John Simkin

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  1. The UK and the US have a similar problem as since the early 1980s they have followed a Neo-Liberal economic policy (unlike Germany who has continued with the policies advocated by John Maynard Keynes). This Neo-Liberal policies resulted in a dramatic increase in economic inequality. See some stats here: http://spartacus-educational.com/spartacus-blogURL87.htm It has been claimed that Trump’s promises to invest in America’s infra-structure is reminiscent to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. However, Roosevelt raised much of the money from his Wealth Tax, therefore, following the theories of Keynes. However, Trump advocates reducing the taxes of the rich. It is highly unlikely that Trump, following the policies he has been arguing for, will improve the economic situation of the vast majority of people of people who voted for him.
  2. The people who voted for him will not be too pleased if that is the case. I would have thought recent events in Iraq and Syria would have meant that the US would have returned to the foreign policy of the 1930s.
  3. The election of Donald Trump on 8th November, 2016, was the most significant political event since Adolf Hitler managed to persuade the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act on 24th March 1933. I say this not because I believe Trump is a fascist who is about to become some sort of dictator. In fact, I think over the next four years he will illustrate just how difficult it is for the President of the United States to implement his political ideas. Even if he was allowed by Congress to carry out his his proposed programme, it would not solve the economic problems faced by those who voted for him. If there is a great deal of dissatisfaction now, it will be far greater in 2020. Why the election of Trump is so significant is that it dramatically reflects the crisis in our economic system. It was the Wall Street Crash in October, 1929, when shares lost 47 per cent of its value in twenty-six days, that created the Great Depression. At the time many thought this was the end of capitalism and large numbers of people became socialists and communists. Others were attracted to the far-right and became committed fascists. Politicians responded to the crisis in different ways. Ramsay MacDonald, the 63-year-old British prime-minister, was slow to react to the crisis that caused large-scale unemployment. Relying on the advice of the economist John Maynard Keynes, the former prime-minister, David Lloyd George, published a pamphlet, We Can Conquer Unemployment, where he proposed a government scheme where 350,000 men were to be employed on road-building, 60,000 on housing, 60,000 on telephone development and 62,000 on electrical development. The cost would be £250 million, and the money would be raised by loan. Philip Snowden, his Chancellor of the Exchequer, rejected this proposal and wrote in his notebook on 14th August 1930, that "the trade of the world has come near to collapse and nothing we can do will stop the increase in unemployment." By December 1930, 2,725,000 people in Britain were recorded as being unemployed (20% of the insured workforce), and exports had fallen in value by 50%. Snowden was mainly concerned about the impact of the increase in public-spending. At a cabinet meeting in January 1931, he estimated that the budget deficit for 1930-31 would be £40 million. Snowden argued that it might be necessary to cut unemployment benefit. Margaret Bondfield looked into this suggestion and claimed that the government could save £6 million a year if they cut benefit rates by 2s. a week and to restrict the benefit rights of married women, seasonal workers and short-time workers. In March 1931 MacDonald asked Sir George May, the retired former company secretary of the Prudential Assurance Company, to form a committee to look into Britain's economic problems. At the same time, John Maynard Keynes, the chairman of the Economic Advisory Council, published his report on the causes and remedies for the depression. This included an increase in public spending and by curtailing British investment overseas. Philip Snowden rejected these ideas and this was followed by the resignation of Charles Trevelyan, the Minister of Education. "For some time I have realised that I am very much out of sympathy with the general method of Government policy. In the present disastrous condition of trade it seems to me that the crisis requires big Socialist measures. We ought to be demonstrating to the country the alternatives to economy and protection. Our value as a Government today should be to make people realise that Socialism is that alternative." When the May Committee produced its report in July, 1931, it forecast a huge budget deficit of £120 million and recommended that the government should reduce its expenditure by £97,000,000, including a £67,000,000 cut in unemployment benefits. The two Labour