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Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Cometh the Hour

Cometh the Hour

With President Trump’s POTUS 24 announcement all manner of characters crawled out of the woodwork, taking aim and doing the media rounds.

Naturally the left corporate media are delighted, especially when those chucking the molotov cocktails are from ‘the conservative side’. They never give you the full picture though. This is by design. There’s so much more at stake in the race for POTUS than picking a ‘team’ and who we ‘like’ better. This is no beauty contest or unreality tv show. Some of us are asking the most basic questions. Who are these people being trotted out to ‘influence’, what axe are they grinding or how might they gain by trashing President Trump?

From the petty

Let’s start with ‘conservative commentator’, Ann Coulter. She’s out there telling Trump “For God’s sake, just go” and that’s the most mild of her attacks. Her articles amount to a volley of screeched insults, loosely strung together. She could save herself time writing and readers valuable time reading with just three words, “I hate Trump.” Perhaps this is what she needs to do for clicks these days?

Coulter used to be a big fan of Trump and even predicted his win in 2016, selling books about it. It all went sour after he won. It sounds like President Trump wasn’t sufficiently appreciative of her, nor her directions on policy. Perhaps Coulter should put herself forward for office and get elected if she wants to direct policy? How about a Liz Cheney/Ann Coulter ticket? Birds of a feather..?

Cometh the hour
Coulter at a time when it was lucrative to support Trump.

All kidding aside, President Trump declined to do as she told him on issues such as the border. Like a woman scorned she turned on him, going from supporter to bitter, vitriolic adversary. Now she sounds a little desperate and like she’s clinging to relevance with her opinion pieces getting ever more vicious the more she’s ignored. Coulter mostly publishes in left leaning media where there’s a guaranteed audience for Trump Derangement. Getting nasty and kicking up a stink looks to be her business model. Trump was wise to distance himself from her.

Cometh the Hour
Delta Airlines response to Coulter’s endless stream of tweets hurled at the airline.

To the profiteers

On to those Republican donors who have put away their cheque-books in a huff because Donald Trump has announced he’ll run for President.

One of the donors saying he won’t back President Trump this time is Estee Lauder heir, Ronald Lauder. Lauder sits on the board of the company his mother built and is known for his philanthropy and tireless work against anti-semitism as the President of the World Jewish Congress. Ronald Lauder has known Donald Trump since they were teenagers. Aside from saying he will not back Trump for 2024, there is little in the way of further explanation so we’re left to do some digging and then speculate.

The cosmetics giant Estee Lauder, sees the Asia Pacific as “a region of significant strategic importance for the company.” They have some R&D located in Shanghai.

In 1993, the Estée Lauder and Clinique brands were launched in Mainland China, with the first counters set up in Shanghai. In 2002, we opened our China affiliate office. Today we are a leader in Mainland China’s prestige beauty industry, with a physical retail presence in more than 141 cities, reaching over 670 cities through our brand e-commerce and mobile sites and platforms.

In fiscal 2022, the Asia/Pacific region contributed 30.7% or $5.43 billion to the company’s total net sales.

So continued access to the Chinese market could be a big motivation? Lauder’s view of Trump now is in deep contrast to 2017 when Lauder explained Trump’s appeal as follows:

The last eight years didn’t work for the people who voted Trump, he said. “The fact is that one thing Trump gave people is hope. And when Hillary ran her campaign, what she said basically was, ‘I will continue what Obama started.

Those same people saw something in Trump that Lauder’s mother saw in him many years ago, he said. “My parents, my mother particularly, liked him a lot because of his style, because she (created) a business by fighting people and building it, and so did Donald Trump.”

What’s changed since then? Aside from the access to the large Chinese market, 2020 also saw the Black Lives Matter riots and Estee Lauder employees demanding Ronald Lauder step down due to his support for Donald Trump.

Below is a screenshot of the Estee Lauder employees petition to have Lauder removed. Their grounds? The death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer was directly Trump’s fault. That was the contorted logic of the woke and hysterical Estee Lauder employees. They wanted Lauder’s scalp in lieu of President Trump’s.

