1/15/2009 Duty & Profit, a letter in a series of correspondence with Wm. F. Buckley Jr.
A work published in 1994 complaining about the national debt and the corruption of the Reagan-Bush estate.
Oil Painting by Mel Copeland
Duty & Profit
(Against governments run by greed)
by Mel West
To Cicero and Hortentius...
One writes on timeless matters and such discussions are always tested by time, which is the case with the issue of this work, Duty and Profit. When I was discussing the issue with Wm. F. Buckley Jr., we were just out of the Cold War being guided by a democratic President, Bill Clinton (42nd President of the United States, 1993-2001), with a New Congress, led by Newt Gingrich. This book was written during President Clinton's first term in office, before Mr. Gingrich announced ~May 1995 that "there will be no more borrowing on the national debt." Clinton, after some wrangling, got on board the new venture and became so dedicated to the precept he turned our deficit on the national debt from -$5 trillion to ~+$3 trillion. This is the financial result, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica,
"Economic growth continued during Clinton's second term, eventually setting a record for the nation's longest peacetime economic expansion. After enormous budget deficits throughout the 1980s and early 1990s—including a $290 billion deficit in 1992—by 1998the Clinton administration oversaw the first balanced budget and budget surpluses since 1969. The vibrant economy produced a tripling in the value of the stock market, historically high levels of home ownership, and the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 30 years."
As of this writing, President George W. Bush has reversed all of the gains Clinton achieved, and we are now staring at the same old spectacle of extraordinary government borrowing, as in the Reagan-Bush administrations, to pay for things which have more to do with corruption than serving the needs of the American people. The financial scandals surrounding the current Bush administration, such as the Enron and Halliburton Company (a supplier of technology and services to the oil and gas industries) scandals, are no less significant that the various scandals, such as the Savings and Loan scandal, under his father, President Bush. Keeping this perspective of history in mind, how moneyed interests can corrupt government, the argument in Duty and Profit now again has relevance. And each year, as I witness one horror and calamity after another, through the Bush leadership, I worry whether my voice may be mistaken, like another Candide, as the musings of a naive young man.
This is part of an ongoing argument between myself and Mr. Buckley which began with a work entitled, Against Leviathan [29 pp], including other works associated with it which resulted in a multi-volume, ~1,000 page book: Financial Institution Credit Watch [24 pp.], The Second Coming of the American Revolution [24 pp.], On the Breakage of the Holy Catholic Church [152 pp.], Works and Days among the Hyperboreans [38 pp.], Planks towards Freedom [55 pp.], Quest for Human Dignity [100 pp.], The Mehl Commentary [99 pp.], Duty and Profit [78 pp.], Immoral Coercion [46 pp.], From Dust and Ashes to Joy [104 pp.], and Who is of the Truth [80 pp.]. The conversation, which I refer to as the Buckley Series , lasted from December 1992 to April 29, 1995.
In the debate I took a formless nature, as opposed to Mr. Buckley's high profile and influential nature. The principal characteristic of my form was that I would contain the Spirit, as it were, of a gathering of the important sages in history, which we call, a Great Troop.. We apply them as an eternal, common body of knowledge, which includes the prophets of Israel. When you read the expression "we" in this work it is the position of the Great Troop which is being reflected.
In this book, Duty and Profit, we expressed that we were against Mr. Buckley's position, which is fundamental to Catholicism, that by faith one is saved. "Works are not relevant to salvation," they say. Mr. Buckley subsequently corrected me on this, that works are evidence of one's faith, and we included his answer in the next volume in the series, called, Immoral Coercion .
Our position, based on the foundations of Saints Peter and James, is that faith without works is death, whether to an individual or a nation. We began our conversation on this note of ethics, in fact: that because of a breach of faith of our government, the United States will collapse; doomed because of the lack of ethical foundations which require good works. We argued that the nation is akin to the Titanic (because of the numbers at risk) which had been holed and has a flooding bilge, threatening to capsize our ship of state any moment. We addressed Mr. Buckley, saying, Captain, oughtn't we to warn the passengers ? We quoted sages and scriptures why our leaders have a duty to do so, pointing out the while that avarice has been destroying us, and there is no wise man attending to our desperate state (which has already destroyed a host of families and scuttled some seven million souls to beg in our streets).
Mr. Buckley shifted the argument to his roots of Christianity, and the bulk of the argument then launched our exchange addressing the form in which Christianity began, being based on the idea, by His Faith you are saved (which then proceeds to duty to Truth) to which Mr. Buckley listed objections. These arguments, which apply "faith" and "duty" to the proposition at hand, of saving our sinking ship of state , are contained in the series of books noted above. In Quest for Human Dignity we draw a satire on the extent to which our ship has been defiled, and sensing a shift to more ethical foundations we here express hope in the New Congress , that the American people will be told the truth about the monster which has been sinking us, which begins with our exponentially rising National Debt. This should terrify you. Not because we have a sinister motive, but because the processes which put us in debt- -beyond our means--was deliberate and sinister. The Old Congress must be condemned for this betrayal of our trust. We here adopt Cicero's view, who witnessed the death of the Roman Republic, that causes and remedies in his time apply to us now.
An exposition of the nature of the National Debt, being a scandal, is on Maravot's_Homepage_4.html.
In the format selected, we look upon our state from high stairs, called Jacob's Ladder , and claim to have a better view than Mr. Buckley. To show him that view we drug him down through the Quest for Human Dignity , to the lowest reaches of hell, to observe a fouled Giant called Nimrod (re: of Dante's Inferno ), whom we said is America: its government and people, whose foundations are undermined by utter corruption. There is no faith here defending our Human Dignity, we complained.
In this entry we thought to form an underground work which might appeal to the [liberals] intelligentsia of Berkeley; but those of whom I know are generally repulsed by scripture, which we use liberally, and we had hoped to shift the argument back upon our National Character and Debt, using our ethics, calling to duty honest men to help save our sinking ship. But a characteristic of these writings is that they are driven by forces between the dialogue of Mr. Buckley and myself; thus, what was intended as a presentation liberals might stomach, became infused, as usual, with scripture because of Mr. Buckley's direction. Well, who needs their audience anyway?
Anyway, though Mr. Buckley made some upwards progress towards us, he made some scriptural errors which we here address. But before we enter yet another world of ideas, we thought to give you Table 1 [see Maravot's_Homepage_4.html] to munch, which shows what is involved in amortizing our entire National Debt over 40 years. The Table shows we are sunk, though a (kinda bitter) fix is possible. The longer this table is ignored, the greater the calamity to come.
Many people complain how the National Debt is being financed on a short term basis, where interest payable against the debt is higher than if we were to obtain a fixed interest long term loan (which is somewhat impossible because of the magnitude of the debt). The debt is being financed through bonds. Inflationary pressures of the bond market, as the debt continues to grow exponentially, will force interest rates higher than the 7% solution we have applied. The debt has been doubling every five years, as compared to the norm of compounding debts which double every ten years. In this and former works we list its consequences.
The format of our works, by the way, follows the direction of epistles in keeping with the tradition of the ancients whom we quote. The epistles do not recognize any boundaries separating traditional religious precepts from political needs and realities.
November 19, 1994
Dear Mr. Buckley,
Thank you for your letter of November 14, 1994 which was sent in reply to The Mehl Commentary .
That the resurrection of Christ may remain a stumbling block and a scandal , as you proposed, will no doubt be resolved in the First Resurrection seen by the Apostle John in Revelation 20.6. According to the criteria of that event (involving the restoration of Israel), it is now: the day of the First Resurrection is at hand. Jesus called it His Second Coming . This First Resurrection no doubt will have drawn out the church to focus on looking ahead to enlightenment, and a New Jerusalem, and the way to peace. What happened in Jesus' tomb is not likely to preoccupy the Mind of the First Resurrection, I think.
As regarding the first Christian Pentecost mentioned in Acts 2, the disciples had gathered together and suddenly after the sound of a great rushing wind were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in many tongues; these the foreign Jews visiting Jerusalem recognized were tongues of their own lands, uttered by Galilaeans. Saint Peter, according to Acts, attributed this event as fulfilling what the prophet Joel prophesied, which has to do with the Day of the Lord (meaning the Last Judgment), which was not in Saint Peter's time. Many Jews, according to the testimony of Josephus, the Gospels, the epistles of Paul, and, perhaps more importantly, the Dead Sea Scrolls , expected the Day of the Lord to be any moment. St. James [5.7] reminds the faithful to be patient unto the coming of the Lord; and St. Peter again [II Peter 3.8, 12] reminded them that the Day of the Lord could be yet a thousand years away.
Knowing this we have Joel's words beginning:
Joel 2.28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, etc.
– which continues the expression Saint Peter preached leading to:
Joel 3.1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
3.2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and parted my land...
3.14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the Day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
3.15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining..
3.16..and the heavens and the earth shall shake..
This sequence begins with the fulfillment of the LORD's Promise to Israel, as follows:
Joel 2.19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen..
2.26 And ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
2.27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel...
Sir, according to all accounts of the Day of the LORD, everyone will understand Him perfectly. This is what the Judgment in the valley of Jehoshaphat is all about. For it is hard to conceive of judging a people without, after the judgment, them understanding perfectly the nature of the judgment, isn't it?
Now the criteria of Judgment was set in the Torah of Moses. The Torah of Simchas has not changed it; neither did Jesus; and it is certain that Paul did not have the authority to change it. Chapter 1 of Pirke 'Abot addresses this fact, how a hedge was put around the Torah of Moses. Who is this torah of Simchas? I am pleased to leave Christians to observe the teachings of Jesus which are quite clear.
As concerning the first visitation of the LORD, of the Judgment of Israel, mentioned in Isaiah 7.14-24, there was much confusion among the Jews (and still is); and it is clear that there was much confusion over the nature of the two judgments, the scattering of Israel first, and then the scattering of the heathen, when these should occur. All of the scribes and rabbis did know one thing about what would be the sign of that visitation; and that sign is when their LORD manifests Himself in Jerusalem when they are redeemed to their land from exile among all the nations (which is what Joel addresses). What would happen before that occasion may not have been entirely clear to them, but the Latter Day was.
Noting this confusion, with regard to how Jesus clarified the matter, Luke records:
Luke 21.22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
21.23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
21.24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
21.25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.
21.26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
21.27 And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory..
Hence, reconciling Jesus' understanding to Joel's we have the same sequencing:
- The Judgment and scattering of Israel (Luke 21.22 - 24);
- The Judgment of the Gentile, when the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21.24 -26) with distress of nations, in perplexity, with men's hearts failing them;
- The appearance of the King coming with a Cloud to reign in Jerusalem; that at that time the Kingdom of God is at hand (Luke 21.30). The Cloud , we have mentioned before, was seen atop the Mercy Seat of the Tabernacle. One thing which has always been associated as a sign of the Kingdom is the restoration of the Tabernacle, as demonstrated earlier. The Valley of Decision mentioned by Joel represents a time when men of all nations will be in need of considerable mercy. It was Jesus' direction for his disciples to not get lured into that valley; and if you believe in Him and do as he asks you will be saved from it. The Second Coming, no doubt has something to do with stopping men from going into that valley, which is also called the Valley of the shadow of death. Through His faith, knowledge, and Wisdom men will be set free from making that passage. However, as Jesus so aptly pointed out, many shall be called but few shall be chosen [Mat. 20.16].