Party representatives on the committee, Arthur Pugh and Charles Latham, refused to sign the report. On 5th August, Keynes wrote to MacDonald, describing the May Report as "the most foolish document I ever had the misfortune to read." He argued that the committee's recommendations clearly represented "an effort to make the existing deflation effective by bringing incomes down to the level of prices" and if adopted in isolation, they would result in "a most gross perversion of social justice". The vast majority of Labour MPs refused to support the May Report and MacDonald went to see King George V and offered his resignation. Under pressure from the king he was persuaded to form a National Government that was mainly made up of Conservative and Liberal MPs. On 8th September 1931, the National Government's programme of £70 million economy programme was debated in the House of Commons. This included a £13 million cut in unemployment benefit and a 10% cut in public sector wages. Tom Johnson, who wound up the debate for the Labour Party, declared that these policies were "not of a National Government but of a Wall Street Government". In the end the Government won by 309 votes to 249, but only 12 Labour M.P.s voted for the measures. Of course the cuts did not have their desired impact on the economy. Snowden's measures were deflationary and merely reduced purchasing power in the economy, worsening the situation, and by the end of 1931 unemployment had reached nearly 3 million. By 1933 over 25% of the insured workforce were out of work. In the 1932 Presidential Election, the American people rejected the austerity policies of Herbert Hoover and elected Franklin D. Roosevelt to office. As William E. Leuchtenburg, the author of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal (1963), has argued: "Franklin Roosevelt swept to victory with 22,800,000 votes to Hoover's 15,750,000. With a 472-59 margin in the Electoral College, he captured every state south and west of Pennsylvania. Roosevelt carried more counties than a presidential candidate had ever won before, including 282 that had never gone Democratic. Of the forty states in Hoover's victory coalition four years before, the President held but six." During the election campaign Roosevelt promised to reduce taxation. After taking office he initially rejected the idea of increased public spending. However, by the spring of 1933, the needs of more than fifteen million unemployed had overwhelmed the resources of local governments. In some areas, as many as 90 per cent of the people were on relief and it was clear something needed to be done. His close advisors and colleagues, Frances Perkins, Harry Hopkins, Rexford Tugwell, Robert LaFollette Jr. Robert Wagner, Fiorello LaGuardia, George Norris and Edward Costigan eventually won him over to a new approach to the problem. On 9th March 1933, Roosevelt called a special session of Congress. He told the members that unemployment could only be solved "by direct recruiting by the Government itself." For the next three months, Roosevelt proposed, and Congress passed, a series of important bills that attempted to deal with the problem of unemployment. The special session of Congress became known as the Hundred Days and provided the basis for Roosevelt's New Deal. The government employed people to carry out a range of different tasks. These projects included the Works Projects Administration (WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the National Youth Administration (NYA), the National Recovery Act (NRA) and the Public Works Administration (PWA). As well as trying to reduce unemployment, Roosevelt also attempted to reduce the misery for those who were unable to work. One of the bodies Roosevelt formed was the Federal Emergency Relief Administration which provided federal money to help those in desperate need. To help pay for these measures Roosevelt persuaded Congress to pass the Wealth Tax Act in August, 1935. It was a progressive tax that took up to 75 percent on incomes over $5 million. Roosevelt admitted that the tax had created a great deal of hostility: "The forces of organized money... are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match." When Roosevelt took office the national deficit was nearly $3,000,000,000 and the unemployment-rate was 23.6%. His Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, and aides within the Treasury Department favored an approach that sought to balance the federal budget. But other advisers in the President's inner circle, including Harry Hopkins, Marriner Eccles and Henry Wallace, had accepted the recent theories of John Maynard Keynes, who argued that technically advanced economies would need permanent budget deficits or other measures (such as redistribution of income away from the wealthy) to stimulate consumption of goods and to maintain full employment. It was argued that it was the attempt to balance the budget that was causing the recession. President Roosevelt was