Cometh the Hour

Without clarification on his decision-making, it leaves us questioning whether Lauder’s motivation for not supporting Trump is about the Chinese market, his own board position and/or buckling to cancel culture. If it’s the latter, perhaps he ought to grow a spine then take a look at the fortunes of other companies that went woke or kowtowed to cancel culture?

Take Gillette for example. They went the woke route then had to go the US$8 Billion writedown route. In contrast are companies like Spotify who stared down their foot stomping, censorial employees who were demanding the company deplatform top earner, Joe Rogan, for daring to interview people they didn’t approve of.

Previous Presidents had promised to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Bush, Bill Clinton and Obama in 2008, although Obama later reneged saying it would be “explosive”. President Trump was the first President to have the spine and actually fulfil the promise and it wasn’t “explosive”.

During his administration the historic Abraham Accords were signed, normalising peaceful relations between Middle Eastern Nations and Israel. Given Lauder’s position on the World Jewish Congress, his withdrawal of support is some thanks to the man who has done more for the Jewish people than any US President in recent history. Someone Lauder has known most of his life. I’m not surprised he doesn’t want to say more!

Another donor being heralded by the anti-Trump media is Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel. Turns out Griffin has substantial business interests in…China. His allegiance isn’t to the Republican party per se, nor to the American people. It’s self-interest. Natalie Winters covers this in her recent article,

Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, who recently announced he would not support Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, admitted that investment in China is a “center of focus” for his company and revealed plans to “increase the size of our commitment” in the region.

In the past, Griffin has been a staunch advocate for collaboration with China on technology, adamantly opposing the Trump-favored idea of “decoupling.”
Structurally, the trade war with China is a huge loss for humanity.

In 2020, the company paid a fine of $97 million to Chinese Communist Party authorities in a settlement over an alleged trading rule violation, allowing the company to continue to expand its operations in the country.

In the aftermath of COVID, “decoupling” with diversification of markets and supply chains, I would have thought, was a prudent strategy? Griffin notes America’s dependence on Taiwan for semiconductors, but then seems to suggest that the approach is to simply suck up to China, just-in-case. I suspect that if Xi Jinping held America’s fortunes in his hands via control of the semiconductor industry, he would use it! China is busy luring Taiwanese chip engineers by offering double their salaries to grow their own industry.

Some Taiwanese chip manufacturers are looking to relocate to places such as Japan as risk management and in the event of conflict. The US is actively growing its manufacturing capacity. This seems more rational than playing footsie with Xi and hoping for the best as Griffin seems to be recommending.

Doing big business in China requires alignment to the CCP, effusive praise of Xi Jinping and, according to the report above, paying ‘fines’ (donation?) of close to 100 million to the CCP directly. I’m guessing Ken Griffin would like to travel to China on business without the risk of being arrested for some arbitrary ‘crime’? The sum given to the CCP is close to 40 million more than he gave to Republicans this election cycle. Griffin has also given to Democrats in the past, so this isn’t about ‘sides’. As the Democrats have gone further left, Griffin has chosen to support Republicans.

In this article in Politico, Griffin says of his reason to not support Trump is because,

He wants to improve the diversity of the GOP and blunt the vein of populism that has complicated the party’s relationship with the corporate world — two things he’s consulted with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy about.

Going by recent successful recruits to the GOP like Wesley Hunt and John E. James, both of whom are Veterans, Apache pilot Captains, West Point Graduates, Trump endorsed, Trump supporters and black, the ‘diversity’ aspect looks to be trending positively.

