Poor Richards Report Chapter 15

Chapter 15
Ringing the Bell or Trumpets are Blowing
Or How to Survive to Coming Panic
The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 is probably the most important law of the 21st century. We must follow the guidelines that were followed by the members of Congress who voted for this to be law.
The reforms that I suggest will send the market into a temporary tailspin, but if they are followed completely only the speculators will crash.
For openers, the banks who have been hording all the QE distributions must now share them with their depositors and give a greater portion to the younger depositors because they need it the most. They will also spend their portion, which will kick start the economy.
Next, the Congress should form a standing committee of 16 members to review all the reforms to our financial system. The members should be equally divided from each party and have the highest respect among their peers. Seniority or power should not be considered. Ethics should be of the highest order.
Finally they should have a unanimous vote before it comes before the entire house. This was a stipulation when the committees met for the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. It took them 6 months. The Congress voted December 22, 1913: 298 yeas and 60 no’s and 76 not voting. On December 23, 1913 in the morning vote, there were 43 yeas and 25 no’s with 27 no votes. (Back then there were only 95 senators).
That afternoon President Woodrow Wilson signed the act into law.
1. The Federal Reserve shall raise All Margin rates to 100% for a period of 6 months to a year.
2. The Security Exchange Commission (SEC) shall ban all corporate share buybacks. (All this does is increasing the earnings per share and enables the officers to receive a higher price for their options).
Instead, the monies should be distributed to the shareholders so all can share the wealth – not a privileged few.
This should create new buyers that should offset the sellers.
3. “Banks” should start returning the QE funds they have been hording over the past few years to their depositors. This should be done with the younger ones with families receiving a greater portion. Then staggered depending upon one’s earning power. The higher the earning power the less money received. This should increase the velocity or turnover of money. Some corporations will fail while others will prosper due to some changes in buying patterns.
4. Ban High Frequency Trades (HFT’s) entirely. They break all the rules for fair play and only benefit the owners. The public be damned; damn them.
5. Derivative trades are set up for fees and is a form of gambling. Most derivative trades are hard to follow and most financial disappoints (a nice word) evolve some forms of derivatives. The best way out of this mess is to just let them mature.
6. Trash the Dodd- Frank ACT and make the new one simple to understand.
7. Trash the Investment Company Act of 1940. It covers mutual funds. Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) have quietly been replacing mutual funds. With computers and their size most of these laws are anachronisms.
8. Clean up the ads. Most ads today give the hint of casino gambling. Insert a clause for risk.
9. Go back to the fraction system for stocks. This will allow the market maker to support his market during normal times and also kill off HFT’s and stop firms offering the first “free” trades.
10. Reinstate the Short Sell Rule. This is very important because it will stop gambling and stop computer hacking in the market place.
To do a legitimate Short sale one must first get permission from the back office of the firm one is doing business with. (They have the security to deliver to a buyer when you sell short). Then one must wait for an uptick in the price of the stock before the sale can take place. The order is also marked “Short Sale”.
Today I believe short sales are made willy nilly and no uptick is involved. I also believe that after a sale is done they look for stock to deliver.
These reforms that I have listed so far will cause all hell to break loose among the heels of the business. They will be the losers while the public will gain confidence in the system and regain some of their tax dollars.
Investors will be able to make intelligent decisions based upon facts and knowledge instead of charts and soothsayers and false prophets.


Serena Shim (1984-19 October 2014)

I never met her. I wish I had. But I knew she was a reporter, a good reporter telling of bad wars, and telling all the sides. And this one in Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) has many more sides than two, all of them bloody, all of them reeking of criminality. This carnage in Syria is perhaps the most corrupt, criminal, imperial assault in modern history. There are no “good guys” in this slaughter on the rapidly crumbling edge of Turkey. It’s all lies, deceit and power politics. Call it murder. Call it the ultimate man’s tough-guy game—bombardment, siege, street-fighting, and always the stupidity.

The dogs of war run wild and ignorantly. For what? For a nothing town destroyed by chaos. She was telling as much as she could. The Turks there, the intelligence guys, the cops, the Turkish army, all the government “watchers” watched her and her partner, Judy Irish. She was called a spy. Watch out, they said. Maybe you’ll even be arrested, they mumbled. And the word got around. Not an easy assignment. She confessed that she was worried. Who wouldn’t be?

