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Monday, July 31, 2017

Wall Street’s Dilemma: The Trump Family Empire versus the United States Empire by RAY LIGHT (FROM NEWSLETTER #103)

Wall Street’s Dilemma

The Trump Family Empire versus
the United States Empire

by RAY LIGHT

On the surface, it seems that the Trump Presidency will be a bonanza for the Wall Street finance capitalists that rule the USA. During the first five or six months of his term, the stock market has performed brilliantly for the top one-tenth of one percent. Moreover, Trump appears hell-bent on dismantling the U.S. public health care system (Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obama-Care” or “Romney-Care”),  with the projected loss of health care coverage for more than twenty million people providing billions of dollars in “savings” that can be turned over to the super rich among us in the form of “tax relief.” This is the old “Robin Hood in reverse” that rich people around the world are so fond of — stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

Trump’s Budget Proposal offers virtually nothing positive for the rest of us in the USA — the hard pressed working class, the increasingly desperate middle class, heavily indebted students and professionals alike, the Afro-American people and other oppressed nationalities, including Latino and Muslim immigrant workers, experiencing intensified police repression, incarceration and social ostracism, and the severely underemployed and unemployed and obscenely underpaid youth. Under Trump’s plan, the social network, already wretchedly inadequate, is to be cut to the bone. Meanwhile, more billions of dollars than what the U.S. armed forces have asked for are being earmarked for a military-industrial complex that is already spending more money than the military forces of all the rest of the world combined. Clearly, the U.S. working class and more than 99% of us have good reason to be worried about where the Trump Regime, with all the Democratic and Republican “CongressBees” buzzing about, is taking us. And more of us need to become fighting mad and need to get serious about doing something about it.

***

But our Wall Street rulers are worried about Trump, too. In the 2016 Presidential election, the U.S. Empire’s candidate, Hillary Clinton, was supported by all the Democrats as well as those “independents” that the corrupted Sanders campaign could keep bound and tied to the Clinton/Wall Street/Corporate Democrats. Hillary Clinton also was supported by the mainstream (Wall Street) Republicans, from the last two Republican presidents, George H.W. and George W. Bush, to the 2008 and 2012 Republican candidates, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Romney, in particular, even stuck his political neck out to undercut and oppose Trump’s Republican presidential run.

Trump’s campaign featured a combination of populist, anti-Wall Street, anti-Goldman Sachs, anti-mainstream Republican and Democratic rhetoric combined with great nation chauvinism, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant nativism and white supremacy, a dangerous and demagogic combination reminiscent of Hitler’s platform on behalf of the fascist Nazi movement in 1930’s Germany. Trump’s anti-Wall Street campaign attracted a large number of disaffected white folks, including many white workers, some of whom had voted for Obama in the previous two elections and for Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary. Since Trump “won” the presidency in November under the anti-democratic election procedure  used in the United States of America (with the electoral college “vote”, Clinton’s three million vote plurality be damned), the Wall Street ruling class has seemingly made the best of an awkward situation.

Trump had campaigned against Goldman Sachs’ shameful influence on his main Republican contender, Ted Cruz, and exposed Goldman’s corruption of Hillary Clinton, his Democratic party rival for the presidency, through hundreds of thousands of Goldman Sachs dollars in “speaking fees.” Yet, from the very beginning, Trump put Goldman Sachs senior officials in charge of the Trump Regime’s financial and economic policies and practices. Many Trump voters should be surprised or even shocked by this. The list of Trump power appointees from Goldman Sachs includes: Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury; Jim Donovan, as Mnuchin’s deputy Secretary; Gary Cohn, who left his position as number two at Goldman Sachs to become Trump’s top economic adviser and the face of the Trump Regime’s efforts to deregulate the financial industry on behalf of Wall Street. Trump has even placed Jay Clayton, the high powered attorney who represented Goldman Sachs in its government bailout (and whose wife works for the company), as the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “responsible for rooting out financial crime,” to cover their tracks. Beyond the strictly economic arena, Trump has already shifted and promoted former Goldman Sachs partner, Dina Powell, to deputy national security adviser for strategy.*

*And even Trump’s apparent “chief strategist,” Steve Bannon, the chauvinist in chief, had worked at Goldman Sachs in the 1980’s, though he now stands as a Wall Street “critic.”