eventually convinced by these arguments and he recognized the need for increased government expenditures to put people back to work. An important part of his New Deal programme was increased spending on government expenditures for relief and work schemes. From 1933 to 1937, unemployment was reduced from 25% to 14%. Roosevelt was much attacked by his political opponents for not concentrating on reducing the national deficit. However, as Roosevelt explained in a speech in 1936: "To balance our budget in 1933 or 1934 or 1935 would have been a crime against the American people. To do so we should either have had to make a capital levy that would have been confiscatory, or we should have had to set our face against human suffering with callous indifference. When Americans suffered, we refused to pass by on the other side. Humanity came first." Roosevelt was attacked for not keeping his promise to balance the budget. Some went as far as accusing Roosevelt of being a communist. Those on the left hated Roosevelt because they believed that his policies helped save capitalism. However, his economic policies were popular with the American people and he defeated his Republican presidential candidates in 1936 (Alfred M. Landon), 1940 (Wendell Willkie) and 1944 (Thomas E. Dewey). After the Second World War it European countries that were attracted to the economic ideas of John Maynard Keynes. Up until the late 1970s it provided a growing economy and low unemployment rates. It also help to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. For example, the data available shows that the share of income going to the top 10% of the population fell over the 40 years to 1979, from 34.6% in 1938 to 21% in 1979, while the share going to the bottom 10% rose slightly. The 1973 oil crisis resulted in high inflation. In the UK inflation reached 26.9% in the 12 months to August 1975. In an effort to maintain the living standards of their members, trade unions demanded higher wages which in turn led to even higher inflation. The number of industrial disputes also increased during this period. On 22nd January 1979 more people in the UK took strike action, than on any day since the General Strike of 1926. Margaret Thatcher was elected to power in Britain in 1979 and Ronald Reagan in 1980. They both embraced the economic theories of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman that became known as Neo-Liberalism. This was a return to the world before the Great Depression in the 1930s. It was the resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism. They were also the economic policies that Karl Marx believed would lead to a socialist revolution. Neo-Liberalism meant privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy. It also involved passing legislation that weakened the trade union movement. These policies completely reversed the move towards a more equal society. Since the early 1980s the gap between rich and poor has widened considerably. During this period China has emerged as America's main economic rival. Although it claims to be a communist country, in reality it is state capitalist economy. This gives it great advantages over laissez-faire capitalism. For example, it has totally control over the cost of labour. (This is what happened in Germany in the 1930s.) It also has complete control over investment in certain industries. It can therefore give out state subsidies to industries in trouble, for example, steel. It also invests in other countries and controls over 30% of America's national debt. The second Great Depression took place in 2007. Its consequences are still being felt today. This time the major problem is not unemployment. Yesterday it was announced that Britain has an unemployment rate of 4.8%. The lowest in 11 years. USA has an unemployment rate of 4.9%. Why, therefore, did American workers vote for Trump? The reason is low wages. The majority of the American people have seen a fall in their living standards since the end of the 1970s. Will the proposals of Donald Trump work? Will Congress allow him to place high tariffs on goods imported from abroad? If they do it will cause inflation and is unlikely to persuade capitalists to invest in manufacturing in the United States. Do the businessmen who fund the political parties in America really want an end to the cheap labour provided by Mexico? In his first speech after being elected Trump spoke of a massive investment in America's infra-structure. In other words, something similar to Roosevelt's New Deal. However, he is also committed to reducing taxes for the wealthy. How is he going to pay for this? Will Congress allow him to increase public borrowing? I think he will probably cut defence spending and significantly reduce America military commitment to Europe and other areas, especially in the Middle-East. But this will not be enough to please those people who voted for Trump in the election. What kind of candidate will Americans vote for in 2020?
