Trump: Front man for Wall St., Pentagon

Trump is opening a full-scale assault against the workers and oppressed. The anti-Russia campaign is the last thing the movement should be pursuing in its struggle against him.

By Fred Goldstein posted on May 31, 2017

Donald Trump came back from his overseas trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Europe resuming his plans to launch full-scale attacks on the workers and the oppressed through his budget, his health care bill and tax cuts for the rich.

That being said, he has also managed to make two major foreign policy moves that push U.S. imperialist policy further to the right.

In Saudi Arabia, he formalized and weaponized an anti-Iranian alliance with the House of Saud and the royal oil puppets in the Gulf States. The U.S. has had an alliance with the Saudis for 70 years. The reactionary monarchy has been a pillar of U.S. imperialism, the Pentagon and Big Oil, with four huge U.S. military bases in the country. This new outsourcing to the Saudis of U.S. military intervention is a further turn toward U.S. proxy war and aggression in the region.

In addition, Trump managed to do severe damage to the Washington-Berlin­-Paris alliance as expressed in NATO. He went to Brussels and chewed out the European imperialist rivals for being deadbeats — i.e., not paying their NATO bills. This is great-power chauvinism run wild.

The U.S. ruling class and the Pentagon will have to ponder this. Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, made a speech after Trump’s trip saying that Europe would have to rely on itself.

U.S. imperialism has relied on NATO for decades. NATO has troops in Afghanistan. It was key to the destruction of Yugoslavia. NATO was used to stop the Portuguese revolution in 1974 and the French workers’ uprising in 1968. French and British imperialism hold down the struggle in Africa using NATO.

The Pentagon needs NATO and they know it. Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have both pledged loyalty to the alliance.

From the point of view of the workers and the oppressed, anything that weakens imperialism is a positive development. We should not moan over Trump’s boorishness and undiplomatic insensitivity. That is a problem for the ruling class.

A further problem for big sections of the corporate ruling class is Trump’s refusal to say that he will stay with the Paris climate accords. Many of the Fortune 500 corporations, such as GM, Microsoft, DuPont, Amazon, etc., are moving toward low carbon and renewable energy as a matter of policy. Almost half of the Fortune 500 companies have adopted at least one climate or clean-energy goal, with 23 of them pledging eventually to run their businesses on 100 percent renewable energy, including Walmart, Bank of America and Google.

Whether or not these pledges are fulfilled, it represents a recognition by the bosses that climate change is a real threat to them and their profits. Even companies in Appalachian coal country are not using coal any more. (New York Times, May 26) Key sections of the ruling class are finally taking seriously the climate danger, just when Trump wants to wreck any progress in environmental protection.

These developments may intensify the contradictions in the ruling class here and feed ruling class opposition to Trump. They fear that getting rid of him could create further instability in the political system. Again, that is their problem. The job of the workers and oppressed is to take advantage of the situation and expose the capitalist system for what it is.

Fronting for military-industrial complex and big business

Back from his overseas trip, Trump faced the relentless anti-Russia campaign that anti-Trump forces in the ruling class are using to push him back or bring him down.

This is a deepening of the great “Russia” diversion in the struggle against Trump. At a time when Trump is opening a full-scale assault against the workers and oppressed, the anti-Russia campaign is the last thing that the movement should be pursuing in their struggle against Trump. The Democratic Party leadership is in the vanguard of this diversionary anti-Russia campaign.

He is planning to cut $800 million from Medicaid, which would destroy rural hospitals and nursing homes. He wants to cut back drug clinics, cancer research, environmental protection, job safety and student loan forgiveness, among many other things. His budget would wipe out Meals on Wheels, cut SNAP (food stamps) by billions of dollars and attack women’s health care around the world. And this after returning from a foreign trip where he served as a front man for big business and the Pentagon war makers.

At the very moment that his administration was planning massive tax cuts for the rich and major cutbacks for the poor, Trump was in Saudi Arabia heaping praise upon one of the most reactionary monarchies in the world. He was wined and dined and stroked by the royal princes of the feudal-capitalist patriarchal Saudi clan.

Women are the virtual property of men in Saudi Arabia. Trump made not even a mention of the status of Saudi women.

The princes rolled out the red carpet, gave him a sword to dance with, projected a 175-foot picture of him on the side of a building, drank toasts to him and had photo ops of him sitting surrounded by royalty and luxury in the palace in Riyadh.

Pentagon $110 billion sale

In return, the monarchy got $110 billion worth of weapons to wage a war of aggression against the people of Yemen and raise the military threat to Iran.

The military-industrial complex, the Pentagon death machine, was able to sell Abrams tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar, and communications and cyber security technology, among other things. The Saudis are also getting a billion-dollar THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system like the one the Pentagon just rushed into south Korea, as well as $500 million worth of precision-guided bombs.

Much of this military package was already approved by the Obama administration last fall. Obama offered the Saudis $115 billion in military aid (Reuters, Sept. 16, 2016), but held up on sending precision-guided bombs and other weapons. Trump just went to Saudi Arabia to bask in the deal. Trump’s Pentagon-guided White House and cabinet, with three ranking generals, included the precision bombs even as the Saudis are escalating the massive killing of civilians in Yemen. The generals also added in the THAAD system.

Big business and banking alongside Trump

In addition to the military contracts, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund also signed contracts with U.S. corporations worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Dozens of the biggest names in U.S. business went in Trump’s entourage. Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Michael Corbat of Citigroup, James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical and Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone were among the U.S. chief executives attending a business forum, along with General Electric vice chair John Rice. The heads of military contractors Lockheed, Boeing and Raytheon also went along.

