worldview. The old way has brought China to where it is today as described above.  China is an ancient society with a lot of traditional baggage. How long can it continue to exercise its ancient ways?

 

It is evident that China is reluctantly beginning to move toward a more liberal stance, though it has a long way to go. It is still a dictator run nation that is indifferent to its common people, demeans women, while it continues to steal property rights from other nations. It is still hostile toward much of the world outside its borders and is isolated by choice from much of that world, but less so than in the past. Future change will no doubt be slow, halting, reluctant and with great sacrifice on the part of the common citizen.

 

The United States of America, on the other hand, has its own powerful Hard Right forces that are trying to move the country in the direction China is moving away from. That is, toward indifference toward the masses, toward demeaning women, toward more corruption in industry and government, toward hostility and war with the world outside its borders.

 

When viewed in this light, returning to the old ways presents frightening implications for our future.

 

The reader will no doubt draw his/her own parallels between Conservative or Liberal China and Conservative or Liberal America. The purpose here is an attempt to provide a relatively emotion free framework for making those comparisons.

 

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SLAVERY REASSESSED

SLAVERY REASSESSED

Don C. Marler

6/2012

Historically slavery has always been about economics. It was such a barbaric system for gaining wealth that it could not survive on an economic base alone. There was need for broader support in order for it to survive in a world that was becoming more social and humane. Religion and politics were the part of the system that kept slavery alive. America, being born late, relied heavily on both these institutions to keep slavery alive while it was dying elsewhere.

From antiquity until after America was settled, slavery had involved primarily white people. Whites were enslaved in early America before black people were brought in. Early white slavery in America was abandoned at least in its old overt form in favor of black slaves. Overt slavery for all races ended with the Civil War in 1865, just 147 years ago. By the end of slavery in America most European countries had already abandoned it. Some middle-east and African countries still are not free of this most pernicious disease.

Meanwhile America lessens the pain of conscience with the belief that slavery here is at an end; but is it? Has it not just evolved into a more sophisticated system? In the early days when America was being settled the work of everyone was needed, and the social and religious message was that in order to be a person of virtue one had to produce goods or services. The philosophy of human worth, being dependent on one’s ability to produce, served a growing nation well because there was work for everyone.

Now, in the age of automation, not all the workforce is needed to produce an abundance of goods and services. Automation, lack of regulations protecting workers and consumers, cheaper labor abroad and movement of manufacturing and service jobs overseas has overwhelmed the need for all the workforce in America.

In many overseas countries the percentage of the workforce not needed is much greater than in the United States; that along with the lax regulations and worker protections is an open invitation for American companies to move their operations to those countries. The result is loss of jobs in America; yet, we hold to the old philosophy that the labor of everyone is needed. We pretend that everyone could have a job that sustains their families if they would just go to work.

We refuse to, or perhaps are incapable of, facing the new reality that has been developing for the last fifty plus years—that we do not need the entire workforce. We seem afraid to contemplate what the consequences of this change are.

The consequences are indeed frightening. If we do nothing, which seems to be a distinct possibility, we will end up being on par with third world countries; our lower and middle classes will live in abject poverty (those that are not already in that condition); the majority will be ignorant, if not illiterate, unskilled and of no virtue. Meanwhile, the wealthy will rule as if by divine right.

Another frightening feature is the possibility that some measure of so called socialism may be involved in the solution. This term elicits extreme reactions from many Americans because of  failed attempts to administer such programs by rogue leaders in Europe during WWII, and the fact that many equate socialism with communism.

Who among us would deny that this trend is already underway? Who would deny that this condition, once achieved, is not   significantly different from the slavery of the past.

The American worker is being used and abandoned, as were slaves 147 years ago.

Notes: For more discussion see “Unemployment: Victory or Defeat in a Progressive Society”, in the blog—– https://donmarler.wordpress.com/

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THE DEIFICATION OF “HONEST ABE”

THE DEIFICATION OF “HONEST ABE”

DON C. MARLER

Historians painted themselves in a corner by attributing the discovery of America to Columbus. After more than 400 years defending this position against all evidence to the contrary, they began a few decades ago trying to extricate themselves from their self made trap. The causes of this major faux pas were more benign than those that were the impetus for the setting of another major trap: the deification of President Abraham Lincoln. Building a protective wall of misinformation around the mythical ‘Honest Abe” has been the task of a loyal, duped and perhaps  intimidated profession.

I was reared in Central Louisiana in the 1930s among people who were filled with prejudice against black people; yet, they held Lincoln in high esteem. Having been mostly successful in avoiding the disease of racial prejudice, I too always held a positive view of “Honest Abe.” Only in the last few years have I learned how brainwashed I have been. I was shocked and saddened to learn the true character of this politician whom I thought stood out from others in honesty, integrity, humanity and humility.

