Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Letter To Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Dr. Roberts,
I have been reading your articles as well listening to your many interviews over the past 7 years. You are an intelligent man, who obviously has experience in government and journalism. However, over the past couple of years I have observed with dismay your increasingly shrill and unhinged essays, in which you have thrown restraint and professionalism to the wind. While there's nothing wrong with the use of profanity in of itself (profanity is a lost art form indeed), your excessive use of it only degrades and detracts from your usually sober, if often hilarious analysis.
We all have our contradictions and I won't single you out for unfair criticism concerning yours. However, in the wake of the election and your enthusiastic support for Trump as well as your libel and slander of Anti-Trump partisans, I am compelled to wade into the debate.
For a couple of years now you have variably referred to the American people as "dumbshit" and to show off your diction, "insouciant". I agree with you that the majority of Americans are indeed that. Where our first and sadly last point of agreement is that by voting for Trump, the Americans have ratified your assessment. Unfortunately, you seem to think that Americans have gone from insouciant dumbshits to brilliant patriots overnight.
To say that the anti-Trump protesters are tools of George Soros, "Hillarybots" or ignorant idiots is not only a libel and slander but it is false. I've been involved in radical political scenes since 1991 in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Austria and Serbia. I have many criticisms of the radical left scene but none of them are agents of Soros. None of them are Democratic party members or supporters and many of them are academic researchers. I know many of them personally. While I have many disagreements with them, they are not what you make them out to be. It's true that many so-called "Black Bloc" anarchists are indeed agent provocateurs. But there's a difference between being undercover police officers and tools of Soros.
Why are they protesting? Trump ran a despicable adolescent campaign. Indeed, Trump is the personification of the average American; bombastic, crass, ignorant, stupid and arrogant. That's why many Americans voted for him because they saw their reflection in his character. He ran a classic divide and rule campaign. You often say: "Trump hurt people's feelings. So what?" It's not that Trump is a private citizen who's protected by the First Amendment to say whatever he wants to. Trump ran as a serious contender for the presidency. An office that is supposed to come with dignity. No doubt many presidents have disgraced the office for 4 decades and counting. However, a serious candidate for president should not go out of his way to single out various segments of the citizenry for scorn and hatred. Ideally the candidate should want to represent all the citizens and residents of the country. However, when a candidate goes out of his way to disparage and humiliate vast swathes of the electorate, it reveals that he isn't interested in being the president of all citizens and residents. Rather he only wants to represent certain segments of the population against the other. Regardless of the policies and politics of the candidate, he or she should not malign and marginalize any segment of the population. To make the sordid affair more wretched, he did so by resorting to blatant lies. He began his campaign by slandering Mexican illegal immigrants as murders and rapists by citing the "Crime Statistics Bureau-San Francisco". The problem is that no such bureau exists! Yes Hillary Clinton is a liar but Trump is more than that. He invents truths and reality. He has deliberately stoked up xenophobia and racism. Yes, American politicians have been doing that for more than 150 years. That doesn't make it good politics. It's the Great American Tradition to race bait and whip up xenophobia to win elections. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did so successfully. As a Reagan administration official, you know that Reagan's visit to a white segregationist festival in Philadelphia, MS was a clear political message that he was against civil rights and the modest political and social gains made by Blacks in the deep South. H.W. Bush was losing to Dukakis until he ran the Willie Horton ads. Trump is following this tradition of the Republican Party.