The deals included agreements between Saudi Aramco, the state energy giant, and U.S. companies. They involve oil services groups Schlumberger, Halliburton and Weatherford International, drilling contractors Nabors Industries and Rowan Companies, and engineering and construction companies KBR, Jacobs Engineering Group and McDermott International. (New York Times, May 17)

The Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum was held on the same day that Trump met King Salman of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi chief executives attending included Amin Nasser of Saudi Aramco and Yousef Al-Benyan of Sabic, a chemicals, plastics and fertilizer group that plans to build the world’s largest ethylene plant in Texas, jointly with Secretary of State Tillerson’s former firm, ExxonMobil.

Trump cutbacks destroy jobs

Trump and Tillerson tried to justify these deals as creating jobs. Trump made a grinning triumphant remark about his deals creating “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Actually, the Trump health care plan and his budget are job destroyers. Cutbacks in Federal employment endanger tens of thousands of government workers, from the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health to Forest Protection Service, the Labor Department, the National Endowment for the Arts and other targeted government departments. Trump wants to cut $54 billion in federal spending in order to make up for the increase of $54 billion to the Pentagon.

His health care cutbacks will not only throw 23 million people off the health care rolls but will also throw millions out of work. Health care created more jobs than any other sector in 2016, helping to drive total annual job growth to 2.2 million, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A report released by the Commonwealth Fund and the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University found that repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the insurance premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion, could lead to 2.6 million people losing their jobs by 2019. By 2021, nearly 3 million jobs in health care and other sectors could be lost. (Modernhealthcare, Jan. 6)

Trump rages against China and Mexico for destroying jobs at home. He is scapegoating these countries in order to whip up workers and pander to his racist base. Trump says protectionism is the answer. Actually, the real job destroyer is technology. Far more jobs have been destroyed by automation than by offshoring. One authoritative study says that 13 percent of job losses in the U.S. come from trade while 87 percent have been lost to automation. (New York Times, Dec. 21, 2016)

Furthermore, capitalist overproduction is destroying jobs at this very moment. The auto industry has recently peaked and production is beginning to contract. Overproduction of malls and retail stores, together with online buying, have led to tens of thousands of layoffs and tens of thousands more to come.

Trump has no answer to other bubbling crises. For example, student loans have reached $1.3 trillion. In the first quarter of 2017, consumer debt rose to $12.73 trillion, exceeding its peak in the third quarter of 2008. (New York Times, May 17)

Booming auto sales have more to do with low rates and easy financing than they do with the urge to buy a new vehicle. In the last few years, car buyers have borrowed nearly $1 trillion to finance new and used autos. Much of that money was lent to borrowers who have bad credit ratings and might not be able to repay the debt. There has been a recent surge in delinquencies among subprime borrowers whose loans were packaged into bonds and sold to investors. ­(Counterpunch, March 18)

Expanding the debt of the masses is how capitalism is staying afloat. The expansion of debt is calculated to compensate for overproduction in the economy. It helps keep people buying things and thus keeps the circulation of capital going. It keeps profits rolling in, but sooner or later these various debt bubbles will burst.

How can students who have tens of thousands of dollars in debt buy much, let alone start a household? How can workers who owe the auto loan sharks money buy enough to create jobs for other workers? How can people who are up to their eyeballs in credit card debt keep the system afloat by further purchasing? There is no public tally for debt due to health care costs, but a leading cause of household debt is often the astronomical cost of medical care.

Trump has no answer for all this. It is doubtful he is even aware of it, let alone trying to deal with it. His preoccupation is with making money now and getting re-elected in 2020.

Behind the firing of Comey: A struggle within the U.S. ruling class

The firing of FBI head James Comey by President Donald Trump is a struggle within the U.S. ruling class. It is taking place at the highest levels of the capitalist state. There are no progressive sides in this struggle.

The workers, the oppressed and the radical movement must not get drawn into it. The role of the movement and of the working class is to mount an independent struggle against the attacks coming down on the masses on all fronts — labor, immigrants, women, the environment, Muslims, escalating racist police terror, new draconian drug law enforcement, etc.

These threats can only be thwarted by the fullest mass mobilization and militant resistance.

There is justifiable hatred of the racist, reactionary, militarist, authoritarian, bigot Trump. And Trump is the target of an FBI investigation. This can cause confusion because Trump is so hated that some people might be driven to the “lesser evil” of siding with the racist, repressive, anti-labor, anti-communist, witch-hunting FBI — the U.S. secret police — because of its investigation of Trump.

Behind the anti-Russia campaign

A further cause for confusion is that Trump and his administration are being investigated for collusion with the Russians. The U.S. ruling class has been pushing back against Trump since the 2016 election campaign when he made open and repeated appeals for a rapprochement with Russia.

The campaign against Trump’s orientation for rapprochement with Russia began as a struggle over foreign policy. It still is. But there is now an added dimension. The anti-Trump forces in the ruling class are now using the issue of alleged collusion with Russia as a political wedge to weaken and possibly get rid of him.

The anti-Russia campaign has been fueled by the Hillary Clinton camp and the Democratic Party leadership. They want to blame Comey and Russia for their electoral loss. Instead of calling for an investigation into racist voter suppression or admitting their bankrupt political campaign was based on the line that “things are great,” the Democrats prefer to blame Comey and the Russians. The anti-Russia campaign has also been fueled by the Pentagon wing of the Republican Party, led by John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

The anti-Russia campaign flows not just from Trump’s foreign policy orientation. On the contrary, this campaign would exist regardless of Trump. It flows from the expansionist policy of U.S. imperialism.

The bosses and the Pentagon are opposed to the Putin government because it has nuclear weapons, a large army, and is seen as a powerful rival. Part of imperialist expansionism has been the campaign of “regime change” in Syria directed against the independent government of Bashar al-Assad. Russia has enabled Syria to ward off imperialist aggression.

