Tag Archives: lew rockwell

Paranoid Neocon Morons, Part 2

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  We apologize profusely for our inability to hold to our promise of posting this on November 27th. We hope you will read it…it’s well worth your time.

 

In Part 1 we dispatched UkraineGater Tim Morrison’s preposterous suggestion that Washington is helping Kiev subdue the Donbas so we won’t have Russkies coming up the East River.

His related claim that Ukraine is a victim of Russian aggression is even more ludicrous. The actual aggression in that godforsaken corner of the planet came from Washington when it instigated, funded, engineered and recognized the putsch on the streets of Kiev during February 2014, which illegally overthrew the duly elected President of Ukraine on the grounds that he was too friendly with Moscow.

Thus, Morrison risibly asserted Support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty has been a bipartisan objective since Russia’s military invasion in 2014. It must continue to be.

The fact is, when the Maidan uprising occurred in February that year there were no uninvited Russian troops anywhere in Ukraine. Putin was actually sitting in his box on the viewing stand, presiding over the Winter Olympics in Sochi and basking in the limelight of global attention that they commanded.

It was only weeks later – when the Washington-installed ultra-nationalist government with its neo-Nazi vanguard threatened the Russian-speaking populations of Crimea and the Donbas – that Putin moved to defend Russian interests on his own doorstep. And those interests included Russia’s primary national security asset – the naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea which had been the homeport of the Russian Black Sea Fleet for centuries under czars and commissars alike, and on which Russia had a long-term lease.

We untangle the truth of the crucial events which surrounded the Kiev putsch in greater detail below, but suffice it here to note the whole gang of neocon apparatchiks which have been paraded before the Schiff Show have proffered the same Big Lie as did Morrison in the “invasion” quote cited above.

As the ever perspicacious Robert Merry observed regarding the previous testimony of Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, the Washington rendition of the Maidan coup and its aftermath amounts to a blatant falsehood:

The Taylor/Kent outlook stems from the widespread demonization of Russia that dominates thinking within elite circles. Taylor’s rendition of recent events in Ukraine was so one-sided and selective as to amount to a falsehood.

As he had it, Ukraine’s turn to the West after 2009 (when he left the country after his first diplomatic tour there) threatened Russia’s Vladimir Putin to such an extent that he tried to “bribe” Ukraine’s president with inducements to resist Western influence, whereupon protests emerged in Kyiv that drove the Ukrainian president to flee the country in 2014. Then Putin invaded Crimea, holding a “sham referendum at the point of Russian army rifles.” Putin sent military forces into eastern Ukraine “to generate illegal armed formations and puppet governments.” And so the West extended military assistance to Ukraine.

“It is this security assistance,” he said, “that is at the heart of the [impeachment] controversy that we are discussing today.”

Taylor’s right that this narrative is at the center of UkraineGate, but there is not a shred of truth to it. Nevertheless, defense of this false narrative, and the inappropriate military and economic aid to Ukraine which flowed from it, is the real reason this posse of neocon stooges took exception to the Donald’s legitimate interest in investigating the Bidens and the events of 2016.

As Morrison put it Tuesday and Vindman said last week, their interest was in protecting not the constitution and the rule of law, but the bipartisan political consensus on Capitol Hill in favor of their proxy war on Putin and the Ukraine aid package through which it was being prosecuted.

As I stated during my deposition, I feared at the time of the call on July 25 how its disclosure would play in Washington’s political climate. My fears have been realized.

Not surprisingly, the entire Washington establishment has been sucked into this scam. For instance, the insufferably sanctimonious Peggy Noonan used her Wall Street Journal platform to idolize these liars.

As she portrayed it, bow-tie bedecked George P. Kent appeared to be the very picture of the old-school American foreign service official. And West Pointer Bill Taylor – with a military career going back to (dubious) Vietnam heroism – was redolent of the blunt-spoken American military men who won WW II and the cold war which followed.

As Robert Merry further noted, She saw them as “the old America reasserting itself.” They demonstrated “stature and command of their subject matter.” They evinced “capability and integrity.”

