Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Los Angeles Times
December 24, 2008
Faced with a gaping budget deficit, Orange County officials disclosed plans Tuesday to lay off nearly 60 Probation Department employees and to start releasing some juvenile criminal suspects rather than holding them in juvenile hall.
Word of the cutbacks came the same day that 1,000 angry workers stormed the Orange County Hall of Administration to protest previously announced plans to lay off 210 social services employees.
The social services cuts stem from a steep reduction in state funding that county officials said left them with no option but to eliminate jobs. In addition to the layoffs, the county has disclosed plans to require 4,000 social services employees to take two weeks off without pay next year.
December 24, 2008
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – In a survey of a random sample of U.S. emergency physicians, virtually all said they believed that law enforcement officers use excessive force to arrest and detain suspects.
The sample included 315 respondents. While 99.8 percent believed excessive force is used, almost as many (97.8 percent) reported that they had managed cases that they suspected or that the patient stated had involved excessive use of force by law enforcement officers.
Nearly two thirds (65.3 percent) estimated that they had treated two or more cases of suspected excessive use of force per year among their patients, according to a report of the survey published in the January 2009 issue of the Emergency Medicine Journal.
Dr. Jared Strote of the University of Washington, Seattle, and a multicenter team also found that emergency physicians at public teaching hospitals were roughly four times more likely to report managing cases of suspected use of excessive force than those at university or community teaching emergency departments.
Blunt trauma inflicted by fists or feet was the most common type of injury cited in cases of suspected use of excessive force, followed by “overly tight” handcuffs.
Most emergency physicians (71.2 percent) admitted that they did not report cases of suspected use of excessive force by law enforcement officers.
Posing As A Bidder, Utah Student Disrupts Government Auction of 150,000 Acres Of Wilderness For Oil & Gas Drilling
December 24, 2008
Is the United States going to put dictatorship into effect under the guise of the anti-terrorist struggle? What may trigger another major transformation in 2009? The answer is obvious: another 9/11 in the USA.
Terrible and bloody events are in store for the world in the beginning of 2009. Most likely, the world will witness a reality show with a nuclear blast, which will be used as a reason for the US administration to change the world order again and leave the new Great Depression behind. There is every reason to believe that the Russian Federation may suffer as a result of this possible initiative too.
Joe Biden made a sensational statement on October 19, 2008. He said that Barack Obama would have to undergo an ordeal during the first six months of his stay in the White House. It will be the time of a very serious international crisis, when Obama would have to make tough and possibly unpopular decisions both in home and foreign politics. Biden said that there were four or five scenarios for the development of the international crisis. Afghanistan, North Korea or the Russian Federation may become the source of one of them.
When Obama learned of Biden’s speech, he tried to explain everything with rhetorical exaggerations. However, Biden’s remarks gave food for thought, taking into consideration the fact that former secretary of state Madeleine Albright described his remarks as statement of fact.
Apparently, the political elite in the United States is certain that their nation would soon suffer another mammoth terrorist act. This assumption became the subject of Michel Chossudovsky’s article “A Second 9/11„: An Integral Part of US Military Doctrine.”
The independent analysts presented a selection of statements, which US top officials released during the recent several years. For example, Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security Secretary, said at Yale April 7, 2008 that modern technologies let even a small terrorist group kill hundreds of thousands of people. Dick Cheney stated May 26, 2008: “Nobody can guarantee that we won’t be hit again.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse website, December 7, 2007
Title: “In FISA Speech, Whitehouse Sharply Criticizes Bush Administration’s Assertion of Executive Power”
Author: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
The Guardian, December 26, 2007
Title: “The Rabbit Hole”
Author: Marcy Wheeler
Student Researchers: Dana Vaz and Bill Gibbons
Faculty Evaluator: Noel Byrne, PhD
On December 7, 2007, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, disclosed on the floor of the US Senate that he had declassified three legal documents of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice that state:
1. An executive order cannot limit a president. There is no constitutional requirement for a president to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the president has instead modified or waived it.
2. The President, exercising his constitutional authority under Article II, can determine whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President’s authority under Article II.
