[Paleopsych] Gary North: My Fellow Americans
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Sat Jan 22 15:06:25 UTC 2005
"MY FELLOW AMERICANS... .."
Gary North's REALITY CHECK
Issue 415 January 21, 2005
Once every four years, a President is inaugurated. The
President gives an inaugural address, which is covered by the TV
networks. If most daytime viewers had their preferences, the
networks would not pre-empt the soap operas or Oprah. The
coverage is a revenue-loser for the networks. The festivities are
prime time TV news that evening. The "New York Times"
reproduces the inaugural address the next morning. Almost
nobody reads it. The event fades rapidly from the memory of
everyone who was not part of the event.
This is a good thing. Paying a lot of attention to
political speeches, let alone political parades, is a
mistake most of the time. This is especially true of second
inaugural addresses. The only famous one is Lincoln's, and
he was dead a month later. His famous phrase, "with malice
toward none, with charity toward all," was repudiated for
the next decade by Congress during what came to be known as
In the twentieth century, only two inaugural addresses
stand out, Franklin Roosevelt's first address and Jack
Kennedy's. Kennedy's famous phrase is remembered more as
the last hurrah of a now-lost vision than as a serious
proposal: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask
what you can do for your country." The can-do political
liberalism of Kennedy's inaugural address in retrospect was
overwhelmed by reality, first by his assassination and then
by his successor's escalation of the war in Vietnam.
What my generation remembers about that phrase was the
military draft and the quagmire in Vietnam, the first war
that the United States clearly lost, and did so on national
television. We do not remember the Peace Corps, except
possibly Tom Hanks' version in "Volunteers." If you want
two images that serve as the grave markers of Kennedy's
inaugural address, think of the rider less horse and the
casket, and think of the photo of that last helicopter out
of Saigon. "Ask not" by 1993 had become, "Don't ask, don't
We remember Johnson as totally confident when he came
into office, but invisible four years later at the
Democrats' national convention. We think of Nixon as
confident when coming in both times, but ludicrous with his
V sign as he flew away in a helicopter, disgraced. Politics
had consumed its two most dedicated American worshipers:
Johnson and Nixon. Ford is barely remembered: the only
President who received no electoral votes. His most
memorable phrase: "I'm a Ford, not a Lincoln." Too bad he
didn't say it at his inaugural. That may be because he
didn't give an inaugural address -- a tradition I favor.
Carter's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue is remembered, but
mostly as a stunt. What he said at the inaugural isn't
remembered at all. None of the inaugural addresses since
Kennedy's are part of the American heritage of rhetoric.
Roosevelt's is remembered, mainly because of its
phrase, "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." In the
context of 25% unemployment, the closing of thousands of
rural banks, and the seeming imperviousness of the
depression to government action, that was a ludicrous
statement. In fact, later in the speech, Roosevelt said as
much, but that is not what we recall of his rhetoric.
What was most significant about that inaugural address
was that Roosevelt announced what he intended to do. He
then spent the next 12 years doing the opposite. In the
name of the People, he solidified control by the elite he
represented yet pretended to despise. By the time of his
death in 1945, he could well have said, "Mission
accomplished!" Nothing that has happened in Washington in
the last 60 years has significantly challenged his
revolution, which in fact was a consolidation.
A CALL TO REVOLUTION
Roosevelt's 1933 address announced in plain language a
Constitutional revolution. That revolution had been
launched by Lincoln in the Civil War, had escalated under
Teddy Roosevelt, and had been solidified by Wilson during
World War I. It involved the centralization of power by the
Federal government, power that was exercised primarily by
the President and the executive bureaucracy. Roosevelt in
1933 faced a national crisis, and he called on the voters to
accept whatever he might do. With only one major exception,
they did. The exception was his plan to pack the Supreme
Court in 1937. But the Court buckled, and ratified his acts
Late in the speech, Roosevelt praised the
Constitution. He did so as a send-up of his threat to
I am prepared under my constitutional duty to
recommend the measures that a stricken nation in
the midst of a stricken world may require. These
measures, or such other measures as the Congress
may build out of its experience and wisdom, I
shall seek, within my constitutional authority,
to bring to speedy adoption.
But in the event that the Congress shall fail to
take one of these two courses, in the event that
the national emergency is still critical, I shall
not evade the clear course of duty that will then
confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one
remaining instrument to meet the crisis -- broad
Executive power to wage a war against the
emergency, as great as the power that would be
given to me if we were in fact invaded by a
Roosevelt offered an explanation for the depression.
