By inundating the US economy with cheap money the President hopes to prevent a stock market crash which could put paid to his hopes for re-election.
As I write this piece, near-panic has seized most financial markets, in response to the new Argentinian currency meltdown, the Brexit prospects and the turmoil in Hong Kong. Red flags are up on Wall Street and Donald Trump keeps angrily demanding that the Fed Chairman appointed by him lower interest rates fast. By inundating the US economy with cheap money the President hopes to prevent a stock market crash which could put paid to his hopes for re-election. All four living former Fed Chairmen have written an open letter to protest the White House’s attempt to control the constitutionally independent Federal Reserve and the overused magic bullet of ever more quantitative easing may not reach its target in a climate of tariff wars and geostrategic confrontation. Trump’s rule by Twitter may be remembered as an attempt at government by a twit. His unprecedented public demand that Israel deny entry to two US Congresswomen shows his ignorance of or contempt for the nature of public service. He tries to run the state like his private company and fire those employees who don’t agree with him, oblivious that they are citizens and members of the Legislative branch. He is thus openly colluding against his own countrymen with a foreign state.
The foreign policy scenario is not pretty after many months of vociferous attempts from Washington at overthrowing the Venezuelan government, cowing Iran into submission, threatening and then soft-talking North Korea to give up its defence systems and pushing China into a corner. None of those aggressive lunges has produced the expected results so far. The Maduro regime is hunkered down for the long haul, daring the Pentagon to invade; Iran, with Moscow’s discreet backing, looks like it is increasingly in control of the Gulf, while the Arab monarchies are losing their ill-conceived war in partitioned Yemen and are quietly making side deals with Tehran for their own preservation. The Iranians are entrenched in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and Israel cannot convince the Russians to part company with them. Turkey is openly challenging Washington by buying the Russian S-400 anti-missile defence systems and the State Department is frantically trying to find a face-saving way to exit Afghanistan, but is unable to convince the Taliban to make even cosmetic concessions or promises.
North Korea is modernising its weaponry, blowing hot and cold to its southern sister-state without conceding to Washington, while Seoul fights its own economic war with Japan. Beijing has used Trump’s crude economic attacks and insults as an excuse to bypass most UN and US sanctions against Pyongyang, thereby allowing the DPRK to stand firm and forcing the Donald to take recourse again and again to the pathetic claim that he is getting “beautiful” letters from his friend Kim. Europe is restive, furious about the US and is targeting American companies with taxes and other penalties which are seen as crimes of lese-majeste by the Beltway establishment. As for China, it is hitherto holding its ground and methodically going after American key interests by letting the Renmibi Yuan slide, cutting off US agricultural imports and investigating US corporations on its soil for alleged violations of economic laws.
Huawei has brought out its own operating system in order to stop doing business with Android and other Silicon Valley giants. Although there are legitimate political and economic reasons for the mass protests in Hong Kong, David Stockman, President Reagan’s budget director, has conceded on air that the American State through the CIA is involved as part of its multi-front war on the PRC, but there is no guarantee that worsening trouble there will make the international situation any better for the US. Even a mere Gibraltar court of justice ignored the American request to seize a detained Iranian tanker. Is it time to recite the mournful verses of Ozymandias?
In Washington’s backyard, Latin America is beginning to turn once again. The collapse of the Argentine monetary system spells the doom of the liberal IMF dictated policies of President Mauricio Macri, and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, a vocal Trump admirer, is showing his incompetence in the wake of his failing policies and of mass demonstrations against him motivated by the manipulations of the corrupt judicial system which brought him to power.
All this does not look good on the record of the self-proclaimed “very stable genius” in the White House, who sees himself as a misunderstood colossus surrounded by incompetent hacks who fail to understand his thoughts and quit his administration in droves. The President’s favourite journalist at Fox, Tucker Carlson called National Security Adviser John Bolton a “bureaucratic tapeworm” and Trump is said to have chuckled at this uncomplimentary characterisation, as he has allegedly developed an allergy to the dour and dull Bolton and to the equally undistinguished Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Bolton’s last damp squib was his visit to London during which he promised the “free trade” moon to a sceptical Boris Johnson, well aware that the POTUS could not deliver it in the face of a hostile Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
Both Pompeo and Bolton may soon be on their way out but they will leave their boss in the middle of a widening quagmire. The forecast fraudulent collapse of General Electric (40 billion in assets, 60 in liabilities according to conservative estimates), allegedly the latest ENRON, will further muddy the rosy picture of the economy that the administration strives to paint.
