September 1, 2016


          There exists an ancient story the Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz has preserved for us under the title: Quo Vadis: A narrative of the Time of Nero. The novel was published in 1895 and has had several resurrections in motion pictures. It was based on the apocryphal Acts of Peter that were written in Greek during the second century AD. The pamphlet was soon translated into Latin and this is the version of which one aspect became the centerpiece of Sienkiewicz’s novel.

          Here is a brief synopsis. The Apostle Peter was in Rome to spread the “Good News,” but had only encountered tragedy. Nero ruled supreme and the wholesale slaughter of Christians in the Colosseum was daily entertainment for the masses. His own life was now threatened and he was urged by the faithful to leave town so that the “Rock” upon whom Christ had founded his Church would not perish and thereby seal the doom of the entire effort. He was implored to renew the work in Greece or Asia Minor where there were no persecutions and where the faith could flower into full maturity, rather than being nipped in the bud. But there was also his conscience. Should he really leave his Roman flock to the wolves? Was he a coward who was trying to save his own life under the guise of preserving the faith? What would the Master have done under these circumstances? How could he serve Him better: by leaving and spreading the Word, or staying and be killed?

          We are told that he opted for life and left the city. But on the Via Appia as the sun rose like usual for everybody else something special happened to Peter. The sun did not proceed on its usual course but came instead towards the old man who fell on his knees as he beheld Christ. “Quo vadis, Domine?”where goest Thou oh Lord – he asked in a broken sobbing voice. The answer was: “If you desert my people I am going to Rome to be crucified a second time.”

          The Master had spoken, doubt was gone. Rome was the center of the world and death was the way to conquer it. Legend has it that he was crucified head down because he felt himself unworthy to die in the manner of his Lord and Master. It took about 250 more years and untold suffering before Constantine saw the flaming cross in the sky and legitimized the Christian faith.

          Nearly 2000 years of so-called Christianity have gone by and we now may justly ask ourselves what all of this intervening tremendous suffering and bloodshed has accomplished? Jesus said:  “By their fruits shall ye know them.” We are the fruits and it is high time that we look at ourselves and ask the Quo Vadis question in a personal manner as well as for our country. The personal aspect has to be resolved by each one of us privately and we have no right to foist our answer on others. But we do have an obligation to act true to our convictions in the spirit of Christ whose message was to heal wounds rather than inflict new ones.

We are, however, not only private individuals but also citizens of a country to which we owe an allegiance and responsibility. Those of us who were born here may not feel strongly about it and simply “go with the flow,” but others who came here out of free will had to take an oath before they were granted citizenship. The formula starts with:


"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; …”


          We, because I am one of them, therefore, have a special obligation namely to take our citizenship seriously and whenever we see that our new home is in danger we have to speak out. We cannot vouch for the result, because that is out of our hands, but we must make the effort to declare the truth as we see it.

It is no secret that our country is in deep trouble at this time. The upcoming elections dominate cable news and we are told by the pundits as well as the print media that our choice in November will be crucial for the future of our country as never before. They admit that both candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have serious characterological flaws but we are supposed to overlook them and simply vote “our conviction.” But when our conviction says “None of the above” what are we to do? In theory we could vote for one of the other parties either the “Greens” or “Libertarians” but that would be simply a protest vote which carries no weight in our Republic because the popular vote is meaningless. As has been pointed out again in the May issue, the President who will be inaugurated next January will have been chosen by the Electoral College whose members are appointed by the political party that carried their individual state. Under these circumstances the electors will be beholden either to the Republican or Democrat standard bearer. Although in theory they could “vote their conscience,” the party bosses in each State are likely to make sure that only the most faithful of the faithful will become electors.

When Trump declared that the election system was rigged he spoke the truth but applied it to voter fraud at the booth. As noted here the problem is much deeper and actually anchored in the Constitution. The current system was well meant by the framers but these men of good will could not clearly foresee the situation where two parties, who have become so hostile against each other that their members hardly exchange greetings in Congress. This stifles all constructive action and yet they are the only ones who supposedly represent us.

When we are told that our vote for Hillary or Trump is crucial for the direction of the country’s next four years this is also true only within certain limits. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that nothing seriously untoward happens between now and November 8 when Hillary will be elected President. Since she is widely disliked by Independents and Republicans, if not detested, she will be unable to enact pet legislations unless the Democrats win both the House and the Senate. But even if this were to occur the Republicans could still stymie her efforts by procedural votes and she will be just as hamstrung as Obama was and is during his tenure. She may then take recourse to “executive orders,” bypassing the quarreling Congress. The “executive branch” then also becomes the “legislative” and by appointing Supreme Court Justices that fit her ideology this third branch of government would also be fused into the same mold. All the “safeguards” the Constitution has provided for usurpation of power by one person, or faction, will have been obliterated. This is not fantasy but apparent historic inevitability due to the road our country has traveled on for the past decades. What is not fully appreciated by the majority of our people is that past actions have consequences that become apparent only after a considerable lapse of time when the abuses they engendered become obvious.