Also part of Washington’s expansionism was the sponsorship of a fascist coup in Ukraine. The former president of Ukraine refused to join the European Union and steer Ukraine toward Western imperialism. Washington organized his overthrow by a fascist invasion of the Ukrainian parliament. In reply Moscow supported anti-fascist forces in Eastern Ukraine and supported a move by Crimea to return to Russia.

The anti-Russia campaign now serves as a convenient weapon against Trump because it allows the capitalist establishment to fight him on a reactionary basis. Never mind his anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim racism, his sexism, his war on the environment, his promotion of the racist police, his attacks on job safety and labor standards, etc. The bosses would much prefer to make Russia the issue.

The FBI: from Watergate to Trump

The establishment is using the FBI as their weapon to sharpen their attack on Trump. This is nothing new. W. Mark Felt, known as “Deep Throat,” who fed all the information to Woodward and Bernstein at the Washington Post in order to bring Richard Nixon down during the Watergate investigation, became deputy director of the FBI after the death of J. Edgar Hoover.

The spy agency had then, and has now, the means of eavesdropping, surveilling, infiltrating, etc. — all the techniques they mainly use against mass organizations, unions, radicals, liberation organizations. It also has the means to spy on factions in the ruling class.

The establishment is using the FBI at the moment because the Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House. Until Judge Neil Gorsuch was appointed to the Supreme Court, the rulers had the option of using the judiciary to challenge Trump, as in the stays of his illegal Muslim ban. That option is now more difficult to use, with Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. So the FBI is the agency of choice.

Timing of the Comey firing

At the time of his firing Comey was preparing to step up the investigation of the Trump campaign. Days before his firing, he met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to ask for more personnel and money to pursue the investigation. (latimes.com, May 14)

Trump decided to fire Comey at about the same time. He had a meeting with his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; Vice President Pence; and White House Counsel Don McGahn. After the meeting Trump told Rosenstein to draw up a statement supporting the firing of Comey. The statement condemned Comey for, of all things, mishandling the revelation of the Clinton emails 10 days before the election! Rosenstein did not call for Comey’s firing. Trump then issued a one-page statement firing Comey for his alleged “mishandling” of the Clinton emails.

Of course, there is no one in Washington or anyplace else who could possibly believe Trump’s initial reasoning. It was patently obvious that Comey wanted to advance the investigation of Trump and his group. And Trump wanted to shut down the operation.

Trump also fired Assistant Attorney General Sally Yates after she told him that National Security Adviser Gen. Mike Flynn was dealing with the Russians. She also refused to support the Muslim ban. Trump maneuvered with Kevin Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, who was in charge of leading the investigation into the Trump campaign. The investigation stalled and Nunes had to recuse himself.

In other words, Trump is clearly afraid of the investigation. The ruling class is not quite sure whether Trump’s fear is based on political relations with Russian officials or financial relations with the Russian oligarchy, or both. In either case, they do not trust him.

The ruling class is also suspicious because the only big bank that has lent money to Trump in recent years is Deutsche Bank, which was recently fined $630 million for laundering $10 billion worth of Russian money. (cnn.com, Jan. 31, 2017) The big New York Wall Street banks won’t lend to him because he has gone bankrupt six times, stiffing investors, contractors and workers. (Washington Post, Sept. 26, 2016; wsj.com, March 20, 2016)

Obama tried to stabilize the system

When Barack Obama was elected president over John McCain in 2008, he had major support in the ruling class because he was known as a moderate who could reach across the aisle and work out compromises. He was solidly pro-imperialist and pro-capitalist, but compromise was his strong point.

At the end of the Bush administration, U.S. capitalism was suffering from multiple crises that were threatening the stability of the system. Tens of millions of people were without health care and had no prospect of getting any. Two wars raged, in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were 12 million undocumented workers who needed a way to stabilize their situation. Big business was fiercely blocking any attempt to reduce carbon emissions or deal with the alarming rate of environmental degradation. And as Obama took office, the worst economic crisis in 70 years broke out.

During his tenure Obama tried to work on these issues while maintaining and protecting the capitalist system and the profits of the bosses. He got the Affordable Healthcare Act passed, which kept the insurance companies enriched but managed to cover an additional 20 million people. He dragged the bosses kicking and screaming into the global environment talks and finally got the Paris Accord on CO2 reduction. He pulled most of the troops out of Afghanistan and withdrew from Iraq. While Obama severely escalated drone attacks, he imposed strict White House control over military operations.

While Obama deported hundreds of thousands of immigrants early in his administration, and got called the ”deporter in chief,” he eventually got the Dream Act and other limited protections passed. He issued executive guidelines to Immigration, Customs and Enforcement to deport only those who committed “serious crimes” and said those whose only offense was to cross the border could remain. This was done by executive guidelines.

Finally, he presided over the bailout of Wall Street and promoted the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill, which placed restrictions on the Wall Street financiers and set up some protections for investors.

Fear of Trump destabilizing the system

The bosses and the bankers are licking their chops over the prospect of tax cuts, regulatory cuts on safety and environmental rules, tariff protection and other profit-growing measures under the Trump administration.

But the broad capitalist establishment — the corporate media, the think tanks, the academic institutions and the majority of the bourgeois intelligentsia — can see beyond the next profit-reporting quarter. They are fearful that Trump is determined to undo all the carefully worked out stabilizing arrangements at home and abroad that U.S. imperialism has constructed over the decades.

They also worry about his absolute ignorance of imperialist statecraft and his lack of interest in learning. Trump started his presidency by questioning the “one China policy,” which is the bedrock of U.S.-China relations. He took a call from the leader of Taiwan, but was forced to take it back.

He threatened and insulted the presidents of Mexico and Australia in his first diplomatic phone calls and then threatened to tear up NAFTA. NAFTA has brought billions in profits to U.S. industry and agribusiness. He was stopped and had to call the presidents of Mexico and Canada to tell them that he was backing off.