Oh, puleeze!

What they evinced was nothing more than the self-serving groupthink that has turned Ukraine into a beltway goldmine. That is, a cornucopia of funding for all the think tanks, NGOs, foreign policy experts, national security contractors and Warfare State agencies – from DOD through the State Department, AID, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Board for International Broadcasting and countless more – which ply their trade in the Imperial City.

But Robert Merry got it right. These cats are not noble public servants and heroes; they’re apparatchiks and payrollers aggrandizing their own power and pelf – even as they lead the nation to the brink of disaster:

But these men embrace a geopolitical outlook that is simplistic, foolhardy, and dangerous. Perhaps no serious blame should accrue to them, since it is the same geopolitical outlook embraced and enforced by pretty much the entire foreign policy establishment, of which these men are mere loyal apparatchiks. And yet they are playing their part in pushing a foreign policy that is directing America towards a very possible disaster.

Neither man manifested even an inkling of an understanding of what kind of game the United States in playing with Ukraine. Neither gave even a nod to the long, complex relationship between Ukraine and Russia. Neither seemed to understand either the substance or the intensity of Russia’s geopolitical interests along its own borders or the likely consequences of increasing U.S. meddling in what for centuries has been part of Russia’s sphere of influence.

They obviously didn’t get it, but we must. So let us summarize the true Ukraine story, starting with the utterly stupid and historically ignorant reason for Washington’s February 2014 coup.

Namely, it objected to the decision of Ukraine’s prior government in late 2013 to align itself economically and politically with its historic hegemon in Moscow rather than the European Union and NATO. Yet the fairly elected and constitutionally legitimate government of Ukraine then led by Viktor Yanukovych had gone that route mainly because it got a better deal from Moscow than was being demanded by the fiscal torture artists of the IMF.

Needless to say, the ensuing US sponsored putsch arising from the mobs on the street of Kiev reopened deep national wounds. Ukraine’s bitter divide between Russian-speakers in the east and Ukrainian nationalists elsewhere dates back to Stalin’s brutal rein in Ukraine during the 1930s and Ukrainian collusion with Hitler’s Wehrmacht on its way to Stalingrad and back during the 1940s.

It was the memory of the latter nightmare, in fact, which triggered the fear-driven outbreak of Russian separatism in the Donbas and the 96% referendum vote in Crimea in March 2014 to formally re-affiliate with Mother Russia.

In this context, even a passing familiarity with Russian history and geography would remind that Ukraine and Crimea are Moscow’s business, not Washington’s.

In the first place, there is nothing at stake in the Ukraine that matters. During the last 800 years it has been a meandering set of borders in search of a country.

In fact, the intervals in which the Ukraine existed as an independent nation have been few and far between. Invariably, its rulers, petty potentates and corrupt politicians made deals with or surrendered to every outside power that came along.

These included the Lithuanians, Poles, Ruthenians (eastern Slavs), Tartars, Turks, Muscovites, Austrians and Czars, among manifold others.

At the beginning of the 16th century, for instance, the territory of today’s Ukraine was scattered largely among the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Ruthenia (light brown area), the Kingdom of Poland (dark brown area), Muscovy (bright yellow area) the Crimean Khanate (light yellow area).

The latter was the entity which emerged when some clans of the Golden Horde (Tartars) ceased their nomadic life on the Asian steppes and occupied the light yellow stripped areas of the map north of the Black Sea as their Yurt (homeland).

From that cold start, the tiny Cossack principality of Ukraine (blue area below), which had emerged by 1654, grew significantly over the subsequent three centuries. But as the map also makes clear, this did not reflect the organic congealment of a nation of kindred volk sharing common linguistic and ethnic roots, but the machinations of Czars and Commissars for the administrative convenience of efficiently ruling their conquests and vassals.

Thus, much of modern Ukraine was incorporated by the Russian Czars between 1654 and 1917 per the yellow area of the map and functioned as vassal states. These territories were amalgamated by absolute monarchs who ruled by the mandate of God and the often brutal sword of their own armies.

