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TBR News June 24, 2019

Jun 24 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 24, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 24:”The searched of staff member’s computers seeking persons who were downloading and distributing confidential information produced one staunch Trump supporter who had a computer packed with Ukrainian porn involving small children. There was also a number of X-Hamster items, this time involving oiled weight-lifters and fat minorities. Naturally, the evil one has resigned to spend more time with his family, no doubt in the bathtub.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • All eyes on Erdoğan after opposition’s historic win in Istanbul
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • When China Leads the World
  • Forget China – it’s America’s own economic system that’s broken
  • An Official Overview of Global Terrorism
  • The Sabotage Column: Revenge is sweet and flavors all our dealings

 

 

All eyes on Erdoğan after opposition’s historic win in Istanbul

As Ekrem İmamoğlu backers revel in victory, attention shifts to how the president will react

June 24, 2019

by Bethan McKernan in Istanbul

The Guardian

The last partygoers went home as the sun came up. Across Istanbul on Sunday night, hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters danced in the streets waving Turkish flags and brandishing glasses of beer and raki after their candidate for mayor delivered the most serious blow to the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his 16-year political career.

As municipal workers cleaned up on Monday morning, however, the front pages of Turkey’s pro-government newspapers downplayed the unprecedented success of the Republican People’s party (CHP) mayor-elect, Ekrem İmamoğlu.

“Istanbul has voted,” read the subdued headline of the usually rabidly pro-Erdoğan tabloid Yeni Şafak. There were no pictures of the fireworks and scenes of jubilation hours before.

While the opposition nurses a collective hangover, attention is turning to what the president’s next move will be. İmamoğlu ended 25 years of Islamist party dominance in the rerun for control of Turkey’s biggest city and economic centre, which accounted for 31% of GDP in 2017.

The result has serious financial implications for the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and its patronage networks, and will amplify the sense among the opposition and within Erdoğan’s party that the president’s power is starting to wane.

The loss of Istanbul also has repercussions for policymaking in Ankara. The second defeat has ossified divisions within the president’s party and has led to a collapse in public support for his coalition partner, the rightwing Nationalist Movement party (MHP). Erdoğan needs the MHP to command a majority in parliament. A cabinet reshuffle is likely.

The former president Abdullah Gül and the former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu both openly criticised the AKP for seeking a rerun, fuelling rumours in Turkish media that the senior politicians were preparing to form breakaway parties.

There is also speculation that Erdoğan may call a snap election to rid his government of fractious elements as he grapples with issues such as Turkey’s struggling economy, Ankara’s next steps in Syria’s war and the prospect of US sanctions over the planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system.

Nicholas Danforth, a senior visiting fellow at the Washington-based German Marshall Fund thinktank, said: “Erdoğan is adept at being conciliatory when necessary and cracking down on dissent when necessary.

“To date, he has maintained power by using both of those methods effectively. Last night’s result is something new, making it hard to tell what the president will do next to reverse the momentum that is building against him.”

Many İmamoğlu supporters were anxious in the hours between voting closing and the first results on Sunday night that the government was planning to challenge what polls showed was likely to be a decisive second victory. His narrow win in March was annulled by Turkey’s election board after it upheld one of dozens of AKP procedural complaints.

However, the AKP candidate, Binali Yıldırım, avoided the embarrassment of watching a slow-motion defeat by conceding minutes after the initial results began trickling through, striking a conciliatory tone as he wished İmamoğlu luck. The president issued his congratulations to İmamoğlu on Twitter shortly afterwards and Turkey’s electoral board ratified the victory by a staggering margin of more than 800,000 ballots – 54% of the vote – on Monday.

Turkey’s borrowing rates eased and the lira rallied to 5.717 against the US dollar, up nearly 2%, as the repeat election ended months of political uncertainty.

The decision to rerun the contest, defying the will of voters who had chosen to punish the government for its mishandling of the economic crisis, was an unusual strategic error by the AKP. The mistake was compounded by an erratic and sloppy second campaign in which Yıldırım was forced to play catch up to İmamoğlu. The opposition candidate, already popular for his inclusive and anti-populist stance, was able to canvass on a new platform of saving Turkish democracy.

As polls in the lead-up to the repeat election showed İmamoğlu pulling ahead by 9%, the government resorted to desperate tactics. Erdoğan insinuated the opposition candidate was working with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) and a bizarre statement carried on the official government news agency from the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan called on Istanbul’s approximately 4 million Kurdish voters not to support the secular CHP’s İmamoğlu. The measures backfired after Kurdish political parties reiterated their unofficial coalition support for İmamoğlu.

On Sunday night, the swift and gracious acknowledgement of defeat from the AKP struck yet another tone.

Lisel Hintz, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s European and Eurasian studies department, said: “We still need to see how Erdoğan reacts to İmamoğlu’s victory. Istanbul serves not only as a symbol of where he launched his political career, but also as a massive source of rents that can be used to garner electoral support.

“We’ve seen already through the rerun that he was not willing to let it go easily. We now have to wait and see whether İmamoğlu’s tenure as mayor will be interfered with in any way, whether by cutting off funding and hampering his office’s ability to provide services or by removing him under some legal pretext.”

Also on Monday, the trial began of 16 prominent figures from the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Istanbul that challenged Erdoğan’s authority – a reminder that while Istanbul has signalled its overwhelming appetite for change, the president has over the years consolidated his grip on Turkey’s democratic institutions, and remains very much in control.

For many, memories of the 2015 general election which ended the AKP’s majority in parliament – but was reheld in October that year, yielding a more favourable result for the ruling party – are still fresh.

The overarching mood on the city’s İstiklal Avenue and in liberal neighbourhoods was still upbeat, however, as the opposition relished its rare victory.

“I want İmamoğlu to follow through on the promises he made to the city,” said Aysun Oktay, 18. “I want more sports facilities and opportunities for young people.”

“Her şey çok güzel olacak [everything’s going to be alright],” she said, echoing the slogan of İmamoğlu’s second campaign. “He has shown us we can trust him.”

Additional reporting by Gökçe Saraçoğlu

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

Jordan Maxwell

A.k.a. Russell Pine (real name)

 

Jordan Maxwell is a grand old man of American conspiracy theory, crackpottery and nonsense. His work is largely responsible for the nonsense peddled in the incoherent, made-for-the-Internet “documentary” Zeitgeist, and he has apparently been an important influence on David Icke: Maxwell has long claimed that the world is secretly run by lizards from another dimension. He was also, for a while, editor of the Truth Seeker Magazine, has produced “documentaries” for CBS, and – of course – hosted his own radio show. Maxwell considers himself the world’s leading expert in the occult, based on his powers of imagination and inability to comprehend the significance of aligning one’s belief with reality. He is accordingly notable for having pushed more or less any conspiracy theory or branch of pseudoscientific nonsense you could think of, from ancient aliens and the claim that there is a star-gate in Iraq that teleports people to a military base on Mars, to 9/11 conspiracies.

