Author Archives: antoniusaquinas

The Constitution Myth

One reason for the failure of the modern conservative and libertarian movements to scale back, in even a miniscule way, the now gargantuan US welfare/warfare state has been the misinterpretation of the US Constitution.  Many conservatives have a slavish devotion to the document, placing it on a par with the Ten Commandments and New Testament.

A typical misunderstanding of the Constitution’s history and content appeared in this recent op-ed:



The Constitution was intended to limit 1) the power


of government over the citizenry 2) the power of each branch of


government and 3) the power of political/financial elites over the


government and the citizenry, as the Founders recognized the intrinsic risks


of an all-powerful state, an all-powerful state dominated by one branch of


government and the risks of a financial elite corrupting the state to serve


the interests above those of the citizenry.*

The author, like so many “Constitution enthusiasts” has also been hostile to the Medieval era, denigrating its institutions and social constructs – feudalism, aristocracy, crusading – when, in fact, the Middle Ages, in many respects, were far freer with less government than the present epoch. **

When the founding fathers decided to meet in Philadelphia in 1787, they did so at first to “amend” the Articles of Confederation which had guided the young country through some perilous times.  While the Articles had some defects (some libertarians even contend that they were too statist***), the delegates, at first, did not want it scrapped, however, it was the “leading lights” of the convention which connived to completely do away with it.

By superior political maneuvering, the pro-Constitution forces were able to ramrod their plan through despite being in the minority.  Not only were the majority of the delegates initially against scrapping the Articles, but most Americans were opposed to the creation of a new central government. 

Despite this, the Constitution was ruthlessly pushed through and, as its opponents feared, America would be saddled with a highly centralized national government, the loss of considerable state sovereignty, and the eventual erosion of individual liberties even with the inclusion of a Bill of Rights.

A brief examination of the document reveals that its implicit and explicit language grants wide latitude for the expansion of state power.  In its Preamble, the ambiguous clause to “promote the general welfare” can and has led to all sorts of destructive social engineering schemes.  More ominously, for anyone that is under the illusion that America is governed by a “federal” system, they should reread Article VI which in part says

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United his Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land. [emphasis added]

An all-powerful central state went against much of Western history after the fall of the Roman Empire and the idea was always feared by philosophers.  Basic political theory and practical experience showed that a multitude of sovereign states were preferable not only for the protection of personal liberty, but for economic growth.  Numerous states and jurisdictions were a far greater check on government than the much celebrated “separation of powers” concept of constitutional government.

Under the Articles of Confederation, each individual state was autonomous while the national government had to rely on the states for most of its support.  Unfortunately, it will never be known what would have happened if the country remained as a confederacy of states, it is likely however, that there would have been less bloodshed, greater economic growth, and more personal freedom under a decentralized regime.

It is curious, therefore, why so many on the Right continue to revere the Constitution as some great bulwark against state power.  Much of it probably stems from ignorance or personal bias against the political conditions which existed prior to the late 18th century. 

Much of European history was under the sway of monarchial and aristocratic rule and the integral presence of the Catholic Church in society with a diffusion of power among kings, princes, dukes and Churchmen.  While far from perfect, the social order which existed under Christendom may not have been as materially or technologically advanced as contemporary times, but in regard to morality, justice, and individual freedom, there is no comparison.  The Christian age saw nothing of the social depravity, war making with its mass murder, the trampling of individual rights, and the existence of totalitarian government as witnessed in the supposedly “enlightened” modern age.

Decentralized Europe of 1300

Until it is realized that the Constitution is an impediment to rolling back the American Leviathan, there will be little progress in the fight for individual liberty and economic progress.

   

*Charles Hugh Smith, “Let’s Face It: The U.S. Constitution Has Failed.”  Zero Hedge.  20 February 2019. 

**One example, Charles Hugh Smith, “America’s ‘Neo-Feudal’ System is ‘Both False & Precarious.”  Zero Hedge 19 December 2018.

***David Gordon, ed., Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard, Auburn, AL.: The Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2015, pp. 96-98.