Note the eyes. They would tell exactly what they saw, wouldn’t they? She had two children, this beautiful Lebanese-American woman. She was 30 years-old, hard-working and dedicated. Perhaps it was Napoleon who spoke about his Marshalls “marching towards the sound of the guns.” She didn’t need the advice. She followed the danger instinctively. Maybe she could make sense of it all in Iraq, Lebanon, the Ukraine, and lastly, Turkey? Maybe? Maybe not? She told of the ISIS killers being smuggled into Syria in trucks with NGO labels like World Food Organization. Turkey has been at this double-dealing game for years. But this kind of truth hurts and it did not endear her to the Turkish “watchers” and “handlers” and “muscle-guys.”

On the way back to the hotel in a town called Suruç a cement-mixer truck, massive and deadly accurate, somehow, some way, intervened to crush her car and her. It all had the stink of bad fish. Based on the historic violence visited upon journalists and other dissenters in Turkey such a first impression of foul play is logical.

The governor of that area immediately said that “Turkey is a democratic state of law. The allegations are completely untrue.” What is completely untrue is exactly what he said. Democracy and the rule of law have both been crushed by the cement-mixer truck known as the Turkish government. And Serena confirmed that in her reportage. And so passes a brave young woman’s life in Turkey. And so continues the war.

James  (Cem) Ryan


21 October 2013

Brightening Glance  http://www.brighteningglance.org/

I reveal Tayyip Erdoğan’s numbered Swiss account!


Burak Bekdil

I have a feeling that our editor in chief, David Judson, will be mad at me for not sharing this scoop with the newspaper and instead revealing it in this column.
Burak Bekdil
Well… I have gained access to a document that shows two international companies, both with multibillion-dollar Turkish contracts in their portfolios, deposited unexplained funds into a numbered Swiss account that Swiss financial authorities have verified belongs to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The first document, endorsed by the bank’s executive board, verifies wire transfers into the account, one coming from a multinational energy giant, and another from a weapons manufacturer – both names withheld.

The second one verifies that the numbered account, totaling $655.76 million as of April 9, 2009, belongs to Erdoğan.

As a matter of journalistic ethics, I shall certainly avoid revealing my sources or how I have gained access to these documents, should any prosecutor dare to take legal action against the prime minister. I must admit, though, that there is one problem: The documents in my possession are photocopies forwarded from one PC to another. So, I advise Mr. Judson not to become angry with me, or I might produce documents proving his links to the armed wing of the Ergenekon gang.

Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ was telling the truth when he said that an asymmetrical psychological war was being waged against the military. The fact that none of us could realistically vouch for the democratic credentials of each and every single member of the Turkish Armed Forces does not change the fact that political Islamists – not too well disguised as “liberal democrats” – have long been trying to systematically fight the military establishment, through means reminiscent of spy novels. In fact, this is a war of intelligence and public relations, and the asymmetrical warriors naturally have the upper hand over their symmetrical enemies.

As a matter of fact, one principal casualty each time there is an asymmetrical war is the judiciary, which gets dangerously politicized. The grand coalition of Islamists – i.e., the neo-Islamists, post-modern Islamists, liberals, neo-liberals and opportunists disguised as democrats – looks so precisely “guided on target” that it may even prefer to sink the entire ship that sails under the name Turkey in order to destroy the whole chamber of the helmsman.

How undemocratic can you behave in order to bolster democracy? Can you torture and shoot the enemies of democracy? Hang them en masse in public squares, all in the name of democracy? Only recently, Erdoğan angrily addressed the main opposition leader Deniz Baykal, saying, “If you cannot prove your allegations [against my party], you are despicable!” He was right.

But who will be the despicable one if civilian prosecutors fail to verify the authenticity of the famous “coup document” that appears to be a photocopy, with its original not existing anywhere? Are “the despicable” only those who allege some foul play by the government but cannot verify it?

The prime minister has the habit of viewing the judiciary through an entirely ideological pair of spectacles. For example, he has claimed that Baykal’s Republican People’s Party, or CHP, has defrauded its accounts, saying, “This was verified by a ruling from the Constitutional Court.” If – and naturally so – an irreversible verdict from the supreme court should suffice for a “public verdict,” then we would end up in the weird situation where Turkey’s ruling party has behaved unconstitutionally, as its various activities to undermine secularism in favor of political Islam also carry a seal of approval from the same court.