The incipient major recession will probably sink his presidency by exposing his boasts as the tired tricks of a shallow actor who sees his tenure as a wrestling match between him and the rest of the world and an economic downturn as personal affront from his enemies. The recent mass shootings have not improved his image since his frequent calls to get rid of immigrants, especially non-whites in one way or another inspires some of the “Aryan nation” supremacists to take the law into their own hands. Trump needs their support to bolster the narrow electoral majority that brought him to power and cannot unconditionally disown them. Additionally, the sordid Epstein scandal is splashing on him. There are too many photos and videos of the future President cosily chatting with the late child sex trafficker, his friend since 1987, and trading private jokes while pointing at young women at house parties to take him at his word when he claims that he “was never a fan of Jeff Epstein”. Faithful to his tactic, Trump went on the offensive by broadcasting the often repeated charge that Bill Clinton was one of Epstein’s big “clients” and might be behind the latter’s suspicious death while in solitary confinement.
Epstein, a protégé of billionaire financiers and key Israel champions and Netanyahu backers Leslie Wexner and Ronald Lauder, lived for years in a townhouse rented from the State Department (which he subleased later to Mob attorney Ivan Fisher) before moving to a $56 million mansion “given” to him by Wexner.
Epstein was an acknowledged Mossad asset and ran a company called Liquid Funding, which in 2006 officially had $6.7 billion in liabilities that were mysteriously all cleared in the following year, allegedly as part of the bailout of Bear Stearns by the Federal Reserve. Bear Stearns’ boss “Ace” Greenberg was another patron of Epstein who was for a time a lover of his daughter Lynn. It is well known that another paramour and alleged partner in the sex trade of Epstein was Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the media mogul, convicted embezzler and reported Israeli agent Robert Maxwell, who also drowned mysteriously while cruising on his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, several years ago and was given a grand funeral in Israel in the presence of many national dignitaries.
After serving a prison sentence for sexual offences in 2015, Epstein acquired Reporty (now Carbyne) an Israeli startup that owns a law enforcement software, in partnership with former Israeli Prime Minister, Commando and head of Aman (Military Intelligence) Ehud Barak whom he had met through his friend the late Shimon Peres, another Israeli Premier. One of his attorneys was the famous lawyer Allan Dershowitz.
It may be relevant to mention that George Nader, another associate of Ronald Lauder who acted as a negotiator between Israel and certain Arab states, advised Trump in his 2016 political campaign and represented the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the US is a repeat convicted paedophile sex offender who was arrested by US Federal authorities, soon after Epstein’s final arrest this year, for transporting child pornography.
The evidence for the allegedly “suicided” Epstein’s connections with the Wall Street ruling class and with organised crime and foreign espionage is thus plentiful. The situation is not made simpler by the fact that Attorney General William Barr, regarded as an ally of the President was a partner in the law firm which represented Epstein in previous cases brought against him.
Until he was finally locked up a few days before his death, the patron of the “Lolita Express” enjoyed high level protections and could do business freely. He is known to have trafficked in and raped hundreds of minor girls and that fact could not be ignored by all the powerful individuals who associated with him in various capacities.
How is that for “cleaning the swamp”, the campaign promise which probably got Trump elected? Was he also listed on Epstein’s little black book, to be targeted for blackmail? The story is so much bigger and darker than Watergate that it is unlikely that the US authorities will allow the public to descend into the infernal rabbit hole. However, the question that arises in many minds is whether Trump’s dangerous and counter-productive policies vis-a-vis Iran, Syria or Russia are imposed on him by some of those who may have compromising information about his past. Yet his compliance with their demands may not be sufficient to save him, irrespective of whether his country plunges into another disastrous crisis under his watch.