Category Archives: American History

Charles A. Beard, “American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932-1940″*

Review: Charles A. Beard, American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932-1940: A Study in Responsibilities.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1946.

american-for-pol-in-the-making     charles-a-beard-ii

Introduction

Last year, 2016, marked the 70th anniversary of the publication of Charles Beard’s masterful study of United States foreign policy prior to the nation’s disastrous entrance into the Second World War, American Foreign Policy in the Making1932-1940: A Study in Responsibilities(AFPM).  The book was soon accompanied by President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941 published in 1948, the year of the great historian’s passing.

The two volumes were extremely influential and became cornerstones of World War II revisionism.  AFPM chronicled US policy in the crucial decade prior to the fateful attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The records released and the research done in the decades following Beard’s studies have only substantiated the historian’s interpretation of events.*

The most recent of the growing literature of WWII revisionism has been by the German historian Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, and his provocative book, The War That Had Many Fathers.**As Beard did with AFPM, Schultze-Rhonhof seeks to assign responsibility for the outbreak of WWII in the European theatre.  Like Beard, and in contrast to the official historical interpretation, Schultze-Rhonhof blames the provocative actions of the “Allied” governments in the years leading up to the conflict.***

Continue reading at:  https://antoniusaquinas.com/history/

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*This essay is dedicated to the late Charlie McGrath of Wide Awake News.

charlie-mcgrath

 

On the 225th Anniversary of the United States’ Bill of Rights

the-bill-of-rights

This December, 2016, marks the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the US Constitution which would become known as the “Bill of Rights.”  To secure passage of the Constitution, the framers of the document (the Federalists) had to agree that it would contain explicit language on individual rights.

Ever since its ratification, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in which it is a part, has been hailed as one of the seminal achievements in the annals of human history while the political arrangements prior to it (primarily monarchy and aristocratic rule) have been sneered at and belittled by the Constitution’s hagiographers.   Moreover, the American Constitution has provided a model for the emergence of the nation state which came into its own after the French Revolution and the tragic breakup of Christendom.

History, however, if looked at outside the Anglo-American perspective has shown that far from a protector of individual liberty, the Bill of Rights has been mostly useless in defense of basic freedoms while the Constitution, that it is a part of, has been a vehicle for the expansion of state power to an unfathomable degree.

Despite the supposed guarantees of individual liberty within the Bill of Rights and the supposed limited nature of the Constitution itself, there has never been a more intrusive state in world history both domestically and in its myriad of interventions across the globe than the Leviathan that rests on the shores of the Potomac River.  And, the rise of American totalitarianism did not begin with the revelations of Edward Snowden and the other courageous whistle blowers of the recent past, but started soon after the new “federal” state came into existence with the passage of the Alien & Sedition Acts.  Each year since has witnessed the growth of state power at the expense of individual rights where now domestic spying and surveillance are part of the nation’s social fabric.

The primary reason why the Bill of Rights has been unable to secure basic liberties is because the federal government and its courts are the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution and its amendments as explicitly stated in Article VI, section 2, subtitled, Supreme Law of the Land:

This 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; and the judges in every state shall be

bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of

any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Since the central government is the final arbitrator of the document, any ruling or decision on particular laws or regulations which would impinge on individual rights will, for the most part, be favorable to the government itself.  And, due to man’s fallen nature, any such power will be abused.

The ratification of the Constitution in 1789 made in essence the individual states mere appendages of the central government.  While the Constitution’s sycophants boast of its “checks and balances,” a far superior bulwark against political repression is that of people “voting with their feet.”  Under the Articles of Confederation, when the national government was not the supreme law of the land, if a certain state became too tyrannical, at least in theory, and had the much neglected Articles remained in place, those persecuted could simply move to a more friendlier jurisdiction.

This would also hold true in the realm of taxation and regulatory policy.  Those political authorities who became too confiscatory in their taxing or enacted burdensome regulations could also see population outflows.  Similar activity goes on all the time currently as people flee high tax municipalities and states like California and New York to lower tax regions such as Florida and Texas.

For voting with one’s feet to be most successful, there needs to be a multitude of states and political jurisdictions.  In the current political climate, this would mean the breakup of the nation state.  Secession and political decentralization should thus be the goals of those who prize individual liberty and prosperity, not the celebration of constitutionalism and the supposed guarantees of personal freedoms under ideas such as the Bill of Rights.