This obviously carries no importance for you. You are well within your rights not to care about racial minorities. But there are still segments of the American population that do. As far as the claim that Trump got 8% of the Black vote and that he has appointed some reactionary Uncle Toms to his transition team doesn't change the fact that he ran a racist campaign. There have always been and unfortunately will always be Black race traitors. This goes back to the Africans that sold their brethren into slavery. This continued on to the House Slaves that always sided with Master. As Harriet Tubman replied when asked how she felt about freeing thousands of slaves: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
Moreover, if there were a national referendum to bring back Jim Crow segregation it's possible that between 20-29% of Blacks would vote in favor of it. It's a long tradition in the United States for the white power establishment to elevate Blacks into positions of influence. Booker T. Washington gave his blessing to Jim Crow segregation. Marcus Garvey worked intimately with the Ku Klux Klan and was a self professed "fascist". So yes it's quite possible to be racist and still collaborate with Blacks and other racial minorities. Racism isn't clear cut black and white. There are many nuances to it. Silicon Valley overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama but has discriminatory hiring practices. Many white residents of Oakland voted for Obama but at the same time they are actively pushing Blacks out of the city. San Francisco has been ethnically cleansed of Blacks yet it overwhelmingly voted for Obama. I don't expect you as an older white gentleman from Georgia to appreciate or even care to think too deeply about this.
As for Trump getting 66% of the white woman vote, this is more complex. Part of it is that women are no less racist and no less white supremacist than men. Another part of it is the competitive nature of women. Contrary to stereotypes about males being more aggressive and competitive, women are far more competitive personally and socially with each other than men are. Many white women were probably jealous of  and resented Hillary Clinton for various reasons and decided that they were going to knock her down a few pegs. Yet there's something more sinister and hidden than that. According to a SUNY Buffalo research report from 1997 90% of American white women have experienced physical violence from the husbands, partners, and male family members. The academic Ishmael Reed suggests that white women were threatened and coerced in voting for Romney in 2012. There's a high likelihood that the white female vote for Trump was coerced. There's no concrete evidence of course. But considering the academic research of the high levels of violence committed against white women by white men, this cannot be ruled out. Trump's degrading of women is a reflection of this state of affairs.. Hence the reason why so many young women are on the streets protesting Trump. Again, you may reply "So what? Men have always been violent against women. Who cares?" Well Dr. Roberts many care.
This dovetails with Trump's anti-Muslim racism. The main propaganda against Islam and Muslim society is how women are mistreated. In point of fact, violence against women is much more prevalent in the Christian West. According to a UN report on the status of women worldwide back in 2011-12, the country with the most violence against women is Roman Catholic Austria! Coupled with the fact that 90% of American white women are brutalized by men, this makes Trump and his supporters maligning of Muslims not only revolting but hypocritical in the extreme. You have written in detail about the virtues of Christianity. But history has shown that Christian civilization is the most violent and repressive over the past millennia. Three years ago CKUT Radio McGill in Montreal produced a radio documentary which reported that over the past 500 years Western Christian civilization has murdered/killed 75 billion people. No other religious culture can make such a claim!
The ideas of democracy, free speech, the rights of man, humanism, in short The Enlightenment have nothing to do with Christianity. In fact, The Enlightenment was more than a backlash against Christianity, it was explicitly anti-Christian. Christianity fought tooth and nail to keep civilization in ignorance and darkness. Yes the message of Christ was about compassion and treating others with dignity but the struggle for human rights and equality was for the most part bitterly opposed by Christians who cited their beloved Bible.
While everyone has the basic democratic right to pursue the religion of their choice, there is the equal right not to believe in God. Malcolm X was a very religious man of faith but even he said: "I'm not here to try and change your religion."
People are protesting because they don't want to live in a theocracy. They want to live in a secular state. They do not want repressive Christian or Muslim morality forced upon them. The victory of Trump is not only a victory for the advocates of the compulsory religious morality but a strategic blow against the freedom not to believe in God. People are protesting because they want to have the right to have an abortion. They are protesting to retain the vital need  for access to contraceptives. No, waiting until marriage to have sex and being compelled to have only one sexual partner is not for tens of millions of Americans. While I have personal reservations about homosexuality, they should not be discriminated against or persecuted for who they chose to have sex with. That's why people are on the streets.
