State of the Union: More than ‘Bipartisanship,’ a New Paradigm Is Needed
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump could not really have missed it at the Davos World Economic Forum. While he led cheers for investment in the newly low-tax, cheap-dollar United States, and pleased some multinational CEOs, the conference looked to China and its Belt and Road Initiative for the key to leading the world economy out of its crisis since the 2008 crash. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s economic advisor Liu He was the speaker most closely listened to. China’s policy of developing high-technology economic infrastructure as the leading edge to the goal of eradicating poverty—now with many national partners in Asia, Africa, and Latin America—was recognized as a new “win-win” paradigm to overcome both the causes and the lasting effects of the trans-Atlantic economic collapse a decade ago.
Even Bloomberg News, in an ostensible news article this morning, said, “With the addition of the Arctic and Latin America last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative has become truly global. Only the U.S., its neighbor Canada, and ally Japan have yet to be included in the plan, which seeks to build or upgrade a network of highways, railways, ports and pipelines.” And later, it acknowledged that Japan is, in fact, collaborating in the Belt and Road Initiative, and that President Xi has repeatedly asked the United States to join it.
In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, the only way the President can transform the prospect of his administration is to join that New Silk Road, at least in general commitment following on his recent visits to China, Japan and other Asian economic leaders.
Even if he appeals for it, there is no “bipartisanship” waiting in the fractured, discredited Congress, more than 50 of whose members have withdrawn from running for reelection in just one session.
The two-year-long push by British and U.S. intelligence agencies to destroy Trump’s candidacy and Presidency has drawn in large numbers of Democratic opportunists. It must be defeated or leave the United States a New Cold War police state in which all Presidents are controlled by intelligence officials with secret scandals. Developments occurring over these 24 hours offer hope for its defeat, but if not crushed, these new McCarthyites will settle for nothing less than a fiercely anti-Russia, anti-China President Pence.
There isn’t even “partisanship” to appeal to: If Trump presents his wholly inadequate infrastructure-building program, and bases the small Federal funding in it on an increased gasoline tax, the deluded Congressional Republicans in the Chamber will oppose it. The United States will continue deindustrializing; Americans will continue overdosing on opioids; their life expectancy will fall further. Cities and states ambitious for development will keep sending delegations to China.
There is a new paradigm to appeal to and join, which can involve the kind of economic rebuilding, space exploration, and technological progress Trump voters voted for. The President will have to think of the world’s economy from the top down, and join the New Silk Road.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
McCabe ‘Removed’ from FBI Desk; House Intelligence Committee Votes on FISA Memo
FLASH: The House Intelligence Committee voted Monday evening to begin the process of releasing the four-page classified memo on U.S. government surveillance abuses put together under the Committee’s Chair, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). Democrats led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) opposed the memo’s release unsuccessfully. FBI Director Christopher Wray went to the Capitol on Sunday to view it. Asked to point out inaccuracies or other issues, Wray said he would need “his people to take a look at it.” The next step is a five-day period of Presidential consideration of the release.
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—After being “urged” to resign, as CBS News put it, Andrew McCabe was no longer Deputy Director of the FBI as of Monday afternoon. Having been former Director James Comey’s “right-hand man” at FBI, McCabe has joined a small parade of close collaborators of the vainglorious Comey leaving under pressure. Several Congressional Committee chairmen, most notably Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley of Iowa, had been insisting that McCabe’s clear political bias, especially against the Trump Administration, made him unfit for a senior position at the FBI.
Late Monday, observers of Congress were waiting for a scheduled business meeting of the House Intelligence Committee, to see if it would vote to start the declassification and release process for the memo on FBI/DOJ anti-Trump activity written by Committee Chair Devin Nunes, along with supporting materials which are also currently secret. If released, the memo and documents may prove biased and illegal activity within the intelligence community seeking to force the President out of office.
If that information is not declassified, however, this illegal activity could continue and intensify, aiming at what Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz first called “a coup” more than a month ago.
Paul Craig Roberts: Only Defeating ‘Russiagate’ Coup Will Save the Nation
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—Paul Craig Roberts, former aide to President Ronald Reagan, now a superior analyst of American affairs, wrote his Jan. 15 nationally syndicated column as a “wake-up call” to Americans to realize “The Russiagate Stakes Are Extreme” and that those behind it intend an illegal coup against President Trump, and they must be stopped.
