What has happened to America 19

… is worse than you fear.

Now the revelation bursts upon us that Donald Trump never really stood a chance of being re-elected, even if every living citizen had voted for him.

And Americans stood no chance of remaining free. 

The vast movement to dissolve the founder’s Republic of America was begun long before the 2016 election of Donald Trump. His four years were an unexpected interruption of the reorganization of the human world into a global community of helots ruled by an oligarchic dictatorship.

America will now have a system not only like China’s oligarchic dictatorship, but in partnership with it.

It took decades for China to gain the subservience of an American government. It was finally achieved with the defeat of President Trump and the election to the presidency of Joe Biden.

Trump had seen the danger and had tried to counter it. But the forces ranged against him were far too numerous and far too powerful.

It suits Communist China very well to have Joe Biden as a figurehead president of the United States. For the Chinese, his senility is an asset. In any case, they own him. They own his son, they own his family. They have filled the Bidens’ coffers. It was probably they who chose him to be the Democratic Party’s candidate. They own the Democratic Party.

Does all  this seem too far fetched?

Lee Smith, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, explains how the process and the triumph were worked. The article is long. We select the telling points – which requires some change of the original order – and strongly recommend the reading of the whole thing.

The poisoned embrace between American elites and China began nearly 50 years ago when Henry Kissinger saw that opening relations between the two then-enemies would expose the growing rift between China and the more threatening Soviet Union. At the heart of the fallout between the two communist giants was the Soviet leadership’s rejection of Stalin, which the Chinese would see as the beginning of the end of the Soviet communist system—and thus it was a mistake they wouldn’t make.

Meanwhile, Kissinger’s geopolitical maneuver became the cornerstone of his historical legacy. It also made him a wealthy man selling access to Chinese officials. In turn, Kissinger pioneered the way for other former high-ranking policymakers to engage in their own foreign influence-peddling operations, like William Cohen, defense secretary in the administration of Bill Clinton, who greased the way for China to gain permanent most favored nation trade status in 2000 and become a cornerstone of the World Trade Organization.

The Cohen Group has two of its four overseas offices in China, and includes a number of former top officials, including Trump’s former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who recently failed to disclose his work for the Cohen Group when he criticized the Trump administration’s “with us or against us” approach to China in an editorial. “The economic prosperity of U.S. allies and partners hinges on strong trade and investment relationships with Beijing,” wrote Mattis, who was literally being paid by China for taking exactly that position.

Yet it’s unlikely that Kissinger foresaw China as a cash cow for former American officials when he and President Richard M. Nixon traveled to the Chinese capital that Westerners then called Peking in 1972. “The Chinese felt that Mao had to die before they could open up,” says a former Trump administration official. “Mao was still alive when Nixon and Kissinger were there, so it’s unlikely they could’ve envisioned the sorts of reforms that began in 1979 under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership. But even in the 1980s China wasn’t competitive with the United States. It was only in the 1990s with the debates every year about granting China most favored nation status in trade that China became a commercial rival”—and a lucrative partner. …

Just after defeating communism in the Soviet Union, America breathed new life into the communist party that survived. And instead of Western democratic principles transforming the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the American establishment acquired a taste for Eastern techno-autocracy. Tech became the anchor of the U.S.-China relationship, with CCP funding driving Silicon Valley startups, thanks largely to the efforts of Dianne Feinstein, who, after Kissinger, became the second-most influential official driving the U.S.-CCP relationship for the next 20 years.

