The MYSTERY surrounding “The Philadelphia Experiment” simply WILL NOT go away. What happened in 1943 in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on October 28, 1943? Could the government be hiding SCIENCE from us? NAW…say it ain’t so!
Kurdish “Federalization” Reminiscent Of Kerry’s Plan B, Brzezinski, NATO’s Plan A
March 17, 2016
Considering the history of the Kurds and Western machinations, and the repetitive use of the Kurds in those schemes, there is no guarantee a Kurdistan will ever actually take shape. Of course, with a Kurdistan, the Brzezinski method of micro-states and mini-states will become realized. In other words, the construction of a weak, impotent state based upon ethnicity, religion, and other identity politics but without the ability to resist the will of larger nations, coalitions, and banking/industrial corporations.
Without a Kurdistan, the strategy of tension and destabilization will continue to exist as a ready-made fallback plan with which to weaken the region and provide for yet another avenue to sink the countries surrounding the faux Kurdistan into regional conflict and war. After all, the West has repeatedly used the Kurds for their own geopolitical aims while dangling the carrot of Kurdistan over their heads. When the Kurds have served their purpose, they are usually dropped and left to their fate until useful to NATO again.
While the final goal of the Anglo-American empire regarding the creation of a Kurdistan still remains to be seen, the question itself is undoubtedly being used for geopolitical reasons today. It is also certain to result in lower living standards, greater oppression, and less freedom for all involved, the Kurds included.
THIS IS A VERY OLD CLIP AND DOES NOT REFLECT CURRENT RESEARCH ON THE LUNAR WAVE. THERE ARE MANY UPDATED CLIPS ON THE WAVE YOU CAN WATCH HERE AND I NO LONGER USE “HOLOGRAM” TO DESCRIBE THE LUNAR WAVE.
Just a reminder… It’s not a moon.
We welcome the web bot guru to explore the obscurity that is Antarctica. In this 3-part show we deal with everything – some issues touched in Part 1: Why did Clif take interest in this mystery? What say web-bot about it? What happened there in the late 90ies? Why was it promoted for tourism after that? What’s the large magnetic anomaly under the ice? Why’s all satellite images censored & manipulated? What did Russians find in Lake Vostok? Are there really hot zones? Was there a nuclear meltdown in the 70ies? Where was Atlantis? Was Admiral Byrd right? What say the Ancients? What happens if the ice melts? And learn how Earth grows…
If America Wasn’t America, the United States Would Be Bombing It
Luttwak’s thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.
However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.
In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan’s most densely populated areas.
Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:
“Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that ‘the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…’ Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that ‘the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it…. [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it…” [emphasis added]
A few months’ prior, this rogue country’s invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa’s population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country’s military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.
This nation’s bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country’s population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:
“By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.” [emphasis added]
This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has explained:
“We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win ‘hearts and minds’ that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.”
This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II. While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.
This country also decided to bomb Yugoslavia, Panama, and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq’s entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children. Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were “worth it” as the “price” Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.
This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos. At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation’s 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.
Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines.
Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.
By Eric Zuesse
December 22, 2017
The first time when it became clear to me that I live in a dictatorship was in 2014 when reading, prior to its publication, the landmark (and still the only) scientific empirical study to address the question as to whether or not the United States federal Government is, authentically, a democracy — or, whether, alternatively, it’s instead more of a dictatorship, than a democracy. This study documented conclusively that America’s Government is the latter.
So, on 14 April 2014, I headlined “US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy, Says Scientific Study”. Subsequently, my editor linked it to the published article at the Journal where the study was published, Perspectives on Politics, from the American Political Science Association, and the full study can be read there.
On 30 April 2014, was posted at youtube the video that remains, to this day, the best and clearest ordinary-language summary of what that badly-written academic study proved. See its explanation here:
That summary’s title is also better than the title of my article was; this excellent video headlines “Corruption is Legal in America”, which is another accurate conclusion from that study. Every American citizen should know what this 6-minute video says and shows from the academic study, because it explains how the super-rich, as a class, steal from everyone else (everyone who isn’t super-rich): They do it through corruption.
Then, that same person who created the video did another presentation of it, but this time with text accompanying the video, and this article was titled “One graph shows how the rich control American politics”, and it indeed showed how. The super-rich carry out their control via corruption, which is legal in America and which can be done vastly more by rich people than by poor people — poor people simply can’t buy the Government, and any who would even attempt to do so would be using only the illegal means, which the US Supreme Court says constitutes the only illegal means, and that’s blatant bribery, which is lower-class corruption, not the far more lucrative type of corruption that super-wealthy individuals have access to. Only the forms of corruption which are available only to the super-rich are legal in America. That’s the reason why the super-rich keep getting still-richer, while the rest of the population are lucky if they don’t become poorer.
