EIR Daily Alert Service

EDITORIAL

Trump’s Arrival Is a Global Development, Deny It Though He May

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—From Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier comes the plaintive but very true cry, in an opinion piece in Bild am Sonntag today: “There is a lot at stake today—with the election of Donald Trump, the old world of the 20th Century is over for good.”

And from Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the Schiller Institute founder who is called “Silk Road Lady” in China because of her 30-year pioneering of world land-bridge projects and institutions: “Steinmeier, however, does not know what the new order is, but we do. He recognizes that a new era is opening. But its purpose is, can we establish a new order for the common good of mankind?”

No matter how often President Donald Trump repeats, “America first,” his election remains an international phenomenon, one of an ongoing global sweep of many elections now, in which the old Wall Street-City of London order of “globalization, deindustrialization, and imperial war,” is being thrown out.

NATO is obsolete; so is the European Union; so is Obama’s “we make the rules” and overthrow regimes “we” don’t like by war.

President Trump has recognized that Putin’s Russia is responsible for the possibility of ending 15 years’ continuous Mideast/North Africa wars, and for a new security concept, shared by Xi Jinping’s China, which can break the back of international terrorism.

He will have to come to recognize that Xi is responsible for offering “a community of common destiny” through the New Silk Road infrastructure; leading fusion research and development; leading lunar exploration.

Will the American population, which has voted to reject the old, “globalization, deindustrialization” paradigm, get the new administration and Congress to do what is needed to join the new drivers of growth and scientific progress?

The tests are already underway. The fight to restore the Glass-Steagall Act requires getting Trump to act, and separating him from his Treasury Secretary nominee who publicly opposes Glass-Steagall. A national, bipartisan petition drive is underway—and available on the LaRouche PAC website.

Bills are already being discussed and introduced in Congress for a “national infrastructure bank,” but it will have to be an order of magnitude larger, bolder, and encompass frontiers like fusion development, space exploration, and continental high-speed rail lines. And it will have to be a national credit institution linked to the international development banks of this new order, for truly great projects which span countries and continents.

Trump in a rare moment spoke of “not dominating, but leading by shining example.” It’s already there for him to join.

NEW WORLD ECONOMIC ORDER

Nepal-OBOR Conference Concludes with Determination To Succeed

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—The “first edition” of the “OBOR-Nepal Conference 2017 (Connectivity, Tourism, Trade and Investment),” held in Kathmandu concluded with a unanimous eight-point declaration on Jan. 19. OBOR is China’s “One Belt, One Road” international development and infrastructure policy, comprised of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

Nepal Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat attended the conference, sponsored by the B.P. Koirala School of Public Policy. He declared, “We are committed to strategic cooperation and enhancement of connectivity. However, China needs to understand that Nepal has a geopolitical complexity.

The Kathmandu Post reported that the concluding statement released recognizes that China is promoting OBOR widely as an economic tool, and states that like the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), “China has also been floating the idea of a China Nepal Economic Corridor that can turn the concept of China-Nepal-India trilateral cooperation into a reality.”

The statement says, “Nepal is a gateway for China to enter South Asia, and hence we cannot undermine the role of Nepal in fulfilling the core motive [of] OBOR,” which is “to connect governments, infrastructure and people,” said Li Tao, Executive Director of South Asia Studies at Sichuan University, one of the keynote speakers.

Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, President of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce, said, “For enhancing trade, connectivity and business, there is a need for establishing a bank with [a] Chinese joint venture in Nepal.”

The eight-point declaration (summarized below) was adopted unanimously:

“1) We urge the government of Nepal and China to play a proactive role in the establishment of people-to-people communication. Nepal can develop as a bridge between China and South Asia…

“2) The development of the international situation and improvement of China-India relations highlights Nepal’s geostrategic advantage in the OBOR initiative… We seek active participation of China and India for turning the concept of trilateral cooperation into reality. In the era of globalization, the mentality of a zero-sum game should be given up. This trilateral collaboration can turn Kathmandu into the Brussels of South Asia.

“3) A stable and prosperous Nepal will benefit all of South Asia….

“4) … The economic interest and benefits might initially look small, but hold unlimited possibilities, with Nepal being located between China and India having a billion-plus population.

“5) We emphasize the necessity of the private sectors of Nepal and China forging strategic partnership through the medium of trade. An increase of the volume of trade can play the role of a catalyst….

“6) The conference discussion shows the two countries still need to do a lot on the front of public diplomacy. The geographical adversities should be challenged through the coordination of knowledge partners….

