Category Archives: United States

A Warning of Economic Collapse

Eleison Comments by His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson

Traditional Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson’s latest missive should be a wake- up call for those who naively believe that the worst is behind for the US and Western economies after the March financial sell off and the long-anticipated implosion of the bubble economy.  His Excellency asserts that the US and much of the world are on a financial precipice:

At this moment the United States has been brought to the brink of a tremendous

economic crisis, and with the USA, the rest of the world.*

Bishop Williamson contends that it has not only been the response to the virus, but more importantly, the response to the bursting of the financial bubble, created by the Fed, which will ultimately lead to a cataclysmic collapse:

By 2019 as the public was more and more hooked on fantasy money, the

Fed’s public balance sheet took off into complete unreality, seven trillion dollars

and counting, and it is now crashing the real economy with the corona-panic,

then ‘paying’ the crash debts that everybody gets into with its unreal trillions, but

turning the whole world into real slaves.

The bishop’s brief analysis of the history of the Fed is right on as he explains that the central bank has been the engine of monetary mischief since its inception:

These money men had promised that the Fed . . . would solve the problem

of reoccurring economic crises. . . .  It did nothing of the kind.  On the contrary,

it made them even worse, like the Great Depression of 1929 and the years following,

and now the Depression of the 2020s which risks making 1929 look like a picnic, and

risks stripping the United States of its prosperity and enslaving its liberty by making all

American citizens into debt-slaves. The middle class will soon be no more.

One quibble: Bishop Williamson rightly sees the problem of the money supply controlled by “private individuals” (central banksters):

It is not normal for private citizens to control their State’s money because they risk

doing so in their own interests, and not for the common good.

Yet, the alternative – State control – is no better and, under “democratic conditions,” maybe even worse considering the State’s horrific record in the debasement of money, the creation of booms and busts, hyperinflations, the destruction of savings, etc.

The only economically sound, morally defensible monetary system is one based on gold/silver where money and credit cannot be created “out of thin air” and where competing gold and silver producers vie with one another to produce the “best money.”  Such a system requires no central bank while fractional-reserve banking is prosecuted as fraud.  The creation of money is what is mined out of the earth not government and central bank fiat.

America’s current financial condition has ominous parallels to ancient Jerusalem before its destruction by the forces of Vespasian and Titus.  A couple of years before its final destruction, a Roman army, under Cestius Gallus, had stationed troops under the walls of Jerusalem posed to launch an assault.  Yet, Gallus did not attack and ultimately pulled back.  This was a clear fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy about the city’s destruction:

And when you shall hear of wars and seditions, be not terrified: these things must first

come to pass, but the end is not yet immediately.  [St. Luke Ch. XXI; vs. 9]

 

And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army: then know that

the desolations thereof is at hand. [Ibid., vs. 20]

Rome’s hesitation – a clear result of Divine intervention – gave Christians a chance to escape the coming conflagration which many wisely took advantage of:

Then let them that are in Judea, flee to the mountains: and let them that

are in the midst thereof depart out: and let not them that are in the

countries, enter into it. [Ibid., vs. 21]

Destruction of Jerusalem

50. The First Jewish-Roman War; the destruction of the ...

Since the March lows, Americans have been in a situation not unlike the denizens of ancient Jerusalem.  The relief programs and bailouts of businesses (mostly large corporations and banks) has staved off an even greater downturn, however, this has come at a tremendous cost as the Fed has had to print trillions, the consequence of which will mean either a collapse of the dollar or, at the very least, a dramatic loss in its purchasing power.      

At present, it does not appear that the US has much time before the final unraveling of the economy takes place.  The current debt levels and the new debt that will have to be created to maintain the status quo will lead to a monumental monetary crisis.    

Many have interpreted Jerusalem’s fall as a punishment for its sins.  Likewise, the coming collapse can also be seen as retribution for the US’s crazed monetary and fiscal policies which have bankrupted the nation while enriching the few at the expense of the many. 