A main strain of Maxwell’s, uh, thought is astro-theology, an astrological reinterpretation of theology according to which religious doctrines are based on astronomical events. He is also notable for pushing the (rather popular) idea that Christianity is really a variant of the cult of Horus, a conclusion reached by focusing on some similarities and disregarding the vast number of dissimilarities. Maxwell is known to rant for hours about these issues, backed up with a couple of Bible quotes and perceived connections between various events and his presuppositions. Maxwell, however, has little actual knowledge of ancient cultures and belief systems, which is an advantage since it means that there will be fewer facts available to him that would constrain his interpretations.

Much of his work is (in the grand tradition of the insane rantings unfettered by reality or accountability starting with Isidore of Seville) based on drawing ridiculous conclusions about the world based on often imagined etymological connections and similarities in names and expressions. Of course, Maxwell arguably knows even less, if possible, about linguistics than about history, and the technique he applies is the one commonly known as paleo-babble. Some examples of Maxwell’s paleobabble are discussed here. One example: According to Maxwell, “[m]agic wands were always made out of the wood of a Holly tree. It’s made out of Holly wood. Hollywood is a Druidic establishment and the symbols, the words, the terms, the stories, are designed. Think about it. Think about how Hollywood does what they do. I’m not saying they’re evil, I’m just explaining how Hollywood works.” Calling for readers to think for themselves is an effective trick given the critical reasoning abilities required to listen to Maxwell in the first place. Of course, druidic cultures using magic sticks didn’t in fact make these sticks of holly. Bah. Details.

From his website you can currently purchase a set of 28 DVDs containing “the entire works of Jordan Maxwell” for the neat price of $ 570.

Of course, like so many conspiracy theorists of his ilk, Maxwell is himself the target of numerous deranged conspiracy theories (an example), and is often accused of being a tool for the New World Order.

Diagnosis: Utterly ridiculous, of course, yet Maxwell’s influence on contemporary conspiracy theories is significant – he’s been through them all, using techniques and assertions unconstrained by truth, evidence or rules for rational inference.

 

 Anthony R. Maws

Some pseudoscientists have actual education and backgrounds in research, lending them a sheen of credibility in their pseudoscientific research endeavors. A striking thing about pseudoscientists’ attempts to do research, however, is how they systematically and deliberately avoid taking simple measures to validate their findings – they deliberately select biased samples, avoid blinding, neglect asking whether something works in favor of just looking at how it works (and consequently end up churning out garbage through strategies like p-hacking). It really is striking, insofar as it would often have been relatively easy to do it right – it’s almost as if they tacitly know that doing it right significantly lowers the chance of obtaining the results they want.

The research of Anthony R. Mawson is a striking example. Now, Mawson has a real education. He is also an anti-vaxxer and a fan of Andrew Wakefield who really, really want to deploy his skills in the service of anti-vaccine propaganda. Mawson is most famous for his “research” putatively showing differences in general health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated kids, and that the unvaccinated ones are healthier (of course, even if it were true, which it isn’t, it would have been largely because those unvaccinated kids would not have died due to vaccine-preventable diseases because of herd immunity; Mawson’s fans are not able to comprehend this otherwise obvious point, however). To establish the results he wanted, Mawson conducted an internet survey among home-schooling parents, where the opportunity to participate was spread by word of mouth in anti-vaccine groups, and where the largely anti-vaccine parents would report their opinion and assessment of the general health of their children without consulting medical records. It doesn’t take much knowledge of scientific methodology to realize that such a survey is less than worthless (some further details here), and the really striking thing is: why would Mawson, for a study that apparently required substantial funding (seemingly from various anti-vaccine fundraising efforts) deliberately choose a sample like this, one that any elementary school kid would be able to tell you would make the results worthless, and – in addition – deliberately avoid taking into account measures (like medical records) that would provide any kind of control? How would you explain his choice of methodology if not by i) trying to make sure the data would end up “showing” what he wanted them to show and fearing that using a proper methodology apt to track reality would not yield the results he wanted; and/or ii) it matters less to pseudoscientists and denialists that the study is properly done and reflects reality, than that it exists and can be brought up in online debates and used to scare those who don’t know enough about the methodology (or don’t have time to look at it) to realize that it is complete shit? More details about why it is shit, in case you ever wondered, are here.

As an aside, one has to wonder about the competence of the people at the Institutional Review Board at Jackson State University who approved said study. And it’s not like the anti-vaccine crowd hasn’t tried to obtain the results they want by (deliberately) incompetently done phone surveys and Internet surveys before.

Well, the fruit of Mawson’s efforts, “Vaccination and Health Outcomes: A Survey of 6- to 12-year-old Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children based on Mothers’ Reports,” was provisionally accepted by the bottom-feeding journal Frontiers in Public Health (which had previously published – before retracting – a study on chemtrails). Frontiers went on to pull it and eventually formally retract it, something that didn’t prevent antivaxxers from touting it. The peer-reviewers included Linda Mullin Elkins, a chiropractor at Life University – a “Holistic Health University” offering studies “within the fields of Chiropractic, Functional Kinesiology, Vitalistic Nutrition, Positive Psychology, Functional Neurology and Positive Business” – which suggests that Frontier uses a too-literal interpretation of “peer-review” for their reviews of garbage pseudoscience.

The study was then, without even attempting to correct for the glaring methodological shortcomings, published in Journal of Translational Science, a predatory pseudojournal published by Open Access Text, as “Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12-year old U.S. children”. Details (including further details about the utter worthlessness and painfully obvious biases of the study) here. They even published a second study, as bankrupt as the first, using the same data set, in the same predatory journal; that one, too, was eaten up and promoted with gusto by antivaccine conspiracy groups and antivaccine advocates like Bob Sears – InfoWars was all over it, for instance, with delusional comments by one Celeste McGovern, described as  a “vaccine expert”, of Claire Dwoskin’s Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute, one of the antivaccine groups that funded Mawson’s “study”.

In 2011, Mawson filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi State Department of Health, alleging that the state health officer interfered with his position at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (his contract wsa not renewed) after promoting antivaccine talking points. The suit was dismissed in 2012.

