Baltimore’s 1895 Howard Street Tunnel Is Only Freight Rail Link Between Philadelphia and Washington DC; Toxic Chemicals Shipped by Rail with Inadequate Safeguards; If Predatory Railroad Executives Persist in Using Freight Rail As a Cash Cow for Asset Stripping, They Will Face Nationalization; Where Is Trump on Nationalizations? Or Is He One of the Asset Strippers?
By Gregory Edwards, TWSP Transportation Advisor
It’s 2016 and we in America don’t have a reliable space launch vehicle, we don’t have a supersonic jetliner, and we certainly don’t have modern freight railroads. A series of recent high-profile US railroad accidents highlights a brewing national emergency.
On May 1, 2016, a CSX freight train derailed underneath the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station a mere 2 miles from the US Capitol. Sodium Hydroxide leaked from several derailed cars, highlighting the flaws in the US tanker car fleet. Many of the US tanker cars designated DOT-111 are susceptible to punctures, leaks, and thermal failures, but continue to transport oil and hazardous liquids across the country. Washington DC citizens were shocked that freight railroads were transporting hazardous materials through major cities. CSX claims it reroutes hazardous materials outside of major cities, but only transports empty hazardous containers through those cities. This must be proven under intense scrutiny.
Baltimore’s pre-1900 Howard Street Tunnel is a critical choke point for US east coast freight. On May 1, 2016 a CSX freight train derailed in the 121-year old Howard Street tunnel (completed in 1895). This luckily produced no fires or chemical release, but blocked traffic to the port of Baltimore. This incident may sound familiar, as in 2001 a CSX train derailed in the tunnel and sparked a fire that burned for 6 days. Improper ventilation systems and emergency access extended the emergency. Explosions rocked Baltimore as gas released from the derailment sparked fires in the sewer system three weeks after the incident. The tunnel on its best day is a major shipping bottleneck and cannot support double stack intermodal trains. With the expansion of the Panama Canal and the inability to quickly transport Panamax cargo into the nation on the east coast, this creates a reduced economic potential for our nation.1
On June 4th, 2016 a Union Pacific train carrying shale oil from the Bakken Oil fields derailed and punctured 11 of the 96 cars. Several cars leaked oil into the Columbia River and adjacent water table. The derailment was caused by improper track maintenance by UP. As the trains passed over the faulty tracks the gauge widened under the load and the railcars fell through the track. This is particularly dangerous as the Bakken Oil is widely known for its high volatility. Failure to maintain tracks carrying such explosive cargo is particularly egregious. Many saw an environmental victory in the halting of the Keystone XL project and other US oil pipeline infrastructure, but now highly flammable oil is transported on a network comprised of late nineteenth century braking systems, inferior track infrastructure, and flawed tanker cars.
The rail accidents recently climaxed on June 28, when two BNSF intermodal trains collided head-on in Panhandle, Texas. Information leaks indicate that an engineer of one of the trains blew through two signals and onto an active single track. The results were devastating as the two trains collided at speed killing three and causing significant damage. Similar to the Amtrak 188 crash north of Philadelphia, this event would not have happened if Positive Train Control (PTC) had been in place. Based on Federal Railroad Administration reports, BNSF is the closest of any Class 1 railroad to full PTC implementation. A 2015 report issued by BNSF appears to show 0 route miles of active PTC as of the 2015 calendar year:
Warren Buffett’s BNSF model railroad is scarred by consistent attempts to silence whistleblowers, the most public of which highlights an atmosphere marked by ignoring federally mandated brake tests to keep profitable trains moving. The original PTC mandate called for full implementation within 7 years of the 2008 law, but by December 2015 no freight or passenger railroads had PTC protections in place. PTC now joins Electronic Braking as a successful lobbying effort to defer a modern safety mandate. Congress has been forced to extend the deadline three more years. Will railroads continue to use their lobbying body, the Association of American Railroads, to wiggle out of safety regulations once again?
We at the Tax Wall St Party focus on providing mass traction solutions to urgent economic problems. We propose a full upgrade of the US railroad infrastructure with or without the current Class I railroads. Under the authority of an economic state of emergency the Federal Reserve must open an Infrastructure Credit Stimulus window and provide trillions of dollars of 0% credit to public and private entities to fund and implement the most rigorous standards of modern railroading. This will include repair and replacement of all bridges, tunnels, 100% concrete tie trackage, full PTC implementation on the entire US network with a close to immediate operational goal, the retirement of the late 1800s Westinghouse braking system to be replaced by electronically controlled pneumatic braking systems, and retirement of the inferior DOT-111 tanker car to be replaced by highly resilient and modern crashworthy railcars. This will immediately bring the US railroad infrastructure up to a state of good repair. Failure to comply with these upgrades will result in de facto nationalization on the Consolidated Railroad (Conrail) model. Predatory railroad executives are on notice that they must stop treating our strategic freight rail as a cash cow for their asset-stripping schemes.
With a full infrastructure investment by the US government, all railroads will be re-regulated under a restored Interstate Commerce Commission. Rates will be stabilized to account for operating needs and a reasonable level of reliable, built-in profit. To enhance a climate of domestic manufacturing associated with a reintroduced protective tariff on US imports set at 15%, all railroads will be required to fully restore short line operations. Class 1 railroads have been exclusively purchasing 6-axle diesels designed for long distance, high-profit unit trains, but have ignored the consistent but lower margin local services. With the shameful sell off of General Motors’ profitable Electro-Motive Division (EMD), current US manufacturing has failed to produce a “yard” or “local service” diesel in almost 30 years (last switching diesel was built in 1985 and the last 4-axle road diesel was produced in 1991).
Therefore, a new manufacturing firm should be organized by the US government based on the model of the 1917-1920 United States Railroad Administration (USRA) to produce modernized yard and local service diesel locomotives.2 This agency could also design and regulate modern railcar production. At this point, Class 1 railroads will be required to balance 6-axle road motive power purchases with a proportional purchase of 4-axle short line engines to serve a revitalized domestic manufacturing sector.
As the US rail infrastructure is brought to an A rating, one eye must be firmly kept on a technological leap frog. Zero percent credit from the Federal Reserve must be provided for the engineering and construction of Maglev (magnetic levitation) passenger, computer, and freight operations. Not only must the current US passenger rail system reach a minimum of 300 mph, but the transportation of freight must be held to similar standards. The goal should be a maximization of domestic economic potential by expediting the speed of commodities and goods. With the current US predicament of 21st century economic demands overloading an early 20th century infrastructure, a full economic recovery will not be possible. Looking forward to early 2017, when Trump will have been defeated and the Republican Party collapsed as a national political force, the Tax Wall Street Party urges anti-Wall Street Democrats to prepare for the implementation of an Infrastructure Renaissance in America.
- ‘The Howard Street Tunnel is on the only direct rail link on the CSX rail line from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. The only other direct rail link is the Amtrak Northeast Corridor, a passenger line with only limited freight operations performed by Norfolk Southern Railway.’ If the Howard street tunnel is blocked, freight trains must be sent on a long detour through the Middle West to get from Philadelphia to Washington. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Street_Tunnel_fire
- ‘The United States Railroad Administration (USRA) was the name of the nationalized railroad system of the United States between 1917 and 1920. It was possibly the largest American experiment with nationalization, and was undertaken against a background of war emergency.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Railroad_Administration
Trump Backers Rave of “Civil War,” Suggesting Need for Man on Horseback; Alleged Racist Ravings of Patsy Micah Xavier Johnson Made to Order to Assist Trump; Reports Initially Spoke of Multiple Snipers, Triangulation, Killing Zone, and Bombs, but Dallas Police Quickly Switched to Lone Assassin Theory, Beyond Credulity; Did Moles Help Technicians Disappear, While Patsy Was Liquidated by Robot?; After San Bernardino and Orlando, Dallas Signals Pro-Trump Strategy of Tension Has Escalated into Pre-Convention Mode, with Long Hot Summer Phase Next; U.S. Does Not Need a New Kerner Commission Fraud, but Full Employment with Forty Million New Jobs Paid for by Wall Street and the Fed; U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne a Key Operative for “Golden Era” British-Chinese Alliance vs U.S.A.; How Alexander Hamilton Put the Public Good Over His Personal Animosity Against Jefferson to Block Arch-Traitor Aaron Burr’s Path to the White House
World Crisis Radio
July 9, 2016
This Is First Reactor Brought Online in US Since 1996; New Models Have Passive Cooling Systems Which Make Repeats of Three Mile Island and Fukushima Impossible; Sixty-Five Nuclear Facilities Now Under Construction Worldwide, Led by China with Twenty-One; US Building Four Plants, Trailing China, Russia, India, Tied with South Korea and United Arab Emirates
Tennessee Valley Authority Watts Bar 1 and 2 power plants
With the completion and first criticality of the Watts Bar unit 2 power reactor the United States enters a new age of hope and optimism. The Watts Bar 2 reactor, owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, began construction in 1973 but suspended in 1985. Construction restarted in 2007, was completed in late 2015-early 2016 and was first started in May 2016. At the time of writing, Watts Bar 2 is in operation but at low power in accordance with routine startup and testing procedures. This is the first reactor to be brought online in the United States since Watts Bar unit 1 in 1996. The Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station is located near Spring City, Tennessee.
