1.17.2017 Doc of the Day

CC BY-NC-ND by loonyhiker
CC BY-NC-ND by loonyhiker

Numero Uno“Good evening, my fellow Americans.

First, I should like to express my gratitude to the radio and television networks for the opportunities they have given me over the years to bring reports and messages to our nation. My special thanks go to them for the opportunity of addressing you this evening.

Three days from now, after half century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor. This evening, I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other — Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the nation. My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and finally to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years. In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the nation good, rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling — on my part — of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts, America is today the strongest, the most influential, and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches, and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace, to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity, and integrity among peoples and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension, or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt, both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insiduous [insidious] in method. Unhappily, the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defenses; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research — these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs, balance between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages, balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable, balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual, balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress. Lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration. The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their Government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of threat and stress.

But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. Of these, I mention two only.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. Our military organization today bears little relation to that known of any of my predecessors in peacetime, or, indeed, by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States cooperations — corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

During the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations — past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of disarmament — of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent, I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war, as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years, I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

So, in this, my last good night to you as your President, I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and in peace. I trust in that — in that — in that service you find some things worthy. As for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I, my fellow citizens, need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations’ great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration: We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its few spiritual blessings. Those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibility; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; and that the sources — scourges of poverty, disease, and ignorance will be made [to] disappear from the earth; and that in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Now, on Friday noon, I am to become a private citizen. I am proud to do so. I look forward to it.

Thank you, and good night.”  Dwight Eisenhower, Farewell Address

CC BY-NC by Cabrera Luengo
CC BY-NC by Cabrera Luengo

Numero Dos“One of the most notorious events of the post Cold War period in Europe has been the deafening silence that has existed in Europe and in Spain concerning the enormous repression by the Franco fascist regime against the democratic forces during the period 1939-1978. Franco led a military coup in 1936, overthrowing a highly popular democratic government. The popular resistance to that coup was so strong that it took three years of a bloody war and repressions by the Franco fascist forces to succeed, even though it had the active military assistance of Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Army, with the support of the Spanish Catholic Church (and the Vatican), the bankers (the major banking institution, the Juan March Bank, founder of the largest foundation of Spain, similar in its influence in Spain to the Rockefeller Foundation in the U.S., funded the military coup), the large land owners, and the industrialists, defeated an elected government that had introduced a public school system (which antagonized the Church, who controlled the school system previously), the social security system (which was opposed by the banks), land reform (which affected the land owed by the much hated terratenientes), and the reduction of the size of the Army (whose major forces were in the Spanish colonies carrying out imperialist wars). This predictable cast of characters rose against that popular government, and with the support of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and with what until now was believed to be the passive neutrality of the western democracies (only the Soviet Union supported the democratically elected government), Franco won, initiating one of the most brutal repressions in Western Europe during the XX Century. In the period of 1939-1945 alone, 200,000 people were assassinated for political reasons, assassinations that continued during the whole period of 1939-1975, until the year of Franco’s death, 1975.

What has been remarkable in the history of Europe is the deafening silence (with very few exceptions) that has followed these events, a silence that continued even when the socialist party (PSOE) governed Spain from 1982 to 1996. Jorge Semprun, one of the best known Spanish writers, who had written extensively about Nazi concentration camps and about the Spanish civil war, remained silent while serving as Minister of Culture of the Spanish Socialist government, failing to use his considerable influence to denounce or reverse that silence. Judge Baltasar Garzon, who is paraded internationally as a great defender of human rights because of his attempt to take the Chilean dictator Pinochet to the Spanish courts to account for those Spaniards who were killed and whose bodies had disappeared, has remained remarkably silent about the 30,000 desaparecidos during the Franco dictatorship. Not one judge ­certainly not Garzon ­ has instructed the Spanish authorities to find those bodies or has threatened to take to court those responsible (many of them are still alive and occupy major positions in the current Public Administration) for these political assassinations. One of those people is Fraga Iribarne, who was Minister of the Interior of the Franco’s regime and head of the Spanish Gestapo (the much hated political police) and who supported the death sentence of one of the major leaders of the pro-democratic forces, Julian Grimau. Fraga is the Honorary President of the Popular Party which governed Spain from 1996 to 2004, under Aznar, Bush’s best friend in continental Europe.

Only recently has there been some movement by the newly established Spanish Socialist Government for breaking this silence. Still, the Socialist new Government is very afraid not to offend the Armed Forces who played the key role in the military coup of 1936. When the new government wanted, for example, to pay homage to the Spanish Republican troops who fought in the liberation of Paris, France, the Spanish Armed Forces pushed to also honor the Fascist Spanish troops ­ the Blue Division ­ that fought side-by-side with the Nazi troops in Russia. The Spanish Socialist government accepted the Army’s proposal, creating a global uproar among the democratic forces. On the National Day (12 October), the Government honored both.

The Socialist Spanish government, however, has authorized the opening of police files, and surprising facts have subsequently been uncovered. One is that the winner of the Spanish Nobel Prize of Literature, Camilo Jose Cela, great friend of the current Monarch of Spain, was a spy working for the Spanish Gestapo. According to a new book, Dissidence and Suppression, published by Pere Ysas, Professor of History of the autonomous University of Barcelona, Cela infiltrated the pro-democracy Writers Association, reporting its activities to Fraga Irabarne. For example, he passed information to the Spanish Gestapo about the writers who signed protest letters during Franco’s savage repression against the coal miners’ illegal strikes (in Franco’s Spain all strikes were illegal), and advised the fascist regime on how best to repress those expressions of protest, including the payment of large amounts of money to “weak dissidents” that could be bought by the fascist regime. Among these weak dissidents was the well-known writer, Lain Entralgo, who was later named by the Franco regime President of the Spanish Royal Academy.