Diagnosis: Pseudoscientist and conspiracy theorist. Yes, Mawson has a real education, but what he dabbles in is not science. Dangerous.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

June 24, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.

 

 

Conversation No. 23

Date:  Monday, July 8, 1996

Commenced:  1:40 PM CST

Concluded:   1:55 PM CST

 

GD: Am I disturbing anything there? I hear conversations in the background.

RTC: My son was just leaving. See you later…yes, I will…sorry.

GD: I can call back later if you wish.

RTC: No, everyone has gone.  Anything new?

GD: Yes. Talking about the Swiss, I just discovered that the Swiss minister, Bruggmann, was a brother-in-law of Henry Wallace. Married his sister Mary. Anyway, old Henry used to tell Bruggmann everything he knew and the Swiss fellow sent long reports to Bern. Unfortunately, the Germans were listening in and knew all kinds of things. Did you know about this?

RTC: Yes, we did. We found it out later. Henry was somewhat left of center and in ’44, tried to nail down the nomination for President. The party told FDR that they would not hold still for that so Franklin, who had more or less supported Henry as Vice President, dumped him for Truman. I think everyone, including Roosevelt, knew he was not long for this world and the VP would be our next President. Henry had the full support of Stalin and, through him, the Communist labor movement here. We missed having a red flag over the Capitol by very little. Henry drifted into obscurity and then vanished off the stage.

GD: I found out the same thing. Roosevelt pretended to be a liberal just as Hitler pretended to be a revolutionary. Got more votes. Hitler was a conservative but he posed as a radical. Remember the blood purge in ’34. He got rid of the real revolutionaries then and went over to the side of the professional military and the banking houses.

RTC: If Roosevelt had put Wallace in, there would have been serious trouble, believe me. Henry would have had a car accident as I was told.

GD: That’s what usually happens. Or the heart attack. That’s not as messy and much easier to arrange, isn’t it?

RTC: Yes, generally.

GD: Stalin said it was easy to plan a murder but a suicide was more difficult.

RTC: I recall that after Roosevelt passed to Valhalla with his stamp albums, there was a reaction to all his Commie friends and you recall the savage persecutions, don’t you?

GD: I was younger then but I recall McCarthy and the rest of it.

RTC: The Catholic church was behind him. Your friend Müller was also involved there. They did clean house of the lefties all right.

GD: I suppose in the process, they ruined quite a few perfectly innocent people.

RTC: Talleyrand said that you couldn’t make an omelet without the breaking of eggs.

GD: The innocent always suffer, Robert. That’s what they’re there for. By the way, I was reading about the surge of AIDS in Africa. What a tragedy. Once the evil white colonists were kicked out, taking all the skilled technicians with them, the gloriously freed natives surged forward. Of course all the countries there are falling apart. I suppose in a few years, spears will be back in fashion and at some meeting of the heads of state, one of them arrives late and asks another if he missed much and was told that everyone’s eaten.

RTC: Gregory…

GD: And did you hear the one about Desmond Tutu passing his brother in the forest?

RTC: Now that’s actually funny.

GD: Yes, the evil masters leave and the countries descend into poverty and are all infected with AIDS. In America, we all know that AIDS is the exclusive property of the homosexual and drug communities and since the average African makes about five dollars a month and can’t afford a box of Aspirin, I think they must all be gay. Instead of enlightened ethnic freedom, we have mass buggery and protracted death.

RTC: Well, Africa is very rich in natural resources. If we all wait long enough, the indigenous population will all die off and the rest of us will have free pickings.

GD:  A rational observation, Robert. Unkind but rational. I get so tired of people who reject reality and bleat like sheep. Why? Reality terrifies them and bleating along with other sheep makes them feel mighty and meaningful.

RTC: You speak ill of sheep, Gregory. You are not a sheep, are you?

GD: No, I am a wolf. I eat sheep on a regular basis. I am a civilized wolf, however, and prefer them roasted with mint sauce and new potatoes.

RTC: I seem to have heard that you have lived by your wits and the money of other people.

GD: Robert, surely you realize that a fool and his money are soon parted?

RTC: Yes, so it would seem.

GD: I do love the crooked rich. They’re the easiest to prey on. I recall once when a friend of mine became enamored of the sculpting of Frederic Remington. He was a sculptor and made a small bust of an Indian warrior. I suggested he sign the wax with Remington’s signature and then put in the name of the Roman Bronze people. Then I took the finished product up to Butterfield and Butterfield in ‘Frisco and the greedy Bernie Osher bought it from me for a lot of money. Now, mark you, Robert, I never told Bernie that it was original. In fact, I told him I knew nothing about it and got it from my Grandmother’s attic after she died. The dumb schmuck actually signed the receipt ‘As Is.’ Which speaks for itself of course. Then he tried to sue me and lost. Lots of very bad publicity for him. In the meantime, Bernie and his co-religionists resold the same piece to a sucker in New York as genuine. And they sued me! I beat them.

RTC: How much did you get out of that?

GD: All together?

RTC: Yes. All together.

GD: Fifty thousand.

RTC: My, my, Gregory how comforting.

GD: No, beating old Bernie in court was comforting.

GD: How much did your lawyer get?

GD: I was in pro per. I was my own lawyer. I could easily pass any bar exam, Robert, but I never bother to inform people of that when contracting with them. I always get the long end of the stick and they get the squishy shit on the other end.

RTC: You set them up, don’t you?

GD: Always and they always assume I am a fool.

RTC: No, you are not. A wolf in sheep’s clothing?

GD: Very often, Robert.

(Concluded at 1:55 PM CST)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

When China Leads the World

Hegemony vs. Humane Authority

June 13, 2019

by Godfree Roberts

The Unz Review

In the course of his study of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides, the fifth century BC Greek historian, claimed that interstate relations are based on might, not right, and that states’ strategic interactions follow a recurrent pattern: while a change in the hierarchy of weaker states does not ultimately affect a given system, disturbances in the order of stronger states upset its stability. He said that lesser states strive to gain power at the expense of others because stronger states, hegemons, ‘do as they please while the weak suffer what they must.’

