Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cruel and Usual Punishment-a book report

By; Nonie Darwish

Those of you who actually read my stuff understand that I have a great concern about the spread of Islam to every corner of the world. While it may be true that the vast majority do not espouse violence against those of different faiths, it is also estimated that at least 15% can be considered devout enough to commit acts of violence including death to non-believers. 15% times 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today equals 15,000,000. I would think that any caring, thinking person would consider that many radical Muslims to be sufficient to cause alarm.
This book is clearly written and clearly understandable. Mrs. Darwish was born and lived as a Muslim in Egypt for 30 years before immigrating to America. Her mission in life is to alert Americans to the danger we face. She describes in great detail what the life of a female is like living in the Muslim world where girls as young as 9 can be married. The very thought is repugnant to me. Women are deemed to be inferior to men, not to be trusted, not to be educated or allowed any semblance of the freedoms American women take for granted.
She dissects the Koran and Sharia law and exposes the hate that drives Islamic fundamentalists to spread the curse of their “religion”. I put that in parenthesis because I believe as she does that it is more a political ideology than religion. She compares it to fascism and Communism, both of which are dangerous ideologies. This book is different from most in that she does offer intelligent solutions.
1-Define religion and exclude any ideology from that definition that does not pass the following test.
A religion must be a personal choice.
No religion should kill those who leave it.
A religion must never order the killing and subjugation of those who choose not to be its members.
A religion must abide by basic human rights.

2-Make Sharia an illegal law and declare it not a religion but a dangerous totalitarian ideology.

3- Control immigration from the Muslim world. Forms should clearly state that the goal of the immigrant is assimilation into democratic society.

4-Stop issuing religious visas to Muslim clerics imported from Muslim countries.

5- Ban Mosques and Muslim organizations that use religion to promote incitement to kill and hate speech against people of other faiths or atheists.

6- Demand access for access.

7- Stop shipping petrodollars to Arab countries.

8- Strengthen Western Judeo-Christian roots.

All of the above headings were fleshed out with full explanations. I cannot re-write the book for you. I can only urge you to purchase or get from your local library. Quite frankly I am pleased that a book as strong as this got published at all. I fear for the life of the author and her family. These people do not allow others to deride their prophet and his teachings.
Finally I must add that I have been concerned since our President took office with his strong support for Islam. Early on he gave a speech in Cairo that glorified the religion. We are all aware of the deep bow he gave to the King of Saudi Arabia. He has given orders to enforcement agencies not to make any reference to the Muslim religion when killings around the word happen. Two years after Ft Hood the killer is still awaiting trial. Obama considers him a radical not a Muslim carrying out a Jihad against America. That in my opinion is exactly what he did.
Now you know how I feel. I still recommend you informing yourself by reading this book and then staying alert to the danger it declares we are facing today.

Jack B. Walters
December 21, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Revenge of the Electric Car

(A Documentary Film)

I and six others were in the theatre this evening to see this outstanding presentation of the trials and tribulations of the process of bringing electric cars onto the market. It starts with the well documented destruction in 2006 by General Motors. There were several hundred on the road in California. The lessees really liked the car. Since they were not allowed to purchase, they could not prevent G.M. from taking them back and crushing them to be sure they could not be put back into service. This film follows one that chronicled the saga. It was called “Who killed the Electric Car”. I wrote an article after seeing it. To this day it is hard for me to forgive G.M. management. That is why I was outspoken against the Federal Government bailout.
This new film covers the years since 2006. There is a small company that is retrofitting gasoline cars with batteries. It is a mom and pop type of enterprise run by Greg Abbot. Their main contribution is to provide an alternate as opposed to a newly designed electric car. Carlos Chosn of Nissan is by far the most aggressive. He is staking their future on the success of the Leif and other electric cars. Bob Lutz was instrumental in convincing G.M. management to develop the Volt. Elon Musk started his own company called Tesla Motors in California. He almost went under but is today in production with great looking cars.
We are all aware of the hybrids produced by Honda and Toyota. At the end there are brief glimpses of autos from Europe and also trucks on the road today. How great it would be if electric cars became a larger part of the vehicles on the road, particularly in places like California with the smog produced by gasoline vehicles. You don’t even have to believe in global warming to see the advantage. Wouldn’t it be great to stop sending billions to the countries in the Middle East most of whom hate us.
As I usually do I will end this with a plea to our elected officials and the American consumer. This progress can be brought to a screeching halt if gasoline prices continue to drop. The higher cost and limited range will keep consumers from purchasing as the gas savings will not be sufficient, even though we would all appreciate cleaner air to breathe.
I highly recommend seeing this film.

Jack B. Walters
December 14, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Response to Arizona Daily Star Editorial

Your editorial today,"Dems, GOP need to come together on payroll-tax cut".

I disagree.
Continuing to not fund the Social Security Trust Fund only hastens the day when the well runs dry. If only funding part of it is OK, why not go all the way and stop funding at all? No responsibility for the future, just please the electorate short term.
As to unemployment extension, quit doing it piecemeal, one extention after the other. If the intent to to provide income for not working and contributing to the general welfare then just extend it forever.
I am from the generation that was willing to sacrifice for the good of the country. The "me" generation rejects that concept and demands give aways. They have somehow concluded they deserve it. Since they get their way, I guess they are right.
Jack B. Walters
December 9,2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Herman Cain pending decision

I can't wait any longer to put words to paper. It has been reported that tomorrow Mr. Cain will gather his supporters together, after talking privately with his wife, and announce the end of his campaign. This is all due to the harassment charges and lastly the accusation of marital infidelity with a woman he has known for 13 years and has aided financially. He has denied infidelity and denied the previous charges. Do I know, of course not, but here is what I do know. This man rose from poverty and strives to excel in every endeavor he ever attempts. He was very successful in achieving those goals. I bought and read his latest book. At the end are page after page of awards and recognitions he has received for achievement.

I do not believe a man like this could be guilty as he has been charged. Just for a moment let's say he is. For all of you who have worshiped at the feet of Bill Clinton, I wonder if this woman did to Cain what Monica did for Clinton. How soon we forget.

Mr. Cain had captured the imagination of Republicans and had surged ahead of the pack. They and people like me were excited to think of a non politician leading our country out of the morass we are in today. I can remember the debate where all of the other candidates jumped on him over his 9/9/9 proposal. Then all hell broke loose with the accusations. To me this was an orchestrated, successful attempt to get rid of him. The fact that Republicans were rooting for him put the lie to racism. The talk show hosts for the most part have ridiculed him. Certainly the late night hosts have had a field day.

If he caves tomorrow, we will have lost a great opportunity and will be left to choose among whoever is left standing. Any thinking, caring person must choose an alternative to our current President.

Jack B. Walters
December 2,2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why Don't They Get It?

First we were told that by the end of this year 5,000 troops would be leaving Iraq. I applauded the news, but now we are told that the new plans are to relocate 4,000 of them to Kuwait. No doubt they will be safer there than Iraq. The Pentagon officials and Defense Secretary Panetta have stated they expect to expand the U.S. military in the region to 40,000. The beat goes on. The American people have had a belly full of the useless expenditure of lives and funds trying to change century old traditions which are stubbornly adhered to. After 10 years you would think that someone in high authority would realize the futility of continuing and announce that our sacrificing has come to an end.
I have read in other articles that we spend one million dollars/year/soldier. All the Super Committee has to do to fulfill their charge of reducing expenditures by $1.4 Trillion is to rapidly bring our troops home as quickly as they can consistent with an orderly withdrawal. I am not only thinking about the Middle East but worldwide. We are broke, not far behind Greece, but our leaders continue to act as if we had all the money in the world. We have carried water for Europe, the Middle and Far East for 60 years since WWII.
Using armies to conquer and control other nations has been archaic since the advent of the atomic bomb. Should Iran, N. Korea or other bandit nations start trouble we still have our long range missiles and aircraft that could inflict severe damage, enough so our opponent would cry uncle before very long.

Jack B. Walters
November 4, 2011

Congratulations Mr. Cain

All news media are enthralled by the recent release of information that alleges sexual harassment, whatever that means. You should embrace it. Look at all the free publicity you are getting. Every show wants you to appear. You get your smiling face in front of millions. This would not be happening except for the fact that your message and unbelievable accomplishments to date have struck a cord in the hearts and minds of Americans of all political persuasions. Just think how great it would be to have a non politician in the White House taking on the major problems of today without having had to grovel for funds from the moneyed interests.
Right now your attacks are no doubt coming from the Republican side. You are blowing away all of the other candidates. They will do everything to place doubt in the minds of Americans.
Hang in there. We need you.

Jack B. Walters
November 3, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Don't give Obama credit

Large headlines in today’s Star proclaim, “US will quit Iraq”. The size of the print was only about half that used when Mike Stoops was fired but that is another issue. Obama doesn’t deserve credit. He, Hillary and other top ranking officials have done everything they could to convince the leaders of Iraq that as many as 5000 troops should be allowed to stay after this year indefinitely. Iraq would not allow immunity and so he was forced to order bringing them home. The question remains on the size of armed contractors who will remain. To me it is just a sham to relieve concerns of those Americans like me who didn’t want to attack Iraq in the first place.