“7) Nepal being the birth place of Buddha and China having a huge population having belief over Buddhism, we believe, religion can play significant role over enhancement of tourism, thus helping common people to have better understanding of each other.

“8) We call upon stakeholders and interest groups to give continuity to forums as such for creating a meaningful dialogue and discourse. We propose the OBOR-Nepal Conference be held in an annual basis to make sure that the initiative succeeds….”

Top Philippine Delegation to China, While Reviving Ties to U.S.

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—President Rodrigo Duterte is sending several of his Secretaries to China on Jan. 23-24 to work out Chinese investment projects, as $15 billion in projects are on the table from last year’s opening up of closer relations. They will also discuss relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (the Philippines is chairing ASEAN this year).

Included in the delegation are the Secretaries of Finance, Budget, Economics, Public Works, and Transport, the Department of Finance announced today. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is also in China to “enhance energy cooperation” between the two countries and attract investments in local energy projects, his office said in a separate statement reported by Reuters.

Duterte is going to China himself in May, following up on his first visit last year.

Reuters also reported that Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said on Jan. 11 that he was confident a code of conduct in the South China Sea between ASEAN and China could be finished by mid-2017.

Since Obama has been removed, this move to cooperate with China is no longer viewed in the Philippines as countering the United States. Duterte’s spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Saturday: “We look forward to working closely with the new administration of President Trump, anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law.”

COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM

LaRouche: Keep Mnuchin Out of Treasury: Avoid Economic Collapse

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—After misrepresenting and opposing the Glass-Steagall Act in his confirmation hearings, Steven Mnuchin is a “destructive force” who should be kept out of the Trump Administration Treasury, said economist and EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche today. “He can’t be accepted for what he was claiming to be; he’s not qualified,” LaRouche added, and “he’ll make a mess in the Trump Administration. Trump could come out successfully on this [Glass-Steagall] issue; but this guy will mess it up.”

As nominee for Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin’s exchanges with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who has been a lead sponsor of legislation to restore Glass-Steagall, constituted her entire questioning period during the Senate Finance Committee hearing. Despite President Trump having called for “going back to Glass-Steagall” during the campaign, Mnuchin stated his opposition to it. Cantwell pressed the Republican Party platform’s call for restoring Glass-Steagall; she also cited official estimates that a huge $14 trillion in economic losses to Americans resulted from the 2007-08 bank blowout, and that Glass-Steagall restoration was necessary to prevent that from happening again now.

“Senator Cantwell’s presentation of the case was valid, and it was a case by which she is trying to save this nation,” LaRouche said. “We’re on the fringe of what could be a terrible collapse.”

Mnuchin’s response to Cantwell was, “No, I don’t support going back to Glass-Steagall as is.” He said that he supported the Volcker Rule of the Dodd-Frank Act if modified.

Moreover, Mnuchin made a serious false claim to the Committee, in support of his opposition to Glass-Steagall. He claimed Glass-Steagall “would have very big implications to the liquidity and the capital markets, and banks being able to perform necessary lending.” In other words, that Glass-Steagall would result in a less liquid bond market for economic investments, and less lending by banks.

The truth is that this Federal Reserve Report, released this past September, criticized the Volcker Rule on that point, not the Glass-Steagall Act. It is titled, “The Volcker Rule and Market Making in Times of Stress.” Its main finding is that “bonds are less liquid during times of stress due to the Volcker Rule.” But Mnuchin was distressing the Committee Republicans and large numbers of bankers themselves, by supporting a Volcker Rule.

As to Glass-Steagall and bank credit: FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig has repeatedly given expert opinion to Congress and other institutions that during the roughly 60 years when Glass-Steagall was enforced, the United States’ capital markets for bank lending and bond issuance were the strongest and deepest in the world.

LaRouche emphasized Jan. 22 that Mnuchin is “doing dirty work which can lead to a deadly collapse in the United States and elsewhere. With what he was pushing, he could cause a crisis which would rapidly bring down the U.S. economy as a whole. We have a new financial system coming about [referring to the international development institutions of China and the BRICS-allied nations]; and here, that begins with restoring Glass-Steagall. So this is international, not only national, in importance.”

“I think there is no other option but to state that he must be gotten out” of the Treasury, LaRouche concluded.

Student Debt Defaults Higher, Wages Lower in New Data

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—Student loan default rates are significantly higher than previously acknowledged, as the U.S. Department of Education admitted in a report released Jan. 13: Specifically, that it had overstated the repayment rates at almost all colleges, universities, and technical schools in the United States. The previously false data on defaulted student debt was attributed to a computer error. More of an outright falsehood—about wages—on the part of the Obama administration has also been revealed by new data.