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Fidel Castro and the American Empire

castro

The death of the brutal Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro closes the door, in some respect, on another disastrous page in US foreign policy history.  For all the denunciations and criticism of Castro from conservative elements and exiled Cubans, his despotic rule was the outcome of decades of American imperialism which began with President William McKinley’s infamous decision to wage war on hapless Spain in 1898.

The defeat of Spain and the confiscation of its possessions, which the US imperialist and corporate forces had longed prized, set the stage for the nation’s hubristic foreign policy course throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.  America’s action against Spain showed its ungratefulness for it attacked the country that did more for it than any other (including France) in its struggle for independence.  Maybe Castro’s interminable reign, which had always been a thorn in the side of US globalists, was payback for America’s wanton aggression against Spain.

Castro’s rise to power came about not only through the bungling of American diplomacy, but also from genuine “populist” support directed against the thoroughly corrupt regime of the US puppet in charge at the time, Fulgencio Batista.  Even by Latin American standards, the corruption which existed under  Batista was legendary!

The US government played an enormous role in Batista’s second presidency which began when he seized power in 1952.  Throughout his second tenure, Batista received massive kickbacks from American multinational businesses for grants of monopoly privileges on the island.  The most notable was the ITT corporation.

Batista used his unjust gains to enrich himself and buy weapons to be used against his opponents. It was claimed that when he fled Cuba he took a personal fortune of $300 million with him. While Batista and his ruling clique were enriching themselves through US assistance, the Cuban population suffered as the gap between rich and poor continued to widen.

Like Castro, Batista was ruthless in political repression which even American politicians noticed.  In a speech during the 1960 presidential campaign, John Kennedy claimed that Batista had murdered some 20,000 Cubans!

Of course, the US empire learned little from the fiasco with Castro and continued on its rampaging, destructive ways – destabilizing, bombing, and squelching populist uprising across the globe.  No sooner had the island become a lone communist outpost in the Western Hemisphere and the “Cuban Missile Crisis” was defused, than the nation plunged itself into a far bigger and more costlier quagmire in Vietnam.

Donald Trump rightfully condemned Castro’s murderous reign:

The world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who

oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.  Fidel

Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable

suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human

rights.*

The President-elect must, however, understand the reason why Castro came to power and was able to maintain his totalitarian grasp for so long if America is to begin a new and hopefully peaceful foreign policy path.

Trump promised that the US would do all that it can to bring about a “free Cuba:”

Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro

cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure

the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity

and liberty.**

The best way he could accomplish this task not only in Cuba but in regard to all other nations is to heed the words of America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, on the proper foreign policy path for the nation: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”

Maybe the demise of Castro and the ascendancy of Donald Trump is not a coincidence, but an opening which points to a new direction in foreign affairs: one that rejects nation building, intervention, and financial terrorism against friend and foe alike.  Let us hope so.

*David Jackson, “Trump Condemns Castro as ‘Brutal Dictator.’”  USA Today.  26 November 2016.

**Ibid.

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It’s Still the Media, Stupid!

media-womd-lies

The US Presidential campaign has demonstrated once again that the mainstream mass media is still the dominant force and arbitrator of political events and if it is successful in pushing the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua past the finish line this November, it may have achieved its greatest triumph.  During the campaign’s stretch run, the mainstream media has used every form and variety of spin, distortion, half truth, calumny, and lies in its diabolical effort to make Killary Rotten Clinton President of the USSA.

The mass media – television, newspapers, movies, the Entertainment industry, book publishing, advertising, and now sports – is part of society’s opinion molding movers and shakers which form part of what Noble Prize winning economist F.A. Hayek called “intellectuals.”  This all important group are not simply nerdy academic professors with patches on their sleeves, but are those who have the ability to shape public opinion, as Hayek describes:

It is the intellectuals in this sense who decide what views and

opinions are to reach us, which facts are important enough

to be told us, and in what form and from what angle they are

to be presented.  Whether we shall ever learn of the results of the

work of the expert and the original thinker depends mainly on their

decision. *

Since at least the 1960s, the dominant opinion-molding sector of the mass media has been the electronic media, which has far outpaced newsprint and academia in influence.  While its power may be on the wane in the Internet Age, it is still the most powerful and important tool in the political elites arsenal for imparting their agenda.

The electronic media, through its use of pictures and images, has been able to manipulate political outcomes and shape public policy discussions at almost every turn.  As every media realist has long understood, the mainstream media has long been controlled by the Left which has used this power to counter any opposition to its narrative.

