Saturday, May 31, 2014

One World by; Wendell Willkie

This book was written in 1943. For the most part it chronicles his around the world airplane visit to many allied nations in 1942. After losing the election for president to F.D.R. in 1940, he allied himself to the president and provided valuable assistance anyway he could. This goodwill tour and inspection was part of that endeavor. The most important issues he discovered were; the good will people of every nation had toward America and their collective hope for their own destiny as free nations after the conclusion of the war. Many, at the time were still part of the colonial system of England, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium and Germany. In Egypt he landed in Cairo and visited the battlefield of El Alamein with General Montgomery just after his victory over General Rommel. Then on to Iraq, Iran, Russia, Siberia, and China where he met with leaders; Stalin, Chiang Kai-shek, General Chennault and other prominent leaders but he also met, whenever possible with soldiers, workers, farmers and other common people so he could better understand the totality of support. When he returned he felt compelled to publish this book to alert Americans. He was concerned that after our victory, which he had no doubt would occur, that America doesn’t then lose the peace as we did after WWI. He details the mistakes made by President Wilson and the Congress, which resulted in the failure of “The League of Nations”. I want to confine my comments to the aspirations he expressed in the final chapters. He was concerned that countries like England would reclaim their former colonies and rule as they had before. After the signing of the Atlantic Charter, Churchill said, “… the authors had in mind primarily the restoration of the sovereignty, self-government and the national life of the states and nations of Europe now under the Nazi yoke; and that the provisions of the Charter did not qualify in any way the various statements of policy which have been made from time to time about the development of constitutional government in India, Burma, or other parts of the British Empire.” At a later time Churchill stated “We mean to hold our own. I did not become His Majesty’s first minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” This was not the position of President Roosevelt. As the war continued more people including the British realized that colonies would not continue and that steps would need to be taken to prepare these countries to be able to govern themselves. Sadly to say even in 1942 France was assured that they would continue to govern Indi-China. We all know how that turned out ending with America at war in Vietnam. He was a strong advocate that an organization of United Nations be established so peoples all over the world could have a forum to resolve issues between nations. He hoped that the small European countries could be re-created as political entities but not militarily nor economic. He foresaw something like the European Union as it exists today. As an aside, the union is at a critical stage today and may fall apart if dramatic action is not taken to maintain. Willkie was honest and brave enough to point out that in America black people were not receiving equal status and that we must resolve this issue. The people of the world are of many colors and race. They will not accept second hand status. He insisted that the success of the American experiment was due to the blending of races, colors and religions and melding them together. The last hurdle would be the total inclusion of the black Americans. His final paragraph says it all, “Our allies in the East know that we intend to pour out our resources in this war. But they expect us now-not after the war- to use the enormous power of our giving to promote liberty and justice. Other peoples, not yet fighting, are waiting no less eagerly for us to accept the most challenging opportunity of all history- the chance to help create a new society in which men and women the world around can live and grow invigorated by independence and freedom.” I want to conclude with the following comments. Willkie ran again in 1944 for President but lost out to Thomas Dewey. He never would have lived until Election Day. He died of a sudden heart attack on October 8, 1944. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote a weekly column in those days called “My Day”. Her column printed October 12, 1944 was a tribute to Willkie. OCTOBER 12, 1944 WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday afternoon I represented my husband at Wendell Willkie's funeral. Only twice did I ever have the opportunity of meeting Mr. Willkie personally, and I never had an opportunity to talk with him. Yet no one who has watched his political career during the past few years could have failed to recognize the growth of the man and his great leadership qualities. The loss of a man of courage is deeply felt at all times by any American citizen as a loss to the country, but especially at the present time it affects each one of us to know that such potentialities for good leadership have been removed from this troubled world. It leaves us all poorer; for men of honest convictions, though they may differ, are bound to make a contribution to the thinking of the world. I never saw a church with so many flowers, which spoke of the love that people felt for this man. I know that among the friends who knew him well there was the deepest sense of personal loss, as well as of public loss. Mr. Willkie's son, who is on the high seas and will never see his father again, has nevertheless something bequeathed to him which will be very precious as the years go on. The gift of making friends, and of binding his followers close, is a thing one's children are always grateful for, for it means much to them throughout their lives. To Mrs. Willkie and all the family, the heart of this whole nation goes out in sympathy. Mr. Willkie placed great emphasis on the need we have in this country to be just to all of our citizens, because without equality there can be no democracy. His outspoken opinions on race relations were among his great contributions to the thinking of the world. I thought of that last night when I attended a "register and vote" rally in Harlem. In that great crowd of people, when his name was mentioned, it was quite evident that he was held in great respect and affection. I came down on the night train, and this morning had a very large gathering at my press conference, which I think was largely because it happened to be on my birthday. Everyone wanted to see if, having lived 60 years, a very sudden change had taken place overnight in my appearance! Jack B. Walters May 31, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Five Days in London-May 1940 by. John Lucas