Jack B. Walters
October 22, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This is Herman Cain-a book report

My journey to the White House
By Herman Cain

I detest the fact that political campaigning has become a forever activity but I did happen to watch a little of the second Republican debate. There on the end of the line was a man who happened to have a black complexion who was a man I had never heard of before. He was obviously not a politician. His comments intrigued me. Soon thereafter I received an e-mail listing his many accomplishments in life. I didn’t believe it so I checked it out on the internet. It was true. Then a friend told me he had written a book so I checked Amazon and sure enough he had, not one book but many. Most dealt with his management philosophy. The one I purchased is the one I will be reviewing.
There are many things I like about this man. He rose out of humble beginnings in the South where blacks were discriminated against. He greatly admires his father who raised a family under these adverse conditions with dignity. The Civil Rights activity was in full swing when Herman was in High School. His father insisted he apply himself to his studies and not get involved. This he did. I heard a commentator on MSNBC deriding him for this. His father also told him to not play the victim card but do the best he could to achieve his goals. He has lived this advice.
Another thing I like is that he tells people he is an American who happens to be black. He does not use the term African/American. I have always disliked that term including other nationalities. He never uses a teleprompter. He speaks using his mind not what someone wrote out for him to say. As an aside I have heard him sing. He has a rich baritone voice. I caught the end of a speech he was giving in which he ended by singing. The audience was stunned.
He is not campaigning like all the rest. He probably will not raise much in the way of corporate contributions but with his style and speaking ability I believe he will strike a cord with those who are dissatisfied with the status quo. The fact that in such a short time he leaped to the top of the polls last week, even higher than Romney means that voters are starting to recognize who he is and what he stands for. During the debate last night, all of the other contenders beat up on him as best they could trying to knock him down before he can catch on. They all ridiculed his 9-9-9 tax plan. I don’t believe they will be successful. I don’t know if it is the right plan but I do know that our tax code is thousands of pages long replete with countless loopholes. I have always claimed that simplifying and closing these loopholes could result in a much lower income tax. Mr. Cain is at least brave enough to put out a plan, none of the others have. They just utter platitudes about taxes being too high without offering ideas on what to do about it.
Let me just say, you should read his book. If you do, you will be astounded, as I was, to realize his many achievements. He has turned around failing businesses and made them profitable. He is on many Boards of Directors and has received multiple awards for his success. In the book he states his ideas on how to return America to the great nation it once was and could be again. I won’t state that I agree with all of his positions, but I agree with enough to be excited about what he could achieve for America. Read it and learn for yourself. You won’t believe the skill this man possesses. I have no doubt he could be successful in this most important of all jobs, the Presidency of the United States of America.

Jack B. Walters
October 19, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Letter to the editor

U.S. Senate votes tomorrow to force China to allow their currency (the YUAN) to float to its true value.

No wonder Americans are confused. Here is a clear cut issue that our government under Bush and now Obama has been unwilling to face head on. China’s government does everything possible to add jobs for their people. This is admirable except for the extraordinary steps they have taken to achieve this goal. I will not fill this letter with them as it would take pages. This one issue, the Yuan, is on the table now, opposed vigorously by China, U.S. Corporations and Republican leadership, including Speaker John Boehner.
This one act would dramatically increase jobs for Americans and cost jobs for the Chinese. That is not our concern. The concern of Congress should be putting Americans back to work. Democratic Senator Harry Reid is pushing this bill. Wouldn’t you think that the Republican leadership would join forces? Some Republicans are as noted by the 79-19 advance legislation approved yesterday.

Jack B. Walters
October 5, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bob Lutz Car Guys vs bean counters by Bob Lutz

The battle for the soul of American Business

Bob Lutz is a man in high regard. He was the President of Ford Europe in 1979, was CEO of Exide Technologies, the world’s largest producer of lead-acid batteries in 2001. At that time he was asked by the President and CEO of General Motors to join with the company as Vice Chairman of Production. He was 70 at the time. He agreed and stayed for 9 years. His charge was to make great cars again. In this he was successful.
There are a number of important issues worth knowing that he writes about. On page 25 he states that in the 70’s the US State Department decided that special measures were called for to keep Japan in the US orbit. To achieve this goal Japan was allowed to manipulate their currency (the Yen) to a level below that justified. This gave Japan an edge over US manufacturers. (Kind of reminds me of how we have allowed China to keep the value of their currency (the Yuan) below its true value.
On page 33 he spells out the tremendous growth of health care cost and the explosion of law suits with devastating results. Beginning on page 168 he points out the obvious effect of the housing debacle, where unqualified people were given mortgages they were unable to pay. One result was rapidly rising fuel costs which was devastating, in particular, to GM as the bulk of their product line were gas guzzlers like GMC trucks and Hummers. Interesting to me is that he believes as I do that gas prices should be higher equivalent to Europe. The problem as he and I see it is that cost is in the control of OPEC. Because of that prices surge and fall rapidly. Should the gas tax increase at a predictable rate the incentive to produce fuel efficient vehicles would increase without government decrees. The market place would be in control. The extra funds raised could be used to improve transportation facilities i.e. bridges, roads, rail and air. Think of the good paying jobs created.
The above I included as I felt the subjects were important but the theme of the book is how Mr. Lutz was able to decrease the power of the bean counters and place emphasis on building superior vehicles which the public would want to buy. In this he was successful. You will need to read the book to find out how he got the job done.

Jack B. Walters
September 24, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Honor Lost - a book review

Love and Death in Modern-Day Jordan
By; Norma Khouri

This is a tragic true story written by a young woman who escaped from Jordan. Her life long girl friend had been murdered by her father when he discovered she had been meeting with a man that she had come to love. They had never engaged in sexual activity but just having contact with a man was sufficient to kill her by stabbing her 12 times in the chest and waiting until she was dead before calling an ambulance. As is required by law he turned himself in, was sentenced to three months in jail, was bailed out and at the end of the sentence was released for time served even though he had never spent a day in prison.
The author is devoting her life to try to end the age old practice in the Arab world of treating women as objects rather than equals. In Jordan’s Penal Code there are two articles that allow these murders and protect the murderers. Article 340 exempts from punishment those who kill female relatives found committing adultery, and reduces the penalty for those who kill female relatives found in a situation of adultery (such as talking to a stranger). Article 98 reduces the penalty for the perpetrator of a crime when he acts “in a fit of fury” in response to a wrongful and serious act on the part of the victim. It is estimated that over 2,000 murders occur each year in Jordan and over 5,000 in Arab countries as a whole.
I am one who is always searching for knowledge. I am quick to judgment on members of the Muslim faith. What disturbed me most was that these crimes are not just committed by Muslims but also by Christians living in these countries. According to the author honor killing in Arab countries have been under Islamic Law since A.D. 644. It has been incorporated into Arab culture and is practiced by both Christians and Muslims. Christians, of course are treated as second class citizens (dhimmah). They are required to pay a toll tax, must not harm Muslims, have any sexual engagement with Muslim women, steal the property of Muslims, nor co-operate with enemies of Islam. In other words Christians emulate the Muslim traditions. While their women have more rights as a rule, they are still treated as unequal.
Reading this book will give you insight on what it must be like to be a female in an Arab country, always doing the bidding of fathers, brothers and other male relatives, never being allowed to pursue whatever dreams you might have. Entire lives spent living in fear. Never knowing when you might be punished or killed for a perceived offence.
Let me close by adding my thoughts. First, I wonder why there is no condemnation by American or European women who have been so outspoken in their drive for equality in Western countries. Could it be that having achieved their goals they are insensitive to the plight of women living under Islam in countries where Islam is the law of the land. Why has our government not applied pressure for these countries to move into the 21st Century? In my paranoia I see these customs spreading rapidly throughout the civilized world. Europe in particular has been infected but I also am aware of it building in America as well and I don’t like it.
As I previously stated the author has devoted her life to ending “honor killing”. Read the book and find some way to express yourself to add to her efforts. Who knows, perhaps in our lifetimes these barbaric acts of hate against women could be stopped.

Jack B. Walters
September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Payroll tax cut idiocy

The beat goes on. Forget about future generations, they don’t count. Just give us what we want now because we deserve it.
According to news reports, economists approve of reducing the payroll tax to 3.1% instead of 6.2%. The editorial you printed from the Kansas City Star urged support of it and the other proposals. The goal it seems is to put money into consumers pockets so they can buy goods predominantly made in China. Continuing to provide unemployment checks year after year does nothing to provide American jobs. The other items in my opinion are gimmicks which require Federal employees to monitor to try to motivate employers to hire. My position has always been to create a climate to encourage growth letting the employer consider all the factors in deciding to produce here or elsewhere.
I have no doubt the Republicans will support the payroll tax cut with their “no tax increase” mentality. They have tried for decades to destroy Social Security. The Democrats are supposed to support it. It is well known that there are fewer workers putting money into the system as compared to those of us receiving monthly checks. I looked it up and found that should the funds continue feeding the Trust Fund before the last reduction, the Fund was projected to maintain itself for an additional 25 years. After that the outflow would exceed income by 25%. As of December 2010 there was $2.6 Trillion in the Fund. The Obama plan would decrease these funds by $175 Billion/year, not counting whatever loss might occur if companies increase their payroll by $50 Million. It has been stated that 50% of the population don’t pay Federal Income tax therefore the only tax these people are aware of is Payroll. Shouldn’t every person pay into a retirement system they will expect to benefit from?
I am fully aware that Congress for generations now has been using these Trust funds for general expenses meaning that the balance is not real money but IOU’s from the government. Supposedly future government will make good. There is no guarantee which is why Governor Perry referred to it as a Ponzi scheme. He may be right.

Jack B. Walters
September 10, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

PATTON - a book report

Ordeal and Triumph
By; Ladislas Farago

832 pages of the life of this man who became the best General officer the US Army ever had. I followed his career as a young boy but of course never had the opportunity to understand his history before the war. This book was used as the foundation for the movie PATTON starring George C. Scott. I would be ashamed to tell you how many times I have watched it. Scott did an outstanding job of re-creating this complex man. If you have seen the movie then much of this book will remind you of it. Many of the famous statements Patton made in real life were in this book and also in the movie.
Because of his impetuous nature he put himself in difficulty many times. We must credit General Marshall and General Eisenhower for recognizing how important Patton was for the war effort that they overcame the criticism and gave him command of the Third Army shortly after the Normandy landings. He was able to imbue his officers and men with his aggressive nature and went on the attack. The book mentions the numerous times when he was deliberately deprived of fuel and ammunition in favor of the British General Montgomery. The writer is convinced as am I that had he been supported fully the war could have ended in 1944. I am sure there are other books that would disagree. You can look for them. For me I am satisfied with my own point of view.
If you are a history buff as I am and in particular the Second World War then you will enjoy reading this biography.