Antonius Aquinas@antoniusaquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

[emphasis added]

Debt, Death, and the US Empire

Deep State Operative John Bolton

In a talk which garnered little attention, one of the Deep State’s prime operatives, National Security Advisor John Bolton, cautioned of the enormous and escalating US debt.  Speaking before the Alexander Hamilton Society, Bolton warned that current US debt levels and public obligations posed an “economic threat” to the nation’s security:

It is a fact that when your national debt gets to the level ours is, that it constitutes an economic threat to the society.  And that kind of threat ultimately has a national security consequence for it.*

What was most surprising about Bolton’s talk was that there has been little reaction to it from the financial press, the markets themselves, or political commentators. While the equity markets have been in the midst of a sell off, it has not been due (as of yet) to US deficits, currently in excess of $1trillion annually.  Instead, the slide has been the result of fears over increase in interest rates and the continued trade tensions with China.

While Bolton’s warning about the debt is self-serving, it is accurate in the sense that the US Empire which, in part, he directs is ultimately dependent on the strength of the economy.  “National security” is not threatened by a debt crisis which would mean a compromised dollar, but such an event would limit what the US could do globally.  Real national security is defense of the homeland and border control – non intervention abroad. 

War mongers like Bolton are fearful that a debt crisis would necessitate a decline in US power overseas.  America is fast approaching what took place with the British Empire after its insane involvement in the two World Wars and its own creation of a domestic welfare state which exhausted the nation and led to the displacement of the British pound as the “world’s reserve currency.” 

The US-led wars in the Middle East have been estimated by a recent Brown University study to have cost in the neighborhood of $4 trillion.** Despite this squandering of national treasure and candidate Trump calling the Iraq War a “disaster,” as president, Trump increased “defense” spending for FY 2019 to $716 billion.***

US Military Bases Around the World

Profligate US spending and debt creation has, no doubt, been noticed by those outside of the Empire.  It is probably why Russian President Vladimir Putin has been so hesitant to take any serious action against the numerous provocations that the US has taken around the globe and against Russian interests directly.  The wily Putin probably figures that an implosion of US financial markets would eventually limit America’s ability to foment mayhem and havoc internationally. 

The Trump Administration’s latest bellicose act, engineered by – you guessed it – John Bolton, has been the withdrawal from the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty (INF). The treaty, signed in 1987, was a landmark achievement of the Reagan Administration which de-escalated tensions between the two super powers and kept a lid on a costly arms buildup that neither can afford. 

The next financial downturn will certainly dwarf the 2008 crisis, the latter of which nearly brought down the entire financial system.  The next one will be far worse and will last considerably longer since nothing has been resolved from the first crisis.  The only thing that has occurred has been the creation of more debt, not only in the US, but by all Western nation states.

Under current ideological conditions, a change in US foreign policy to non-intervention is unlikely. Public opinion is decidedly pro-military after years of indoctrination and propaganda by the press, government, academia, and the media.  It will take a fall in America’s economic power, specifically the loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, which will ultimately bring down the empire that has neocons like John Bolton concerned.

Unfortunately, until that time, the US will continue its rampaging ways.  The day of reckoning, however, appears to be fast approaching and instead of a defeat on the field of battle, the US Empire will collapse under a mountain of debt.  It would be more than fitting that such a scenario should play itself out which would thus begin the very necessary retribution process that may, at least in a small sense, compensate those who have suffered and died from America’s murderous foreign policy.

*Tyler Durden, “John Bolton Warns National Debt Is An ‘Economic Threat’ To The US Security.”  Zero Hedge.  01 November 2018.    

**Jason Ditz, “Study: US Wars Cost $4 Trillion, Killed 259,000.”  Antiwar.  29 June 2019.

Military Benefits, “2019 Defense Budget Signed byTrump.”  Military Benefits. September, 2018. 

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

Mike Pompeo and John Bolton: Trump’s Tag Team of Death and Destruction!

Trump Pompeo Bolton Trump’s Men!