While Jerusalem’s destruction had little reverberations on the wider Roman Empire at the time, the demise of the dollar will have global implications since it is the world’s reserve currency.  Like those who heeded the Divine prophecy two millennium ago the present generation should take Bishop Williamson’s words to heart and prepare for the coming financial storm.

*His Excellency Richard Williamson, “Economic Reality,” Eleison Comments, 12 September 2020.  https://stmarcelinitiative.com/eleison-comments/

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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Memo to The Donald: Cut Tariffs NOT Rates

trump tariff

So far, President Trump’s economic response to a potential coronavirus outbreak and a further stock market sell off has been expected – calls for more interest rate cuts and an additional round of monetary stimulus.  For the stock market, economy, and the virus itself, neither measure will have their desired effect and, in fact, may exacerbate things.

Further rate cuts and more money printing will not alleviate the situation since it has been the Federal Reserve’s recent “repo operations” which has pushed the market to its unsustainable highs.  For President Trump’s re-election hopes, the current “correction” better be short lived since he has repeatedly boasted about the stock market and has tied its success with the supposed health of the economy.  He will pay a political price if the market continues to tank and brings the economy down with it.

While President Trump and economic nationalists have bashed China for its trade practices, they are now going to see first hand how dependent the US and the West are on Chinese exports, as supply chains are disrupted over the coronavirus.

A Bloomberg article describes China’s weakest factory activity ever recorded:

The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index plunged to 35.7 in

February form 50 the previous month, according to data received by the

National bureau Statistics on Saturday, much lower than the median

estimate of economists.  Both were well below 50, which denotes

contraction.*

The expected reduction of Chinese goods will mean higher US domestic prices, however, the increase in prices can be offset somewhat not by rate cuts, but by tariff reductions, or, better still, elimination of duties on imports.  Increasing the money supply or cutting interest rates, which is what Trump, the market, and 95% of economists favor, will only mean higher prices for dwindling imports as greater amounts of money will chase fewer goods.

In the President’s comments on the coronavirus and the stock market plunge, he has repeatedly cited other nations’ (Japan, Germany) – lower interest rates as a policy that the Fed should pursue.  Apparently, the President is not aware that recent data out of Japan has shown that the economy shrank at an annualized rate of 6.3% for the fourth quarter of 2019 while the German economy only grew at 0.6% last year.**  Low rates have not helped either economy or anywhere else where they have been foolishly tried.

What President Trump, world policy makers, and central bankers do not understand, whether deliberately or from willful ignorance, is that the artificial suppression of interest rates and money printing does not lead to economic growth. Instead, prosperity can only come about by the arduous process of saving (abstention from consumption), which provides the means for capital formation, which leads to production.  Employment, wage growth, and income are also ultimately tied to savings.  For the creation of wealth, there is no way around this elementary economic principle – one that few profession economists comprehend.

For saving and investment to have their most efficacious impact and for individuals to engage in such sacrificial behavior, a sound monetary order must be in place.  Unfortunately, ever since the US went off the gold standard internationally in 1971, its monetary system has grown increasingly unstable.

If the Trump Administration would eliminate, or at least reduce significantly, tariffs, it would more than likely induce China to do the same.  The benefits of lower import prices for the millions of out of work Chinese due to the coronavirus shut downs would be a tremendous help and would also boost America’s export industries.  Such action would show to those who elected him that Donald Trump was not a typical politician, but one who thought outside the box.

While it did not cause the Great Depression, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 contributed to its severity.  If the recent sell-off is indeed the beginning of the long anticipated bust, following a supposed decade long expansion, then policy makers should do all in their power to alleviate the coming suffering.  The reduction of tariffs not only on Chinese goods, but those the world over would be a step in the right direction.

Let us hope that someone will convince Donald Trump that tariff reduction and not rate cuts will help Americans better deal with the troublesome and potentially economic and socially devastating coronavirus.