On 28 July 2015, former US President Jimmy Carter was frank about this situation; as a caller at a progressive radio show, he said this about America’s soaring top-level corruption:
“It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and US Senators and congress members. So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. … At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell.”
Three days later, Huffington Post published my article about that statement, which was headlined “Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the US Is No Longer a Democracy,” and it had over 60,000 likes on Facebook (here the article is shown a bit earlier, when it had 56,000) but HuffPo reduced that number down to its currently shown number, 18,000; and this article turned out to have been the last submission of the 100+ that they accepted from me. They’ve rejected all of my submissions after it. No explanation was ever given, and I never heard anything from them again.
The scientific article about America’s Government had reviewed 1,779 pieces of proposed legislation during the period from 1981 to 2002, and it found that only what the super-rich wanted to become law did become law: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy,” they said. That’s certainly not a democracy.
There has been speculation as to how far back historically America’s government-by-the-aristocracy (or, simply, America’s being an aristocracy — a rule over the public by the few super-rich, an “oligarchy”) has been in effect. Prior to Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, going back to the time when FDR died in office in 1945 as the President, the distribution of income and of wealth was much more equal in America than it started to become as soon as Reagan entered the White House and began the subsequent dominance of supply-side economics, which is based upon the supply-push belief that wealth trickles down from the few rich, instead of (as FDR believed) in a demand-pull way, that it percolates up from the many poor. FDR believed that what drives an economy is needs, not the products and services to fill needs. Reagan believed in the opposite, Say’s law, which says that whatever is produced will fill needs (or at least desires) — that production is what drives an economy, and that needs (and desires) just take care of themselves. So, FDR focused on “the common man” and especially the poor, but Reagan focused on “entrepreneurs” or the owners of businesses. (The middle class isn’t an issue here, but is simply the richer portion of the poor. Historically that has been the case. For example, America’s middle class has declined while the poor have mushroomed, but the top 5% are getting all of the gains; and most of that is going to the top 1% or even less. So: “poor” here includes the middle-class; and, to refer to “middle-class America” is now like referring to a dying breed — but it’s a breed of poor, not of rich.)
However, the extreme corruption at the top in this country is showing up more sharply than ever in recently declassified US Government documents about the JFK assassination — showing up as having begun much earlier than had generally been suspected, begun at least by the time when President Kennedy came into office on 20 January 1961. Kennedy found himself surrounded by the military-industrial complex that his predecessor, Eisenhower, had cultivated while he was in the White House and that “Ike” hypocritically warned the American public against, on his way out of office, only on 17 January 1961 — three days before Kennedy’s inauguration. Some of these corrupt people were ones whom Kennedy himself had brought in. Not all of them were Ike’s holdovers. But Kennedy was apparently shocked, nonetheless.
The beginnings of this profound corruption might be traced still farther back to moles in the Government (such as the Dulles brothers, Averell Harriman and Prescott Bush) who had built their careers after World War I by means of plying and mastering the revolving door between the Government’s foreign-policy Establishment and Wall Street. Starting at the very end of WW II, in 1945, agents of these moles ended FDR’s Office of Strategic Services and started Truman’s CIA. Right from the get-go, the CIA was deeply corrupt, as the following 2.5-hour BBC documentary from 1992 makes clear:
Operation Gladio – Full 1992 documentary BBC
It documents from testimony of former CIA operatives in Europe, that the CIA had been hiring European aristocrats and committed fascists and even ‘former’ Nazis, to set up terrorist incidents in Europe rigged so as to be blamed by the public against communists and against any entities that were favorable in any way toward the Soviet Union. Numberless Europeans were injured and killed in terrorist incidents that were set up by the CIA to be, basically, anti-communist propaganda. This CIA operation was called “Gladio,” and it continues to this day, even though communism itself is gone.
Subsequently, a video was done that’s far briefer, 50 minutes, and which starts with interviews of some of the survivors of these CIA-NATO operations, so that it’s far more from the victims’ perspective than was the BBC’s lengthier documentary:
NATO’s Secret Armies (2009)
When Kennedy became President, he found himself surrounded by advisors who were urging him such as, on 22 March 1962, John Kennedy’s own brother and US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy did, when RFK held a meeting to discuss “the possibility of US manufacture or acquisition of Soviet aircraft” because:
“There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations in order to provide an excuse for US intervention. If the planes were to be used in such covert operations, it would seem preferable to manufacture them in the United States.”