In 1978, as the newly elected mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein befriended Jiang Zemin, then the mayor of Shanghai and eventually president of China. As mayor of America’s tech epicenter, her ties to China helped the growing sector attract Chinese investment and made the state the world’s third-largest economy. Her alliance with Jiang also helped make her investor husband, Richard Blum, a wealthy man. As senator, she pushed for permanent MFN trade status for China by rationalizing China’s human rights violations, while her friend Jiang consolidated his power and became the Communist Party’s general secretary by sending tanks into Tiananmen Square. Feinstein defended him. “China had no local police,” Feinstein said that Jiang had told her. “Hence the tanks,” the senator from California reassuringly explained. “But that’s the past. One learns from the past. You don’t repeat it. I think China has learned a lesson.” …

Clearly, big money was to be made from China. Democrats could overlook little matters like what happened in Tiananmen Square. It wasn’t the Communist government’s fault. They had no police, so they had to use tanks. Anyway, it was a learning experience for them and they’ll never do anything like that again. Look on the bright side, where the money glitters.

The American elite decided that democracy wasn’t working for them. …

[That] disenchanted elite … impoverished American workers while enriching themselves. The one-word motto they came to live by was globalism—that is, the freedom to structure commercial relationships and social enterprises without reference to the well-being of the particular society in which they happened to make their livings and raise their children.

Undergirding the globalist enterprise was China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. For decades, American policymakers and the corporate class said they saw China as a rival, but the elite … saw enlightened Chinese autocracy as a friend and even as a model—which was not surprising, given that the Chinese Communist Party became their source of power, wealth, and prestige. Why did they trade with an authoritarian regime and by sending millions of American manufacturing jobs off to China thereby impoverish working Americans? Because it made them rich. They salved their consciences by telling themselves they had no choice but to deal with China: It was big, productive, and efficient and its rise was inevitable. And besides, the American workers hurt by the deal deserved to be punished—who could defend a class of reactionary and racist ideological naysayers standing in the way of what was best for progress?

Returning those jobs to America, along with ending foreign wars and illegal immigration, was the core policy promise of Donald Trump’s presidency, and the source of his surprise victory in 2016.  … The only people who took Trump seriously were the more than 60 million American voters who believed him when he said he’d fight the elites to get those jobs back.

As Lee Smith sees it, Trump himself was the creator of the “China Class” – because opposition to him united disparate interests which were all the beneficiaries of Chinese patronage. It’s an accusation, and as such unfair since that was not the president’s intention. Smith explains:

What [Trump] called “The Swamp” appeared at first just to be a random assortment of industries, institutions, and personalities that seemed to have nothing in common, outside of the fact they were excoriated by the newly elected president. But Trump’s incessant attacks on that elite gave them collective self-awareness as well as a powerful motive for solidarity. Together, they saw that they represented a nexus of public and private sector interests that shared not only the same prejudices and hatreds, cultural tastes and consumer habits but also the same center of gravity—the U.S.-China relationship. And so, the China Class was born.

A great many Americans in technology, sport, commerce, academia, bureaucracy, politics …

…benefited extravagantly from the U.S.-China relationship. These strange bedfellows acquired what Marxists call class consciousness—and joined together to fight back, further cementing their relationships with their Chinese patrons. United now, these disparate American institutions lost any sense of circumspection or shame about cashing checks from the Chinese Communist Party, no matter what horrors the CCP visited on the prisoners of its slave labor camps and no matter what threat China’s spy services and the People’s Liberation Army might pose to national security.

Think tanks and research institutions like the Atlantic Council, the Center for American Progress, the EastWest Institute, the Carter Center, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and others gorged themselves on Chinese money. The world-famous Brookings Institution had no scruples about publishing a report funded by Chinese telecom company Huawei that praised Huawei technology.

They “gorged themselves on Chinese money” – not without a trace of shame in some cases?

The billions that China gave to major American research universities, like $58 million to Stanford, alarmed U.S. law enforcement, which warned of Chinese counterintelligence efforts to steal sensitive research. But the schools and their name faculty were in fact in the business of selling that research, much of it paid for directly by the U.S. government—which is why Harvard and Yale among other big-name schools appear to have systematically underreported the large amounts that China had gifted them. …

But then came a freebie from China that was not welcome:

China was the source of the China Class’s power, [and] the novel coronavirus coming out of Wuhan became the platform for its coup de grace. So Americans became prey to an anti-democratic elite that used the coronavirus to demoralize them; lay waste to small businesses; leave them vulnerable to rioters who are free to steal, burn, and kill; keep their children from school and the dying from the last embrace of their loved ones; and desecrate American history, culture, and society; and defame the country as systemically racist in order to furnish the predicate for why ordinary Americans in fact deserved the hell that the elite’s private and public sector proxies had already prepared for them.

