The Crisis of the American Republic

excerpted from the book


The Last Days of the American Republic

by Chalmers Johnson

Holt, 2006, paperback


President George W. Bush, September 16,2001

My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of evildoers.

Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel Prize Lecture in Literature, Guardian, December 7, 2005

The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading-as a last resort-all other justifications having failed to justify themselves-as liberation .... We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it "bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.

Harry Browne, "What Has 'Victory' Achieved?",, January 11, 2002

When America is no longer a threat to the world, the world will no longer threaten us.

When it comes to the deliberate dismantling of the Constitution ... the events that followed the Supreme Court's intervention in the election of 2000 that named George W. Bush the forty-third president have proved unprecedented. Bush has since implemented what even right-wing columnist George Will has termed a "monarchical doctrine" and launched, as left-wing commentator James Ridgeway put it, "a consistent and long-range policy to wreck constitutional government." In doing so, Bush has unleashed a political crisis comparable to the one Julius Caesar posed for the Roman constitution. If the United States has neither the means nor the will to overcome this crisis, then we have entered the last days of the republic.

James Madison, the primary author of our Constitution, considered the people's access to information the basic right upon which all other rights depend.

James Madison
"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

In theory, given our Constitution, we should not need a Freedom of Information Act. Except for keeping the most sensitive details of military or financial operations secret, and only until they have been carried out, we should enjoy easy access to information about the activities of our government. Bu n the late 1950s and early 1960s, Congressman John Moss (Democrat from California) became sly frustrated by his inability to get accurate information out of the federal bureaucracy that he worked virtually single-handedly for years to push the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) through Congress.

On July 4, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed it, expressing "a deep sense of pride that the United States is an open society in which the people's right to know is cherished and guarded." As Bill Moyers, Johnson's press secretary, later reported, "well, yes, but what few people knew at the time is that LBJ had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the signing ceremony. He hated the very idea of the Freedom of Information Act; hated the thought of journalists rummaging in government closets; hated them challenging the official view of reality. He dug in his heels and even threatened to pocket veto the bill after it reached the White House. Only the courage and political skill of a Congressman named John Moss got the bill passed at all, and that was after a twelve-year battle against his elders in Congress who blinked every time the sun shined in the dark corridors of power."

From the start the FOIA exempted from requests for disclosure the federal courts, the Congress (a big mistake), and parts of the Executive Office of the President that function solely to advise and assist the president. It also excluded all classified documents and nine types of information - including national security information, confidential business information, matters of personal privacy, deliberations and decisions of federal financial institutions, geological information (concerning mining and oil rights), and certain law enforcement records. The new law did not work very well. Many agencies simply failed to respond to FOIA requests and others dragged their bureaucratic feet interminably. In 1974, in the wake of revelations that President Nixon had illegally used the CIA, the FBI, and the military to spy on the American people, Congress strengthened the act considerably. Nixon had even ordered his secret gang of personal thugs-"the plumbers"-to break into the office of the psychiatrist of former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg seeking material with which the White House could blackmail him.'

In an attempt to force the executive branch to comply with the law, the 1974 reforms required agencies to organize their archives in a standard manner and hold them available for public scrutiny regardless of whether or not a citizen ever asked. This ended the common practice of agencies claiming that they could not provide information requested because their archives were not adequately organized to do so. Donald Rumsfeld, then President Gerald Ford's chief of staff, and Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld's deputy, urged him to veto the act as "unworkable and unconstitutional." Ford did as he was told, but Congress promptly overrode the veto.

These amendments led to a great deal of litigation in court, making the FOIA a far more formidable oversight instrument. In June 1995, while in Tokyo, I had a conversation about the FOIA with former vice president Walter Mondale, then ambassador to Japan. As a senator, he had been deeply involved in the new law's passage. The law, he assured me, would never have worked without the power of an applicant to go to court and force the government to comply. For example, virtually all the information now publicly available on prisoner abuse, torture, and other criminal acts by military men and women and CIA operatives at Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, Bagram Air Base, and elsewhere came via FOIA requests, first denied by government agencies and only fulfilled as a result of a court order.'