The major media outlets are controlled by five corporate giants – Time Warner, Disney, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom – the largest purveyors of crony capitalism and cultural Marxism the world has ever witnessed.  No dissent is allowed to be heard on these outlets nor is there any hope of career advancement for journalists or writers if the Leftist paradigm is not trumpeted.

A free society does not exist because of a free press.  In fact, every society which has naively allowed a free press to exist, invariably finds that the press will seek to undermine it, especially its most innovative and successful individuals.  The reason, as Hayek so brilliantly explains, is that the press, and in this age the electronic media, is part of the intelligentsia which by its nature is envy ridden since it has little to offer the world in the production of actual goods and services.  Its members, therefore, are constantly denigrating their betters.

Such a mindset and sociological disposition will naturally lead members of the mass media to support politicians who will regulate, tax, and control the productive members of society.  This explains, in part, their vile and hysterical opposition to Donald Trump.  For Trump, unlike his crazed and corrupt opponent, has largely gained his wealth and position through his own intelligence, foresight, and hard work.

Offsetting media bias is a Herculean task and can only be done by one who is savvy and financially independent enough.  This is why Donald Trump has gotten as far has he has and has used his leverage to heroically call out the manipulations of the mainstream media.

It is surprising, therefore, that Trump agreed to the Presidential “debates” in a forum orchestrated by the media with “moderators” who would be gunning to undermine him at every turn.  Better to have chosen a neutral environment with an honest third party participant such as Brian Lamb of C-Span.  Agreeing to the same rigged debate format was a tactical mistake.

For anyone to seriously challenge the American Leviathan, it must be understood that the mainstream media is a part of that despotic structure and it too must be neutered.  Donald Trump has done more than any Presidential candidate to expose the treachery of the mainstream media, now others must take up the cause.

*F.A. Hayek, “The Intellectuals and Socialism.”  https://www.mises.org/sites/default/files/Intellectuals%20and%20Socialism_4.pdf

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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Donald and the “Maestro”

trump-ii            greenspan-ii

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was once laudably referred to as “Maestro” for his supposed astute stewardship of U.S. monetary policy, commented last week on the nation’s current political and economic climate:

We’re not in a stable equilibrium.  I hope

we can all find a way out because this too

great a country to be undermined, by how should

I say it, crazies.*

Well, if there is anyone who knows how to “undermine” an economy, it is the Maestro, since it was his “crazed” policies that brought about the 2008 financial crisis which ushered in the Great Recession that continues to this very day.

In a demonstration of how truly clueless Greenspan is about economic conditions, he cautioned that the U.S. is “headed toward stagflation – a combination of weak demand and elevated inflation.” Memo to the Maestro: stagflation is already here and has been for quite a while, especially when real economic gauges are used instead of the phony baloney numbers routinely lied about by the BLS and other corrupt state agencies.

The “crazies” that Greenspan refers to are, of course, the “deplorable” Trump supporters and The Donald himself, who the Maestro contends is responsible for “the worst economic and political environment that I’ve ever been remotely related to.” Oh, poor Alan has to suffer through an election where one of the candidates has not been approved by the ruling class.  Too bad.

Instead of carping about the current state of political affairs which, at least financially, he and his successor, Helicopter Ben Bernanke, largely contributed to, Greenspan should be grateful that he has had no reprisals for the financial crimes, chaos, and misery that he has afflicted upon the world.  Instead of significant jail time or worse, Greenspan is free to pontificate on current events, receiving hefty financial remuneration, and just as important for top members of the governing elite, ego-enhancing hosannas!

While Ben Bernanke has been a lifelong committed Keynesian and inflationist, Alan Greenspan, at least in his younger days as a member of Ayn Rand’s circle, was a free marketer who spoke positively about the efficacy and moral soundness of a gold standard.  That he abandoned these beliefs to go over to the Dark Side is further cause for retributive justice.

Greenspan’s betrayal was similar to those economists of the 1930s (Lionel Robbins most notable) who were followers of the teachings of Mises and Hayek, yet were swept away by the fanciful Keynesian deluge of the day and abandoned their economic senses and conscious for similar allurements which seduced the Maestro.  Had these economists as well as Greenspan stuck to their original principles, the world may not be in its current financial mess.

While Greenspan was lamenting the state of political affairs, the head “crazy,” Donald Trump, commented on the Maestro’s former place of employment.  Unlike the Maestro, the financial media, and just about every other politician, Trump had some perceptive things to say about the nation’s central bank, showing again that the billionaire businessman’s political acumen is quite good:

The Fed is being totally controlled politically because

Obama wants to go out with no stock market disruptions.**

The Republican Presidential hopeful could have easily added that the Fed’s policy is being deliberately carried out to ensure his Democratic opponent’s victory this fall.  A booming stock market is perceived by most as an indication of a vibrant economy.