Again, on the surface, all looks rosy for Goldman Sachs and Wall Street. But is it?

***

Kellyanne Conway and the
Office of Government Ethics

On Thursday, July 6, Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), announced his resignation effective July 19. Having joined the office during the George W. Bush Administration, Shaub was appointed by President Obama to head the department in 2013. Leaving six months prior to the end of his term, Shaub made clear in his announcement that he believes there needs to be stronger enforcement of ethics rules by the Trump Regime, meaning the Trump Regime has been thoroughly unethical. In reality, Shaub’s role as Ethics Watchdog has brought him into sharp confrontation with Trump from the very beginning of Trump’s presidency.

In early February, just a few weeks after his inauguration, President Trump had tweeted a vicious attack on Nordstrom, the huge West Coast department store chain. Trump was incensed because Nordstrom, apparently in a private corporate business decision, had dropped his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line. Following Trump’s lead, however, Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, appeared on “Fox & Friends,” a major TV show on February 9, 2017, and made a direct plea to Fox viewers to go out and purchase Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. In the TV interview, Counselor Conway was clearly speaking from the White House briefing room and had the White House emblem behind her.

OGE chief Shaub wrote to White House Deputy Counsel Stefan Passantino, calling on the White House to “launch an investigation of Conway’s conduct and “consider taking disciplinary action against her.” According to Shaub, the facts seemed “to establish a clear violation of the prohibition against misuse of position.” Indeed, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee had immediately written to Shaub urging him to review Conway’s actions. While no discipline has been meted out to Conway from the Trump White House, it is significant that Utah Republican Congressman Jacob Chaffetz, the chairman of that House Committee suddenly announced his resignation from Congress and now OGE chief Shaub is leaving his post as well.

Can the corporate and finance capitalists associated with Nordstrom expect fair treatment from the Trump Regime in the future? What about all the other monopoly capitalist and imperialist financial targets, the current and future prey of the Trump Family Empire?!

The Atlantic Magazine Takes on
Trump’s Drive for Dictatorship

The cover story of the March issue of The Atlantic magazine was entitled, “How to build an Autocracy.” Written by senior editor David Frum, a former speech writer for Republican President George W. Bush, it would have been “indelicate” and more dangerous for Frum and the Atlantic had he used the words, “one-man dictatorship” but look up “autocracy” in your dictionary. To Frum’s credit, the article puts forth the view that, if he’s not actively resisted, Trump will lead the country to autocracy. A companion piece by Atlantic contributing editor Jonathan Rauch is entitled “Containing Trump.” Clearly, Wall Street capitalists associated with the Atlantic already recognized the danger to their system that Trump represents.

Among Frum’s observations: “If citizens learn that success in business or in public service depends on the favor of the president and his ruling clique, then it’s not only American politics that will change. The economy will be corrupted to, and with it the larger culture. A culture that has accepted graft is the norm, that rules don’t matter as much as relationships with those in power, and that people can be punished for speech and acts that remain theoretically legal — such a culture is not easily reoriented back to constitutionalism, freedom and public integrity.”

At the time Frum wrote this piece, he assessed that, “His [Trump’s] immediate priority seems likely to be to use the presidency to enrich himself. But as he does so, he will need to protect himself from legal risk.” This will lead Trump to “construction of an apparatus of impunity and revenge ... an authoritarian state.” As a spokesman for the U.S. ruling class, Frum concluded: “We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered. What happens next is up to you and me.”

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) a few weeks ago, Frum was even more decisive. He said that Trump’s aim as President is to use the office to become the richest person on earth. No wonder Wall Street is worried. For Wall Street needs a President whose first priority is to defend the U.S. Empire, not his own!

Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and the Unrestrained Pursuit of Individual Wealth

At the end of June 2017, one week prior to OGE Chief Shaub’s resignation announcement, former 2016 Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort very belatedly registered as a foreign agent for a pro-Russian group in Ukraine. Manafort disclosed that his firm, DMP International, had been paid slightly more than $17 million over two years beginning in 2012.  Manafort was ousted as Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016 following the Republican National Convention amid questions about his well paid work in the Ukraine. According to USA TODAY, “The law requires that citizens must be registered within ten days of agreeing to become agents and before performing any activities for the foreign client.” Thus, by his own admission, prior to his time as Trump’s campaign chairman, Manafort had been an agent for a foreign government to the tune of $17 million dollars worth, and had functioned illegally in blatant violation of that law.*

*General Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, responsible to provide the President with daily briefings on the world situation, had been dismissed by Trump after he had blatantly lied to the Senate committee vetting him for his key presidential appointment about meetings he held with top Russian government officials during Trump’s election campaign. After he was terminated, General Flynn, too, belatedly, and in violation of the law, registered as a paid agent for a private company that was doing work, in his case, for the Turkish government.

How had Manafort become the Trump Campaign’s chairman in the first place? Roger Stone, his former partner in the infamous lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone and Atwater, had recommended him to Donald Trump. Stone more than anyone else had encouraged Trump on several occasions over the past few decades to make a run for President. Most likely, on those other occasions, Trump and Stone used the political leverage from threatening to run or from making a pass at it, to obtain a “sweet deal,” a quid pro quo, for Trump’s business empire and for Stone’s aristocratic life style. It’s likely that Trump’s initial foray into the 2016 race was motivated by more of the same greed. But 2016 was a presidential race where the voters were fed up with the mainstream Democratic and Republican politicians, the “Republicrats.” So Trump’s candidacy (as well as Bernie Sanders’ campaign) immediately resonated with the primary voters. Trump stayed in the race, got stronger and won. But Trump’s original motivation of individual greed never wavered.

Individual greed is the prime motivation of Manafort and Stone as well. In the new Netflix movie starring Stone as himself (“Get Me Roger Stone”), journalist Jane Mayer observes: “Lobbying had been considered kind of a sleazy business, but Roger Stone unabashedly came out and said, ‘I’m going to make a pile of money off of this and no apologies.’”

In a 1985 profile of Stone in the  New Republic (“The State-of-the-Art Washington Sleazeball”), Jacob Weisberg linked Stone to key Reagan aides, Lyn Nofziger, Michael Deaver, Lee Atwater and Ed Rollins who “have abandoned helping Reagan make conservative ideas reality in order to sell their connections to the highest bidders — whether in service to these ideals or not.” Stone worked on both victorious Reagan campaigns but did not go into the Reagan administration. Instead  he started a political consulting and lobbying firm with several co-workers from the campaign, mining their connections with those who did go into Reagan’s regime. That firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Atwater (later Kelly) was one of several companies that together earned the nickname “the torturers’ lobby,” for representing countries condemned as human-rights abusers. These included, for example, dictators Mobutu of Zaire and Marcos of the Philippines. Basically, with valuable access to the Reagan Regime, these lobbying firms were paid a portion of the funds those blood-stained governments received from our taxes.

When George W. Bush became U.S. president, I thought that the U.S. Empire in decline was getting “blowback” from all the decades of sponsoring so-called banana republics and their dictators. Bush was so much less formidable, more ignorant and less competent as helmsman for the brutal U.S. Empire than either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama who preceded and followed him. His tenure made the Empire more fragile and vulnerable to conquest and defeat — a good thing for the international working class and the oppressed peoples of the world.

In his serious and comprehensive warning about the coming Trump autocracy, the Atlantic’s David Frum observed, “If this were happening in Honduras, we’d know what to call it. It’s happening here instead, and so we are baffled.” The Trump Regime is led by a man with the character of a two-bit dictator in a banana republic. And competent U.S. ruling class strategists like Frum know that U.S. monopoly capitalism and imperialism, the U.S. Empire, has plenty to be worried about.