Saint Peter's First Sermon ended with the congregation worshipping in the Temple. He and the others never abandoned the Torah. Remember John's message?
1 John 3.18 My little children, let us love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Though there were heard many tongues, only God knows what the men of the Day of Pentecost were saying. But we know they were all in agreement for:
Acts 2.44..all that believed were together, and had all things common;
2.45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
2.46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
2.47 Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Holding all things in common and sharing with the poor are the results of that experience during the Day of Pentecost. Is this the message you received? This happens to rest at the heart of the message Jesus taught and the foundation upon which the Torah was framed. We see that their being of one accord in the temple, and breaking bread house to house, led to their salvation.
Now Saint Peter had no idea that the destruction of Jerusalem was so imminent, but the exegesis of the rabbis of his times thought it to be soon [re: the Oral Torah and Dead Sea Scrolls]. That Jesus warned the Jews, that Woe unto them who give suck in those days! confirms his view of the matter that Jerusalem would be trod down by the Gentile. Paul's epistles of the time show that he saw one Judgment, of the end of the world, the topic and times of which St. Peter and he disagreed. Luke cleared the matter up; and how the church has come to remain confused over these two events, these past two thousand years, is a subject for closer scrutiny. For Paul had his eschatology all mixed up.
We are, however, glad that you found our description of Jacob's Ladder edifying. We seem to have made enough progress here that it should now be appropriate to return to the original view, and clarify it more, which we expressed in Against Leviathan : of the desire and duty to present Truth [re: 1 John 3.18]; and this work specifically addressed the National Debt, how the lives of multitudes hang in the balance, of deed and truth. We opened our argument, I believe, on the issue of duty; and seeing that we were approaching that time of year again to discuss the effects of the National Debt, and to apply our faith through deeds and remedies (for talk is cheap, as noted above), I went on searching around for more truth.
Being inclined towards the Peripatetic school of discipline anyway, I enjoy wandering ahead pursuing my epistolary duty, and thus have prepared this in answer to your reply to the Mehl Commentary . Traveling towards the sun, we seek the chief good, which is honesty, and this leaves one alone from time to time, but we are glad that you are catching up to us. By the way, during the lull we seemed to have lost The Old Man of the Sea . He tends to have his own agenda, apart from our Great Troop , but I expect he'll catch up as well.
I mentioned a desire to hold the New Congress to its word, with specific regard to the National Debt, as I was wandering ahead among the Hyperboreans ; and a multitude of sages assembled behind me, with Cicero (I hope you admire him) at their head. Having heard the case, Cicero delivered to us a "How To" Manual of Discipline , on the proper maintenance of honest offices among the people. This should put you guys back on track , he said. These disciplines, by the way, emphatically redress the wrongs of the Old Congress whom Representative Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Dole just condemned. So I was glad to receive the document on their behalf, knowing that the New Congress ' condemnation of the Old Congress fit perfectly our case: that the Old Congress was dishonest, and now is the time to reveal it by our deeds and the truth.
The Manual of Discipline should be well received by the New Congress; and your reminder of Pentecost and the speech of St. Peter fits perfectly our address on the budget. For it is our hope that in their first meeting in January our New Congress will be overcome by the same Spirit of Truth at Pentecost and bring forth in deed and truth new hope for this nation. You, of course, can play a great part in our redemption in this regard.
Seeing as there is still a large school of the Old Congress within the New Congress , and fearing that the New Congress may be corrupted by the Old villainies, or even themselves be unfamiliar with the historical Manual of Discipline, we hope that perhaps the New Congress might adopt those virtues which are here forwarded. In as much as Newt Gingrich pledged the New Congress to honest and open behavior, our Manual of Discipline ought to be of service to them, seeing as how the Old Congress lacked one.
We must keep in mind in this day of great darkness-though today the New Congress party rejoices over the spoils lifted from the Democrats, singing, This is the Day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it ! --how important it is for truth to be fulfilled. Otherwise the joy could turn quickly to sorrow--I mean among the Heirs, of whom I am a part--for lacking good deeds and truth we may yet have to wade through the quagmire left behind the [continuing] Reagan-Bush Estate and its Old Congress. This sorrow, we fear, may turn to bitterness and then revenge; for whilst I was among the Hyperboreans I overheard certain of the Heirs argue whether the estates of those who created the Quagmire should be confiscated (even down to the fourth generation, they argued). Entering the discussion I was compelled to remind them certain duties they have with regard to remedying what the Old Congress and the Reagan-Bush Estate have done to this once great and honorable Republic. The confiscation of the property of the Old Congress so to reimburse the Heirs the loss of the Republic and other griefs may not be appropriate, I argued. In answer to my argument they opened many books, among which was the Third Discourse of Panaetius, Xenophon's Oeconomics, Cato's Discourse on Managing an Estate, Caius Pontius' book on The Consequences of Bribery, and the book of the Gracchi, On the Levelling of Estates, not the least among which were the many epistilary books by the first Africanus (Publius Scipio) who devoted his life to searching out those things in life, Of Virtue, which he made himself master of--as not only known in the abundance of his writings but also that great monument erected to his name. Also brought out were Cicero's works, among a host of others; and of these, having perused a copy of Cicero's Hortensius, and then The Offices, which dealt most precisely with Duty, we then browsed the Manual of Discipline, and built upon The Offices and others, the fragments of which we now forward to you.
Seeing that the Manual of Discipline covers most of the features of the books so well admired in antiquity, we saw no need to quote them in entirety here and feel that the Manual of Discipline should be sufficient in itself to impress upon you, others, and, in particular, the New Congress the need to fulfill your duty, and thus mitigate the effects of this Dark and Gloomy Day. For we are sure that you are quite familiar with the above listed works shown to me among the Hyperboreans and will agree that the Manual of Discipline fittingly represents them all.
We feel fortunate to have found you, for you have knowledge of both the sacred and the profane and have the wherewithal to appreciate the virtue of reaping knowledge: we speak of the chiefest good wheresoever it grows.
My neighbor, a lawyer, who is also a friend and soul mate of The Old Man of the Sea (who share many values in common with you) entered our argument, somewhat agreeing with your perceptions of Truth [sic. one must do whatsoever one thinks is best ]. He argued in chorus with The Old Man of the Sea , that there is no such thing as Truth, but not having read these works put him at a disadvantage, seeing as how he began his argument with presumptions we had disposed of long ago. Retracing a worn path is wearisome for me, as I am an adventurous sort, but since there are many who cannot read my books often I must retrace my steps for their advantage. After all, it seems that in dealing with such matters of honesty and duty, there are many whose interests tend to be on the lazy side, where they take occasion to lampoon matters of Virtue without having to invest any time in it; so to combat such leaders I found myself wearing out the same trail over and over, which is a trail already over-worn by the sages; and to this extent, retracing my steps again I caught up with Cicero and a few others who reminded me that this necessity is the mother of invention.
We begin this epistle on Duty and Profit by relating a parable how my Lawyer friend confronted Truth, or an obligation to Honesty, which we call, The Virtuous Lawyer . We show in this parable that in the short term an act of imprudence motivated by a relationship based upon Trust often imposes a needless sacrifice which would have neither added to the outcome of a trial nor subtracted from it.
The Virtuous Lawyer
Now this lawyer friend of mine happens to know that there are certain inviolable truths, though he philosophically claims there is no certain truth. In the course of circumstances which went from bad to worse, he was forced to take a stand on virtue, where he had been involved in a rather dirty strand of trials in a well-known soiled community whose concept of justice had been contaminated with drug trafficking. In his long chain of trials (which no doubt will continue) he was subpoenaed to testify on information revealed to him through his confidential client-lawyer relationship. Lawyers (whose reputation for lying and cheating excels all other villains of our day) always hold to one truth: that it is wrong to betray the lawyer-client relationship. This lawyer stood apart from the others because he tried to put honesty before all other duties of his occupation; and because of this his health was seriously effected and deteriorated over his career.
It so happens that in an earlier trial this lawyer, with the agreement of his client, agreed that the information his client had revealed to him should be presented as evidence. But then as a result of that trial a person in the jury was prosecuted for having perjured himself, and to support the prosecution of the perjurer in the subsequent trial the District Attorney (who had a child by the former trial's Defense Attorney), called my neighbor to the stand to reveal the confidential matters expressed to him in the earlier trial (which involved waver of the confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship).
Well, the subsequent trial relating to perjury would infringe upon my lawyer friend's confidential relationship with his client. When the subpoena came for him to testify again, my lawyer friend ignored the subpoena, wrote several letters claiming immunity (I suggested that he might be in double jeopardy); but his appeals fell on deaf ears and a state marshal appeared about a week after the subpoena and arrested him. He was handcuffed and put in solitary confinement over-night, then released the next day on the proviso that he would testify when called to do so (which was about a week after his arrest).
The Attorney General's office, which handled the perjury case, believed that my lawyer friend knew information which would convict the accused perjurer. Before his arrest my lawyer friend mentioned that, though he was not sure why they wanted his testimony, the fact is he didn't think anything he knew would have a bearing on the case of perjury.
His subsequent testimony corroborated this, and the Attorney General's Office, having unsuccessfully grasped for its last straw, as it were, lost its case against the accused perjurer. And this left an unresolved issue, that there is probable cause that the original trial was a mistrial and that the perjury case was a smoke screen to cover up the true facts of the case which, as said, involved a probable conflict of interest in the district and defense attorneys involved in the mistrial and possibly misconduct on the part of the judge as well (for some said that the attorney's child above mentioned might have been the judge's).
The outcome of the trial was as my lawyer friend suspected: that the cause of the Attorney General's Office against the accused perjurer was unjust; and the grief and discomfort (not to mention the fact that now he is a jail bird, having a record) he expected to suffer out of respect to the Lawyer-client relationship also followed its forgone conclusion.
Now the Lawyer friend had the choice of being prudent and testifying in light of the previous waver of the confidentiality of that particular testimony, or to claim immunity, which would result in his arrest. Whether he voluntarily testified or refused, the outcome of the trial would not be effected. While he did what among lawyers and also the media, who are covered by certain client-relationship immunity, consider virtuous, in this case what was virtuous was prodigal and not prudent.
My lawyer friend's imprudence is Virtue's gain, since it illustrates the point we have been trying to lay upon you, Sir, that prudence does apply when supporting the virtues, chief among whom are truthfulness or honesty.
Many Ways to Skin a Cat
We stand upon our earlier statement concerning the rule of the Didaché, verse 1.6 (see page C2 of Quest for Human Dignity). It is our purpose here, then, to exchange some guidelines with which you can be comfortable without compromising your commitment to the Catholic faith or your peers. For we have discussed openly matters of Truth having to do with the revelation of the consequences of our National Debt – as to the ruin already experienced and yet to come –; and we have also discussed certain truths relating to the source of the Holocaust which also, unless shouted from the rooftops, will be the cause of more bloodshed in the days to come.