Last week, the prime minister was typical Erdoğan again. He pledged immediate (legal) action should anyone get hold of the original “coup document.” Why did he take legal action against “coup-plotters” when the original document did not exist anywhere? As always, the motto is “all is halal [permissible] as long as it suits our political agenda…”

Unfortunately, Erdoğan’s self-declared “liberal” supporters are no exception. Take, for example, prominent columnist, Hadi Uluengin, the liberal voice of daily Hürriyet and someone of whom I am quite fond. This is how he justified the storms around the photocopied document in his June 24, 2009, column, “Who’s wearing out whom?”:

“Éwhether the plan to ’finish off the AKP and Fethullah Gülen’ is authentic or forgery… it would be purely legitimate if Turkey’s democrats, who have had to endure four coups, four coup attempts and several other [undemocratic actions by the military] in less than half a century got agitated by this document. They are endlessly right [about their retort]…”

Uluengin is right about the history of undemocratic military practices in our country. But his reasoning – that even if the document were false, democrats would have every right to attack the military – is a little bit excessive.

By the same logic, someone can always forge documents verifying corruption by the ruling Islamist elite, get them photocopied and distribute them to Erdoğan’s opponents – and since Turkey’s recent history is full of corrupt practices, it would be purely legitimate for our democrats to get agitated even though we could not authenticate these bogus papers.

Is this how Turkey is going to become a more democratic place?

hurriyet.com.tr, August 26, 2014


The burning questions of these times in Turkey



What to do? A presidential election, the first of its kind, is soon coming to Turkey. There are three candidates. One is the prime minister, about whom the less said the better. Another is Selahattin Demirtaş, the Kurdish parliamentary representative, affiliated with the PKK, a separatist, armed terrorist organization. The third is a life-long, Islamist now tricked out as a secularist. He, Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu, characterized himself politically as a loaf of bread. (“Ekmek için Ekmelledin”) While perhaps appropriate, it was not meant to be funny.

Think of it this way, the presidential race is a Turkish-American trifecta. Usually one must pick the exact order of finish, 1-2-3, to win. But not in Turkey’s three-horse run-for-Çankaya. America wins regardless. Erdoğan, who America tried to dump last December, is the odds-on favorite. Demirtaş is the long-shot Kurdish candidate to uphold Joe Biden’s pipedream of a Kurdistan from his days on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And İhsanoğlu, America’s new boy, a smiling loaf of plain, white bread who will make a race of it for awhile. He will be run into the ground by the Erdoğan machine and opposition party voter apathy (and anger). Unless America pushes some magic election buttons at the finish line.

Nevertheless, all three America-bred candidates will win. Erdoğan gets his last gasp of glory until America figures a way to excuse him permanently. İhsanoğlu, entering his first race, is not likely to win (break his maiden) in this one. But he gains experience and will earn a place in America’s stable in case Erdoğan breaks down in a future outing. And Demirtaş gains credibility and track-time as an American entry for the next political operation in Kurdistan. So you see, America wins! The American-bred candidates win! And as usual, those swindled into believing that the presidential race matters, that is, the Turkish people, lose, again. Such is life at Imperial Downs, the American home of rigged elections, puppet shows and broken dreams.

Such are the dire electoral conditions in Turkey today. After a decade of Islamic fascist rule, and opposition party collaboration, its secular democracy is in ruins. This hapless trio of candidates puts the final nail in the coffin of Atatürk’s secular, anti-imperialist republic. This slate was selected by the political parties seated in parliament not the people. The domineering Erdoğan, finishing his third and final term, wants to move into the presidential chair. He will also change the power structure so that his steel-handed, brutish reign will continue. He should win easily. The Kurdish candidate is there to keep his separatist constituency happily dreaming of autonomy and oil revenues. The third candidate, the political opposition’s answer to the religious fascist government, is Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu. He is running because… because… well, because… perhaps because he was born and educated in Egypt, is a career Islamist, has been mute for years about the continuing dangers of shariah being imposed on secular Turkey and has an unconvincing commitment to the principles of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. All this irrelevance somehow fused into a bewildering symbol of a loaf of bread. And, accordingly, his equally bewildering sponsors concluded that he will surely defeat the undefeated and undefeatable Erdoğan. This so-called thinking is called the “Alice-in-Nightmareland Syndrome.”