Rex Tillerson, Wilbur Ross and the
Russian Connection


I paid serious attention to Trump’s effort to humble and humiliate Mitt Romney, Wall Street’s man; to get Romney to “jump through hoops” as he ardently pursued Trump’s nomination for Secretary of State. No doubt, Wall Street wanted Romney in this position leading the Trump Regime’s foreign policy establishment in defense of U.S. Empire. And, Trump clearly wanted Wall Street to think that their man had a chance. But I clearly saw that he did not. Romney, who had stood against Trump’s presidential run more strongly and openly than any other Republican bigwig was the last person Trump would put in charge of negotiations with all the other countries of the world. There were too many business deals out there ripe for Trump Inc.’s taking.

***

What I had not considered very much, however, was the Democratic Party allegation that the Russian government had actively attempted to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, possibly including involvement with Wikileaks’ distribution of information damaging to Clinton and Wall Street.

What I was concerned about then was how Wall Street imperialism was rallying around its candidate, Hillary Clinton, to stem the tide of the rising democratic wave. And how the tiny U.S. proletarian vanguard and other forces could help keep the mass momentum alive. Of even greater concern was the anti-Russia hysteria in the United States fomented by Clinton and the Wall Street Democrats which seemed, on the eve of an expected Clinton election victory, to be driving the USA toward a major war against Russia.

Besides, the U.S. Empire routinely interferes indirectly and directly in the political life of all the countries and peoples of the earth.* Lobbyists not very different from Stone and Manafort had interfered in Russian elections, especially since the formal elimination of the Soviet Union in 1991. At one point such U.S. “lobbyists” led the corrupt, incompetent and often inebriated Boris Yeltsin’s re-election campaign, helping him retain his power and keep out of top office Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the (revisionist) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, who had been the front-runner.

*For example, do you remember when Obama, the Democrat, announced to the world that he was ordering Libya’s Moamar Kadafi to get out of Libya? The Libyan people and peoples throughout Northern Africa have still not recovered from the U.S.-led devastation that followed.

If the USA had some substantial democratic political features, the Wikileaks material issued on the eve of the Democratic National Convention most likely would have toppled the Clinton candidacy and led to a strong Sanders run for President with its positive domestic platform somewhat at least on behalf of the 99% of us in the USA (though always coupled with his reactionary pro-U.S. Imperialist, pro-Empire international policy). For Wikileaks exposed the truth about how the Democratic National Committee (DNC) under Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had rigged the Democratic Primary season in favor of Hillary Clinton and against the popular, social-democratic candidacy of Bernie Sanders. The revelation carried enough clout that Wasserman-Schultz had to immediately resign as DNC chair and remove herself from her planned leadership role in the Convention.

A Sanders win against Trump, a distinct possibility in the anti-Wall Street, anti-mainstream  Democratic and Republican Party sentiment at the time, would have been extremely costly for Wall Street in terms of social spending, health care, college tuition and loan forgiveness, etc. as well as an encouragement of at least social democratic politics among the U.S. population, a big stride forward in terms of class consciousness that would have ultimately led to higher wages. But the Democratic Party, as the primary political gatekeeper for U.S. imperialism and with Sanders’ collaboration, was able to hold off any democratic upsurge sparked by Wikileaks’ revelations.

***

Then, Trump nominated Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon-Mobil, the world’s largest oil company, to be the U.S. Secretary of State. Tillerson had no “foreign policy” experience. Remarkably, Exxon (and Exxon-Mobil) is the only company Tillerson has ever worked for! And the one foreign country in which he has had extensive experience working on behalf of Exxon-Mobil has been  Russia. In fact, in 2012, Tillerson received the “Order of Friendship,” a high honor, from Vladimir Putin. I immediately understood the tremendous motivation for the Russian government to try to influence the election of Trump over Clinton. For Clinton, as Secretary of State and beyond, has been a cold war anti-Russian war hawk who, along with Obama, has supported Ukrainian fascist political forces in bolstering the pro-Western Ukrainian government. The US has military bases surrounding Russia. Despite the promises of Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush to the Russian government, NATO has recruited former Soviet bloc countries and is increasingly squeezing Russia. Clearly, the Russian moves into Crimea and other parts of Ukraine have been defensive, especially in comparison to aggressive U.S./NATO military forces.

