U.S. Supreme Court on Marriage

Today Darrell Castle is a guest on the Home Front program, hosted by four term Missouri State Representative, Cynthia Davis. Darrell and Cynthia discuss the upcoming US Supreme Court decisions that will determine the definition of marriage in our country. They also delve into some thoughts on the presidential candidates, debates and campaign funding for 2016.

Memorial Day 2015

memorial_dayFact:  America worships its military.  It has all the trappings of a religion.  Just as the Romans worshipped Mars, he remains one of our favorite gods today.

Fact:  There are soldiers and there are warriors.  They are not the same thing.  Even when they wear the same uniforms, the difference is in their heads.

Fact:  Not everyone who wears the uniform is a hero.  Calling them heroes cheapens the meaning of the word, and diminishes those who really have done heroic deeds.

Fact:  Soldiers (and warriors) are tools.  They exist for one of two reasons:  (1) the defense of a nation; or (2) the subjugation of other nations.  A tool is amoral.  It can be used correctly, or incorrectly, and neither is the fault or the tool.  We can deploy our military on righteous missions, or we can send them on missions to expand our empire, and they have no choice but to obey.

What determines whether a mission is “good” or “bad”?  Is it the way the current administration feels?  That could create a whipsaw effect, with one party sending the military to do “social missions”, the next one sending preemptive strikes against perceived enemy, etc.  No, the foreign policy of the executive branch should not determine whether we go to war or not.

Back up and look at the Oath of Enlistment, then compare it to the Oath of Service of every elected public official.  They are almost identical – they pledge allegiance – not to the country; not to the flag; not to the king or the president; not to Congress.  They pledge to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.  This is one of those things that makes the USA unique.  No other country does this!

If the Oath is to the Constitution, then should not the righteousness of every mission be measured against that document?  Is that so hard to understand?

Fact:  Soldiers who serve on unconstitutional missions are not “defending our freedoms”.  Indeed, they are diminishing our freedoms.  But don’t blame them.  They are just following orders, right?  (That sounds vaguely familiar.)  The politicians who send them on unlawful (unconstitutional) missions should be held accountable.  But they rarely are.

It’s tough to be in the military in lots of ways.  One of those is how to balance what you believe to be an unlawful order with the future of your career, and the financial security of your family.

I cannot help wonder whether the current suicide rate among veterans – (22 a day!  Can that be right?) – whether that might be related to some of the things they were required to do, some of the conditions under which they were required to fight, some of the sense of lost hope in the American Dream that we are the good guys.  They signed up and went over believing that they were there to defend freedom.  They’ve been told that by every TV program and move, every pastor, every recruiter, every drill instructor they’ve ever met.  They got over there and saw that they were protecting nothing except their own lives until the tour was over.  They found that “nation building” is a hoax, perpetrated by politicians with an agenda.

That has to be depressing.  They gave up jobs and families and sometimes limbs, and went to serve in a hellhole for what?  To satisfy the political agenda of politicians back home?  Yeah, that’s really worth dying for.  They lost friends, and they feel guilty about that.  They come home to no job, the woman gone to another man, to a reality that seems totally unreal to them.  They lose their bearings.  And in the middle of all this, everywhere they go, someone wants to pat them on the back and buy them a cup of coffee or a beer and tell them what heroes they are.  They know it’s a lie.  And that depresses them further.

What can we do to help?

  1. Unless they won medals for bravery, do not call them heroes.
  2. Be a friend without being judgmental about the war.  It’s not their fault.  Don’t press them to talk about it.
  3. Help them find a job, or better yet, to master a trade and find a really good job.
  4. Draw them into a circle of friends who will include them and help them know they belong, while the scars from their time in uniform are healing.
  5. Encourage them to study the Constitution – which they swore to support and defend, and yet something they were never taught about – not in school, not in the military.

Once they understand that they were pawns in a game, some of them will be mad.  Stay with them and help them channel that energy into a constructive path – electing politicians who do understand the Constitution, and who will not send our troops to wars of conquest, or to no-win wars, or to “multi-jurisdictional task forces” which are United Nations’ wars.

This is how you cherish the memory of those who went before – pay it forward.

The Peace of Westphalia and the New World Order

We hear the term “New World Order” all the time. We are afraid of that term.  But if there is a New World Order, then what of the Old World Order, the political order which has existed for hundreds of years? If we are suspicious of, and resistant to the New World Order, what order are we trying to conserve?

To find out the history and character of the Old World Order, we need to travel back in time to the 17th Century to the time of the Thirty Years War.  The Thirty Years War was fought in Europe from 1618 to 1648.  It began when the Austrian-Hapsburg Empire tried to impose Roman Catholicism on their Protestant subjects in Bohemia. It grew into a religious war of Protestant against Catholic, the Holy Roman Empire against France, the German princes and Princelings against the emperor and against each other, the nation of France against the Habsburgs of Spain.  At one point Swedes, Danes, Poles, Russians, and the Dutch all got into the act.  Until World War I, it was the bloodiest and costliest war in European history.