“We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized. Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of a Cuban agent and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.”
Even JFK’s own brother RFK, and Secretary of ‘Defense’ Robert McNamara, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk — plus lots of holdovers from the Eisenhower Administration — thought that this sort of thing would be worth the President of the United States considering. Fortunately, JFK didn’t.
Michael Ellison had gotten to see a bit of the 12 April 1962 document decades earlier and he reported it on 2 May 2001 in Britain’s Guardian under the headline “Memos disclose US cold-war plot to frame Castro”. Ellison wrote that “The idea was an element in a wider scheme that ‘may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the US government’, asserts James Bamford.” Since Bamford is perhaps the world’s leading journalist and historian who has written about the NSA (books such as his 1983 The Puzzle Palace), for even him to have expressed surprise in 2001 that the US Government, at its top level, was predominantly staffed by people who were racking their brains to figure out ways to fake Soviet terrorism and attacks so as for the US and NATO to have a pretext to invade the Soviet Union, indicates how much more cynical we all have become after George W. Bush’s lies about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ as pretexts for the US and its collaborators to invade and destroy Iraq in 2003. Not only was John Kennedy surprised to discover it in 1962, but James Bamford was surprised to discover it even as late as 2001. Bamford in 2001 might not have said what he said there if he had seen that 1992 BBC documentary, which showed that the top level of the CIA had been like this from the time when the CIA started in 1947. But with so much history behind us now and which had still been classified information, and thus non-public, until 2001 when Bamford said that the 12 April 1962 document described “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the US Government,” we today are hardly surprised at all to discover it. The corruption at the top of the US Government has long since overflowed its banks, out into the public’s consciousness. Not all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can put the myth of US Government decency together again.
One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a “loss of democracy” due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions. The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.
The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth—a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short—has succeeded not only in buying the label of “democracy” to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.
To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present). To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the “new world,” with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning “the people,” was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.
Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called “founding fathers,” the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the “subordination” so necessary for politics. When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than “the filth of the common sewers” by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves—meaning the overwhelming majority of the population—were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: “it is not a democracy.” George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as “a despotic aristocracy.”
When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a “democracy,” there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term “democracy” to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of “Indian killer” Andrew Jackson’s presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a ‘democrat,’ he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term “democracy” came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos. Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.
In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary “democratic” publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a “democracy” because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country’s history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, “criminals,” minors, the “clinically insane,” political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the “choice”—overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme—regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. “Multivariate analysis indicates,” according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination […], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy.”
To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau “extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the ‘New Left’ in general” (Cointelpro: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom, p. 22-23). Consider, for instance, Judi Bari’s summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: “From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing.” In the case of the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (AIM)—which were both important attempts to mobilize people power to dismantle the structural oppression of white supremacy and top-down class warfare—the FBI not only infiltrated them and launched hideous smear and destabilization campaigns against them, but they assassinated 27 Black Panthers and 69 members of AIM (and subjected countless others to the slow death of incarceration). If it be abroad or on the home front, the American secret police has been extremely proactive in beating down the movements of people rising up, thereby protecting and preserving the main pillars of white supremacist, capitalist aristocracy.
Rather than blindly believing in a golden age of democracy in order to remain at all costs within the gilded cage of an ideology produced specifically for us by the well-paid spin-doctors of a plutocratic oligarchy, we should unlock the gates of history and meticulously scrutinize the founding and evolution of the American imperial republic. This will not only allow us to take leave of its jingoist and self-congratulatory origin myths, but it will also provide us with the opportunity to resuscitate and reactivate so much of what they have sought to obliterate. In particular, there is a radical America just below the surface of these nationalist narratives, an America in which the population autonomously organizes itself in indigenous and ecological activism, black radical resistance, anti-capitalist mobilization, anti-patriarchal struggles, and so forth. It is this America that the corporate republic has sought to eradicate, while simultaneously investing in an expansive public relations campaign to cover over its crimes with the fig leaf of “democracy” (which has sometimes required integrating a few token individuals, who appear to be from below, into the elite ruling class in order to perpetuate the all-powerful myth of meritocracy). If we are astute and perspicacious enough to recognize that the U.S. is undemocratic today, let us not be so indolent or ill-informed that we let ourselves be lulled to sleep by lullabies praising its halcyon past. Indeed, if the United States is not a democracy today, it is in large part due to the fact that it never was one. Far from being a pessimistic conclusion, however, it is precisely by cracking open the hard shell of ideological encasement that we can tap into the radical forces that have been suppressed by it. These forces—not those that have been deployed to destroy them—should be the ultimate source of our pride in the power of the people.