With the welcome departure of war mongering UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, the Trump Administration’s neocon tag team of death and destruction – Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor (NSA), John Bolton – have enthusiastically taken up where the repellent Haley has left off.  It is highly doubtful that the former Ambassador will meekly return from under the rock in which she crawled, but will reappear possibly as a primary challenger to her former boss in 2020, and, most certainly, as a Presidential contender in 2024.

Last week, Messrs Pompeo and Bolton were dutifully carrying forth Haley’s promises of mayhem to anyone opposed to US hegemony even if those “enemies” have never taken hostile action against the US mainland.  Of course, threats and attacks against nations which have done nothing to America have never much mattered to the foreign policy establishment!

Haley Pompeo Bolton Neocon Triumvirate

In one of the most provocative comments ever made by a US diplomat, maniacal Mike threatened Iran with mass starvation of its population (via US sanctions) if it does not submit to Uncle Sam’s outrageous and humiliating demands.  In a BBC interview, the Secretary of State warned that:

[Iran’s] leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.*

Following up on his genocidal warning, the Secretary of State (with a supposedly straight face) said that Iran was a “destabilizing influence” in the Mideast and was a state sponsor of terrorism.

Incredibly, the sociopathic Pompeo actually believes that Iran has been the greatest disrupter of peace in the Middle East when, in fact, it has been the nation in which he represents (along with Israel) that has been the real culprit of state sponsored terrorism with its destruction of Iraq, the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and the attempted regime change in Syria to name just a few of America’s nefarious activities in the region.

A Brown University study shows the absurdity of Pompeo’s claims.  The study estimates that between 480,000 to 507,000 people were killed in America’s post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  For the US, some 60,000 troops have lost their lives or been wounded.***

US Destruction of Iraq US Destruction of Iraq

After threatening genocide of the Iranian people, Pompeo told an outright lie as he accused Iran for the catastrophe that is taking place in Yemen:

[The] Iranians are responsible for the starvation of Yemen civilians.****

No one outside of the Western controlled press or among the clueless American populace believes such a claim and knows that the starvation which is taking place in Yemen has been caused by the US’s ally, Saudi Arabia, which America has armed for decades.  It is not the Iranians, but the US which is guilty as an accomplice for the genocide taking place in that misbegotten land.

Yemen Drone Stike Yemen Drone Strike

Not to be outdone by his fellow merchant of death, John Bolton focused his most recent bellicose talk on Latin American regimes that have not fallen in line with the US Empire’s wishes.  He labeled three countries as “the troika of tyranny in this hemisphere – Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua.”** Big Bad John boasted that the three had “finally met [their] match” in the Trump Administration.

Wow, John, you are so tough, but saying that these three hellholes are a “match” for the US is a bit much when it is unlikely that the three combined could even defeat Rhode Island’s National Guard in a pitched battle!

While Bolton ruled out (for now) military intervention, he did say that sanctions would soon be placed on the “troika of tyranny.”  Bolton proclaimed that “Under this administration, we will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores.”

Yes, by all means, a possible invasion by a Cuban/Venezuelan/Nicaraguan juggernaut rolling up to the shores of south Florida should be a concern for all Americans.  No telling how much damage inflicted and territory conquered the “Latin American Axis” could accomplish!  It is good that perceptive and ever vigilant foreign policy experts like John Bolton keep a watchful eye out for such threats!

These are dangerous and evil men who think nothing of inflicting pain and suffering upon innocent people who have little control over what their nation’s leadership does, just as Americans have little say in the policies and actions of their government.

A global empire attracts personality types like Haley, Pompeo and Bolton.  It needs such sociopaths to provoke others and stir up troubles where there is none to justify its existence.  A more peaceful world will only come about with the demise of the American Empire, not changing the personalities who guide it.

Sadly, for Americans who have to fund it and the peoples of the world who are in its path, until there is an economic collapse and/or a dollar crisis, the American Empire will continue to threaten and, in some instances, carry out those threats led by the likes of Michael Pompeo and John Bolton.

*Tyler Durden, “Iran’s Leadership Must Decide ‘If They Want Their People to Eat’ – Pompeo.”  Zero Hedge. 9 November 2018.