It’s in the dismissal of populism as needing to be ‘blunted’ that Griffin, like many of his ilk, betray themselves and hint at what it’s all about. Brendan O’Neill (who is definitely not ‘conservative’) openly challenges the negative view of populism, and as being necessarily ‘right wing’. In his view, what and who have been more dangerous have been the technocratic elite (people like Griffin) who openly sneer at ordinary people, or as politicians will resort to authoritarianism to stamp out popular uprisings. From Brexit (supported by many working class Labour UK voters), concern over uncontrolled immigration and border security, the Yellow Vest protests in France, worldwide protests over jab mandates, to the protests of farmers now rippling across our world. O’Neill writes,

In truth, this populist moment consists primarily of ordinary people demanding a reckoning with the political system; confronting the technocratic style of politics; seeking out new forms of solidarity and new opportunities to have their voices heard.

To some people, especially those who inhabit the political bubble or the academic sphere, any politics that comes from below looks frightening. To these people who think decision-making should be done in seminar rooms and committee rooms, any politics that is formed in working-class areas or even in the street, as is the case in France, looks scary and unpredictable. They have a tendency to view any politics that is popular – and let’s remember that ‘populism’ means political positions that are popular – as inherently dangerous and prejudiced.

But the current populist moment is not dangerous. On the contrary, it is enlivening and exciting and radical. What it fundamentally represents is a challenge to the process of the past few decades whereby political decision-making has become more and more insulated from the public, from ‘the plebs’, from us and our pesky opinions.
(See Spiked-Online article).

“[P]opulism’ means political positions that are popular” to ordinary people. Ken Griffin is not an ordinary person in that he’s extraordinarily wealthy, a philanthropist and businessman who finds populist concerns a “complication” to his corporatist interests. His preference for Ron DeSantis to run in 24 suggests he may see him as more ‘manageable’ than Donald Trump.

DeSantis for his part has shown an unwillingness to do as Griffin advises, demonstrating he’s just as populist as Trump. He sent illegal immigrants to the wealthy enclave of Martha’s Vineyard and took on woke Disney, both of which gained Griffin’s disapproval.

DeSantis isn’t independently wealthy like Trump so if he were to run in 2024, who’s to say that there wouldn’t be some pre-conditions for the tens of millions in campaign support? DeSantis would know that in gaining the approval of Establishment Republicans, like Griffin, McConnell and McCarthy, he could lose the support of America First voters!

What price freedom?

The biggest threat to business interests in China may be Donald J. Trump. Not for the first time in history, the biggest threat to the interests of citizens in the free world might be the big business interests of people like Lauder and Griffin?

Consider that in the run up to World War II, there were businesses who were profiting from trading with Germany. These businesses effusively sung the praises of that nice Mr Hitler, so as to keep doing business. In those days it was GM and Ford. From the Washington Post archives,

The relationship of Ford and GM to the Nazi regime goes back to the 1920s and 1930s, when the American car companies competed against each other for access to the lucrative German market. Hitler was an admirer of American mass production techniques and an avid reader of the antisemitic tracts penned by Henry Ford. “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” Hitler told a Detroit News reporter two years before becoming the German chancellor in 1933, explaining why he kept a life-size portrait of the American automaker next to his desk.

Although Ford later renounced his antisemitic writings, he remained an admirer of Nazi Germany and sought to keep America out of the coming war.

It wasn’t just American businesses who were happy to support Hitler’s military ambitions and turn a blind eye to atrocities, so long as they profited. From Neil Forbes book titled ‘Doing Business with the Nazis: Britain’s Economic and Financial Relations with Germany 1931-39.

In the face of economic nationalism at home and abroad, leading figures in British commercial and political life struggled to prevent a complete breakdown of relations with Germany – the most important trading partner in Europe.

Then as now, the profit imperative of business stood in opposition to the freedom and sovereignty imperative of nations and their citizens. How fortunate for the world there were political leaders with backbone, values and principles, like Winston Churchill! He was no oil painting! A cigar smoking drinker, known for his witty sledges, you can imagine what he would have done with a tool like Twitter? Needless to say, he saw beyond the short-term profit needs of a very few, to the existential threat posed by the Nazi regime, to the many.

Our current crop of globalist corporations will back whatever party/leader ensures their financial interests. They’ll sell out our freedom and sovereignty to brutal political regimes as quickly, it seems, as our political leaders will sell out our freedom and sovereignty to large unelected and centralised bureaucracies!