In particular, much of the purple area was known as “Novo Russia” (Novorossiya) during the 18th and 19th century owing to the Czarist policy of relocating Russian populations to the north of the Black Sea as a bulwark against the Ottomans. But after Lenin seized power in St. Petersburg in November 1917 amidst the wreckage of Czarist Russia, an ensuing civil war between the so-called White Russians and the Red Bolsheviks raged for several years in these territories and elsewhere in the chaotic regions of the former western Russian Empire.

At length, Lenin won the civil war as the French, British, Polish and American contingents vacated the postwar struggle for power in Russia. Accordingly, in 1922 the new Communist rulers proclaimed the Union of Soviet Social Republics (USSR) and incorporated Novo Russia into one of its four constituent units as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) – along with the Russian, Belarus and Transcaucasian SSRs.

Thereafter the border and political status of Ukraine remained unchanged until the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 between the USSR and Nazi Germany. Pursuant thereto the Red Army and Nazi Germany invaded and dismembered Poland, with Stalin getting the blue areas (Volhynia and parts of Galicia) as consolation prizes, which where then incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR.

Finally, when Uncle Joe Stalin died and Nikita Khrushchev won the bloody succession struggle in 1954, he transferred Crimea (red area) to the Ukraine SSR as a reward to his supporters in Kiev. That, of course, was the arbitrary writ of the Soviet Presidium, given that precious few Ukrainians actually lived in what had been a integral part of Czarist Russia after it was purchased by Catherine the Great from the Turks in 1783.

In a word, the borders of modern Ukraine are the handiwork of Czarist emperors and Communist butchers. The so-called international rule of law had absolutely nothing to do with its gestation and upbringing.

It’s a pity, therefore, that none of the so-called conservative Republicans attending Adam’s Schiff Show saw fit to ask young Tim Morrison the obvious question.

To wit, exactly why is he (and most of the Washington foreign policy establishment) so keen on expending American treasure, weapons and even blood in behalf of the “territorial integrity and sovereignty” of this happenstance amalgamation of people subdued by some of history’s most despicable tyrants?

Needless to say, owing to this very history, the linguistic/ethnic composition of today’s Ukraine does not reflect the congealment of a “nation” in the historic sense.

To the contrary, central and western Ukraine is populated by ethnic Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian (dark red area), whereas the two parts of the country allegedly the victim of Russian aggression and occupation – Crimea (brown area) and the eastern Donbas region (yellow area with brown strips) – are comprised of ethnic Russians who speak Russian and ethnic Ukrainians who predominately speak-Russian, respectively.

And much of the rest of the territory consists of admixtures and various Romanian, Moldovan, Hungarian and Bulgarian minorities.

Did the Washington neocons – led by Senator McCain and Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland – who triggered the Ukrainian civil war with their coup on the streets of Kiev in February 2014 consider the implications of the map below and its embedded, and often bloody, history?

Quite surely, they did not.

Nor did they consider the rest of the map. That is, the enveloping Russian state all around to which the parts and pieces of Ukraine – especially the Donbas and Crimea – have been intimately connected for centuries. Robert Merry thus further noted,

As Nikolas K. Gvosdev of the US Naval War College has written, Russia and Ukraine share a 1,500-mile border where Ukraine “nestles up against the soft underbelly of the Russian Federation.” Gvosdev elaborates: “The worst nightmare of the Russian General Staff would be NATO forces deployed all along this frontier, which would put the core of Russia’s population and industrial capacity at risk of being quickly and suddenly overrun in the event of any conflict.” Beyond that crucial strategic concern, the two countries share strong economic, trade, cultural, ethnic, and language ties going back centuries. No Russian leader of any stripe would survive as leader if he or she were to allow Ukraine to be wrested fully from Russia’s sphere of influence.