I am 85 and still remember those critical years when the fate of the World was in danger of becoming a Nazified World with all the evil that portended. I was alerted to this book by a friend who understands my great interest in history. It was published in 1999.The idea of this book was to go behind the scenes and inform us how difficult it was for Winston Churchill to convince his war cabinet and the English people that it was imperative that England not capitulate to Hitler but to fight on when it seemed a hopeless effort considering the overwhelming superiority of the German war machine. Had he not prevailed, the course of history would have been altered considerably. The author makes the claim that we should all be grateful for the over 50 years he gave us to try to improve the lot of people all over the world. When I finished reading I went to You Tube and there I found two 1 ½ hr. videos of the Battle of Britain Part I and part II. The first covers the same time period of May and June 1940. The second, the remainder of the year during which the air battle over England and the submarine campaign was occurring. I recommend taking the time particularly for those too young to remember. Jack B. Walters May 15, 2014.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith

Those of you have been following my writings for the past 11years know that my overriding concern has been the loss of good paying manufacturing and service jobs since the end of what I referred to as “The Golden Age of America” which was the 30 plus years after WWII. The demise started with the rise of OPEC with that group raising the cost of oil 10 fold, this plunged the entire mature countries into chaos but more importantly the challenge written by Louis Powell in 1971 which galvanized Corporations to descend on Washington with money and lobbyists. They have been eminently successful. In addition to writing I have also read extensively many books pointing out the great changes that have resulted in the loss of many millions of jobs which started going to Mexico but then to China, the rest of the Far East and India. Other nations have also benefited. I have heard many responses from knowledgeable people that the wage gap was the answer and that the loss was inevitable and non-reversible. They are wrong. I might add that they are the ones who flock to Wal-Mart and reap the benefit of low cost not caring a whit about the loss to Americans who want to be able to earn sufficient to adequately support their families. This book exposes those foreign countries that take advantage of our weak leaders in Congress by providing all sorts of benefits including building factories, providing low cost energy as well as allowing their own people to be exploited with unsafe working conditions and few benefits. More importantly the Chinese government undervalues the value of their dollar called “Yuan” which makes all other countries exports more expensive and China’s exports cheaper. This is in direct violation of the World Trade Association agreement they signed when they were allowed to join which was to allow their currency to float on the world market. The book is easy to read, not pontificating like some. Taken a Chapter at a time you will learn all you need to know to become part of the solution and not just the victims we all are today. I have provided a few of his statements below; Lee Scott, the President of Wal-Mart was paid $17.5 million in 2005. That was 900 times the average wage of the employees. Fifty- nine thousand factories were closed in the last decade and manufacturing employment was reduced from 17.1 million to 11.8 million from 2001 to 2011. Corporate America is hoarding $1.9 trillion in cash and expanding its overseas operations. In 2008 American households lost $11.1 trillion of their wealth. The personal debt of American consumers went from several hundred billion dollars in 1959 to $12.2 trillion in 2011. The top 1% made $1.35 trillion in 2007. They reaped 93. 5% of the total gains for the country. Alan Greenspan endorsed President Reagan’s deregulation programs and further encouraged home owners to withdraw equity from their homes to stimulate the economy and he believed the banks would self-regulate. He was wrong on all counts. Wal-Mart pressured Rubbermaid to shift operations to China. They did this to many other companies as well. I won’t enter a doorway of a Wal-Mart store. At Long Beach Harbor we bring in $36 billion of manufactured goods from China every year and ship out $3 billion in raw materials for the most part, just like a third world country. Cooper Tire invested $70 million in production facilities in China with the understanding that everything produced was to be shipped to the United States and Europe. This is the company that offered me a job in 1981. 