In the midst of the Korean crisis, when U.S. imperialism needed the government in Seoul, Trump told south Korea that it had to pay a billion dollars for the installation of a highly unpopular U.S. anti-missile system and that he was going to tear up the U.S.-south Korean trade pact. National Security Adviser Gen. McMaster had to call the south Koreans and tell them that the U.S. would pay.

Trump refused to shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the principal anchor of imperialism in Europe. These are only some of his political gaffs.

Trump’s health care bill, which threatens to strip 24 million people of their health coverage, is a disaster which has sparked fear and outrage among millions. His racist Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has reversed the Obama-Holder policy of sharply restricting the use of the harshest mandatory sentences. Trump has overturned safe water executive orders. ICE has ruled that everyone in the country who crossed the border is now subject to deportation. Trump plans to undermine, if not overturn, the Dodd-Frank bill. Trump has lifted all restrictions on the military and handed over operational control to the commanders; 3,000 more troops are now headed to Afghanistan.

In short, the Trump administration is moving rapidly to undermine the domestic stability and international imperialist order carefully worked out over decades. He is creating consternation in the upper echelons of the capitalist establishment.

That is what was fueling Comey’s investigation. And Trump is trying to shut it down.

Congress be damned — Fight for free healthcare

Ever since the health care system was turned over to the insurers and drug companies under the Bill Clinton administration, health care has been a public nightmare, except for the health care profiteers. Now the Trump administration is making it worse.

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have led the first wave of a cruel congressional assault on the health care of the masses of people in order to transfer billions of dollars to the already rich. The second wave will begin when the Senate takes up the health care bill.

After passing the bill, the criminal gang that forced it through the House took a bus to the White House for a high-five celebration, with Trump and Ryan leading the cheers.

While health care should be a human right, the attitude of the group that passed this bill was candidly expressed by right-wing Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who explained to CNN’s Jake Tapper that people with higher-cost conditions should “contribute more to the insurance pool” to offset the cost “to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.” This is the amorality of the ruling class spoken plainly and publicly, without shame.

Meanwhile, Democratic Party leaders, neglecting the crying need for universal health care, were preoccupied with defending the insurance-company-driven Affordable Care Act and their own narrow political prospects for 2018.

Trump and the House Republicans would not wait for the Congressional Budget Office to assess the consequences of the bill because the assessment of the previous version estimated that 24 million people would lose their health care coverage by 2024 and premiums would rise for those remaining.

Tax cut for the rich, charging sick people more

In fact, the bill is really a tax cut for the rich disguised as a health care bill. It contains over a trillion dollars in spending cuts. About $346 billion over 10 years will go in direct tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires by eliminating taxes on investment income and the Medicare payroll deduction on high-income earners that was required under the Obama administration’s ACA. These taxes funded subsidies for low-income workers to help pay their insurance premiums. (New York Times, May 5)

Of course, under both plans the money still ends up in the hands of the insurance companies. But with the subsidies gone, millions of people will no longer be able to afford premiums.

The bill permits states to get easy permission to waive ACA rules that prohibit insurance companies from charging sick people larger premiums. Before the ACA, people with a medical history of heart disease or cancer — even acne, heartburn, back pain, asthma, hay fever or hives — could be declared uninsurable by insurance companies. In 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services said that up to 129 million people could be denied insurance for these “pre-existing conditions.” (Los Angeles Times, May 7) The new Trump/Ryan bill would restore the old rules by allowing state waivers.

Attack on Medicaid

The bill converts Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement to block grants to the states, which would quickly be exhausted. That provision would strip over $800 billion from Medicaid over 10 years. Since the implementation of the ACA, which includes Medicaid expansion, nearly a quarter of the people in the United States are now covered by Medicaid and its subsidiary program, the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Medicaid covers 60 percent of children with disabilities, 30 percent of adults with disabilities and one in five Medicare recipients.

While the attack on Medicaid is an attack on the working class in general, people of color are more likely to use Medicaid, as well as have less access to health care. So the blow to Medicaid is also racist in character. (Rewire, May 1)

Essential services endangered, blow to women’s health care

States would have the opportunity to opt out of an ACA requirement that insurers cover 10 essential medical services: outpatient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services; pediatric services, including oral and vision care; prescription drugs; chronic disease management; rehabilitative services; and laboratory services. They include both preventive and wellness services.

The bill defunds Planned Parenthood for one year, with guaranteed renewal each year after that. Further, it denies Medicaid payments and Title X grants to any plan that even lists abortion among its services. This means the end of coverage for cancer screening, contraception and abortion services for millions of women served by Planned Parenthood. It would also deny all subsidies to states like California and New York that require insurance policies to cover abortion.

Threat to jobs

The ACA has meant a steady flow of profits to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. It has also been a steady jobs program for the economy. Health care now accounts for almost one-fifth of the U.S. capitalist economy and has been a leading creator of jobs in the last decade.

According to a leading business health care publication, “A report released Friday by the Commonwealth Fund and the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University found that repealing key provisions of the ACA, including the insurance premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion, could lead to 2.6 million people losing their jobs in 2019. By 2021, nearly 3 million jobs in healthcare and other sectors could be lost. …

“‘Repealing key parts of the ACA could trigger massive job losses and a slump in consumer and business spending that would affect all sectors of state economies,’ the Milken Institute’s Leighton Ku, the lead author of the study, said in a statement. ‘Cuts in federal funding would not only harm the health care industry and its employees but could lead to serious economic distress for states, including a $1.5 trillion reduction in gross state product from 2019 to 2023.’” (Modern Healthcare, Jan. 17)

The bill eliminates the ACA’s employer mandate, which required large companies employing over 50 workers to offer affordable coverage to their workers. It also pushes back enactment of a tax on high-cost employer health plans.

For-profit health care system an abomination

With or without the new reactionary health care bill, the mass of the people are constantly suffering at the hands of the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, the private hospital industry and a whole host of corporate parasites.