The Thirty Years War was fought largely on German soil, reducing the country to desolation and total ruin as swarms of unpaid hired mercenaries ravaged the land.  Rape, pillage, and famine spread across the countryside.  For thirty years, army after army marched through plundering every town, village, and farm they encountered.  There were reported incidences of cannibalism due to mass starvation. There was no order, no borders, no protection, no concept of “just tend to your own affairs” for the nations and people who sent armies into this conflict.

Out of this chaos came order, and a system of order that has held for centuries, with a few exceptions.  The rulers of the warring governments, and certainly the people of Europe, finally grew sick of the horror and demanded that it be ended. More than 179 diplomats representing 194 separate bodies or states, gathered in Westphalia to discuss peace. Thousands of bureaucrats and support staff were also there.  The papal nuncio, Fabio Chigi, who would later become Pope Alexander the VII, and the Venetian ambassador, Alvise Contarini, presided at the conference.  The system of world order which resulted is known as the Peace of Westphalia, or the Treaty of Westphalia.

The first six months of the conference were spent arguing over protocol – who would sit where, who would come into a room first, and who would cool his heels in the outer rooms.  Remember, there was no internet then.  Communication was primitive.  Postal communication often took weeks.  So the talks dragged on and on.   In the meantime, people continued to die of starvation and violence.

The diplomats finally decided to make protocol part of the larger agreement.  They agreed that all parties from the largest to the smallest would be treated as equals, and devised a way for all participates to enter the session at the same time.  Seating positions would rotate so no one would be perceived as having greater prominence than anyone else.

Under the provisions of the treaty, the Swiss gained their independence from Austria, the Netherlands gained its independence from Spain, and the German principalities became independent.  The dream of a Roman Catholic re-conquest of Europe was gone forever.  Protestantism was in the world to stay.

The main points of agreement brought order and stability to the world.  The states agreed to the following:

  • Each state could keep its own religion without outside interference.
  • The internal affairs of each nation-state was to be left to it alone.
  • The nation-state was to be the highest form of government and these nation-states would not be governed by clerics or religious leaders.
  • Each nation agreed to only attack other nations if it was immediately and strategically threatened. They would no longer attack each other just because one nation did not like what the other was doing. No pre-emptive attacks, only immediate threats.

This system of order, also known as the Westphalian System of World Order, has anchored the global political system for 350 years. There have been many violations, of course, violations which have led to war, but in general, and after the wars were over, the nations returned to the Westphalian system.

That is until now.  The Westphalian Order no longer holds in the Middle East where Islam holds power, especially in Iran which is called the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The Islamic State is technically not even a nation-state, but it acts as if it is.  It claims to rule by Islamic law over every Muslim on earth.  The absence of Westphalian order in this part of the world has brought chaos and violence in its place.

Another place where the Westphalian Order has broken down is in what many describe as “American Exceptionalism”.  Those who adhere to this view take the position that America is exceptional and is therefore obligated to serve as enforcer, or policeman, so whatever system of order it deems right, and whatever system of values it deems to be correct, can be imposed on the world by diplomacy, or by force if necessary.  But, in this point of view, America is exceptional, and is therefore not limited by the same order and values of the Westphalian order.  It becomes its own order, Pax Americana.  This view is bound to antagonize and provoke, just as a police officer who uses his badge as a license to violate the law antagonizes and provokes.

The Peace of Westphalia was not just one system of order among many, it was the most morally and intellectually appealing of all systems – a system where the parties agreed they would not seek to impose their religious principles upon others.  Nation-states became the highest form of government, and they would no longer interfere in the internal affairs of other states. It was a way of incorporating multiple societies, religions and states into a search for a more peaceful and orderly world.

Today, the search for a new system of order has lead us instead to a world of disorder.  We speak of international law and the international community while our interdependent world is threatened with chaos and disorder.  Our solution is to attempt the construction of a new world order, but an order without the old religious values which balanced the old world order.

In many ways America has rejected the order of Westphalia in an effort to achieve global dominance. The doctrine of American Exceptionalism allows America to philosophically reject the order of Westphalia, the principles of the Magna Carta, and religious values at the same time.  Once these are rejected all you have left is brute force.

Take the Middle East as an example.  Religion reigns supreme and obviously seeks to impose itself on its neighbors and ultimately seeks global dominance. The various sects of Islam war against each other, their neighbors, and the world.  Since World War I, this chaotic system has been controlled by the formation of artificial nation-states controlled by selected strongmen or dictators, if you prefer.