He demonized the bankers. This, of course, had been part of
the Democrats' political tradition ever since William
Jennings Bryan hijacked the Party with his Cross of Gold
speech in 1896. Roosevelt announced:
And yet our distress comes from no failure of
substance. We are stricken by no plague of
locusts. Compared with the perils which our
forefathers conquered, because they believed and
were not afraid, we have still much to be
thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and
human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at
our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes
in the very sight of the supply.
Here was the time-honored analysis of Marxists and
socialists: nature as bountiful but perversely restrained by
the institutions of capitalism. It was time to identify
these unscrupulous manipulators.
Primarily, this is because the rulers of the
exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through
their own stubbornness and their own
incompetence, have admitted their failure, and
have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous
money changers stand indicted in the court of
public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds
Money changers. Where had Americans heard that term
before? In church. Jesus chased the money changers out of
the temple. Roosevelt made it clear that he was prepared to
do the same.
True, they have tried. But their efforts have
been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition.
Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed
only the lending of more money.
Quite true. The Federal Reserve System, created
under Wilson in 1913, had the power to control the money
supply through the control of credit, mainly through the
purchase of U.S. government debt. But the public was not
borrowing in 1933. Commercial banks were failing. Within
days of the inaugural, Roosevelt unilaterally shut the
banks, fearing more bank runs. (The bank "holiday" idea had
been Herbert Hoover's, as Hoover insisted in his
autobiography, but Roosevelt had refused to support Hoover's
The Federal Reserve System had been heralded by its
proponents as the engine of financial stability, the
guarantor of continuity of credit. Yet the nation in 1933
was facing the worst depression in its history. The FED's
monopoly over the money supply granted by the Federal
government in 1913 in the name of financial stability had
failed to work. But Roosevelt did not target the FED in his
speech. He targeted commercial bankers, who were in no
position to offset the public's unwillingness to borrow
money in the fact of a 33% fall in prices, 1929-33. Few
businessmen wanted to borrow dollars when they might have to
pay off the loan with appreciating dollars.
Voters then, like voters today, did not understand
central banking. They understood rhetoric about profit-
seeking money changers.
Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce
our people to follow their false leadership, they
have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully
for restored confidence. They only know the rules
of a generation of self-seekers. They have no
vision, and when there is no vision the people
Yes, the money changers have fled from their high
seats in the temple of our civilization. We may
now restore that temple to the ancient truths.
The measure of that restoration lies in the
extent to which we apply social values more noble
than mere monetary profit.
ONE OF THEIR OWN
The great irony of this speech was lost on the
listeners, and has been lost on, or buried by, the history
textbook writers and even the historical monograph writers.
Franklin Roosevelt had been one of these money changers. He
had been the well-paid agent of the bond industry prior to
his election as Governor of New York in 1928. Beginning in
1921, after he had lost his position as Undersecretary of
the Navy under Wilson, and after he had gone down to defeat
with Cox as the Party's Vice-Presidential candidate in 1920,
Roosevelt became Vice-President of Fidelity Deposit Company
He had gone to Grotton, the elite prep school. He had
gone to Harvard. He was the heir of the Delano fortune,
which had been made in part by selling opium in China. He
was a rich only son of a wealthy New York family.
His inaugural address looked as if though was the
product of a rich man who had seen the moral light. On the
contrary, it was designed to divert the public's attention
from a new deal for big business, which would strengthen the
hand of the biggest corporations, whose managers desperately
wanted price floors and protection against new competition.
This story was told in detail by Antony Sutton three
decades ago: "Wall Street and FDR" (Arlington House, 1975).
The historical profession paid no attention to this book,
which was published by a conservative publishing house. As
Sutton wrote at the time, the vast majority of historians of
Roosevelt's administration have been FDR apologists. The
ones who know the story of his Wall Street connections
deliberately have concealed this information, knowing full
well that the public had been misled about Roosevelt's
background as a "money changer." His Wall Street
connections before his election as Governor make his
inaugural address appear as a rhetorical deception without
precedent in American history, which in fact it was.
Roosevelt had run the American Construction Council in
the mid-1920s. It was basically an industry trade council
dedicated to price-fixing arrangements. The A.C.C. had
originally been proposed by Secretary of Commerce Herbert
Hoover. Hoover and FDR were well acquainted with each
other. This, too, the public has never suspected. Both men
shared the same economic outlook: the Federal government as
the source of economic order and protection. Both men were
backed by the same Wall Street interests.