It is a fraud for the Democratic Party leadership to fight to retain a system that maintains the stranglehold of medical corporations on the health care system.

The insurance companies are always raising rates, raising deductibles, reducing coverage, threatening to pull out of health care plans and in general engaging in corporate extortion to squeeze more and more profit out of the people — especially the poor and the oppressed. This has been true under the ACA from the beginning.

There are constant complaints about the rising costs of health care, which are breaking the state budgets because the insurance industry and drug companies have virtual sovereignty over prices.

Conservative columnist Charles Kraut­hammer of Fox News complained about the public attitude toward health: ­
“­[T]he electorate sees health care as not just any commodity, like purchasing a steak or a car” but now has “a sense the government ought to guarantee [it].” (New York Times, May 8) In the view of the capitalist class, health care, rather than being a fundamental right of the masses, is a commodity that must be purchased. This is a country with a $16 trillion economy where the workers, who create all that wealth, including the wealth of the health care industry, must buy their own health care at prices set by the billionaire owners of the industry. And if they can’t afford it, too bad.

Universal health care and the socialist camp

Bernie Sanders had a favorite campaign line about how the U.S. is the only country in the “industrial” (imperialist) world that does not have some form of universal health care.

It got a lot of crowd approval. But a fundamental truth about the health care systems in Europe is left out of the discussion.

The European countries were face to face with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe for 40 years after World War II. These countries provided free, universal health care as a political right of the working class. The West European working class could see this and compare it to their own conditions under capitalism.

Furthermore, the post-war European working class was organized and engaged in the class struggle to defend and expand their rights. The European bankers and bosses were not any more humane than those in the U.S. They were colonialists who enslaved hundreds of millions of people.

But the socialist example forced them to compete and offer all kinds of social benefits to stave off the strong tendency of the European working class toward genuine socialism.

Socialist Cuba has free, universal health care and a world-class medical system. It was only able to achieve this after it expelled the U.S. imperialists and their capitalist stooges from the island.

The answer to the health care crisis for the masses is universal, affordable health care. This would mean the expulsion of the insurers and big pharma from the process. This can be achieved by struggle, just as it was in Europe during the era of the USSR.

Trump, el presidente gánster

De acuerdo con su papel en la sociedad capitalista, la mayoría de los altos funcionarios del gobierno, elegidos o nombrados, tienen cualidades de gánster. Estos funcionarios pasan gran parte de su tiempo conspirando esquemas con los ricos para estafar o atacar de otra manera a las masas populares. A diferencia de la mafia, deben obrar en el marco de la política capitalista.

La mafia se diferencia del establecimiento capitalista en que no está obligada a cometer sus crímenes bajo cobertura legal. Al contrario, las actividades de la mafia ocurren fuera de los límites de la legalidad burguesa con el consentimiento silencioso de la clase dominante y sus agencias policiales. Además, los crímenes de la mafia son mucho menores que los crímenes del Pentágono, la CIA y el FBI.

Dicho esto, entre los políticos burgueses con más cualidades de gánster, está Donald Trump. Él es un mimado multimillonario de bienes raíces que funciona ordenando a sus subordinadas/os, robando a contratistas y a trabajadoras/es. Cuando se ve atrapado en un error, moviliza a su ejército de abogados para que lo limpien.

Ganó la presidencia utilizando su carrera televisiva como un trampolín y aprovechando la quiebra de la dirección del Partido Demócrata. Sus estrategas de campaña también se aprovecharon de la antidemocrática institución del Colegio Electoral para conseguir una victoria electoral mientras perdían el voto popular. (Hillary Clinton ciertamente era también una enemiga del pueblo, corrupta, militarista, propiedad de Wall Street).

Presidencia como el camino hacia (más) riquezas

Trump no sólo ha rehusado desprenderse de sus multimillonarios activos, sino que ha tratado de ganar aún más al estar en la Casa Blanca. Sigue instando a líderes y asociados extranjeros a quedarse en su hotel en Washington. Ha aumentado el costo de la membresía en el club de golf de Mar-a-Lago de $100.000 a $200.000. Ha rehusado publicar sus declaraciones de impuestos para así cubrir sus inversiones. Tiene negocios en Turquía, Azerbaiyán y otros lugares alrededor del mundo. Ha elaborado un plan de impuestos del cual él y sus compañeros magnates inmobiliarios cosecharán cientos de millones de dólares.

Su hija, Ivanka Trump, sigue difundido su marca mundialmente. Su yerno y consejero principal Jared Kushner, mantiene su propio imperio inmobiliario. “Aunque el Sr. Kushner renunció en enero a su cargo de director ejecutivo en Kushner Companies”, informa el New York Times del 26 de abril, “sigue siendo el beneficiario de los fideicomisos que poseen el creciente negocio de bienes raíces. La firma ha participado en aproximadamente $7 mil millones en adquisiciones durante la última década, muchas de ellas respaldadas por socios extranjeros cuyas identidades no revela”.

Ahora este bufón derechista, autoritario y fanfarrón, que no sabe nada de política burguesa y no tiene ninguna inclinación de aprender o buscar consejo, está formalmente a cargo del imperialismo estadounidense.

Cuando Trump mete al capitalismo estadounidense en problemas con sus aliados imperialistas estadounidenses en la OTAN, o amenaza los intereses corporativos al hablar de las guerras comerciales con la República Popular China (1.3 mil millones de habitantes), Canadá y México (los dos mayores mercados comerciales de EUA), no puede conseguir que el Congreso Republicano quite asistencia de salud a 24 millones de personas, o apruebe una prohibición de viajar contra musulmanes que provoca un movimiento mundial, o amenaza con provocar una rebelión masiva diciendo que deportará a 11 millones de trabajadoras/es indocumentados, etc., todos sus subordinados, lacayos y abogados no pueden ayudarle a salir del problema.