There are only about four actual nations in the Middle East — Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Israel — which can trace their existence back thousands of years, with brief absences here and there.  They seem to be emerging now as competitors for regional dominance.  The lack of respect for the internal affairs or religions of their neighbors leaves the region in a constant struggle for dominance among each nation and many warring subgroups, much like the situation in Europe in 1618.

Today’s Europe sees nation-states trying to become absorbed into regional governments, which leads to constant problems.  The region is under constant economic stress because of extreme debt conditions in weaker economies, which find it impossible to run national economies based on nothing but social welfare and tourism.  Immigration from the failed European states and from the Middle East, immigrants trying to escape from war and poverty, causes continued friction with the clash of Islamic religious fervor and the agnostic secular west.

Instead of looking at the problems from a Westphalian perspective, the various regions try to solve their economic chaos through various regional entanglements and free trade agreements.  The search for cheap labor to replace the more expensive home workers adds to the dissolution of borders and a breakdown of traditional societies.

These regional entities — whether the European Union, the Middle East, the TransPacific region, or the North American Union — are not nation states, though sometimes they try to pretend they are.  They usually try to resolve the frictions caused by loss of borders, unrestricted immigration, displaced workers, etc., by adopting a multicultural, “all cultures are equal and interchangeable” philosophy.  Eventually, in this new world utopian vision, all people will be one race, one religion, one gender, and one sexual orientation.  Kind of a hodgepodge, polyglot soup made from the world’s ingredients. Many people have tasted this new soup and they don’t like it.  They want their own religion, their own families, their own jobs and their own countries.

Never fear though, the people at the top of this have the answer. Each region can be governed by a regional player such as Iran, Russia, Germany or China.  The rulers will say to them, “We can control it all from Washington. You can be in the game, but you can’t be king, only we can be king.  If you don’t accept the vassal’s role, we will starve you out with sanctions and lack of credit.  We will totally dominate everything because we control the world’s money.  You are nothing but starving beggars without us and we have unlimited funds. If you behave, we’ll give you some of it.”

America has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, just permanent interests.  Welcome to the New World Order, though there is not much order out there yet.  The only solution for peace and stability is a return to the principles and Order of Westphalia.

State Banks

Part of the solution to America’s Economic Problems?

Virtually every problem that we face in America can be traced back to our current monetary system, set up in 1913 with the passage of the 16th Amendment and the creation of the Federal Reserve System. It has been over 100 years of chaos, war, depression, recession, and boom/bust economics. That is because the United States Congress surrendered its constitutionally-mandated authority over America’s monetary system to a cartel of bankers, who formed a central bank called the Federal Reserve (the FED). This bank is the central bank of the U.S., and since the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, it is has become the de-facto central bank of the world.

CENTRAL BANKS

Central banks exist to create money and loan it to governments at interest. They also set banking rules within the banking industry and with the manipulation of those rules they can control a nation’s economic success or failure. The point is that the FED creates money from nothing on its computers and loans it out at interest.

FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING

The second concept is fractional reserve banking which allows banks to create and loan out approximately 10 times what comes into the bank as loan repayments etc. It is how money multiplies in the economy. The banks charge interest and secure capital such as real estate from money they loan which they create on their computers from nothing, all according to rules set by the FED. This is how governments and individuals become enslaved to the banks. It is also how governments finance wars and how war inures to the benefit of banks.

STATE BANKS

The point of state banks is to do a similar thing to what the FED does, except with little or no interest. A state could form its own state bank into which all state revenue would be deposited. The state could then loan this money at little or no cost, i.e. just enough to fund administrative costs. The state could also use the fractional reserve banking rules to multiply its wealth, removing to a large extent, the necessity for a state to borrow money from the banking system or to sell bonds to finance a public project. Industry, such as agriculture, manufacturing, etc., could be provided loans at little or no interest. People could return to work in good paying jobs. Ties to the world banking system and Wall Street would be weakened.

Why isn’t this, a more popular idea? Because central banks own everything including all politicians of any import as well as the heads of all major corporations, media outlets, university faculties, etc.

The state banking concept comes close to the ideas of social credit. That is, like water and electricity, credit is a public utility and should be available to people at little or no cost rather than owned by a private banking group. Credit is money, i.e. the medium of exchange, and people should have access to it.

The best known advocate of state banks is Ellen Brown www.webofdebt.com. She has a good book by the same title for sale on her site. The best known advocate of social credit is the American Monetary Institute.

The Constitution says that no state shall call anything but gold and silver money, but we haven’t followed that idea in a long time. The great post World War Two economic expansion was fueled by the credit bubbles largely created by the central banks. State banks run by boards of responsibly elected people would destroy the government’s ability to engage in mischief, and in addition, our current system is so destructive that state banks would be a vast improvement. Are they Constitutional–perhaps not, but they would be a much, much better system than we have now.