Jack B. Walters
September 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So much for green jobs

In the news today was an announcement that Solyndra of Fremont, California declared bankruptcy and immediately laid off all 1,100 of their employees. This was the company that President Obama visited and touted as an example of his program creating “green” jobs. The US Energy Dept. provided a loan in March 2009 of $535 million to assist in getting started. Secretary Steven Chu promised the loan would create 4,000 jobs. Their product was solar panels. The President and CEO Brian Harrison stated “Regulatory and policy uncertainty in recent months created significant near term excess supply and price erosion”.
On 8/15 Evergreen Solar Inc and on 8/19 Spectra Watt Inc. filed bankruptcy. In Tucson just one week ago Solon Corp. laid off 60 production workers to send the jobs to China.
In China huge factories are being built or are already in existence to produce competing solar panels and other solar products. These are reported to be highly subsidized by the government.
The only comments I have heard from Republicans is to beat up on the President over granting the loan. When will they understand that private manufacturing jobs cannot compete when their competition is underwritten by a hostile government (China).
All the talk about creating jobs is hogwash. Is there no way to get Congress and the President to understand that jobs will continue to disappear all the while they debate.
Hello, hello, hello, are you up out of bed yet.

Jack B. Walters
August 31, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's not amnesty, and courts will be unburdened

Arizona Daily Star editorial – August 28, 2011- my response below

I would expect nothing less than your support for the program President Obama has put into place. He couldn’t get Congress to approve his “Dream” Act so he accomplishes the same thing by executive order.
Of course the courts are jammed with cases and of course it makes sense to concentrate on criminals but have you ever asked the question of why? The process should be as simple as checking the person’s ID. If not a citizen or legal immigrant that person should be escorted out of the country without delay regardless of when he or she entered this country. The current legislation should be amended to make the system work as it should.
It is a continuing mockery to build fences and hire border patrol agents when those who are able to slip through are now deemed acceptable to stay and now be granted work visas while others wait to enter legally. Of course 9% unemployment is of no concern as Americans are to lazy to take the jobs these people will do, or so you claim.

Jack B. Walters
August 28, 2011

Colonel Roosevelt - a book report

By Edmund Morris

There have been many books written about the life of this remarkable man and his achievements. Not all sing his praise. I have found that most of our greatest leaders have those who find fault with them for one reason or another. It is always annoying to me. No matter what great accomplishments they did, someone always feels the need to bring them down a peg. This book was not like that. It was unique in that it concentrated on a finite period of his life from 1910 until his death in 1919 at the age of 61.
The Republican Party leaders were hoping he would run again for President in 1920 but the accumulation of trauma he had endured during his life finally took him down including being shot in the chest, malaria and leg wounds during his odyssey in the wilderness of Brazil charting an unknown river.
The book begins in the spring of 1909. He had finished his seven years as President turning the reins over to William Howard Taft. He has gone to Africa on a game hunting safari. It describes the many times his life was at risk. Afterwards he embarked on a visit to the countries in North Africa and Europe. He was greeted with the greatest respect wherever he went. While in Paris he uttered the following words which to me personified the type of man he was. He was bitter that some in academia “sneered” at anyone trying to make the real world better. He said;
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”.
In my mind that is the perfect epitaph of this great man.
He became disillusioned with President Taft and when he could not win the Republican Primary he started his own party called “Bull Moose”. He won more votes than Taft but with the party split Woodrow Wilson the Democrat candidate became President in 1912. Roosevelt was a progressive and I believe was more Democrat than Republican as he railed against the excessive influence on Congress by the huge Corporations. He was also the strongest and most productive of all Presidents in the preservation of wilderness areas he felt should be preserved for future generations. He believed in graduated income and inheritance taxes on big fortunes, a judiciary accountable to changing social and economic conditions, comprehensive workman’s compensation acts, national laws to regulate the labor of children and women, higher safety and sanitary standards in the workplace, and public scrutiny of all political campaign spending, both before and after elections. He supported women’s right to vote. He tried to establish an understanding that science and religion could co-exist without harming each other. During his years as President he appointed men of color to key positions, most of who were quickly removed under Taft. Wilson’s Administration was also lily white.
At the end of another great speech he said “We, here in America, hold in our hands the hope of the world, the fate of the coming years, and shame and disgrace will be ours if in our eyes the light of high resolve is dimmed, if we trail in the dust the golden hopes of men”.
As the war in Europe struggled on with losses on all sides in the millions and German U-Boats sinking scores of American vessels, he became angry with his perception of Wilson as weak and indecisive. He spoke out for increased preparedness. The country gradually shifted from isolation to participation. It is clear that without the introduction of Americans the war would have stalemated for many years longer.
Roosevelt was a prolific author of books and articles. He had great knowledge of a number of subjects which to me was extraordinary.
I can recommend reading this book by anyone interested in American history.

Jack B. Walters
August 28, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Private Sector Jobs

There can be no doubt that private sector jobs are disappearing in America at an accelerated pace. My main concern has to do with manufacturing but the service sector is also being diminished. When President Obama and Congress finally return from their vacations the ideas will be filling the newspapers and talk shows on a daily basis. Ideas usually proposed are; extend unemployment benefits, provide tax breaks for hiring employees, give billions to the States to assist them in resolving their respective shortfalls, continue under funding of Social Security by the 2% already in effect (further weakening the fund and shortening the time when funds will run out), infrastructure, etc. None of these will address the main point of creating private sector jobs. All of these will be a drain on our depleted treasury. Only private jobs will put money back into the treasury because the business and its employees will all be paying taxes. Not only that, but most manufacturing companies create other jobs in the community to support their mission. Taxes will accumulate from them as well.
It must be understood that business in order to be free must be allowed to pursue their endeavor as they see fit. They are duty bound to do all in their power to make a profit for their owners, whether stock holders or privately held. A company that is not successful goes out of business. It is as simple as that. If you do not believe in the free enterprise system then, of course, what I have just written does not make sense. Under Communism or Socialism, the government owns all property and makes the decisions on what should be produced. There are offshoots of these systems that have proven to be successful such as China which is a hybrid combining the power of the Communist State with allowing private enterprise to function on a small scale and subsidizing larger manufacturing who are competing with true free enterprise from America and elsewhere. There will come a time when this system will collapse. No country can continue to subsidize manufacturing. The problem for Americans is waiting for that to occur. In the meantime community after community in America loses more manufacturing jobs with nothing of value to replace the good paying jobs that have been lost.
Here is what I believe needs to be done. Evaluate all the reasons why manufacturing of products wanted in America are sent overseas. Certainly with all the high powered brains in Washington, this should be easy to accomplish. I want to be clear that I am talking about products to be sold in America. Manufacturing goods for other countries use are better if located in the respective country for all kinds of good reasons.
So let’s start. A study could be made of those companies that have moved their manufacturing or are in the process of doing so. I am sure the management would be willing to share the decision making process. Out of these interviews should produce a basis to start? High taxes are certainly a major reason. It is my understanding that America has the highest business tax rates in the world. Government restrictions and regulations are another. I read that some effort is being extended towards alleviating this burden while at the same time the clock is ticking on increasing regulations from the health care system approved two years ago. Certainly we need oversight of our food supply, drinking water and the air we breathe but I can tell you from my own personal experience that government regulations are a burden and detract from the primary mission of making a profit. China, in particular, does not burden their industry. Frivolous law suits are a continuing drain on profit. No large company would deliberately make unsafe products. Their goal is to entice repeat customers because of price, quality and service. Manufacturers are treated as if they were evil by intent. This is outrageous.
Skilled, industrious employees are a must. We are all aware that our educational system is failing our young people. Other countries are doing a superior job. If an employer cannot hire people capable of doing their assigned task then he must go to where he can find them. Right now China and India are leaving us far behind. I don’t even know if trade unions exist today, those places where young people can learn to be electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters, welders, machine shop operators, and tool and die craftsmen. Thirty years ago we had them but as industry has faded away the need for these skills has diminished to where I doubt that a new start up company could hire these type individuals. I retired from what I like to refer to as a mature plant. What I meant by that, is that new people were being hired while at the same time older workers were retiring. We had all levels of skill working. We are losing the work ethic. Millions have been receiving financial assistance while not leaving there homes, whether welfare or unemployment. Each is as bad as the other. Once the work cycle has been broken there is generated a lack of interest in returning as long as the combined income for the family is sufficient to support the family.
The sum of what I am trying to say is that all factors being weighed by manufactures should be placed in the open and then formulate legislation that would mitigate the strength of these arguments. The recovery process might be long and perilous since factories already sent overseas would not readily return due to the high cost of relocating and the uncertainty of what the next Administration and Congress might do to reverse course once again as they have done repeatedly over the decades. An immediate result could be stopping the outflow so that more jobs are not lost. Over time, at least some factories would return those that are not labor intensive. After all it is extremely expensive to ship finished goods across the ocean. I know they have perfected shipping but irregardless that is an expense. Then there is an increased assurance of higher quality products as a result of our stringent standards.
My last comment has to do with the weak kneed approach to China not only by the Obama Administration but during Bush’s eight years in office. We continue to play the role of patsy allowing China to break every rule in the book from stealing our manufacturing secrets, to blackmailing manufacturers who do relocate to follow their edicts, to manipulating the value of their currency, to using child and prisoners in the work force, for lack of concern for safety and quality. Vice President Biden has just ended a “good will” visit to China. I can assure you that no pressure was brought to bear to keep more factories from closing and relocating to China. We hear words from time to time, particularly from those attempting to stay in office but regardless of fine words they just don’t have the gumption to change the disastrous outflow of good paying jobs. It is up to us, the people to force them to do the job we send them to Washington to accomplish. I hope you will be one of those persons.