La clase dominante está ambivalente acerca de Trump – con razón. Por un lado, están salivando sobre su recorte de impuestos para multimillonarios y grandes corporaciones. Están extáticos por su campaña de desregulación que permite, entre otras cosas, a las compañías de carbón envenenar el agua potable, destruir las normas de emisiones de autos para ayudar a la industria automovilística y eliminar las regulaciones ambientales para ayudar a la gran industria. Y, por supuesto, les encanta sus exenciones tributarias para las compañías de seguros de salud.

Por otro lado, se sienten frustrados porque esperaban obtener grandes exenciones tributarias a partir de la revocación de la Ley de Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio, y querían poner sus manos en $880 miles de millones en recortes de Medicaid para que se  financiaran incentivos fiscales para los ricos. Sin embargo, aunque la clase dominante quiere aprovecharse de los recortes tributarios de Trump y las  desregulaciones, no quieren que arruine su sistema. Por eso han tomado medidas contra él. Primero, lo han rodeado de generales y banqueros de Wall Street en la Casa Blanca y el Gabinete.

Limitan presupuesto de Trump y rechazan NAFTA

Pero últimamente le han dado una paliza en las negociaciones presupuestarias. En el último presupuesto de $1,2 billones, Trump salió con las manos vacías, a pesar de toda su gritería. En las negociaciones, Trump fue rechazado por los representantes fieles de la clase dominante en el Congreso sobre cuestiones clave:

  • El gasto interno aumentó, en lugar de los $18.000 millones en recortes exigidos por Trump.
  • Trump quería que el presupuesto nacional de los Institutos de Salud se redujera en $1.2 miles de millones. En cambio, se incrementó en 2.000 millones de dólares.
  • Trump pidió que el presupuesto de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental se redujera en un 33 por ciento. En cambio, se redujo en un 1 por ciento.
  • Planned Parenthood continuará siendo financiado a los niveles actuales en estados que no voten para retirar la subvención.
  • Trump pidió $30.000 millones en aumento del gasto militar. Consiguió $12.500 millones y otros $2.500 millones cuando presente un plan para derrotar al grupo del Estado islámico.
  • No hay dinero para su amado Muro de la Frontera; sólo fondos de seguridad fronteriza para nuevas tecnologías y reparaciones; de hecho, los fondos para la “seguridad fronteriza” se redujeron y no hubo dinero para una fuerza de deportación.
  • Los subsidios de salud para los pobres seguirán (el dinero va a las compañías de seguros).

“El gobierno de Trump dijo que ya no estaba considerando retirarse del TLCNA, después de un día de intenso cabildeo de líderes empresariales y legisladores que se unieron para anular la discusión interna de la Casa Blanca sobre la perspectiva”, escribió el Wall Street Journal el 27 de abril. Trump se vio obligado a llamar a los presidentes de México y Canadá para decirles que había abandonado la derogación. Luego emitió un tuit diciendo que lo habían llamado, en lugar de admitir que los grandes negocios y la agroindustria lo habían obligado a retroceder.

Trump, China y la RPDC

Washington está en medio de una crisis en Corea. Aunque necesita la cooperación del régimen surcoreano para perseguir su agenda beligerante, Trump aprovechó este momento para decirle al gobierno surcoreano que quiere romper el acuerdo comercial con su país. Es un “mal acuerdo” negociado por el presidente Obama, según Trump. En realidad, fue negociado bajo George W. Bush.

Empeorando las cosas, Trump le dijo al gobierno de Corea del Sur que tendría que pagar $1 mil millones para el sistema antimisiles THAAD del Pentágono, a pesar del acuerdo existente en que EUA pagaría el costo de su despliegue. El Asesor de Seguridad Nacional, General H. McMaster tuvo que telefonear a funcionarios  surcoreanos y asegurarles que EUA pagaría. (WSJ, 30 de abril)

Trump tiene una visión excesiva de sus poderes personales. Afirma tener una buena relación con el presidente Xi Jinping de la República Popular de China. Afirma que debido a sus llamadas telefónicas con Xi, China va a ayudar al gobierno de EUA a salir de su situación con la desafiante República Popular Democrática de Corea.

Trump ha tratado de hablar suave con China y duro con la RPDC. Pero la verdad es que los líderes de la República Popular China, especialmente su ejército, el Ejército Popular de Liberación, no pueden ignorar los hechos imperantes de la crisis en la península coreana.

En una llamada telefónica el 23 de abril, el presidente Xi pidió a Trump que se abstuviera de aumentar las tensiones en la región, incluso si la RPDC anunciaba pruebas de misiles o armas nucleares. Xi hizo un llamado a Trump para que no se entretenga en disputas y se mueva hacia negociaciones.

Evidentemente, no estamos de acuerdo con Xi en que la RPDC debe presionarse para que abandone su lucha por construir un elemento de disuasión nuclear. Pero, de todas formas, el jefe de la República Popular China pidió a Trump que bajara el tono.

Un día después, el 24 de abril, en plena noche, EUA desplegó en Corea del Sur el sistema anti-misiles THAAD, que está equipado con un radar de alta potencia que llega más allá de la RPDC y puede ser utilizado para espiar el Ejército chino. La República Popular China ya ha dicho que este despliegue desestabilizaría el equilibrio estratégico en la región a favor del imperialismo estadounidense.