As the financial crisis of 2008 took shape, the policy recommendations were not slow in coming: why, economic stability and American prosperity demand fiscal and monetary stimulus to jump-start the sick economy back to life. And so we got fiscal stimulus, as well as a program of monetary expansion without precedent in US history.
David Stockman recently noted that we have in effect had fifteen solid years of stimulus — not just the high-profile programs like the $700 billion TARP and the $800 billion in fiscal stimulus, but also $4 trillion of money printing and 165 out of 180 months in which interest rates were either falling or held at rock-bottom levels. The results have been underwhelming: the number of breadwinner jobs in the US is still two million lower than it was under Bill Clinton.
Economists of the Austrian school warned that this would happen. While other economists disagreed about whether fiscal or monetary stimulus would do the trick, the Austrians looked past this superficial debate and rejected intervention in all its forms.
The Austrians have very good theoretical reasons for opposing government stimulus programs, but those reasons are liable to remain unknown to the average person, who seldom studies economics and who even more seldom gives non-establishment opinion a fair hearing. That’s why it helps to be able to point to historical examples, which are more readily accessible to the non-specialist than is economic theory. If we can point to an economy correcting itself, this alone overturns the claim that government intervention is indispensable.
Possibly the most arresting (and overlooked) example of precisely this phenomenon is the case of the depression of 1920–21, which was characterized by a collapse in production and GDP and a spike in unemployment to double-digit levels. But by the time the federal government even began considering intervention, the crisis had ended. What Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover deferentially called “The President’s Conference on Unemployment,” an idea he himself had cooked up to smooth out the business cycle, convened during what turned out to be the second month of the recovery, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
Indeed, according to the NBER, which announces the beginnings and ends of recessions, the depression began in January 1920 and ended in July 1921.
James Grant tells the story in his important and captivating new book The Forgotten Depression — 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself. A word about the author: Grant ranks among the most brilliant of financial experts. In addition to publishing his highly regarded newsletter, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, for more than thirty years, Grant is a frequent (and anti-Fed) commentator on television and radio, the author of numerous other books, and a captivating speaker. We’ve been honored and delighted to feature him as a speaker at Mises Institute events.
What exactly were the Federal Reserve and the federal government doing during these eighteen months? The numbers don’t lie: monetary policy was contractionary during the period in question. Allan Meltzer, who is not an Austrian, wrote in A History of the Federal Reserve that “principal monetary aggregates fell throughout the recession.” He calculates a decline in M1 by 10.9 percent from March 1920 to January 1922, and in the monetary base by 6.4 percent from October 1920 to January 1922. “Quarterly average growth of the base,” he continues, “did not become positive until second quarter 1922, nine months after the NBER trough.”
The Fed raised its discount rate from 4 percent in 1919 to 7 percent in 1920 and 6 percent in 1921. By 1922, after the recovery was long since under way, it was reduced to 4 percent once again. Meanwhile, government spending also fell dramatically; as the economy emerged from the 1920–21 downturn, the budget was in the process of being reduced from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $3.2 billion in 1922. So the budget was being cut and the money supply was falling. “By the lights of Keynesian and monetarist doctrine alike,” writes Grant, “no more primitive or counterproductive policies could be imagined.” In addition, price deflation was more severe during 1920–21 than during any point in the Great Depression; from mid-1920 to mid-1921, the Consumer Price Index fell by 15.8 percent. We can only imagine the panic and the cries for intervention were we to observe such price movements today.
The episode fell down the proverbial memory hole, and Grant notes that he cannot find an example of a public figure ever having held up the 1920–21 example as a data point worth considering today. But although Keynesians today, now that the episode is being discussed once again, assure everyone that they are perfectly prepared to explain the episode away, in fact Keynesian economic historians in the past readily admitted that the swiftness of the recovery was something of a mystery to them, and that recovery had not been long in coming despite the absence of stimulus measures.
The policy of official inaction during the 1920–21 depression came about as a combination of circumstance and ideology. Woodrow Wilson had favored a more pronounced role for the federal government, but by the end of his term two factors made any such effort impossible. First, he was obsessed with the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, and securing US membership in the League of Nations he had inspired. This concern eclipsed everything else. Second, a series of debilitating strokes left him unable to do much of anything by the fall of 1919, so any major domestic initiatives were out of the question. Because of the way fiscal years are dated, Wilson was in fact responsible for much of the postwar budget cutting, a substantial chunk of which occurred during the 1920–21 depression.