So there was really no need for the China Class to feel shame or guilt. Ordinary Americans “deserved” unemployment and poverty. Because … because … they’re racist.

For nearly a year, American officials have purposefully laid waste to our economy and society for the sole purpose of arrogating more power to themselves while the Chinese economy has gained on America’s. China’s lockdowns had nothing to do with the difference in outcomes. Lockdowns are not public health measures to reduce the spread of a virus. They are political instruments, which is why Democratic Party officials who put their constituents under repeated lengthy lockdowns, like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, are signaling publicly that it is imperative they be allowed to reopen immediately now that Trump is safely gone.

… Democratic officials intentionally destroyed lives and ended thousands of them by sending the ill to infect the elderly in nursing homes. … The job was to boost coronavirus casualties in order to defeat Trump and they succeeded

A startling accusation that – of human sacrifice on a huge scale! But it is true that it happened.

And the Chinese virus made no difference to the China Class’s opposition to President Trump:

The number of American industries and companies that lobbied against Trump administration measures attempting to decouple Chinese technology from its American counterparts is a staggering measure of how closely two rival systems that claim to stand for opposing sets of values and practices have been integrated. Companies like Ford, FedEx, and Honeywell, as well as Qualcomm and other semiconductor manufacturers that fought to continue selling chips to Huawei, all exist with one leg in America and the other leg planted firmly in America’s chief geopolitical rival. To protect both halves of their business, they soft-sell the issue by calling China a competitor in order to obscure their role in boosting a dangerous rival.

Nearly every major American industry has a stake in China. From Wall Street—Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley— to hospitality. A Marriott Hotel employee was fired when Chinese officials objected to his liking a tweet about Tibet. They all learned to play by CCP rules.

“It’s so pervasive, it’s better to ask who’s not tied into China,” says former Trump administration official Gen. (Ret.) Robert Spalding.

Unsurprisingly, the once-reliably Republican U.S. Chamber of Commerce was in the forefront of opposition to Trump’s China policies—against not only proposed tariffs but also his call for American companies to start moving critical supply chains elsewhere …

Even the Trump administration was split between hawks and accommodationists, caustically referred to by the former as “Panda Huggers”. The majority of Trump officials were in the latter camp, most notably Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Hollywood producer. While the film industry was the first and loudest to complain that China was stealing its intellectual property, it eventually came to partner with, and appease, Beijing. Studios are not able to tap into China’s enormous market without observing CCP redlines.

“In the Trump administration,” says former Trump adviser Spalding, “there was a very large push to continue unquestioned cooperation with China. On the other side was a smaller number of those who wanted to push back.”

Apple, Nike, and Coca Cola even lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. On Trump’s penultimate day in office, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States has “determined that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups”. That makes a number of major American brands that use forced Uyghur labor—including, according to a 2020 Australian study, Nike, Adidas, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and General Motors—complicit in genocide.

The idea that countries that scorn basic human and democratic rights should not be directly funded by American industry and given privileged access to the fruits of U.S. government-funded research and technology that properly belongs to the American people is hardly a partisan idea—and has, or should have, little to do with Donald Trump. But the historical record will show that the melding of the American and Chinese elites reached its apogee during Trump’s administration, as the president made himself [again we stress unintentionally – ed] a focal point [of shared hostility] for the China Class, which had adopted the Democratic Party as its main political vehicle.

That’s not to say establishment Republicans are cut out of the pro-China oligarchy—Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s shipbuilder billionaire father-in-law James Chao has benefited greatly from his relationship with the CCP, including college classmate Jiang Zemin. Gifts from the Chao family have catapulted McConnell to only a few slots below Feinstein in the list of wealthiest senators.