Modern thinkers theorize[1]that hegemony has three components: material power, an accepted image of world order and institutions that legitimize the use of military force, and observe that the United States used all three to institutionalize its hegemony after World War II, in what became known as the Washington Consensus. The US insisted that Athenian democracy is the only legitimate form of government and enforced its claim through its military, the United Nations, the US dollar, the World Bank, the media and numerous political, technical and scientific bodies. It rewarded conforming states and punished or excluded those, like China, that judged government legitimacy on performance rather than ideology. Lesser states could revise their native ideology–as Sweden did by abandoning pacifist socialism–or attempt to universalize their own cultural values and replace the hegemon’s norms–as China, based on its long history of world leadership, is currently doing.

An early Chinese thinker, Xunzi[2], proposed that, though hegemons know how to win wars, “The ruler who makes his own state act correctly will attain international primacy.” The domestic determines the international and since humane authority–based on morality rather than power–is superior to hegemony it is more important to win over people than territory. States wishing to exercise humane authority must be the first to respect the norms they advocate and leaders of high ethical reputation and great administrative ability will attract other states. “To be compassionate in great matters and overlook the small makes one fit to become lord of the covenants. Loving friends, being friendly with the great, rewarding your allies and punishing those who oppose you, the lord of the covenants has a definite duty and his moral standing should match it.” Presiding over the meetings of other states grants international recognition of humane authority. Two centuries later, Confucius expressed the principle thus, “Superiors and inferiors relate to each other like wind and grass: grass must bend when the wind blows over it”.

China’s bid to re-establish its leadership after a two century hiatus has been a national goal since Mao[3]warned colleagues, “To overtake the United States is not only possible but absolutely necessary and obligatory. If we don’t, the Chinese nation will be letting the world down and we won’t be making much of a contribution to humanity. If we fail we will be wiped from the face of the earth.”

Fifty years after his warning China founded the world’s most powerful military and security partnership, the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, the SCO. With a regional anti-terrorism center in Uzbekistan, a business council in Moscow and a permanent secretariat in Beijing, four nuclear states among its members, three major economies, most of the world’s energy resources, half of the world’s population and one-fourth of global GDP, the SCO unites Russia, India, and Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey are in varying stages of participation).

Four years later President Hu[4] asked the UN General Assembly for “new ways to solve conflicts in international society featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination–distinct from the law of the jungle and power politics–to create peaceful, mutual, win-win benefits and development across the world.” In 2013 his successor, President Xi, proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, based Hu’s principles. Focusing on policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and closer people-to-people ties, the BRI integrates four billion people in one-hundred thirty countries and thirty international organizations across Eurasia, Africa, Latin America and the South Pacific. The BRI is changing economies, trade, logistics, communications, international relations and even geography by building power plants in Pakistan, train lines in Hungary and ports from Africa to Greece. The new alliance is exporting China’s development model, replacing Western institutions and refashioning the global economic order by forging new ties, creating new markets, deepening economic connections and strengthening diplomatic ties with one trillion dollars in annual infrastructure spending. The European Union is considering joining the BRI.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi[5] explained the model, “Throughout its five-thousand year history the Chinese nation has developed the humanistic-oriented concept of loving all creatures as if they were of our species and all people as if they were our brothers, the political philosophy of valuing virtue and balance, the peaceful approach of love, non-aggression and good-neighborliness, the idea of peace as of paramount importance and harmony without uniformity, as well as the personal conduct of treating others in a way that you would like to be treated, and helping others succeed in the same spirit as you would want to succeed yourself. These traditional values, with their unique oriental flavor, provide an endless source of invaluable cultural asset for China’s diplomacy.”

Thousands of miles of roads, rail lines, pipelines and fiberoptic cables have slashed communications costs across Eurasia and put the region at the forefront of 5G deployment: oil and gas pipelines from Pakistan’s new port of Gwadar, on the Persian Gulf, to Kunming, China bypass the Malacca Straits; the Pan-Asia Railway Network is linking Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia and North Korea–proposed as the development hub for Northeast Asia. Meanwhile, work continues on six rail lines and inland rail terminals, thirty cross-border transmission and communications projects and four deep ocean ports that will create Africa’s first transcontinental railway. BRI trade has grown seventeen percent annually since 2013 and preparations for the official BRI launch in 2021 include scholarships for thousands of students from BRI countries.

In 2018, Xi signed another one-hundred billion dollar trade and economic agreement, this time with the Eastern Europe Economic Union, EEEU–Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Russia has begun work on the Western end of a high speed rail line designed to run from Moscow to Beijing and, in 2019, added a new dimension: the Polar Sea Route, ‘connecting northeastern, eastern and southeastern Asia with Europe.’ Russia’s President Putin proposes to create a single, integrated market from the Pacific to the Atlantic with the EEEU, the BRI, the SCO and ASEAN (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam).

Then there’s the massive Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, RCEP, a free trade agreement between ASEAN and Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand: 3.4 billion people with a total GDP of fifty trillion dollars, forty percent of world GDP. The RCEP is the world’s largest economic bloc, covering nearly half of the global economy and accounting firm PwC estimates its GDP will reach $250 trillion, half of global GDP, in 2050 and increase global real incomes by $286 billion per year. By 2045 the entire Eurasian continent will be bound by treaties, roads, railways, ports, fiberoptic cables, electrical grids and pipelines: a new world order under China’s humane authority.

To knit these alliances more permanently, in 2016 Beijing launched the Global Electric Interconnect, GEIDCO, a grid of ultra-high voltage lines transmitting clean energy around the globe continually, with the sun. By 2019 GEIDCO had seven regional offices, forty global offices, six-hundred regional and national members and invested $1.6 trillion invested in eighty generation and transmission projects across Latin America, Africa, Europe and North America.

To finance this massive development China funded[6]the Silk Road International Bank[7] to mobilize local savings and is developing a new reserve currency. After the Global Financial Crisis Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the Bank of China announced, “The world needs an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and able to remain stable in the long run, removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.” He proposed Special Drawing Rights, SDRs, that derive their value from a basket of world currencies. Nobelists C. Fred Bergsten, Robert Mundell and Joseph Stieglitz, were supportive, “The creation of a global currency would restore a needed coherence to the international monetary system, give the IMF a function that would help it to promote stability and be a catalyst for international harmony.” To demonstrate the scheme’s stability China began valuing its own currency, the RMB, against a basket of dollars, euros, yen and pounds sterling and, almost immediately complaints about RMB valuation ceased. The IMF made its first SDR loan in 2014, the World Bank issued the first SDR bond in 2016, Standard Chartered Bank issued the first commercial SDR notes in 2017 and the world’s central banks began stating reserves in SDRs in 2019.