3. The Department of Justice is bound by the President’s legal determinations.
Whitehouse discovered the OLC’s classified legal opinions while researching the Protect America Act legislation passed in August 2007, which Whitehouse warns will allow the administration to bypass Congress and the Courts in order to facilitate unchecked spying on Americans. He noted that for years under the Bush administration, the Office of Legal Council has been issuing highly classified secret legal opinions related to surveillance.
The senator warned of the danger of the poorly written Protect America Act legislation, which provides no statutory restrictions on government wiretapping of Americans and eliminates checks and balances from the legislative and judicial branches. The only restriction on government eavesdropping on Americans is an executive order that limits surveillance to those who the attorney general determines to be agents of a foreign power. However, in light of the first declassified OLC proclamation that the president can secretly change his signing statements at will, we are left exposed to the whims of a secret, unchecked executive agenda.
Of the second OLC legal determination, Whitehouse reminded Senate that Marbury v. Madison, written by Chief Justice John Marshall in 1803, established the proposition that it is “emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” Yet the OLC, operating out of the judicial department, has declared that it is now the president who decides the legal limits of his own power.
Lastly, Whitehouse repeated the third of these legal declarations several times as if in disbelief, asking members of Senate to allow the assertion to sink in: “The Department of Justice is bound by the President’s legal determinations.”
Whitehouse said, “These three Bush administration legal propositions boil down to this: one, ‘I don’t have to follow my own rules, and I don’t have to tell you when I’m breaking them’; two, ‘I get to determine what my own powers are’; and three, ‘The Department of Justice doesn’t tell me what the law is, I tell the Department of Justice what the law is.’”
Whitehouse closed his address to Senate with the statement, “When the Congress of the United States is willing to roll over for an unprincipled president, this is where you end up. We should not even be having this discussion. But here we are. I implore my colleagues: reject these feverish legal theories. I understand political loyalty, trust me, I do. But let us also be loyal to this great institution we serve in the legislative branch of our government. Let us also be loyal to the Constitution we took an oath to defend, from enemies foreign and domestic. And let us be loyal to the American people who live each day under our Constitution’s principles and protections. . . . The principles of congressional legislation and oversight, and of judicial approval and review, are simple and longstanding. Americans deserve this protection . . .”
UPDATE BY MARCY WHEELER
The president’s claimed authority to be able to ignore his own executive orders without revising the orders themselves—reported in “The Rabbit Hole”—was one of several issues discussed in an April 29, 2008, Senate Judiciary Hearing on “Secret Laws and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government.”
In that hearing, the Office of Legal Counsel Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Elwood confirmed the proposition that “The activities authorized by the President cannot violate an executive order in any legally meaningful sense.” Effectively, the Department of Justice’s key advisory lawyers confirmed they believe the President can act contrary to his own executive orders without formally changing those executive orders.
The hearing attracted some new media attention to this story. In the New York Times’ reporting of the hearing, Scott Shane and David Johnston referred to the “previously unpublicized method to cloak government activities,” for example. In addition, commentator Nat Hentoff wrote a column on the hearing as a whole.
The hearing did not answer one question raised in “The Rabbit Hole”: whether the President had altered the executive order on classification (12958, as amended by 13292) as well as the executive order on intelligence activities (12333) that Senator Whitehouse cited in his first comments on the OLC opinion. But Bill Leonard, the former head of the Information Security Oversight Office who testified at the hearing, did reveal that top administration lawyers were seemingly violating that executive order with regards to a key opinion on torture even as they were revising the order itself.
What is most disturbing is that at the exact time these officials were writing, reviewing, and being briefed on the classified nature of this memorandum [on enhanced interrogation], they were also concurring with the president’s reaffirmation of the standards for proper classification, which was formalized the week after the OLC memo was issued when the president signed his amended version of the executive order governing classification.
In other words, it remains unclear whether the administration has “altered” this executive order, or whether it is simply ignoring it when convenient.
And that remains the significance of this story. The Yoo Memo on torture, by all accounts, should have been released to the public in 2003. Had it been, the US’s policy on torture—and the dubious opinions on which that policy is based—would have been exposed five years earlier. But for some reason, it wasn’t. In the arbitrary world where the president can ignore his own executive orders, we have no way of knowing what to expect.