The FOIA now depends almost totally on the courts for its viability, as Bush administration officials have done their best to envelop the act in a new web of secrecy and nondisclosure. The San Francisco Chronicle's Ruth Rosen, in one of her columns, caught the crucial moment when this occurred, itself obscured by official secrecy, "The president didn't ask the networks for television time. The attorney general didn't hold a press conference. The media didn't report any dramatic change in governmental policy. As a result, most Americans had no idea that one of their most precious freedoms disappeared on October 12 [2001J." On that day Attorney General John Ashcroft sent a memo to all federal agencies urging them to bring every excuse they could think of to bear in turning down Freedom of Information requests. He offered agency heads backing on this stance: "When you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of justice will defend your decisions unless they lack a sound legal basis." In marked contrast, his predecessor, Janet Reno, had advised all departments and agencies that they should honor FOIA requests so long as doing so caused "no foreseeable harm".

The Bush administration subverted the FOIA in ways large and small. For instance, charges were raised to excessive levels for fulfilling FOIA requests even though the law stipulates that service fees should be minimal. In January 2005, the Justice Department typically informed People for the American Way, a watchdog organization critical of the government's record on civil rights and other issues, that it would be charged $372,999 for a search of the department's files and disclosure of 1,200 cases in which court proceedings against immigrants arrested and confined after 9/11 were conducted in secret. 11 Needless to say, small grassroots organizations cannot afford such expenses.

Three weeks after Ashcroft tried to shut down FOIA, President Bush made a tone-setting decision when it came to closing off the people's right to know. Archivist of the United States, who was ordered to open them to the public after no more than twelve years. The intent of the law was to lessen abuses of power under the veil of secrecy, or at least to disclose them in history books.

On November 1, 2001, just as a small portion of the Reagan administration's presidential papers was about to be opened to the public, President Bush issued Executive Order 13233 countermanding the Presidential Records Act. 12 It gave him (as well as former presidents) the right to veto requests to see his presidential records. Even if a former president wants his records released-as is the case with Bill Clinton-the order states that access will be granted only at the discretion of the sitting president in consultation with the former president, if still living. It has been widely speculated that Bush's intent was to protect his father, a former director of the CIA and Reagan's vice president, from being implicated in the crimes committed during the Iran-Contra affair by Reagan administration officials. Throughout the Iran-Contra investigation, George H. W. Bush argued that he had been "out of the loop" and therefore not involved in the complex illegal fund-raising for and support of the Nicaraguan Contras, who were trying to overthrow the Sandinista government. Reagan's records might have revealed just how far out of the loop he actually was.

As Thomas Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, observes, "The Presidential Records Act was designed to shift power over presidential records to the government and ultimately to the citizens. This [Executive Order] shifts the power back." Historian Richard Reeves, author of President Nixon: Alone in the White House and President Kennedy: Profile of Power, comments, "Post-Nixon, presidential papers were no longer personal property. They belonged to the American people. So, now we live in a new historical reality." The American Historical Association contends that Executive Order 13233 not only violated the 1978 act but functionally canceled the law by executive fiat and so "potentially threatens to undermine one of the very foundations of our nation." We still await a Supreme Court decision on whether the president can, through an executive order, or what is called a "signing statement," suspend or modify a law passed by Congress. So far, Bush has gotten away with it many times, and his two 2006 appointees to the court, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, are both believers in the "theory" of "unitary executive power."

federal appellate judge Damon Keith wrote in his 2003 ruling against the Bush policy of the hundreds of deportation hearings in secret

Democracies die behind closed doors .... A government operating in the shadow of secrecy stands in complete opposition to the society envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution. When government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation?

Vice President Cheney, in an interview with ABC News, January 2002

In thirty-four years, I have repeatedly seen an erosion of the powers and the ability of the president of the United States to do his job. One of the things that I feel an obligation on - and I know the president does too - is to pass on our offices in better shape than we found them.