*China Posts Weakest Factory Activity on Record,” Bloomberg News, 29 February 2020.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-29/china-feb-manufacturing-pmi-at-35-7-est-45-0

**Megumi Fujikawa, “Japan’s Economy Shrinks Faster Than Expected.”  Market Watch.  16 February 2020.  https://www.marketwatch.com/story/japans-economy-shrinks-faster-than-expected-2020-02-16;  “German Economy Stagnates as Eurozone Growth Hits Seven-Year-Low,”  The Guardian,  14 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2020/feb/14/german-economy-stagnates-growth-eurozone-gdp-business-live

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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The Ethics of a Gold Standard

goldstandard

The efficacy of a metallic monetary system is beyond dispute at least among real economists which eliminates just about 95% of whom are now engaged in the “profession.”  Money, which gold is, allows for specialization, the division of labor, and provides the means for mankind to escape from barter and, thus, a primitive existence.  Like free trade, money naturally integrates mankind both among and between peoples.

A system of central banking with an unbacked paper currency is the antithesis of a gold standard.  Manipulation of currencies by central banks, mostly through debasement, hinders trade, creates distortions, and ultimately leads to the dreaded business cycle.  Murray Rothbard aptly describes the baneful results of state intervention in the monetary system:

. . . government meddling with money has

not only brought untold tyranny into the world;

it has also brought chaos and not order.  It has

fragmented the peaceful, productive world

market and shattered it into a thousand pieces,

with trade and investment hobbled and hampered

by myriad restrictions, controls, artificial rates,

currency breakdowns, etc.  It has helped bring

about wars by transforming a world of peaceful

intercourse into a jungle of warring currency blocs.*

Rothbard Money

While the economic efficiency of a gold standard is important, the ethical case for it is more compelling and was the reason why gold, as money, lasted as a medium of exchange for so long.  Gold/money has to be created through honest-to-goodness production and exchange.  The often dangerous mining of gold takes labor, capital goods, and land.  Turning raw gold into coinage is another process which requires a high level of specialization and production techniques.  Both are honest and morally sound activities which make for the betterment of life all around.

The ethical standing of central banking and its issuance of unbacked currency as money through the printing press, stroke of a computer key, or via the expansion of credit cannot stand similar scrutiny.  By any appraisal, central banking is immoral.  Through the creation of money, banks stealthy transfer wealth to those who control the money supply and those closely associated with it.

The ability of central banks to create unlimited amounts of money and credit has been the greatest redistribution scheme ever conceived.  The process ultimately leads to class conflict as the wealth disparity between the politically well-connected and those outside that nexus invariably widen.

Under a gold standard, none of this would take place.

Because of their lack and often distain for economic doctrines, in particular, monetary theory, “economic nationalists” (really “economic ignoramuses”) have wrongly focused on trade as a factor in the continued decline of the middle and working classes.  China’s supposed unfair trade practices was a staple of President Trump’s campaign rhetoric and has continued through much of his first term.

The focus on trade has deflected attention from the real cause of worsening economic conditions for American workers and the enrichment of Wall Street.  Despite the blatant transfer of wealth via the Fed’s policies of suppressed interest rates and money printing since the 2008 Recession, economic nationalists continue to applaud President Trump’s tariff policies while the President continues to browbeat the Fed to do more of the same even calling for negative interest rates and more Quantitative Easing.

The Left rightly speaks out of the vast and growing inequality of wealth distribution, but like those who espouse economic nationalism, they fail to understand the reason for why the societal imbalance has occurred.  One remedy they propose – a “wealth tax” – will not address the problem.  Moreover, their “soak-the-rich” schemes would snare in their plunder (not that Leftists particularly care) many of the wealthy outside of the banking and financial sector of their legitimate, just gains.

The case for honest money must be made on ethical grounds.  The current system must be exposed and shown for the scam that it is: a massive redistribution scheme enriching the political elites and their closely aligned business and financial allies. While it is undeniable that a gold standard would lead to enormous prosperity, its reinstatement would remedy one of the great injustices that plague the world – central banking!

*Murray N. Rothbard, What Has Government Done To Our Money?  BN Publishing, 2012: 84.