While few noticed the advent of SDRs, the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB, in 2015 was a sensation. Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers called it, “The moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system. I can think of no event since Bretton Woods⁠ comparable to the combination of China’s effort to establish a major new institution–and the failure of the US to persuade dozens of its traditional allies, starting with Britain–to stay out of it.” The AIIB guarantees a trillion dollars annually in long term, low interest loans for regional infrastructure, poverty reduction, growth and climate change mitigation and allows Eurasia’s four billion savers to mobilize local savings that previously had few safe or creative outlets.

China–which contributes a full brigade of eight thousand soldiers to UN peacekeeping–is integrating the United Nations into its plans. The UN unanimously adopted Xi’s[8] Xi’s Resolution to settle disputes through dialogue and resolve differences through discussion by coordinating responses to traditional and non-traditional threats and opposing all forms of terrorism. A UN Committee is considering his proposal to include two new rights, to food and shelter, in its Declaration of Universal Human Rights.

Humane authority seems closer every day.

HARD POWER

At their present rates of increase, Chinese and American military budgets will reach parity in 2028 and, given that Chinese missiles in every weight class already outrange their American counterparts, the world security scene will change irrevocably.

In 1949 Mao warned[9]that the country would remain ‘insecure, unconsolidated and delegitimized’ until it transformed both the old imperial world order and the old China. The following year the US bombed coastal Dandong and strafed civilians in several cities, its warplanes buzzed coastal Shantou and Winston Churchill told the world, “I believe in the ultimate partition of China–and I mean ultimate.” The insults continued for decades.

In 1992, after the US Defense Department[10]announced its mission to prevent a rival superpower emerging in Asia the Navy held a Chinese cargo ship, the Yinhe, at gunpoint in international waters for three weeks, claiming she was carrying contraband (she wasn’t). Two years later President Clinton sent the most powerful fleet ever assembled through the Taiwan Strait. In 1998 the US dropped five precision bombs on China’s embassy in Belgrade, killing three diplomats and seriously wounding twenty and CIA director George Tenet told Congress, “It was the only target we nominated.” In 2014 a US Navy article[11] proposed laying offensive underwater mines along China’s coast and destroying her maritime lines of communication while sending special forces to arm minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet. In 2017 the Air Force reaffirmed its willingness to launch a nuclear attack on China and in 2018 the Navy practiced blocking China’s access to oil through the Malacca Strait though, says defense analyst Michael Thim, “The PLAN, China’s Navy, had sufficient capabilities in place in 1996 such that sending Carrier Strike Groups into the Taiwan Strait would be suicidal. The situation has only become more challenging for the Navy in recent years, not because the PLAN has acquired an aircraft carrier of its own, but because China has greatly enhanced and modernized its existing anti-access/area-denial capabilities.”

It has indeed. Strategically, China applies Mao’s ‘peoples war’ strategies in the South China Sea and Western navies are struggling to respond. When the Japanese or KMT armies arrived, the local guerillas would retreat but the invading forces couldn’t stay forever and, when they left, the PLA was still there. When British or American fleets arrive the coast guard and naval militia disappear and when the fleets go, the boats reappear. The goal is to push the Philippines and Vietnam to the negotiating table, at which point it has won the conflict. In such a situation conventional weapons become symbolic: whoever shoots first loses. Since an F-35 can’t actually shoot anything the PLAN can neutralize it with a fishing boat. The US cannot raise its incursions to a political level that could freeze strategy while China can coordinate military, legal, diplomatic, and economic aspects simultaneously[12]. “The power of the nation-state by no means consists only in its armed forces, but also in its economic and technological resources; in the dexterity, foresight and resolution with which its foreign policy is conducted; in the efficiency of its social and political organization. It consists most of all in the nation itself, the people, their skills, energy, ambition, discipline, initiative, beliefs, myths and illusions. And it consists, further, in the way all these factors are related to one another.”

By 2015, said the Rand Corporation, China could endanger the US Navy’s surface fleet a thousand miles from its coast and the Chief of its Indo-Pacific Command told the Senate, “There is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China.” By 2019 the Navy’s Seventh Fleet of seventy ships, charged with projecting US power to the Indo-Pacific, faced three hundred PLAN warships, two hundred missile- and gun-boats defending its coast and the Navy[13]expects the PLAN to deploy 342 warships by 2021. The PLAN’s mastery of naval logistics is unparalleled: in 2018 alone it launched fifteen new warships and began simultaneous construction of four nuclear submarines. Even the US Navy, shopping for a floating dock, visited its shipyards.

The first line of China’s naval defense, the Maritime Militia, has 180,000 ocean-going fishing boats and four thousand merchant marine[14]freighters–some towing sonar detectors–crewed by a million sailors transmitting detailed information about every warship on the world’s oceans twenty-four hours a day. Shore bases fuse their reports with automated transmissions from Beidou positioning, navigation and timing satellites and provide real time data to reporting specialists, xinxiyuan, trained in target information collection and identification, operating ‘vessel management platforms’ that collate, format and forward actionable information up the PLAN command chain. Shoreside, eight million coastal reservists train constantly in seamanship, emergency ship repairs, anti-air missile defense, light weapons and naval sabotage.

Commander Yang Yi, a woman and the youngest Chief Designer in naval history, created the PLAN’s front line defense fleet of three-hundred Type 022 Houbei Class fast attack missile boats. They carry eight C-802 anti-ship missiles with 500lb. warheads that travel at 650 mph, fifteen feet above the surface to targets a hundred miles away (a single C-802 disabled an Israeli warship in 2006). Four of her boats, she says, are sufficient to cover the Taiwan Strait while sheltering behind China’s coastal islands. Thirty Type 056 frigates with a range of 2,500 miles armed with YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, eight SAM launchers and six torpedo tubes back up the patrol boats.

Behind them are twenty Type 052D Arleigh Burke class destroyers. With sixty-four missile tubes, their arsenals includes unique Yu-8s anti-submarine missiles that fly for twenty miles then release their torpedoes into the sea: naval analysts claim they are virtually undetectable until they plunge into the water near the target. Six Type 055 heavy missile cruisers, the world’s most powerful surface combatants, each with one-hundred twenty-eight tubes, carry surface-to-air, anti-ship, land-attack and anti-submarine missiles while, below the surface, seventy nuclear and conventional submarines carry YJ-12 anti-ship cruise missiles and wake-homing torpedoes that deliver five hundred pound warheads at sixty mph from fifteen miles away.