Republican senator John E, Sununu

"The vice president may be the only person I know of who believes the executive has somehow lost power over the last thirty years.

In pursuit of yet more power, Bush and Cheney have unilaterally authorized preventive war against nations they designate as needing "regime change' directed American soldiers to torture persons seized and imprisoned in various countries, ordered the National Security Agency to carry out illegal "data mining" surveillance of the American people, and done everything they could to prevent Congress from outlawing "cruel, inhumane, or degrading" treatment of people detained by the United States (acts that were, in any case, already illegal under both U.S. law and international agreements the United States had long ago signed and ratified). They have done these things in accordance with something they call the "unitary executive theory of the presidency."

This "theory" is, in fact, simply a bald-faced assertion of presidential supremacy in all matters relating to foreign affairs dressed up in legalistic mumbo jumbo.

[A lawyer in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel John] Yoo and company have concocted something that looks very much like the Chinese Communists' "Two Whatevers." These were the basic principles that prevailed during the years when the cult of Mao Zedong was ascendant: "We will resolutely uphold whatever policy decisions Chairman Mao makes; and we will unswervingly follow whatever instructions Chairman Mao gives." Substitute Bush for Mao and you get the idea. Time magazine contends that, according to the White House and the Justice Department, "The Commander in Chief's pursuit of national security Tot be constrained by any laws passed by Congress, even when he is acting against U.S. citizens." Bruce Schneier, author of Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World, sees an even more ominous development: "The president can define war however he chooses, and remain at war' for as long as he chooses. This is indefinite dictatorial power. And I don't use that term lightly; the very definition of a dictatorship is a system that puts a ruler above the law." The implications for the constitutional separation of powers are thus grave, particularly since the unitary executive theory flies in the face of the Constitution itself.

Supreme Court Justices Felix Frankfurter and Hugo Black in 1952

The power to execute the laws starts and ends with the laws Congress has enacted."

justice Robert H. Jackson wrote in the 1952 case Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company v. Sawyer.

[T]he Constitution did not contemplate that the title Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy will constitute [the president] also Commander-in-Chief of the country, its industries, and its inhabitants. He has no monopoly of 'war powers whatever they are. His command power is not such an absolute as might be implied from that office in a militaristic system but is subject to limitations consistent with a constitutional Republic whose law and policy-making branch is a representative Congress. The purpose of lodging dual titles in one man was to insure that the civilian would control the military, not to enable the military to subordinate the presidential office. No penance would ever expiate the sin against free government of holding that a president can escape control of executive powers by law through assuming his military role.

Justice Louis Brandeis's dissent in the 1926 case Myers v. United States

The doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted by the Convention of 1787 not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power. The purpose was, not to avoid friction, but by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy.

[A] way in which President Bush has shown his contempt for the Constitution is his use of what are called "signing statements." During the first six years of his presidency, Bush did not exercise his constitutionally authorized veto over a single piece of legislation passed by Congress, but in his first term alone, he issued 505 extraconstitutional challenges to various provisions of legislation that had been enacted by Congress. Through "interpretive" statements issued at the time he signs them, the president disagrees with one or more provisions contained in the legislation and therefore reserves the right not to implement them. According to David Golove, a New York University law professor, "The signing statement is saying 'I will only comply with this law when I want to, and if something arises in the war on terrorism where I think it's important to torture or engage in cruel, inhuman, and degrading conduct, I have the authority to do so and nothing in this law is going to stop me."

Many of these statements amount to illegal line-item vetoes. They often have the effect of nullifying legislation that has been passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president. In 1998, in Clinton v. New York, the Supreme Court held that a line-item veto is unconstitutional because it violates "the Constitution's Presentment Clause. That Clause says that after a bill has passed both houses, but 'before it becomes a law,' it must be presented to the president, who 'shall sign it' if he approves, but 'return it'-that is, veto the bill, in its entirety-if he does not."', Bush's signing statements eliminate the possibility of the Congress overriding his veto since they take effect (whatever that might mean) after the bill has already become law, and they violate the first sentence of the Constitution's first article: "All legislative powers herein granted" belong to Congress. As the framers carefully explained, this means only the "Senate and House of Representatives"-not the president in the act of signing a bill into law.