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The Geopolitical Consequences of a Coming Recession

Irian Military

With the recent ominous inversion of the 2-10 year yield curve and its near infallible predictive recessionary power, the consequences for the economy are plain to see, however, what has not been spoken of by pundits will be the effect of a recession on US foreign policy.  If a recession comes about prior to November 2020, or if economic indicators such as GDP plummet even further, the chances of a Trump re-election is extremely problematic even if the Democrats nominate a socialist nut case such as Bernie Sanders or Pocahontas.

Elizabeth Warren has been the most vocal about coming economic troubles:

Warning lights are flashing.  Whether it is

this year or next year, odds of another

economic downturn are high – and growing. . . .

 

When I look at the economy today, I see

a lot to worry about again.  I see a

manufacturing sector in recession.  I see

a precarious economy built on debt – both

household debt and corporate debt and that

is vulnerable to shocks.  And I see a number

of serious shocks on the horizon that could

cause our economy’s shaky foundation to crumble.*

Warren

A “doom and gloomer” Demo?

If the economy cannot be reversed, despite the likelihood of rate cuts in September and a possible resumption of “QE” by the end of the year, President Trump will probably look for some “victory” or success to divert public attention away from deteriorating economic conditions.  The most likely targets will be renewal of hostilities toward Iran and/or an escalation of pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to resign.

Of course, the US has been conducting economic warfare on Iran ever since Trump stupidly pulled out of the nuclear agreement and began applying even more crippling sanctions on Iran.  In June, armed hostilities were about to take place over the Iranians downing of a US drone over its air space.  Reportedly, at the last minute, Trump called off retaliation, enraging, no doubt, the bloodthirsty neocons itching for an excuse to unleash more death and destruction.

Another factor, which has been little spoken of, but may contribute to foreign intervention is that Trump has alienated a number of his political base especially the spokesmen among the Alt Right.  While he still commands high poll numbers among Republicans and still attracts impressive rallies of “deplorables,” a number of his prominent backers, who were so crucial for his success in 2016, are, to say the least, disappointed over his inability to stem the tide of illegal immigration.  Moreover, these voices feel rightly betrayed since he has done nothing to halt the Internet tech giants from de-platforming many of their social media activity.

Another group which may be quickly added to disillusioned Trump supporters are gun owners and free-speech advocates if the President goes along with the proposed draconian “red flag” legislation. If these totalitarian measures are enacted, 2nd Amendment defenders will probably not vote for Trump’s opponent in 2020, but instead, may stay home in protest.

In electoral politics, voter enthusiasm can sometimes offset money and media control which was certainly the case for Trump both in the Republican primaries and the general election.  To win again, he will need to mobilize similar sentiment.

The politically savvy neocons, which the President has insanely surrounded himself with, are certainly aware of this dynamic which will give them considerable leverage to push forward their agenda.  A desperate Trump will surely be more malleable if a second term is in jeopardy.  Just look at the recent capitulation when there is, as of yet, no recession, yet, he called off the additional Chinese tariffs after the Dow plunged 800 points.

Even if a recession does not rear its ugly head, an armed conflict with Iran is a distinct possibility.  The more hard line neocons understand that they would be out of power under a Democratic president who may revert to compromise and negotiations to re-engineer a nuclear deal with Iran.  The push for war will intensify if Trump’s poll numbers drop as the election gets nearer due to a moribund economy.

Of course, the US is infamous for provocations and with the huge military build up in the Persian Gulf, any of the many trip wires may spring, leading to a local war which might turn into a general conflagration.

While it is not a certainty that a recession will lead to regime change in Washington, Trump has mistakenly tied his political fortunes to the well being of the economy especially the stock market.  He had the chance and the public support at the beginning of his term to level with the country and explain the monumental financial and economic problems which exist and that he had pointed out during the campaign.  Unfortunately, for both his and the nation’s future, he chose business as usual putting his own political goals (re-election) over the good of the country.

The cost of that choice is now coming to bear which may end in another war that will certainly seal the President’s fate and likely that of America.

*Sanjana Karanth, “Elizabeth Warren Predicts Another Economic Downturn.”  Politics.  22 July 2019.