This was nothing new in 1932. Except for Bryan, who
was a Populist and defender of direct government ownership
of business, Wall Street had controlled the nomination of
every major party Presidential candidate since the end of
the Civil War. It still does.
Roosevelt had received donations for his 1928 campaign
from Wall Street financiers, most notably Joe Kennedy. And,
as Sutton shows, Roosevelt repaid them by creating a series
of New Deal agencies whose primary function was to save the
large corporations by allowing price-fixing under government
authorization. The Supreme Court kept declaring these
agencies unconstitutional, which is why Roosevelt proposed
the Court-packing scheme in 1937 as a way to get a pro-New
Deal majority on the Court.
I knew Sutton personally. His scholarship was
impeccable. His three volumes on the technology of the
Soviet Union, 1917-1965, showed that the USSR had developed
very little technology of its own, outside of armaments.
Its technology was either stolen from the West or bought
from the West. The myth of Soviet economic productivity was
admitted by scholars only after 1989, when the USSR's
leaders admitted that it was facing bankruptcy. Sutton's
first book on Soviet Technology received almost no attention
from the academic guild, even in journals that specialized
in economic history. There was a systematic blackout on
volumes 2 and 3, despite the fact that the set had been
published by the Hoover Institution. (I pointed this out in
my Foreword to his book, "The Best Enemy Money Can Buy,"
His book on "Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution"
received no academic attention, nor did "Wall Street and
Hitler." He was the first historian to publish a detailed
history of Skull & Bones, the Yale University secret society
that has produced three presidents (Taft and the two
Bushes). That book, too, went down the academic memory
For some of you, this is the first time you have heard
of any of this. This indicates how successful the blackout
has been. Before the Internet, it was easy for the academic
guild to bottle up studies like Sutton's. It no longer is.
The long-term connections between American big
business and the official enemy nations of the United States
are not discussed publicly. Occasionally, this neglect gets
In 1984, I attended a closed dinner meeting of the
leaders of the American Right, where the organization gave
an award to John Lehman, Ph.D., the Secretary of the Navy.
The man who handed him this award was his former roommate,
although we attendees did not know this. Lehman had been
one of Henry Kissinger's aides before he became Secretary of
the Navy. He is still in the news: a member of the 9/11
Commission. He is an investment banker, as his Web site
reveals. (http://snipurl.com/c5or) Anyway, at that awards
meeting, he gave a brief speech on the build-up of the
Soviet navy. Knowing what I knew, I started to walk out.
There are limits to my tolerance. But it was a large room.
I didn't make it to the door before I heard him criticize
Congressional opponents of a larger U.S. Navy. This got to
me: the Russians this, the Russians that. I turned around
and yelled, "If they are our enemies, why do we feed them?"
There was silence. So, just in case anyone missed my point,
I said again, "Why do we feed them?"
Of course, I could have mentioned the US-USSR Trade
and Economic Council (USTEC), the highly secretive
association of the largest American corporations that were
trading with the Soviet Union, and which, despite partial
government funding, refused to provide a list of its
members. The government also refused to reveal this
information, despite Freedom of Information Act requests. I
had extensive files on this organization. But no one in the
audience, other than Lehman, would have known what I was
I could also have mentioned the fact that the U.S.
government in 1972 had authorized the export to the USSR of
the unique, patented ball bearing machine tools that alone
made possible MIRVed nuclear warheads, a fact that Tony
Sutton had revealed in his 1973 book, "National Suicide:
Military Aid to the Soviet Union" (Arlington House). That
fact remains unknown in American conservative circles, over
three decades later. So, I skipped that, too. But the fact
that our farmers had been feeding the Russians ever since
Herbert Hoover's days under Harding was well known. So, I
asked the obvious question. Why do we feed our enemies?
Lehman mumbled. I left.
Sutton had the right answer. They were the best
enemies our money could buy.
So, all in all, I don't get too excited about
Presidential inaugural addresses. I figure they're
important for the President and his immediate family,
mandatory for senior staffers on the White House's payroll,
and good copy opportunities for editorial writers.
Like the State of the Union Address, no problem is
ever mentioned which does not have a multi-billion dollar
government solution at hand. This means ignoring two kinds
of problems: problems that really don't require government
spending to solve them and problems that cannot be solved
despite government spending.
The test of the relevance of an inaugural address is
whether the problems addressed in it are solved four years
later, and the programs created to solve them are no longer
being funded. "Mission accomplished!"
That'll be the day.
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