  4. I never met Mark Lane but I had communications with him by email. In the last few years it was with his assistant Sue Herndon. It is worth remembering the extreme difficulty he had publishing material on the case following the assassination. In fact, it might not have happened if it was not for his British contacts. Lane later recalled: "In the weeks following the assassination I analyzed the case, setting my analysis alongside what was then known about the case as I had done a hundred times before for clients I had represented. The difference was that there was no client… When I completed my analysis of the evidence and the charges, I had written a ten-thousand-word evaluation." A copy of the article was sent to Earl Warren. In a letter sent with the article, Lane wrote: "It would be appropriate that Mr. Oswald, from whom every legal right was stripped, be accorded counsel who may participate with the single purpose of representing the rights of the accused." For the first three weeks the mainstream media consistently reported that Oswald had been the lone gunman responsible for the death of Kennedy. However, James Aronson, the editor of the left-wing, National Guardian, had considerable doubts about this story. In the first edition of the newspaper after the assassination, he used the headline: "The Assassination Mystery: Kennedy and Oswald Killings Puzzle the Nation". (9) Meanwhile, Mark Lane also tried to find a magazine to publish the article of the assassination. He approached Carey McWilliams: "The obvious choice, I thought, was the Nation. Its editor, Carey McWilliams, was an acquaintance. He had often asked me to write a piece for him… McWilliams seemed pleased to hear from me and delighted when I told him I had written something I wished to give to the Nation . When he learned of the subject matter, however, his manner approached panic." McWilliams told Lane: "We cannot take it. We don't want it. I am sorry but we have decided not to touch that subject." Lane was unaware that McWilliams had also rejected a proposal by Fred J. Cook to write an article on the assassination. Mark Lane also got the same response from the editors of Fact Magazine who said the subject matter was too controversial. It was also rejected by Life Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, The Reporter, and Look Magazine. However, Cedric Belfrage, a British journalist, who had been deported from America because of his socialist beliefs, was also exploring this story and told his friend, James Aronson about Lane. "I heard that a maverick New York lawyer named Mark Lane had done some careful leg and brain work to produce a thesis casting doubt on the lone-assassin theory – and even whether Oswald had actually been involved in the crime." Aronson contacted Lane who told him that the article had been rejected by thirteen publications. Aronson offered to publish the article. Lane told him that "I would send it to him but I would not authorize him to publish it. He asked why. I said that I was seeking a broader, non-political publisher and that if the piece originated on the left, the subject would likely never receive the debate that it required." Lane now took the article James Wechsler, an editor of the New York Post. He also rejected it and said that Lane would never find a publisher and "urged him to forget about it". Lane now told him about Aronson's offer. Wechsler, according to Lane was "furious" when he heard this news. "Don't let them publish it… They'll turn it into a political issue." By this time the article had been turned down by seventeen publications and so Lane decided to let Aronson to publish the article in the National Guardian. The 10,000 word article, published on 19th December, 1963, was the longest story in its fifteen-year history. It was presented as a lawyer's report to the Warren Commission and titled A Brief for Lee Harvey Oswald. Aronson argued in the introduction: "The Guardian's publication of Lane's brief presumes only one thing: a man's innocence, under US. Law, unless or until proved guilty. It is the right of any accused. A presumption of innocence is the rock upon which American jurisprudence rests… We ask all our readers to study this document… Any information or analysis based on fact that can assist the Warren Commission is in the public interest – an interest which demands that everything possible be done to establish the facts in this case." Mark Lane argued: "In all likelihood there does not exist a single American community where reside 12 men or women, good and true, who presume that Lee Harvey Oswald did not assassinate President Kennedy. No more savage comment can be made in reference to the breakdown of the Anglo–Saxon system of jurisprudence. At the very foundation of our judicial operation lies a cornerstone which shelters the innocent and guilty alike against group hysteria, manufactured evidence, overzealous law enforcement officials, in short, against those factors which militate for an automated, prejudged, neatly packaged verdict of guilty. It is the sacred right of every citizen accused of