Jack B. Walters
August 27, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We have met the enemy and he is us

I try in vain to search for an issue, any issue that is supported by the majority of Americans. We continue to argue and fight among ourselves while the rest of the world continues to pass us by. My latest example is the report that was printed in today’s Arizona Daily Star, from McClatchy Newspapers in regard to sit-ins in Washington against the construction of a pipeline which could deliver up to 1.3 million barrels of crude per day from our good neighbor to the North, Canada.
There are concerns about aquifers, crop land and property rights. I guess these protesters would rather continue getting oil from the Middle Eastern countries that use the gains to support terrorist organizations or build skyscrapers high into the atmosphere rather than promote the general welfare.
This has nothing to do with global warming. A barrel of oil is still only a barrel of oil no matter who provides it. Some time hopefully we and the rest of the civilized world will wean ourselves off of using oil but until that happy day, doesn’t it make sense to get it from our neighbor
While I am at it, we have proven reserves on the North Slope of Alaska equivalent to Saudi Arabia. We could be self sufficient and bring our troops home from those god forsaken countries, fighting wars that cannot be won no matter how long we stay or how many more lives are lost.
These protestors are doing a disservice for our country.

Jack B. Walters
August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Scoop of the Century - A plea to the Arizona Daily Star Editor to do his job

What is wrong with your editorial staff? On August 16, 2011, I wrote a letter to the editor entitled “Solon Corp. cuts 60 manufacturing jobs in Tucson”. It was not deemed worthy to publish.
Day after day we read and listen to the President, members of Congress, candidates for President, the talk show hosts and columnists talking about jobs, jobs, and jobs. That word is the new buzzword being used to galvanize our people into voting for this or that candidate, or support one of the two major parries. Never or almost never do any of them talk specifics?
You search for all kinds of stories to put into print. The Solon decision should be assigned to your best investigative reporter, who then should drive out to the factory, take pictures, interview management and employees, contact top management which in this case is located in another country. Find out all the facts and then write a series of articles to shine light on what is happening all over the country. Soon, if nothing is done the only jobs left will be minimum wage jobs at McDonalds.
I spent my working life in manufacturing. It is a dog eat dog business. Every day you devote yourself and staff to find better ways of producing by lowering costs or increasing quality, or any of the many things needed to be competitive. In my day our community and our country were a part of that process. No more, only the bottom line.
Think about the process that resulted in the decision to take all the equipment off the floor, crate it, ship it and re-install thousands of miles away, then turn around and send the product back to Arizona for installation.
Think about the 60 employees who were making a reasonable wage, supporting their families, paying taxes, buying goods and services in our local economy. Now they will be added to the list of unemployed searching for jobs that no longer exist in America.
Vice President Biden is in China as I write this. I can assure you that nothing of importance will come out of his visit. I will also remind you that during the eight years of Bush the hemorrhage of jobs to China accelerated. China treats us like fools. They steal our jobs using every trick in the book including manipulating their currency to their advantage. All we do is ask for their kind indulgence. It is way past time to say enough and take tough, immediate action against China and the other countries taking our jobs and stand up for Americans and try to restore the American dream of a good life for our families.
How about it, won’t you do your job?
Jack B. Walters August 19, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Army suicides - Arizona Daily Star - 8/13/2011

I wonder if the hundreds of soldiers committing suicide has anything to do with the orders they must follow in these Arab countries of not responding until sure of the target for sake of offending the natives. They are trained for combat not house to house searches. The strain of wondering who is friend or foe and the ever present buried bombs plus the heavy load of weapons and protective gear they must carry has to be demoralizing.
My solution, bring them home, all of them.

Jack B. Walters
August 13, 2011

Solon Corp. cuts 60 manufacturing jobs in Tucson

Green energy was supposed to create jobs for Americans. This announcement from Solon shows it was all a charade. Our President is off campaigning in his fancy new bus while Congress takes a respite from their arduous efforts. I will tell you this would not happen on my watch. Assuming there will be a reduction in defense spending there will be other workers put on the street. We cannot continue the charade that we are a great country with all workers drawing unemployment benefits out of money we don’t have.
Our taxation of business is the highest in the world. Is it any wonder manufacturers move to China to increase their profit? The only way to turn this around is to lower the cost of doing business in America. When Senator McCain suggested lowering from 35% to 25% the audience groaned. I seldom agree with him but in this case he was right. I don’t know if 25% would reverse the outflow but certainly there are some intelligent people left in positions of power in Washington who could figure it out.
Am I upset with the management of Solon, you bet, but I am more upset with Obama and Congress for not creating a climate conducive for the growth of manufacturing jobs in America.

Jack B. Walters
August 16, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 2, 2011 - A Date That Will Live In Infamy

On this date the Congress finished their arduous work and President Obama signed the legislation adding an additional $2.2 Trillion to the National Debt limit. Conveniently it should keep us solvent until after the elections in 2012, so neither the President nor members of Congress will have to debate this subject during the election process. There is a pledge (worthless in my opinion) to find $2 Trillion in reductions over the next decade. A committee is to be established of 16 members of Congress equally divided between the Republicans and Democrats. It is to be created before the end of this year. No one it seems is anxious to volunteer to serve including our own fearless Senator Kyle. He stated in jest that his bladder could not stand the many hours of sitting to come up with ideas.
This is such an important subject that the exhausted members of Congress immediately adjourned until after Labor Day to recover from the ordeal. President Obama on the other hand immediately got on Air Force I for a campaign stop in Chicago. Regrettably he had to make a huge sacrifice by staying in Washington to deal with the “crisis”. He missed ten fund raising events during that time. It is really a shame that he had to give up the activity he enjoys the most i.e. campaigning and raising money.
There was a time during my lifetime when governing was so important that full attention and total effort was expended to deal with the important issues of the day but no more. This is just a game for these people. They spend most of their time raising money for their re-election, always saying the right words that we want to hear but keep on playing the giveaway game to their benefactors. The Republicans favor the wealthy with tax breaks far in excess of what normal people pay and rewarding Corporations for sending our manufacturing and service jobs overseas. The Democrats keep giving money by any means possible to their base constituency to assure their loyalty at the ballot box.
There are so many obvious steps that could and should be taken right now, not a month from now. I won’t bore you with my thoughts but trust me I have ideas. Instead of going on vacation they should be searching for immediate things to do to stop the hemorrhage. I will share one thought. Without increased tax revenue there is no hope of balancing the budget. The way I would do it is to eliminate the give away for sending jobs overseas and lower the cost of doing business in America. Millions of workers earning paychecks would start increasing the cash flow to the treasury without increasing rates. This is so obvious that my head hurts thinking about it. How does your head feel?

Jack B. Walters
August 4, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lost in Shangri-La- a book report

By; Mitchell Zuckoff

This is an interesting, fully documented, account of a plane crash in the mountains of New Guinea towards the end of the Pacific war of WWII.
It was a gripping personal interest account of 24 service men and women who were being rewarded for their service by taking a sight seeing plane ride to see a hidden valley that had recently been discovered. Only three survived the crash. They were all injured and had been burned. Without food or other basic items, after a few days rest, they were able to reach a clearing where they were spotted by a search plane. The rest of the story revolves around the natives they encounter, the rescuers who risked their lives and their final rescue.
The author states that this was a major news story which gripped the nation. No doubt it did but I have no recollection of the event. I found it to be very interesting and well written. I haven’t spoiled it for you as what I have mentioned will be found by reading the jacket cover.

Jack B. Walters
July 21, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

History of Libya

Out of my concern about the current military action by members of NATO on Libya, I decided to check out and learn about its history. I went to Wikipedia for my source. I didn’t go back to the beginning of the world. I started in 1921 when Italy declared war on Libya and the Ottoman Empire (Turks) which at that time was in control of the coastal areas. The Treaty of Ouchey of 1923 included the withdrawal of all the Ottomans from Libya.
During WWI the Italians had to bring back their forces. During this period they lost control of all but the coast. In the 1920’s under General Pietro Badoglio a bloody war was waged to pacify the natives. This continued until 1931 when the Arab leader was captured and hanged. The resistance then just petered out. Italy controlled Libya until 1943 when the North African Campaign conquered the country. Italy formally rescinded control in the Peace Treaty after WWII.
Beginning in 1945, anti Jewish violence commenced. Many Jews were murdered; synagogues, homes and businesses were burned. When the State of Israel was recognized 30,972 Jews left for Israel between 1948 and 1951. By 1970 there were no Jews remaining.
In 1952 the United Nations granted independence. Oil was discovered in 1959. Exports began in 1963. Twenty eight year old Muammar al-Gaddafi staged a coup in 1969. He created a new Libya Arab Republic. The US vacated their last military base in 1970. In 1971 he nationalized the petroleum industry of British Petroleum. By 1972 he took control of all other petroleum companies up to 70%. He had to leave the rest as he needed their expertise to operate. He strongly supported the creation of OPEC in 1973.
His philosophy was neither communism nor capitalism. He created his own concept. He took ownership away from businesses and landowners who had more than they needed, in his opinion. On the positive side he did start two five year programs using oil revenue. The first was from 1976-80. The primary goal was to be food independent. The second from 1981-85 was to create industry. These were largely successful. He did increase the welfare of the people. By the 1980’s they enjoyed improved housing, education, social services and general standards of health, the highest in North Africa.
He openly supported terrorism around the globe until 1986 when President Reagan bombed Libya bases and palaces. He stopped and as a result improved relations with the West by the early 2000’s. In 2006 the US rescinded the designation of terrorist State. By 2007 Libya was elected to a non permanent seat in the UN.
All of this brings us to this year. In Feb. 2011 anti-government rallies sprang up in Benghazi. On March 10, France recognized the National Council as the sole representative of Libya. Shortly thereafter a no fly zone was declared by NATO and air strikes began to punish Gaddafi’s forces still loyal to him. Since then the air war has been expanded to striking military targets, Gaddafi’s palaces or places he might be. It is obvious that his death is the goal. The coalition is breaking up. Italy has pulled out. Norway will end their participation August I, 2011. Gaddafi is still in power. The Army and much of the population still gives him their support, probably out of gratitude for what he has accomplished improving their lifestyles. In the review of recent history there was mention that he had cracked down hard on the hard core Muslims who require Sharia law as the only lawful government. Perhaps these are the ones who have broken away. In all the reporting to date their identity and objectives have not been revealed, at least not to my knowledge. What if the end result is plunging this country into chaos like the Taliban did in Afghanistan? The thought that these might be the people we are supporting is scary to me.
Rather than bomb Libya back to the Stone Age, if killing Gaddafi is the goal, then why not have another Seal operation. Kill him and then keep close watch on what happens next. Libya has suffered for 90 years starting in 1921 if you do not consider the ages prior to that date. Enough already.