Also under construction in the United States are four other reactors, all located in Georgia and South Carolina and all sharing the state-of-the-art Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design. Two reactors each are located at the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in South Carolina and the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia. All four reactors began construction in 2013 and are scheduled to begin operation in 2019-2020. These are the first new reactor projects in the US since the 1980s.
The AP1000s feature many advances over the reactors currently in operation in the US allowing for a simpler reactor design and few critical parts resulting in a reactor with a smaller footprint, less material, and far fewer valves, safety pumps, pipes, and wiring. A key advancement in terms of safety is the AP1000’s passive-cooling ability, meaning that in case of an emergency, the AP1000 does not require grid power or large diesel backups to pump cooling water to prevent meltdown. The AP1000 design accomplishes this by use of natural convection to keep the reactor safe in case of a sudden shutdown. Lose of emergency cooling was the cause of the meltdowns at Fukushima, when the diesel generators were swept away by the tsunami, and also Three Mile Island, which had its emergency cooling water valves mysteriously closed, preventing cooling water from immediately flowing when needed. Had reactors been designed with passive safety in the 1970s, those meltdowns never would have occurred.
With the good news of new reactors comes bad news of the closure of old reactors for economic and political reasons, with no adequate replacements ready to go online. The most recent power plant to close is the Diablo Canyon Power Plant on the California coast. The two large 1000+ Megawatt reactors at Diablo Canyon, like most of the US nuclear reactors, were originally licensed for 40 years of operation, which for Diablo Canyon ends around 2025. With monitoring and research into how the reactors have aged, many US reactors have had their operating licenses extended to 60 years with ongoing research being conducted on extending some reactors to 80 years. Due to political pressure on Pacific Gas and Electric, the plant’s operator will not be seeking an extension, opting instead to jump into the abyss of wind and solar which will never, with existing technology, be able to replace the very reliable thermal base load power provided by Diablo Canyon. In the Midwest, three more reactors are in the balance, one at the Clinton Nuclear Generating Station in central Illinois, and two reactors at the Quad Cities Nuclear Generating Station in northwestern Illinois on the border with Iowa. Together these two sites produce enough power for about 2 million homes. It is imperative that aging reactors be replaced in advance with the most modern equipment, and not simply shut down.
These three reactors have all had their licenses extended into the early 2030s but may be closed early, largely because of the low cost of natural gas but also what some feel is a lack of coherent long-term energy policy in the state of Illinois.
As of now, nuclear power produced by 99 nuclear plants represents about 20% of the US total power supply and 67% of US carbon-free power, with the remainder being provided by hydro-electric. Nuclear power represents the only source of off the shelf, widely deployable and indefinitely expandable source of clean energy. A move away from nuclear power, or a failure to expand nuclear power to meet future demand, will mean increased reliance fossil fuels. As the cleanest, safest, and most reliable sources of energy available, nuclear power must play a central role in any long-term energy plan for the 21st century.
The most formidable economic competitors of the United States, especially China, continue to rely on nuclear energy, and many are building new reactors. Thirty countries have a total of 446 nuclear reactors, and these produce about 10% of world electricity.
Countries that do not keep up with modern technology will be increasingly left by the wayside. Of the ten new reactors started up in 2015, eight were in China. China currently has 30 reactors operational and 21 under construction. Iran fought hard to bring the Bushehr I nuclear plant online. India is building six new reactors. Russia has announced 20 new reactors by 2020, and nine are already being built. The United Arab Emirates are building four facilities. Pakistan is planning to build 32 reactors. Egypt has two plants being built and two more about to start construction. Canada is planning two, and Finland one. South Korea has 24 plants, and is building four more. Japan shut down all its 54 reactors after Fukushima, and is gradually bring all but six back into operation.
At the world level, countries that want serious economic development recognize that nuclear energy has an indispensable role. On the other side of the coin, pessimistic Germany has renounced nuclear energy, and finds its economy burdened by some of the highest energy costs in the world.
Whatever the merits of the climate change argument, it is clear that the only carbon-free, all weather, year round, 24/7 power source capable of providing economical and reliable base load capacity is a modern nuclear reactor. Intelligent environmentalists are increasingly supporting this realistic and rational alternative.
The Tax Wall Street Party calls for the expeditious replacement of existing nuclear plants with the most modern prototypes, with 0% 100-year financing from the $5 trillion infrastructure window of the nationalized Federal Reserve System.
—Carl Prakaashana, Energy Editor, Tax Wall Street Party
Plebiscite a Bogus Sham As Disposable Demagogues Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage Depart the Stage; Police Minister Theresa May Touted As Next Prime Minister; Legal Authorities Agree an Act of Parliament Is Needed for British Departure; China and UK Seek to Wreck US Dollar for Own Aggrandizement
“The wily shafts of state, those juggler’s tricks
Which we call deep designs and politics,
(As in a theatre the ignorant fry
Because the cords escape their eye
Wonder to see the motions fly)
Methinks, when you expose the scene,
Down the ill-organ’d engines fall;
Off fly the vizards and discover all.
How plain I see through the deceit!
How shallow, and how gross, the cheat! …
Look where the Pulley’s tied above!
Oh what poor engines move
The Thoughts of Monarchs and Design of States,
What pretty Motives rule their Fates! …
Away the frighted Peasants fly,
Scar’d at th’unheard-of Prodigy…
Lo, it appears!
See, how they tremble! How they quake!”
—Jonathan Swift, “Ode to the Honourable Sir William Temple,” (1689)
Jonathan Swift was the author of Gulliver’s Travels. There and in the lines quoted above he showed a remarkable ability to see through political trickery and manipulation. Swift would have been fascinated by the colossal fraud perpetrated on the British people and the world by factions of the City of London financiers, the monarchy, the foreign office, and other elite forces. We refer of course to Brexit, a cynical bait and switch conducted under the cloak of demagogic anti-establishment rhetoric.
Over the July 4 weekend, when Americans were congratulating each other on having cut loose from the withered mummy of British imperialism in 1776, parts of the fake Brexit façade were already falling down. First, the tousled blonde bankers’ boy Boris Johnson – who had led the career of a picaresque dilettante alternating between the City of London and the British newspaper center in Fleet Street before serving two terms as mayor of London – would not be a candidate for Prime Minister in party votes starting this week. Boris Johnson had already become a laughingstock as it became painfully obvious to observers all over the world that he had absolutely no plans, ideas, or programs for running Britain once that unhappy country had left the European Union. Boris Johnson’s mind, when it came to policy, was very much the tabula rasa or empty blackboard that the British philodoxer John Locke had posited. In any case, Boris Johnson was retreating into the shadows.
Then came the turn of the scurrilous Nigel Farage, one of the leading lights of UKIP, the UK Independence Party. This is the xenophobic entity which had provided many of the shock troops which successfully frightened the leaderless and disoriented pensioners, senior citizens, unemployed, and populations of depressed areas like the north of England into supporting the Brexit. Farage, like his co-thinker Trump, proved full of petty resentments even in his moment of triumph: as part of his swan song, Farage taunted the members of the European Parliament in Brussels, recalling that they had laughed at him years ago when he gave his first speech announcing his plan to pull Great Britain out of the European Union. The Euro-deputies had laughed at him, Farage recalled bitterly. “But you’re not laughing now, are you?” added the crude and tasteless former stockjobber.
These two abrupt resignations by disposable demagogues suggest that the Brexit campaign was indeed orchestrated from behind the scenes by powerful bankers and oligarchs, who have now told Johnson and Farage that their services are no longer required, and that it was time to leave the premises immediately.
The departure of Johnson, the British politician who was thought most likely to successfully contend of for the conservative party leadership, and thus for Prime Minister in the next general election, probably coming in the autumn. Instead, using the same kinds of cords and pulleys described by Swift, the Tories (Conservatives) now seem to be in the process of anointing Theresa May, who has served as Home Secretary in the two Cameron cabinets over the past six years. The post of British Home Secretary amounts to a police minister, running internal security, brigades of Bobbies, and myriads of closed-circuit television cameras.