The greatest threat, however, was born when the Navy invited a Chinese admiral on a courtesy visit to the USS Nimitz. Upon his return the officer told colleagues, “I’ve just seen the world’s biggest target. If we can’t hit an aircraft carrier we can’t hit anything.” Thrifty engineers attached a new guidance system to an existing land based missile and created a new class of weapon, the million-dollar DF-21D anti-ship ballistic carrier killer. It carries a half-ton warhead one thousand miles then drops it vertically, at 7,500 mph, onto $12 billion aircraft carriers. The USNI says it can destroy a carrier in one strike and that there is currently no defense against it. (Its sibling, the DF-26D, has a range of two thousand miles.) In 2019 Robert Haddick[15] warned, “China’s anti-ship missile capability exceeds that of the United States in terms of range, speed and sensor performance.” Captain James Fanell[16], a senior naval intelligence officer added, “We know that China has the most advanced ballistic missile force in the world. They have the capacity to overwhelm the defensive systems we are pursuing.”

On the ballistic front line, the CM-401, is a high supersonic ballistic missile designed for rapid precision strikes against medium-size ships, naval task forces and offshore facilities within two hundred miles but to destroy military bases in the region the PLAN relies on the larger CJ-10, a subsonic missile with a two-thousand mile range and a half ton payload that uses inertial and satellite navigation, Terrain Contour Matching and digital scene-mapping area correlation for terminal guidance, with a CEP[17] of forty feet. A longer-ranged anti-ship version, the YJ-100, can be air-launched or fired from Type 055 vertical launch tubes.

For conflicts close to the mainland or Taiwan, says The Rand Corporation, China achieved full parity in 2017 and, by 2021, will deploy more fifth generation fighters in the area than the US. J-20 fighter-bombers have an operational range of a thousand miles, carry bigger payloads faster, higher and further than America’s F-22 Raptor and release YJ-12 anti-ship cruise missiles that travel two hundred miles then deliver a thousand pound warhead in a corkscrew trajectory at supersonic speed. The Navy says that even against alerted warships, thirty-two percent of missiles score hits and a single strike will render any vessel inoperable.

The J-20 also carries the specialized PLA-15. Propelled by novel dual pulse rocket motors on a semi-ballistic trajectory, they home on AWACS and airborne tankers loitering behind battle lines. In 2015 USAF General Herbert Carlisle told Congress that he can field two hundred F-22 Raptors carrying six missiles while China’s more numerous fighters each carry twelve longer ranged weapons, “Look at the PLA-15, at the range of that weapon. How do we counter that?” Following his testimony the Air Force canceled its E-8C AWACS recapitalization, explaining that they would be easy prey for the PLA-15. The PLA-15’s smaller sibling, PLA-10, is no less deadly, says ISIS airpower specialist Douglas Barrie, “For the notional Western combat aircraft pilot, there is no obvious respite to be found in attempting to avoid within visual range threat of the PLA-10[18] by keeping beyond visual range. In this environment also the PLAAF will be able to mount an increasingly credible challenge and at engagement ranges against some targets that would previously have been considered safe. As one former US Air Force tanker pilot drily noted to this author, ‘“That’s aimed right at me.’”

From space, hyperspectral detection satellites peer at submerged submarines while the enormous Divine Eagle High Altitude Stealth-Hunting Drone reads aircraft electronic signals long before they approach their targets. Below them AWACS, whose solid-state detectors have twice the range of USAF’s rotating domes, track hundreds of targets and integrate information from the West Pacific Surveillance and Targeting satellite and twelve positioning satellites with ten centimeter accuracy. On the ground, passive and quantum radars emit no detectable signals while tracking objects for Russia’s S-400 antiaircraft/antimissile batteries.

China’s heavyweight ICBM, the road-mobile DF-41, is a three-stage, solid-fueled device with a twelve thousand mile range and a top speed of twenty-thousand mph that carries ten independently targetable nuclear warheads and launches on four minutes’ warning. While the DF-41 is approaching the limits of ICBM potential, the Hypersonic Glide Vehicle, the DF-ZF (which Russian Defense Minister Dmitry Rogozin compared to the first atom bombs in strategic significance) is just beginning its life cycle. Launched sixty miles above the earth from missiles traveling sixteen-thousand mph, HGVs surf the stratosphere on their supersonic shockwaves and glide to their targets. RAND says,

“Maneuverability can potentially provide HGVs the ability to use in-flight updates to attack a different target than originally planned..With the ability to fly at unpredictable trajectories, these missiles will hold extremely large areas at risk throughout much of their flights” and Congressional report concluded, “The very high speeds of these weapons combined with their maneuverability and ability to travel at lower, radar-evading altitudes would make them far less vulnerable to current missile defenses than existing missiles.” (After the PLAN’s successful HGV tests Xiamen University’s engineering department, launched and recovered its own HGV in northwest China’s desert.)

In real wars, boots on the ground determine final outcomes and the People’s Liberation Army is as unconventional as its weapons. Combat forces elect their NCOs and PLAN soldiers receive more political education than the rest of the world’s armies combined. Xiaoming Zhang[19]explained the thinking behind this, “Under the influence of Confucian philosophy the concept of the just or righteous war was prevalent throughout Chinese society so, unlike Western militaries which depend on professional ethics and training to ensure that soldiers’ perform their duties in war, the PLA opted for political indoctrination and attempted to make troops understand why a war must be fought and how it would matter to them.” Historian William Hinton says, “From its inception the Army has been led by the Party and has never played a purely military role. On the contrary, Army cadres have always played a leading political role. In 1927 Mao wrote, ‘The Red Army fights not merely for the sake of fighting but in order to conduct xuānchuán among the people, organize, arm and help them establish revolutionary political power. Without these objectives, fighting loses its meaning and the Red Army loses its reason for existence.’”

No matter how well armed or valorous an army is, to win wars it needs the support of the citizens who pay for it–and here China has an advantage. China’s leaders often invoke the feelings of the Chinese people in international disputes and surveys[20] reveal that their attitudes are more hawkish than dovish and younger Chinese much more inclined to call on the government to invest in and have recourse to military strength. In 2015, Gallup posed the question, “If there were a war involving [your country], would you be willing to fight for [your country]?”

Notes

[1] Hegemonic Stability Theory: An Empirical Assessment. Michael C. Webb and Stephen D. Krasner. Review of International Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2, Special Issue on the Balance of Power (Apr., 1989), pp. 183-198. Cambridge University Press

[2] Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power. By Yan Xuetong

[3] “Strengthen Party Unity and Carry Forward Party Traditions” (1956) China’s economy overtook America’s fifty-eight years later.