Many young people in high schools and universities have friends of different races, religions and sexuality. They have been raised to believe in the equality and respect for all regardless of their race, color, religion and sexuality. Many young people fear that their best friends, neighbors and lovers are going to be discriminated against and persecuted. When the door of a Jewish student at The New School for Social Research was painted with a Swastika and the word "Trump" the morning after the election, people are not only afraid but they're angry. The New School isn't just any institution of higher learning.  It was founded by Jewish emigres that had escaped Nazi persecution in Europe. I studied at The New School for a semester. This is one of the most left wing academic institutions in the country. Never before had a Swastika been painted on the doors or walls anywhere in the history of the institution. When a Swastika is painted on the door of a Jewish student with the word Trump written underneath, people rightfully think that Nazis and white supremacists are emboldened by Trump. These people are neither ignorant nor stupid. They are certainly not tools of George Soros. Just because they voted for Clinton doesn't make them "Hillarybots". This is why people are on the streets protesting against Trump.
Then there's the farce that you and other writers whom I had respected until this month peddle that the protesters are "anti-Democratic" who don't respect the "democratic will of the people. As of today 26 November 2016, Clinton is leading in the popular vote by over 2 million! Trump cannot claim any democratic mandate. Nor can any sober and serious thinker believe that this election was an exercise in democracy! The reason why people want to abolish the Electoral College is not because they want Trump out and Clinton in. I won't deny that many want to achieve this goal but the Electoral College is inherently anti-democratic. Many people would've begrudgingly accepted the result if the result was closer as in the year 2000. Trump losing by half a million votes would have been hard to stomach but people would've accepted it. Trump losing my one million would've made people restless. But Trump losing by over 2 million votes is simply unacceptable! This is why there's anger.
Portland, Oregon is the epicenter, as of now, for the anti-Trump protests. However, the Oregonian newspaper has investigated and examined many of those that were arrested. There isn't a shred of evidence to suggest that they are "paid activists" of Soros.
I want to to refute the so-called "smoking gun" evidence that the protests are paid agents. The Craigslist ads were actually for canvassing jobs for Clean Water Action, an ecological advocacy group and Washington CAN, which is a local grassroots organization for more democratic representation in D.C. The response of you and others made me scoff in disgust because it reveals your profound ignorance. I doubt that you've had a real job since you were a teenager. You've written that as an university student, you worked at the White House under JFK. I know your biography quite well. You're more or less part of the petit-bourgeois segment of society such as Alex Jones and the writers of Zero Hedge, et al. Well those of us that have to work real jobs have a better grasp of reality. Back in 1990, in the want ads section of the Village Voice I came upon the following headline: Paid Activist Work for Grassroots Campaign. It turned to be a job for New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). Today in the back pages of most of the alternative weekly newspapers in major cities, one will often find jobs under the heading Paid Activist work. Since 1990 I've worked for NYPIRG, MASSPIRG, USPIRG, Greenpeace and most recently Working America. Perhaps if you were to walk down the major thoroughfares of the major cities, you will find young people on the street with clipboards desperately trying to get your attention. They are usually for animal rights or organizations like Amnesty International or even Planned Parenthood. This is why the ads read: paid activist work on the streets. As a canvasser one goes to various suburban districts spending 4-5 hours pounding the pavement knocking on doors to raise money. The street canvassers found downtown are the same. They are paid to WORK ON THE STREETS. There is nothing illegal or nefarious about these groups. NYPIRG was founded by Ralph Nader as a consumer advocacy and environmental lobby. Perhaps one doesn't like Nader or is against consumerism or consumer protection. Maybe one doesn't believe that we should take care of the environment. That's fine but these are legitimate and legal groups. Perhaps you're against abortion and hate Panned Parenthood. Perhaps you don't care about Human Rights violations at home and abroad. That's fine but stop maligning these organizations as fronts for George Soros. Even the PIRGS have nothing to do with Ralph Nader personally anymore.