For information on Senator Whitehouse, see http://whitehouse.senate.gov/.
For the Senate Hearing (including the statements of witnesses), see http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=3305.
For Leonard’s statement, see http://judiciary.senate.gov/testimony.cfm?id=3305&wit_id=7148.
For Nat Hentoff’s article, see http://washingtontimes.com/news/2008/may/12/let-the-sunshine-in/.
For the New York Times coverage, see
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/ 05/01/washington/01justice.html?_r=1&oref =slogin.
Well, don't worry.
The US Army War College is on the case - ready to handle "unforeseen economic collapse" and the "rapid dissolution of public order in all or significant parts of the US."
And you thought we were just dealing with a recession!
In a report published Nov. 4 - just in time for the holiday season - the War College's Strategic Studies Institute posited a number of shocks that the country should be prepared for, including unrest caused by the economy's failure.
The report has a snappy title, "Known Unknowns: Unconventional 'Strategic Shocks' in Defense Strategy Development," and was written by Nathan Freier, a visiting professor at the college. The foreword was written by Col. John A. Kardos, director of the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.
Freier lists a number of possible things we should worry about - because we probably don't have enough of our own - including run-of-the-mill terrorism and the fact that China and Russia could align against us politically and economically.
"Some of the most plausible defense-relevant strategic shocks remain low-probability events," Freier soft-pedals before going on to scare the hell out of us.
The War College says "widespread civil violence inside the US would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security."
Among things Freier wants us to worry about are "deliberate employment of weapons of mass destruction. . . unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency and catastrophic natural and human disasters."
Oh, and by the way, have a Merry Christmas!
I have a confession to make: I am a member of the United Auto Workers union.
It's not a "confession" in the sense that there is anything wrong with it.
Here's how my membership happened.
Anyhow, after being threatened by the union with dismissal from NYU if I didn't join, I reluctantly began paying dues. And I completely forgot about it until the matter came up at a Christmas party at the university last week.
So, you are probably wondering if I think my brother union members should give concessions to keep GM, Ford and Chrysler alive.
I'll have to get back to you on that after I check with headquarters.
So, you are losing sleep because of the financial markets.
Maybe it's because of your mattress.
A research firm in Cleveland says the economy and financial stress are affecting sales of bedding.
Longbow Research reports that 87 percent of retail ers it surveyed said mattress sales are declining.
Longbow says that the sales decline worsened in Octo ber and November.
Maybe people are afraid to change mat tresses because that's where all their money is hidden.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
December 21, 2008
On their History Rewrite Tour, Bush and Cheney insist the pre-war intelligence about Iraq’s WMD’s was bad and they were innocent dupes.
Of course we all know the truth from the Downing Street Memos and dozens of other sources, which is that “the intelligence and facts were fixed” around the policy of invasion. And here’s one more damning piece of evidence, courtesy of Roads to Iraq. (The Aljazeera link is in Arabic - someone needs to translate it.)
In an interview with Aljazeera today, former Chief of the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq told the TV that he and the Head of the IAEA “Mohamed Al-Baradei” were subjected to direct threats from Dick Cheney before the war.It’s the same story from everyone else - Bush and Cheney demanded pro-war lies under one threat or another - being defamed, getting fired, and even outing covert CIA operatives. The Bush Administration was nothing more than a mafia operation.
Blix said that Cheney threatened to defame both men’s reputations if they didn’t came with the “required” answers.
But here’s the good part:
Blix also added that he is ready to be a witness on the United States’ false allegations before an International tribunal.You go, Hans!
Foreign Policy Journal
December 21, 2008
Bush Insider Who Planned To Tell All Killed In Plane Crash, Non-Profit Demands Full Federal Investigation
Sunday, Dec 21, 2008
On October 31, Mr. Connell appeared before a federal judge in Ohio after being subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit investigating the rigging of the 2004 election under the direction of Karl Rove. The judge ordered Mr. Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on November 3rd, the day before the presidential election. Velvet Revolution received confidential information that the White House was extremely concerned about Mr. Connell talking about his illegal work for the White House and two Bush/Cheney 04 attorneys were dispatched to represent him.