Among the sages of history, Jesus Christ mentioned that there are certain truths which must be shouted from the rooftops. Truths which can save lives or the fate of a city or nation fall into this category. Those who will have been reading over our shoulder and shared in the confidentiality between us of those certain truths will no doubt choose that example, of shouting certain truths from the rooftops. Both Paul's and Martin Luther's erroneous teachings will be shouted out in this light. There are many, Sir, who are afraid of this role, as it will undermine not only the ministering they have done but also force them one day to admit that they have been perpetrating a lie (re: On the Breakage of the Catholic Church; see also Maravot's_Homepage_2.html).
Looking into the secrets of the secular world, we can see also a Truth of equal proportions which ought to be shouted from the rooftops. And this, we mean to say, involves the scandalous way the Old Congress and the Reagan-Bush Estate have laid a chain of deceptions upon this Republic, how that chain has not only destroyed the lives of many an American but also degraded the future of those in the World to Come. Please hear then our complaint and remedy on this.
It is worthwhile noting that the National Debt Scandal will soon reveal itself when the weight of the National Debt forces our teetering walls to come crashing down. At the moment our Republic is as a city, Sinop, which I saw on the Black Sea in Turkey, whose wonderful, high walls now are falling from the cliffs round about into the sea. Seeing this gave me the same feeling as if I had been before the high walls of Troy as they came tumbling down.
A grave concern
No matter which way you turn, we can meet you with gravity. For our Republic has been collapsing during our short conversation, which is now drawing upon two years.
How to mitigate the effects of the collapse, has been our issue; and your role in helping us Heirs mitigate the disaster is best done, as we before have said, in the best way you know how to do. Had you, in an earlier letter, referred to taking a prudential course to this end, our epistles might have taken a different course and avoided many digressions having to do with the defense of Human Dignity.
Lighting the Prudential Way
As one climbs towards the light of Truth, the prudential way is more easily discerned. But here is where most men fail, for being enclosed by darkness and the villainy of those around them, men resist stepping towards the Truth, cowering in the darkness, and thereby lose the advantage of being prudent!
Those who have walked in this light will assure you that there is no conflict between being honest and prudent; neither is there any call in most situations appealing for righteousness for one to squander his estate and reputation in upholding the virtues and Justice.
As described in the parable of the Good Samaritan, or the parable of Sandhu's Revenge, if one knows one can and ought to help another in need, one should do what one can to help him. Help may involve passing on a message to another, who can pass an appeal for help down the mountain to those who have the wherewithal to help. In other cases, as in the parable of the Good Samaritan, one who has the wherewithal to immediately, and on his own, help one in need beside a road should do so, whether he be an enemy or a friend. Cicero, in his epistle to us and his son, called The Offices, expresses this duty best [all quotes from Cicero are from The Offices]:
Cicero, The Offices, Book III.4..when we call the two Decii or Scipios magnanimous, and give Fabricius and Aristides the appellation of Just, that we set them for patterns of such justice and magnanimity, as we suppose to be in those who are perfectly wise: for they were none of them wise in that exalted sense, which we would here be understood to mean by that word. Nay, those who were counted and surnamed the Wise, such as Cato, for instance, and Laelius, and particularly the famous seven, yet in truth and reality were not such; but by frequently practising that middle sort of duties, had got a sort of show and resemblance of true wisdom. As no profit therefore ought ever to be put in opposition to that which is truly perfectly virtuous and honest; so neither should any interest, or convenience of life, be set up against that which is ordinarily called so, and which is followed by those who desire to be counted men of honesty and integrity: and we should be as careful to live up to that honesty, whereof we are capable, as the perfectly wise are of keeping close to that which is truly such and may in strictness of speech be called by that name: for whatever attainments we have made in virtue, they will never stand us in any mighty stead, if we be not thus careful of holding constantly to our duty.
My goodness what a mouthful! Were it not for the age discrepancy I should have thought it was Cicero himself who was in that chariot beside Arjuna (re: p. 42, The Tapestry of One), who offered such wonderful advise on the field of Sacred Duty.
Some men are known for their Eloquence, others Wisdom, others Influence, others for Magnanimity, and others for their Power. Those who have sustained themselves as guides through the aeons know who they are and what their duty is. This, of course, is simplified in the words, Know Thyself, which Apollo and Christ both were known for and is a common teaching of the Brahmins, Bhagavad-Gita, and other great works of the ages.
You are what you want to be
Those who are threaded into the warp of history – being especial parts around which the weaver turns our fate – know what they are. Some portray evil and others good. For instance, Nebuchadnezzar learned from Daniel and the Spirit of Prophesy, a mission which falls into this sort of knowledge: that he was used to perform an evil act against the Children of Israel. From the Scriptural point of view that act was an act of Justice, that God had performed against Israel what He had said He would do, as told through the prophets, such as Jeremiah. Of course, there is no recompense for one who performs evil except evil in turn is recompensed upon one's own head, as was the final outcome of Nebuchadnezzar's role in history.
Cyrus, on the other hand, was used for good, to restore the captive Jews to their land. In this role he was called God's Anointed and seemed rather pleased that he was given the honor to participate in the fulfillment of GOD's prophesy: to do good, that is.
In like manner, Cicero knew and cherished his role: comparing himself to Africanus, he pointed out how two men who were opposites in their way of Duty could serve the interests of the commonwealth by serving in the way they knew best. Africanus, after a great career as a leading statesman, became solitary and pensive in retirement; in contrast, Cicero, who was a philosopher and statesman as well, served his life out sharing the power of the pen. Cicero knew that writing was his nature and writing was, therefore, his duty. This is how I perceive myself, that I am a letter which is a great volume. One can see that as a book I am covered from back to front with scriptures and advise of the sages (which is fatiguing to most readers). The book, as guidance from the aeons, is like a robe covered from head to toe with scriptures from the sages of the aeons; and as I see the scriptures as points of light, then standing in the covering of the ancients I am saturated in light; not of my light but a reflection of the sages. Thus, I am confident in our being.
I am often tempted to write other things, for a profit, but am held back because they would not fit well on my robe (keeping the idea of my book being a robe), since the ancient philosophers scorned profiteering. I therefore cannot become like Cratippus, the greatest philosopher of Cicero's age. For he wrote what people wanted to read. But then, again, who today has ever heard of Cratippus or understood what he said? Or Simonides for that matter?
Cratippus leaned over to Cicero in the Hyperborean offices one day and moaned, Your office is in the hands of our Heirs; mine, alas, I took with me ! From that day on Cicero began to focus on his duty to the Heirs. Of writing epistles to them that is, by which means the Manual of Discipline was conceived.
Now this epistilary procedure was not a new thing. It was the formula for communicating the love of loves, the love of Wisdom. It was an old Greek tradition, that philosophical discourses should take the form of epistles. This you no doubt appreciate, but most of our generation have no idea what we have been doing or why it takes books to answer yours, a discerning man's short comments. This is an informative process for plucking knowledge I think.
It is thought and presentation of it that has bearing upon the communication between the worlds: between ourselves and our Heirs; and sometimes we have to go to great lengths, each in our own way, to accomplish it. The Teacher of Righteousness noted this form of communication, which we already quoted in The String of Pearls and elsewhere, but bears repeating here:
Dead Sea Scrolls, Book of Hymns 14.
Thou hast acted for Thyself and for Thy glory,
That the Law may come to fruition,
And hast sent among mankind
Men that be schooled in Thy counsel
To tell forth Thy wonders through the ages,
World without end,
To rehearse Thy deeds of power without surcease,
That all nations may know Thy truth,
And all peoples Thy glory.
All of them that follow Thy counsel
Hast Thou brought into communion with Thee,
And hast given them common estate
With the Angels of Thy presence.
16.35 Howbeit, when I hear tell
How Thou wilt yet come to judgment
Along with Thy stalwart angels,
How Thou wilt yet enter suit
In company with Thy host of Holy Beings...
I am full stricken with terror.
18.20 Lo, for mine own part,
When I mark the nature of man,
How he ever reverts to perversity and wrongdoing,
To sin and anguish of guilt,
A fountain of bitter mourning
Wells up within me;
My tears flow like rivers,
And sorrow is not hidden from mine eyes.
These things go to my heart
And touch me to the bone,
That I raise a bitter lament
And make a doleful moan and groan,
And keep plying my harp in mournful dirge
and bitter lamentation,
Till wrongdoing be brought to an end,
And men have no more to suffer
Punishing plague and stroke.
19.24..Only to the measure of each man's knowledge
And to the mead of his understanding
Hast Thou given men access to Thee,
To serve Thee in their several domains,
Even as Thou hast assigned their roles,
But never to overstep thy Word.
By means of the knowledge engraved within our hearts we step through the aeons to communicate between separate worlds.
The pool of Knowledge
There is a pool of knowledge certain beings frequent; and those who frequent it are neither counterfeit nor brash, but simply of the same mind as the Sons of Heaven. None of them would contaminate their robes out of the motive of profit, or, keeping the idea of the fountain in mind, leave behind them a polluted, murky fountain.
Be this as it may, and in the service of such an esteemed host, it follows that I must do my duty to them, to carry on the epistolary tradition of singing the praises of Virtue when men revert back to periods of darkness, when only the vial and the vain are extolled.
Having committed myself after this fashion, to walk in such noble light as those who have gone before us, we write epistles to those who have the light within them to understand our source and its eternal desires.
The other day my lawyer friend, following an objection mentioned by The Old Man of the Sea and his Wife, noted that everything he had heard out of my mouth, being in principal scriptures of the sages and prophets, has no effect upon him. He cannot relate to it , he said, that our scriptures will not alter his life one iota, as, again, he believed that there is no God, no eternal truth, etc. So I had to clarify to them that the ancients do not write to those who cannot see any light in our letters. We are writing to the aeons, linking the past with the world to come. This world, or age, we argued in The Mehl Commentary, is too dark for us to be understood; and except for you and a few others I would be writing in total darkness and lost in the consumption.
This too, is part of my duty, that I write even though I wonder whether anyone in this age might understand what we are doing. I fear quite often (as many before me must have feared) that the work would be for nought and lost behind the veil of time. But much of Cicero's work survived through two original copies; and it was not because of Cicero that he survived, but that which was in him: the sages and their Heirs I mean.
In as much as I have identified myself among the Heirs , it also follows that I am writing to my son and his sons, though his members are as yet not completely formed. This is what Cicero was doing also, and he points this out to his son, Marcus, in his book, The Offices. This vehicle King Solomon also used, as well as many others, such as ben Sirach .
If not writing to our sons, we dedicate ourselves to writing to kings and tyrants (which in America's case is most appropriate).
Having made these opening remarks, one must recognize one's duty, what he must do in the age in which he is in, always keeping in mind that his works are for the benefit not only of the present but the world to come. In this all of the sages agree that one cannot attend to such a responsibility by mixing profits with virtues, as one might combine old wine in a new wineskin. The sages like to speak of their orientation as a discerning man as opposed to the prodigal man. Aristotle, as mentioned, used the term, liberal man, where we use discerning man.
The Discerning Man
The discerning man understands his relationship to the common weal, so he always weighs his actions so to balance with that which serves Justice. Justice for the common weal, of course, requires that both the needs of the poor and the wealthy are attended to. We showed that this is a foundation of Aristotle and in turn we shall see it is a cornerstone of Cicero's and, apart from the monastic orders, the place where most of the world's sages begin with regard to the Orders of Duty in relation to Profit.