Jack B. Walters
July 15, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Another nail driven in the casket for American workers

For seventeen years Mexican trucks have not been allowed to enter America except to warehouses at the borders. The North American “Free” Trade Agreement had a provision to allow them access under specific guidelines. I want to state right at the beginning that in my opinion all of the so called free trade agreements were approved to the benefit of corporations not citizens of any of the three countries.
I have a question. Why was it our responsibility to spend $2.5 million to equip their trucks with monitoring devices? It would appear to me that Mexico should bear whatever costs are needed.
Mexico imposed tariffs on a dozen US made products in 2009. If we had leaders who cared about American workers we would have reciprocated at that time, tit for tat. But no, the so called super power once again allows the third world country to stomp on us; all the while we give Mexico billion dollar grants every year for assistance in their drug war.
The net effect will be to put pressure on American truck drivers to work for fewer dollars as the Mexicans will undoubtedly be paid far less. Each Mexican truck entering America will replace an American truck. This alone will have a devastating effect on American workers. Go ahead and say “they are only unskilled and don’t deserve high pay”. To you I say “walk in the other guy’s shoes and see how you like it”. One more sector of American workers being pressured to lower their life styles for the sake of consumers.
My last question is what ever happened to the members of Congress who had supported our truck drivers? Are they so busy trying to keep us from defaulting on the national debt that they dropped the ball?

Jack B. Walters
July 9, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

President Obama and the Democratic Party's responsibility for the "debt" crisis

This is a follow-up of my last article entitled “Republican Hypocrisy”. I promised I would have thoughts to share about the other group in this process.
President Obama was elected (in my opinion) out of frustration with President George Bush. There was never a President in my lifetime I felt who caused as much damage as he. The two unnecessary wars, no child left behind, senior drug program and general lack of leadership when it was so badly needed after 9/11. He pushed the country deep in debt in a haphazard fashion, totally without regard to the long term effect it would have on America. Jobs continued to leave America, going predominantly to China. With Americans losing good paying manufacturing jobs our tax base continued a downward spiral. He would not stand up to China, a country that uses every trick in their play book to suck jobs out of America. I won’t take the time to enumerate as I have already done so many times in the past. He insisted on tax breaks for the wealthy and did nothing to lower the burden on manufacturing in America while enhancing large corporations to reap huge profits at the expense of American workers.
President Obama was given an overwhelming mandate including majority power both in the House and Senate. He could have provided a health care system similar to what most advanced nations enjoy. A program similar to Medicare extended for all our citizens. Instead he squandered many months trying to garner Republican votes, when any knowledgeable observer knew that wasn’t going to happen. He started by accepting a huge handout from the drug companies as long as he didn’t disturb their ability to charge Americans much higher costs than other nations by simply denying officials to use the huge market to lower costs. At the same time he allowed them to continue to advertise on television, the obnoxious ads we listen to night after night. Only one other country on earth allows this. Then he gave a gift to the insurance industry by mandating that all must purchase insurance. What I had hoped for was the elimination of the health insurance business. With them in control, nothing will keep from costs from escalating. Over 15,000 people are to be added to the government payroll to monitor citizens to assure they do sign up or pay fines or worse.
The Trillion dollar stimulus plan had virtually no effect on creating private jobs or for that matter public. It seems there weren’t many projects ready to go. A huge part went to bail out State and local governments which while of benefit did not increase employment. Perhaps there were fewer layoffs but nothing positive. Unemployment benefits were extended and later on extended again. All of these people in their prime paid to stay home. As of 7/5/2011 the maximum period remains at 99 weeks. There were several hundred thousand persons who had run out of benefits. They were granted an additional 13 weeks but not over the 99 week maximum. There was nothing in the bill to enhance the private sector; no easing of regulations, no lowering of business taxes, no forcing China to allow their currency to float, no insistence on a level playing field. China provides many benefits to manufacturers who re-locate there, which makes it nearly impossible to compete.
President Obama expanded our forces in Afghanistan. While there are hopes that a steady withdrawal will occur, I am not holding my breath. At the same time it appears we are pleading with Iraqi officials to allow us to continue with 10,000 troops after the end of this year when all troops were slated to return. Then he authorized the bombing campaign against Khadafi in Libya in support of rebels who I believe will eventually be proven to be supporters of radical Islam. The fact is that even if justified we can no longer afford to play war games in this region. At some point we will pay the price here at home as those who hate us bring chaos to our shores.
All of my previous comments about Bush in relation to creating private sector jobs apply equally to President Obama. I need not repeat.
In an editorial today by Paul Krugman it seems corporations are once again lobbying for tax amnesty so they can bring their overseas profits back home without paying taxes. They received this break in 2004. They got it then. I have no doubt they will again which only further encourages moving jobs offshore.
My biggest concern with President Obama is what I perceive to be a lack of concern about the rising deficits. In fiscal year 2008/09 it was $1.885 Trillion. In fiscal year 2009/10 it was $1.652 Trillion. The projection this fiscal year is even higher and yet all he has proposed to date are matters that will have absolutely no effect on reducing the debt never mind curtailing deficits. He is, after all, the President, duly elected and charged with protecting Americans from enemies foreign and domestic. It is time for him to show strong leadership. This bickering between Parties must give way to tangible results. I could list a myriad of thoughts but what would be the use. Those elected officials should know and should get serious about doing the job they were sent to Washington to do.

Jack B. Walters
July 6, 2011

Republican Hypocrisy

If it wasn’t so tragic it would be ridiculously humorous as we watch the antics of our newly elected members of the Republican Party as they battle President Obama over the necessity of raising the debt ceiling. All of a sudden the idea of raising it is abhorrent to them. Could it all just be an opportunity to embarrass the President and improve their chances with the voters in next year’s elections?
Let’s review the recent past;
Year Debt Limit in Billions
1996-------- 5,500
1997-2001--- 5,950
2002-------- 6,400
2003-------- 7,384
2004-------- 7,384
2005-------- 8,184
2007-------- 9,815
2008-------- 10,615
2008-------- 11,315
2009-------- 12,104
2009-------- 12,394
2010-------- 14,294
The reason the debt ceiling held steady during those earlier years was the result of the policies when President Clinton and the Democratic Congress were in power. Surpluses were being produced which were starting to lower the National Debt.
President Reagan and the first George Bush tripled the debt during their years in office. Under President George W. Bush together with his Republican Congress the debt ceiling was raised six times. Can anyone not remember Vice President Cheney’s council to the President that President Reagan proved that deficits didn’t matter? With that sage advice they went on their merry way. It was business as usual.
Immediately upon assuming office President Obama promoted his Trillion dollar stimulus plan. That together with the ongoing costs of the three “wars” we are engaged in has brought us to the brink. Now, all of a sudden the Republican House has said no more. I certainly agree the hemorrhage cannot continue. Where I disagree is that they are not seriously considering all options. In my opinion they have resolved to put the President in a box. In a separate article I will be spelling out areas that could be considered. All I hoped to accomplish with this one is to point out to those with short memories that the Republicans are like those living in glass houses. They should refrain from starting a rock throwing contest.

Jack B. Walters
July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Senator John McCain

What ever happened to the man I once supported to be President. He was a maverick then. During his last campaign to be re-elected as Senator of Arizona he proclaimed that he was never a maverick. I supported him when he ran against George W. Bush. When it looked like he was gaining support the Bush campaign put out scurrilous information that the black child in his family was sired by him.
During his later campaign for President against Obama he lost all credibility. He couldn’t remember how many homes he owned. He cancelled a TV program with David Letterman to hurry back to Washington to save the Union, only to take the time to stop off for a more important interview with Katie Couric. The pictures of having his face powdered added to the hilarity of it. Then when he finally arrived, there he was sitting at the end of the table, not appearing to be making any important contribution. Who can forget his pronouncement that America’s economy was in top shape just before the collapse leading to the TARP bailout of $700 Billion to rescue the largest financial institutions. I became really upset with him as he abandoned all pretence of representing Arizona in his position of Senator by campaigning continuously and with only a few exceptions did not cast any votes. I didn’t think his little ditty ‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”, was very funny. Then he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. A virtual unknown with little grasp of the national responsibility involved. This was the last straw for me.
All of the above issues are not why I decided to write this article. It is his continuing war mongering attitude toward any and all countries. He visited Libya and criticized Obama for not doing more. Then in today’s headline picture, there he is in Afghanistan criticizing Obama for proposing bringing troops home at a faster pace than the Generals think prudent. If McCain was President he would pushing the military into more adventures than we are committed to at the present time. The Generals are probably right. To totally subdue the country we need more not less boots on the ground but if our goal (as I believe it should be) is to leave, then we should leave at a faster rate. No nation in history has been successful in dominating Afghanistan. I do not believe we can do it either. Here he is overseas while Congress has cancelled their July 4th break to stay in Washington to prevent our nation’s defaulting on our debts; a far more serious dilemma than in 2008 when he “rushed” back. I can only conclude he has lost all semblance of what is important. If he can’t bomb it, he just isn’t interested.
Jack B. Walters July 4, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

UNBROKEN - A book report


This is an incredible true life account of an American born in 1917 and still alive as the book went to print. As a novel it would have been a thriller to read. What this man accomplished and how he survived under incredible circumstances is mind boggling. The author did voluminous research in uncovering and verifying the events.
The man’s name is Louis Zamperini. He was uncontrollable as a boy, constantly in trouble. He discovered that he could be exceptional as a runner and he devoted his energy to improve. He nearly broke the four minute mile running in the same era as Glenn Cunningham who was the first to accomplish this feat. He competed in the Olympic Games in Germany in 1936. It was the 5000 meters race. His time was 14:46.8, the fastest time of any American that year. That was only good enough for eighth place but in final lap he ran the fastest time ever recorded. Adolf Hitler was so impressed he wanted to meet Louie. Hitler said “Ah, you’re the boy with the fast finish”.
Once WWII began Louie enlisted and was placed in the Army Air Corp. He trained as a Bombardier in B-24’s. He was sent to the Pacific Theatre. His odyssey began when his plane crashed into the ocean. Only the Pilot and one other crewman survived. They drifted for 47 days, finally being captured by the Japanese and imprisoned. Only the Pilot and Louie were alive. The story of survival on the raft would be enough but the worst was yet to come. He was sent to Japan as a war trophy after they discovered who he was. He sustained unrelenting punishment by sadistic guards. One in particular had an obsession about him and struck him regularly.
As the war was drawing to the end, the prisoners discovered that on August 22, 1945 all prisoners were to be executed. The Emperor told his people that the war was lost on August 15 and that all hostilities were to cease. That was all that saved them.
The physical and mental torment the prisoners had faced followed them as they were released. In Louis’s case he became an alcoholic as his way of escaping reality. A chance meeting with a young Billy Graham in Los Angeles saved him. He remembered the vow he had made on the raft to give his life to the Lord and went on to be productive as a citizen and father.
I give this book my highest recommendation to read.