Warren Harding, meanwhile, was philosophically inclined to oppose government intervention and believed a downturn of this kind would work itself out if no obstacles were placed in its path. He declared in his acceptance speech at the 1920 Republican convention:
We will attempt intelligent and courageous deflation, and strike at government borrowing which enlarges the evil, and we will attack high cost of government with every energy and facility which attend Republican capacity. We promise that relief which will attend the halting of waste and extravagance, and the renewal of the practice of public economy, not alone because it will relieve tax burdens but because it will be an example to stimulate thrift and economy in private life.
Let us call to all the people for thrift and economy, for denial and sacrifice if need be, for a nationwide drive against extravagance and luxury, to a recommittal to simplicity of living, to that prudent and normal plan of life which is the health of the republic. There hasn’t been a recovery from the waste and abnormalities of war since the story of mankind was first written, except through work and saving, through industry and denial, while needless spending and heedless extravagance have marked every decay in the history of nations.
Harding, that least fashionable of American presidents, was likewise able to look at falling prices soberly and without today’s hysteria. He insisted that the commodity price deflation was unavoidable, and perhaps even salutary. “We hold that the shrinkage which has taken place is somewhat analogous to that which occurs when a balloon is punctured and the air escapes.” Moreover, said Harding, depressions followed inflation “just as surely as the tides ebb and flow,” but spending taxpayer money was no way to deal with the situation. “The excess of stimulation from that source is to be reckoned a cause of trouble rather than a source of cure.”
Even John Skelton Williams, comptroller of the currency under Woodrow Wilson and no friend of Harding, observed that the price deflation was “inevitable,” and that in any case “the country is now  in many respects on a sounder basis, economically, than it has been for years.” And we should look forward to the day when “the private citizen is able to acquire, at the expenditure of $1 of his hard-earned money, something approximating the quantity and quality which that dollar commanded in prewar times.”
Thankfully for the reader, not only is Grant right on the history and the economics, but he also writes with a literary flair one scarcely expects from the world of financial commentary. And although he has all the facts and figures a reader could ask for, Grant is also a storyteller. This is no dry sheaf of statistics. It is full of personalities — businessmen, union bosses, presidents, economists — and relates so much more than the bare outline of the depression. Grant gives us an expert’s insight into the stock market’s fortunes, and those of American agriculture, industry, and more. He writes so engagingly that the reader almost doesn’t realize how difficult it is to make a book about a single economic episode utterly absorbing.
The example of 1920–21 was largely overlooked, except in specialized treatments of American economic history, for many decades. The cynic may be forgiven for suspecting that its incompatibility with today’s conventional wisdom, which urges demand management by experts and an ever-expanding mandate for the Fed, might have had something to do with that. Whatever the reason, it’s back now, as a rebuke to the planners with their equations and the cronies with their bailouts.
The Forgotten Depression has taken its rightful place within the corpus of Austro-libertarian revisionist history, that library of works that will lead you from the dead end of conventional opinion to the fresh air of economic and historical truth.
While the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks wrestled with each other for control of a revolution in Russian society, events intervened. In February 1904, just six months after the Brussels/London RSDLP conference ended in the infamous Bolshevik v Menshevik split, Russia was inveigled into a disastrous war with Japan in the Far East. Its roots are to be found in the Machiavellian machinations of the British foreign office, the Secret Elite, including King Edward VII, Sir Ernest Cassel, and Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb bank on Wall Street.  Outraged by the horrendous anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, Schiff made it a point of honour to help finance Japan in its war against Russia.
To the surprise and delight of the Imperial Japanese government, he volunteered to underwrite half of the ten million pound loan they raised in New York and London. He knew that the Japanese fleet had been built in British shipyards and their latest naval technology outgunned and outpaced the antiquated Czarist navy. Victory was not in doubt. This first of five major Kuhn, Loeb loans to Japan was approved by the Secret Elite’s main agent, King Edward VII at a luncheon with Schiff and Sir Ernest Cassel. In Germany, under-secretary of State Arthur Zimmerman endorsed the move and authorised Max Warburg to negotiate with Japan.  The Rothschilds had to tread carefully. While an international consortium of largely British-owned banking houses ensured that around half of Japan’s war debt was financed through bonds sold in London and New York, the Rothschild held massive investments in Russia, not lest in the Baku oilfields. Manipulators at the heart of the Secret Elite, like Lord Esher, facilitated meetings held on the Rothschild premises to enable the Japanese financial envoy, Takahashi Korekiyo, raise their war chest. 