My lawyer friend, who opposed acknowledging an eternal truth, as it were, founded his beliefs upon the idea that everyone should love one another [sic. the Golden Rule ] and do what he sees best in his own heart, which is similar to the order The Old Man of the Sea recited. I answered that this [doing what one sees best] seems to reduce down to the Law of Hell: It's every man for himself; you're on your own kid, as listed earlier, to which you took some exception. Nevertheless I offered that this Law of Hell is the principal order of the American Way of life. It justifies all things, whatsoever one can imagine [for people imagine that loving one another includes condemning, lying and cheating, so common among Christians in America].This comes from the higher order of Survival of the Species , which argues in certain liberal minds that only the fit should survive (which supports only the Law of Hell), the thesis also of Zarathustra, who concluded that the most fit (following Martin Luther's conclusion) were the German people. Hitler liked this idea. These Zarathustrian, hellish values are repulsive to the discerning man.
Consumed by a glob of slime
We attacked the Law of Hell in our parable of Erikson's Reef , where we concluded that though the sharks are the mightiest feeders on a reef, there are processes at work on the reef which prevent the sharks from an over-kill situation. In contrast, we have the modern American, who is worse than a shark since he believes in his right of over-kill of all things. Looking at the earth as a garden, the worst abomination to it from all respects is an average American. For he is the most wasteful (uses 50% of the world's energy!) and irresponsible being on the planet. He reinforces his will with the highest towers and walls to be found, is the mightiest in the world at the moment, and justifies his over-kill through aphorisms that might gets right, the early bird gets the worm , etc. Apart from these values, his ministers on ethics discard other parameters of duty and virtue. This ultimately reduces down to defending those things which promote the interests of the wealthy; to hell with others.
The interests of the wealthy in the American system of values is to consolidate as much wealth as possible--following the parable of Erikson's Reef --into as few mouths as possible. It's the Big fish eats the little fish idea which the American people have come to refine; and, as we pointed out in our opening argument in Against Leviathan , this ultimately devolves to the situation that the big fish has now taken a multinational form and, unlike the octopus of the British Empire, has acquired the habits of a much more vile creature. Instead of the old British octopus with tentacles stretched out to feed on the nations the new multinational mutation has transformed the Old World Octopus into a glob of slime which first consumes its host and then engulfs others in its path. Picture this glob of slime seated over Washington DC, now engulfing the G-7, and creeping against the "developing markets" of the world. At the moment this foul creature already has perceived that its host is about to succumb, but it need not worry because within its slimy and scaling fingers are developing markets which are now replacing the American market as it collapses.
So these are the rules of the high orders of America; and we mention them again in brief here because we intend to contrast them with the rules of order two thousand years ago, when Cicero was warning Rome of the demise of the Roman Republic.
In my conversation with my lawyer friend, whose liberal views objected to my recital of scriptures--as they, he felt, would have no effect upon him--I answered that .knowledge is like a large field and my field relies heavily upon the sages and the prophets of all ages. I lamented that there are no sages today who can understand what the sages of the aeons were saying. This is evidenced in your Firing Line programs, particularly those on Justice, Mr. Buckley, (forgive me for saying this), because the panderers from government and university offices' knees have been wearing down the steps to your office; and you know as well as I many of them have sold their soul to get to your offices. Apart from Heaven, whose steps are worn through with honesty and wisdom, and certain officials of our government whose steps are worn away by the grit from their shoes, I doubt in this day there are any other more worn porch steps than yours.
Because of those whom we have seen kneeling on your steps, we are in somewhat of a disagreement, for where you see light in certain people we see darkness. These views are founded upon the field of knowledge in which I work, who are the sages, as said.
Who labors through our books testify--as you have somewhat acknowledge yourself-- that in them is a very large troop of sages and prophets, whom we have shown to have a common point of view. We are all of one mind as it were.
Well, this is not just a line of prophets and sages who are in our Great Troop , for each is the head of a large troop of disciples himself. So walking through me cover to cover will lead to the realization that within me is a cast of tens of thousands; and I believe they carry sufficient persuasive power to sweep away the dust of corruption which chokes our nation's great offices.
I pointed out to my lawyer friend that a conversation with me must include the field in which I feed. Excluding the wisdom of the prophets, or scriptures, for instance, only limits one's field of view. Upon this foundation of knowledge, then, are my orders; and it is our desire to display clearly what a contrast they are to the orders which your patrons and peers recite. If you will continue to bear with us, then, I hope to show, using The Offices of Cicero in this work, how our Orders are higher than those of the Old Congress , and possibly the New Congress , with whom you rub shoulders. We thus reinforce what we have already said, that the condemnation we recited in the Quest and The Mehl Commentary has a solid foundation.
We assume the Old Congress and perhaps the New Congress are not familiar with the orders herein, such as The Offices of Cicero, that work--of which we highly recommend--should be read as the first order of business in the New Congress . For my part, were The Offices to have been read and understood by the Old Congress , horrified; nay, disgusted, defenders of our Republic should be more visible and at least seen above the big heads of our politicians and the lackey Media who pander behind their every whim!
Being of the same mind with Cicero we can say that the average American representative and senator is the most disgusting example of a republican which has ever walked this earth. Disgusting? Sir, when it becomes commonplace for people to enter a voting booth to choose between candidates, whose campaigns are founded upon lies, and the voter knows they are lying and still votes for them, not only are the candidates and their electoral process disgusting so too are the voters who in ignorance vote for them! As said, I measure this against The Offices of Cicero which alone, once one reads that great sage's point of view, are enough to convict an honest heart that the American government and people have become vile.
Villains hate to be reminded that they are villains. During Cicero's day, the government was just beginning to be infiltrated with villains. Among many works he wrote The Offices complaining of the degradation of the Roman Republic. Keep in mind, Sir, that what we describe in America as an entire Republic corrupted, in Cicero's case, was just the beginnings of corruption, being centered around Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony's churlish conduct and Rome's response to those orders.
With this in mind, our work follows the same order as The Offices; but the situation as relating to the fall of our Republic to that of the Roman Republic is orders of magnitude more replete with indignities. For we speak of a collapse of proportions unimaginable and no less serious than World War II and the Great Terror of 1789 France combined. Compare now this cloud hanging over our head, to what Cicero saw:
Cicero, III.8..if, on taking a nearer view, we find if there is anything base and dishonest, in that which appeared to be profitable at first, it is our duty to reject it; which is not to deprive us of what is really profitable, but only to let us understand that nothing dishonest can possibly be such. Now if nothing be so contrary to nature as baseness, and nothing so agreeable to nature as true profit (which is certainly so; for she always desires what is right and becoming, and consistent with itself, and abhors the contrary), then it necessarily follows that whatever is profitable can never have any baseness or dishonesty annexed to it.
You, Sir, are our witness that there is not one person in the Old Congress or Reagan-Bush [-now Clinton] Estate who has not annexed to his being panderers of all types. The underhanded dealings on our National Debt, which opened our argument in Against Leviathan , confirms our point. The procedures which Reagan first initiated and continue to this day, of claiming deficit reduction through robbing Social Security and other funds, is simply dishonest. What he, his regime, and the Old Congress have continued against the American people, with regard to hiding the effects of the debt, with regard to refinancing the debt through bonds whose effects are covered by lies; as regarding other acts of dishonesty on the effects of multinational corporations who skim our assets over-seas; as regarding lies about a growing economy when the economy is collapsing; and as regarding the lies of fighting inflation when the truth is to the contrary, of collapsing the economy through higher interest rates (so to roll over its bonds), so to refinance the growing, exponential National Debt. These frauds, though a list in part, came not from a body of lawmakers but a body of lawbreakers.
It is common knowledge that by the end of this decade our National Debt will be at least $9 Trillion. Someone did a study on the entire assets of the US and discovered that if one were to bull-doze every man made structure from coast to coast into the sea, the loss would be about $9 Trillion. But the true measure of this staggering debt is in the process of covering up the effects of rolling bonds over to service the debt, disguising the fact that rather than printing money to account for inflation [of the budget] they would print bonds.
Cicero's government had a standard of excellence which required accountability, not only in the virtues but also the financial stability of government. They condemned Usury and required a balanced budget. Now here again we can illustrate how our government has been making its way by deceiving the American people, for many of the Old Congress represented themselves as being for a balanced budget, but thus far have presented abundant shams and disguises on how to balance the budget, which we will yet demonstrate is impossible given the criteria they have been following. Since the principal part of the deficit is the cost to service the National Debt, now of some $5 Trillion, that growing principle amount is beyond our means to balance each year. We show that in Clinton's claim to balance the deficit, using increased taxes, stolen Social Security funds, and "cutbacks," his ability next year to accomplish the same level of deficit reduction will be twice as hard [subsequently evidenced in the Government Defaults; ed. note]. For next year the deficit will be back but larger, using present schemes, and there will be fewer sources of cut-backs and a diminishing supply of Social Security funds to rob as well.
Here is the fruit of the matter: the government was not able to obtain a zero deficit this year pulling at the bigger straws, as it were; and next year the pickings will get narrower. They are now, as in the cliché, trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip; and each year, until a budget stabilization program includes amortization of the National Debt, the results will be dryer.
Since interest outlay amounts to about $ 1 Billion per day or perhaps a third of US revenues, and is growing, and in light of our collapsing economy due to cutbacks of all kinds, balancing the budget is impossible. Here now is where the lie gets more complicated and confuses the American voter. Senator Dole and those on the wagon who think they can balance the budget by eliminating entitlements will soon find that entitlements will increase as the jobless multiply and discontent takes over the streets. Now this direction of reducing entitlements is one which Cicero condemned also, for the Roman Republic saw itself as having a greater responsibility to its poor. When times were tough, they opened their granaries to the poor, for instance, as was true with most ancient regimes--even the tyrants. Many tyrants of the past discovered that it is cheaper to feed the poor than to raise up new palaces to replace those fallen into ashes.
In our particular case the poor of this nation are poor because of the deliberate actions of the government, as already addressed--from the export of jobs overseas to the great betrayal on the National Debt. We are clear here. The Old Congress knew the consequences of their works, that, whilst the wealthy would make out like bandits from their policies, their terms would lead to a collapsing job market. What we are speaking of, Sir, is a bunch of men on a ship who, knowing it was sinking into a debt from which it could not recover, rather than plug the leak, they built for themselves and themselves alone, lifeboats. Thus, unlike the trickle-down economics of Hoover's day, which were out of ignorance of the consequences, the Old Congress employed trickle-down economics deliberately, with full knowledge of whom they were patronizing, intending their hobbling effects upon the workers of America.
Balancing the deficit is like squeezing blood out of a turnip. The truth is, so Congress and their wealthy patrons playing the stock and bond market can be appeased, Congress will continue lying, using one excuse after another to hide the fact that the US is now so far in debt that statistics show it cannot be bailed out by any means!
With regard to Cicero's perceptions on responsible government and balancing the budget, the smoke and mirror tricks our Old Congress used to hide the impact of the debt are fit for a Roman kind of remedy. The argument here is whether those who perpetrated the fraud should be exiled, their property confiscated to repay the debt, and their heritage debased to the extent that no republican dare violate his nation in this way again.