One somewhat bizarre aspect of the Theresa May candidacy is that she was officially a supporter of the Remain position in last week’s plebiscite. But now, she vehemently asserts that the Brexit represents the Collective Will in the Rousseauvian sense, and must therefore be carried out immediately. This will be her task, she asserts. Theresa May looks like a variation on the profile of the infamous Margaret Thatcher, whose relation to her own cabinet, British trade unions, and the British people in general was thoroughly sadistic.
Brexit campaigners, especially Boris Johnson, promised to reallocate the £350 million which London has been sending to Brussels each week and make this money available for the woefully underfunded National Health Service which the Tories have long been trying to starve to death. But now Farage has confessed that this promise was nothing but a Big Lie. There is widespread alarm that the post-Brexit Tories will finally satisfy their seven decades-old wish to privatize and destroy the National Health Service. There may soon be little to stop them, since if left of center Scotland quits the United Kingdom, England will be left as a thoroughly reactionary state with a Tory majority as far as the eye can see.
Britain’s public debt has already been downgraded by the ratings agencies. The pound sterling has dropped below last week’s level and is now at $1.29. This might be good for exports, if the United Kingdom had any, but by and large the British economy contains only financial services, derivatives, speculation, hot money and the like. The dramatic weakness of the pound will mean a sharp cut in the British standard of living in the months and years ahead.
Right-wing England under the Chinese alliance is likely to revert to laissez-faire, free market policies of Dickensian cruelty, rolling back social legislation and labor legislation which have been on the books for more than 150 years. Who knows whether a minimum wage will survive? Will there be government regulation of wages and hours? Time will tell, but the perspective is grim.
Many British newspapers have now published opinions from legal experts according to which, despite the lawless anarchy which is inevitable in a country which lacks a modern written constitution, it should be impossible to carry out Brexit without an act of Parliament, supported by a majority vote. This shows once again that the British political elite could easily block the Brexit and remain in the European Union. So if they do not stop Brexit, it simply means they do not want to.
More straws in the wind are now suggesting additional dimensions of the British-Chinese alliance, which is now emerging. One aspect of this alliance is that the City of London will become the principal offshore clearinghouse of the Chinese currency, the ren min bi. This relationship in turn will serve as a component in an all-out effort to destroy the United States dollar as the world reserve currency. One problem with this plan is that its implementation is fraught with risks of general war. Another problem is that if the British-Chinese hegemony is established, Europe, North America, and Japan may find themselves much worse off than they are with the greenback.
We are now learning more about the cabal of oligarchs and financiers who duped the British people into voting for Brexit. Two important voices were those of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who are both anti-Europe. Some time ago the Queen admonished Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, which was then in a coalition government with Cameron’s Tories:
‘Her Majesty let rip at the then Deputy PM during a lunch at Windsor Castle, The Sun has been told. The 89-year-old monarch firmly told passionate pro-European Mr. Clegg that she believed the EU was heading in the wrong direction.’
The Queen also attacked the EU in the presence of some members of Parliament:
‘One of a group of Parliamentarians in a circle with her at the time asked Her Majesty for her thoughts on Brussels. The Queen is said to have snapped back angrily: “I don’t understand Europe”. A parliamentary source, who relayed the remark to The Sun, said: “It was said with quite some venom and emotion. I shall never forget it”. The claims will explode a furious controversy. Brexit-backing Tory MPs are already leaping on The Sun’s revelations as a strong sign the Queen is secretly on the side of Leave ahead of the landmark EU referendum on June 23.’1
British imperialist forces may try to revive the Commonwealth as a replacement for the EU:
‘Some Australian politicians are already calling for the UK to restart “an ambitious plan for Commonwealth free movement of people, starting with Australia, the UK, Canada and New Zealand,” which had previously been blocked by the EU. With the promise of a resurgent commonwealth, who can blame the Queen for spying opportunity in Britain’s Brexit vote?’2
Boris Johnson has also revealed that one big reason for his hostility to Brussels and the EU is the attempt of the European Commission to regulate the exorbitant bonuses of City of London finance executives. Johnson’s masters have been determined to fight off a modest EU financial transactions tax, which is being implemented on the continent.
Johnson told a committee of the House of Commons some months ago that the Leave campaign had received backing from Lord Blackwell of Lloyd’s Bank, Lady Noakes of RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), and Sir Henry Angest of Arbuthnot Banking Group. These are all top finance oligarchs.
It was Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Television and the Sun tabloid that brainwashed the pensioners and cottagers in the shires. But Murdoch is fighting for his own rights as a billionaire, and certainly not for these hapless and deluded little people. As Anthony Hilton, a columnist for the Evening Standard, a rival London tabloid, wrote:
‘I once asked Rupert Murdoch why he was so opposed to the European Union. “That’s easy,” he replied. “When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.”3
The smaller a political unit is, the easier it is for oligarchs to dominate. In larger nations, oligarchical interests clash and sometimes cancel each other out.
Referenda or plebiscites are now being touted by ignorant libertarians as the last word in democratic expression. But plebiscites have a very mixed record, no matter how democratic they sound. They are sometimes the vehicle by which mob rule (ochlochracy) flips into tyranny. It is enough to recall that Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power was accomplished through referenda: in 1800, a referendum confirmed Napoleon as first consul after he had taken power in a coup d’etat. In 1802, another referendum made him first consul for life. In 1804, yet another referendum made him emperor. Napoleon’s whole system was based on referenda: his rule has been described as “dictatorship by plebiscite.”
Louis Napoleon Bonaparte or Napoleon III also ruled as dictator and emperor through plebiscites. After seizing power in a coup, he had his dictatorship validated through a referendum in 1851. In 1852, another referendum made him emperor as Napoleon III. He held still another plebiscite in 1870 to get approval for his “liberal Empire” reforms, and he succeeded in this as well.
In Germany in 1934, it was by plebiscite that the office of President of the Reich was combined with that of Chancellor, producing a combined head of state and head of government post in the form of the Führer, and this post was taken by Hitler. Thus, Hitler’s totalitarian dictatorship was the result of a referendum.
Anyone who, like Mike Taibbi of Rolling Stone, argues for the metaphysical sanctity of any referendum is therefore not being judicious.
Extremist Anglo-Chinese Financiers Behind Brexit Want to Make London the Dominant Worldwide Clearing Hub for the Chinese Ren Min Bi in Campaign of Financial Warfare vs US Dollar, Euro, Yen, and Other World Currencies; Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Cyber-Crime Will Flourish; Chinese Want Reserve Currency Status, and Expect London to Deliver It at U.S. Expense; UK National Health Service May Be Dismantled; ISIS-Style Terrorism in Turkey and Bangladesh Providing Favorable Atmospherics for Trump’s Demagogy; If Terrorism Comes to U.S. Over July 4 Weekend, Blame It on Pro-Trump Mole Factions in the Intelligence Community; London’s Model Is St. George’s Bank of Genoa, Banking Center of Spanish Empire, 1557-1627
World Crisis Radio
July 2, 2016
Queen Elizabeth II is a strong supporter of the Brexit according to numerous published reports.
British Nuclear Sub Positioned at Gibraltar to Deter Spanish Demands; Brexit Referendum Not Binding, of Dubious Legal Value, and Can Still Be Rejected by Parliament; If British Oligarchy Does Not Overturn Brexit It Means They Want It; Post-Brexit Chaos Spreads
Summer 1916 photo shows German trenches on the Somme battlefield. White shading is due to chalky soil dug up during the construction of the trenches.
Somme battlefield, July 1, 1916-After more than a week of artillery bombardment, at the start of the infantry assault the British detonated a number of underground mines packed with high-explosives under the German trenches, similar to the Petersburg Crater half a century earlier. One of these mines is thought to have been the largest man-made explosion before the atomic age.
A nuclear submarine of the British Royal Navy has arrived in the UK possession of Gibraltar, which has been claimed by Spain for more than 300 years. Upon hearing of the Brexit vote, parts of the Spanish government issued a demand for a joint Anglo-Spanish administration of this colony. Naturally, the British geopolitical adventurers indignantly rejected this request. Now the British have escalated by sending a nuclear submarine, to be followed by further reinforcements:
‘Navy nuclear submarine HMS Ambush yesterday steamed to Gibraltar – in a massive show of force against Spain. The Spanish – emboldened by Britain’s Brexit vote – demanded joint sovereignty over The Rock on the same day the shock results were announced…. Earlier this week , it was announced that the UK’s submarine parachute assistance group would be in Gibraltar next week as part of ongoing mandatory training.’1
All of this comes on the eve of the July 1 Centennial of the Battle of the Somme, where British and Commonwealth forces lost 20,000 dead and 40,000 wounded or captured in the first day of a futile 141-day attack on German trenches. The responsibility for this hecatomb goes to Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, the British commander. Haig promised his green and untested troops that they would find no resistance. He forbade them to lie down or take cover. He also demanded that they walk and not run. Despite the much touted eight-day long British bombardment, most German positions emerged intact and capable of deploying hundreds of machine guns. The German barbed wire was also largely undisturbed by Haig’s bombardment. Haig has become proverbial for the stupidity and cruelty of the British ruling class in its dealings with its underlings. The top German commander at that time, General von Lüdendorf, remarked that the British soldiers were “lions led by donkeys.”