This isn’t about being anti-business in China. In an ideal world it would be live and let live. We prosper, they prosper. However, we don’t live in the Kumbaya world of John Lennon’s song Imagine. The CCP has a shocking record on human rights, including against its own people. I’m still haunted by the wailing towers of Shanghai!

 

They’ve also shown a willingness to use belligerence and to flex their economic muscles with sudden trade bans to bully other nations into submission over differences of opinion and territorial disputes.

Linked below is an article by Dr. Jeffrey Wilson who tells the story of the CCP’s bullying activities against other nations, including Australia in 2020/21. The retaliation against Australia went much further than any other country previously on the receiving end of Emperor Xi’s displeasure. The CCPs retaliation towards Australia was about sending a clear signal – don’t question and do as you’re told, or else…

Perhaps Australia should change its moniker from The Lucky Country to The Plucky Country? Its response to China’s overt bullying was a real David versus Goliath story. Australia stood their ground and went on to benefit by “decoupling.” The lesson for other nations is to hold firm to independence and seek out alternative trading partners not given to capriciously throwing their weight around as a way of handling disagreement!
(See ForeignPolicy.com link)

There’s no doubt the response by China was in part motivated by the existence of The 4 Nation Quad, which is a coordination between “the United States, Australia, India, and Japan” to re-emphasise the principles of a “free and open Indo-Pacific: freedom, rule of law, democratic values, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.” The collective concern is China’s “growing use of its economic might to achieve political gains. Australia, India, and Japan have all felt China’s recent coercive pressures.”

China is currently at odds with most of the countries surrounding it. Nepal, Bhutan, India, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Mongolia, Japan and of course Taiwan. This is about territory and resources, such as fishing in the dispute with Vietnam and oil reserves close to Japan’s Senkaku Islands. Japan has embarked on a program of remilitarisation after close to eight decades of limited military capacity and post WWII commitment to pacifism, showing how seriously they take the current threat posed by China. This was a difficult cultural shift for the Japanese people and makes the charge of resistance to China’s bullying and territory encroachment as being just about “Western hegemony” look foolish!

When the left corporate media tells us that people such as Ken Griffin, with his extensive business interests in China, are not supporting President Trump, perhaps our response should be as follows?

Good. The last thing the world needs is an obsequious leader of the free world, beholden to the narrow interests of technocratic corporatists who put doing business within a brutal regime and their profits ahead of freedom and national sovereignty!

Past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour. I don’t want my country to be:

Another Tibet, which China invaded in 1949, killing and imprisoning Tibetans, destroying their monasteries, freedom of speech, religion and press. Arbitrary detainment of dissidents, accusations of forced abortion, sterilisation of Tibetan women and transfer of low income Chinese citizens to Tibetan provinces where these settlers now outnumber Tibetans 7 to 1, effectively destroying the unique Tibetan culture.

Or Vietnam, with severely depleted oceans thanks to Chinese incursions into its territorial waters. It has left the Vietnamese fishing industry decimated and forcing its fishermen to make incursions into the waters of other countries such as Indonesia.

Or Hong Kong, where thousands of citizens face court action for taking part in pro-democracy protests. Well known political opposition are detained.

I don’t want to walk in the footsteps of the Uyghur people either, who are suffering state persecution with between 800,000 to 2 million forced into ‘re-education camps’ and forced labour.

“It’s the largest-scale detainment of a religious minority that we’ve seen since World War II,” says Amy Lehr, director of the Human Rights Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Not now and not in 20 years!

I want to live in a free country. I want to vote for those who will protect those freedoms and continue to have the right to speak out against those who would take them, whether from here or from elsewhere. I want to elect people who represent the interests of all the people of this nation and not just the short-term and narrow business interests of a few, at our expense. I don’t want my country to become a mere vassal state, doing what we’re told, or else…not bullied by the CCP, nor by the UN, the WHO or WEF for that matter!