To those who say they can balance the US budget, we ask where they might get the money to pay off the $5 Trillion and growing debt over forty years; for instance, it is evident that the tax revenues of the US are not sufficient to clear the debt over a forty year period. Ask one of your financial experts on the schedule for paying off our National Debt over the next forty years [re:Table 1 on Maravot's_Homepage_4.html]. Those who are lying about the debt would be wise to stop, for they are digging themselves a hole from which they--and specifically their children--will not escape. Let's continue to hear Cicero:
Cicero III.8. Again, if we were born for virtue or honesty, and this be the only desirable good, as Zeno would have it, or at least so much more so than everything else, as to outweigh all that can be put in the scale against it, which was Aristotle's opinion; it must certainly follow, that honesty is the only, or however the greatest good: now whatever is good must certainly be profitable; whence it follows that whatever is honest must also certainly be profitable. It is a villainous error of some bad men, therefore, when anything strikes them with an appearance of profit, to seize it immediately and enjoy it as such, without ever considering its relation to honesty. Hence, come assassinations, poisonings, and making of false wills; hence stealing, embezzling the public moneys, plundering and oppressing both citizens and confederates; hence the insufferable power and insolence which some men exercise, who are grown too great for the rest of their citizens: in fine, hence ambitions, and the desire of rule, have produced their most cursed and deplorable effects, even in free commonwealths; than which nothing can be thought of more odious and detestable. For men look on the fancied advantages of things through a false perspective; but as for the punishment appendant to them (I do not mean of the laws which they frequently break through; but of baseness and dishonesty, which is much the more grievous), that, I say, they never so much as think on at all. Such people therefore are impious and abominable, and deserve to be excluded from all society, who deliberate with themselves, and make it a matter of doubt whether they should choose what they see to be honest or wilfully commit what they know to be villainy: for the very making a question of such a thing is criminal, though one should not proceed so far as to execution. Those things therefore ought not to be deliberated at all on, where the very deliberation is scandalous and dishonest: and whenever we do deliberate on any kind of subject, we should never do anything out of hope and expectations that our actions will be concealed; for we ought to take this as a constant maxim, if we pretend to have made any progress in philosophy; that though we could hide from the eyes of all men, and even of the gods themselves, whatever we go about; yet we should be careful to abstain from the vices of covetousness and injustice, of lasciviousness and incontinency.
What fools those people are who flutter around you who have no idea that they are being watched, that what we see is self-revealing and when the shit hits the fan, as it were, we hope by then you will have separated yourself from them who have no idea what Cicero above so worthily said. Here we rely upon your admitting that with regard to certain perceptions of justice the Old Congress were wrong. Admitting a mistake is the first step towards light. Mencius [circa. 319 B.C.], who was a disciple of Confucius (whom we have heard before relating to the same subject), has a few words of wisdom in this regard:
Mencius, Book II.B.9..when he made a mistake, the discerning man of antiquity would make amends, while the discerning man of today persists in his mistakes. When the discerning man of antiquity made a mistake it was there to be seen by all the people, like the eclipse of the sun and the moon; and when he made amends the people looked up to him. The discerning man of today not only persists in his mistakes but tries to gloss over them.
The System which Confucius systematized seems to have fallen into disgrace during Mencius's day. How quickly virtue flies from men!
The criteria above is obvious to discerning men; and we know that you are a discerning man, that covering up the issues of our malfeasant government will in a short time be as an eclipse of the sun to even ordinary people!
We began this part on duty and profit with the first imperative to know thyself, and I explained how I know myself, that once you know yourself then you have a duty to fulfill your self. You are not separate from the society, from the peerage of the sages, and from the peerage of the Heirs, no more than any other discerning man is.
My role, as said, is to write the point of view of the prophets and sages, my Great Troop , as regarding this age and what are its consequences. I write to who understands and appreciates--or discerns--what the troop represents. After a manner of speaking, I follow the procedures Cicero and others before him established in the past: of bringing into one's argument the sages who went before. This, as noted in The Miracle of Zer Anpin , dealing with the small face of God, coincides with the belief of the rabbis, that by quoting a sage one gives him life. Hopefully, if I have done my duty well, others will build the work into an ever clearer statement such that the villains of this age will appreciate more specifically how and why their days are numbered.
We complained that the Gospel of Jesus should suffice to cause Christians to do their duty. But your reply to our argument (being sourced in Paul) suggested that men are not responsible to anything except faith: i.e.: what you believe to be true. We, in response, have gone to great lengths to sort out what you believe.
Reporting for Duty
Your presence in the national scene reflects that you consider yourself to be a discerning man and therefore kin to our troop. As opined in this work and in the Didaché (by the way the correlation in thought between Jesus Christ and Cicero is amazing) one must do one's duty in the way one knows best, always keeping one's path in the honest Way [sic. the Way of Life ].
We complained of the multitudes suffering and dying in our streets because of the villainous behavior of the Old Congress , particularly since Reagan took office. The fruits of the times reflect a national consumption, of desolated cities, of the abandoned, and the extraordinary homelessness of our people.
No matter what aeon we examine, the fruit produced from such regimes always tastes the same: bitter. What keeps fields from turning bitter are the wise men. Having said this, then we can examine the charge of the wise men from another point of view:
Mencius, Book II.B.4..Mencius went to P'ing Lu. Would you or would you not," said he to the governor, 'dismiss a lancer who has failed three times in one day to report for duty?'
'I would not wait for the third time.'
'But you yourself have failed to report for duty many times. In years of famine close on a thousand of your people suffered, the old and the young being abandoned in the gutter, the able-bodied scattered in all directions.
'It was not within my power to do anything about this.'
'Supposing a man were entrusted with the care of cattle and sheep. Surely he ought to seek pasturage and fodder for the animals. If he found that this could not be done, should he return his charge to the owner or should he stand by and watch the animals die?'
'In this I am at fault', said P'ing Lu.
How easy it was for Mencius to persuade P'ing Lu! I thought to myself. Surely Mencius's argument with P'ing Lu should convince you to come more to our Great Troop's side of the issue!
This parable, Sir, deals with shepherding, and among the sages the discerning man is the shepherd of shepherds. You, therefore, have a duty as a shepherd of shepherds and cannot stand by and watch the sheep die. Specifically speaking, about 400 homeless die per year from exposure in San Francisco, and no doubt the casualties from this mean estate are higher in New York City.
To turn his Charge to the Owner of the Sheep
With regard to the problem relating to the villainy in our government, rather than watching the people die wouldn't it be more prudent to turn the charge to those in charge of our New Congress : the American people? This is what we have asked, that the people be told the truth as to that thing [the National Debt] which has been ruining their jobs, families, homes, and cities. The longer the truth is delayed, the greater will be the consequences. Whatever the truth is, as regarding the debt, that is what the American People should be told: how their Old Congress and government have violated their trust-by not discovering the truth to the people-in a most heinous sort of way. Discovery is how people are obliged; and we call this reporting for duty.
Balancing the Budget versus Debt Reduction
Concerning the intellectual community who should know better as relating to this cause, they know what balancing the budget means, that Debt Reduction is required to balance the budget; they also know what a forty year amortization plan for debt reduction would do to this nation; furthermore, they know how the delay of addressing the debt has left us beyond our means: that we are about to default. In my discussions with others who comprehend the height of the debt, some have answered that we ought to default. Others look at this more severely: that the government must be reproached and dissolved and replaced with a new, responsible system. There is a view that any debt this nation owes is owed by that villainous Old Congress and government which created it; that those who extorted the nation should be plucked of their holdings to repay the debt. Our proposal is less severe.
To Edify and Inform
We know that one of the roles with which you associate is to teach and inform. Actually you went to great lengths in this mode when you put several champagne bottles with messages on the dangers of Communism afloat in the Atlantic. So the value of instruction from a discerning man must be drawn out in this spirit: that he instructs on dangers and never abandons that duty; when another danger becomes apparent, he moves against it. The instruction of a discerning man, being not gifted in the towers men build to themselves, is after this manner, building on examples which are not delivered to rust or rot. Vagrants look after towers, sopped in the glory of an instant, whilst the discerning man revels in Truth: teaching and informing through it and leading by example and building from there.
Our problem today is that there are no discerning men who have led the American people by example [re: 1 Peter 5.3], of teaching the values of honesty and the need to condemn the dishonest. But since our Old Congress and other leaders have taken to the most dishonest and obnoxious conduct themselves, what they have taught by their conduct and expressions is that villainy is the highest virtue.
They patronize those who continue that teaching. Like as in the days of Mencius, when he said:
Mencius, Book II.B.2 ..This is simply because the rulers are given to employing those they can teach rather than those from whom they can learn.
When our rulers appear in the Media this is the attitude they display. And the Media employ the same methods, all being as parrots, as it were, holding up the American people with their paradigms of bad faith and lack-luster virtues. Remember the note we listed when the MacNeil/Lehrer show, about a year ago, argued the value of lying to get in office? When such respected people are willing to question the relative merits of lying and cheating to obtain any kind of office, we are astonished! Is there no one in the Media world besides ourself who is indignant that the American people believe such a conversation is intelligent? The issue then was that someone had written a book arguing that it is necessary and right to seek offices by lying and cheating; to which extent the MacNeil/Lehrer panel of experts could not refute the premise. Whereas that book was popular, books with the opposite premise are not.
Coupled with this new teaching – new from the standpoint that an entire Republic actually believes in the righteousness of lying and cheating – is the idea that everyone else does it and if you don't do it [lie and cheat to obtain a contract, office, etc.] someone else will. We are back to the idea, the early bird gets the worm, which is the sacred dictum of the Media, when it comes to getting a scoop on villainous activities, or lying and cheating themselves. Contrary to the prevailing point of view, all of our Great Troop agree with these:
Mencius Book II.A. 8..Hence there is nothing more important to a discerning man than helping others do good.
Cicero, Book III.19..that a good man is one who does all the good that he can to others...the good man then, of whom Fimbria had a notion, as well as Socrates, will never judge anything profitable that is dishonest: whence it follows, that such a one will always be so far from doing, as that he will never so much as think of anything, which he is afraid should be laid open to the rest of the world.
As noted in The Tapestry of One, and shown on the back covers of several of our works, Lao Tzu said: in doing good I gain in goodness, etc., which should be a sufficient call to duty for honest men, by the which we end this part. We recognize, however, that most Americans might interpret this message to allow their answer to the call to duty, as follows:
I already gave at the office
– by which cause we are compelled to proceed with our fragments of discipline.
How our Government is Not Human
Mencius Book II.A.6 ..whoever is devoid of the heart of compassion is not human, whoever is devoid of the heart of shame is not human, whoever is devoid of the heart of courtesy and modesty is not human, and whoever is devoid of the heart of right and wrong is not human.
The discerning man prides himself on being human, because of his ability to reason and stand above the brutes. Now reason produces benevolence by the which Confucius said:
Mencius, Book II.A.7 [quoting Confucius] ..that the best neighborhood is where benevolence is to be found. Not to live in such a neighborhood when one has the choice cannot by any means be considered wise. Benevolence is the high honor bestowed by Heaven and the peaceful abode of man. Not to be benevolent when nothing stands in the way is to show a lack of wisdom.