So how did a loaf of bread come to represent the adherents of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk? The two major opposition parties, cooperating for the first time, swept the countryside seeking a suitable secular, democratic, Atatürk-loving candidate to face the imperialist-puppet Erdoğan. Amazingly, they could find none. Why? Because the opposition parties are deficient in their knowledge of secularity, democracy and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The truth is that they have both collaborated in the destruction of Atatürk’s republic. They have enabled the religious fascists to come to power and remain in power. One need not be a genius to see this. Being marginally alive in Turkey is enough. And Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu’s secretive selection, even to his own party members, of an Islamist bread loaf is first-hand evidence of his treachery.



So what is to be done? Oh, if only Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were here to save us. He’d know what to do. Yes, he would. Falih Rıfkı Atay, Atatürk’s close friend, biographer and confidant, told us in 1968. “What would Atatürk do if he were alive today? Shall I tell you? He would curse the lot of us.”

On Sunday 13 July 2014, Ümit Zileli wrote a compelling column in Aydınlık entitled “To Think Like Atatürk” (Mustafa Kemal gibi düşünmek!).  It is well worth reading.  Briefly put, Zileli says it is now fight time!  I agree. So fight. Here’s why.

First, the coming election. American self-interest, ignorance and criminal negligence prevails. And their puppet government loves to see elections. It validates their crimes. Winning recent local elections allowed Erdoğan to feel vindicated of massive theft and bribery allegations. It allows them to lie to their ignorant constituency, shower them with bribes and become more beloved. And America claps hands and showers their pet fascists with praise and good wishes.

Remember the elation a few years ago when the Iraqis “embraced democracy” and voted for candidates they didn’t even know, a puppet slate installed by the occupying power? Suddenly, thanks to America’s brave men and women, Iraq had become democratic. All it took was purple ink for the index fingers. Some democracy. A deception. Examine Iraq today.

The coming election in Turkey is another deception. It is, as Atatürk said in earlier, similar times, “the work emanating from the brains of traitors.” Turkey is now a totalitarian, de facto one-party police state. And the Turkish people are worrying about whether to vote in a phony election? Vote for what?  To be a loaf of bread or not to be a loaf of bread? Hardly a burning question, it’s an empty and insulting exercise.



Democracy requires a sovereign nation not controlled by outside imperialist powers and its agents, be it CIA or, as the prime minister claims, Fethullah Gülen Gang operators. It would also be nice to not have a criminal government, one that lies, cheats, steals, maims, gasses and murders its own people. Citizens of a democracy have certain specific human rights not to be abused. Vibrant, aggressive, honest opposition parties are also essential. The Turkish nation lacks sovereignty, its borders eroded by its own government. Its destiny is controlled by the needs of foreign powers as implemented by its puppet government. By the prime minister’s own admission, a foreign gang, CIA-supported, operated with impunity to deceitfully destroy the nation’s security forces, that is, the Turkish Army. This same government conspires with various terrorist groups to overthrow the governments of neighboring countries, acting under orders from imperialist powers. It is clear that Turkish democracy is a deception and dysfunctional.

Turkish political representation is a deception and dysfunctional. The party leaders select the candidates that we, the people, vote for. The party that professes to be “revolutionary,” the CHP, as of now the largest opposition party, failed miserably to support the Gezi Park movement. It perceived the movement, mostly consisting of young people, to be against the party’s interests. For once the party was correct. The CHP is primarily a fossilized bunch of status quo parliamentary seat-warmers, completely unrepresentative of Turkish young people. Hence came Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu to yet again prove that point. How insulting is CHP to the youth of Turkey!

The Turkish judiciary system is a deception and dysfunctional. Enormous fascist-style justice buildings everywhere, justice nowhere. The courts are in the hands of the ruling party fascists.

The Turkish media slavishly serves the interests of the political ruling party. Freedom of the press is nonexistent. The wolf-pack media fails to understand its democratic rights and responsibilities.

The Turkish people lack constitutionally guaranteed rights to freely assemble and protest. They live under the constant fear of reprisals, both physical and judicial.

The Turkish police, aided by organized street thugs, assault the Turkish population with fiendish brutality. This is applauded by the prime minister.  ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and other government-supported terrorists have a free pass into and out of Turkey. There is no personal security in the Turkish police state.