This is what is likely to happen on the domestic scene but world events will not automatically stop with Hillary’s election. She will be confronted with a number of crises in various parts of the globe at unforeseen times. The blame will be shifted to others, especially Russia and/or China, when in fact they will be just the pigeons that will be coming home to roost. It is important to realize that Hillary has always been a fervent interventionist. She subscribes to the neocons’ creed that it is America’s responsibility to rule the world and remove regimes we do not like. Her role as Secretary of State in the Libya debacle is well known. It is less well known that the ideology that was responsible for Libya was already at work in the nineties during her tenure as First Lady. When Bill  Clinton ran for President he promised us that we would get “two for one” because that seems to have been the promise she extracted from him for having saved his candidacy after the Jennifer Flowers crisis. Hillary “stood by her man,” but there was a price. Bill Clinton apparently had no particular foreign goals and would have been content with devoting himself to domestic issues.  But instead of developing friendly ties with crippled Russia he was pushed into the confrontation which now is bearing full fruit. Hillary cannot escape this responsibility because she helped formulate policy behind the scenes. She favored NATO expansion unto Russia’s doorstep, when that country was weak. She urged husband, Bill, to enter into the “liberation” of Kosovo, which subsequently turned into a “narco state.” She also agreed with the illegal bombing of Serbia.

Hillary’s involvement in the still on-going Ukraine crisis seems on the surface to be murkier because it unfolded after she had left the State Department. But the seeds were sown in the 90’s during the Clinton Administration. Strobe Talbott was a long standing friend of the Clintons and in February 1994 he was rewarded with the appointment as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, a position he held until 2001 when the Bush administration took over. During Hillary’s Secretary of State Tenure he had privileged e-mail access. This is in no way remarkable, but while working for the State Department he had hired a young woman, Victoria Nuland, who had studied Russian literature, political sciences as well as history at Brown University and had received a B.A. degree in 1983. This appointment had ominous consequences.

Victoria Nuland was initially Chief of Staff for Talbott and soon moved into the position of Deputy Director for former Soviet Union affairs. Her political outlook was in line with that of her husband, Robert Kagan, one of the neocons principal architects and fervent supporter of the New American Century goals as discussed on previous occasions (April 1, 2003; The Neocons Leviathan. December 1, 2005; Albert Wohlstetter’s disciples. September 1, 2013; 9/11 Context and Aftermath). Kagan, by the way rejects the term Neo-conservative used by the founder of the group, Irving Kristol father of the better known Bill Kristol, and prefers to see himself as a “liberal interventionist.” This is actually quite apt because he does interfere “liberally,” in the popular sense of “a lot”, in the affairs of other countries which should be of no concern to him. Under these circumstances Victoria made a smooth transition from the Democrat Clinton to the Republican Bush administration where she served, according to Wikipedia, as the principal deputy foreign policy advisor to Vice-President Dick Cheney. For services well rendered, she was promoted in July 2005 to U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, a position she held until May 2008. She with husband Robert and his brother Fred, who is likewise a fervent neo-conservative, was on the forefront of leadership that brought on the Iraq war. The U.S. has never formally admitted that this invasion of a country that had done us no harm was a war crime under UN Statutes for which German generals had been hanged at Nuremberg. Our politicians, regardless of party, also have never shown any inkling of guilt for the disasters they have unleashed in the Middle East and North Africa that resulted from this war. Condoleeza Rice, as national security adviser, wrote the Iraq debacle off as the birth pangs of a new Middle East. This led me to comment at that time that we shouldn’t be surprised if the baby were to come with a turban on its head. The idea became reality a few years later in the form of ISIS.