And yet America, in furtherance of the ultimate aim of pulling Ukraine away from Russia, spent some $5 billion in a campaign to gin up pro-Western sentiment there, according to former assistant secretary of state for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who spearheaded much of this effort during the Obama administration. It was clearly a blatant effort to interfere in the domestic politics of a foreign nation – and a nation residing in a delicate and easily inflamed part of the world.

Indeed, Ukraine is a tragically divided country and fissured simulacrum of a nation. Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard called Ukraine “a cleft country, with two distinct cultures” causing Robert Merry to rightly observe that,

Contrary to Taylor’s false portrayal of an aggressive Russia trampling on eastern Ukrainians by setting up puppet governments and manufacturing a bogus referendum in Crimea, the reality is that large numbers of Ukrainians there favor Russia and feel loyalty to what they consider their Russian heritage. The Crimean public is 70 percent Russian, and its Parliament in 1992 actually voted to declare independence from Ukraine for fear that the national leadership would nudge the country toward the West. (The vote was later rescinded to avoid a violent national confrontation.) In 1994, Crimea elected a president who had campaigned on a platform of “unity with Russia.”

In short, in modern times Ukraine largely functioned as an integral part of Mother Russia, serving as its breadbasket and iron and steel crucible under czars and commissars alike. Given this history, the idea that Ukraine should be actively and aggressively induced to join NATO was just plain nuts.

 

[From an article published by LEW ROCKWELL]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A few well-reasoned thoughts on the life of John McCain

The mainstream media widely remember McCain as a patriot, maverick, and a decent man. Here are a few additional thoughts from a well-known observer and writer.

 

It’s generally considered unseemly to speak ill of the dead. But why? I don’t have a problem with it because I like to call a spade a spade anytime, especially when we’re talking about career politicians. Why are they, of all people, treated with special respect?

Only puff pieces have been written about McCain in the mainstream media since his death. Hagiographies, appropriate for a saint. The Establishment is trying to canonize him, while the hoi polloi just believe what they’re told over and over again. It’s shameful and inappropriate.

Now, I never met the man, but it seems that he was capable of personal charm. His notoriously volatile temper was promoted as a sign of authenticity, instead of instability. That, plus his time as a prisoner of war [POW], is basically what his whole reputation is built on.

Spending five years as a POW was, at least after the fact, the best thing that ever happened to McCain. His entire life, reputation, and position are built around this fact. Neither did it hurt that he was the son of a high-ranking admiral. How else could somebody who was a known screwup throughout his youth reach the political levels he did?

It’s acknowledged that when McCain was young he sowed a lot of wild oats. There’s nothing wrong with that. If anything, it’s a plus, showing he wasn’t a wuss who lived solely for other people’s approval. But he was apparently at fault in two serious plane accidents, including the USS Forrestal disaster, which took the lives of 134 US seamen.

Naval aviators are elite; they don’t get many second—forget about third—chances. There’s reason to suspect that the only reason he wasn’t drummed out of the Navy was because he was the son of an admiral. Of course, it’s hard to tell what the facts are with a highly politicized character such as McCain. Nobody wants to say anything bad about him.

McCain was famously shot down and spent five years in a prison camp. But the simple fact that someone was a POW doesn’t necessarily say anything about that person other than that they had some really bad luck. I’m very sympathetic to someone in that position, but almost every American aviator held as a POW survived.

It’s a pity that McCain had to go through imprisonment. The details of what happened to him and what he did or didn’t do, and why, are sketchy and disputed. I can imagine almost anybody would be under huge pressure to do things that he might later regret.

That’s not the problem. The problem is that he used his questionable military record to build his political career. He’s not unique that way. John Kerry did the same thing with his questionable decorations to become a senator, a Democratic presidential candidate, and Secretary of State.

When the Vietnam War came to an end in 1973, there were negotiations between Henry Kissinger and the Vietnamese government about US POWs. At the time, it seemed very certain that there were a couple thousand American POWs being held by the Vietnamese. But only about 500 of them returned to the United States. The other 1,500 or so were kept in North Vietnam.  It seems they were held as a bargaining chip. The Vietnamese expected war reparations for the immense damage that the Americans inflicted on their country.