committing a crime to the presumption of innocence." Aronson later admitted: "Few issues of the Guardian created such a stir. Anticipating greater interest we had increased the press run by 5,000, but an article in the New York Times about our story brought a heavy demand at the news-stands and dealers were calling for additional copies. Before the month was out we had orders for 50,000 reprints." After reading the article Bertrand Russell met Mark Lane. "I was greatly impressed, not only by the energy and astuteness with which Mark Lane pursued the relevant facts, but by the scrupulous objectivity with which he presented them, never inferring or implying meanings not inherent in the facts themselves." As a result of the meeting, Russell established a “Who Killed Kennedy Committee” in the UK, which consisted of John Arden, Caroline Benn, Lord Boyd-Orr, John Calder, William Empson, Victor Gollancz, Michael Foot, Kingsley Martin, Compton Mackenzie, J. B. Priestley, Herbert Read, Tony Richardson, Mervyn Stockwood, Hugh Trevor-Roper, and Kenneth Tynan. Aronson offered the article to both the United Press International and the Associated Press but both agencies rejected it. In January, 1964, Walter Winchell made a vicious attack on Mark Lane and the National Guardian in his regular newspaper column. He described the newspaper as "a virtual propaganda arm of the Soviet Union " and called Lane an "agitator" seeking to abolish the Un-American Activities Committee. Russell responded with a letter to the newspaper arguing that "Lane is no more a left-winger than was President Kennedy. He attempted to publish his evidence... in virtually every established American but was unsuccessful." Mark Lane continued to carry out his research into the assassination. He later recalled: "Had I known at the outset, when I wrote that article for the National Guardian, that I was going to be so involved that I would close my law practice, abandon my work, abandon my political career, be attacked by the very newspapers in New York City which used to hail my election to the state legislature; had I known that - had I known that I was going to be placed in the lookout books, so that when I come back into the country, I'm stopped by the immigration authorities – only in America, but no other country in the world – that my phones would be tapped, that not only would the FBI follow me around at lecture engagements, but present to the Warren Commission extracts of what I said at various lectures - I am not sure, if I knew all that, that I ever would have written that article in the first place." However, Lane did continue and by February 1965 he had completed the first draft of Rush to Judgment. However, he could not find an American company willing to publish the book. Eventually, Bertrand Russell found him a British publisher: "Virtually every publisher in the United States refused to print it. Years passed before we learned of the pressure that had been exerted by the FBI and the CIA against those who considered permitting the publication of a dissenting view in this affair. A British firm with offices in London, The Bodley Head, agreed to publish the book. Subsequently Holt, Rinehart and Winston in the United States agreed as well." http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKlaneM.htm
  5. William Weyland Turner died on 26th December, 2015. I never met him but he was always helpful by email. It should not be forgotten that Turner was the senior editor at Ramparts when several articles appeared on the subject of the assassination of JFK. Books by Turner include Hoover's FBI: The Men and the Myth (1970), Power on the Right (1973), The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (1978), The Fish Is Red: The Story of the Secret War Against Castro (1981) and Deadly Secrets (1992) (with Warren Hinckle). He also wrote a great autobiography, Rearview Mirror: Looking Back at the FBI, the CIA and Other Tails (2001). In his book he published details of wiretapping and bugging abuses by the FBI, its secret campaign against left-wing groups such as Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers Union and the stealth war against Cuba. http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKturnerW.htm
  6. I urge all members to see the film Kill the Messenger about the life of Gary Webb. It is the best film I have seen this year and the best one that has ever been made about how the CIA control the mainstream press in the USA (Operation Mockingbird). http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKwebbG.htm