Democracy is dead in Turkey. If you vote, you will be voting for a rotting corpse.



The enemy is the system imposed on the Turkish people by insiders and outsiders, the same people Atatürk identified in Nutuk (The Great Speech) over one hundred years ago. They are the “fools and traitors” of the government who “identify their personal interests with the enemy’s political goals.” The enemy is clearly identified. It is the state and the government. It is the treacherous opposition parties. It is America, its ambassadors, its agents and its CIA and NSA operators, here and abroad. The enemy is imperialism and its operators. We all know this. There are no longer any mysteries.

Examine what passes for Turkish foreign policy and weep for the nation. “Peace at home peace in the world?” Atatürk’s motto and Atatürk’s republic are in the hands of criminals and collaborators. And the same tired experts fill the already polluted airwaves with their stale ideas about the responsibility of citizens to vote. Citizens of what? A puppet state of America?  Vote for whom? Another imperialistic puppet? Vote for what? More of the same? Or worse?



First, remember that the true objective is often not the field in plain sight but the sea beyond the mountains.

Second, say NO to this false election. If you feel you must vote, carry a pen with you and write the name, MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK, on your ballot. Sure, it invalidates your vote. But the election itself is invalid.

Third, say NO to these fraudulent and deceitful opposition parties. Surely they will collapse after this fiasco. This is good news and a first step towards solution.

Fourth, say NO to this state that so severely mistreats and insults over half the nation.

Fifth, immediately prepare to fight to save Atatürk’s republic, that is, prepare the field of engagement. Please note that there should be no violence nor will it be necessary to engage the enemy, that is, the imperialist powers and their agents, in any physical manner. We, like Atatürk, should choose where and how we fight.



No religious designations on public documents, particularly identification cards. Immediately demonstrate to the enemy that religious designations will no longer be used for political purposes. Accordingly, and in conformance with European Union standards, immediately apply to have the religious designation removed from all Turkish ID cards. This is easily done. One visit to the population (Nüfus) office starts the process. The objective? To neutralize the enemy’s ability to divide Turkey into religious sects. To tell the wider world that the removal of religious designations by millions of Turks is a profound and dramatic step in the people’s battle against internal religious fascism and external imperialist ambitions. Suddenly, Turkey goes from being 99% Islamic in the eyes of the CIA to something dramatically less. Thus, notice is served that we want no part in a government or its supportive agencies and collaborators that use religion to support its own criminal behavior or the criminal behavior of foreign powers.

 No military service in support of imperialism or sectarian war crimes.Immediately file a petition with the European Commission of Human Rights that claims conscientious objection (C.O.) status for all young people of age for conscription into military service. The fact that conscientious objection is not legally recognized in Turkey is irrelevant to our purpose. Resistance to the imperialist powers and their puppets will be on all fronts and at all depths. A government that conspires with the Gülen Gang to destroy the Turkish military and then claims that a parallel state, that is, the same Gülen Gang, did it alone is not competent to claim the lives of Turkish young people to serve its dark designs. A government that allows, either wittingly or unwittingly, the catastrophic destruction of the state’s primary security force is either treasonous or incompetent. In either case, Turkish youth should not be cannon fodder for use by a government that has proven to be an enemy of the Turkish people.

 Boycott all mainstream propagandizing media. Avoid viewing all television programs and films that support the enemy. Avoid purchasing newspapers or journals that support the enemy.

 Boycott enemy products. Boycott all American product. Its role in the destruction of Turkish democracy and security is profound. Boycott the products of all manufacturers and distributors that deny advertising to media opposed to the government. This is prejudicial and undemocratic marketing behavior, driven solely to gain political favor. It has nothing to do with economics and is purely punitive.

 Do not engage in mass public protest. Are we angry? Yes! Are we at war? Yes! Are we stupid? No. So we don’t go into the streets. There is a better way. Let the enemy buy more TOMA monsters from that treacherous Turkish enterprise, Nurol Holding. And let imperialist America and cowardly Brazil sell more and more pepper gas to the Turkish police. Let it all rot in their bloody hands.