The negotiations on the terms of their repatriation bogged down; the US didn’t want to pay the indemnity Hanoi demanded. And after a while, neither the Vietnamese nor the Americans wanted to acknowledge these people. They were an embarrassment for both governments. So the assumption is that they quietly died in prison. Maybe they simply “disappeared.”

But we’ll never know the truth because McCain was instrumental in making sure that the records of what happened were buried. We may never know what happened to those real or alleged POWs. They’re hidden behind a veil of secrecy now.  And that’s important because his entire political career is built on his Vietnam War record. And yet, his military record is completely unexceptional. Or even some place between undistinguished and shameful. But it’s hard to know the facts.

Why might that be? Maybe elements in the Establishment felt the US needed a national hero in Congress. I don’t recall there being many, or any, other than John Glenn the astronaut. You need the occasional hero—either real or manufactured—every generation or so to redeem the image of Congress. Nobody wants to think they’re 100% venal thieves and scumbags. McCain was in an ideal position as Chair of the Armed Services committee to push through all kinds of spending. His hero status sanctified whatever he did. A good case can be made that he was apotheosized because they needed a hero.

What’s to be said about McCain’s legacy as a politician?  This is much easier because we know what he’s done since he’s been in office. His track record as a politician is horrible, if you value fiscal solvency, personal freedom, or peace—the three things that really count for someone in office. He was kind of a reverse image of Ron Paul.

For one, he was involved in the Keating Five scandal where there’s no question he was paid a lot of money by Keating during the savings and loan scandal days. And he somehow managed to escape that.

He deserted his wife who was in dire health straits, and married a rich heiress. Now, everybody makes mistakes in their personal lives. But I find that dishonorable. I don’t know the exact circumstances—all we have is news reports from the time—but it doesn’t look good. Nobody talks about that.

More important, he was a man with no guiding political principles, except perhaps building the power of the State. He disguised that by cultivating the image of a maverick.

He styled himself a maverick because he often didn’t vote with the Republican establishment. And that’s laudable and understandable. But it wasn’t due to any principles. He did it because he was basically a Democrat. He shared all the values that Democrats have at heart. He was an archetypical RINO; a republican in name only. He didn’t do, or believe in, anything that Republicans supposedly stand for. I say supposedly because although Republicans are said to believe in fiscal responsibility and small government, that’s a sham. Once they’re in control, they build the Welfare State and the Warfare State just as rapidly as the Democrats.

It was purely public relations that turned a man without any principles into a lovable maverick. He was the exact opposite. He was a lifelong member of the Deep State.

McCain represented the worst of both parties. From a domestic point of view, he was an arch liberal, a welfare statist, always giving away other people’s money. He exemplified the worst of the Democratic Party from that point of view. As for foreign policy, I’d have to characterize him as an actual criminal. There’s never been a war that he didn’t actively support—Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, West Africa, the Ukraine, and Syria, the current disaster. He tried to provoke wars with Russia and China.

Everything—and I mean every single thing—this man did in foreign affairs, which is where he was most famous, was wrong headed, destructive, and disastrous.  We should all just be thankful he was never elected president.

 

[From an article by Doug Casey, published by LEW ROCKWELL]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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Outright fraud is running rampant in US educational system

Earlier this month the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation’s Report Card, was released. It’s not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just 7 percent reached at least a proficient level in math.

The atrocious NAEP performance is only a fraction of the bad news. Nationally, our high school graduation rate is over 80 percent. That means high school diplomas, which attest that these students can read and compute at a 12th-grade level, are conferred when 63 percent are not proficient in reading and 75 percent are not proficient in math. For blacks, the news is worse. Roughly 75 percent of black students received high school diplomas attesting that they could read and compute at the 12th-grade level. However, 83 percent could not read at that level, and 93 percent could not do math at that level. It’s grossly dishonest for the education establishment and politicians to boast about unprecedented graduation rates when the high school diplomas, for the most part, do not represent academic achievement. At best, they certify attendance.