It is not just the executive branch that as been tearing at the fabric of the Constitution. Through its partisanship, complacency, and corruption, Congress has done much to ensure that the crisis of the American republic will be fatal to democratic government. As constitutional specialist Noah Feldman writes, "For the last four years, a republican Congress has done almost nothing to rein in the expansion of presidential power. This abdication of responsibility has been even more remarkable than the president's assumption of new powers." Al Gore, who served eight years in the House, eight years in the Senate, and presided over the Senate for eight years as vice president, observes, "The sharp decline of congressional power and autonomy in recent years has been almost as shocking as the efforts by the executive branch to attain a massive expansion of power .... Moreover, in the Congress as a whole-both House and Senate-the enhanced role of money in the re-election process, coupled with the diminished role for reasoned deliberation and debate, has produced an atmosphere conducive to pervasive institutionalized corruption .... It is the pitiful state of our legislative branch that primarily explains the failure of our vaunted checks and balances to prevent the dangerous overreach of the executive branch, which now threatens a radical transformation of the American system."

Bill Moyers

"If [in baseball] a player sliding into home plate reached into his pocket') and handed the umpire $1000 before he made the call, what would we call that? A bribe. And if a lawyer handed a judge $1000 before he issued a ruling, what do we call that? A bribe. But when a lobbyist or CEO [chief executive officer of a corporation sidles up to a member of Congress at a fund-raiser or in a skybox and hands him a check for $1000, what do we call that? A campaign contribution."

The likelihood is that the United States will maintain a façade of constitutional government and drift along until financial bankruptcy overtakes it. Of course, bankruptcy will not mean the literal end of the United States any more than it did for Germany in 1923, China in 1948, or Argentina in 2001-2. It might, in fact, open the way for an unexpected restoration of the American system, or for military rule, or simply for some new development we cannot yet imagine. Certainly, such a bankruptcy would mean a drastic lowering of our standard of living, a loss of control over international affairs, a process of adjusting to the rise of other powers, including China and India, and a further' discrediting of the notion that the United States is somehow exceptional compared to other nations. We will have to learn what it means to be a far poorer nation and the attitudes and manners that go with it. As Anatol Lieven, author of America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism, concludes, U.S. global power, as presently conceived by the overwhelming majority of the U.S. establishment, is unsustainable .... The empire can no longer raise enough taxes or soldiers, it is increasingly indebted, and key vassal states are no longer reliable .... The result is that the empire can no longer pay for enough of the professional troops it needs to fulfill its self-assumed imperial tasks."

Marshall Akerback, an international financial strategist

Today, the U.S. economy is being kept afloat by enormous levels of foreign lending, which allow American consumers to continue to buy more imports, which only increases the bloated trade deficits.

Ever since we recovered from the Great Depression of the 1930s via massive governmental spending on armaments during World War II, we have become dependent on "military Keynesianism', artificially boosting the growth rate of the economy via government spending on armies and weapons.

"Keynesianism" is named for the English economist John Maynard Keynes, author of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, published in 1936, and other influential books. In his writings and his public career, Keynes developed a scheme to save capitalist economies from cycles of boom and bust as well as the severe decline of consumer spending that occurs in periods of depression. He was less interested in what causes these cycles or in whether capitalism itself promotes underemployment and unemployment, than in what to do when an inequitable distribution of income causes people to be unable to buy what their economy produces. To prevent the economy from contracting, a development likely to be followed by social unrest, Keynes thought that the government should step in and, through deficit spending, put people back to work, even if this meant creating jobs artificially. Some of these jobs might be socially useful, but Keynes also favored make-work tasks if that proved necessary, simply to put money in the pockets of potential consumers. Conversely, during periods of prosperity, he thought government should cut spending and rebuild the treasury. He called his plan countercyclical "pump-priming."