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“We’re All Socialists Now!”

Despite being probably robbed of the Democratic Party’s nomination by the Clinton political machine, the success of the Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign with his advocacy of “democratic socialism” was an ominous sign of things to come and, in some sense, more telling of the political climate than Donald Trump’s improbable victory in November, 2016.  The millions of votes garnered by Sanders in the Democratic primaries has emboldened other socialists to seek political office while socialist ideas are openly spoken of with little fear of political recriminations. 

Sanders has doubled down on his advocacy of democratic socialism in a recent speech at George Washington University, calling for the completion of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s:

Today I am proposing we complete

the unfinished work of Franklin Roosevelt

and the Democratic Party by putting

forth a 21st century economic bill of rights.*

Even supposedly “moderate” Democrats are trying to tout their “progressive” credentials, such as creepy Joe Biden who recently said:

I’m told I get criticized by the

New Left.  I have the most

progressive record of anybody

running for . . . anybody who would run.**

While Sanders’ chance of becoming the Democratic nominee in 2020 is still uncertain, President Trump has already indicated what is going to be a centerpiece of his election strategy: oppose socialism.  The first hint of the strategy came at this year’s State of the Union address when the President declared:

America will never by a socialist country.***

While President Trump will espouse his supposed accomplishments (tax cuts, deregulation, trade) as a contrast to democratic socialism, his emphasis will also  deflect attention away from his most solemn campaign pledge which has not been achieved – a border wall and a crack down and deportation of illegal immigrants.

Whether this is a winning formula remains to be seen.  If the Democrats are led by Bernie Sanders in 2020, they will probably lose, unless the economy falls off a cliff (very possible) or the Donald follows the suicidal advice of the war- mongering team of Messrs Bolton and Pompeo and start a war with Iran.

While the Trump campaign narrative for 2020 may convince the masses who may still not be ready to vote for outright socialism, the country, like most of the Western world, has long ago imbibed and adopted many of the philosophy’s tenets. 

Frank Chodorov, one of the most perceptive and courageous writers of what was affectionately known as the “Old Right,” pointed out over a half century ago that America had enacted many of the ideas which were enumerated in Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto.  Chodorov constantly chided the Cold War warriors of his time, such as William Buckley, that communism had come to America without one shot being fired by the Soviets.

Frank Chodorov, 1887-1966

In one of his most penetrating essays, “How Communism Came to America,”* Chodorov incisively pointed out the “long-term objectives of communism:”

Among them are government ownership of land, a heavy progressive income tax,

abolition of inheritance rights, a national bank, government ownership or control of

communication and transportation facilities, state-owned factories, a government

program for soil conservation, government schools, free education.

He trenchantly asked: “How many of these planks of the Communist Manifesto do you support?  Federal Reserve Bank?  Interstate Commerce Commission? Federal Communications Commission? Tennessee Valley Authority? The Sixteenth (income tax) Amendment?  The inheritance tax?  Government schools with compulsory attendance and support?”   

Further in his piece, Chodorov describes how the American economy, even at the time, had taken on many features of state capitalism: deficit financing, insurance of bank deposits, guaranteed mortgages, control of bank credits, regulation of installment buying, price controls, farm price supports, agricultural credits, RFC loans to business, social security, government housing, public works, tariffs, foreign loans.

He again asked: “How many of these measures . . . do you oppose?” 

The next financial downturn, which is starring America in the face, will be far more devastating than the last since nothing has been resolved financially while the cause of the Great Recession – the Federal Reserve – continues to operate with impunity. As things continue to deteriorate, there will be even greater calls and support for more socialism.  The free market will be blamed.

Despite the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and the present day economic basket cases of North Korea and Cuba, socialism continues to be espoused throughout the West.  Despite its historic and current failures, socialism survives because it was never debunked philosophically within Western academia.  The main reason for this is that the intelligentsia derives much of their influence, power, and position from a socialistic society. 

Until the ideology of socialism is shown to be the morally corrupt, economic destructive, and de-civilizing social system that it has always been, the likes of Bernie Sanders will continue to be a nuisance and quite possibly the new rulers of America. 