Trump does not buy the supposed “independence” of the Fed from political influence and the conduct of monetary policy solely for the well being of the economy:

If it was a choice between the right decision and a political

decision… The Fed would choose the political decision.

Throughout the campaign, Trump’s instincts on political and economic matters have been quite good and hopefully if he does become chief executive those instincts will translate into positive change.

A Clinton Presidency would assuredly mean a continuation of the ruinous policies of Greenspan and his successors.  The election of Donald Trump could not only mean a new direction in monetary policy, but the public demotion of the likes of Alan Greenspan who will hopefully fade into the sunset never to be heard or seen from again.

*Rich Miller, “Greenspan Worries That ‘Crazies’ Will Undermine the U.S. System.”  Bloomberg.  14 September 2016.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-14/greenspan-worries-that-crazies-will-undermine-the-u-s-system

**Tyler Durden, “Trump Slams ‘Totally Politically Controlled’ Fed, Sees No Rate Hike Until Obama Has Left.”  Zero Hedge. 15 September 2016.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-15/trumps-slams-totally-politically-controlled-fed-sees-no-rate-hike-until-obama-has-le

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The Donald Versus Killary: War or Peace?

trump-vs-clinton

Although history does not exactly repeat itself, it does provide parallels and sometimes quite ominous ones.  Such is the case with the current U.S. Presidential election and the one which occurred one hundred years earlier.

The dominating question which hung over the 1916 campaign was whether the country would remain neutral in regard to the horrific slaughter which was taking place on the European battlefields in probably the greatest act of mass insanity ever recorded, World War I.

President Wilson had maintained that the U.S. would continue a policy of strict neutrality.  By all indications, the nation wanted no part of the war, with the President’s own party at his nomination delivering an emphatic “No” to any foreign intervention.

Although Wilson maintained a neutral policy through the election and briefly afterwards, his advisors and Cabinet had been lobbying for war and continued to do so even more vehemently after the President’s re-election was secured.  Nearly all of them, including Wilson himself, had deep financial, family, and political ties to J.P. Morgan.  Wilson received considerable Morgan financial backing for his two presidential runs.

The Morgan operatives within the Administration were pushing for war because the House of Morgan had “invested” heavily in the “Allied” cause and a defeat or a negotiated settlement with any favorable concessions to Germany would be a catastrophe for Morgan financial interests.

Germany understood the cozy Morgan relationship with the Wilson Administration and the Allied powers as Morgan representatives, especially the sinister Colonel House, had repeatedly rebuffed peace proposals from the Central Powers.  The Allies and their opponents understood that Wilson’s re-election would mean U.S. entry into the conflict.

Tragically, for the U.S. and for the course of war-ridden 20th century history, Wilson capitulated and brought the U.S. into the battle despite the campaign promise of neutrality and no real German threat.  The House of Morgan’s financial bacon was saved at the cost of a devastated Western world.

One hundred years later, the U.S. and the world stand at another critical juncture and face a similar choice: the election of a known war criminal who has not only shown no remorse for her murderous policies, but promises, if elected, to continue them; or the election of a candidate who has spoken of negotiating with America’s supposed principle enemy, a possible pull back in the nation’s unsustainable global empire, and the enactment of a legitimate use of federal authority – protection of the country’s borders.

It is difficult to believe that Donald Trump is not sincere in seeking accommodation and friendly relations with Russia.  It would be far easier for the billionaire businessman and would most likely secure his election if he followed the bellicose policy of the Democrat and Republican Presidents of the recent past who have continued to antagonize and threaten Russia.  The most hopeful sign for peace coming from the U.S. in quite a while has been Trump’s talk of de-escalation of tensions and a pledge to place American interests first in foreign policy, instead of mouthing the global domination designs of the crazed neocons.

Some of the things he has said about Vladimir Putin and Russia have been, to say the least, quite encouraging:

I think I would get along with Vladimir Putin.

I just think so.*

It is always a great honor to be so nicely

complimented by a man [Putin] so highly respected

within his own country and beyond.**

I have always felt that Russia and the United States

should be able to work well with each other towards

defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not

to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from

mutual respect.***

Although not a non-interventionist, a President Trump is unlikely to provoke Russia or China into a civilization-ending conflagration and has displayed the instincts of a true peace maker.