Fraudulent high school diplomas aren’t the worst part of the fraud. Some of the greatest fraud occurs at the higher education levels — colleges and universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of white high school graduates in 2016 enrolled in college, and 58 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in college. Here are my questions to you: If only 37 percent of white high school graduates test as college-ready, why are colleges admitting 70 percent of them? And if just 17 percent of black high school graduates test as college-ready, why are colleges admitting 58 percent of them?

It’s inconceivable that college administrators are unaware that they are admitting students who are ill-prepared and cannot perform at the college level. Colleges cope with ill-prepared students in several ways. They provide remedial courses. One study suggests that more than two-thirds of community college students take at least one remedial course, as do 40 percent of four-year college students. College professors dumb down their courses so that ill-prepared students can get passing grades. Colleges also set up majors with little analytical demands so as to accommodate students with analytical deficits. Such majors often include the term “studies,” such as ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies and American studies. The major for the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38 (https://tinyurl.com/pjmga9y).

The bottom line is that colleges are admitting youngsters who have not mastered what used to be considered a ninth-grade level of proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic. Very often, when they graduate from college, they still can’t master even a 12th-grade level of academic proficiency. The problem is worse in college sports. During a recent University of North Carolina scandal, a learning specialist hired to help athletes found that during the period from 2004 to 2012, 60 percent of the 183 members of the football and basketball teams read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. About 10 percent read below a third-grade level. Keep in mind that all of these athletes both graduated from high school and were admitted to college.

How necessary is college anyway? One estimate is that 1 in 3 college graduates have a job historically performed by those with a high school diploma. According to Richard Vedder, distinguished emeritus professor of economics at Ohio University and the director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, in 2012 there were 115,000 janitors, 16,000 parking lot attendants, 83,000 bartenders and about 35,000 taxi drivers with a bachelor’s degree.

US education has been falling in comparison to other nations’ ability to educate the world’s youth for many years now. Seems like the first step toward any solution is for the American people to be aware of rampant academic fraud at every level of the system…and for our educators to start running an honest system instead of continually demanding more money to run a dishonest one.

 

[From an article by Walter E. Williams, the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist.]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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When the Republic becomes the Empire

We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night. The precise moment does not matter. There was no painted sign to say, “You now are entering Imperium.” Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: “Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible.” And now, not far ahead, is a sign that reads: “No U Turns.”

If you say there were no frightening omens, that is true. The political foundations did not quake; the graves of the Fathers did not fly open; the Constitution did not tear itself up. If you say people did not will it, that also is true. But if you say therefore it has not happened, then you have been so long bemused by words that your mind will not believe what the eye can see, even as in the jungle the terrified primitive, on meeting the lion, importunes magic by saying to himself, “He is not there.” That a republic may vanish is an elementary schoolbook fact.

The Roman Republic passed into the Roman Empire, and yet never could a Roman citizen have said, “That was yesterday.” Nor is the historian, with all the advantages of perspective, able to place that momentous event at any exact point on the dial of time. The Republic had a long unhappy twilight. It is agreed that the Empire began with Augustus Caesar. Several before him had played emperor and were destroyed.

The first who might have been called emperor in fact was Julius Caesar, who pretended not to want the crown and once publicly declined it. Whether he feared more the displeasure of the Roman populace or the daggers of the republicans is unknown. In his dreams he may have been seeing a bloodstained toga. His murder soon afterward was a desperate act of the dying republican tradition, and perfectly futile. His heir was Octavian, and it was a very bloody business, yet neither did Octavian call himself emperor.

On the contrary, he was most careful to observe the old legal forms. He restored the Senate. Later he made believe to restore the Republic, and caused coins to be struck in commemoration of that event. Having acquired by universal consent, as he afterward wrote, “complete dominion over everything, both by land and sea,” he made a long and artful speech to the Senate, and ended it by saying: “And now I give back the Republic into your keeping. The laws, the troops, the treasury, the provinces, are all restored to you. May you guard them worthily.”