Jack B. Walters - July 2, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

NATO's military mission is over

A short history

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was created in 1949 by President Truman and 11 other countries; England, Iceland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Netherlands. It was deemed necessary to prevent Russia from taking control of Europe. The overriding mission stated that an attack on one would be considered an attack on all.
Major bases were located in France. West Germany was allowed to join in 1955. Dissention led France to gradually separate. A complete break occurred in 1966. All bases in France were closed, most of which were re-located to West Germany. By 1979 Tactical Nuclear missiles were installed capable of destroying Russian tank formations. They included GLCM and Pershing II missiles. East Germany was re-united with the West in 1990. An agreement with Russia mandated reductions in forces on both sides. NATO forces were not to be deployed in East Germany. NATO did so anyway.
With the end of the Cold War in 1991 NATO was extended into Eastern Bloc countries, one at a time which caused unease with Russia. France rejoined NATO in 1995 and attained full membership by 2009. In the ensuing years more Eastern nations have joined. A missile base scheduled for installation in Poland under President Bush was halted by President Obama lessening the threat of military action by Russia against Poland.

Where NATO is today

In June 2011 Secretary of Defense Gates scolded the members for not contributing their full effort in the bombing of Libya. He threatened that this could be the end of NATO. Only eight of the 28 member States contributed forces to the Libya campaign. They were America, England, Canada, Germany, Poland, Spain, Netherlands and Turkey. Gates was critical of Poland, Spain, Norway, Turkey and Germany. Norway is ending operations August 1, 2011. The British Navy has stated operations are not sustainable and the Danes have run out of bombs. How ridiculous is this. What it means to me is that NATO is a hollow shell militarily, only held together by the might and treasure from America. I have felt from the beginning that the Libya campaign was doomed to failure.
It is the same old story repeated decade after decade with halfhearted efforts not capable of finishing successfully. Can you remember the American Air Campaign against the Serbs in Kosovo? The Serbs were systematically driving Muslims out of the country, killing many in the process. This should have been up to Europe to intervene if they felt compelled to do so. Instead President Clinton took on the responsibility using only air forces similar to the current campaign in Libya. Serbia was not a threat to European nations and certainly not to America. The point I am trying to make is that this was a regional conflict of a minor nature that Europe was incapable of resolving without the might of America. The concern about the USSR had diminished with the breakup on the Soviet Union. Russia while still powerful in and of itself had diminished as a concern. In actual fact around this time Russia had requested being included in NATO. The request was not approved.
The mighty coalition that had been NATO was now a shell of what it once had been. This would have been the time to re-evaluate the Alliance towards cooperation economically while reducing the American presence which even today is by far the largest contingent of NATO.
As I write this I understand that there are other nations ready to sign on to become members of NATO. There obviously is a need felt to join with others for the mutual good. Economic alliances are almost always beneficial. My concern is that the thought of overwhelming military force to combat Russia or some other major power does not exist without America.
We, as a country, are so deep in debt we are approaching a critical point where we won’t be able to continue being the hero. Now would be a good time to re-evaluate, while the debate is raging in Washington concerning the deficit. They won’t of course, as any retrenchment will be considered soft on defense. The horrendous cost of the current three wars plus maintaining bases throughout the world will continue. Our leaders will continue to muddle along until that fateful day not too many years from now when the rubber band snaps and fiscal reality sets in forcing drastic measures on Americans such as the people of Greece are now going thru.

Jack B. Walters
June 30, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

TOO BIG TO FAIL - a book report

By Andrew Ross Sorkin

I am always astounded after reading a book like this. The research involved and the time consumed appear monumental to me. I purchased the book and read it during my plane rides to visit family and friends. The author describes in incredible detail the events and conversations of the principal participants during the financial crisis during the Fall of 2008 which led to Congress approving $700 Billion in aid to the major financial institutions in what was referred to as TARP (Trouble Asset Relief Program).
This is not a book highly recommended to read except for people like me who seem to enjoy delving into issues. It is 555 pages of financial topics way over my head. I cannot even conceive of the magnitude of dollars involved.
The Cast of Characters is located at the beginning. It takes eight pages to list them all, a who’s who of those at or near the top of the largest Corporations in the world. During the book the incredible sums of money are disclosed, again in amounts unimaginable to people like me.
The root cause was the irresponsible bundling together of mortgages, millions of which were given to people without the means to pay, many without a down payment of any kind. The underlining reason was the idea that housing would always increase in value. In my opinion this was idiotic. When values started dropping in 2006, people started walking away from their homes when the market value became less than the mortgage. Also during these years, good paying jobs were lost. Mortgage payments could not be made. As all of this started accelerating, the losses to the financial institutions built to unsustainable levels. Out of concern investors demanded the return of their capital. The value of bank stocks plummeted. Before the carnage was stopped by TARP, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and was put out of business. Others like Bear Sterns, Wachovia and Merrill lynch were absorbed by larger firms. AIG was so far gone that it took $185 Billion to keep them from failing before it was all over.
“Hank” Paulson was Secretary of the Treasury; Tim Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve System. These were the two most important persons responsible for rescuing the banks. As the drama unfolded they tried to have the institutions themselves solve the problem by supporting their competitors. When it became obvious that this could not be accomplished then they pushed for government money, referred to by people like me as “bailout”. TARP was originally meant to be used to purchase toxic assets. In the end all the major companies agreed to accept government funds while granting stock as collateral. The following was not in the book, but from sources available to me all loans have been paid back with interest. That would seem to give credit to those involved. My concern is that nothing substantial has been done to lessen the threat of another crisis. Legislation put forth has been watered down to where meaningful safeguards have not been enacted. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont introduced a bill entitled “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist”. Senators Maria Cantrell of Washington and John McCain of Arizona introduced a bill to re-instate Glass-Steagall. Neither passed based on the argument that we would be less competitive in the global marketplace. There just has to be a way to keep foreign banks from absorbing American owned, while still putting safeguards into the system.
The last sentence states “This generation of Wall Street CEOs could be the ones to forfeit America’s trust. When the history of the Great Depression is written, they can be singled out as the bonus babies who were so shortsighted that they put the economy at risk and contributed to the destruction of their own companies”.

Jack B. Walters
June 27, 2011

TOO BIG TO FAIL - a book report

By Andrew Ross Sorkin

I am always astounded after reading a book like this. The research involved and the time consumed appear monumental to me. I purchased the book and read it during my plane rides to visit family and friends. The author describes in incredible detail the events and conversations of the principal participants during the financial crisis of the Fall of 2008 which led to Congress approving $700 Billion in aid to the major financial institutions in what was referred to as TARP (Trouble Asset Relief Program).
This is not a book highly recommended to read except for people like me who seem to enjoy delving into issues. It is 555 pages of financial topics way over my head. I cannot even conceive of the magnitude of dollars involved.
The Cast of Characters is located at the beginning. It takes eight pages to list them all, a who’s who of those at or near the top of the largest Corporations in the world. During the book the incredible sums of money are disclosed, again in amounts unimaginable to people like me.
The root cause was the irresponsible bundling together of mortgages, millions of which were given to people without the means to pay, many without a down payment of any kind. The underlining reason was the idea that housing would always increase in value. In my opinion this was idiotic. When values started dropping in 2006, people started walking away from their homes when the market value became less than the mortgage. Also during these years, good paying jobs were lost. Mortgage payments could not be made. As all of this started accelerating, the losses to the financial institutions built to unsustainable levels. Out of concern investors demanded the return of their capital. The value of bank stocks plummeted. Before the carnage was stopped by TARP, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and was put out of business. Others like Bear Sterns, Wachovia and Merrill lynch were absorbed by larger firms. AIG was so far gone that it took $185 Billion to keep them from failing before it was all over.
“Hank” Paulson was Secretary of the Treasury; Tim Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve System. These were the two most important persons responsible for rescuing the banks. As the drama unfolded they tried to have the institutions themselves solve the problem by supporting their competitors. When it became obvious that this could not be accomplished then they pushed for government money, referred to by people like me as “bailout”. TARP was originally meant to be used to purchase toxic assets. In the end all the major companies agreed to accept government funds while granting stock as collateral. The following was not in the book, but from sources available to me all loans have been paid back with interest. That would seem to give credit to those involved. My concern is that nothing substantial has been done to lessen the threat of another crisis. Legislation put forth has been watered down to where meaningful safeguards have not been enacted. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont introduced a bill entitled “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist”. Senators Maria Cantrell of Washington and John McCain of Arizona introduced a bill to re-instate Glass-Steagall. Neither passed based on the argument that we would be less competitive in the global marketplace. There just has to be a way to keep foreign banks from absorbing American owned, while still putting safeguards into the system.
The last sentence states “This generation of Wall Street CEOs could be the ones to forfeit America’s trust. When the history of the Great Depression is written, they can be singled out as the bonus babies who were so shortsighted that they put the economy at risk and contributed to the destruction of their own companies”.