The British aristocratic donkeys have been running the show over there this week. Their mischief needs to be rolled back at once.
A week after the Brexit debacle, the upheavals in world financial markets are quieting down. Brexit was responsible for $3 trillion of losses in global markets over a couple of days.
The political instability, by contrast, shows no signs of abating, and is in fact escalating. We are also beginning to see initial signs of military tension that would have been less likely in the pre-Brexit order.
US Secretary Of State John Kerry has raised the possibility of rolling back the reckless and irresponsible decision of some British voters to throw Europe and much of the world into a new age of chaos. Kerry gave no details, but his hints pointed to the fact that the breakup of Europe initiated by the crazed British petty bourgeoisie is among other things, a direct threat to the national security of the United States, and no laughing matter to be left to sinister buffoons like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
Kerry spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival:
‘The US secretary of state has raised doubts about whether Brexit will ever happen, suggesting most leave campaigners do not truly believe in Britain’s divorce from it. Claiming there were a number of ways in which Thursday’s vote could be “walked back”, John Kerry, who visited Downing Street on Monday, said David Cameron was loth to invoke article 50, the EU exit procedure. Several scenarios could see the vote overturned, involving either a Labour or Tory prime minister. But all are speculative. He said the British prime minister felt powerless to “start negotiating a thing that he doesn’t believe in” and “has no idea how he would do it.”Apparently referring to Boris Johnson, one of the frontrunners to replace Cameron, Kerry added: “And by the way, nor do most of the people who voted to do it.” Cameron was worried that Britain would be forced out of the EU at the end of the two-year negotiating period without a trade deal, Kerry told Aspen Ideas festival on Tuesday. Asked if this meant the Brexit decision could be “walked back” and if so how, Kerry said: “I think there are a number of ways. I don’t, as secretary of state, want to throw them out today. I think that would be a mistake. But there are a number of ways.”2
The problem of the British is of course that they totally lack a written constitution in the modern sense of the word. The British are incapable of discriminating between a simple statute law and a constitutional amendment. Under the US system, the president and the Congress are subject to the discipline imposed by constitutional imperatives. In Great Britain, the House of Commons and the cabinet are free to do what they want, and that will become a part of the “Constitution.” It is said that the British government operates by precedent and custom, but the problem is also that many of those precedents and customs are secret, going back to the Star Chamber of the 16th century, and other oppressive institutions operating in the shadows. It is unthinkable in US terms that a decision of the magnitude of whether to remain in or depart from the European Union would be made by a momentary majority in the noisy chaos of a referendum. In the United States, a decision of this importance would require a constitutional amendment, with votes of both houses of Congress and approval by three fourths of the state legislatures. That is a serious and stable way of handling decisions of consequence.
This “referendum” was conjured up by the bungling political adventurer David Cameron. In order to make sure he got across the finish line in the last British parliamentary election. Since there is no Constitution to tell him what he cannot do, this crackpot initiative of a referendum simply sailed along. More and more evidence is coming in that key people on both sides of the referendum let it go forward because they were certain that it would not pass.
That would seem to include Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, the top demagogues of the Leave campaign. Farage admitted as the polls closed, that he thought the Remain vote would prove the larger. Boris Johnson, like his sidekick Nigel, had absolutely no idea what Brexit would entail, nor what they should do first on the morning after the vote. As it is, the Brexit has no legal status whatsoever, since it is only an advisory vote designed to let lawmakers in Westminster know what the state of public opinion is at a given moment in time. There is no legal impediment to casting aside the Brexit monstrosity. Better that than a world catastrophe. Good riddance to Boris Johnson, who has today given up his campaign to become the next Prime Minister.
The opposite argument is that the parliament is now bound and gagged, and has no alternative but to translate Brexit into an Act of Parliament for leaving the EU. But the entire demagogy of the Leave camp was that sovereignty had to be brought home from Brussels and installed once again in the Westminster Parliament in London. But what good is that demagogy if sovereignty is somehow delegated to an endless series of ill-conceived referenda?
In traditional Anglo-American political science, plebiscites and referenda are usually regarded with suspicion. It was through a plebiscite that Napoleon Bonaparte convinced the French to make him their Emperor. It was through a plebiscite in Germany in 1934 that Hitler got the Germans to combine the offices of president and chancellor into the office of Fuehrer, which he wanted for himself. Plebiscites and referenda are often the vehicles for ochlocracy, for mob rule in conjunction with a dictatorship.
The buyer’s remorse among the English, who have been slow to realize the incalculable folly of their actions, is growing apace. Important newspapers are now informing their readers of how the Brexit can be stopped:
‘There is a way out of Brexit, constitutional lawyers have advised. Three leading members of the UK Constitutional Law Association have offered a detailed legal opinion stating that before there can be a declaration under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the Brexit process, MPs must signal their consent by passing an Act of Parliament. This means that legally speaking, MPs can stop the UK leaving the EU by voting down any such Act. It may also raise the possibility that an Article 50 declaration that is forced through without an Act of Parliament could be challenged by a judicial review. The 3,000-word article by academics Nick Barber and Jeff King and by Tom Hickman, a practicing barrister and Reader in Public Law at University College, London, adds to a growing body of legal opinion that the referendum result does not make Brexit a done deal. It follows Geoffrey Robertson QC telling The Independent that the EU referendum result was “purely advisory”, and comes after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell both raised the prospect of a second referendum. Lord O’Donnell told the Today program on Tuesday: “If we get reform from the EU side, if a new Prime Minister can come in for a back with a really good deal, you can imagine a situation where they want to put that to a General Election or a second referendum….”
‘Mr. Barber, an associate professor of Constitutional Law at Oxford University, told The Independent that if MPs were politically brave enough to do it, they had the legal power to block Brexit. “It is a course of action that is open to them,” he said. “As a matter of law, the referendum is not legally binding. Unless I have missed it, there is nothing in the European Union Referendum Act 2015 that says it is.” His co-author Jeff King, the Treasurer of the UK Constitutional Law Association, added: “Our argument is that the decision to initiate withdrawal [from the EU] rests with parliamentarians, which gives them, legally speaking, lots of wriggle room – in fact all of the wriggle room that there is.” Dr King, a senior law lecturer at University College, London, told The Independent that any Prime Minister making an Article 50 declaration without MPs first voting in an Act of Parliament could face the prospect of being overruled by a judicial review….’
A QC is a Queen’s Counsel, meaning a lawyer who is specially accredited in the British courts. There are clearly enough valid technicalities here to allow a significant ruling class faction to stop Brexit dead in its tracks. This means that, if the British oligarchy does not prevent Brexit from being implemented, it is their collective will that it should actually happen. British oligarchical factions, although thus far apparently a minority, desire to break out of the European Union for purposes of sabotaging Europe, and also for freeing their own hands for geopolitical brinksmanship, most likely in coordination with their new allies in China.
His Speech a Clumsy Bid to Dupe Disappointed Bernie Sanders Supporters; Delphic Donald Mentions Wall Street Just Twice, Only to Blame Hillary; Trump’s Much-Touted Trade Plan Is Vague and Inadequate; His Definition of Globalization Leaves Out Austerity, Speculation, Derivatives, Union Busting, Deregulation, Currency Chaos, Federal Reserve Malpractice – All Brought to You by Trump’s Allies!
Appropriately speaking in front of what looked like a wall of garbage, candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday, July 28 delivered his most ambitious speech on economic policy so far in Monessen, Pennsylvania. Trump is once again posturing in public as a supporter of protectionism and an enemy of free trade sellouts like NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, and TPP. But, despite all of his salesman’s art, he cannot conceal the fact of his stubborn refusal to call for any permanent, across the board, protective tariff to shield American agriculture, industry, and manufacturing. A close reading of his latest pronouncements shows that he hardly treads beyond the complaint mechanisms built into the bankrupt free trade treaties of the past quarter-century. And in this department, Trump is actually weaker and more timid than the Obama administration, based on the public record. Trump’s critique of free trade still regards tariffs as abortive and exceptional weapons of temporary trade retaliation, rather than seeing an import duty of 15% (for example) as a fixed and orderly feature of regulated and growing foreign trade, especially high technology US exports, under a traditional Hamiltonian-Lincolnian regime of protectionism and dirigism. At most, Trump is promising to make NAFTA and WTO work more smoothly.
