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A Personal Note on Depression and War

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If the reader will forgive a couple of personal observations, the Great Depression landed on my father in 1933. When he closed his painting business, he began to dig ditches for the Civilian Conservation Corps. He attributed his blisters to the fat cats who foreclosed on widows and orphans and had put 15 millions out of work.

They bought the closed factories to prepare for the coming war profiteering. My dad got a job as a security guard in a defense plant, but that was hardly making a killing on the obscene profits available. Quickly, he soured on World War II. Running the war, the German aristocrats colluded with their American counterparts. On both sides it was a drive to sell War Bonds to bilk the public. When the citizens finally caught on to the scam in 1944, the authorities brought a quick end to the hostilities.

By then, it was too late to save the USA. The military/industrial complex had made inroads into the culture and the security agencies were becoming adept at brainwashing. So, nobody noticed when the Republic expired.

From these hard knocks, my family developed a theory--a philosophy of life if you will. Instead of courage, Americans have the ability to endure. Perhaps, this is a legacy from our long-suffering peasant forebearers. We got the Irish who couldn't grow potatoes, Africans too slow afoot to evade the slave traders and so forth and so on. We are the last to wise up to the true situation.

Peasants learn they must change only from disasters. If Iraq is any example, they had to suffer 20% of the population being killed, maimed, displaced or broken. Then, they wised up and dumped the US. Similar numbers apply to depression era Americans and to Germany during the last world war, which brought about real changes in every facet of life.

Unfortunately, the militarists among us have brought forth an evil version of this strategy. Instead of killing insurgents one by one, they punish the general population. The murder of a pregnant woman nets two casualties, at the cost of doing one. Blasting a grammar school reduces the number of terrorists available to the next generation.

Somehow, the advocates of violence believe they can win the hearts and minds of the people through indiscriminate slaughter. Cannonballs pay no mind to death or to political reality. The Israelis had no stomach for dispatching 300,000 Gaza inhabitants merely to affect a change of heart. They never should have begun the invasion.

The Great Plague in Europe probably ushered in the greatest number of changes for the good than any other disaster. As the corpses piled up, the economic value of each survivor increased dramatically. There were more resources available for fewer people. Although this is my family's theory, I note many exceptions to this rule of thumb. When the river dried up, the population on its shores shriveled and went away. If a volcano erupted, the farmers on its slopes perished for the lack of fertile soil. The great city-states often depended on a single trade route or economic advantage. If this aspect failed, the city fortunes declined. The peasants may have realized the causes of their downfall, but were powerless to prevent them. So too the leaders are unable to steer away from the disasters ahead. Anyone who attended the recent conference in Davos realized the world leaders are just as clueless as anyone else.

More than we, the more astute leaders had at least one year's advanced warning of the recession. Surely, this was sufficient time to move into gold mining stocks and to arrange a comfortable getaway.

If my dad was typical, most Americans won't realize they are in the Second Great Depression until the year 2012. By that time they will blame the Obama Administration for causing their economic woes and for failing to overcome them.

If present trends continue, by 2012 sixty millions Americans could be jobless, homeless or penniless in a world of hurt. Will this stir the masses to leap from the Barca Loungers and rush into the streets baying at the moon? Will Sarah Palin's Blackwater Guards cordon off the White House grounds?

God may protect drunks and Americans, but even He has no answer to fatal flaws of character. Muddled thought processes, self-delusion and the adolescent urge for self-gratification could trump the rule of law and reason at any moment.

If they close the Internet for excessive factual reporting, please send me a postcard from your Martial Law District.

Hang by your thumbs; write when you get work.

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Born a month before Pearl Harbor, I attended world events from an early age. My first words included Mussolini, Patton, Sahara and Patton. At age three I was a regular listener to Lowell Thomas. My mom was an industrial nurse a member of the (more...)
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