By way of your office we have been seeking in the neighborhood of benevolence a wise man, that we would receive a response to the call, to help mitigate the despair and human suffering we listed. We wait.
Another book, the Chinese Book of History, the chapter, T'ai Chia, should weaken your position with regard to the objective at hand, of bringing forth wise men to open the books on our government, as it were, so to avoid the disaster near to come; for:
T'ai Chia, When Heaven sends down calamities,
There is hope of weathering them;
When man brings them upon himself,
There is no hope of escape.
This confirms our assessment in the Quest and The Mehl Commentary, since Americans have invited both types of calamities upon their heads. Double Trouble is ahead, is a way our Great Troop might be understood to a discerning man as yourself. You are among the ancients, Sir; answer us whether this is correct, that the nonbenevolent leaders of the Old Congress and New Congress are courting disaster with their inhuman programs and would be well advised to heed this advise:
Mencius Book II.A.1..It is easy to provide food for the hungry and drink for the thirsty. Confucius said,
'The influence of virtue spreads
Faster than an order transmitted through posting stations.
At the present time, if a state of ten thousand chariots were to practise benevolent government, the people would rejoice as if they had been released from hanging by the heels. Now is the time when one can, with half the effort, achieve twice as much as the ancients.'
We must do Better than the Ancients
That's the idea! In your case you have a greater opportunity than the ancients, because our need is greater: what greater nation has stood with more hands out for help than America? Now, we say, is the time to open the books, to show the people the truth; and they will feel relieved as if a death sentence had been lifted from over their heads. We have the opportunity to mitigate the present suffering and the shame the Heirs will experience of this people should honesty not win the day.
Nothing is Desirable for Itself Alone,
but that which is Honest
This comes from Cicero, The Offices, Book III.7. We believe that you have probably passed on a similar dictum to your children. Why can't we pass it on to the New Congress and our nation so that all of our Heirs will benefit from it?
To implement such a dictum we must make examples of them who are dishonest. Again, our Old Congress must be condemned because of their villainies and a New Congress elected on a more responsible system and principles. Now there is a way to avert such a drastic, revolutionary measure were the New [Republican] Congress to confess in entirety what the Old Congress have done--with specific regard to our debt-- and come up with a reasonable and truthful plan of restoring this nation to solvency, and with it profitable jobs (as opposed to the niggardly, beggarly jobs being offered). I have the opinion that the New Congress is not up to such honesty and will continue the cover-up and other measures which have been holding this nation hostage to a rather hostile group of Wall Street vandals.
Here again we say that the American People are still not being told the truth; whatever the truth is, that is what they should be told. You, and others around you, have the wherewithal to discern and explain the truth. For you or your peers to do otherwise would be inhuman! Witness:
Cicero, III.6 ...if you take away anything from another, though never so useless and insignificant a creature, for no other end but to benefit yourself by it, it is an inhuman action.
Not only the debt, but the desolations and pollutions the Old Congress have laid upon us and our Heirs have been inhuman. We referred to the Old Congress in The Mehl Commentary and elsewhere as Tyrants. This follows:
Cicero, III.6 ..tyrants are not members of human society, but rather its greatest and most pestilent enemies; nor is it unnatural if it lie in one's power to rob that man, whom it is even a virtue and a glory to murder. And it were heartily to be wished, that this whole destructive and impious race were utterly banished and excluded from amongst men. Just as we cut off those members of the body which have got no longer either blood or spirits in them, and serve but to infect and corrupt the rest; so should those monsters, which, under the shape and outside of men, conceal all the savageness and cruelty of beasts, be cut off, as it were, and separated from the body and society of mankind. Of much the same nature are all those questions, in which the knowledge and understanding of our duty depends on the knowledge of times and circumstances.
Now the Time is Ripe for Honest Action
On November 16, 1994 the MacNeil/Lehrer show shocked the shades when it went way out of its way to discuss the relevance of honesty to government: where two men of the New Congress pledged that the New Congress will be open and accountable on such matters as the budget; and two Catholic bishops--one of whom was from the great state of New York, Sir--argued that men of the faith must relate the teachings of their faith, [which rely on honesty] to the encouragement of honest government. To realize these arguments we must be supportive of exposing the corruption of the past, so that it cannot survive into our future. This, of course, strikes at the root of our argument: that within a few years, unless the undermining corruption is stopped, our teetering wall of debt will entirely crash down upon us. Like the walls of Sinop our debt has begun falling already, here and there, destroying jobs and creating more and more homeless refugees. The monsters who have engineered this must account to it.
Now it may be you or your peers are of the school of thought (Nota-cando's ) that believe that time heals all wounds . If the people have been falling in the streets since 1981, and their tide of despair is rising, how could you or your peers stand by and watch it without uttering some kind of protest which will not only expose the villainy but shame the tyrants, who are behind it, off our shores? We know that the Truth chastises those whom He loves; a man who presents himself as a discerning man cannot be better! He must chastise even his friends (by discretion), knowing they are wrong. So it is with Truth.
The answer to this question comes from two issues. The first is knowledge (a discerning man cannot plead ignorance) and the second is honesty. You, Sir, with your peers and the New Congress, have to fulfill your duty. If not the Republic will dissolve before our eyes. Witness this advise:
Cicero, III.5 .if once men arrive at such a pass as to plunder and injure the rest of their neighbors, out of hopes to procure some advantage to themselves, there must follow of course a dissolution of that society, which of all things in the world is most agreeable to nature. Should we suppose, for example, that the bodily members had every one of them got an opinion, that to draw to itself all the vigor of its neighbors would very much serve to increase its own: it is certain the whole body must decay and perish..
The Stock Market Protection Association: How our Life Blood is being sucked out of Us
Multinationals and others sponsored by Reagan and his successors have been sucking this nation dry, whilst providing assurance to the high-rollers on Wall Street that their interests are safe. This can be verified not only through the complaints noted earlier, but also by measure of the stock market. My stock-broker friend mentioned the other day that one reason why the stock market continues to climb is because the number of stock companies have been dwindling relative to the capital being invested in the market. It's a supply and demand situation. Well, we all know this is true, how through mergers, corporate raids, moves off-shore, and bankruptcies etc., the numbers of companies have been dwindling. Playing into this and of interest as to the precarious nature of the market, we can see the Mutual Fund companies. The motive which caused the 500 point drop in the Dow Jones Average a few years ago was occasioned by fear of inflation which spread like a wild fire among the Mutual Fund companies. Their number in relation to that event has now doubled, so any repeat panic among them ought to have greater consequences.
Now the phenomena of Mutual Fund companies not only reflects the low supply of companies upon whose stock to trade, but also the international character the market has taken. The market, in fact, has become a Multinational entity itself.
I was curious, with the government's issuance of new bonds to roll-over the debt (and the consequential, continuing need to raise interest rates to create a higher demand for the bonds), why it is that the stock market is not reacting, as before, to the blood curdling scare a rise in interest rates carries. Whilst the stock market does react to rising interest rates, it hiccups, groans and moans, but avoids the expected scream, seeing dissolution ahead. A progressive rise in interest rates conditions them on the one hand, so that they expect to be robbed through inflationary pressures, and they thus adjust their positions for that expectation. On the other hand, since the stock market operates on derivative type ventures, where money from the future is borrowed to purchase stocks and commodities, market "corrections" are written off, as it were, using a trend line which proves that the market will be up in the future. Here they court the fickle fates, for not only are rises in interest rates inflationary, threatening those who own bonds at a lower rate, causing a sell-off, they also affect those who have purchased stocks on the come, as it were, who are venturing in the international market and effected by fluctuations in the dollar.
Because of the many types of traders fearing a rise in interest rates, one would think that every roll-over of the debt by issuing new bonds at higher rates would seriously depress the market; furthermore, one would think that every bond roll-over would cause heart palpitations among the high rollers. When we thought disaster immanent, the market hiccups.
The answer, of course, has to do with supply and demand, as my stock-broker friend pointed out. There are more traders putting capital into the market than there is a supply of stocks upon which to trade. And in this casino of American wealth, as long as there is no fear of a crash, the market will continue to be a bull market, with an occasional "correction". That there is more capital in the market than stocks in supply is further verified in the fact that there are now Mutual Funds which carry portfolios including other Mutual Fund stocks!
Because of the National Debt there are those who have been hedging their bets by investing in "developing market" stocks. In these markets, which are being developed by US dollars in particular, the dollar has been stable. As in China for instance. As the market becomes more Multinational it is less dependent on swings in the US economy; thus, frightening aspects of US inflation are greeted with hiccups.
By divesting their interests in the US, balancing more to a Multinational portfolio, the Old Congress knew that they and their patrons should not suffer should the market swing unfavorably against the dollar or stocks tied to the dollar.
Being aware of the National Debt [re: the Congressional study on the debt in 1983] and its evident consequences on the stock market, the Old Congress has betrayed us, concealing, as it were, the scope of the line that they have been lying about. For they continue to praise the excellence of our economy when--as illustrated by the continuing attack on the dollar--the economy is collapsing. The American people should be told the truth as pertaining to this fact. Now what we have said here you may account to speculation, but let us remember:
Cicero III.4..As no profit therefore ought ever to be put in opposition to that which is truly and perfectly virtuous and honest; so neither should any interest, or convenience of life, be set up against that which is ordinarily called so, and which is followed by those who desire to be counted as men of honesty and integrity: and we should be as careful to live up to that honesty, whereof we are capable, as the perfectly wise are of keeping close to that which is truly such and may in strictness of speech be called by that name: for whatever attainments we have made in virtue, they will never stand us in any mighty stead, if we be not thus careful of holding constantly to our duty...but those men, who measure the goodness of things by some profit or advantage which they bring along with them, and who let these prevail with them above virtue and honesty, frequently in deliberating use to put that, which they take to be profitable, into the balance against justice and honesty; but good and wise men never offer to do so.
As it is, the healthy stock market is not an indicator of good health in our economy. But men leave impressions in the public's mind, with reference to the stock market, that the economy is growing when, in truth, it is collapsing.
My Odyssey through the Collapse
Certain parts of the economy are growing. The sector which produced jobs for engineers, managers, and producers of fabricated products has been collapsing, as even noted by our dignitaries and the revolutionary MacNeil/Lehrer show of the 16 th of November. Here their argument suggested that we are at full employment (though most of the jobs are not subsistence level jobs) and confessed, after a manner of speaking, how our "industrial jobs" have been decimated; from our view it has even been worse: for had some vandals come into our land and eliminated every tenth man the carnage could not have been greater. Low paying jobs have been growing in the service sector, all pundits admit, as verified in the Bureau of Budget analyses, but measurements of growth even in this sector are shady, because many of these jobs were through large retailers, the largest of whom have been and still are restructuring; others have gone out of business. A trip through my resumé nails this argument down, for I am 51 years old with 31 years work history serving most of the major productive sectors of our economy; and most of the companies I served no longer exist. Checking references on me is practically impossible because of this phenomena. I have become a man almost without a work history because of the many companies--ranging from $35 millions/year in income to $150 millions/year which collapsed out from under me.