The Monessen speech was apparently Trump’s definitive pronouncement on globalization, tariffs, and trade, and was one of his rare teleprompter speeches. Trump’s website later provided text with footnotes for the address – a sure sign that the fascist had little to do with the preparation.
Trump’s main task in this speech was to make a demagogic bid to dupe the still disoriented supporters of Bernie Sanders. This was reflected in Trump’s attack on free trade sellouts, and even reached into the footnotes, where the vaguely left of center Economic Policy Institute was cited.
If any Bernie followers are tempted, let them mark well the curious fact that, in this speech, Trump almost never mentions the power complex which Sanders has correctly made into the principal target of his campaign rhetoric: WALL STREET. In fact, Trump mentioned Wall Street just twice in the entire speech, both times attempting to imply that Wall Street was connected to Hillary, but not to Trump.
Trump confined his mentions of Wall Street to “Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street funders” and the dark prophecy that she “will do this just as she has betrayed American workers for Wall Street throughout her career.’ Fair enough, but what about you, Don? Hillary is a Wall Street puppet for sure, but the fascist billionaire was already enough of a Wall Street insider in 1990-1991 to enjoy a special sweetheart bailout by Citibank and the New York Federal Reserve when Citibank had been silently seized by federal regulators.1 In case you don’t know how this worked, taxpayers picked up the bill to bail out Donald.
In any case, Trump would have been smart to attack Wall Street much more if he wanted to snare some Sanders stragglers. The fact that he didn’t dare do that shows who controls him, and whom he fears. Bankers.
Voters need to remember that when you vote for a presidential candidate, you are not voting merely for a policy or for an analysis, however much you may like these aspects of a certain candidate. You are voting to give the awesome power of life or death over you and family, since this is implicit in the control of nuclear weapons and launch codes which has been the purview of the presidency since the beginning of the atomic age. This is different from voting for a senator, a congressman, or a governor. That is why the personality, outlook, mentality, and track record of a presidential candidate deserves such meticulous attention.
Everything that Trump said on Tuesday needs to be read within the context of his lifelong hostility to labor unions, collective bargaining, and the rights of working people in general. This is a candidate who wants to reward wealthy corporations which have kept flight capital overseas, rather than bring it home and subjected to lawful taxation. This is the same Trump , who wants to cut the top rate on the federal personal income tax from almost 40% to 25%, providing a bonanza for wealthy predators. This is the same Trump who wants to abolish the estate tax. As of 2016, there is no tax on estates under 5.5 million dollars, meaning that financial parasites who made out like bandits under Reagan, or thanks to the Bush tax cuts can permanently incorporate their ill-gotten gains into their family fortunes thus creating a permanent financier oligarchy. This may even allow Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka, Trump’s mediocre brood, to maintain their status as finance oligarchs through their inheritance.
As usual, Trump tries to escape all accountability with his usual rhetoric about “great trade deals” to replace NAFTA and the rest, and the “great jobs” he will provide. Trump wants “to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal by a lot, not just a little, by a lot for our workers.” How is this measured? What does a great trade deal look like? Will it create 1 million jobs, 5 million jobs, or more? What will it do to average weekly earnings here in the United States? How can we tell if a new trade deal is better by a lot and not just by a little for the workers? Good luck in getting specific, truthful answers on any of this.
Trump would like to blame NAFTA in particular on Bill and Hillary Clinton, but in reality NAFTA was negotiated and signed into law by George H.W. Bush. It is very true that Bill Clinton used his presidential powers to get NAFTA signed into law. But one of the biggest pro-NAFTA organizers in the Congress was none other than the GOP’s Newt Gingrich, who may still be under active consideration as Trump’s vice presidential candidate. So the one-dimensional morality play which the fascist billionaire is attempting to concoct does not ring true.
One of Trump’s problems is that he is by now personally discredited and viewed as an incorrigible liar by intelligent people with the memory that reaches farther back than from one week to the next. The process by which a politician becomes discredited and loses all credibility deserves further study, but there is no doubt that there is a point at which significant parts of the public will tune out a public figure, and refuse to consider anything they might propose, no matter how good it is. The German Emperor William II became known by 1910 at the latest as a monarch who would not keep his word, neither to his own people nor to foreign leaders. The German general and politician von Schleicher had by early 1933 engaged in so many intrigues and betrayals that no one could be found to trust him, a fact that enabled the rise of Hitler. There are surely many Americans who have had it with Donald J Trump. We have tried to keep track of some of Trump’s lies and flip-flops, but these are so numerous that it is almost impossible to keep track of them in a short essay.
Trump wants to pose as a follower of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Abraham Lincoln. He recalls that ‘… Abraham Lincoln warned that “the abandonment of the protective policy by the American government … will produce want and ruin among our people.”
Lincoln presided over the enactment of the Morrill Tariff, the strongest protectionist tariff in US history up to that point. The result of the passage of the highly successful Morrill Tariff was that the free trade, low-wage, and pro-slavery Confederate states left the union and were thus no longer able to sabotage the Hamilton-Clay American System program. We note in passing that those free trade southern states represent the heart of Trump’s political coalition, such as it is.
The Tax Wall Street Party’s answer to Trump is that, if he really wants a return to Lincoln’s version of protectionism, he should first of all propose overriding NAFTA and other trade deals with an actual, permanent, across-the-board, protective tariff – we would recommend 15% as a starting point. Of course, a detailed tariff schedule would most probably include higher import duties on certain commodities.
Trump needs to keep his concept of protectionism as narrow as possible, to avoid offending the Wall Street bankers and speculators who are his actual backers and masters. He wants to limit everything to trade (or even more narrowly to currency manipulation), since this allows him to blame politicians and spare the finance oligarchs he serves. For example, when Trump quotes Lincoln about “the protective policy” of the US government, many modern readers may think that this refers to import duties alone. But let us quote briefly from the 1825 inaugural address of John Quincy Adams, one of the greatest champions of the American system. Here we can get an idea of the numerous ingredients that are required to maintain the trade position of a country:
In Adams’ inaugural address, he stunned the crabbed states’ rights exegetes of the Constitution by announcing that “the great object of the institution of civil government is the improvement of those who are parties to the social compact”, and enumerated the impressive powers that the Constitution afforded to do just that, going on to say that “if these powers may be effectually brought into action by laws promoting the improvement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, the cultivation of the mechanic and the elegant arts, the advancement of literature, and the progress of the sciences, ornamental and profound, then to refrain from exercising them for the benefit of the people themselves would be to hide in the earth the talent committed to our charge – would be treachery to the most sacred of trusts.” Adams recommended a national university, astronomical observatories, and a whole array of scientific enterprises. He ridiculed the narrow-minded sectionalism of most opportunist politicians, asking if they were “palsied by the will of their constituents.”
John Quincy Adams saw clearly that successful foreign trade depended on an educated and prosperous labor force, as Horace Mann argued. National economic success requires scientific research, technological development, and modern energy production. Trump likes to reduce the trade question to the runaway shop, excessive imports and unfair foreign practices.
But what about exports? The United States urgently requires a program of high technology exports. This means exports that are also of high capital intensity, high energy density, and backed up by technological innovation, national laboratories, University research grants, and the like. Would Trump like to propose the immediate abolition of the insane Republican budget sequester , which was built into the Satan Sandwich of 2011? So far we have not heard him. Trump has very little to say about exports.
Tariffs by themselves make foreign-made products more expensive. If raising tariffs is all you do, in the short run the living standard will fall, and this will end up as a form of austerity. The US living standard has already fallen by two thirds since about 1971, and further reductions are unacceptable. So, to make the US competitive, we need to invest in education, upgrade skills, and roll back the Reagan Redistribution, which sent vast wealth from the working class, the lower middle class, and the middle class to the pockets of the wealthy elite.
In short, we need to develop and support the industries now emerging over the horizon, rather than merely bringing back runaway shops and sweatshops from the Far East and planting them in a union-free, cheap labor system, which seems to be Trump’s intent.
Trump also argues that US national wealth has been fruitlessly expended in the process of developing or nation building in other countries:
‘But then America changed its policy from promoting development in America — in, in, in America — to promoting development in other nations. That’s what’s happening and that’s what happened.’
That may sound plausible, but Trump’s ghostwriters are simply ignoring some very big facts. The biggest economic boom in US history came between 1945 and 1970 in large part thanks to the European Recovery Program or Marshall Plan, which provided US loans and grants to promote economic reconstruction in Europe and elsewhere after World War II. There was also the benefit of not seeing these nations join the Soviet bloc because of economic despair. This concept is too complicated for Trump, who sees economics very much as a brutal, Hobbesian, zero-sum game.
Trump addressed globalization:
‘Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization — moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas.’