 Watch the political opposition parties collapse. Revealed by this phony presidential election to be non-representative and fraudulent to the people it claims to represent, the opposition parties will again try to re-invent themselves. This, too, will be a disaster. They have proven, once again, that they no longer represent a huge segment of the population, that is, the young people. And for that failure they will proceed, at last, to destroy themselves. From this collapse comes hope.

 Watch a new system emerge. The world is heading there whether the current ruling class likes it or not. Representational democracy represents one thing, money. Wealth is politics. Poverty, local and global, can never be solved by a political system that is a slave of business.  In a period of economic crisis, that is, 2008 to today, both the number and net worth of billionaires rose by almost 50%. At whose expense? Everyone else, in particular the poor. People are driven from their land. Resources are controlled by a small group of political and corporate elite. Politics is not representative of real people. How many people determined that Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu would be the candidate to represent the interests of those supporting the secular, democratic republic founded by Atatürk? One. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. He knew best. A new system must come. But first the old one must self-destruct.

 Join hands.Who knows when this will happen? But we see the cracks appearing everywhere. The overwhelming arrogance that presented the Turkish people with a rigged, phony election should be the inciting incident that leads on to victory over the imperial powers now besieging Turkey. And remember, the enemy remains without a clue about the origin of and reasons for the Gezi Park movement, as do the opposition parties. A new generation of Turks must lead. Help them!



We are passing from the sphere of that historical time of Atatürk’s revolution against the forces of backwardness and imperialism. It’s youthful vigor while he lived gave great hope to the people. But it’s long-term, continuing debilitation after his death left the revolution incomplete and vulnerable. Dangerous flirtations with imperialist powers led to disastrous military coups. Hence now the current state of siege by imperial powers, aided by a treasonous government that has destroyed most aspects of secular democracy. This counter revolution will culminate with the rise to full presidential power of an obvious enemy of secular democracy, aided by the naïve treachery of the incompetent political opposition.

All of the democratic institutions of government have been spoiled by the religious-fascist meddling of the ruling party. The Turkish Army appears lost. Its generals bow their heads to political hacks. There are no longer secure borders. Vast regions in the east operate independently and with impunity. The government actively supports terrorist organizations inside and outside Turkey. The Turkish government lacks independent sovereignty. Foreign imperialist powers control the destiny of the Turkish people. All seems lost.

Still, there is a chance that this catastrophe will lead to the consolidation of a massive source of intelligent, patriotic political power long-ignored and long-suppressed. In a word, the relentless power of YOUTH. Impatient, honest, courageous, vigorous, this is the genuine vanguard of the fight to save secular Turkey. It is the future. The full flower of young manhood and young womanhood will sweep aside the political debris that so contaminated the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. We have seen the young people in action. And they were splendid.

Now is the time to show again how a great people, whose national course was considered finished, regained its independence. Now is the time to show how it recreated a national and modern State founded on the latest results of science. Now is the time to rid the land of imperialists and their agents.

Now is the time to engage the enemy on all fronts, domestic and foreign.

Enough is enough! Now is the time to fight!

Let it begin!


Cem Ryan


18 July 2014







Atatürk, The Great Speech (Nutuk), Atatürk Research Center, Ankara, 2005.

Atay, Falih Rıfkı. The Atatürk I Knew, Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi, Istanbul, 1973, p. 252.

Zileli, Ümit. Mustafa Kemal gibi düşünmek! (http://aydinlikgazete.com/yazarlar/umit-zileli/45846-umit-zileli-mustafa-kemal-gibi-dusunmek.html)



“There was never a man like Ataturk. He was a mighty torrent that flowed over barren soil and was lost.”

Falih Rıfkı Atay, The Atatürk I Knew, p. 252


But the Turk is both dignified and proud: he is also capable and talented. Such a nation would prefer to perish rather than subject itself to the life of a slave.

Therefore, Independence or Death!

This was the rallying cry of all those who honestly desired to save their country.

Let us suppose for a moment that in trying to accomplish this we had failed. What would have been the result?—why, slavery!

 In that case, would not the consequence have been the same if we had submitted to the other proposals? Undoubtedly, it would; but with this difference, that a nation that defies death in its struggle for independence derives comfort from the thought that it had resolved to make every sacrifice compatible with human dignity. There is no doubt its position is more respected than would be that of a craven and degraded nation capable of surrendering itself to the yoke of slavery.

 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, The Great Speech (Nutuk) p. 10






“Most of the things one imagines in hell are there—heat, noise, confusion, darkness, foul air, and, above all, unbearably cramped space.”