Beyond the geopolitical and military strategic considerations, the election of Trump and emergence of Exxon-Mobil’s Tillerson as his Secretary of State have given the Russian government the best chance of eliminating the U.S. sanctions dealing with Russian oil revenues, sanctions that have restricted the economic and political power of Putin and Russia both internally and in relation to Europe and the world. Elimination of sanctions would be a tremendous win-win also for Exxon-Mobil, Tillerson and Trump.

Only by keeping alive the charges of Putin/Russia meddling in the 2016 U.S. election in favor of Trump, have the anti-Russia forces on Wall Street been able to keep the sanctions against Russia in place. Initially, placed there because of Russia’s activity in Crimea and Ukraine, the new justification is “Russia’s meddling” in the US election. Of course, if anyone stops to think about it, the Democratic National Committee, as exposed by Wikileaks, did far more to sabotage the U.S. Presidential election than the Russian government could have done.

In fact, two major articles in the July 5th Wall Street Journal, tell us what we need to know about Secretary of State Tillerson and President Trump. One article cites Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham reporting from Afghanistan, criticizing Tillerson for a lack of strategy in the face of the anticipated U.S. troop surge there and for having the foreign service there “woefully understaffed.” The article also refers to President Trump’s decision to give the Pentagon “unilateral authority to send thousands more American troops to Afghanistan at its discretion ...” It is that delegated authority that leads McCain and Graham to expect the military surge soon. It is clear that Trump is giving the U.S. military elites exceptional autonomy to go along with the $54 billion extra for the Pentagon he proposed in his budget. As with Goldman Sachs and Wall Street on broad questions of economic and finance policies, Trump wants to appease or placate the U.S. military as well. Nevertheless, beyond their personal goals for maximum private profit, neither Trump nor Tillerson is really interested in public policy as it effects the USA and the world. Sure, Trump and Tillerson would rather win the war in Afghanistan than lose it. But they do not occupy themselves with such matters. As the Pentagon is weighing plans to send between three thousand and five thousand U.S. troops to add to the current nine thousand in Afghanistan, after sixteen years in the longest war in U.S. history, McCain and Graham are right to be worried about the attention span of Tillerson and Trump.

In the same day’s WSJ, an article entitled’ “Oil Giants Push Back on Russian Measure,” opens with the following: “Exxon Mobil Corp. and other energy companies joined President Donald Trump in expressing concerns over a bill to toughen sanctions on Russia, arguing that it could shut down oil and gas projects around the world that involve Russian partners.” “Both Tillerson and Trump have been trying to find a way to eliminate the sanctions entirely. Both are really worried now about the prospects for the passage of a bill in Congress to make the sanctions on Russia tougher.”  The article’s authors, Olson and Nicholas, point out, “the lobbying by Exxon and other big oil companies is part of a push to preserve potential business relationships with Russia even as U.S. ties with the Kremlin sink to new lows.” They continue, “ The pushback from energy companies such as Exxon and Chevron Corp ... threatens to complicate House passage of the legislation, aimed partly at punishing Russia ... Exxon’s advocacy also presents a potential political problem for the Trump administration, which has been trying to avoid conflict-of-interest questions involving Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the oil giant’s former chief executive ... “Mr. Tillerson, who has promised to recuse himself from matters involving Exxon, hasn’t explicitly spoken out against the sanctions bill but last month urged Congress not to take any actions that tie the administration’s hands.” In other words, “the White House hasn’t ruled out a presidential veto of the sanctions measure, which includes a provision that would make it more difficult for the president to relax existing sanctions against the Kremlin, saying that it could erode Mr. Trump’s ability to conduct diplomacy.”