But it is not only Spanish files that are being opened. National Archives files in Washington, D.C. have been opened as well, and some of these files have shown (as Carl Geiser has documented) how major corporations from the U.S. helped Franco win the war with assistance given by Cordell Hull, the U.S. Secretary of State during the Franklin Roosevelt Administration. To be fair to Roosevelt, he supported lifting the ban that prevented the Republicans from obtaining military equipment. Nonetheless, his Secretary of State, a Catholic, facilitated the delivery of 12,000 military trucks to Franco, as funded by Ford, General Motors, and Studebaker, military deliveries far more substantial than the those provided by Hitler and Mussolini put together (3,000). Those deliveries have not been known until now and certainly were not known in the U.S. at that time, when 76% of those in the U.S. who had an opinion about the Spanish civil war indicated their support for the Republican side. Franco won the war on April 1st 1939, five months before World War II began. The cost of this war was 50 million deaths. In 1946 Cordell Hull received the Nobel Prize (similar to Cela, another Nobel recipient). We know now that Hull actually assisted Franco in winning his war, the prologue to World War II.”  Vincent Navarro, “They Worked For Franco: How Secretary of State Cordell Hull & Noble Laureate Camilo Jose Cela Collaborated With Spain’s Fascist Regime; Counterpunch

Vincent van Gogh - The State Lottery Office
Vincent van Gogh – The State Lottery Office

Numero Tres“A word to the 35,000 now tramping the streets of this great city, with hands in pockets, gazing listlessly about you at the evidence of wealth and pleasure of which you own no part, not sufficient even to purchase yourself a bit of food with which to appease the pangs of hunger now gnawing at your vitals. It is with you and the hundreds of thousands of others similarly situated in this great land of plenty, that I wish to have a word. Have you not worked hard all your life, since you were old enough for your labor to be of use in the production of wealth? Have you not toiled long, hard and laboriously in producing wealth? And in all those years of drudgery do you not know you have produced thousand upon thousands of dollars’ worth of wealth, which you did not then, do not now, and unless you ACT, never will, own any part in? Do you not know that when you were harnessed to a machine and that machine harnessed to steam, and thus you toiled your 10, 12 and 16 hours in the 24, that during this time in all these years you received only enough of your labor product to furnish yourself the bare, coarse necessaries of life, and that when you wished to purchase anything for yourself and family it always had to be of the cheapest quality? If you wanted to go anywhere you had to wait until Sunday, so little did you receive for your unremitting toil that you dare not stop for a moment, as it were? And do you not know that with all your squeezing, pinching and economizing you never were enabled to keep but a few days ahead of the wolves of want? And that at last when the caprice of your employer saw fit to create an artificial famine by limiting production, that the fires in the furnace were extinguished, the iron horse to which you had been harnessed was stilled; the factory door locked up, you turned upon the highway a tramp, with hunger in your stomach and rags upon your back?

Yet your employer told you that it was overproduction which made him close up. Who cared for the bitter tears and heart-pangs of your loving wife and helpless children, when you bid them a loving “God bless you” and turned upon the tramper’s road to seek employment elsewhere? I say, who cared for those heartaches and pains? You were only a tramp now, to be execrated and denounced as a “worthless tramp and a vagrant” by that very class who had been engaged all those years in robbing you and yours. Then can you not see that the “good boss” or the “bad boss” cuts no figure whatever? that you are the common prey of both, and that their mission is simply robbery? Can you not see that it is the INDUSTRIAL SYSTEM and not the “boss” which must be changed?

Now, when all these bright summer and autumn days are going by and you have no employment, and consequently can save up nothing, and when the winter’s blast sweeps down from the north and all the earth is wrapped in a shroud of ice, hearken not to the voice of the hyprocrite who will tell you that it was ordained of God that “the poor ye have always”; or to the arrogant robber who will say to you that you “drank up all your wages last summer when you had work, and that is the reason why you have nothing now, and the workhouse or the workyard is too good for you; that you ought to be shot.” And shoot you they will if you present your petitions in too emphatic a manner. So hearken not to them, but list! Next winter when the cold blasts are creeping through the rents in your seedy garments, when the frost is biting your feet through the holes in your worn-out shoes, and when all wretchedness seems to have centered in and upon you, when misery has marked you for her own and life has become a burden and existence a mockery, when you have walked the streets by day and slept upon hard boards by night, and at last determine by your own hand to take your life, – for you would rather go out into utter nothingness than to longer endure an existence which has become such a burden – so, perchance, you determine to dash yourself into the cold embrace of the lake rather than longer suffer thus. But halt, before you commit this last tragic act in the drama of your simple existence. Stop! Is there nothing you can do to insure those whom you are about to orphan, against a like fate? The waves will only dash over you in mockery of your rash act; but stroll you down the avenues of the rich and look through the magnificent plate windows into their voluptuous homes, and here you will discover the very identical robbers who have despoiled you and yours. Then let your tragedy be enacted here! Awaken them from their wanton sport at your expense! Send forth your petition and let them read it by the red glare of destruction. Thus when you cast “one long lingering look behind” you can be assured that you have spoken to these robbers in the only language which they have ever been able to understand, for they have never yet deigned to notice any petition from their slaves that they were not compelled to read by the red glare bursting from the cannon’s mouths, or that was not handed to them upon the point of the sword. You need no organization when you make up your mind to present this kind of petition. In fact, an organization would be a detriment to you; but each of you hungry tramps who read these lines, avail yourselves of those little methods of warfare which Science has placed in the hands of the poor man, and you will become a power in this or any other land.

Learn the use of explosives!Lucy Parsons, “TO TRAMPS, the Unemployed, the Disinherited, & (the) Miserable :”