The response of the Senate was to crown him with oak leaves, plant laurel trees at his gate and name him Augustus. After that he reigned for more than forty years and when he died the bones of the Republic were buried with him. “The personality of a monarch,” says Stobart,

had been thrust almost surreptitiously into the frame of a republican constitution…. The establishment of the Empire was such a delicate and equivocal act that it has been open to various interpretations ever since. Probably in the clever mind of Augustus it was intended to be equivocal from the first.

What Augustus Caesar did was to demonstrate a proposition found in Aristotle’s “Politics,” one that he must have known by heart, namely this:

People do not easily change, but love their own ancient customs; and it is by small degrees only that one thing takes the place of another; so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about a revolution in the state.

Revolution within the form.

There is no comfort in history for those who put their faith in forms; who think there is safeguard in words inscribed on parchment, preserved in a glass case, reproduced in facsimile and hauled to and fro on a Freedom Train.

Let it be current history. How much does the younger half of this generation reflect upon the fact that in its own time a complete revolution has taken place in the relations between government and people? It may be doubted that one college student in a thousand could even state it clearly. The first article of our inherited tradition, implicit in American thought from the beginning until a few years ago, was this: Government is the responsibility of a self-governing people. That doctrine has been swept away; only the elders remember it.

Now, in the name of democracy, it is accepted as a political fact that people are the responsibility of government.The forms of republican government survive; the character of the state has changed. Formerly the people supported government and set limits to it and minded their own lives.

Now they pay for unlimited government, whether they want it or not, and the government minds their lives — looking to how they are fed and clothed and housed; how they provide for their old age; how the national income, which is the product of their own labor, shall be divided among them; how they shall buy and sell; how long and how hard and under what conditions they shall work, and how equity shall be maintained between the buyers of food who dwell in the cities and the producers of food who live on the soil. For the last named purpose it resorts to a system of subsidies, penalties and compulsions, and assumes with medieval wisdom to fix the just price.

This is the Welfare State. It rose suddenly within the form. It is legal because the Supreme Court says it is. The Supreme Court once said no and then changed its mind and said yes, because meanwhile the President who was the architect of the Welfare State had appointed to the Supreme Court bench men who believed in it.

The founders who wrote the Constitution could no more have imagined a Welfare State rising by sanction of its words than they could have imagined a monarchy; and yet the Constitution did not have to be changed. It had only to be reinterpreted in one clause — the clause that reads: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, imposts and excises to pay its debts and provide for common defense and welfare of the United States.”

“We are under a Constitution,” said Chief Justice Hughes, “but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.”

The president names the members of the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate. It follows that if the president and a majority of the Senate happen to want a Welfare State, or any other innovation, and if, happily for their design, death and old age create several vacancies on the bench so that they may pack the Court with like-minded men, the Constitution becomes, indeed, a rubberoid instrument.

The extent to which the original precepts and intentions of constitutional, representative, limited government, in the republican form, have been eroded away by argument and dialectic is a separate subject, long and ominous, and belongs to a treatise on political science.

The one fact now to be emphasized is that when the process of erosion has gone on until there is no saying what the supreme law of the land is at a given time, then the Constitution begins to be flouted by Executive will, with something like impunity. The instances may not be crucial at first and all the more dangerous for that reason. As one is condoned, another follows, and they become progressive.

To outsmart the Constitution and to circumvent its restraints became a popular exercise of the art of government in the Roosevelt regime. In defense of his attempt to pack the Supreme Court with social-minded judges after several of his New Deal laws had been declared unconstitutional, President Roosevelt wrote: “The reactionary members of the Court had apparently determined to remain on the bench for as long as life continued-for the sole purpose of blocking any program of reform.”

Among the millions who at the time applauded that statement of contempt there were very few, if there was indeed one, who would not have been frightened by a revelation of the logical sequel. They believed, as everyone else did, that there was one thing a President could never do. There was one sentence of the Constitution that could not fall, so long as the Republic lived.