3.9 million jobs in finance, IT, human resources and business support were sent to India from 2000 to 2010. It is estimated that one-quarter of all jobs in the U.S .are vulnerable to be off-shored. George Bush’s wars cost trillions and required a defense budget of $200 billion more than the height of the Cold War. I listed the above to whet your appetite. Trust me there is much more to get your attention. As an addendum to this report I will provide a list of other excellent books on this subject for recommended reading. This new book however is the best of them all. I find that I am in total agreement with his research and conclusions. In his chapter ‘Reclaiming the Dream”, he provides a blueprint on what steps must be taken; 1-Infrastructure Jobs to Compete Better 2-Push Innovation, Science, and High-Tech Research 3-Generate a Manufacturing Renaissance 4-Make the U.S. Tax Code Fairer 5-Fix the Corporate Tax Code to Promote Creation at Home 6-Push China to Live up to Fair Trade to Generate Four Million Jobs in the United States 7-Save on War and Weapons 8-Fix Housing and Protect the Safety Net Finally and most importantly he tells us that to reclaim our Democracy we must become involved not just by voting since with the huge sums being given by Corporations, no matter who we vote for the dream will not be restored. We must join together, become activists. He points out where demonstrations by citizens have proven successful throughout the world including America in the 60’s. One request I have is for you to check out Senator Bernie Sanders Constitutional Amendment Proposal Called “The Saving American Democracy Amendment”. You can find his 12 minute speech to the Senate on U-tube or Google. Also by typing in Hedrick Smith you can listen to a 90 minute speech he gave based on this book. Well worth your time. Addendum Recommended reading; The Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson American Empire by Andrew Bacevich After the Empire by Emmanuel Todd The General’s War by Michael R. Gordon The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman Take This Job and Ship it by Senator Byron L. Dorgan The New American Story by Bill Bradley Where Have All the Leaders Gone? by Lee Iacocca The Assault on Reason by Al Gore The Long Road Home by Martha Raddatz Brothers by David Talbot The Idea that is America by Anne-Marie Slaughter Failed States by Noam Chomsky Her Way by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama The Energy Non-Crisis by Lindsey Williams Free Lunch by David Cay Johnson Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnson Bad Money, Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips The Post Corporate World by David C. Korten When Corporations Rule the World by David C. Korten America and the World by David Ignatius Soil Not Oil by Vandana Shiva Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin Screwed by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann The Post –American World by Fareed Zakaria The Party is Over by Mike Lofgen The Fine Print by David Cay Johnson 1% Twilight of the Elites by Christopher Hayes The Chicken Trail by Kathleen C. Schwartzman The reasons I listed the above are to make the point that many knowledable writers have attempted in recent years to inform Americans of the decline in our opportunities to improve our lives. Certainly elected officials must have had the same opportunity to become informed as did I. You also had the opportunity as you all received free copies of my “Last Angry Man” books. All of the above were reviewed by me in those books. So it is not lack of knowledge that keeps positive change from happening, it is lethargy and an attitude of “why fight city hall” that has kept Americans silent. Only all of us committing ourselves can bring about the change that is required if this great experiment in Democracy is not to end in total failure. Jack B. Walters May 10, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

Letter to the editor

Should Congress Raise the Minimum Wage? Your editorial page today was filled with commentary by “experts’ both pro and con on this argument. Both sides wrote as is the United States were an entity all to itself and could by edict raise wages without any consideration as to what that would do in our competitiveness with other countries in the world. In “Who Stole the American Dream” by Hedrick Smith is a sentence “In the last 20 years 3.5 million jobs have been wiped out by offshoring work and by Chinese imports”. Not only labor intensive work but now whole new technologies including research and development are being exported. G.E. sent their entire X-Ray process to China and General Motors has invested billions. What Congress should do is improve conditions for manufacturing in America by Americans who are not afraid to work for a living. Lowering the Corporate tax would be a great place to start.