So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak. (Sun Tzu)

What keeps Xi Jinping in check is a powerful America. A weak America is not in our short or long-term interests. The continued ‘managed decline of America’ might serve the psychological needs of the clever class, who seem oddly consumed with carefully nurtured guilt and self-hatred, but it would also serve Xi Jinping and his interests, eventually giving the CCP carte blanche in our region and elsewhere.

This isn’t about war, but about balance of power and deterrence. Peace through strength!

This isn’t about believing America is perfect either. Far from it. America has its share of issues, not least The Establishment Uni-party’s desire to prop up the industrial military complex by doing regime change, such as in Syria and Libya most recently and under the Obama Administration. Both countries are still in turmoil. All that was accomplished was to create an even greater humanitarian crisis.

There’s way too much enthusiasm for getting entangled in new wars. Having just disengaged from the protracted war in Afghanistan we now have a protracted war in Ukraine under the Biden Administration. This is something Trump was against on principle, not least because it leaves America dangerously depleted, economically and militarily. I have no doubt Trump’s reluctance to be involved in protracted wars would have made him the enemy of those who profit from war.

Trump was the first President in a long time to not start a new war, preferring instead to use diplomacy, policy and/or sanctions if needed. No-one knows quite what Trump said to Kim Jong-un in their private meeting, but we had four years without missiles being lobbed. But for the ludicrous and cynically political Russia Collusion Hoax, with the partisan political persecution of the Mueller Investigation, I have no doubt this would have been President Trump’s preferred approach in dealing with Putin also.
We can only speculate on whether the outcome with Ukraine would have been different? We can thank Clinton and Obama for that bogus dirty dossier of (coincidentally Russian) disinformation and the weaponised intelligence agencies that waged tribal warfare on President Trump in an effort to end his presidency! They attempted an administrative coup based on their lies! Perhaps what we’re seeing now in Ukraine is one of those unintended consequences of Machiavellian political theatre, corruption and dangerous duplicity of weaponised institutions?

Notwithstanding the many cultural and institutional problems facing America, it is still the only country with the necessary size and strength to keep China in check. At some point in the near future, the profit imperative of big business may clash with the freedom, security and sovereignty imperative of citizens, just as it did in WWII.

Few political leaders leave me feeling confident they have what it takes to stand up to the big corporate donors, biassed media, global bullies and to the unelected institutions full of pushy technocrats who seem determined to dictate our fate. All seem mysteriously unified in a quest to take us down a path that looks awfully like CCP style centrally controlled state capitalism and digitally enforced serfdom.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Sinaphobe piece. China is not a coloniser at all. Tibet was part of China historically and they accepted Chinese Kings as emperors. Dalai Lama was a CIA agent and it is all well documented. I can refute all the claims made biut I dont see much point respondoing to a sinaphobe hit piece.

    • Interesting. So this young politician who has become the Mayor is the great grandson of the man (Chiang-kai-shek) who took on the communists of the CCP but eventually lost to Mao in the Chinese Civil War 1949? Known for leading a massacre of CCP communists.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiang_Kai-shek

      https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4732674

      “Local elections in Taiwan usually concern small-town issues and challenges and have little to do with broader hot topics such as the China threat, national security, or foreign policy.
      Chiang’s ascension to the mayorship will likely make him a presidential hopeful, but analysts see him as lacking political experience and say he will not run anytime soon, per Nikkei.”

      Much like here in NZ. Our local elections have little to do with foreign policy and issues of national security.

  2. It amazes me how critical thinkers will regurgitate mainstream media lines about China.

    I cannot emphasize enough how little respect I have for anyone who parrots US empire narratives about China and how completely dismissive I am of all their attempts to explain to me that it’s actually right and good to do this. Literally all of our major problems are because of the people who rule over us; buying into the narrative that who we should really be mad at is a government on the other side of the planet with no power over us
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/11/29/china-keeps-aggressively-surrounding-itself-with-us-bases-notes-from-the-edge-of-the-narrative-matrix/

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