All this convoluted talk is thinly disguised tiptoeing around the real pushback by the “oil giants” and the Trump Regime. Unlike the question of war and peace in Afghanistan, Trump and Tillerson really care about this issue. Their private personal stakes have to be enormous. And that’s why they care.

***

Turning to finance, while Goldman Sachs has been appeased or assuaged by the multiple power appointments the firm has received from President Trump, for the critical position of Secretary of Commerce, dealing with trade and the business of business, Trump selected Wilbur Ross, a billionaire Wall Street “vulture investor” who offshored textile jobs to China and Mexico. It seems clear, however, that Trump tapped Ross because he has direct ties to several leading Russian oligarchs. A central question involves Ross’s role as Vice Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus. The largest bank in Cyprus, it is one of the key offshore havens for illicit Russian finance. Evidently his fellow bank co-chair was appointed by Vladimir Putin. The Ross appointment, like that of Secretary of State Tillerson, points to a level of cooperation with the Putin-led Russian government that shouts of a coordinated effort, to the benefit of the Trump Empire and the detriment of the U.S. Empire.

Clearly, Tillerson and Ross with their heavy Russian connections, are part of the Trump Empire’s “A Team.” The main concern of neither man is defending the U.S. Empire.

***

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump
and the China Connection


The other two members of Trump’s A Team outrank Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Commerce Ross. They are Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Like his father-in-law, President Trump, young Kushner is a Manhattan real estate mogul. He took over his father’s business when Charles Kushner was sent to prison for serious white collar crimes. (Chris Christie was the federal prosecutor who sent the elder Kushner to prison, a fact that will no doubt limit Christie’s role in the Trump Regime.) While Tillerson and Ross have heavy Russian connections, Jared Kushner’s biggest international business deals seem to be connected to China. And Ivanka Trump’s clothing line apparently is produced in large part by Chinese workers in China under oppressive conditions.

On the same day as the OGE chief’s resignation announcement, a complaint was filed with OGE by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington alleging that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and “chief adviser on everything,” had failed to disclose his ownership of a significant part of Cadre, a technology company that he co-founded. This resulted in his certificate being granted with incomplete information. Moreover, when Kushner requested his certificate of divestiture he also failed to disclose his ownership interest in the company, a status which would apparently compel him to sell his interests in Cadre immediately. Is this latter point the reason that Kushner suppressed such obviously important information? This is just the most recent “impropriety” clinging to Trump’s “A Team.”

Despite the fact that Kushner and his wife are the two most senior people in Trump’s executive branch hierarchy, neither was thoroughly vetted by the Senators that questioned Trump’s cabinet appointees. Initially, daughter Ivanka Trump tried to work daily in her own designated office in the White House, close to the Oval Office, without affirming and signing the conflict of interest paperwork necessary to qualify as an assistant to the President. Later, under pressure, she relented and now functions openly as one of President Trump’s primary aides, easily outranking his vetted Cabinet members. The other day, at the G20 Summit, President Trump had Ivanka sit in his place on several occasions during the meeting with the other heads of state. All this certainly gives Ivanka the clout to make global business deals on behalf of her own companies, as well as on behalf of the Trump Empire, in addition to representing her father, U.S. President Trump!

In the past few months, three Chinese labor activists, having taken jobs as factory workers in two large Huajian International shoe factories in Southern China making Ivanka Trump’s shoe line, have been arrested and detained by the Chinese authorities. According to China Labor Watch(CLW), for whom the activists undertook their Huajian International employment, CLW has done hundreds of undercover inspections of labor practices in supply chains of multinational companies, including Samsung and Apple. But this is the first case in which the Chinese authorities have detained the group’s activists and pushed them into the country’s criminal justice system. All three have now been released on bail but only one, Hua Haifeng, has been willing to make a public statement since. Hua said that he decided during his four-week detention that he would speak to the news media because the public has the right to know about the excessive work hours and other unfair or illegal practices at Huajian. It is noteworthy that the Chinese regime resorted to unusual methods to try to silence these activists, at least partly to cover up the regime’s collaboration at the corporate level with Ivanka Trump.