The “presstitutes,” who work for the British Empire, could “get away with” convincing enough Americans that Trump must have done something wrong, and that his removal is justified. If the intelligence agencies can pull off a coup in the United States, that is the end of all democracy, and all branches of government will become powerless under a dictatorship ruled by police agencies, he writes.
Those Americans who say they don’t need the House Intelligence Committee’s report proving Russiagate is a coup conspiracy, because they don’t believe Russiagate anyway, miss the point, says Roberts. Those involved in this coup “must be identified, charged and prosecuted for their act of high treason.” Democracy does not ensure the ability of the people to hold government accountable if it is a police state, and that is the path the United States has been on for some time, he writes. Now, in defeating the coup against Trump, lies our opportunity to turn back on this path.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court document that was used to spy on Trump and others, which has been declassified, released, and explained by former NSA Technical Director William Binney, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Joseph diGenova, and Roberts himself, contains FBI and DOJ admissions that they spied and obtained warrants under false pretenses in violation of the law. Roberts informs Americans that the FISA court itself has admissions from the FBI and the DOJ that they improperly spied and obtained warrants from the court under false pretenses; i.e., they lied to the court to get warrants for illegal spying. Robert says, that anyone who says, like DOJ Congressional liaison Stephen Boyd, that “the DOJ is ‘unaware of any wrongdoing’ ” is lying.
The DOJ has already confessed its wrongdoing to the FISA court, Roberts explains. When Adm. Mike Rogers, the former Director of the National Security Agency, discovered that the FBI and DOJ were hijacking the spy system for partisan political reasons, Rogers made it known that he would inform the FISA court. This caused the FBI and DOJ to rush into court ahead of him, and confess “mistakes” and promise to “tighten up” and avoid such in the future. Roberts says, “It is these ‘mistakes’ and corrections which the FISA document reveals.”
Roberts concludes, “[T]the information already exists in the public domain that proves that Russiagate was a conspiracy organized for the purpose of bringing down the elected President of the United States.” He further says that Russia and China would see this coup as “America’s final transition into a police state.” They would give up on any utopian ideas of reaching a “an accommodation” with the United States.
Lyndon LaRouche’s Political Action Committee intends to defeat this coup by organizing citizens to return to the “American System” with Lyndon LaRouche’s “Four Laws.”
Former Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr Acknowledges ‘Trump Can Fire Mueller’
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—Speaking this morning on “Fox and Friends,” Clinton-era special prosecutor Kenneth Starr was clear: The President has the constitutional authority to fire “Special Counsel” Robert Mueller. Perhaps not as passionate in his defense of the Constitution as Alan Dershowitz (who defended Trump’s authority several weeks ago), being a former special prosecutor himself, Starr’s words have specific weight.
“The President has very broad powers,” Starr said. “Article II of the Constitution of the United States vests the executive power in the President. We have elected the President, he has all this power.” Trump is “at liberty” he continued, to fire the special counsel on such simple grounds as “I think this guy is not doing a good job or it is interfering with my conduct of the Presidency.”
If Congress “doesn’t like that,” he said, “they can step in and call you to account” through impeachment. He also reacted to recent reports from the Jan. 28 Sunday New York Times, that Trump ordered the firing of Mueller back in June but reneged after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit.
“Everybody says, oh, my goodness, this is Armageddon,” Starr opined. He specified as a key point, the fact that “the President followed—according to these reports—the advice of the counsel.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
‘Sun Never Sets’ on the Belt and Road; BRI Bond Issuance Begins
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—An analysis in Bloomberg News yesterday, which is unable to decide whether it is serious or sour grapes about China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), frames President Trump’s State of the Union Tuesday night in an interesting manner. “As the U.S. President drafts a $1 trillion overhaul to fix America’s aging roads and bridges,” Bloomberg writes, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “infrastructure-building endeavor is pushing into the U.S.’s backyard.” The piece is headlined, “China’s Infrastructure Push Reaches Arctic, Leaving Out U.S.”