*Stephen Dinan, “Sanders Proclaims Democratic Socialism as Answer for America.” The Washington Times.  13 June 2019, A1.

**David Krayden, “Biden Says He’s The ‘Most Progressive’ Democrat as He Almost Announces His 2020 Candidacy,”  The Daily Caller, 17 March 2019.

https://dailycaller.com/2019/03/17/biden-most-progressive-democrat-2020/

***Dinan, “Sanders Proclaims Democratic Socialism as Answer for America.”

****Charles Hamilton, ed. Fugitive Essays: Selected Writings of Franck Chodorov.  Carmel, IN.: Liberty Fund, 1980, pp. 186-89.

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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.

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[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. 

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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

 

 

The United States of Terror!

US Bombing Since WWII

Two recent articles* have again demonstrated that the greatest “terrorist” entity on earth is not the bogymen – Russia, China, Iran, North Korea – so often portrayed by Western presstitudes and the American government, but the United States itself!  Ever since World War II, the US has been the most militaristic, far surpassing all of the Communist and dictatorial regimes combined.

Some startling and rarely reported facts:

  • Currently, the US drops on someone or something a deadly explosive once every12 minutes
  • W. Bush’s military dropped 70,000 bombs on five different nations during his murderous regime
  • Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Barrack Obomber, launched 100,000 bombs on seven countries
  • Funding this mass murder is a reportedly $21 trillion (!) that is unaccounted for in the Pentagon’s coffers

Despite all of the “America First” bluster at the start of the Trump Administration, little has changed but, in fact, things have escalated.  While G.W. Bush in his wicked eight years dropped over 24 bombs per day and his successor upped that total to 34 bombs per day, the current Bomber-in-Chief has, in his first year in office, averaged 121 bombs per day!  For the initial year of his Presidency, 44,000 bombs were dropped on people and lands despite the fact that the US is not officially at war with a single country!

Despite these grisly statistics, which are hardly ever reported by the mainstream press, the military industrial complex and the controlled Western media outlets have propagated the lie of “precision bombing.”  Precision bombing has been trumpeted to minimize the effect of US aggression to the public that only true belligerents are targeted and not innocents.

When US bombing is reported by the press, the actual casualties and property damage are never accurately given.  The most notorious example of this mendacity was the coverage of Bush II’s Iraq war.  “The US and its allies ruthlessly carpet-bombed Iraq,” a UN report acknowledged, “reducing it from ‘a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society’ to a ‘pre-industrial age nation.’”

Later accounts of what actually happened showed that “only seven percent of the 88,500 tons of bombs and missiles devastating Iraq were ‘precision weapons.’”

Yet, it is hypocritical US policy makers that call certain regimes “rogue” and/or “terrorist” while their own defense budget is set at $700 billion to increase next year by $16 billion.  Yes, more taxes extorted from the public for the pulverization of peoples and their homes across the globe!

Even if these statistics were of common knowledge, do not look for things to change.  The majority of the American public loves its military and government and has been conditioned to overlook and accept nearly all of its military engagements and the propaganda that attempts to justify them.

Democracy Bombing II

What must change is ideology which, at one time, was strongly anti-interventionist, but gradually became pro-war.  Through education, the press, books, and the electronic media, the intelligentsia was able to manipulate public opinion.  Americans began to glorify war under the guise of spreading democracy and “freedom” to everyone, whether they wanted it or not.

Under current ideological conditions, a reversal of thinking to a non-interventionist foreign policy is not likely.  The only way that the nation’s rampaging foreign policy will be checked is through an economic collapse or a severe dollar crisis, the latter of which would end the greenback’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

If America no longer has the means to fund its military around the world, its imperialism will quickly come to an end.  It is extremely burdensome on a domestic economy to maintain a global empire and one that is actively engaged in costly military operations.  If the nation’s economy severely contracts or the dollar can no longer be printed with impunity, the bombing of other peoples and political involvement in overseas affairs would have to cease, or be drastically curtailed.  A historical example of this is Great Britain after WWII.