Riding the media tsunami of Trump hatred, the China Class cemented its power within state institutions and security bureaucracies that have long been Democratic preserves—and whose salary-class inhabitants were eager not to be labeled as “collaborators” with the president they ostensibly served. Accommodation with even the worst and most threatening aspects of the Chinese communist regime, ongoing since the late 1990s, was put on fast-forward. Talk about how Nike made its sneakers in Chinese slave labor camps was no longer fashionable. News that China was stealing American scientific and military secrets, running large spy rings in Silicon Valley and compromising congressmen like Eric Swalwell, paying large retainers to top Ivy League professors in a well-organized program of intellectual theft, or in any way posed a danger to its own people or to its neighbors, let alone to the American way of life, were muted and dismissed as pro-Trump propaganda.

Smith omits to mention a fact that is germane to his case and strengthens it – that President Bill Clinton had insistently sold American scientific, technological and military secrets to China.

The Central Intelligence Agency openly protected Chinese efforts to undermine American institutions. CIA management bullied intelligence analysts to alter their assessment of Chinese influence and interference in our political process so it wouldn’t be used to support policies they disagreed with—Trump’s policies. …

Smith notes that the CIA – the agency created to protect the United States from foreign intrusion of all kinds – stores its information with Amazon Web Services, owned by China’s No. 1 American distributor, Jeff Bezos.

Joe Biden is China’s man. He is now openly demonstrating his compliance with the CCP’s wishes:

As head of the Center for American Progress think tank, Biden’s pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, teamed up with a U.S.-China exchange organization created as a front “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority” of the CCP and “influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing”.

Biden’s special assistant for presidential personnel, Thomas Zimmerman, was a fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, flagged by Western intelligence agencies for its ties to China’s Ministry of State Security.

U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield gave a 2019 speech at a Chinese-government-funded Confucius Institute in Savannah, Georgia, where she praised China’s role in promoting good governance, gender equity, and the rule of law in Africa. “I see no reason why China cannot share in those values,” she said. “In fact, China is in a unique position to spread these ideals given its strong footprint on the continent.”

The Biden family … was reportedly given an interest-free loan of $5 million by businessmen with ties to the Chinese military. Hunter [Biden] called his Chinese business partner the “spy chief of China”. The reason that the press and social media censored pre-election reports of Hunter Biden’s alleged ties to the CCP was not to protect him—$5 million is less than what Bezos has made every hour during the course of the pandemic. No, for the pro-China oligarchy, the point of getting Joe Biden elected was to protect themselves.

[For] the pro-China oligarchy [now in power in America – ed] … Chinese autocracy is their model. Consider the deployment of more than 20,000 U.S. armed forces members throughout Washington, D.C., to provide security for an inauguration of a president who is rarely seen in public in the wake of a sporadically violent protest march that was cast as an insurrection and a coup; the removal of opposition voices from social media, along with the removal of competing social media platforms themselves; the nascent effort to keep the Trump-supporting half of America from access to health care, credit, legal representation, education, and employment, with the ultimate goal of redefining protest against the policies of the current administration as “domestic terrorism”.

Yes, it all follows the Chinese example. The Democratic Party of America has fast become China’s star pupil.

Smith writes:

Witness their newfound respect for the idea that speech should only be free for the enlightened few who know how to use it properly.

And:

What seems clear is that Biden’s inauguration marks the hegemony of an American oligarchy that sees its relationship with China as a shield and sword against their own countrymen.

And:

The American oligarchy … are happy to rule in partnership with a foreign power that will help them destroy their own countrymen.

The writer concludes his article with a suggestion that the American oligarchy will not last long.

But why not? Now that Donald Trump has gone, who or what will work against it? Who or what can overthrow it?

Why Detroit died 2

Since we don’t expect to find much that is useful to us in Time magazine we seldom visit it. But when we went searching for good articles on the decline of Detroit, it was there that we found a quotable one.