El liderazgo chino y el EPL están conscientes de la amenaza. No puede ser coincidencia que el mismo día del despliegue, China probó su primer portaaviones de fabricación nacional. El buque se completará en 2020. “China ha lanzado su primer portaaviones construido por sí sola, en una demostración de la creciente sofisticación técnica de sus industrias de defensa y la determinación de salvaguardar sus reivindicaciones territoriales marítimas y rutas comerciales cruciales. El transportador de 50.000 toneladas fue remolcado de su astillero justo después de las 9 de la mañana del miércoles.” (Washington Post, 26 de abril)

Pero el mensaje implícito es que China tiene su propio poder naval, incluyendo un portaaviones armado y funcional construido por la ex-URRS que obtuvo de Ucrania y fue restaurado. China contuvo su respuesta a Trump y al Pentágono al no desplegar su portaaviones armado y desplegar en su lugar el aún sin terminar. Pero el mensaje fue enviado.

Lo que también queda claro de estos acontecimientos es que el imperialismo estadounidense y el Pentágono son los enemigos tanto de la RPDC como de la República Popular China. El Pentágono obra por venganza contra la RPDC porque este heroico país socialista se ha enfrentado sin temor a Washington, tan firmemente ahora como lo hizo durante la Guerra de Corea de 1950-53, cuando rechazó la poderosa máquina de guerra estadounidense.

El imperialismo estadounidense también se opone a la República Popular China porque, a pesar del crecimiento de millonarios y multimillonarios capitalistas dentro del país socialista, el Partido Comunista de China y el Ejército Popular de Liberación siguen siendo guardianes de las empresas estatales y de la planificación económica que son características del socialismo.

Washington se da cuenta de que mientras el imperialismo estadounidense está sumido en el estancamiento económico y crisis militares y políticas en todo el mundo, China se está fortaleciendo cada vez más, tanto económica como militarmente. Está aumentando su influencia en Asia, África y América Latina a través de proyectos de infraestructura que ayudan a las antiguas colonias a superar el subdesarrollo impuesto por los imperialistas.

En un momento en que el imperialismo de EUA está fuera de balance tanto en el país como en el exterior, la clase dominante capitalista tiene que mantener a raya a su presidente gánster, para que no aumente la inestabilidad de Washington.

A pesar de todos los intentos de la clase dominante de distanciarse de Trump, el gobierno capitalista es el comité ejecutivo de la clase dominante. Karl Marx lo dijo hace mucho tiempo, y todavía es cierto hoy en día.

Hay muchas maneras en que los patronos podrían deshacerse de él, dada toda la ilegalidad de su régimen de enriquecimiento familiar. Sin embargo, la clase dominante es la responsable de mantener a Trump en el cargo y por cada acción racista y reaccionaria que éste haga. Trump es el representante de su clase, y las masas deben responsabilizar a los capitalistas por cada crimen que comete contra el pueblo.

Trump, the gangster president

The ruling class is responsible for keeping Trump in office and for every racist, reactionary thing he does. Trump is their representative as a class and the masses must hold the capitalists accountable for every crime Trump commits against the people.

In accordance with their role in capitalist society, most high government officials, elected or appointed, have gangster-like qualities. These officials spend much of their time conspiring with the wealthy on schemes for fleecing or otherwise attacking the masses of people. Unlike the mob, they must carry out their schemes within the framework of capitalist politics.

The mob is differentiated from the capitalist establishment in that they are not constrained to carry out their crimes under cover of legality. On the contrary, mob activities function outside the boundaries of bourgeois legality with the silent consent of the ruling class and its law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, mob crimes are on a vastly smaller scale than the crimes of the Pentagon, the CIA and the FBI.

That being said, among bourgeois politicians with gangster qualities, Donald Trump stands above the crowd. He is a pampered real estate billionaire who has functioned by ordering subordinates around, cheating contractors and stiffing workers. When he gets caught in a mistake, he mobilizes his army of lawyers to clean things up.

He won the presidency by using his television career as a springboard and taking advantage of the complete bankruptcy of the Democratic Party leadership. His campaign strategists also took advantage of the undemocratic institution of the Electoral College to eke out an electoral victory while losing the popular vote. (Hillary Clinton, of course, was also a corrupt, militaristic, Wall Street-owned enemy of the people.)

Presidency as the road to (more) riches

Trump has not only refused to divest from his billions in assets but also sought to earn even more from his status in the White House. He continues to urge foreign leaders and associates to stay at his Washington hotel. He has raised the fee for membership at the Mar-a-Lago golf club from $100,000 to $200,000. He has refused to release his tax returns in order to cover up his investments. He has deals in Turkey, Azerbaijan and other places around the globe. He has drawn up a tax plan from which he and his fellow real estate moguls will reap hundreds of millions of dollars.

His daughter, Ivanka Trump, has spread her brand all over the world and continues to do so. His son-in-law and chief adviser, Jared Kushner, keeps a real estate empire of his own. “Although Mr. Kushner resigned in January from his chief executive role at Kushner Companies,” reports the New York Times of April 26, “he remains the beneficiary of trusts that own the sprawling real estate business. The firm has taken part in roughly $7 billion in acquisitions over the last decade, many of them backed by foreign partners whose identities he will not reveal.”

Now this right-wing, authoritarian, blustering buffoon, who knows nothing of bourgeois statecraft and has no inclination to learn or to seek advice, is formally in charge of U.S. imperialism.

When Trump gets U.S. capitalism in trouble with U.S. imperialist allies in NATO, or threatens corporate interests by ranting about trade wars with the People’s Republic of China (population 1.3 billion), Canada and Mexico (U.S. big business’ two largest trade markets), or cannot get the Republican Congress to throw 24 million people off health care, or passes an anti-Muslim travel ban that provokes a world countermovement, or threatens to provoke a mass rebellion by saying he will deport 11 million undocumented workers, etc., etc., all his subordinates, flunkies and lawyers cannot help him out of the jam.

The ruling class is ambivalent about Trump — for good reason. On the one hand, they are salivating over his tax cut hand-out to billionaires and big corporations. They are ecstatic about his deregulation campaign allowing, among other things, the coal companies to poison the water table, the destruction of auto emissions standards to help the auto barons and the elimination of environmental regulations to aid big industry. And, of course, they love his tax breaks for the health insurance companies.