The opening is somewhat inaccurate but its intention is quite clear. With the addition of the Arctic and Latin America last week, “With the addition of the Arctic and Latin America last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative has become truly global. Only the U.S., its neighbor Canada and ally Japan have yet to be included in the plan, which seeks to build or upgrade a network of highways, railways, ports and pipelines.”
Later, it acknowledges that Xi “has invited the United States to join the Belt and Road Initiative”; that “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed an interest in participating”; and that Canada has joined China-initiated multilateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The article ends with a brief chronology of how the Belt and Road grew to represent a global paradigm, from its first announcement in late 2013 by Xi Jinping.
CNBC, meanwhile, reported that issuance of official “Belt and Road Bonds” has begun in China, with the issue of a roughly 300 million yuan ($47 million) bond for three years on the Shanghai Stock Exchange by a cement company, to buy equipment for a Belt and Road project in Laos. Though other companies had raised private investor funds in Chinese markets for projects, this bond was “officially” linked to the BRI in that it was the first one approved by China’s Securities Regulatory Commission as a BRI bond.
The purpose is an important one: To allow Chinese investors to invest abroad through BRI projects, rather than through speculative investments, and earn (in this case) a return over 6% on a government-regulated bond.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Germans Invited To Invest in Zambian Infrastructure
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—During an encounter with Stefan Liebing, the chairman of the German Africa Association, in Berlin on Jan. 17, Zambia’s Ambassador Anthony Mukwita presented a document entitled “Zambia’s Investment Project” which had been prepared by the embassy. “This document contains areas that are ripe for investment in Zambia which you must share with your membership in Germany,” said Mukwita to Liebing.
The areas of possible investment he presented include: construction, agriculture, energy, tourism and transport, to mention but a few, including how German companies can enter Zambia. The Zambian diplomat urged German business to take full advantage of Zambia’s invitation: “Our President H.E. Edgar Lungu is keen to see a reduction in poverty and rise in GDP via foreign direct investment, our peace, stability and predictability including ease of doing business continues being a great ingredient of attracting business.” Liebing expressed confidence of stepping up business with Zambia.
German-Zambian contacts were continued at a meeting with leading officials of the Canadian Bombardier rail-tech firm on Jan. 27. Bombardier Head of Rail for Africa Christian Bengtsson told Mukwita that a functioning railway grid is required for transportation of goods and services in order to enhance economic growth in Zambia. A memorandum of understanding was already signed in 2016, but not much has happened since, because no financing has been made available by the German government or private banks. The Zambian project would be crucial for Bombardier, which for lack of new contracts in Germany has been considering reducing its workforce in Germany from 8,000 to 6,000, also by selling the railcar-producing unit in Görlitz. Will financing coming from China be the last hope for the company?
Bombardier whose transportation headquarters is in Germany, has carried out feasibility studies on Zambia Railway’s 900 km network half of which needs to be refurbished. Once the railway is replaced and railcars are purchased, the company is expected to create 5,000 jobs and up its cargo transportation (mostly iron ore and other minerals) from the current 700,000 tons to about 5 million tons annually and eventually 8 million tons.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Syria Dialogue Conference Opens in Sochi, Russia
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—The Congress for Syrian National Dialogue opened in Sochi, Russia, this morning, with the presence of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, but without the presence of the Riyadh-sponsored half of the Syrian opposition, the Higher Negotiation Committee.
“We regret very much that the leadership of the Syrian opposition’s Higher Negotiation Committee, that took part in inter-Syrian negotiations in Vienna under the chairmanship of Staffan de Mistura, made such a statement about its unwillingness to take part in the congress. We hope that common sense will prevail, … the invitation remains on the table,” Alexander Lavrentyev, the Russian special envoy for Syria, said today, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency. De Mistura was to have met with Lavrentyev, as well as the Turkish and Iranian envoys, today, for consultations. Russia, Turkey and Iran are the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire mediated under the “Astana Process.”
Qadri Jamil, the head of the Moscow platform of opposition, told the Russian daily Kommersant, in an article cited by a TASS press review, that opponents of the visit to Sochi within the HNC “strongly regretted their decision” after they learned that de Mistura was going to attend the Dialogue Congress. Russia Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated the Russian view, this morning, that the non-attendance of some Syrian representatives will not hinder the Congress.