During the New Deal in the 1930s, the United States tried to put Keynesianism into practice. Through various schemes the government attempted to restore morale-if not full employment. These included "social security" to provide incomes for retired people; giving unions the right to strike (the Wagner Act); setting minimum wages and hours and prohibiting child labor; creating jobs for writers, artists, and creative people generally (the Works Projects Administration); financing the building of dams, roads, schools, and hospitals across the country, including the Triborough Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel in New York City, the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, and the Key West Highway in Florida (the Public Works Administration); organizing projects for young people in agriculture and forestry (the Civilian Conservation Corps); and setting up the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide flood control and electric power generation in a seven-state area.

The New Deal also saw the rudimentary beginnings of a backlash against Keynesianism. Conservative capitalists feared, as the German political scientist and sociologist Jurgen Habermas has noted, that too much government intervention would delegitimate and demystify capitalism as an economic system that works by allegedly quasi-natural laws. More seriously, too much spending on social welfare might, they feared, shift the balance of power in society from the capitalist class to the working class and its unions. For these reasons, establishment figures tried to hold back countercyclical spending until World War II unleashed a torrent of public funds for weapons.

In 1943, the Polish economist in exile Michal Kalecki coined the term "military Keynesianism" to explain Nazi Germany's success in overcoming the Great Depression and achieving full employment. Adolf Hitler did not undertake German rearmament for purely economic reasons; he wanted to build a powerful German military. The fact that he advocated governmental support for arms production made him acceptable to many German industrialists, who increasingly supported his regime. For several years before Hitler's aggressive intentions became clear, he was celebrated around the world for having achieved a "German economic miracle."

Speaking theoretically, Kalecki understood that government spending on arms increases manufacturing and also has a multiplier effect on general consumer spending by raising workers' incomes. Both of these points are in accordance with general Keynesian doctrine. In addition, the enlargement of standing armies absorbs many workers, often young males with few skills and less education. The military thus becomes an employer of last resort, like the old Civilian Conservation Corps, but on a much larger scale. Increased spending on military research and the development of weapons systems also generates new infrastructure and advanced technologies. Well-known examples include the jet engine, radar, nuclear power, semiconductors, and the Internet, each of which began as a military project that later formed the basis for major civilian industries. By 1962-63, military outlays accounted for some percent of all expenditures on research and development in the United States. As the international relations theorist Ronald Steel puts it, "Despite whatever theories strategists may spin, the defense budget is now, to a large degree, a jobs program. It is also a cash cow that provides billions of dollars for corporations, lobbyists, and special interest groups."

The negative aspects of military Keynesianism include its encouragement of militarism and the potential to create a military-industrial complex. Because such a complex becomes both directly and indirectly an employer and generator of employment, it comes to constitute a growing proportion of aggregate demand. Sooner or later, it short-circuits Keynes's insistence that government spending be cut back in times of nearly full employment. In other words, it becomes a permanent institution whose "pump" must always be primed. Governments invariably find it politically hard to reduce military spending once committed to it, particularly when munitions makers distribute their benefits as widely as possible and enlist the support of as many politicians as possible, as they have in the United States. In short, military Keynesianism leads to constant wars, or a huge waste of resources on socially worthless products, or both.

By the mid-1940s, everyone in the United States appreciated that the war boom had finally brought the Great Depression to an end, but it was never understood in Keynesian terms. It was a war economy. State expenditures on arms in 1944 reached 38 percent of gross domestic product (the sum total of all goods and services produced in an economy) or GDP, which seemed only appropriate given the nation's commitment to a twofront war. There was, however, a profound fear among political and economic elites as well as the American public that the end of the war despite all the promises of future peacetime wonders like TVs, cars, and washing machines-would mean a return to economic hard times. Such reasoning lay, in part, behind the extraordinary expansion of arms manufacturing that began in 1947. The United States decided to "contain" the USSR and, in the early 1950s, to move from the production and use of atomic bombs to the building and stockpiling of the much larger and more destructive hydrogen bombs.