An associate of Mr. Connell’s told VR that Mr. Connell was involved with the destruction of the White House emails and the setting up of the off-grid White House email system. Mr. Connell handled all of John McCain’s computer work in the recent presidential campaign. VR has received direct evidence that the McCain campaign kept abreast of the legal developments against Mr. Connell by reading the VR dedicated website, www.rovecybergate.com.
VR demands that the Ohio Attorney General and the United States Justice Department conduct a complete investigation into the activities of Mr. Connell and determine whether there was any foul play in his death. VR demands that federal law enforcement officials place the following people under protective custody pending this investigation. Heather Connell who is the owner of GovTech Solutions, Randy Cole, the former President of GovTech Solutions, and Jeff Averbeck, the CEO of SmartTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Both GovTech and SmartTech have been implicated in the rigging of the 2000 and 2004 elections and the White House email scandal. Our prior request to have Mr. Connell protected went unheeded and now he is dead.
December 22, 2008
MADRID — The governor of the Bank of Spain on Sunday issued a bleak assessment of the economic crisis, warning that the world faced a “total” financial meltdown unseen since the Great Depression.
“The lack of confidence is total,” Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez said in an interview with Spain’s El Pais daily.
“The inter-bank (lending) market is not functioning and this is generating vicious cycles: consumers are not consuming, businessmen are not taking on workers, investors are not investing and the banks are not lending.
“There is an almost total paralysis from which no-one is escaping,” he said, adding that any recovery — pencilled in by optimists for the end of 2009 and the start of 2010 — could be delayed if confidence is not restored.
Ordonez recognised that falling oil prices and lower taxes could kick-start a faster-than-anticipated recovery, but warned that a deepening cycle of falling consumer demand, rising unemployment and an ongoing lending squeeze could not be ruled out. “This is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression” of 1929, he added.
FULL STORY CLICK HERE
Monday, December 22, 2008
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t said if he would pursue another job in politics after his term ends in two years. But there’s one position he might be interested in, if he were eligible for it: president.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Schwarzenegger said in an interview Sunday when asked by “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley if he would like to be president.
At the moment, becoming president would be impossible. Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria and became a U.S. citizen in 1983, is not a “natural born citizen” of the U.S., as required by the Constitution.
The son of an SS nazi officer, Schwarzenegger has publicly stated that he has dreamed of being a dictator and that he admires Hitler. He campaigned for war criminal Kurt Waldhiem after it had been made public that he was a top nazi.
The stories of Arnold’s barbaric harrassment of women are legendary.
He supported Enron chief, Ken Lay during the California energy crisis and now his political operatives have launched a blitzkrieg promoting him for President and seeking to end the Constitutional bar against him holding that office.
Americans Against Arnold has launched defensive measures against Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bliztkrieg attack on the Constitution because we love America and believe that the Founding Fathers were right: only someone born in America should be able to be President.
Just as important, we are dedicated to exposing the individual, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is totally unfit to be Governor of California, much less President of the United States. Arnold Exposed.com will serve as a meticulously documented encyclopedia of Arnold’s sinister, grotestque and even barbaric activites, from his nazi links to illegal drug use and sexual harrassment.
Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, December 22, 2008
December 23, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Britain edged ever closer to a recession on Tuesday and the IMF’s top economist warned of a second Great Depression, as stock markets awaited fresh US growth data in the hope of some Christmas cheer.
Britain’s economy shrank by 0.6 percent in the three months to September compared with the previous quarter, against a previous estimate of 0.5-percent contraction given last month, the Office for National Statistics said.
The IMF’s top economist, Olivier Blanchard, meanwhile said governments around the world should boost domestic demand in order to avoid a Great Depression similar to the downturn that shook the world in the 1930s.
“Consumer and business confidence indexes have never fallen so far since they began. The coming months will be very bad,” Blanchard said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde. “It is imperative to stifle this loss of confidence, to restart household consumption, if we want to prevent this recession developing into a Great Depression,” he added.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The death of Republican “IT guru” Mike Connell last Friday in a fiery plane crash has been the subject of intense speculation online about whether it might have been murder — but very little of that speculation has made it into the national media. Now one local TV station in Connell’s home state of Ohio is acknowledging that there are questions about his death.