Free trade sellouts are of course an important part of globalization, but by far not the only one. One of the essential features of globalization is unlimited and unrestricted flows of speculative hot money across the globe, without any possibility of government intervention or even government monitoring. In some cases. Globalization implies that hot money speculators are able to control the value of currencies, with profound effects on trade. Under globalization, banks are no longer regulated, and can operate against the public interest in any way they choose. Here in the United States, this has included interstate banking and the abolition of the Glass-Steagall Banking Law of 1933. Most destructive of all has proven to be deregulation and legalization of toxic derivatives by Clinton in 2000. Globalization also means the destruction or weakening of labor unions. These are all apparently aspects of globalization, which Trump has no desire to modify. In this sense, we can say that Trump is not really an opponent of globalization, but also a kind of reformer within the globalized world system, who is claiming to get a slightly better deal for the US, but who is not seriously attempting to do this.
Continue reading Despite His Latest Anti-Free Trade Demagogy, Trump Still Rejects a Permanent Across-the-Board Protective Tariff »
Extremist Financiers Play China Card; City of London Laughs as Reactionaries Laud Brexit as Independence Day from Globalism; Can There Really Be an Honest Vote Count in the World’s Most Entrenched Oligarchy? Trump Promises Government by “Killers” – and Americans Won’t Be Spared; Beware the Treachery of the Chinese-British Bloc
During the 20th century, the British Empire/Commonwealth of Nations comprised between one fourth and one fifth of the land mass and population of the world. It was the largest empire in world history. Today, the British Commonwealth of Nations has 53 members, united in allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II. This immense power has now been joined with the People’s Republic of China in a geopolitical combination bent on political and financial aggrandizement. Trump supporters are calling this a victory of freedom over globalism when in reality it is the biggest mass brainwashing job of all time by the City of London for geopolitical reasons. The British establishment has long sought to break out of the European Union and join with China for a policy of brinksmanship and geopolitical adventurism likely to reintroduce war into war into Europe since 1945.
In a world where vote fraud is more and more scrutinized, few are asking whether the United Kingdom, the most oligarchical country on the planet, could ever have an honest election. In a country where no law that is passed by parliament gets final approval without the Queen’s consent, we should ask why the will of the people is suddenly so respected. Or, is there something bigger behind this so called popular rebellion?
Perhaps a British financier clique planned this escape well before any referendum was ever called to give their new imperial plans populist cover. How did sinister hedge fund operators like George Soros know months in advance to invest heavily in gold and take other flights to safety? At the Tax Wall Street Party we assert that it is time to start asking big questions and not just go with our guts because Sir Rupert Murdoch – who championed the Brexit in his tabloids – can make the public feel virtually anything by deploying his pro-imperial propaganda. Why did Trump drive the Brexit propagandist around in his golf cart days after the vote? Is the State Department even aware that the dangerous incompetent and adventurer President Xi of China made a triumphant state visit to London last October, where he sealed a total strategic alliance with the United Kingdom which is the actual basis for Brexit?
While Nigel Farage and Donald Trump claim to bear the standard of a rising tide of “nationalism,” their policies and lack thereof could in fact hasten the Chinese domination of the global economy, the collapse of America, and the path to global war.
It is clear when looking at Trump stroll around his properties in the United Kingdom like the prized Turnberry and Aberdeen that he is under the spell of the British aristocracy. Is Trump in the final analysis more attached to the British/ global ruling class than to anything in the United States? As he reaches the autumn of his years his goal is to leave a less nouveau riche brand for his kids. Less gold leaf and more Burke’s Peerage.
The current economic realities in America – high unemployment, low productive output, declining birthrates, cultural decadence, intractable deflation of food, oil and other values – have not only driven the electorate in unprecedented numbers to alleged “anti-establishment” presidential candidate Trump – they have split oligarchic opinion in two.
This is clear to any master propagandist like Rupert Murdoch, who not only owns the tabloids where he peddled the leave vote but owns the Times which championed the opposite stay vote. Any adman knows that the establishment and elite are out this season and cultural populism is in. Murdoch knows that if his Times said leave then it wouldn’t give the appearance of being a class issue. Clever propaganda can sell virtually anything, even make an elite agenda appear to be a vote from the working class. As long as the New York Times doesn’t support Trump, he can make all his products overseas and in places as enslaved as Bangladesh and still be a populist hero. The man who built Trump Tower with concrete because it was cheaper than Pennsylvania Steel can be today’s champion of the Pennsylvania Steelworkers – as long as Roger Stone says he is the real deal and he doesn’t eat arugula or Belgian endive. Some people will slit their own throat based on their hatred for the elite in service of something far worse.
Trump represents a dangerous response to the decline of the American economy. This response was designed not by Trump himself, who is being revealed in the course of the presidential primaries as an infantile tyrant – unfocused, vindictive, grandiose, devoid of genuine good will, and prone to fits of psychopathic violence – essentially the personality profile of Adolf Hitler and other catastrophic figures. Trump’s intended role – to preside over America’s chaotic collapse – has been assisted by the international bankers and tabloid journalists who now seek to profit off the destruction of our once great nation.
In focusing on how Britain is playing the China card, we need to look back on Nixon’s rapprochement with China in 1972. Here is a comment from one of the protagonists:
“Well, I like Donald Trump. I know him personally […] He describes a problem. The Chinese have made enormous progress economically. Part of our difficulties are that we are not doing at home what we need to do in order to be competitive. And China is going to be a major force in the world. And we have to decide whether we’re going to deal with it by confrontation or by an intended cooperation. If they challenge our fundamental interests, we’re going to confront them.” – Henry Kissinger in 2011
Trump’s favorite daughter Ivanka is more at home with her brand in China than the United States. This is a much bigger issue than production costs, Ivanka finds the society of Chinese princelings genuinely congenial. All of the Trump family’s instincts are globalist.
The coterie around Trump, both now and in his early years, has its roots in the shadow government apparatus of the Nixon and Ford presidencies, and in the corporate raider financier milieu responsible for America’s deindustrialization.
Campaign surrogate Roger Stone (who literally has a smiling, tattooed portrait of Nixon’s face on his back) was a member of the dirty CIA-penetrated CREEP operation that led to the Watergate scandal. Roy Cohn, the infamous blackmail artist and a mentor of both Trump and Stone, was an “informal” legal advisor to Nixon and Ford. Newly-announced campaign manager Paul Manafort employed his own dirty tricks in the 1976 Ford campaign and provided ongoing legal counsel as head of an informal “torturers’ lobby” for Nixon-supported dictators in Africa, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Manafort’s guiding influence helps explain Trump’s frequent outbursts about employing ultra-violence against the families of ISIS militants.
In addition to the Vietnam war, one of Nixon’s most lasting legacies was the opening of the door to Communist China. This can be explained as part and parcel of a longstanding British “triangular” strategy dating back to the Opium Wars: to use China geopolitically against Russia, to make its rivals dependent on the role of international finance and free trade, and to subvert and manage China’s aspirations for economic development. As we will see, the players have switched positions, but the strategy remains the same.
Both now and then, there have been two Chinas: the pro-Wall Street and London faction of Mao Zedong and current president Xi Jinping, and the economic populist “youth league” faction represented by the ideals of Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, the Tianamen Square protesters, the massacre of whom was praised by Trump:
“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak… as being spit on by the rest of the world.”
Mao Zedong was educated at “Yali,” the Chinese outpost of Yale’s Skull & Bones fraternity dating back to the early 20th century. His role as a de facto British agent was to keep China de-populated, de-developed, and essentially harmless to oligarchic aspirations to monopolize the resources of Southeast Asia, a strategy culminating in the wars in Indochina and the current era of global free trade.
With China under the spell of the Mao faction, Kissinger’s “opening” would succeed in transferring American industry, technical knowledge and money over the intervening decades to China. While China’s rise is impressive and in many ways commendable, it has been managed and made possible only through the triangular trade of Anglo-American finance, cheap Chinese labor, and the sell-off of American technology by corporate raiders like Trump’s “China negotiator” Carl Icahn to Chinese state-owned corporations. Trump blames this process entirely on Bill and Hillary Clinton and neglects the central role of the very people he will task to manage the American economy.
These state-owned corporations manufacture goods for export using technology bought, stolen through espionage, and reverse-engineered from equipment and goods developed by now-shuttered American corporations. To take one of many examples, Chinese state-owned Shanghai Electric is now the owner of America’s formerly world-leading companies in power generation equipment, machine tools, elevators, and printing and packaging technology. This transfer of intellectual property, capital equipment and labor was no accident. China’s rise reflects the preference of international finance oligarchs to counter the formerly industrial US by making China the new workshop to the world.