Jack B. Walters
June 27, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Forest fire- letter to the editor

Coronado Forest Closing

Because of fire hazards all activity has been banned, even including our own very special Sabino Canyon. While it may be true that careless campers were responsible for some of the fires what is basically true is that average citizens who venture forth to enjoy our spectacular forest scenery are respectful of the forests.
The reality is that Arizona citizens will obey the order and stay out not because of fines but because of concern. Those entering our State illegally whether looking for work or bringing in drugs will not pay heed to this order.
The article in the headlines only suggested this at the very end of the report as if it was merely a slight possibility. Wake up, this is the problem. The closure notice will not decrease the ongoing invasion.
There I said it. Sure be nice if the Star editorial staff would identify the real problem.

Jack B. Walters
June 7, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Freedom from Fear- a book report

The American people in Depression and War,
By David M. Kennedy

My friend Jim Terlep lent me this book to read as he knows my interest in history, particularly American history, 858 pages later I have finally completed reading. It is an outstanding effort. It is the most complete and thorough report of the circumstances and the people involved during those critical decades. It is so monumental that trying to report on any one aspect would not do justice to the author.
There have been many books written about FDR, some favorable and some negative. This author tried to expose the events and in particular the New Deal Legislation enacted as to whether positive or negative. Chapter 12 puts it all in perspective as to whether it was positive or not. In my opinion it was. People’s bank deposits were protected where before they had lost everything when the banks fell. The Glass-Steagall Banking act separated investing from commercial banks. (President Clinton allowed this to be repealed which started the banks on their reckless behavior with devastating consequences. To this date our current President and Congress have not seen fit to re-enact.). Social Security was created to provide funds necessary to help the elders to live decent lives. Unions were allowed to grow to provide security and improve the lot of workers. Child labor was abolished. Many roads, bridges, dams, hiking trails, clinics, and schools were built by Americans working for the CCC or WPA.
In all the history of America up until then the Federal Government was not a factor in the economy of the country. The States had the most power but even there the free market system had nearly total control. There were many factors at play which resulted in the Depression, mostly from overproduction of farms, the dust bowl and irresponsible speculation in the markets. Over half of America lived of small farms. When the prices for agriculture products fell the suffering began. President Hoover attempted to stabilize market prices with limited success. It was FDR’s New Deal that really got the Federal Government into the process of correcting imbalances when the market place proved inadequate to the challenge. Were there programs that failed, yes, but then again there were programs that worked. Most important of all was the positive effect of FDR’s communication with the people. In spite of their hardship they believed their President was doing all he possibly could to relieve their suffering.
Columnist Dorothy Thompson summed up FDR’s achievements in 1940 with these words, “WE have behind us eight terrible years of a crisis we have shared with all countries. Here we are, and our basic institutions are still intact, our people are relatively prosperous and most important of all, our society is relatively affectionate. No rift has been made an unbridgeable schism between us. The working classes are not clamoring for communism. No country is so well off”.
The author takes us step by step in the buildup to WWII. He is convinced that the Versailles Treaty written after WWI planted the seeds that resulted in the Second World War. In it Germany was made to accept full responsibility for the conflict and onerous reparations demanded to compensate the Allies for their costs. This created great hardship for the German people and created an atmosphere where a radical like Adolf Hitler could come to power. He brought them out of their Depression by ignoring the treaty and beginning his military buildup. The comment is made that had we rearmed as they did we could have risen out of the Depression faster than we did. Certainly the results of building the “Arsenal of Democracy”, the Depression was over.
There is a chapter on the buildup and the genius of American Industry leaders to switch overnight from peacetime manufacturing to military. Henry Ford and Henry Kaiser were in that group. Ford created a factory from the ground up to produce B-24s. He produced 18,000 B-24s in four years. At its peak a B-24 rolled off the line every sixty-three minutes. Kaiser built twenty-seven hundred Liberty Ships. By 1943 a ship was launched every forty-0ne days. These were remarkable achievements and were representative of all of American industry. By war’s end we had produced 5,777 merchant ships, 1,556 naval vessels, 299,293 aircraft, 634,569 jeeps, 88,410 tanks, 11,000 chain saws, 2,283,311 trucks, 6.5 million rifles and 40 billion bullets.
He takes us thru the war years capturing the important events including battles and leadership conferences. I will not attempt to list them. You should read for yourself. He is quite thorough.
See page 857 for his conclusion as follows;
An astounding fact is that the United States at the end of the war commanded fully half of the entire planet’s manufacturing capacity and generated more than half of the world’s electricity. America owned two-thirds of the world’s gold stocks and half of its monetary reserves. The United States produced two times more petroleum than the rest of the world combined; it had the world’s largest merchant fleet, a near monopoly on the emerging growth industries of aerospace and electronics, and, for a season at least, an absolute monopoly on the disquieting new technology of atomic power.
By wars end unemployment was negligible. In the ensuing quarter century the American economy would create twenty million new jobs. Within less than a generation the middle class more than doubled. By 1960 the middle class included almost two-thirds of all Americans. As he concludes, small wonder that Americans chose to think of it as the good war. It was a war that had brought them as far as imagination could reach, and beyond, from the ordeal of the Great Depression and had opened apparently infinite vistas to the future.

Jack B. Walters
June 3, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Counter Proposition- Letter to the editor

President Obama is urging Israel to give up all the territory they acquired during the war in 1967 with Egypt, Jordan and Syria. This war was the third time Arab nations had attempted to eliminate the Jewish state. The forces were gathering. The United Nations Peacekeepers were told to leave. Shipping lanes critical for Israel’s survival were closed. In desperation all civilian men were recalled to active service and Israel attacked first. Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula as well as Jerusalem became a part of Israel. Later the Sinai was returned to Egypt but the rest were kept.
Anyone with an ounce of sense looking at the borders that existed before the war would recognize that the country was vulnerable to attack. Only the skill and determination of the Israeli citizens averted a tragedy. Don’t think for a moment that the Jews would not be slaughtered if overrun. Each war that has been thrust on them amounted to survival. Technology has advanced considerably since 1967. In my opinion a sudden strike would be devastating. As the nation suffered, I also believe I can state that the nations attacking would also be destroyed by the nuclear arsenal that Israel possesses.
Israel does not want this and therefore have rejected the proposition of President Obama. Israel will also never negotiate with terrorists as Hamas has proven to be over the decades.
I have a thought to share with our President. To show his sincerity I believe he should propose returning Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California back to Mexico. After all, these territories were taken from Mexico when they were considerably weaker than America. What is right for the goose should also be right for the gander, as the old saying goes.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A book report

Soldier and President
By: Stephen E. Ambrose

Stephen Ambrose has written many historical books. I consider him one of the best. When I was informed about this new book, I immediately purchased it, even though I have read other books on the life of Dwight Eisenhower. I was not disappointed. It did advance my knowledge and understanding of the great contributions to our country and the world of this special human being. Rather than my usual assessment of a book I have chosen to just let the author speak for himself.
“His greatest successes came in foreign policy, and the related area of national defense spending. By making peace in Korea, and avoiding war thereafter for the next seven and one-half years, and by holding down, almost single-handedly, the pace of the arms race, he achieved his major accomplishments. ----he rebuffed Symington and the Pentagon and the JCS and the AEC and the military-industrial complex. And no one knows how many lives he saved by ending the war in Korea and refusing to enter many others, despite a half-dozen and more unanimous recommendations that he go to war.”
In my opinion only Ike with his WWII record could have held back the war lovers. Any President without his credentials would have been considered soft.
He was adamant about the need to balance the budget and was successful in achieving that goal while Americans enjoyed prosperity as never before.
This is a very readable book, extremely interesting with many insights into his decision making process. His party expected him to reverse the 16 years of control by the other party but he took the best of both and formed alliances to assure the steady progress the country enjoyed. President Eisenhower is on my short list of the greatest Presidents in our history.

Jack B. Walters
April 30, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Letter in support of a flat tax

Representative Steve Court
Dear Sir,
This will be one of the few letters of support I assume, you will receive in regard to your Flat Tax proposal. I, of course, do not have the inside information to determine if 2.1% is the proper number, but I have long supported the concept. Just by taking the time to look at a tax form whether Federal or State should convince any serious person that they are riddled with a myriad of loopholes, all placed I am sure with the best of intentions to aid one group or another.
In the 80’s I accepted a position as Director of General Services for the State of Iowa. I tried to convince the Governor and the Director of revenue that the State tax should be simplified. I shared copies of my personal tax forms from the years I lived in Canada as a manager of a Firestone plant. Quite simply after figuring out your taxes owed there was a multiplier line near the end of the form to determine how much would go to the Province, or in our case State. It was different for each Province and subject to change as needed. The point is that this was not additional tax but a portion to go to the Province. No separate form was required. What I had proposed was to do the same in Iowa which could be done very simply by enclosing a copy of your Federal form and multiplying the State tax owed as you had proposed.
One benefit would be the immediate reduction in the staff of the Dept. of Revenue. Those people who now open and review the returns would no longer be needed. Any time State employees can be reduced should be welcome.
When Steve Forbes proposed a flat tax for the Federal government I was in favor. As I recall he had a threshold which would have exempted $35,000 or thereabouts. Even this year at the opening of Congress there was discussion about simplifying the tax code. There is only one word to describe the code and that is abominable.
While I like the idea that everyone pays some amount to be part of this great country. Maybe the only way you can succeed is to exempt the lowest income groups. If that is what it takes then I support.
It is interesting to me that the Democratic representatives are using this to blast the Republicans and no doubt will encourage throwing out members like you. It is so tragic to me that this must be continuous warfare. The editorial writers at the Arizona Daily Star have certainly labeled you and your colleagues. Reading the letters to the editor today must make them extremely happy.
My hope is that you do not walk away from this and thru education and other means strive to overcome the bad press.
One final thought, supposedly the richest among us would have their taxes reduced by large amounts. That I believe is a falsehood. Tax shelters abound of every conceivable kind to protect the earnings of the rich. Having a tax deduction for a half million dollar mortgage is one example. I don’t own a home. Many have paid off their mortgages, many others rent. There are no tax breaks for these people.