“Well, this sounds like a made up story,” Scott Taylor of 19 Action News in Cleveland began. “One man rigging state elections to help his boss, President George Bush. After it’s done, power players in Washington say ‘Get rid of the guy.’ Do I believe it? No — for now.”
Taylor noted that “bad weather could have played a part in the crash” but “some in Washington have a different opinion.”
“Some say Connell was about to reveal embarrassing details involving senior members of the Bush Administration,” Taylor explained, “including their involvement in destroying incriminating emails and rigging elections. Connell died on impact, and was only 3 miles from the Akron-Canton Airport. He was an experienced pilot. Was it an accident, or murder?”
Connell had played a central role in two separate Bush administration scandals. He had created the website for the Ohio secretary of state’s office which some have linked to suspected election fraud during the 2004 presidential race. He also set up the domains which White House staff used for their off-the-books emails concerning the firing of US Attorneys, emails which are now said to have been destroyed. In a press release cited by 19 Action News, the website Velvet Revolution revealed that “a person close to Mr. Connell has recently been discussing with a VR investigator how Mr. Connell can tell all about his work for George Bush. Mr. Connell told a close associate that he was afraid that the George Bush and Dick Cheney would ‘throw [[him] under the bus.’ A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell’s life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife.”
19 Action News also reported on Sunday that Connell had previously been warned by a friend that his plane might be sabotaged and had canceled two flights because of suspicious problems.
BradBlog notes that although the Velvet Revolution press release has appeared on the New York Times website, that paper has not offered any comment of its own on Connell’s death, nor have US media in general reported on the growing speculation — although even the British press has mentioned it — which makes the Action News coverage all the more striking.
“Was it an accident — or murder?” Taylor wondered, before concluding that the crash “was probably not a conspiracy.”
This video is from 19 Action News, broadcast Dec. 22, 2008.
Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Despite increasing calls among Israeli ministers of a need to launch a military operation to tackle the escalating threat of rocket attacks on the southern border, Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip seemed unperturbed, with one senior member even daring Israel to take the action.
"For three years we've been hearing comments about an Israeli invasion into the Gaza Strip. Israel is like a teenager who begins to smoke, chokes, then stops," Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, said during an interview with a Nazareth radio station. "If they want to [invade] - by all means,"
"Even in the days of the ceasefire, Israel didn't allow vital supplies into the Gaza Strip, and this is a callous violation," he continued. "Israel promised to open the crossing but that never happened on the ground."
Earlier on Tuesday, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin warned ministers during the weekly cabinet meeting that rocket attacks against Israel may get much worse than the current situation.
"The military wing of Hamas is prepared to continue the military confrontation with Israel," Diskin said. "It has improved its rocket-firing capability to long range, and as of today, is able to reach Kiryat Gat, Ashdod, and even the outskirts of Beersheba."
"However, we must not err, Hamas is interested in keeping the calm," he continued, adding that the group "Wants to improve the conditions [of the ceasefire] - to remove the blockade, to get a commitment from Israel that it won't attack, and to expand to ceasefire to the West Bank."
"The Hamas political leadership is concerned that a military confrontation with Israel would make them lose the assets which they acquired during a long period," Diskin said.
Responding to Diskin's comments, spokesman of the Beersheba municipality, Amnon Yosef, said that the city was prepared for any scenario including rockets firing.
"Beersheba operates year-round on the maintenance of the bomb shelters, and together with the Home Front Command we run exercises for all sorts of scenarios," Yosef said.
"We didn't receive any warnings regarding such a situation," he continued, "but we are prepared for this option as well."
Shelly Paz contributed to this report.
The riots have begun. Civil protest is breaking out in cities across Russia, China, and beyond.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 11:37AM GMT 21 Dec 2008
Greece has been in turmoil for 11 days. The mood seems to have turned "pre-insurrectionary" in parts of Athens - to borrow from the Marxist handbook.
This is a foretaste of what the world may face as the "crisis of capitalism" - another Marxist phase making a comeback - starts to turn two hundred million lives upside down.