Kommersant also reports that the main output of the conference will be a commission to draft a constitutional reform. Reuters cites Interfax reporting that de Mistura will chair that commission. Kommersant also says that de Mistura’s presence at the Congress is a diplomatic victory for Russia—as many Syrian politicians wanted to make sure that the Congress would receive the blessing of the UN before deciding on the trip.
U.S. Ambassador Huntsman in Moscow Times on Syria Cooperation
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman called for an improvement in U.S.-Russia relations in an op-ed in the English-language Moscow Times published Jan. 26. Huntsman was former U.S. Ambassador to China, and Governor of Utah.
Admitting the relationship is “at its lowest in recent memory,” Huntsman nonetheless focused on North Korea and particularly on Syria. “The work we’re doing in Syria with our Russian counterparts is good. We’ve coordinated. We’re communicating. The fighting has almost stopped, and this is the work of Russia, the United States, and others.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Many Counterindications to Trump’s Rosy Picture at Davos
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—The “booming America open for business” presentation President Donald Trump gave at the Davos World Economic Forum was being belied, at the time, by a number of indicators.
The Commerce Department reported Jan. 25 that fourth-quarter U.S. GDP rose at rate of 2.6%, meaning that the rate for 2017 as a whole was just 2.3%—better, at least, than Obama’s 2016, but not such as to make the United States an engine of growth. Durable goods orders excluding aircraft and defense—the proxy datum for business capital investment in the economy—dropped by 0.3% in December, although it had grown the previous three months, which were revised downward. Sales of both new and existing homes fell substantially in December, after rising sharply in November (again, now revised downward). The Federal Reserve’s report on fourth-quarter “employment dynamics,” out Jan. 26, showed that employment grew by just about 500,000 in the quarter, the 2 million jobs/year pace which characterized 2017 as a whole, and was substantially lower than either 2015 or 2016.
The dollar is now down almost to $1.25/euro, having fallen a very substantial 18% in 18 months against an index of other major currencies. The decline has recently accelerated. This is what lowered the fourth-quarter GDP, by producing a very large U.S. trade deficit.
This decline is despite the Federal Reserve, along among the “big four” central banks, raising interest rates, even slowly and cautiously; and despite the U.S. growth rate, low as it is, still beating those of European nations or Japan. China’s Global Times, in a Jan. 28 business article, “Legacy of QE Policy Portends Long Slide for U.S. Dollar,” by editor Li Hong, blamed “the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing which it pursued for many years after the 2008-09 financial crisis; the extraordinary expansion in money supply made the U.S. dollar worth less. Some now claim that the U.S.’s massive money-printing to flood the world market with dollars could be about to backfire.” They mean that the Chinese and Japanese central banks have agreed to hold these trillions of dollars; it the Trump Administration pursues tariffs on Asian exports, that could end, and the dollar will really plunge.
Speculative investment is, indeed, pouring into the United States; the stock market rises at least 100 points every day. At Davos, the most experienced economists warned that this is about to end, in disaster. They included both chairman of the OECD Economic and Development Review Committee and former BIS chief economist William White; and also Prof. Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard Economics Department, co-author of the best-known history of financial crashes. Rogoff observed the incredible zooming of high-yield debt exposure (Citigroup and Barclays alone arranged $180 billion in new leveraged loans just in 2017), and said, “If interest rates go up even modestly, halfway to their normal level, you will see a collapse in the stock market.”
It is estimated that the U.S. Treasury will issue $1.42 trillion net debt in 2018, nearly triple the $550 billion in 2017. That, and pressure from a falling dollar, could make interest rates rise rapidly, the most likely trigger for the crash.
Finland’s Pro-Détente President Re-Elected in First Round
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)—Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto was reelected with 62.7% of the vote on the first round—the first time this has occurred since 1994. In second place was the Green Party with 12.4%. According to Euractiv network, his position of balancing between NATO and Russia was well received by the voters.
In the past, he has been able to maintain good relations with Moscow, despite EU sanctions. Finland has a 1,300 km border with Russia and has never become a full member of NATO, nor joined the Alliance’s provocative course against the Russians. Finland will nevertheless celebrate its independence from Russia 100 years ago. Niinisto has also offered China assistance in opening up the Arctic region for development.