In May, Kushner Cos. conducted a China marketing push, led by Kushner’s sister. They were seeking three hundred Chinese people who have the money and the desire to pay one-half million dollars apiece to invest in twin 66-story commercial and residential towers in New Jersey. With that investment each individual could be eligible for a green card under a U.S. investment-for-immigration program called EB-5. According to the Wall Street Journal (5-8-17), “It is the latest sign the Kushner family is looking to China for funding to support its U.S. property development.” In March, Anbang Insurance Group, “a big Chinese insurer with strong political and family connections to the government in Beijing” broke off advanced talks with Kushner Cos. about providing as much as half of the $2.5 billion in equity for a planned $7.5 billion dollar redevelopment project after negotiations became public. With Jared Kushner’s senior role in President Trump’s foreign policy pursuits, there was widespread concern that Kushner “might be overly influenced by Anbang if the company helps his family turn a so-so deal into a bonanza.” (WSJ, 3-22-17)

The fact that the Kushner Cos./Anbang discussions had gone so far and might well have been consummated is fascinating, especially in light of the fact that the son-in-law of the current U.S. President has been a major figure with Kushner Cos. while the top official of Anbang is the husband of Teng Hsiao-ping’s grand-daughter! (Teng was the principal Chinese Communist Party leader who led China down the capitalist path.) Again, unlike Tillerson and Ross, the main international business deals of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner seem to be focused in China.

***

President Trump and His Sons:
The Rest of the Trump Empire’s A Team


Finally, President Trump himself has refused to show his tax returns or to divest any of his vast holdings. He has made it clear that he will refuse to cooperate with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) and will fight to maintain as much control of his private Empire as possible. The other members of the Trump Family Empire’s A Team are Trump’s two grown sons who are currently in direct charge of the Trump Empire’s business affairs — a situation that Ethics personnel have consistently stated is grossly inadequate to deal with President Trump’s potential for conflict of interest. Trump’s autocratic ways challenge anyone to try to restrict his autonomy in pursuit of his objective to become the richest person on earth.

***

CONCLUSION:

Point #1: Most significant for this article is the fact that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Trump’s top aides, are trying to maintain and increase big deals with the Chinese government, while Tillerson and Ross are clearly working to do the same with the Russian government. This means that the most important feature of Russian involvement with the Trump election is about Trump’s attempt to make lucrative business deals advantageous to the Trump Empire. Whether such deals are good for the Russians or for the U.S. Empire is of little or no importance to the Trump Family Dynasty.

Point #2: On the day before the G20 Summit opened, President Trump made a “major speech” calling for defense of historic western values. It was just verbiage to make it seem that Trump cares about defending the U.S. Empire.

Point #3: On the same day the Japanese government and the German-led EU signed an important treaty of cooperation. Essentially, Trump’s approach to treaties, and specifically his abrogation of the TransPacific Partnership paved the way for the Japan-EU treaty. And he is not much concerned since it doesn’t impact his personal fortune.

Point #4: Politics and Economics are dialectically interconnected, despite the constant effort of bourgeois pundits and experts to bury this fact and  pretend that “never the twain shall meet.” Donald Trump never has been and is not now a public servant. He is serving as U.S. President in order to use the political power at his disposal to enrich himself and his personal Empire. His goal is not to defend western or white or Anglo-Saxon culture. His goal is to be the richest man or to have the wealthiest empire in the world. That is the limit of his concerns.

Point #5: The international working class and the oppressed peoples need to understand the weaknesses and the strengths of our adversaries so that we can overcome them and win proletarian power and justice for the 99% of us. Hillary Clinton was the champion of the Wall Street ruling class in the 2016 election. She was a ruthless defender of the bloody U.S. Empire. The contradiction between the Trump Empire and the U.S. Empire is a real source of weakness for imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism, still the main enemy of the international working class and all humanity. Workers of the world and oppressed peoples, unite!
 
 
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