Our search was prompted by tc, one of our readers (see comments on our post of November 21, 2009: Death city). Our thanks to tc.

The primary reason for the decline of Detroit was the decline of the US auto industry. This article by Daniel Okrent says so, and also talks about related contributory causes. We think it’s a good overview, and although we don’t like everything in it, particularly the ‘green’ opinions on its last page, we recommend it.

Here are the extracts:

Detroit fell victim not to one malign actor but to a whole cast of them. For more than two decades, the insensate auto companies and their union partners and the elected officials who served at their pleasure continued to gun their engines while foreign competitors siphoned away their market share. …

Detroit became a majority-black city, and in 1973 it elected its first black mayor. Coleman Young was a talented politician who spent much of his 20 years in office devoting his talents to the politics of revenge. He called himself the “MFIC” — the IC stood for “in charge,” the MF for exactly what you think. Young was at first fairly effective, when he wasn’t insulting suburban political leaders and alienating most of the city’s remaining white residents with a posture that could have been summed up in the phrase Now it’s our turn. But by his third term, Young was governing more by rhetoric than by action. These were the years of a local phenomenon known as Devil’s Night, a nihilistic orgy of arson that in one especially explosive year saw 800 houses burn to the ground in 72 hours. Violent crime soared under Young. The school system began to cave in on itself. When jobs disappeared with the small businesses boarding up their doors and abandoning the city, the mayor seemed to find it more useful to bid the business owners good riddance than to address the job losses. Detroit was dying, and its mayor chose to preside over the funeral rather than find a way to work with the suburban and state officials who now detested him every bit as much as he had demonized them.

When Young finally left office in 1993, he bragged that Detroit had achieved a “level of autonomy … that no other city can match.” He apparently didn’t care that it was the autonomy of a man in a rowboat, in the middle of the ocean, without oars.

But Young isn’t the only politician to blame. In 1956, when I was 8 years old, my Congressman was John D. Dingell. There are people in southeastern Michigan who are still represented by Dingell, the longest-serving member in the history of the House of Representatives. “The working men and women of Michigan and their families have always been Congressman Dingell’s top priority,” his website declares, and I suppose he thinks he has served them well — by resisting, in succession, tougher safety regulations, more-stringent mileage standards, relaxed trade restrictions and virtually any other measure that might have forced the American automobile industry to make cars that could stand up to foreign competition.

By so ably satisfying the wishes of the auto industry — by encouraging southeastern Michigan’s reliance on this single, lumbering mastodon — Dingell has in fact played a signal role in destroying Detroit. He was hardly alone; if you wanted to get elected in southeastern Michigan, you had to support the party line dictated by the Big Four — GM, Ford, Chrysler and their co-conspirator the United Auto Workers. Anything that might limit the industry’s income was bad for the auto industry, and anything bad for the auto industry was deemed dangerous to Detroit.

The UAW had once been the most visionary of American unions. As early as the 1940s, UAW president Walter Reuther was urging the auto companies to produce small, inexpensive cars for the average American. In 1947 and ’48 the union even offered to cut wages if the Big Three would reduce the price of their cars. But by the early 1980s, the UAW had entered into a nakedly self-interested pact with the auto companies. After the union’s president joined GM’s chief congressional lobbyist to defeat a tougher mileage standard in 1990, the lobbyist declared that “we would not have won without the UAW.” It was, he said, “one of the proudest days of my life.”

The union really can’t be blamed for pushing for fabulous wages and lush benefits for its members — that game required two players, and the automakers knew only how to say yes. But the union leadership’s fatal mistake was insisting that workers with comparable skills and comparable seniority be paid comparable wages, irrespective of who employed them. If a machinist at a prosperous GM deserved $25 an hour, so did a machinist who worked for a barely profitable Chrysler or for a just-holding-its-own supplier plant that made axles or wheels or windshield wipers.