As it stands now, only financial calamity will bring down the world’s foremost terrorist state.  If such a scenario comes about, the US may become the recipient of the destruction, loss of life, and mayhem it has unleashed upon the world.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

*Tyler Durden, “America’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes, and No One is Talking About it.”  Zero Hedge,  6 June 2018,    *https://antoniusaquinas.comhttps://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-22/trumps-military-drops-bomb-every-12-minutes-and-no-one-talking-about-it

Tyler Durden, Debunking the Persistent Myth of U.S. Precision Bombing,” Zero Hedge. 23 June 2018, https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-23/debunking-persistent-myth-us-precision-bombing

 

The Fed’s “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers

Powell   Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently doesn’t see the pernicious effects of inflation

At one time, the Federal Reserve’s sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.

Naturally, the Fed and all other central bankers prefer the definition of inflation as a rise in prices which insidiously hides the fact that they, being the issuers of currency, are the real culprit for increased prices.

Be that as it may, the common understanding of inflation as rising prices has always been seen as pernicious and destructive to an economy and living standards.  In the perverted world of modern economics, however, the idea of inflation as an intrinsic evil has been turned on its head and monetary authorities the world over now have “inflation targets” which they hope to attain.

America’s central bank is right in line with this lunacy, as it has been reported that at the Fed’s “May minutes” it wants “a temporary period of inflation modestly above 2 percent [which] would be consistent with the Committee’s symmetric inflation objective.”* Translated into understandable verbiage, the Fed wants everyone to pay at least 2% higher prices for the goods they buy.

Yes, by some crazed thinking US monetary officials believe that consumers paying higher prices is somehow good for economic activity and standards of living!  Of course, anyone with a modicum of sense can see that this is absurd and that those who espouse such policy should be laughed at and summarily locked up in an asylum!  Yet, this is now standard policy, not just with the Fed, but with the ECU and other central banks.

The baneful consequence of this economic quackery is being felt by American workers as admitted by the Labor Department.  Instead of spurring expansion, inflation is eating into and depressing wages:

For workers in ‘production and

nonsupervisory” positions, the value

of the average paycheck has actually

declined in the past year.  For those

workers, average ‘real wages’ – a

measure of pay that takes inflation

into account fell – from $22.62 in

May 2017 to $22.59 in May of 2018.*

While the decline in nominal wages is not significant, the manner in which the government now calculates inflation has been skewed to understate its impact.  Under the previous calculation, the current US inflation rate is probably closer to 5%.

Wage stagnation is not new.  Average real wages peaked more than 40 years ago and have fallen in real terms ever since.  Not surprisingly, the drop in wages in real terms began soon after the US went off the last vestiges of the gold standard in 1971.

As sound theory has long ago demonstrated, the idea of economic growth through money printing is absurd.  Increases in living standards and real wages can only come about through savings, investment, and capital accumulation.  Workers who have superior tools and equipment are obviously more productive than those that do not. Yet, capital goods have to be produced and production takes place over time.  Savings allow for the production process.

The level of wages are also closely linked to savings.  The greater savings an economy has enables entrepreneurs to bid for workers and increase wage rates.  This is how wages rise – competition for labor among businessmen pushes up wage rates.  The more savings entrepreneurs have, the higher they can bid for employees.

How and why wage rates rise and how employment is created had been understood by economists of yesteryear.  Today, however, the profession is dominated by “inflationists” and monetary cranks who believe that nearly every economic problem can be solved by the printing press.  Anyone who holds such ideas cannot be taken seriously.

While the Federal Reserve may think an inflation target will create prosperity, the reality for real wages is quite the opposite.  The laws of economic science have not been repealed.  An inflation target will lead to the impoverishment of not just workers, but lower living standards for all.

inflation target.jpg

*Jeff Stein and Andrew van Dam, “For the Biggest Group of American Workers, Wages Aren’t Just Flat.  They’re Falling.”  The Washington Post.  16 June 2018 A10.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com