During and after the so-called Civil War, especially during the “Reconstruction Period”, the federal government put forth a gigantic propaganda campaign — as usual from the point of view of the winners. As public schools began to develop across the south after the war where there had been none, teachers from the north filled most of the positions. Southern teachers were frequently prohibited from teaching during the Reconstruction Period. This practice may explain why some southern historians joined the effort to deify Lincoln, and the heavy hand of the administration during and immediately after the war may explain why northern historians worked so hard to deify him.

The deification was nearly total; however, in the last few decades a few courageous historians north and south have mustered the courage to risk the wrath and scorn of their colleagues and have begun to uncover the real Lincoln. Seeing the real Lincoln is a painful experience; but, understanding what he and his regime was like in reality puts much of what has happened politically in the last 150 years and especially what is happening today in clearer perspective.

It is clear that Lincoln was not concerned with slavery. He most of all wanted the federal government to have total power and control over the states. And it is clear that the Constitution was blocking his ambition, so he ignored it.

The Confederate States withdrew from the Union legitimately. Lincoln ignored that fact and labeled their actions simply rebellious; thus giving him a platform upon which he could invade the new country and force a reuniting. The end of slavery was, for Lincoln, an unintended consequence of the war.

Early on he suspended habeas corpus for the duration of the war. This allowed him to hold over 13,000 political prisoners (northern legislators, newspaper editors and owners who spoke out against his policies and practices) in prison under the worst of conditions, without charges, trial or legal representation. He imprisoned most of the Maryland legislators and prohibited them (and a few other state legislatures, from meeting. He deported Ohio legislator (Congressman, Vallandigham) first to the Confederacy and when he returned sent him to Canada.  When he returned again he was imprisoned. The president quelled protest with federal troops, killing several hundred citizens in New York City alone. Lincoln prevented free elections. Different parties had ballots of different colors and troops at the poling places simply confiscated the colors of the party out of favor or considered the most threatening to the Lincoln administration. He ordered that ministers say a prayer in church for the administration—and had at least one minister arrested for omitting such. Several northern states were placed under martial law.

The Geneva Convention was ratified in 1863. It was signed by the federal government but was seldom observed. Lincoln micromanaged the war so he was in charge of all aspects including the plundering of civilian property, destroying cities composed of mostly civilians, destroying livestock, crops and homes as was done by General Sherman—all forbidden by the Geneva Convention and human decency. Lincoln instituted the personal income tax and disarmed citizens of the north. When the US Supreme court ruled against him he simply ignored it. He allowed Secretary Seward to develop his own secret police force. Seward boasted of what he could do with the long arm of his secret force.

Lincoln manipulated the Ft. Sumter affair to shift blame for firing the first shot to the Confederacy, then he ignored several overtures from Jefferson Davis for meetings to seek a peaceful resolution.  Throughout the war he sought to have all blacks, slave and free, relocated to some country away from America. During the war he sent some slaves back to their northern owners and continued using some as slaves on behalf of the war effort. He freed none, even in areas of the south where he had control. The Emancipation Proclamation exempted slaves under northern control; it applied only to those under Confederate control. Therefore, none were freed by it. These are just a few of the outrageous acts committed by this deified president. 

It is no stretch to see disturbing relationships between Lincoln’s approach and that of other Republican war making practices; the latest being President George W. Bush and his two wars. The salient similarities are: (1) declaring war on false pretenses, (2) abandoning the Geneva Convention, (3) violating the constitution and (4) severely limiting individual freedoms.

Karl Marx was known for his statement that the end justifies the means. He was ridiculed across America for this statement. When he was confronted with the statement, he answered with one question. If not justified by the end then by what? Indeed! Only the end justifies the means, but some means are not justified or justifiable.

Was keeping the states under one central leadership sufficient justification for an uncivil war, especially one, the execution of which, violated almost every founding principle of the parent country? How much more justifiable would the war have been if abolishing slavery had been the reason for it.

Sometimes good things happen for the wrong reasons. I am glad that the Union was saved and power was centralized. Mostly, I am glad that slavery ended. My objection to the story is that it is so distorted by the deification of President Lincoln that we can learn little from it.

*****

Notes:

Much of the material presented here is from: Dilorenzo, Thomas J. The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. The book offers valuable documentation. You will never view the Civil War or the federal government the same way again. The author of this book is not a southerner.

See also:

David Donald, Lincoln Reconsidered.

Richard Bensel, Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State Authority in America.

Roy P. Basler, ed., Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings.

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