Let's say for the sake of argument that these groups were in fact fronts for Soros. So what? They're acting within the laws of the country. Political protest and interventions in elections are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. People rightfully fear that with the appointment of Jeff Sessions, a well known opponent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, will undo the enforcement of civil rights. The fact that Trump won the presidency losing by more than 2 million votes highlights why people feel that their voting rights have been violated. So please stop this non-sense of Anti-Trump protesters as paid agents of Soros, the Democratic Party, or being ignorant and stupid people! These people have much more awareness of everyday life than someone such as yourself who has spent most of his life in the top 10%. As an Assistant Treasurer and editor of the Wall Street Journal, that places you not in the top 1% but certainly the top 10%. Please stop acting and talking as if you know anything about the reality that the 90% of the population face.
Now we arrive to the most important point of contention. You have claimed that this election was about the choice was between a vote for nuclear annihilation and for life on the planet. This is as absurd as it is preposterous. I didn't vote for Clinton. Outside of New York City and State politics, I've never voted Democrat nor Republican. I've only ever voted for Democrat candidates for mayor and governor. I've never even bothered to vote for either party for US House seats of US Senate seats. I most certainly didn't vote for Hillary Clinton as US Senator in 2000. In the two presidential elections that I did participate in, Ralph Nader received my vote both times. I first moved abroad when Rudy Giuliani was re-elected in 1997 and left for good after W. Bush stole the 2000 election. I'm well aware of the dirtiness and crookedness of the Clintons. However as a native of Manhattan, I know much more about Donald Trump than about the Clintons. To say that Trump isn't part of the oligarchy is a pathetic joke. Trump is the third largest owner of Real Estate in Manhattan after New York University and Colombia University. Donald Trump is often referred to as The King of New York. It's very true that Trump doesn't represent Wall Street but he is the top representative of FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate). The rise of Trump in New York coincided with the astronomical rise in rents. I remember when Trump Tower was built and opened in 1981. In the decade which followed, inequality soared in New York City. New York City used to be the most equal city in the Western world until the 1980s. It was Trump that got involved in real estate speculation. Prior to the 1980s, there were no condos in New York City. Thanks to Trump most affordable middle and low income housing was abolished and torn down. Trump did more to advocate the abolition of rent control than any other person in New York City. Trump personifies the rise of the oligarchy in New York City more than anyone else. Trump is the primary reason why there's a housing shortage and that affordable housing is scarce.  While you were down within the Beltway, Trump was tearing down the social equality structures of New York. You can deny it all that you want but under your watch the rich got richer and the poor got poorer in New York City. You can blame it on the Federal Reserve but it occurred on your watch. The more property Trump bought and speculated on, the more middle class and lower class families were forced to leave the city. You may be able to convince your middle American and international audience that Trump doesn't represent the oligarchy and excessive rapacious capitalism, but I'm from New York and I'm down by law. Everyone in New York City knows this. That's why Clinton won handily. Of course Trump won racist fascist Staten Island. (This is not a broad stroked slander, I know this because I fought them on the streets of that borough. I fought White Aryan Resistance at Victory Blvd overpass of the Staten Island Expressway. It was the only place in the 5 boroughs which had a huge white supremacist banner displayed in public. We removed it. I worked with a Staten Island bus driver who told me how the Amalgamated Transit Union is a racist and fascist union. The racism and fascism goes down to individual bus drivers. Not to mention the personal and political ties that exist between former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari and his daughter Susan with White Aryan Resistance.)
As for the ludicrous notion that Trump will bring back and create jobs, there's nothing in his history as a businessman that he will do any such thing. Trump has never created many jobs in New York City. In a city of 8 million, he has at most produced a few hundred jobs. Most were construction jobs in the racist and exclusive unions and menial labor jobs. In a city of which he's the top boss, he has never created any significant number of jobs. So if he has no record of job creation in the city that he effectively owns, how does anyone expect that he will create millions of jobs desperately needed in the country? Every New Yorker over the age of 40 and they will tell you the same thing, if in other words.