On the other hand, they are frustrated because they were hoping to get big tax breaks from the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and they wanted to get their hands on $880 billion in cuts from Medicaid so the money could be used to fund tax breaks for the rich.

However, as much as the ruling class looks forward to profiting from Trump’s tax cuts and regulatory roll-backs, they do not want him to wreck their system. Thus, they have taken measures against him. In the first place, they have surrounded him with generals and Wall Street bankers in the White House and the Cabinet.

Trump is stonewalled on budget, overruled on NAFTA

But most recently they have given him a beating in the budget negotiations. In the latest $1.2 trillion budget, Trump came away empty handed, despite all his bullying and bluster. In the negotiations Trump was overruled by the trusted congressional representatives of the ruling class on key issues:

• Domestic spending rose, instead of $18 billion in cuts demanded by Trump.

• Trump wanted the National ­Institutes of Health budget slashed by $1.2 billion. Instead it was increased by $2 billion.

• Trump asked for the Environmental Protection Agency budget to be slashed by 33 percent. Instead it was cut by 1 percent.

• Planned Parenthood will continue to be funded at current levels in states that do not vote to defund it.

• Trump asked for $30 billion in increased military spending. He got $12.5 billion and another $2.5 billion when he comes up with a plan to defeat the Islamic State group.

• No money for his beloved Border Wall; border security funds for new technology and repairs only; in fact, funds for “border security” were slashed and there was no money for a deportation force.

• Health care subsidies for the poor will remain (the money goes to the insurance companies).

”The Trump administration said it was no longer considering pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, following a day of intense lobbying from business leaders and lawmakers who rallied to quash internal White House discussion of the prospect,” wrote the Wall Street Journal on April 27. Trump was forced to call the presidents of Mexico and Canada to tell them he had dropped the repeal. He then issued a tweet saying they had called him, instead of admitting that big business and agribusiness had forced him to back down.

Trump, China and the DPRK

Washington is in the midst of a crisis in Korea. It needs the cooperation of the south Korean regime to pursue its belligerent agenda, but instead, Trump picked this moment to tell the south Korean government that he wants to tear up the trade agreement with their country. It is a “bad agreement” negotiated by President Obama, according to Trump. Actually, it was negotiated under George W. Bush.

To make matters worse, Trump told the south Korean government that it would have to pay $1 billion for the Pentagon’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system, despite an existing agreement by the U.S. to pay the cost of its deployment. National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster had to get on the phone with south Korean officials and reassure them the U.S. would pay. (WSJ, April 30)

Trump has an excessive view of his personal powers, to say the least. He claims to have a good relationship with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. He claims that because of his phone calls with Xi, China is going to help the U.S. government out of its fix with the defiant Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Trump has tried to sweet-talk China and tough-talk the DPRK. But the truth is that the PRC leadership, especially its military, the People’s Liberation Army, cannot ignore the overriding facts of the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

In a phone call on April 23, President Xi asked Trump to refrain from escalating tensions in the region, even if the DPRK announces testing of missiles or nuclear weapons. Xi made an appeal to Trump not to go tit-for-tat and to move in the direction of negotiations.

We certainly do not agree with Xi that the DPRK should be pressured to give up its struggle to build a nuclear deterrent. But, nevertheless, the head of the PRC asked Trump to de-escalate.

One day later, on April 24, in the dead of night, the U.S. deployed the THAAD anti-missile system in south Korea, which is equipped with high-powered radar that reaches beyond the DPRK into China and can be used to spy on the Chinese military. The PRC has already said this deployment would destabilize the strategic balance in the region in favor of U.S. imperialism.

The Chinese leadership and the PLA are fully aware of the threat. It cannot be a coincidence that on the same day as the deployment, China test-launched its first domestically made aircraft carrier. The ship is due to be completed in 2020.

“China has launched its first aircraft carrier built entirely on its own, in a demonstration of the growing technical sophistication of its defense industries and determination to safeguard its maritime territorial claims and crucial trade routes. The 50,000-ton carrier was towed from its dockyard just after 9 a.m. Wednesday.” (Washington Post, April 26)

But the unspoken message is that China has its own naval power, including a fully armed and functional Soviet-built carrier which it obtained from Ukraine and refurbished. China restrained its response to Trump and the Pentagon by not deploying its armed aircraft carrier and deploying the unfinished one instead. But the message was sent.

What is also clear from these events is that U.S. imperialism and the Pentagon are the enemies of both the DPRK and the PRC. The Pentagon has been out for revenge against the DPRK because this heroic socialist country has fearlessly stood up to Washington, as firmly now as it did during the 1950-53 Korean War, when it rebuffed the mighty U.S. war machine.

U.S. imperialism is also opposed to the People’s Republic of China because — despite the growth of capitalist millionaires and billionaires inside the socialist country — the Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army still stand as guardians of state-owned enterprises and economic planning, which are hallmarks of socialism.

Washington realizes that while U.S. imperialism is mired in economic stagnation and military and political crises around the globe, China is steadily growing stronger, both economically and militarily. It is building influence in Asia, Africa and Latin America through infrastructure projects that help the former colonies overcome imperialist-imposed underdevelopment.

At a moment when U.S. imperialism is off balance at home and abroad, the capitalist ruling class needs to keep their gangster-real estate president in check, so he does not add to Washington’s instability.

Despite all the attempts by the established ruling class to distance themselves from Trump, the capitalist government is the executive committee of the ruling class. Karl Marx said it long ago, and it still holds true today.

There are many ways that the bosses could get rid of him, given all the illegality of his family-enriching regime. Instead, the ruling class is responsible for keeping Trump in office and for every racist, reactionary thing he does. Trump is their representative as a class, and the masses must hold the capitalists accountable for every crime he commits against the people.