There is, however, little hope for a reduction of global tensions if his sociopathic opponent becomes Commander-in-Chief.  Killary has repeatedly demonstrated that she is a willing tool of the neocons and the global financial forces that will profit mightily from continued U.S.- instigated conflicts.  If she makes it past the finish line, either legitimately or more likely through fraud, she will surely do their bidding.

For once, politicians and pundits who routinely call every election “the most crucial of a generation” are right.  This year’s Presidential election is the most significant one since at least the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc.  If the U.S. electorate wants to avoid the disaster not only to its own land and the world that followed in the wake of the 1916 election, there can be only one choice in November of 2016.

* , “Trump Says he Would ‘Get Along Very Well’ With Putin.”  NBCNews.com 30 July 2015.

**Maxwell Tani, “Vladimir Putin’s Praise is ‘A Great Honor.'”  Business Insider.  17 December 2015.

***Ibid.

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John Maynard Keynes’ “General Theory” Eighty Years Later

Keynes Gen Theory

To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.  Sadly, even to this day, despite its thorough refutation by lights such as Henry Hazlitt and other eminent scholars, The General Theory, which spawned “Keynesianism” and its later variants, remains supreme in academics, financial markets, and public policy.

Despite its outlandish theoretical flaws and nonsensical economic jargon and the catastrophic empirical evidence of its failure to prevent financial downturns or “stimulate” sustainable growth, Keynesianism remains the ruling paradigm of economic thought.

Why?

A number of trenchant reasons have been given for the General Theory’s continued dominance, however, one stands above all else: Keynesian economics provides the intellectual justification for economists, statisticians, technocrats, bureaucrats, and policy wonks in their exalted positions as “fine tuners” of economies the world over.  Since markets are to Keynes and his disciples inherently unstable from erratic investment spending and aggregate demand, it is up to these theoreticians steeped in the knowledge of their master’s teachings to ameliorate any economic fluctuations.

The General Theory came on the scene at a propitious time during the height (or more accurately the depth) of  the Great Depression, which in 1936, despite Roosevelt’s New Deal and other Western nation states’ initiatives, had not improved conditions.  Keynesianism was actually a “middle way” between all out Soviet-style central planning and that of laissez-faire capitalism.  Primarily through fiscal policy, the economy would be kept on an even keel under the astute management of Keynesian-trained economists.  Naturally, this appealed to academics and intellectuals the world over who correctly envisioned positions of power and influence in expanded state apparatuses.

As history has shown, Keynesianism was to become more than a remedy for the Depression, but would be applicable after the crisis dissipated.  The General Theory was based, in part, on the (false) notion that the capitalist system is inherently unstable and is, therefore, in need of state intervention.  Keynes  deliberately ignored the scholarship at the time, which demonstrated that the instability was not a “market failure,” but a monetary disorder caused by artificial credit expansion generated by the central banks, especially the Federal Reserve.

The enthusiasm for The General Theory came at first from younger economists while it was (rightly) dismissed by many of their elders as incomprehensible.  Yet, its lack of clarity was appealing to the novices, since they would become the Creed’s interpreters.

Not all, however, were entirely overwhelmed by their mentor’s magnum opus as Paul Samuelson candidly admitted:

[The General Theory] is a badly written book:

poorly organized. . . . It abounds in mares’ nests

of confusions. . . .  I think I am giving away no

secrets when I solemnly aver – upon the basis of

vivid personal recollection – that no one else in

Cambridge, Massachusetts, really knew what it

was all about for some twelve to eighteen months

after publication.*

Despite such an assessment, Keynesianism was never seriously challenged by its adherents, it opened too many lucrative policy making doors to be refuted.

That Keynesianism continues to reign supreme, despite its theoretical and empirical bankruptcy, speaks volumes of the state of Western intellectual and academic life.  Instead of the pursuit of truth and the refutation of error, Western intelligentsia is primarily concerned with securing privilege and power for itself.  At one time such status was gained by honest inquiry into social questions and issues, now it is obtained in the justification of the expansion of state power.  Very few turn down such enticements!

Societies are the product of ideas.  Since the release of The General Theory, the Western world has been under the destructive sway of Keynesianism, which has resulted in stagnation, financial turmoil, and eventual collapse.  Until Keynes and his nutty theories have been refuted, the economic malaise will continue.

Quoted in Murray N. Rothbard, “Keynes, the Man.” In Mark Skousen, ed., Dissent on Keynes: A Critical Appraisal of Keynesian Economics.  New York: Praeger Publishers, 1992, p.184

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