Good luck, don’t despair,

Jack B. Walters
March 30, 2011.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Government Shutdown Looms

Neither party is serious about the deficit.
Here is a thought which so far has eluded them; the current cost of supporting the war in Afghanistan is $2 billion/week or $104 billion/ year. Add to that the cost of Iraq and Libya plus our permanent bases in the Middle East I am sure the above cost could be doubled or more.
In addition, military aid given too many countries out of money we don’t have but must borrow from China makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
No politician has the courage or the good sense to suggest the above as they would be labeled weak on defense. What a joke. These adventures which cannot be funded are destroying the solvency of America. Who will come to aid us when our currency is worthless?

Jack B. Walters

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chinese leaders could not be happier

Letter to the Editor
Every time we drop a guided bomb on a truck or tank in Libya they smile, knowing that is more wasted money being spent by America as we go further down the drain toward bankruptcy.
While Boehner and Reed huddle together trying to find agreement on which domestic program to cut the saga continues as we exhaust ourselves spending on our foolish wars in the Mid East. Case in point, in an article this morning we learn that there is an agency with 1,900 employees dedicated to finding solutions to prevent deaths from roadside bombs. They have spent nearly 17 billion to date with no results. The death and wounded numbers have increased from 270 in 2008 to 3,366 in 2010.
Here is a novel idea. Bring our people home from this cursed region. If we did that there would be no more deaths of our soldiers.

Jack B. Walters

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Deal or Raw Deal by Burton Folsom, Jr.-a book report

The author is a professor of history at Hillsdale College. He is a highly respected historian. I was given a copy of this book and another entitled “The New Deal” which includes thoughts of eight authors including Professor Folsom.
The occasion was a visit to Tucson by Mrs. Ellen Donovan, the Executive Director of the Founders Campaign. I have been receiving the monthly copies of Hillsdale’s publication Imprimus since the mid 70’s. I was recovering from pneumonia at the time and a friend gave me a copy to read and enrolled my name on the mailing list. I enjoyed reading it and the hundreds of copies since. I was also invited to attend a two day seminar last year in Tucson. I admire the college’s commitment to excellence and in particular adhering to the principles as outlined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. All students are required to take a course with this as the subject. To maintain integrity the college refuses all funds from the Federal Government. It is able to do so thru the contributions of like minded supporters. During our breakfast session I enjoyed our conversation. It was a good give and take. I was able to present my ideas and in fact gave Mrs. Donovan a copy of my latest book “Still Angry”. She later wrote that she enjoyed reading. Feeling full of myself I later mailed her copies of my first two books. I also took the occasion to continue contributing financially.
Realizing that Mr. Folsom’s book would be negative, I expressed that I would read them, but knew I would not enjoy it as FDR was my boyhood hero. I was 13 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He was our trusted leader. We had full confidence that under his leadership that we as a nation would prevail over our enemies. The record shows that this was true. I was too young to have knowledge of the “New Deal”, but remember chills would run up and down my spine as I listened to his “Fireside Chats”. His charisma and enthusiasm calmed the nation and galvanized all of us to work together in our common cause. Except for the too few years of John F. Kennedy’s presidency no other President has been able to create solidarity as did FDR. I even exclude President Reagan. He was a good leader but he did not create the same unity of purpose of Americans.
This book only briefly covered WWII. It was mostly about the 30’s starting with President Hoover and then FDR. It chronicles many programs which were not as effective as they should have been. I will not argue with the facts as presented. The conversations reported undoubtedly took place and the failure of some of his programs did occur.
In stating my comments I want to start by suggesting that Professor Folsom is younger than I and therefore whatever information he possessed to publish this book was garnered from other sources. It is immediately evident that for whatever reason he started this project with an intense dislike of FDR. He starts by pointing out that he came from a wealthy family, was an average student or athlete. FDR’s passion it seems was politics which started at an early age. The author makes the point that FDR was a liar and had a mistress and therefore unworthy of the office of President. My response is that FDR liked to use stories of made up people to drive home a point similar, if I may be so bold, as Jesus Christ did with his parables. Those were not true stories, they were meant to drive home a message. As to the mistress, I will not fill up these pages by listing the many other Presidents who transgressed in a similar vain. My position on this subject is that we are all earthly creatures with needs and wants that need to be fulfilled one way or another. In FDR’s situation his marriage was for convenience, not love, at least not of a physical kind. I judge a person, not by indiscretions, but by deeds. The ultimate answer rests on whether the world was a better place because of that person’s effort. In my opinion FDR certainly qualifies.
When he took office America was in a deep depression partly as a result of the extravagant policies of president Hoover. Of particular concern were the extremely high tariffs enacted the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. The direct result was retaliation from the other major countries. FDR campaigned against it. The author’s dissatisfaction with FDR was the length of time he took to lower tariffs. He tried a country by country approach which while effective was not done as quickly as it perhaps should have been.
There is a chapter of the favorable response from the news media as if they were not doing their job of assessing him critically enough. He mentions that they did not photograph him as the cripple he was nor did they expose his love affair. FDR believed he needed to be seen as a strong leader not one crippled from polio. My reaction to this is that there were unwritten rules of conduct in those days and respect. I find that far more preferable than today when every aspect of a leader’s life is exposed causing concern to citizens when they should only be concerned with leadership or lack thereof. I did not like reading that the Administration used licensing of air ways to reward or punish radio stations depending on their support or lack thereof. I was also disturbed that the various agencies such as WPA determined the disbursement of funds for political advantage. I know he wasn’t the first or the last to use his position to garner political support. The author admits this but justifies his criticism that FDR had more options than previous administrations. Politics is not pretty. All thru our history parties and politicians have taken every advantage to improve their chances. Gerrymandering voting districts is one example. To this day it is par for the course. It is the voter’s responsibility to understand and sort thru the rhetoric as they make their decisions.
Farm subsidies are listed as misguided. He does admit that support for agriculture started with Hoover. I think he should write a book about this subject alone and how it has continued for 70 years since FDR increasing year by year. What FDR was trying to do was spare the family farmer from the vagaries of adverse weather and market deviations. By setting support levels he hoped to aid them. My own grandfather was a successful dairy farmer who lost his farm when the banks collapsed and lived the rest of his days in poverty in a tarpaper shack. Today’s subsidies go mainly to the super rich like Ted Turner who owns hundreds of thousands of acres in New Mexico. Farm families can no longer compete with the mega farms. I have written many times that aid should be restricted to the family farm but the beat goes on regardless of which party is in control. One of FDR’s real successes was bringing electricity to the farms. It was not economically possible without government assistance.
I was particularly upset with his attack on Social Security. He points out that early on people who had only paid a short while received multiple windfalls. Ida Fuller paid in $24.75 and received over her lifetime $22,888.92. He is outraged. I say wonderful. This woman was given the opportunity to live out her years in dignity. When my father died he took his pension with him. My mothers’ only source of income was $350/month from Social Security. My sister and I aided as best we could but both of us had three children to raise making it difficult. Before Social Security old people had nothing of their own. Could it have been better designed, probably, but regardless it fills a need even today. The fact that it is in trouble is not FDR’s fault, it is every Administration and Congress since his time to make necessary corrections to keep it solvent. FDR also wanted health care for all. He didn’t accomplish it. The Obama solution is an abomination in my humble opinion.
I agree with the general proposition that lower tax rates are good for the economy. It leaves funds available for individuals to spend on other than basic needs and it provides funds for industry to purchase equipment to improve their profitability. Lowering business taxes also improves the situation in regard to foreign competition. During the war FDR tried to get Congress to tax all personal income over $25,000 at 100%. The Congress balked but did set it at 90%. $25,000 was a lot of money back then. FDR did not believe it was right to profit extravagantly while 12 million men were in uniform putting their lives on the line. Contrast that with today when CEO’s and other top officers of companies rake in millions every year while our boys are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is what I call outrageous.
To prove his case that the New Deal was a failure he compares published unemployment statistics. The US was still at 19.8% in 1938. Guess what, Germany was at 2.1%. Looks like we would have been better off if we had started re-arming as Germany did.
FDR did not believe in relief without work except where absolutely necessary. That is why he promoted the WPA, CCC and other programs with the idea of providing useful work for those unemployed. I have hiked on trails and slept in shelters built at that time. Contrast that to today where millions have been receiving unemployment benefits of $300 or more per week to stay home. This is a continues program that is extended over and over to keep the funds flowing to people in their prime working years who could be contributing to our nation’s well-being.
He didn’t mention it but one of the greatest programs FDR got approved was the GI Bill of Rights. It enabled millions of veterans including myself to receive education to expand our opportunities. Together we transformed America.
In summation it comes down to this, within the framework of our Constitution, is it the responsibility of the Federal Government to take steps to correct problems or should it just sit by and let the markets run their course without stepping in to protect citizens? Just wait for the next war opportunity to do their thing. I say no. I also say that the government since Roosevelt has gone far overboard in asserting their authority such as Obama using the Commerce Clause to force citizens to purchase health insurance. It is now heading to the Supreme Court. Should they not find it un-constitutional then our great experiment in government will be over. The Dept of Energy was created in 1977 by President Carter to assure our independence in the field of energy. I understand it costs billions each year. You must know how successful that has been.
As I stated at the outset I knew I would be unhappy reading these books. It took awhile to accomplish as it was demoralizing to me. Roosevelt was my boyhood hero and even after reading these books I still feel the same. His philosophy was the same as mine during my leadership years. If there is a problem, gather together the best minds you can and brainstorm. When the best thought of solution is agreed to, assign it to staff with the knowledge and skill to enact. Should it not be the solution, then try again.
Did he make mistakes, certainly, as did I, but he kept searching for solutions? That is why the American people embraced him. He did his best. He was frustrated with the Supreme Court which kept him from enacting some of his programs which is why he foolishly tried to pack the Court. He lost a lot of support at that time. I will not condemn him for trying. Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were our greatest presidents. John Fitzgerald Kennedy could have been the third but he was cut down before he could reach that level. All of them had personal problems but putting that aside they all strove for a better America and that is how I rate our leaders.

Jack B. Walters