Between the 1940s and 1996, the United States spent at least $5.8 trillion on the development, testing, and construction of nuclear weapons alone. By 1967, the peak year of its nuclear stockpile, the United States possessed some 32,500 deliverable bombs, none of which, thankfully, was ever used. But they perfectly illustrate Keynes's proposal that, in order to create jobs, the government might as well decide to bury money in old mines and then pay unemployed workers to dig it up. Nuclear bombs were not just America's secret weapon but also a secret economic weapon. As of 2006, we still have 9,960 of them.

The Cold War contributed greatly to the country's sustained economic growth that began in 1947 and lasted until the 1973 oil crisis. Military spending was around 16 percent of GDP in the United States during the 1950s. In the 1960s, the Vietnam War sustained it at around 9 percent, but in the 1970s, strong economic competition from the free riders, Japan and Germany, forced a significant decline in military spending with a consequent U.S. decline into "stagflation" (a combination of stagnation and inflation).

The American response was a classic example of military Keynesianism-namely, Reaganomics. In the 1980s, President Reagan carried out a policy of large tax cuts combined with massive increases in defense spending allegedly to combat a new threat from communism. It turned out that there was no threat, only a campaign of fear-mongering from the White House bolstered by the CIA, which consistently overstated the size and growth of the Soviet armed forces during this period. The USSR was in fact starting to come apart internally because of serious economic imbalances and the deep contradictions of Stalinism.

To understand the real weight of military Keynesianism in the American economy, one must approach official defense statistics with great care. They are compiled and published in such a way as to minimize the actual size of the official "defense budget." The Pentagon does this to try to conceal from the public the real costs of the military establishment and its overall weight within the economy. There are numerous military activities not carried out by the Department of Defense and that are therefore not part of the Pentagon's annual budgets. These include the Department of Energy's spending on nuclear weapons ($16.4 billion in fiscal 2005), the Department of Homeland Security's outlays for the actual "defense" of the United States against terrorism ($41 billion), the Department of Veterans Affairs' responsibilities for the lifetime care of the seriously wounded ($68 billion), the Treasury Department's payments of pensions to military retirees and widows and their families (an amount not fully disclosed by official statistics), and the Department of State's financing of foreign arms sales and militarily related developmental assistance ($23 billion).

In addition to these amounts, there is something called the "Military Construction Appropriations Bill' which is tiny compared to the other expenditures-$ 12.2 billion for fiscal 2005-but which covers all the military bases around the world. Adding these non-Department of Defense expenditures, the supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the military construction budget to the Defense Appropriations Bill actually doubles what the administration calls the annual defense budget. It is an amount larger than all other defense budgets on Earth combined." Still to be added to this are interest payments by the Treasury to cover past debt-financed defense outlays going back to 1916. Robert Higgs, author of Crisis and Leviathan and many other books on American militarism, estimates that in 2002 such interest payments amounted to $138.7 billion.

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, and his colleague at Harvard Linda Bilmes have tried to put together an estimate of the real costs of the Iraq war. They calculate that it will cost about $2 trillion. This figure is several orders of magnitude larger than what the Bush administration publicly acknowledges. Above all, Stiglitz and Bilmes have tried to compile honest figures for veterans' benefits. For 2006, the officially budgeted amount is $68 billion, which is absurdly low given the large number of our soldiers who have been severely wounded.

I believe that to maintain our empire abroad requires resources and commitments that will inevitably undercut our domestic democracy and in the end produce a military dictatorship or its civilian equivalent. The founders of our nation understood this well and tried to create a form of government-a republic-that would prevent this from occurring. But the combination of huge standing armies, almost continuous wars, military Keynesianism, and ruinous military expenses have destroyed our republican structure in favor of an imperial presidency. We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation is started down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play-isolation, overstretch, the uniting of forces opposed to imperialism, and bankruptcy.

Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

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