Anyone with a superficial understanding of the New York Real Estate industry understand how corrupt it is. Trump is about as shady as they come. Why do you think that he has refused to turn over his tax files? It has little or nothing to do that he may not be as wealthy as he says. Rather he has gained his wealth through corruption, crooked deals and worse.
Let's travel two hours south of New York City to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Up until the rise of Trump in the 1980s, Atlantic City was the premier resort town in the Northeast. It was the first resort city which didn't discriminate against Blacks. It was a family city. I went to Atlantic City regularly as a child in the 1970s. My family and I would usually spend a week each summer in Atlantic City. Then suddenly in 1981, the same year that Trump Tower was completed, Atlantic City was converted from a family and entertainment beach resort to a casino mecca. It's well known that Atlantic City is run and controlled by the Mafia. Back in 1984 or 85, WNEW TV 5, which used to be Metromedia until Rupert Murdoch took it over, aired a 4 part series about "The Mob in Atlantic City". Each of the segments were 2 hours long. So in total it was 8 hours of the best investigative journalism that I've ever seen on American TV. How do you think that Trump was able to build a casino empire in a city controlled by the mafia? Obviously he had to pay protection money and was in on the racket. So here we have the record of Donald Trump going back 35 years. He's a shady, crooked and mafia tied "businessman". To say that the election was about the squeaky clean Trump against the dirty corrupt Clinton is simply not true.
Yes you are right that Clinton recklessly called Russian president Putin the "new Hitler". However, Trump's policy of trade war and economic warfare against China is no less reckless. Trump has called for building up the navy and wants to vastly increase the number of soldiers in the US Army. This sounds like he's preparing for war. Perhaps not against Russia but against China. Trump likely believes that he'll be able to bully China into submission with British gunboat diplomacy 2.0. How can you not see that Dr. Roberts? Are you really so afflicted by tunnel vision that your justifiable fears of nuclear war with Russia has made you blind to nuclear war against China? Let's look at his bellicose and threatening statements against Iran. There is nothing that Trump has said or has written in his platform that remotely suggests that he's an "anti-war" let alone "peace" candidate. Do you really think that if he attacks Iran or China that Russia will just stand on the sidelines and watch? Or perhaps do you think that Trump will make some type of white racial alliance with Putin against Iran and China as the African intellectual Ronald Segal predicted back in 1966 with his prescient book "The Race War"?
Moreover, do you think that if Trump imposes a 45% tariff on Chinese goods that this will be beneficial for the US economy? That means all the low wage workers at Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target will be out of work. This will cause many retail outlets to go out of business because their profit margins will be squeezed too hard. Do you think that in middle America where the only jobs available are at Wal-Mart and Kmart is going to prosper? Most crucially, don't you think that China which currently holds trillions in US debt will start selling of Treasury bonds which will crash the dollar? In my opinion, Trumps threat is just as gravely reckless as Clinton. But again, as you might argue, it's better to have a destitute but living population than for all life on earth to end. In other words, it's fine to let hundreds of millions starve to death to save the majority billions on the planet! What psychopathic madness!
Let's pretend for a moment that Trump will actually produce jobs. It's very unlikely that he will produce any well paid jobs. His employees in Atlantic City were making poverty wages before he managed to sack them all but closing his casinos. Do you think that the jobs produced by Trump will pay at least $15/Hr? Do you think that the jobs will offer work place safety? He wants to abolish all regulations centered around occupational safety and other safeguards to protect workers. The jobs Trump will produce will be low wage jobs without benefits, sick leave, paid vacations, health care or even a defined guaranteed pension. Just look at how his workers were treated in Atlantic City. By that measure,Trump spells doom for the American workers who were stupid enough to vote for him.