[4] Build a Harmonious World of Lasting Peace and Common Prosperity. Speech by Hu Jintao at the UN Summit, New York, September 15, 2005

[5] Wang Yi, ‘Exploring the Path of Major-Country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics’, Foreign Affairs Journal, No. 10 (2013), p. 14.

[6] China launches $11 billion fund for Central, Eastern Europe. Reuters, November 6, 2016

[7] Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order.By Jane Perlez and Yufan Huang. New York Times, May 13, 2017

[8] ‘Work Together to Build a Community with Shared Future for Mankind’ . January 2017. Later incorporated in a UN resolution by the 55th UN Commission for Social Development

[9] Zhai, Qiang (2005-10-20T22:58:59). China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975 (The New Cold War History) (Kindle Locations 227-231). The University of North Carolina Press. Kindle Edition.

[10] U.S. STRATEGY PLAN CALLS FOR INSURING NO RIVALS DEVELOP. By PATRICK E. TYLER. The New York Times, March, 1992.

[11] US Naval Institute Proceedings, Deterring the Dragon

[12] Power in International Politics. Michael Barnett and Raymond Duvall. International Organization, Vol. 59, No. 1

[13] Chinese Naval Expansion Hits High Gear: China’s Navy Acquires 15 Warships in 7 Months

Chinese Naval Expansion Hits High Gear: China’s Navy Acquires 15 Warships in 7 Months

[14] China’s Maritime Militia, by ndrew S. Erickson and Conor M. Kennedy

[15] New missile gap leaves U.S. scrambling to counter China. Reuters. April 25, 2019

[16] New missile gap leaves U.S. scrambling to counter China. Reuters. Apr 25, 2019

[17] CEP, circular error probable is defined as the radius of a circle, centered on the mean, whose boundary is expected to include the landing points of 50% of a missile’s rounds.

[18] The PLA-10, an air-to-air missile, has a more advanced guidance system and twice the range, speed and payload of the USAF AIM-9.

[19] Zhang, Xiaoming. Deng Xiaoping’s Long War: The Military Conflict between China and Vietnam, 1979-1991 (The New Cold War History). The University of North Carolina Press.

[20] How Hawkish Is the Chinese Public? Another Look at “Rising Nationalism” and Chinese Foreign Policy Jessica Chen Weiss To cite this article: Jessica Chen Weiss (2019): How Hawkish Is the Chinese Public? Another Look at “Rising Nationalism” and Chinese Foreign Policy, Journal of Contemporary China, DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2019.1580427

 

Forget China – it’s America’s own economic system that’s broken

US weakness is inbuilt – the big 500 companies owe loyalty only to themselves and the public is shut out from prosperity

by Robert Reich

The Guardian

Xi Jinping might possibly agree next weekend on further steps to bring down China’s trade imbalance with the US, giving Donald Trump a face-saving way of ending his trade war.

But Xi won’t agree to change China’s economic system. Why should he?

The American economic system is focused on maximizing shareholder returns. And it’s achieving that goal: on Friday, the S&P 500 notched a new all-time high.

But average Americans have seen no significant gains in their incomes for four decades, adjusted for inflation.

China’s economic system, by contrast, is focused on maximizing China. And it’s achieving that goal. Forty years ago China was still backward and agrarian. Today it’s the world’s second-largest economy, home to the world’s biggest auto industry and some of the world’s most powerful technology companies. Over the last four decades, hundreds of millions of Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty.

The two systems are fundamentally different.

At the core of the American system are 500 giant companies headquartered in the US but making, buying and selling things all over the world. Half of their employees are non-American, located outside the US. A third of their shareholders are non-American.

These giant corporations have no particular allegiance to America. Their only allegiance and responsibility is to their shareholders.

They’ll do whatever is necessary to get their share prices as high as possible – including keeping wages down, fighting unions, reclassifying employees as independent contractors, outsourcing anywhere around world where parts are cheapest, shifting their profits around the world wherever taxes are lowest, and paying their top CEOs ludicrous sums.

At the core of China’s economy, by contrast, are state-owned companies that borrow from state banks at artificially low rates. These state firms balance the ups and downs of the economy, spending more when private companies are reluctant to do so.

They’re also engines of economic growth making the capital-intensive investments China needs to prosper, including investments in leading-edge technologies.

China’s core planners and state-owned companies will do whatever is necessary both to improve the wellbeing of the Chinese people and become the world’s largest and most powerful economy.

Since 1978, the Chinese economy has grown by an average of more than 9% per year. Growth has slowed recently, and American tariffs could bring it down to 6% or 7%, but that’s still faster than almost any other economy in the world, including the US

The American system relies on taxes, subsidies and regulations to coax corporations to act in the interest of the American public. But these levers have proven weak relative to the overriding corporate goal of maximizing shareholder returns.

Last week, for example, Walmart, American’s largest employer, announced it would lay off 570 employees despite taking home more than $2bn courtesy of Trump and the Republican corporate tax cuts. Last year, the company closed dozens of Sam’s Club stores, leaving thousands of Americans out of work.

At the same time, Walmart has plowed more than $20bn into buying back shares of its own stock, which boosts the pay of Walmart executives and enriches wealthy investors but does nothing for the economy.

It should be noted that Walmart is a global company, not adverse to bribing foreign officials to get its way. On Thursday it agreed to pay $282m to settle federal allegations of overseas corruption, including channeling more than $500,000 to an intermediary in Brazil known as a “sorceress” for her ability to make construction permit problems disappear.

Across the American economy, the Trump tax cut did squat for jobs and wages but did nicely for corporate executives and big investors. Instead of reinvesting the savings into their businesses, the International Monetary Fund reports that companies used it to buy back stock.

But wait. America is a democracy and China is a dictatorship, right?

True, but most Americans have little or no influence on public policy – which is why the Trump tax cut did so little for them.

That’s the conclusion of professors Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern, who analyzed 1,799 policy issues before Congress and found that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy”.

Instead, American lawmakers respond to the demands of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) and of big corporations, those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.

Don’t blame American corporations. They’re in business to make profits and maximize their share prices, not to serve America.

But because of their dominance in American politics and their commitment to share prices instead of the wellbeing of Americans, it’s folly to count on them to create good American jobs or improve American competitiveness.

I’m not suggesting we emulate the Chinese economic system. I am suggesting that we not be smug about the American economic system.

Instead of trying to get China to change, we should lessen the dominance of big American corporations over American policy.

China isn’t the reason half of America hasn’t had a raise in four decades. The simple fact is Americans cannot thrive within a system run largely by big American corporations, organized to boost their share prices but not boost Americans.

Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. He is also a columnist for Guardian US

 

An Official Overview of Global Terrorism

The following is the opening of a CIA report which is far too prolix to repeat in its entirety.

 

The key factors that spawned international terrorism show no signs of abating over the next 15 years. Facilitated by global communications, the revival of Muslim identity will create a framework for the spread of radical Islamic ideology inside and outside the Middle East, including Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Western Europe, where religious identity has traditionally not been as strong. This revival has been accompanied by a deepening solidarity among Muslims caught up in national or regional separatist struggles, such as Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir, Mindanao, and southern Thailand, and has emerged in response to government repression, corruption, and ineffectiveness. Informal networks of charitable foundations, and other mechanisms will continue to proliferate and be exploited by radical elements; alienation among unemployed youths will swell the ranks of those vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

We expect that by 2020 al-Qa’ida will be superseded by similarly inspired Islamic extremist groups, and there is a substantial risk that broad Islamic movements akin to al-Qa’ida will merge with local separatist movements. Information technology, allowing for instant connectivity, communication, and learning, will enable the terrorist threat to become increasingly decentralized, evolving into an eclectic array of groups, cells, and individuals that do not need a stationary headquarters to plan and carry out operations. Training materials, targeting guidance, weapons know-how, and fund-raising will become virtual (i.e., online).

Terrorist attacks will continue to primarily employ conventional weapons, incorporating new twists and constantly adapting to counterterrorist efforts. Terrorists probably will be most original not in the technologies or weapons they use but rather in their operational concepts—i.e., the scope, design, or support arrangements for attacks.

Strong terrorist interest in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons increases the risk of a major terrorist attack involving WMD. Our greatest concern is that terrorists might acquire biological agents or, less likely, a nuclear device, either of which could cause mass casualties. Bioterrorism appears particularly suited to the smaller, better-informed groups.

We also expect that terrorists will attempt cyber attacks to disrupt critical information networks and, even more likely, to cause physical damage to information systems.

 

The Sabotage Column: Revenge is sweet and flavors all our dealings

by Ben Dova

At one point in my life, I recall discussing my dysfunctional relationship with my sister.

Here are some views of that subject:

My sister was four years younger that I was. She never liked me, in spite of every attempt on my part to be considerate and, at the least, civilized with her. Her method of attacks against me consisted of acting as a bi-pedal informer to my parents on every occasion she could think of.

“He did this, Mommy!” or “Guess what he did in school, Daddy!” were typical of her and she caused me a great deal of problems, not only with my parents but also in our community.

Eventually, I grew very tired of all of this and I determined to get my revenge on her and also to instruct her that keeping one’s mouth shut was a wonderful idea.

Every Sunday, my sister went to church and always wore a nice white dress. One Sunday, I put a very ripe and juicy piece of fresh fruit, filled with red juices, on a piece of clear plastic that I then set on her chair in the dining room. She sat on this, ate her lunch and when she got up to take plates into the kitchen, it was obvious that she had had some kind of an internal accident. Her lovely white skirt had a large, wet and dripping carmine patch smack in the rear of it, with bits and pieces dripping down onto the dining room carpet.

My mother was horrified, my father stunned and as they yelled and rushed about to prevent more leakage, I quickly removed the evidence from the chair and stuck it into a small bag I had concealed in my pants.

My sister was wailing that she had no idea where the mess was coming from and it was assumed that she was rapidly becoming a woman. The messes were cleaned up from the carpet and she was compelled to change her clothes. She was too late for church services that day.

On another occasion, my dog had left an enormous length of its fecal matter in the back yard so I scooped it up in a piece of paper and looked for a place to dispose of it. For some reason, I took it into the house where my mother was practicing Chopin on the piano. Down the hall, I noticed my sister just coming out of one of the bathrooms with a towel wrapped around her head, wearing a terrycloth robe. In the bathroom was a slowly draining tub of soapy water, so without any thought, I dropped the dung into the water and rushed to tell my Mother.

Of course she was horrified, and disgusted, and my protesting and weeping sister had to return and remove the evidence of her purported evacuation. The object broke into pieces and her task was not a light one.

She was lectured on hygiene for some time, and she protested in outraged tones that it must have been me. My Mother did not believe her at all.

And a few months later, a friend showed me what he called “Angel Hair” which was a fine, white spun glass insulation. He told me it caused terrible itching when it came into contact with the skin.

Wearing gloves and taking some care, I subsequently rubbed a quantity of it into my sister’s brassiere, panties and socks. And again on Sunday, clad in white, she sat at the table, scratching her breasts and crotch to the point where my Mother shouted at her to cease and desist such disgusting behavior. I found out later that she had to go to the hospital and her private parts were swollen and inflamed beyond comprehension and looked like some distended sea urchin. And both her swollen nipples resembled large, rotting strawberries.

No one had any idea why this had happened so a week later, after she had gone to school, I put two used cigar ends in her room, opened her French windows and put a liquid starch loaded condom on the top of her bedding. My Mother discovered these and came to the incorrect, but obvious, conclusion that my sister had had a mature visitor in the night.

There was horrible trouble that night, what with accusations of lewd behavior, shrieks of innocence and rumblings from my Father.

And then there was the time that I acquired a draper’s window dummy of a young girl, cut a hole in its back and filled it up with raspberry jam. I took a set of my sister’s old clothes, including panties, socks and a pinafore and put it on the piece, just before my friend and I set it up, on its feet, on the railroad tracks. When the Del Monte Express came down the line at 8:PM, the gates across the road came down and the stopped drivers noted, to their urgent horror, a small girl with a vacuous smile, standing on the tracks, holding a basket of paper flowers. Horns were blown and many shouted warnings filled the air as the thundering express bore down. At the last moment, the engineer saw her, blew the horn, slammed on the brakes and caused all the rich people in the club car to rocket about, slamming into each other and the car walls. I will never forget the moment the engine impacted with the figure. It exploded in a carmine fan, splattering red jam all over the waiting traffic. The head flew off and landed, upside down, on the hood of a stopped Buick, smiling at the old woman at the wheel. She reacted by having a heart attack and in general, there was much laughter in the nearby bushes as my friend and I wept with delight.

The FBI got involved in it and found laundry marks in the demolished one’s panties which resulted in visits to our house, later shoutings and other evidences of weak intellects and it was eventually remembered that Mother had donated my sister’s old clothes to a local charity. This stopped everyone from glaring suspiciously at me and I was able to return to my room, smiling happily to myself

 

 

 

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