Mrs. Nuland never had any second thoughts about the wisdom of “nation building” in the image of U.S.’ neocons and when Hillary became Secretary of State she appointed her in May 2011 to Spokesperson for the State Department. In the summer of 2013, after Hillary’s departure, she was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, a position she holds to this day. “Eurasia,” a term possibly adopted from George Orwell’s 1984, obviously is a polite term for the region encompassed by the former Soviet Union. Nuland then became the chief architect of the Maidan protests in Kiev, where she not only handed out cookies to protesters, but also State Department money to her favorite opposition leaders. The subsequent coup d’état which replaced, in the name of bringing democracy, one corrupt president, who was friendly with neighboring Russia, with another equally corrupt leadership whose allegiance was to the U.S. Regime change used to be reserved for the CIA, starting in 1953 with the removal of Iran’s elected leader Mosaddegh, but under Hillary’s tenure the State Department also assumed this role.

We keep blaming Putin for his aggression when in fact he was only responding to the situation created by Nuland at the State Department. I have discussed her role previously (Ukraine Crisis. March 15, 2014) including her feelings about our ally the EU. In a tapped phone conversation with our Ambassador in Kiev, prior to the coup, she gave directions on who should be appointed to the future government. When the ambassador raised a question about the feelings of the EU, the curt response was: “fuck the EU.” She has subsequently apologized, but I am mentioning it here because this spontaneous comment does reveal the true feelings of our “regime-changers.” This is not some old history but a potential preview of what we may see if Hillary were to be elected. The two are good friends and it has already been suggested that another job will be waiting for Nuland either as National Security Advisor, Chief of Staff, or Secretary of State. Under those circumstances we can kiss all hope for an understanding with Russia good bye and this new Cold War could readily spill over into a nuclear one. Not by design, but by ill-conceived provocations and/or an accidental firing of a nuclear missile by either side which would lead to a retaliatory response. It is significant in this respect that Hillary already has formally endorsed the “first strike option,” which had previously been repudiated. Since the past is prologue this is what we can expect if Hillary becomes President in January. To summarize: when Hillary talks of her extensive experience in foreign affairs we should remember that she has left nothing but disasters in her wake.

Let us now look at what a Trump Presidency might be like. Here the situation is much less clear because he never held public office that would allow one to form an educated guess as to what he might or might not do in the realm of foreign affairs and their most important decision on war vs. peace. In contrast to Hillary where the past is prelude private citizens can only comment on what Trump has done in his private life, to the extent it is known, and how he has conducted in himself in his business dealings. As far as private life is concerned he is currently married to his third wife which tends to show that marital vows are not particular meaningful to him. On the other hand we must admit that his grown-up children Ivanka, Donald and Eric appear to be solid citizens with sound judgment and one wonders how a blustery, narcissistic person accomplished this task. His family seems to be his closest advisors and whatever slurs the democrats will throw at him from now till the election anti-Semitism can’t be one of them. Ivanka, with whom The Donald is closest, married an orthodox Jew, Jared Kushner, and converted to that religion. Papa Trump likes his son-in law and appreciates his advice. The oldest son Donald gave an excellent speech at the nomination Convention and may well have a future on the political stage. His younger brother Eric is a nice affable person who is in charge of a section of Trump Enterprises and treats his employees well. I can testify to this with certainty because one of my granddaughters, Nicole, works at Trump National Golf Club-Charlotte. Eric Trump came to inspect the facility in the spring of this year and Nicole participated in a private luncheon with him at the time. Before leaving, Eric shook hands with all the staff including the kitchen help.  

  Papa Donald does not seem to have a firm political vision apart from keeping Mexicans and Muslims out, establishing law and order and “Making America Great Again.” These are campaign slogans which tell us nothing about how he would actually govern. During the past few weeks his advisors became terribly concerned about his off the cuff remarks which alienate just about every thinking person and tried to convince him to stay focused on attacking Hillary. He agreed, started reading his speeches from the teleprompter but since he seems to have an adult attention deficit disorder he can’t stick to the written word and keeps ad-libbing with insults that are now mainly directed at Hillary. Although he is no fool he certainly behaves in a foolish manner to the great delight of the Clinton campaign. As pointed out in the August installment Hillary is in a great deal of trouble over having made the State Department an arm of the family business called Clinton Foundation and further release of e-mails that have more than a whiff of corruption has been promised by Wiki-leaks founder Julian Assange for the next few weeks. Instead of staying with these issues, and explaining their importance to the average American, Trump resorts to name calling with “bigot” the latest epithet he hurled at Hillary. As such he is his own worst enemy and his staff can only cringe because as The Donald told us the other day: “I am what I am.” This is true and he just can’t help himself from going off script.