How I became a Man with a 30 year Work History without Work References
When President Carter came into office, starting the closing down of the Aerospace industry, he, and successive Presidents, vowed that those technical, high paying jobs so eliminated would be replaced. They would be absorbed by another field with equal opportunities and challenges, so we were told. This was a false promise and the reverse actually occurred, where related industries, such as steel, consumer products, and the garment industry moved off-shore, whilst demand for American aircraft and related products came to a halt.
The American garment industry alone in the Carter years represented 80% of the retail sales in the US; today it represents 50%. When the government says employment is up, salaries are increasing, they are lying; for we know that a high proportion of our professional occupations and trades have been hacked from a good paying job and thrown to a lesser, even homelessness; for certain, we say, if there could be a sanguine measure to this experience, the blood from the knives of our restructuring (down-sizing) enterprises would form a river from one coast of this nation to another.
Who have been prospering are the wealthy few, and even their wealth is gradually being collated into fewer hands.
Salaries are Up
– That's true. Government bureaucrats--a local department assistant director or the such mind you-makes $125,000 per year, whereas an unemployed salesman, manager, or engineer, who may have made $30,000 per year in 1980, may today be lucky to be offered a position at $25,000 per year. On the other hand, corporate executives, like Anthony O'Reilley, of H. J. Hienz co., three years ago made $75 Million per year, and this does not include perks. So it is certain that salaries may be up, as the economy has created many hamburger millionaires (whose employees make less than subsistence wages); but if one were to remove these and the H. J. Heinz's C.E.O.'s and fat bureaucrats from the tally of salary trends, we would derive an alarming table of eaten-away salaries. The average person on the street knows this, of course; as it is a common complaint why they do not believe anyone in government anymore. Because of the insipid lies how the economy is getting better, a lady who was interviewed on the News after the recent election, commenting on her opinion of the results, said that she hoped that this time the new candidate she voted into office will keep his word. Now isn't this a tragic state of affairs? That an average voter on the street expressed on camera her everyday fear of having been duped again in wasting her vote on a crook? No doubt he/she (we should use the term,it , to describe the candidate) promised more jobs and the like, but the fact is each year there will be fewer and fewer jobs. Unless, of course, we take protective measures with regard to the National Debt and perhaps even become protectionist and prohibit certain imports so to stimulate the regrowth of certain sectors of our economy. Whilst Reagan was preaching on free trade, inviting Japan and others to rape our economy, he and the Old Congress looked the other way when it came to asking tit-for-tat, where most of our trading partners' markets were closed to our products. In the Philippines, for instance, my friends (who were of high status there) had to buy American products, such as electric ranges and refrigerators (preferred over local products) through the black market. This is typical of the kind of free trade Reagan envisioned. Were King George III of two centuries ago reincarnated today, now doubt he would award a medal to Reagan and the Old Congress for turning America back into a dependent colony again (this time to the Multinationals). Of course, the new trade talks are supposed to address this situation, but the likelihood is that as we continue to open our markets to others their markets will continue to be closed to our products: firstly, because they can't afford ours, and secondly, they cannot afford to damage their own jobs.
If it were not for the National Debt, however, the government could institute some form of New Deal, or perhaps another space program to Mars, to revitalize our industry; this also would give those who are graduating with engineering and specialized degrees, capable of performing a Moon or Mars Mission, a chance to employ their talents and avoid a career supporting the butchery of cattle and chickens, which is their present future.
Alternative to stimulating the economy, tyrants often launch a war. Whilst wars may fill a few war privateer's pockets, and give a triumphal parade to the victor, they only serve to increase the public debt and tears. The pride won in Desert Storm is fleeting but the $70 Billion it cost is still with us. The repeat engagement of Saddam Hussein by President Clinton offered the same, but perhaps a lower level, return. War, then, serves our fraudulent peacemakers two ways. First it increases the prestige of an ailing Presidential image (as was so apparent in Reagan and Bush's case, and now Clinton's); and it also serves to disguise the source of increases in our National Debt. Desert Storm, for instance, cost about $70 Billion, as said; and no doubt in answer to some question on the rise in the deficit, Bush answered that the rise was caused by Desert Storm. In all respects thus far counted, our government has been dishonest on every front imaginable, and I have witnessed this and suffered from it.
They have been carrying out an elaborate charade to make us feel like times, my friend, are getting better, when they aren't.
Our Old Congress has been like the foolish rancher who, having sold off his land and lacked a place to spread his cattle's droppings, thought to pile all of the manure in one place in the barnyard to avoid stepping in it. The rains came and the shit flowed back.
Perhaps you are overwhelmed by the complexity of the lies that our Old Congress has been heaping up, covering one lie under another. Perhaps you or your peers don't know what to say. Hear Cicero's advise on this:
Cicero Book III.1..this is given us for a rule by the learned, that when several evils are threatening us at once, we should not only choose to undergo the least, but extract some advantage out of them, if it be possible.
So honest men are not worried by the Truth, no matter how many evils may be exposed by it. We need to know the evils so that we can deal with them and prevent ourselves from perishing as a Republic. For it is certain that if the collapse results in the confluence of an angry mob, it is doubtful that the kind of Republic we have instituted before us will be repeated. With prudent and timely adjustment it will survive; under continuing neglect to the principles of honesty it will not.
Seeing a few villainies (minor compared to ours) starting to eat away at the Roman Republic, Cicero realized that not only is there a challenge offered to him to help turn the tide, but also that were he to evade that challenge he would betray his own calling. For he said:
Cicero, Book III.1 ..for what proper work can I find to do, when there is no more a senate nor any courts of justice remaining entire, in which I might honorably show myself?
Maybe you or your peers have been thinking, to hell with everything; I'm getting outa here and do not feel challenged by the likes of Cicero.
The Consequences of Usury
Cicero, quoting Cato, recorded the following point of wisdom:
Cicero, Book II.25 ..'Pray what do you think of letting money out to usury?'
'Pray what do I think,' replies Cato, 'of killing a man?'
There is truth to this, and what more could be true than how usury can kill an entire nation? We showed, for instance, in The Second Coming of the American Revolution , that King Louis XVI borrowed money to finance the American Revolution (so to undermine the British Empire). His national debt to income was far less in proportion to the US debt/income ratio. His debt caused him not only to lose his head but also a Great Terror to come upon France.
Now the American way of recent years has been to borrow, and as the borrowing increased, inflationary pressures were put on interest rates (as we witness again), and these, in turn, speed up our indebtedness. We have amassed such a debt--a good deal of which was heaped up during the periods of high, double digit interest rates--that we are not only worse off than Louis' government but the most indebted nation the world has ever seen. Of recent years we can compare Brazil's debt to ours. They, being burdened by a debt they could not even service, were refinanced by the World Bank; and through the refinancing program they have been able to service their Jumbo Loans put together by a consortium of major world banks.
In America's case no such refinancing deal is possible, because of the size of the debt!
When Brazil, Mexico, and others were going through the agony of securing refinancing to avoid default on their loans, a major incentive for the banks to negotiate lower rates and thus make the loans serviceable, was the threat that the states might default on the loans.
In America's case, the fear of default is not presently a factor, but the forces affecting us are much like those forces which were dragging down Mexico and Brazil. Firstly, the initial loans were targeted for specific development projects, such as dams, and the requirement of the banks was that the loan proceeds could not be used for any other purpose than those targets specifically identified in the loans. Because of the nature of the targets, which had no immediate effect in generating jobs and a higher standard of living, allowing repayment of the debt, and because of the extraordinary high rates of interest, the opposite occurred, and those countries found themselves spending funds on projects while their economies were collapsing. At the same time, whilst poverty was increasing, the banks were hard-hearted and obstinate in allowing a bailout, adding more to the recessionary trend.
The US debt has had similar effects, where money managers have prevented the stimulation of our economy; and rather than dedicate funds to generate jobs and relieve oppression,
they committed more of our resources to the servicing of our debt.
In fact, the pressure to service the debt has followed the same path as seen in Brazil and Mexico, where government services (of all kinds) are reduced to offset demands on servicing the debt. But in this situation, as jobs decline, and the tax base in turn declines, poverty increases and the demands for entitlements increase proportionately. Heaped on top of this is the fact that we have a serious immigration problem, of people fleeing their homelands for the safety of this continent, which only adds to our entitlement demands.
Now on the earth-shaking MacNeil/Lehrer show of November 16 discussed above, there was another profound admission and discussion on entitlements (which Newt Gingrich and others of the New Congress believe should be eliminated altogether to service the debt). The confession is this: that separating Social Security funds--which should be treated as a separate, inviolable account-- from "entitlements" leaves about $40 Billion in entitlements which can be hacked out of the budget.
All of their pogroms about cutting out entitlements to service the debt reduces down to cutting away about forty days worth of interest (assuming the figure of $1 Billion per day services our present debt). Let the New Congress – cut off their gas, I say, and stop blaming the poor – who are being thrown out in the cold, because of our inability to service our debt.
Outrage and Our Public Debt
Throughout the world we find nations growing more angry, taking their wrath out on the governments which extorted them. This also is putting a stress on our economy, principally owing to the fact that we are a proud people who like to believe that we have inherited from Rome the right to lead the world. Being the world leader dashes us into many ethical decision-making processes: whom to aid and whom not to aid, such as the inequitable support we gave to Kuwait and the Kurds relative to what we offered the Bosnians.
The flux which is transpiring, combined with our extraordinary dosage of pride, only adds to the probability in light of our dishonest nature that we should have a sudden demise. This has been well documented by a host of writers, all having to do with the Great US Crash, etc.; and to them and their readers our present plight comes as no surprise. I mention this because we could have run a straight line, quoting Cicero, Mencius and others without listing details of our government's fraud, to illustrate why benefactors have a duty to come forward on behalf of the often overused Christian term called Salvation; but necessity is the mother of invention, and unless one used the sages in the framework of day-to-day realities they would appear to have no relevance to those looking over our shoulders. So we look at ourselves through the sages' eyes, knowing full well that they have already seen what we think is new.
The Big Squeeze
I have a friend who owns a 40' Hatteras yacht, who shares perhaps a common plight of small factory owners trying to hang onto their business in this uncertain world. The other day he confessed--after I made his day, as it were, speaking of the debt; I fear that people mistake me for the grim reaper--that he had been torn apart, whether to close down his business, as he had been absorbing losses for three years. He said he has about eight employees and twenty outside contractors who depend upon him. He stewed over this quite a bit these last few years and concluded that he has a duty not to close the business, that he should ride it down, as a captain in a sinking ship. He mentioned that he had a pension reserve which would carry him through after the business is closed, but I told him that he also has a duty to himself as well as his employees, that he must mitigate his losses and find a new way to carry on his business; perhaps applying his machinery to making another type of product, convert the company into an employee owned concern, etc. He does not own a buggy-whip factory, so his technology and product area are not obsolete. But demand has diminished, which is why he is in financial trouble. He is a metal fabricator for small industrial buildings and the industrial sector has been collapsing; so his experience is but a symptom of the over-all state of affairs. We shrug our shoulder to this man and his company, as a doctor to an epidemic victim, that he caught the virus and there is nothing the Old Congress could do about it.