This defiant inattention to market reality not only placed the less healthy firms in peril, but by pricing labor so uniformly high, it also closed off Detroit to any possible diversification of its industrial base. When the automakers’ inattention to engineering, style and quality caused them to crash into a wall of consumer indifference, there was no other industry that could step forward and employ workers who would have been thrilled to make even a fraction of what they once earned. Now nearly 1 in 3 Detroit residents is out of work — and not many of the unemployed have a prayer of finding a job anytime soon. …

Most particularly we urge our readers to follow the 2 links on the Time pages to the eloquent pictures of buildings abandoned and decayed. Once seen, they can haunt the imagination, not only as images of an historic industrial and human disaster, but as portents of what can befall a whole triumphant civilization when a few people who arrogantly believe they know best impose their vision on millions of other lives. The car industry managers were guilty, unwilling as they were to change and adapt, to make what consumers would buy. Union bosses were guilty, blindly demanding more than the industry could bear. Politicians were guilty, as our extracts demonstrate. And now another bunch are coming up to try and order our world to fit their hearts’ desire: the greens.

Posted under Commentary, Environmentalism, Industry, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 6, 2009

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Death city 6

Detroit is a dying city. How many more American cities will fall into decay and despair as Obama and the Democrats bankrupt the nation?

From the Times Online:

The abandoned corpses, in white body bags with number tags tied to each toe, lie one above the other on steel racks inside a giant freezer in Detroit’s central mortuary, like discarded shoes in the back of a wardrobe.

Some have lain here for years, but in recent months the number of unclaimed bodies has reached a record high. For in this city that once symbolised the American Dream many cannot even afford to bury their dead.

“I have not seen this many unclaimed bodies in 13 years on the job,” said Albert Samuels, chief investigator at the mortuary. “It started happening when the economy went south last year. I have never seen this many people struggling to give people their last resting place.”

Unburied bodies piling up in the city mortuary — it reached 70 earlier this year — is the latest and perhaps most appalling indignity to be heaped on the people of Detroit. The motor city that once boasted the highest median income and home ownership rate in the US is today in the midst of a long and agonising death spiral.

After years of gross mismanagement by the city’s leaders and the big three car manufacturers of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, who continued to make vehicles that Americans no longer wanted to buy, Detroit today has an unemployment rate of 28 per cent, higher even than the worst years of the Great Depression.

The murder rate is soaring. The school system is in receivership. The city treasury is $300 million (£182m) short of the funds needed to provide the most basic services such as rubbish collection. In its postwar heyday, when Detroit helped the US to dominate the world’s car market, it had 1.85 million people. Today, just over 900,000 remain. It was once America’s fourth-largest city. Today, it ranks eleventh, and will continue to fall.

Thousands of houses are abandoned, roofs ripped off, windows smashed. Block after block of shopping districts lie boarded up. Former manufacturing plants, such as the giant Fisher body plant that made Buicks and Cadillacs, but which was abandoned in 1991, are rotting. …

Read more of this depressing stuff, if you want to, here.

Posted under Economics, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, November 21, 2009

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A constructive suggestion 5

DETROIT (AP) – Worried about their jobs and warned that the cost of failure could be a depression, hundreds of leaders of the United Auto Workers voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to make concessions to the struggling Detroit Three, including all but ending a much-derided program that let laid-off workers collect up to 95 percent of their salaries.

"Everybody has to give a little bit," said Rich Bennett, an official for Local 122 in Twinsburg, Ohio, representing Chrysler workers. "We’ve made concessions. We really feel we’re doing our part."

Union leaders also agreed to let the cash-starved automakers delay billions of dollars in payments to a union-administered trust set to take over health care for blue-collar retirees starting in 2010.

In addition, they decided to let the Detroit leadership begin renegotiating elements of landmark contracts signed with the automakers last year, a move that could lead to wage concessions.

 

Question: Why not let the UAW take over the management of the Detroit Three and struggle to make the sort of profits that can keep them in gravy forever? 

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 4, 2008

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