I have discussed my personal feelings why he should not be elected on November 8 in the April issue and there is hardly anything to add except two medical points and some information that has come to light from subsequent reading about the man. One is that he is chronically sleep deprived and brags that he doesn’t need sleep. This is not healthy, because sleep-deprived brains can do weird things for which their owner is not entirely responsible. We don’t know why he doesn’t get his 6-7 hours of night-time sleep and one wonders if chemical stimulants play a role. It would be up to the media to pay some attention to this self-confessed fact. For the second, he fits the official description of narcissistic personality disorder How this might impact on his conduct as President we have no way of knowing.

Another aspect we are woefully ignorant about is his actual wealth. For good reason he refuses to make his tax returns public because they are likely to be embarrassing. Although everybody repeats the formula of his being a billionaire, these billions may well be only on paper rather than cold hard cash and we don’t know his debt level. In addition, being a shrewd businessman, who likes money, he might well have some off-shore accounts he may not want us to know about. In business he seems to have been competent as well as ruthless. There are several articles I came across. Marie Brenner wrote “After the Gold Rush” for Vanity Fair which deals with the time of Trump’s pending divorce from Ivana and the impending collapse of his business fortune in the middle and late 1980s. It is well worth reading because it provides an insight of how Trump handles adverse situations. The article ends with his testimony in one of the several civil law suits that had been brought against him.  Ms. Brenner wrote: “I wandered down to the press room on the fifth floor to hear about Trump’s testimony. The reporters sounded weary; they had heard it all before. “Goddamn it” one shouted at me “we created him! We bought this bullshit! He was always a phony, and we filled our papers with him.” That was in the 1980s, and viewing his performances on TV one gets the impression that this characterization still appears to be appropriate.

Another disenchanted reporter is Tony Schwartz who wrote The Art of the Deal, Trumps bible, for him. Jane Mayer of The New Yorker talked recently with Schwartz and her report can be found on The essential point is that Schwartz deeply regrets having written the book for Trump because it painted a picture that hardly corresponded to reality. Coming forward now was Schwartz’s attempt to atone for his early sin and possibly help prevent a Trump presidency. Trump has threatened to sue Schwartz for his comments but seems to have abstained from doing so at present. In addition, there now exists a spate of laudatory as well as critical books about Trump but it seems that the essence about the person is contained in the mentioned two articles.

When one is aware of the facts as they pertain to these two candidates for the leadership not only of the country but the world one cannot help but shudder. I mentioned that if Hillary were to be elected she would have to govern by executive order because Congress dislikes her, the same would be true in even greater measure if Trump were to win in November. He has alienated just about everybody on the Republican as well as Democrat side and all attempts to present an olive branch are bound to fail, just as Obama could not overcome the prejudice against him. Thus, regardless who wins our Republican form of government is likely to die a slow death being replaced by autocracy as predicted in The Coming Caesars.  

The book was originally published in 1957 and its author, Amaury Riencourt, compared Greek culture with Roman civilization. He concluded that Europe is the heir of Greece while America that of Rome and that just as Rome lost its Republican form government when the Empire became too big, so will America. Although the Senate continued to exist during the Caesars, it was deprived of power. The same is about to happen here and Congress may soon assume the role of the German Reichstag under Hitler after he had achieved full dictatorial power. At present it is highly unlikely that Trump can win the general election but his supporters are hoping for an “October surprise.” This could consist of either profoundly damaging information about Hillary or an act of terrorism that will shock the country into voting for Law and Order.

Regardless who wins, the country is headed for a great deal of trouble during the next four years. The debt of  >$19 trillion dollars is unsustainable, the Wall Street created bubble is likely to burst again and if the current war mongering against Russia persists there may well be a major war in   the offing. If it were to be nuclear the few remaining pockets of humanity wouldn’t need to worry about global warming because nuclear winter is likely to have taken its place.

Even an amateur student of history can only wonder about the infinite stupidity of our politicians who keep provoking the Russians. All of us know the image of the Russian bear and our “leadership” assumes that it can be made to dance to our tune. This is not only fantasy but a serious mistake. A more realistic picture would be that of a Mama Grizzly who will do everything in her power to protect her cubs. Defending Holy Mother Russia was after all the rallying cry that defeated not only Napoleon but also Hitler. Stalin ditched his demand for the people to be good communists after the 1941 defeats and instead appealed to the masses through the Orthodox Church. It thereby became “The Great Patriotic War” and this should tell us what would be in the offing if our ruling circles were to persist in provoking the Russian bear. Thus, unless whoever gets voted in listens to impartial historians, rather than the military or self-serving politicians, she/he will inevitably repeat the mistakes of the past with an even worse outcome for us and the entire world.

The 15th anniversary of 9/11 is coming up and since it is this unsolved crime that brought about all the current and likely future disasters I intend to present a separate edition on September 15.

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