The reversals of fortune have been astounding and rapid. In terms of productive capabilities and output, China in 2016 looks like America in 1950. China boasts the world’s largest steel industry, the world’s largest construction industry, the world’s most ambitious infrastructure projects, and a “soft imperialism” program helping to develop and penetrate Africa, Asia and South America. While America still has profitable finance and other service industry sectors, its formerly industrial cities like Detroit look like China under Mao Zedong, whose policies of deindustrialization and cottage industry led to mass famine and genocide.
Today China, drowning in American consumer dollars, is being seized upon by City of London banks who have opened major operations in Beijing and Shanghai, and who have convinced the Xi faction (complete with a carriage ride with Queen Elizabeth) to sell China’s sovereign debt on international markets, opening the yuan and therefore China’s economic policy to speculative attack and control by international financiers.
The historical precedents for a Trump presidency offer dark visions of America’s future. Like the ghosts before him, Trump’s judgement is clouded both by powerful revenge fantasies against false enemies, and by misguided loyalties that could ultimately lead our nation to ruin.
Trump as Andrew Jackson: a Bull in a China Shop
The comparison of Trump to Jackson is not controversial. There are numerous and clear historical parallels to the appeal of both men and to their respective historical moments. Contemporary biographer James Parton observed:
“Andrew Jackson, I am given to understand, was a patriot and a traitor. He was one of the greatest of generals, and wholly ignorant of the art of war. A writer brilliant, elegant, eloquent, and without being able to compose a correct sentence, or spell words of four syllables. The first of statesmen, he never devised, he never framed a measure. He was the most candid of men, and was capable of the profoundest dissimulation. A most law-defying, law-obeying citizen. A stickler for discipline, he never hesitated to disobey his superior. A democratic aristocrat. An urbane savage. An atrocious saint.”
– Parton, James, The Life of Andrew Jackson (1860)
While Jackson bewildered many of his contemporaries, he did not fool his most astute rival John Quincy Adams, who lambasted Jackson for transferring America’s public wealth to private banks, nor does his legacy affirm the folk hero image upheld by modern libertarians who fawn likewise over Donald Trump.
Jackson is remembered as having “killed the bank,” which is incorrectly interpreted as driving Wall Street out of the US Treasury. What Jackson did was to kill the public bank of the United States, which set off a speculative frenzy in private bank currencies, a financial crash (the panic of 1837), and nearly three decades of economic depression resulting in the Civil War and stopped only by the genuine nationalist policies of Abraham Lincoln. If Trump praises Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln, he is a damned liar.
Jackson, who had no experience in politics, was faithfully tutored by the treasonous clique of Aaron Burr, Martin van Buren and Chief Justice Roger Taney (a key stockholder in the Union Bank of Baltimore).
Trump’s policy of Mexican deportation would repeat Jackson’s genocidal policy of Cherokee removal on a larger scale. Whereas the prosperous Cherokee died en masse on the Trail of Tears to make way for slave plantations, Mexican families will be ripped apart in favor of low-wage “right to work” (non-union) labor.
When Andrew Jackson effectively aborted America’s economic and infrastructural development with his insane policies, American growth slowed rapidly, and Britain was the chief beneficiary. How? Jackson enabled the spread of slavery and the export of slave-picked cotton to British mills. Britain, not America, reasserted its place as the workshop to the world, and used its textiles and its empire of shipping and finance to conduct triangular trade in the east and the Opium Wars against China.
In this trade pattern, British textiles were sent to India, who sent opium to China, who sent tea and silver to Britain. Britain got not only the better end of the deal in terms of balance of trade, but waxed rich on lucrative shipping contracts and kept its rivals drugged and unable to fight back (despite China’s valiant attempts to ban opium in the wars that bear that name).
Trump, though a billionaire, is not a first-rate oligarch but a nouveau-riche/parvenu/arriviste with aristocratic aspirations. Is he being manipulated with flattery by British financiers much in the way Jackson was?
Only One Elderly Third of British Voters Want Out of Europe; Demagogues Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage Play on Fears of Tight Little Island; Chaos Ensues: World Markets Crumble; Scotland and Northern Ireland Are Set to Break Out of Moribund “United Kingdom”; Continental Copycats Demand Their Own Exit Votes, Starting with Le Pen, Wilders, and Italian Northern League; Tempted by London’s Weakness, Irredentists Eye Ulster, Gibraltar, and Malvinas/Falklands; No US Military Help for New British Adventures Under Any Circumstances; Russia’s Tragic Gloating: Don’t They Realize They Are Next?; General De Gaulle of France Was Right: UK a Trojan Horse for Wrecking Europe; British the Most Bankster-Ridden People in the World, but They Choose to Blame Only Eurogarchs; City of London Bankers Are Much Worse Than Brussels Eurocrats; Could Buyers’ Remorse Yet Secure a Reprieve Before Article 50 Kicks In?; July 1 Centennial of World War I Somme Battle Recalls One Decisive Plus of EU: No Big Wars for 70 Years
World Crisis Radio
June 25, 2016
Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, two top demagogues and bankers’ boys arguing for the Brexit debacle.
On July 1, 1916, the first day of the World War I Battle of the Somme, Britain lost 20,000 killed and 40,000 wounded and missing. Whatever one may say about the economic policies of the EU, European integration has procured the absence of major wars among the larger European states for more than 70 years. Farage, Boris, and their ilk care nothing about the benefits of such war avoidance.
IF BREXIT PASSES, HOW LONG UNTIL THE FIRST POST-EU WAR AMONG EUROPEAN STATES? – THOUGHTS FOR THE SOMME ANNIVERSARY
As of this writing, the UK’s Brexit referendum on leaving the European Union is too close to call. But the disastrous results of a possible British secession are very clear indeed. If London departs the EU, Scotland and most probably Wales will vote to stay behind, wrecking the old UK. If UKIP demagogue Nigel Farage succeeds in his campaign to revert to Little England, his scurrilous colleagues on the continent like Marine Le Pen of France, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Beppe Grillo of Italy, and Frauke Petry of Alternatives for Germany will attempt exit referenda of their own. The English and their new Chinese allies will use their diplomacy to encourage these breakups. The result will be general chaos, probably followed by a reversion of Europe to incessant warfare as seen before 1945. Next week, we will mark the Hundredth Anniversary of the opening of the 1916 Battle of the Somme in northern France, which went on for 141 days. One day in this battle, July 1, 1916, saw the largest number of casualties ever suffered in a 24-hour period by the British military. About 20,000 soldiers were killed, and 40,000 wounded or captured. The entire battle saw 1.1 million total Allied and German casualties (among them Adolf Hitler), including about 150,000 Anglo-French and 165,000 German dead. The name of the British commander who planned that battle, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, has become synonymous with a general so incompetent as to become a butcher to his own men. Nigel Farage pushed for the Brexit vote, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron obliged by calling it. If the EU breaks up and war resumes in Europe, will these two be remembered as the new Haigs?
The assertions made in this publication about the close affinities between the political method of candidate Trump on the one hand, and his precursors Mussolini and Hitler on the other, remain controversial in a dwindling number of political circles. Even so, the opposition to this diagnosis remains vocal and strident. We therefore welcome the opportunity to showcase a series of cogent, convincing, and common sense arguments about the necessity of a Trump-Hitler comparison from the distinguished columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., of the Miami Herald. Leonard Pitts first attracted our attention through the remarkable grasp of German history which he put on display in comparing Paul Ryan’s support of Trump with the backing given to Hitler by the German aristocratic-Catholic reactionary politician Franz von Papen during the last days of the Weimar Republic in 1932-1933. Von Papen had briefly served as Chancellor during the autumn of 1932, and had then been replaced by the political general von Schleicher, who represented the last chance for Germany to avoid the Hitler dictatorship. Von Papen schemed and intrigued to overcome the objections to Hitler of the elderly Field Marshal von Hindenburg, the head of state and President of the Reich.
Von Papen was convinced that he could control the upstart guttersnipe Hitler, but in the event he narrowly escaped later assassination at the hands of a group of killers from the Nazi SS who murdered several members of his staff.
It is safe to say that the number of American newspaper columnists who have even heard of von Papen is infinitesimally small, even though this was the politician who played an indispensable role in Hitler’s seizure of power in January 1933.
Leonard Pitts has now gone on to address a number of standard objections to suggesting close parallels between the Queens fascist billionaire and the Austrian corporal and paper-hanger. In the course of these considerations, Pitts answers the old canard that comparisons with Hitler are always wrong, and the claim that the only danger is to be too quick to make such comparisons asserting, one can also be too slow. While readers are encouraged to ponder Pitts’ articles as a whole, here is the gist of his argument:
‘Yes, Hitler. Some of you questioned my evocation of history’s great villain in a recent column on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s surrender to presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. I likened Ryan to Franz von Papen, a German politician who helped Adolf Hitler rise to power under the naive delusion that he could control him. A handful of Trump fans found that, as one put it, “a bit of a stretch.” One guy expressed his skepticism through the time-honored expedient of the triple punctuation mark: “Hitler???” Yes, Hitler….