“Watching coal-miners at work, you realize momentarily what different universes different people inhabit. Down there where coal is dug it is a sort of world apart which one can easily go through life without ever hearing about.”

George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 1937

Soma, a small town near Manisa in western Turkey. By the Aegean Sea, a beautiful place, if you don’t have to be a coal miner or love one.

It’s now an ant swarm. It ebbs and flows around the human conveyor belt that runs from the endless rows of ambulances and the mouth of the lignite mine. Lignite is the poorest quality coal useful mostly for power generating plants. And the people in Soma are poor too, but in a different sense, a tragic sense. The stretchers bearing the living, the dead and the dying beat an endless track from the suffocating depths to the white ambulances. The bearers stack their loads in the back of the ambulances like well-cut logs. And off they go, back to the pit. And the ambulances crawl through the swarm to the hospital whose morgue is overflowing. It’s a simple, deadly rhythm now in its twentieth hour. Most of the women are covered. They weep alone in small groups.

A transformer blew up deep in the mine. The electricity failed. No elevators. A fire down below. No way out. No air, just carbon monoxide. The death count rises. It’s now at 205, but it’s more like 250. (In the interest of accuracy. as of 2:42 pm 14 May 2014 the “official” count is 232…now 238, now 240.) There are hundreds still buried hundreds of meters underground. The fire still burns. The deaths will be in the millions because every time one sees a stretcher with a limply swinging foot, or covered over, one dies a little. And there are more than 70 million of us living here, watching this absurd tragedy. They just brought out a 15 year-old boy, dead. Turkey’s, rather the Turkish government’s treatment of children is abysmal. One weeps thinking about all of this. And then, if one is human, one gets angry. How can all these poor people die at work? The record for coal mining deaths is 263 at Zonguldak in 1992. It seems in easy reach since so many are still unaccounted for and time inexorably wears on.

Not too many years ago, five or six, there was another mine disaster, small compared to Soma, “only” 130 died. The television channel ran some file film of a miner underground. And next to the miner what should appear but a canary in a cage. Jesus, I shouted, this stuff disappeared a hundred years ago! Well, it would be nice, but extremely naïve, to think so.

For this is Turkey. And here coal mining safety is a joke. One disaster after another comes to the mining families of this saddest of countries. And again neighborhoods are devastated by the massacre of its men. Except for China, Turkey has the worst coal mining safety record in the world. This industry like most others has been privatized by the government. That means cut costs to maximize profits. That means low wages. That means Soma Group, the mining company, operates uncontrolled and unregulated despite all the official blather. But why shouldn’t it? The Turkish government operates the same way and no one does anything about it.

So who is at fault? Easy.  Soma Mining is owned by Alp Gürkan. In a 2012 interview, Gürkan said the company had managed to drop the cost of coal to $24 per ton from $130 before privatization. How grand!  Yes, grand, indeed. How did he do it? Well, he hired subcontractors “for hard work with low salaries” thus undercutting union workers organized by Maden-İş. But his master stroke of “genius” seems to be Gürkan’s decision to have his company simply manufacture the electric transformers instead of importing them. And it was one of these “home-made” transformers that caused this human catastrophe, this mass industrial murder, this genocide of the working class. So it seems clear that prima facie evidence of criminal negligence points toward one Alp Gürkan, Chairman of the Board. The police can find him for purposes of preliminary investigation at: Soma Holding A.Ş, Lale Sokak No:5, Levent – İstanbul.

There is also another material witness and perhaps a co-conspirator. On 29 April Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party rejected a demand for a parliamentary investigation regarding safety in the Soma mines. Why was this petition refused? Does it have to do with the hoses he has everywhere? That refusal was just two weeks ago! Question him! Erdoğan can be found somewhere in Ankara. He has yet to appear at Soma. He, like Godot, may never come. It would be good.

As I write, the students in Ankara are protesting this horrific tragedy. Everything is normal, for Turkey. The police are gassing as usual, shooting canisters directly at them. The cops are chasing them through a beautiful pine forest. TOMA and helicopters are on the scene. Beatings will follow. Students of Ankara unite! You have nothing to lose but your brains.

The air is as heavy as lead.

No more words…

James (Cem) Ryan
14 May 2014