As the Russo-Japanese War lurched from one disaster to another, political unrest in Russia deepened. In the infamous ‘Bloody Sunday’ atrocity of 22 January 1905, troops fired on a huge, but orderly, crowd of workers marching to the Winter Palace behind the charismatic Russian priest Father Georgii Gapon. Their intention was to present a petition to the Czar calling for universal suffrage. Around 1,000 peaceful marchers and onlookers were killed. Nicholas II had left the city the night before and did not give the order to fire personally, but he lost the respect of many Russians. 1905 was disrupted with direct action from workers’ demonstrations, strikes and rebellion by sections of the army and navy. The crew of the battleship Potemkin mutinied, killing the captain and several officers.
Striking workers formed ‘Soviets’, councils of delegates from workers committees, who could coordinate action. They sprang up in major towns and cities, including St Petersburg, where Trotsky, then twenty-three-years-old, played a major role. He had returned illegally from the safety of Finland under a false name and in the guise of a successful entrepreneur. Trotsky immediately wrote proclamations for distribution in factories and posted these throughout the city. In October 1905 a local strike by print workers flared into a national protest. Gangs of armed right-wing extremists were encouraged by the police to hold counter-demonstrations under the banners of ‘Holy Russia’ and ‘God save the Czar’. In response to the violence, the factory workers armed themselves. A showdown was inevitable.
In December, the Izmailovsky Regiment in St Petersburg was ordered to arrest the entire executive committee of the Soviet in the capital. In sympathy, the Moscow Soviet declared a strike and thousands of Muscovites took to the streets in protest. Cossacks sent to break up the Moscow demonstrations, twice refused orders to charge, and sympathised with the strikers. The crack Semenovsky Guards were less sympathetic, cornering protestors in Presnya, a workers’ district in the city, before shelling the area for three days. Many hundreds were killed including eighty-six children.  1905 had started with the Bloody Sunday massacre and ended with the Presnya massacre. Czarist forces, including the secret and much feared Okhrana secret police, prevailed. Later that year, Trotsky and 13 other members of the St Petersburg Soviet were arrested for political scheming and spent thirteen months as prisoners in the city gaol awaiting trial. In January 1907 each was given a life sentence of exile in a small Siberian village above the Arctic Circle, 600 miles from the nearest railway station. Trotsky escaped on his journey into exile and trekked for hundreds of miles through the Urals before making his way to Finland from where, after an extremely frosty meeting with Lenin, he went on to Stockholm and then Vienna.
Nicholas II ruthlessly persecuted the insurrectionists yet introduced measures of reform, including some basic civil liberties and the creation of a State Assembly, the Duma. It was similar to a parliamentary-type elected body but, much like the British parliament in the early nineteenth century, only male property owners and taxpayers were represented. The Czar retained power over State Ministers, who answered to him, not the Duma. If he was dissatisfied with the representative body not could be dissolved at will and fresh elections held.
Unrest continued. Prime Minister and committed monarchist, Pytor Stolypin, survived an attempt on his life in August 1906 when a bomb ripped his dacha (villa) apart while he was hosting a party. Twenty-eight of his guests were killed and many injured, including his two children. In June 1907, Stolypin dissolved the Second Duma, and restricted the franchise by sacking a number of liberals and replacing them with more conservatives and monarchists. In a further attempt to counter the revolutionaries, he enforced a police crackdown on public demonstrations. On a more liberal note, Stolypin introduced agrarian reforms which helped provide opportunities for many peasants desperate for land. Once noticeable consequence was a huge year-on-year increases in food production. Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador at St Petersburg, noted that though he failed to destroy the seeds of unrest which continued to germinate underground, Stolypin rescued Russia from anarchy and chaos. His agrarian policy surpassed all expectations, and at the time of his death nearly 19,000,000 acres of farmland had been allotted to individual peasant proprietors, by the land committees. 
Peasant emancipation and the consequent increase in food production were abhorrent to the Bolsheviks. They intended to bring all land under state control and implement cooperative food production. Trotsky had called the peasantry ‘a vast reservoir of potential revolutionaries’, and ‘accepted the indispensable importance of a peasant rising as an auxiliary to the main task of the proletariat’.  The goal was revolution and government controlled by the proletariat, that is, the working class who sold their labour for a wage, but did not own the means of production….