**Alex Gorka, “US Declares War on ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Pushing Them Closer to Russia.”  Strategic Culture Foundation.  7 November 2018.

*** Jason Ditz, “US Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Killed 500,000 People.” Antiwar.com  8 November 2018.

****Durden, “Iran’s Leadership Must Decide.”

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

 

Savings – Not Tariffs Will Make America Great Again

While the farcical Kavanaugh confirmation hearings dominated the news cycle for the past couple of weeks, little mention was made of a disturbing economic headline – the August US trade deficit. Despite all the bluster from the Trump Administration about “winning trade wars” and “trade wars are easy,” America’s trade imbalances for August were the highest ever and its deficit with its most contentious partner – China – reached an all-time high.

Some highlights or low lights for the Trump Administration and the clueless economic nationalists were:

  • August imports of industrial supplies and materials ($49.7 billion) were the highest since December 2014 ($51.8 billion).
  • August imports of automobile vehicles, parts, and engines ($31.7 billion) were the highest on record.
  • August imports of other goods ($9.1 billion) were the highest on record.
  • August petroleum imports ($20.5 billion) were the highest since December 2014 ($23.6 billion).*

These numbers will probably mean that the Trump Administration will push for more and stiffer tariffs, although the President is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month. Yet, if anything comes out of the meeting, it will have little impact on US trade imbalances or the economy overall.

President Trump does not have to meet with the Chinese President or, for that matter, any other head of state, for the cause of US trade problems emanate right where he currently resides – Washington, D.C. The US trade deficit is the culmination of years of ruinous Congressional and Presidential polices of high taxes, onerous regulations, and deficit spending which have gutted the nation’s manufacturing base. The US simply does not produce goods like it used to and has been kept afloat by its status as the world’s reserve currency. “King Dollar” has allowed America to consume without having to produce.

Instead of trying to strong-arm trading partners into better “deals,” the Trump Administration should be creating an environment for the re-industrialization of the American economy. The first step in such a policy must start with savings which is the key to economic growth.

Before production takes place, savings must be accumulated. The creation of goods takes place over time and savings provide the means for production – land, labor, capital – to be implemented. The more sophisticated goods require greater amounts of savings since they take longer to produce. Production, and thus, economic growth are intimately linked to savings.

Since savings are fundamental for economic growth, policies which encourage it should be advanced. Since the act of saving involves sacrifice, compensation for such behavior – “interest” – should not be tampered with or suppressed which will discourage saving.

The Federal Reserve’s policy since the financial crisis has been to artificially lower interest rates as it has tried to revive the economy by money printing and bank-credit expansion. The result has been the creation of massive asset bubbles, exploding federal deficits, and a debtridden economy.

While President Trump may prefer low interest rates, the exact opposite should be advocated. A free-market rate of interest (higher than current levels) would encourage savings, and while higher rates would pop asset bubbles, they are the necessary, albeit, painful fix to readjust the economy.

Once the bubbles are deflated, real economic growth can take place based on actual savings which will lead to capital formation and the creation of goods. America could start again to become productive and create goods to exchange with its trading partners. Such a transition, however, will not take place over night, nor will it be pleasant.

Below market interest rates has enabled the federal government to engage in its profligate spending, much of which is done through borrowing. Instead of badgering the Chinese and others, President Trump should be attacking Congress to rein in spending. Of course, he is a major culprit in this area, having signed off on the latest massive budget which included insane increases to unproductive and destructive “defense” spending of some $700 billion which he lobbied for!

Trade deficits are a symptom of a bigger problem with the economy and are an excuse to deflect from dealing with real issues. Until the current “bubble economy” is deflated and savings and investment become the foundation of American economic life, trade deficits will continue and the ensuing trade wars may then escalate into actual shooting ones.