Almost by definition, Hitler and Holocaust comparisons trivialize that era and reveal the ignorant insensitivity of those who make them. But the key word there is, almost….
Because for the record, I’m not the only one who sees the shadow of Germany in the 1930s over America in the 2010s. Once again, a clownish demagogue bestrides the political landscape, demonizing vulnerable peoples, bullying opponents, encouraging violence, offering simplistic, strongman solutions to difficult and complex problems, and men and women who bear more moral authority on this subject than I ever could see something chilling and familiar in him….
If one should never be too quick to make comparisons to Germany in the 1930s, is it not also important, on the rare occasions it is merited, to make sure one is not too slow?
One reason, after all, that no one saw Hitler for what he was is that people simply could not conceive of anything as preposterously monstrous as what eventually occurred. They took refuge in the assurance — the false assurance, as it turned out — that reason would eventually reassert itself.
Once you have seen for yourself that the unthinkable is not, it moves from the arena of imagination to that of history.
And then, you must use it to understand where we are and help chart where we should — and should not — be going. You can’t blame people who didn’t realize what Hitler was. They had never seen anything like him before.
You and I, however, have no such excuse.’1
This is already an excellent array of reality-based arguments, arguments which do not rely on purely subjective and shifting criteria of personal taste, personal preference, and the like.
Another objection which is often made to the Trump-Hitler comparison comes frequently from ignorant libertarians who ask if Trump is so much like Hitler, how many Jews has Trump killed? This is a crude trick, which involves comparing apples and oranges. Hitler killed limited numbers of Jews and others before he seized power in January 1933, when several concentration camps started construction. The killing of Jews then increased sharply after the Krystallnacht of November 1938. The most intensive phase in the extermination of Jews, Russians, Poles, Communists, Social Democrats, gypsies, and others appears to of occurred after 1941-1942. The general idea is that Hitler’s massacre of Jews took place AFTER he had seized state power.
Trump has obviously not yet seized power, and thus does not have his hands on the levers of power which might put concentration camps into operation. So we cannot compare Trump as a private citizen contending for power with Hitler as an established dictator commanding all the resources of Germany and the occupied countries.
The only legitimate and valid comparison is that between Trump as he campaigns for power right now, and Hitler as he struggled pre-1933 to become Chancellor and then dictator. If we make this comparison, we find a shockingly large number of parallels and communalities, as we have illustrated in issues of this Briefing and in the Tax Wall Street Party Trump panel at the New York City Left Forum on May 21, 2016.
Trumpism Without Trump?
These ideological affinities between Trump and National Socialism are underlined in the very strange discussion taking place in the pages of the Buckleyite-reactionary National Review. Here one writer has ventured to see in Trump a rebirth of US Jacksonian folk nationalism, which the GOP would be well advised to pursue after the expected defeat of Trump in November.
Here the descriptive vocabulary is the most interesting feature. We know that Andrew Jackson was one of the most catastrophic presidents in American history. His destruction of Henry Clay’s Second Bank of the United States triggered the devastating panic of 1837, opening a period of prolonged economic depression and stagnation in this country, which culminated in secessionism and civil war. Jackson was also responsible for the genocidal crimes of the Trail of Tears, and generally carried out the policies dictated to him by John Jacob Astor through bankers’ boy Martin Van Buren. Jackson illustrates the terrible consequences of the triumph of demagogic cultural populism over the appeal to enlightened self-interest based on economic populism.
‘Trump’s positions follow the contours not of movement conservatism but of American folk nationalism, often known as Jacksonianism. As Walter Russell Mead, my boss over at The American Interest, has noted, Jacksonians characteristically emphasize anti-elitism and egalitarianism while drawing a sharp distinction between members of the folk group and those outside it….
Jacksonians are not synonymous with southerners or rednecks: Trump has performed best in northeastern states and prospered in cities. And while Trump is supported by racists (especially by the ugly little band of Twitter trolls known as the alt-right), Jacksonians cannot be dismissed as such en masse….
The idea that America has never had a sense of national folk identity is just plain false — and making political and policy judgments on that assumption was madness. The reappearance of naked nationalism has been a shock to those who spent decades maintaining that America’s unique and unqualified achievement has been to synthesize love of country and universal democratic ideals. Jacksonians have consistently felt that some combination of ethnicity, where you were born, and (though Bush didn’t mention it) faith unite the American people, though not quite in the same way as — and generally much more expansively conceived than — the European “blood and soil” ideologies to which President Bush alluded.’2
In this article, author Nicholas Gallagher is actually referring to quasi-fascist or proto-fascist ideologies without openly stating that he is going so.
What is “folk nationalism” supposed to mean? “Folk” and “folkish” as used in modern English derive pretty directly from the corresponding German terms “Volk” and “völkisch” or “voelkisch,” which are key parts of the world view of Hitler’s lieutenant Rudoph Hess and Alfred Rosenberg, the official ideologue of the Nazi Party. These terms are key for understanding National Socialism as a whole. These terms mean that Nazism was devoted to a racist, ethnocultural, or racist-nationalist view of the world – a view that was often called racist realism or “Völkischer Realismus.” The name of the official daily newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers’ (or Nazi) Party was “Der Völkischer Beobachter” – the Folkish (or Racist) Observer.
Folk realism in the US today means all the anti-Latino, anti-Moslem, and anti-Asian xenophobia, plus all the anti-black exclusion we see with Trump. It is true that much of this can be traced back to the ignorant and aggressive Jacksonian hooligans of the 1830s. The neo-Jacksonians may soon find their man listed along with Albert Pike, Nathan Bedford Forest, and Richard Wagner as precursors of European fascism as well.
The neocons have always been interested in conjuring up a cut-throat, racist-exclusionary version of US nationalism as a means of goading this nation into their crackpot schemes for new wars. So far they have failed, but Trump may yet help them if he ever gets the White House. Remember that the Hitler of 1933-1935 portrayed himself explicitly as the peace candidate.
There are obviously specific US cultural characteristics that include folk songs, cooking, quilts, local dialects, religious denominations, home building, and so forth. (Ask any American looking for roast turkey, pumpkin pie and cornbread in Rome at the end of November.) These are often delightful and sometimes grotesque and banal, but they cannot become the basis of a self-destructive exclusionary politics. The basis of the US policy is not to be found in Philly cheese steaks, but rather in the great universalist Enlightenment documents like the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution of 1788. And these are ideas which any person can decide to support and apply to join. This is the melting pot, the most strategically effective approach to immigration and nationalities developed anywhere in the world so far. The greatest strategic advantage of the United States is today’s world is the desire of so many intelligent and industrious Latinos, Asians, Arabs, and others to come here and build a better life. Without this yearning for America, we would be grappling with the demographic crisis of too few people and too many aged now afflicting Europe, Russia, China, Japan, and other powers.
Despite Gallagher’s tormented syntax, the last sentence given here suggests that Americans are or should be united by some version of “Blood and Soil” ideology. Here again the Nazi background is relevant. The German for “Blood and Soil” is “Blut und Boden,” a quasi-mystical late Romantic obscurantist ideology that asserted national unity (Volksgemeinschaft or ethnic community, not modern Gesellschaft or civil society)
The origin of the Blood and Soil method has been traced back to Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg and to Oswald Spengler, the pessimist theoretician of the decline of the west who tried to turn national decline into a reason for dictatorship. Carl Schmitt, Hitler’s personal lawyer, argued that the German legal system should reflect blood and soil mythologies, rather than the optimistic and humanitarian American Enlightenment concepts. Hitler told Germans to “think with their blood” and not with their brains, meaning to deliberately prefer irrationalism over reason. This notion is well represented by Trump’s cult of his own intuition today.
“Radical Middle America” appears to be the same racist, reactionary and obscurantist concept of this country recommended by fascist ideologue Sam Francis to Pat Buchanan 20 years ago.3 All problems are ascribed to ethnic groups, and the Wall Street financier oligarchy escapes unchallenged and undamaged. This concept embodies the negation of everything which is best in American history. If the Republican Party is allowed to survive after this year, it is very likely to gravitate towards some version of Trumpism without Trump, as Gallagher implies. This would be even more dangerous in some ways than Trump himself. For the sake of our nation, it is therefore time for the Republican Party to depart the political scene.
- Leonard Pitts Jr., “If it talks like a Hitler and walks like a Hitler …,” Miami Herald, June 17, 2016 http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/ar…
- Nicholas M. Gallagher, “Trump’s Appeal to the Radical Middle Is a Wake-Up Call to Conservatives,” National Review Online, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436544/donald-trump-jacksonian-vot…