We are advancing to the political stage of this global train wreck. Regimes are being tested. Those relying on perma-boom to mask a lack of democratic or ancestral legitimacy may try to gain time by the usual methods: trade barriers, saber-rattling, and barbed wire.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, is worried enough to ditch a half-century of IMF orthodoxy, calling for a fiscal boost worth 2pc of world GDP to "prevent global depression".
"If we are not able to do that, then social unrest may happen in many countries, including advanced economies. We are facing an unprecedented decline in output. All around the planet, the people have reacted with feelings going from surprise to anger, and from anger to fear," he said.
Russia has begun to shut down trade as it adjusts to the shock of Urals oil below $40 a barrel. It has imposed import tariffs of 30pc on cars, 15pc on farm kit, and 95pc on poultry (above quota levels). "It is possible during the financial crisis to support domestic producers by raising customs duties," said Premier Vladimir Putin.
Russia is not alone. India and Vietnam have imposed steel tariffs. Indonesia is resorting to special "licences" to choke off imports.
The Kremlin is alarmed by a 13pc fall in industrial output over the last five months. There have been street protests in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Vladivostok and Barnaul. Police crushed "Dissent Marchers" holding copies of Russia's constitution above their heads in Moscow's Triumfalnaya Square.
"Russia has not seen anything like these nationwide protests before," said Boris Kagarlitsky from Moscow's Globalization Institute.
The Duma is widening the treason law to catch most forms of political dissent, and unwelcome forms of journalism. Jury trials for state crimes are to be abolished.
Yevgeny Kiseloyov at the Moscow Times said it feels eerily like December 1 1934 when Stalin unveiled his "Enemies of the People" law, kicking off the Great Terror.
The omens are not good in China either. Taxis are being bugged by state police. The great unknown is how Beijing will respond as its state-directed export strategy hits a brick wall, leaving exposed a vast eyesore of concrete and excess plant.
Exports fell 2.2pc in November. Toy, textile, footwear, and furniture plants are being closed across Guangdong, now the riot hub of South China. Some 40m Chinese workers are expected to lose their jobs. Party officials have warned of "mass-scale social turmoil".
The Politburo is giving mixed signals. We don't yet know how much of the country's plan to boost domestic demand through a $586bn stimulus package is real, and how much is a wish-list sent to party bosses in the hinterland without funding.
Shortly after President Hu Jintao said China is "losing competitive edge in the world market", we saw a move towards export subsidies for the steel industry and a dip in the yuan peg - even though China already has the world's biggest reserves ($2 trillion) and the biggest trade surplus ($40bn a month).
So is the Communist Party mulling a 1930s "beggar-thy-neighbour" strategy of devaluation to export its way out of trouble? Such raw mercantilism can only draw a sharp retort from Washington and Brussels in this climate.
"During a global slowdown, you can't have countries trying to take advantage of others by manipulating their currencies," said Frank Vargo from the US National Association of Manufacturers.
It is a view shared entirely by President-elect Barack Obama. "China must change its currency practices. Because it pegs its currency at an artificially low rate, China is running massive current account surpluses. This is not good for American firms and workers, not good for the world," he said in October. The new intake of radical Democrats on Capitol Hill will hold him to it.
There has been much talk lately of America's Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which set off the protectionist dominoes in 1930. It is usually invoked by free traders to make the wrong point. The relevant message of Smoot-Hawley is that America was then the big exporter, playing the China role. By resorting to tariffs, it set off retaliation, and was the biggest victim of its own folly.
Britain and the Dominions retreated into Imperial Preference. Other countries joined. This became the "growth bloc" of the 1930s, free from the deflation constraints of the Gold Standard. High tariffs stopped the stimulus leaking out.
It was a successful strategy - given the awful alternatives - and was the key reason why Britain's economy contracted by just 5pc during the Depression, against 15pc for France, and 30pc for the US.
Could we see such a closed "growth bloc" emerging now, this time led by the US, entailing a massive rupture of world's trading system? Perhaps.
This crisis has already brought us a monetary revolution as interest rates approach zero across the G10. It may overturn the "New World Order" as well, unless we move with great care in grim months ahead. This is where events turn dangerous.
The last great era of globalisation peaked just before 1914. You know the rest of the story.