*Tyler Durden, “US Trade Deficit With China Hits New All Time High,” Zero Hedge. 05 October 2018.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

The Gold Standard: Protector of Individual Liberty and Economic Prosperity

goldstandard vs.    the-bill-of-rights

 

 

The idea of a constitution and/or written legislation to secure individual rights so beloved by conservatives and among many libertarians has proven to be a myth. The US Constitution and all those that have been written and ratified in its wake throughout the world have done little to protect individual liberties or keep a check on State largesse.  Instead, in the American case, the Constitution created a powerful central government which eliminated much of the sovereignty and independence that the individual states possessed under the Articles of Confederation.

While the US Constitution contains a “Bill of Rights,” the interpreter of those rights and protections thereof is the very entity which has enumerated them.  It is only natural that decisions on whether, or if such rights have been violated will be in favor of the state.  Moreover, nearly every amendment which has come in the wake of the Bill of Rights, has augmented federal power at the expense of the individual states and that of property owners.

History has shown the steady erosion of individual rights and the creation of “new rights” and entitlements (education, health care, employment, etc.) which have occurred under constitutional rule.  Instead of limitation on government power, constitutions have given cover for the vast expansion of taxation, regulation, debt, and money creation.

While taxation has always been a facet of constitutional governments, it has been the advent of central banking and with it the elimination of the gold standard which has provided the means for the state to become such an omnipresent force in everyday life.  Irredeemable fiat paper money issued by central banks has also led to the entrenchment of political parties which has allowed these elites to create and subsidize dependency groups which, in turn, repeatedly vote to keep the political class in office.

Without the ability to create money and credit, the many bureaucracies, regulations, and laws could neither be created or enforced.  This would mean that the vast and powerful security and surveillance agencies could not exist or would be far less intrusive than they currently are.  With commodity money, debt creation would have to be repaid in gold, not monetized as it is currently done through the issuance of paper currency.

Just as important, it would have been next to impossible for the two world wars to have been fought and carried to their unimaginable destructive ends.  None of the populations involved would have put up with the level of taxation necessary to wage such costly undertakings.  Few of the wars which followed (most of which have been instigated by the US) could have taken place without central banking.  Nor could the level of “defense” spending – currently at a whopping $717 billion for fiscal year 2018 – be financed if the US was on a commodity standard.*

Under a gold standard, governments would have to rely on taxation alone.  Since citizens directly feel the effects of taxation, there is a “natural level” that it can be raised.  Punitive tax rates usually lead to a backlash and potential social insurrection which strike fear in the hearts of political elites.

Recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office again demonstrate that constitutional government provides little restraint on spending.

If present trends continue, the federal government will spend more on its interest serving its debt than it spends on the military, Medicare, or children’s programs.  It is also expected that next year’s interest on the debt will be some $390 billion, up an astonishing 50 percent from 2017.** And, for the entire fiscal year of 2018, the gross national debt surged by $1.271 trillion, to a mind-boggling $21.52 trillion.***

At one time, economists used to speak of the pernicious effects that “crowding out” had on an economy.  Since the onset of the “bubble era,” talk about deficits has almost dropped out of financial discussions.  Yet, the reality remains the same: public spending and borrowing divert scarce resources away from private capital markets to unproductive wasteful government projects and endeavors.

For those who seek a reduction in State power, defense of individual rights, and economic prosperity, the re-establishment of a monetary order based on the precious metals is the most efficacious path to take.  Such a social system would not require elaborate legislation or fancy proclamations of man’s inalienable rights, but simply a return to honest money – gold!

*Amanda Macias, “Trump Gives $717 Billion Defense Bill a Green Light. Here’s What the Pentagon is Poised to Get.”  CNBC.com 14 August 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/13/trump-signs-717-billion-defense-bill.html

**Nelson D. Schwartz, “As Debt Rises, the Government Will Soon Spend More on Interest Than on the Military.”  The New York Times. 25 September 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/business/economy/us-government-debt-interest.html

***Tyler Durden, “US Gross National Debt Soars $1.27 Trillion in Fiscal 2018, Hits $21.5 Trillion.” Zero Hedge.  2 October 2018.   https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-02/us-gross-national-debt-soars-127-trillion-fiscal-2018-hits-215-trillion

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

Pope Francis: A Clear and Present Danger!