Now I come to the ultimate point. You were half right when you said that the election was a choice between world war and something else. I will grant you that. However, you missed something far more serious. The choice was between world war and civil war. You are also somewhat correct that the choice for Trump was better for the planet. However, civil war will be coming to the USA in 2017. There are many reasons for this which is beyond the scope of this already long letter. You are also right when you say that the inhabitants of the Northeast and West Coast and those in the metropolitan areas have diametrically opposed interests to those of the provincial hinterland. The mayor of New York has already warned Trump that he will not obey any orders from the Executive or even the Legislative branches that contravene the laws and social values of the city. Legislators from California, Oregon and Washington are in the initial stages of convening a meeting to take the West Coast out of the Union. In states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, there is already tense standoffs between the cities and the states. Republican Rick Snyder has placed a few majority Black municipalities under his direct control. The mayor and city councils of Detroit, Flint and Benton Harbor are under dictatorship. You will see cities declare their independence from the states as well as the West Coast leaving the union.
Moreover, thanks to Trump white nationalists are emboldened. The appointment of Stephen Bannon has caused the Ku Klux Klan to celebrate. The former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke is claiming victory. Blacks are not going to accept a return to conditions prior to 1954. Young women and women in the Northeast and West Coast are not going back to the kitchen. Young people are not going to allow their social values and morals to be trashed by Trump and his ilk. 40% of white Americans are not going to accept the abolition of civil rights. Yes Trump won 60% of the white vote but that doesn't mean that even all his voters are going to tolerate a white supremacist regime.
One last point. You have written extensively about the epidemic of police violence in the country. Reading your columns, the reader would get the impression that this was one of the biggest domestic problems facing the country. Suddenly,now that Trump has won, you've become mute on that issue, When asked about his solution to racial profiling and police brutality, Trump answered "law and order". His Gettysburg declaration is not only a green light for more violent repression but it's a plan to fully transform the police into a deadly military force sending them into the Black and Latino districts of the country. In short, Trump is calling for a Fallujah style siege of inner city America. This is going to lead to riots bigger than Watts, Detroit and Los Angeles combined. Perhaps the only positive thing is that perhaps the Black and Latino gang members will stop shooting and killing each other and turn on the police. Again Dr. Roberts, how do you not see this? Trump wants to expand the Prison Industrial Complex. This is also where people get the fear of "fascism". You have no idea how fearful Blacks and Latinos are in The Bronx, South Side Chicago, North Philadelphia are. They've already endured 25 years of police state occupation. Trump promises to make it worse. Black Americans have every right to be fearful. American history and society has never been kind to them, even under the first and probably last Black president. There's going to be a race war. I was 17 years old when Trump took out paid advertisements viciously attacking the Black teenagers falsely convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. In that ad and in public speeches he referred to them as "animals" and "savages". He called for the reinstatement of capital punishment, even for crimes that don't result in the death of the victim. In 1989, Trump agitated for these innocent Black lads to be lynched. Trump did more to inflame racial tensions in 1989 than Ed Koch or Bernard Goetz combined. In many respects, Trump contributed to the poisonous racial atmosphere that led to the racist murder of Yusef Hawkins in Bensonhurst Brooklyn later that year. You are not going to spit in the face of Black people and call it rain by denying that Trump is a racist. Perhaps your majority white audience will buy it, but Blacks and Latinos, especially in New York have a firm grasp on reality, which you cannot nor will not never have. We have seen Trump's racism front and center.
One last thought about civil war. It was quite telling when Trump announced his "Contract with the American Voter" at Gettysburg, PA. As a historian the symbolism wasn't lost on me. The fact that he made his fascist platform at the site of the turning point of the Civil War means that he has decided to nullify the results of the war. Civil War is coming. Mark my words Dr. Roberts.
In conclusion, I will continue to read your columns from time to time though I won't take them as seriously as I once did. Your site will mostly be comic relief and lighthearted reading. I still have respect for you as a writer. I used to consider you to be an ally but not anymore. I don't consider you to be an enemy yet. However, as the US descends into civil war and chaos, it's going to be interesting to see what the true colors of many intellectuals actually are. We are in a period of unprecedented social and political upheavals. Be prepared and be careful!
With friendly greetings,
Der Kosmonaut

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