The Constitution says: “The Congress shall have power to declare war.” That, therefore, was the one thing no president could do. By his own will he could not declare war. Only Congress could declare war, and Congress could be trusted never to do it but by will of the people — or so they believed. No man could make it for them. Even if you think that President Roosevelt got the country into World War II, that was not the same thing. For a declaration of war he went to Congress — after the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. He may have wanted it, he may have planned it; and yet the Constitution forbade him to declare war and he dared not do it. Nine years later a much weaker president did.

President Truman, alone and without either the consent or knowledge of Congress, had declared war on the Korean aggressor, 7000 miles away, Congress condoned his usurpation of its exclusive constitutional power. More than that, his political supporters in Congress argued that in the modern case that sentence in the Constitution conferring upon Congress the sole power to declare war was obsolete.

Mark you, the words had not been erased; they still existed in form. Only they had become obsolete. And why obsolete? Because now war may begin suddenly, with bombs falling out of the sky, and we might perish while waiting for Congress to declare war.

The reasoning is puerile. The Korean war, which made the precedent, did not begin that way; secondly, Congress was in session at the time, so that the delay could not have been more than a few hours, provided Congress had been willing to declare war; and, thirdly, the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Republic may in a legal manner act defensively before a declaration of war has been made. It is bound to be made if the nation has been attacked.

Mr. Truman’s supporters argued that in the Korean instance his act was defensive and therefore within his powers as commander-in-chief. In that case, to make it constitutional, he was legally obliged to ask Congress for a declaration of war afterward. This he never did. For a week Congress relied upon the papers for news of the country’s entry into war; then the president called a few of its leaders to the White House and told them what he had done.

A year later Congress was still debating whether or not the country was at war, in a legal, constitutional sense. A few months later Mr. Truman sent American troops to Europe to join an international army, and did it not only without a law, without even consulting Congress, but challenged the power of Congress to stop him. Congress made all of the necessary sounds of anger and then poulticed its dignity with a resolution saying the president’s action was all right for that one time, since anyhow it had been taken, but that hereafter Congress would expect to be consulted.

At that time the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate asked the State Department to set forth in writing what might be called the position of executive government. The State Department obligingly responded with a document entitled, “Powers of the President to Send Troops Outside of the United States — Prepared for the use of the joint committee made up of the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on the Armed Forces of the Senate, February 28, 1951.”

This document, in the year circa 2950, will be a precious find for any historian who may be trying then to trace the departing footprints of the vanished American Republic. For the information of the United States Senate it said (Congressional Record, March 20, 1951, p. 2745):

“As this discussion of the respective powers of the President and Congress has made clear, constitutional doctrine has been largely moulded by practical necessities. Use of the Congressional power to declare war, for example, has fallen into abeyance because wars are no longer declared in advance.”

Caesar might have said it to the Roman Senate. If constitutional doctrine is molded by necessity, what is a written Constitution for?

Thus an argument that seemed at first to rest upon puerile reasoning turned out to be deep and cunning. The immediate use of it was to defend the unconstitutional Korean precedent, namely, the resort to war as an act of the president’s own will. Yet it was not invented for that purpose alone. It stands as a forecast of executive intentions, a manifestation of the executive mind, mortal challenge to the parliamentary principle. The simple question is: Whose hand shall control the instrument of war? It is late to ask. It may be too late, for when the hand of the Republic begins to relax another hand is already putting itself forth.

 

[This article by Garet Garrett was originally published as “The Decline of the American Republic” in The Freeman, February 25, 1952.  Garet Garrett (February 19, 1878 – November 6, 1954), born Edward Peter Garrett, was an American journalist and author; he opposed the New Deal and U.S. involvement in World War II.  The article was republished today HERE.]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’  AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something important we should all be honest enough to recognize…

Liberals and progressives all support waiting periods for gun purchases, but they oppose waiting periods for abortions. The overwhelming majority of gun purchases do not result in innocent and defenseless people being killed…but the sole purpose of an abortion is to make sure an innocent and defenseless person is killed.

 

From the LEW ROCKWELL blog

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

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