Muslims praying Rome                        Europe’s Future if Pope Francis has his way!

There is probably no greater threat to the long-term survival of the Occidental peoples of the world than the purported head of the Catholic Church, Jorge Bergoglio, a.k.a. Pope Francis.  In his latest plea for greater “acceptance” of refugees, Bergoglio held a “Mass” where several migrants and their family members attended.  The service was to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Bergoglio’s visit to the island of Lampedusa which has been a launching pad for invading migrants on their path to destroy what is left of European civilization.

During his “sermon,” the “Pope” condemned the “globalization of indifference” which many hold toward refugees and their plight.  “Before the challenge of contemporary movements of migration,” Bergoglio said, “the only reasonable response is one solidarity and mercy.”*

While Bergoglio had the gall to call for even greater societal-wrecking migration, one of his Church’s top prelates, “Cardinal” Theodore McCarrick had just been exposed as being a paedophile and was relieved of his public ministry.  To date, McCarrick has been the highest Church official to be guilty of sex crimes with more sure to follow.  Worse, McCarrick’s abominable actions had been taking place for years and were known to just about everyone within his inner circle (including Bergogio), but none had the courage to speak out or take any action against the predator for his debauchery.

Bergoglio McCarrick  Sex crime partners – Bergoglio & McCarrick

It is beyond hypocritical that Bergoglio expresses so much concern for the refugee crisis, most of which has been orchestrated by the usual suspects, yet has done virtually nothing against his own underlings, many of whom have assaulted, raped, and molested thousands of young boys and girls.  Instead of expunging these perverts from the Church, he has, in some instances, promoted them.

Whether Bergoglio knows it or not, it was the Catholic Church which preserved many of the treasures of the ancient world which would have surely been lost forever during the barbarian incursions.  Likewise, it was the Papacy itself which inspired the Christian princes to undertake the Crusades and defend Europe from the repeated attempts by the Muslims to overrun the Continent.   Now, in a direct refutation of its history, the Church is encouraging Muslim penetration of its once sacred soil.

At one time, the Catholic Church stood for the integrity of the traditional family, realizing that it was the backbone of any healthy and fertile society.  The Church condemned artificial contraception, frowned on “working mothers,” and prohibited divorce while it taught that the primary purpose of marriage was the procreation of children not the embodiment of spousal love.  Since the Second Vatican Anti-council (1962-65), however, things have changed dramatically, now the Church speaks of diversity, multiculturalism, and, under Bergoglio, coercive integration.

As the West has crazily adopted Democracy as its governing paradigm, voting and elections will be determined by demographics.  If Europeans become a minority, they will be voted out of power, have their property confiscated, and eventually be replaced.  For an ominous example of what will happen unless mass migration is halted, the horrific plight of white South African farmers is instructive.

While tighter border controls are imperative, fundamental changes need to take place to reverse Europe’s demographic nightmare as the latest statistics have confirmed where the number of deaths (5.3 million) in 2017 have overtaken the number births (5.1 million).**  Most critical in reversing the demographic decline is a revival of the family and the removal of the impediments that have been placed in its way to procreate and nurture children.  Two of the most important of these obstacles are the welfare state and public schooling, both of which have been used by the Left to replace the critical role of the family in the upbringing, education, and the shaping of the young’s moral values.

If the likes of Bergoglio get their way, there will be nothing left of Western Civilization; its institutions, arts, music, literature, languages will be swept away under a deluge of racially, culturally, and religiously distinct and often hostile peoples that cannot and should not be assimilated.  While immigration enthusiasts must be stopped, Europeans must once again realize what it takes to have sustainable and fruitful societies.  When this again becomes part of the Western ethos, the demographic imbalance will cease to be a concern.

*John Bowden, “Pope Francis Celebrates Special Mass for Migrants,” The Hill, http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/395799-pope-francis-celebrates-special-mass-for-migrants 6 July 2018.

**Gavin Freiburger, “Deaths Overtake Births in Europe, New Stats Confirm,” Lifesite, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/deaths-overtake-births-in-europe-new-stats-confirm   12 July 2018

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com