When the Hopes of Fraud are cut off
Wow! What a heavy statement! This comes from Cicero, where he says:
Cicero, Book II.24..when their hopes of defrauding were cut off, they found themselves under a necessity of payment. It is true, there is one who has since been a conqueror, though then he was conquered by my vigilance, that has found out means to effect these designs, at a time when they would bring him no manner of advantage; but such an inclination had that man to villainy, that the bare doing of it was a pleasure to him, without any other invitation in the world.
Cicero is here referring to Julius Caesar, who was overwhelmingly in debt and implicated in a suit Cicero brought against the unsavory dealings of Cataline. Caesar was, after a manner of speaking, conquered by Cicero when Cicero ruined Cataline. Just as rats hang out together and baiting one will lead to trapping them all, so to is it with tyrants, villains, and their peers.
In our case, we do not so much face a Caesar (though Americans are surely inviting such a person to enter the stage), but face the corruption of the Old Congress . Nevertheless, the comment of Cicero is well taken, that our Old Congress ' indebtedness will be the cause of their own ruin. Hopefully their ruin will not ruin the life or prestige of our Republic as well.
Cicero, Book II.24. Nothing so cements and holds together in union all the parts of a society as faith or credit; which can never be kept up, unless men are under some force and necessity of honestly paying what they owe to one another.
There you go! Faith and Credit are linked in the same context: of honesty. A man who breaks faith in a contract invites certain dissolution in his friendship and perhaps may even threaten his relationship with them who witness the breakage. The same holds true in the faith of a nation. If its governors break faith with the people, not only is their relationship dissolved, but also it may reflect on the governors' relationships with other nations. Breaking faith causes one to lose credibility. From this we can postulate that once the cat is out of the bag, and the American people finally understand that they have been had, not only will the Old Congress and our governors lose credit with us, they will lose credit with other nations!
The fact is we are well down this path already. This is particularly noted in our relationship with members of the United Nations, as pertaining in particular to Somalia.
As our credibility--once of a wise and prudent nation--continues to erode, so too will our credit! The one serves the other, and we are courting a sudden collapse of our bond market because of the impudence of our governors. Imprudent calls, such as those for which the Secretary of State is noted, in China and Korea, leave us in a precarious situation; and we may find ourselves in a diplomatic vice which could undermine the financing of our National Debt. As our debt increases, the more precarious will be our diplomatic position with the G-7, for instance, who owned several years ago about 20% of our debt. The higher our debt, the more sensitive and vulnerable will we be to the whims of other nations.
This Debt could reduce Us to being Beggars
Well, we are certainly already on that path, aren't we? with seven million homeless beggars in our streets! Then, again, the higher the indignity (occasioned through our indebtedness) the more desperate our cage rattlers will be, calling for Justice against their parents' prie-dieus.
Riding the Wave of the Great Consumption
As mentioned earlier, we have a situation where the maxim, justice delayed is justice denied, allows the observation that the anger over delayed justice is proportional to the delay. Justice delayed in this case is proportional to the loss of jobs, families and homes. In the present situation job loss is on the increase, particularly in the professional occupations, and any reports the government puts out as to the increase in jobs, as all of the intelligentsia freely admit, is really phony data which count part-time "bottom of the pay scale" jobs as "new Jobs", suggesting that somehow they are equivalent to the jobs which were demolished.
Among those who have suffered the highest hits in the job market are the over forty gang of professionals (engineers, middle managers, etc.) who are the first in line for lay-off and the last to be hired. The November AARP publication had a small article on some of these effects. As said, I am 51 years old at the moment, being particularly blessed with a diversified resumé, and know well the problems of getting employment in those disciplines which in the sixties and seventies were abundant. Were one to examine my resumé one would perceive that I had a particularly unfortunate history, because my past employers went out of business. Included among them was Electronic Specialty Co. (a rising star on the stock market of the time) which had in 1969 about 8 divisions doing $140 million, employing perhaps 15,000 people. This company is the first which Robert Vesco raided, sucking the profits from that profitable corporation to purchase a chain of other companies, whose assets he raided in turn. Another company which dried up beneath my office was a division of Sergeant Industries, and then after working in a Division of Systron Donner Corp., another midsized corporation, that too fell to the raider's block. In the US, from the moment President Carter entered office, the entire industry supporting aircraft, missiles, ships, defense projects of all kinds, space exploration, etc. was butchered. Names like the giant, LTV, along with a host of mid sized corporations which supported them, are gone and forgotten. As they were consumed, so did other industries follow in their path.
Running ahead of the tsunami drowning our technology based industries, I left Systron-Donner Corp. in 1978 to enter the Home Furnishings industry. But by then the Housing industry and its associated Home Furnishings industry had begun collapsing; and I discovered myself surfing, as it were, on the crest of a wave which from then on would drown the entire US economy. That wave began, we should say, as it is evident from our Deficit Table [Figure A4, Maravot's_Homepage_4.html], in 1975, when the Old Congress serving President Ford launched the pernicious practice of serious deficit spending.
When the wave which passed through the giant technological industries hit the housing market, beyond its affects in the building trades and real estate sector, in home furnishings small independent retail furniture stores began to tumble, then large chains, and finally major department stores, most noteworthy of which is Macys. My account book from the eighties, if compared to the retailers of Northern California today, reflects the extent of the devastation of that industry; for less than 10% of the hundreds of stores I called on are now in business. Some of them were replaced, but the over-all effect of the shock wave (California, Michigan, and New England were at the front of it though it passed through the entire nation) left a meagre crop of stores and factories who themselves are drying up as the economy continues its collapse. Apart from washing away the mom and pop stores, in Northern California I found major Department and chain stores, such as Emporium, Weinstocks, Gottshalks, Sloans, Bullocks, Capwells, RB Furniture, Cousins Furniture, the John Breuner Co., J.C. Penny Co., Montgomery Wards, Sears-Roebuck, Macys, and others washed away from my account list. Some of these companies folded and the latter four scaled down their furniture departments and consolidated their merchandising offices to other states. Sloans, Northern California Bullocks, RB Furniture, and Cousins Furniture are no longer in business. Others suffered through mergers and acquisitions by larger firms. These stores are symptomatic of what happened to the furniture industry: how it too was consumed by the same wave which consumed our technology based giants, and as the retailers fell or were restructured, so too were their suppliers of furniture effected. Facing fewer and fewer customers, and then foreign competition, many furniture manufacturers closed their businesses. Much of the wood product furnishings, which are being offered by the retailers today, by the way, are not manufactured in the US but in Taiwan, some in Southeast Asia, and now China, which is presenting new problems.
The demand for hardwood products from China and Taiwan is now so great that a company for whom I recently worked, which owns a large factory in Singapore, complained that they were having trouble getting Mahogany because China was consuming most of the cutting. Also noted in the complaint was the fact that the cheap throw-away veneered and particle board products from such places are stripping the rain forests. Bookshelves, home T.V. centers, wall systems, serving carts, cheap occasional and dining tables and furniture accessories of all kinds are transforming the remaining rain forests everywhere into throw-away articles which account in large part for the rise in height of our garbage dumps. The US is but a part of the overall rain forest depletion problem, sourced in hardwood veneer markets, as Europe consumes its share as well. It may come to Americans as a surprise, but Danish furniture chains, for instance, do not acquire their fine teak furniture from trees grown in the Northern Hemisphere.
In light of the hardship, I surfed ahead and out of the way of the collapsing aerospace industry, and then ahead of the collapsing furniture and housing industry, and was swept into the Yachting industry which also was collapsing behind the lost jobs in the other sectors.
As many know, Yachting has a reputation for being a rich man's sport. In the seventies, when fiberglass yachts began to overtake traditional wooden yacht fabrication techniques, suddenly a new industry grew, forcing, in this case, many of the old traditional yacht manufacturers out of business. The new fiberglass yacht industry became centered in Taiwan, and they, being more affordable, allowed the sport of yachting to fall within the means and unshaking hands of middle-income skippers. Soon San Francisco Bay (exemplary of many fine places of yachting) became filled with fiberglass yachts of all sizes, many of which were manufactured in the US, but then--as the market grew more competitive in the late eighties, under the heralded job export program of the Reagan administration--most of the yacht manufacturing industry shifted to Taiwan. By 1989 in the boat shows there were only a few US manufacturers left; and now there are hardly any major US manufacturers in the business, leaving the likes of Hunter, Bayliner and Sea Ray, to defend our shores with American jobs.
The tsunami I had been riding ahead of caught up with the Yachting Industry in 1990, where the offerings of the major Taiwan Yacht Manufacturers began to disappear. When American tanks began across the Iraqi desert in January 1991, accompanied by the introduction of the 10% surtax (to help finance the deficit), suddenly the yacht market dried up altogether, and my major accounts, who were yacht brokers, went out of business. At that time the few remaining Taiwan boat manufacturers, such as Golden Star and Kaishing, closed their outlets in San Francisco Bay.
Kaishing is the major Taiwan manufacturer of medium sized power yachts in the world (so I was told by the resident manager). They manufactured yachts imported to the US under various "labels", as was true with other Taiwan offerings. Kaishing had its main US office in San Francisco, and they were one of my principal accounts. When they first began selling yachts in the US, 80% of their production from Taiwan was absorbed in the US market. When they closed their office in 1991 I was told that the percentage of US sales had trickled to 10%, and the rest of their declining production was then being absorbed by Europe. If you visit the yacht shows, new yacht offerings have all but disappeared, except perhaps in Miami, and the bulk of the yacht market is now in used yachts. Now the reason for this is three fold: first, the 10% surtax, together with the Desert Storm war, killed the yacht manufacturers, as it were; second, what nailed the lid on the coffin, as it were, was the continuing disappearance of the middle-aged middle income middle managers who had been buying the yachts; third, since the fiberglass yachts do not suffer from the elements as wooden yachts, it may be that the potential pool of yacht enthusiasts had peaked in the eighties, and used yachts, being a better bargain, simply absorbed the demand for yachts; but knowing the business as from experience, it is clear that in either case, new or used, many of the yacht brokers who prospered in the eighties are no longer in business, and many of those who have survived are barely scraping by. This industry too washed out from under me.
This is no hard-luck story! I may typify what happened to many college-educated Yuppies of the late seventies who have been tossed to and fro within our economy as a tiny boat upon a raging sea.
As shown in our Financial Institution Credit Watch and Against Leviathan , the true measure of our collapse became evident in our financial institutions, such as the S&L's etc., who collapsed because of bad loans in many sectors of our economy, in real-estate, in farming, in the technological and industrial sectors, and defaults on credit cards and revolving charge accounts.
We listed in the above work a National Real-Estate Association survey, how the collapse floods into the futures of city, county and state governments; for, as the survey said, those governments depend upon Federal kick-backs and subsidies, property taxes, etc. to finance government services; and to them, the loss of one property tax [a repossessed building, etc.] is as if that building burned down.
Updated 8.3.97; 5.27.00; 4.13.02; 6.18.04; 10.24.04; 1.15.05; 2.11.06; 1.15.09
Copyright © 1996-2009 Mel West all rights reserved
Copyright © 1996-2009 Maravot all rights reserved