  7. Don Bohning died a few days ago. He worked for the Miami Herald for 41 years was a CIA informant. In a document dated 14th June, 1968, revealed that Bohning received his Provisional Covert Security Approval as a CIA confidential informant on August 21, 1967, "for use as a confidential informant with natural access to information about news companies and personalities." It seems that Bohning became part of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird programme. In her book, A Farewell to Justice (2005) Joan Mellen argues that Bohning was given the code-name AMCARBON-3. On 8th September, 2005, Larry Hancock speculated on the Education Forum that whereas Bohning was AMCARBON-3, Hal Hendrix was AMCARBON-1 and Al Burt, also a journalist at the Miami Herald, was AMCARBON-2. While working on his book, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, David Talbot contacted Bohning to ask him about his reported ties to the CIA. Bohning denied that he was paid for the work he did for the CIA. However, as Talbot pointed out: "The fact that Bohning was given a CIA code as an agency asset and was identified as an agency informant is a relevant piece of information that the readers" of his books and articles have a right to know. Talbot argued that AMCARBON was the cryptonym that the CIA used to identify friendly reporters and editors who covered Cuba. Talbot found a declassified CIA memo dated 9th April, 1964 that showed that the CIA’s covert media campaign in Miami aimed “to work out a relationship with [south Florida] news media which would insure that they did not turn the publicity spotlight on those [CIA] activities in South Florida which might come to their attention...and give [the CIA’s Miami station] an outlet into the press which could be used for surfacing certain select propaganda items.” Don Bohning later admitted: "I have obtained the document about the JMWave relationship with the Miami Herald and references to AMCARBON-2, AMCARBON-3, etc., etc. As you noted, it is very confusing but it seems quite clear to me that AMCARBON-2 was probably Al Burt, my predecessor as Latin America editor at the Miami Herald. I have no idea who might have been AMCARBON-1 or Identity, 2, etc. even what they refer to. I also have obtained documents that clearly state that I was AMCARBON-3, something I was not previously aware of." Bohning first contacted me in 2005, about an article I had written about an interview that Gene Wheaton gave when he named CIA officer, Carl E. Jenkins and the Cuban, Rafael Quintero, as both being involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Bohning claimed that he was close to both Jenkins and Quintero and that they denied being involved in the assassination. They did admit to telling the story to Wheaton but they were only joking. Bohning attempted to persuade me to remove this information from my website. When I refused he took the news very badly and I received a series of abusive emails. I then produced a page on Bohning that revealed his CIA connections. Bohning continued to work as a CIA asset. In an article that appeared in The Intelligencer (Volume 16 – Number 2 – Fall 2008), a journal published on behalf of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Bohning attacked me for my work on the JFK case. Using interviews with former CIA officers, Porter Goss, Carl Jenkins and Tom Clines, he criticized me for my work on the CIA’s Operation 40. Up until about a year ago he would regularly send me an abusive email. He was clearly very upset by the outing of him as a CIA asset. http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKbohning.htm
  8. You can hear me on BBC Radio 4 tonight at 2000 against the smears made by the British intelligence services against Cedric Belfrage. If you miss it you can hear it on the BBC website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b069xy2b If you are interested in the background to the case see the following links: Why the BBC and the Daily Mail ran a false story on anti-fascist campaigner, Cedric Belfrage. http://spartacus-educational.com/spartacus-blogURL57.htm Biography of Cedric Belfrage: http://spartacus-educational.com/SPYbelfrage.htm
  9. Thank you for your suggestions. It seems that Tony Summers has his contact details.
  10. The company tried that but they did not know his contact details.
  11. I have been contacted by a television company who want to make a drama series about Fabien Escalente, former head of Cuban State Security and author of several books that relate to the assassination of JFK. Has anyone got his contact details?
  12. Gary Mack told The Dallas Morning News a few years ago that he did not believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed John F. Kennedy: “I’m personally convinced there’s more than just Oswald involved, but I can’t prove it and neither can anyone else."
  13. It is very true that Gary Mack could be helpful if he wanted to be. However, he could be very abusive if he disagreed with you. The problem people had with Gary was the change in his views after 1994 when Mack became an archivist and later curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. This might have been because of his research or maybe it had something to do with his job. I know he got very upset when I quoted him the words of the great investigative journalist, Upton Sinclair “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” http://spartacus-educational.com/Jupton.htm http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKmack.htm
  14. You might be interested in seeing Dorothy Kilgallen on What's My Line (31 May, 1959) with Gypsy Rose Lee.