The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 18, after an analysis of the new data on student loans provided by the Education Department, that “many more students have defaulted on or failed to pay back their college loans than the U.S. government previously believed.” It reported its finding that there are more than 1,000 colleges and technical schools—about one-fourth of all of those in the United States—where 50% or more of all indebted ex-students have failed to make any payment at all for seven years or more (from the point in time at which they were supposed to start repaying the loans).

In 2014, when the Journal did the same analysis of earlier Education Department documentation, it found only 347 schools where 50% or more were seven years or more in default. Last year, it found 477. Now, 1,029 colleges are seeing mass alumni/ae defaults.

These defaults are to a significant extent against the Federal government, since the Obama administration converted most student lending—once primarily by private banks and lenders with some Federal guarantees—into Federal loans.

The total of student college debt is now $1.4 trillion, adding $100 billion/year and rising. The estimate of the portion in default had been approximately one-fourth; with the newly acknowledged low repayment rates, it could be one-third. Should the debt volume reach $2 trillion, and the default rate be at one-third or more, a “TARP-sized” taxpayer bailout of debt would be underway, although occurring in slower motion.

New figures also show that the real income of households has kept falling. Final figures from the Labor Department show that the average real weekly wage fell again in 2016 as a whole, for all “production and non-supervisory workers”; this category encompasses 80% of all employees.

The average weekly wage rose by just 1.9% in 2016; even the heavily massaged Consumer Price Index applicable to these workers rose by 2.1%, so the real weekly wage fell by 0.2% for the year, even by faked “official” inflation. By a more realistic measure of inflation, the average real weekly wage fell by another 1.6% in 2016. Obama’s repeated claims in the last two months of his administration, that real wages were growing rapidly in 2016, had no basis in fact.

Xinhua TV Interviews EIR’s Bill Jones on Trump Presidency

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—China Xinhua News Network Corp. an English-language TV news network run by Xinhua News Agency, carried a 20-minute interview yesterday with EIR Washington Bureau Chief Bill Jones on the Trump Administration and China-U.S. relations under Trump. Jones was asked if the Trump Administration would “make a break” from the U.S.-China policy under Obama (which they generally consider positive). Jones explained that the relationship had not been so positive and that the launch of the “pivot” had created a great deal of tension in relations. And while Trump has made off-the-cuff remarks which have created great concern in China, the U.S. cannot move forward without a good relationship with China.

“The United States, in fact, cannot move forward in the direction that Trump has promised in term of developing the economy, developing infrastructure, without a good relationship with China,” Jones said. “If Trump would like to build high-speed rail, to develop the cities, to build the roads, China can be a very big help in doing that. I think Trump will be able to, and will be willing to, cut a deal. If he goes in another direction, and imposes punitive sanctions on Chinese goods, tries to launch a trade war, this is going to be detrimental globally but also to the economy of the U.S., because everything is going to become much more expensive. And I think when that reality filters through to the presidential team, nobody is going to start a trade war.”

Both the video and transcript of the interview are posted to CNC’s website. CNC also used excerpts from the interview for individual news items which they posted on YouTube.

U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel Speaks on Trump Presidency

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—Addressing a Jan. 21 meeting of the LaRouche PAC “Manhattan Project” in New York City by live video, former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK) made these comments on Donald Trump’s Presidency to the audience:

“Let me tell you, from my judgment, the biggest asset we have with Trump is the fact that he’s got an out-sized ego; an out-sized worldwide ego. That ego brings about a discipline on him, because he’s got to defend himself. Here’s the example that I see, which is very optimistic; maybe more so. He keeps talking about China; but also, he keeps talking about his guiding principle—which is, to make a deal. To arrive at something concrete and positive; that’s all well and good.  With respect to China, I think his ego will understand that the biggest deal in the world that he could make, which will nurture his out-sized ego, is a deal with China to join China on the Silk Road project. That’s the biggest deal that I see in the world right now; and as soon as he understands that, he’ll latch on to that and take possession of it and take credit for it, and thereby join China and Russia and the BRICS in this colossal global deal which is to raise the economic level of all the peoples in the world.

“What argues against that is his jingoistic attitude that the United States has got to be Number One. That’s a very dangerous course to take; and of course, that’s what we’ve been taking for the last 50 years.  And that’s what’s led us to the mess that we’re in today, is that when we put ourselves unilaterally as Number One in the world, commanding everything in that direction; what we do is we beggar thy neighbor in the world, and that’s the tragedy of what we’ve been doing in our foreign policy for the last 50 years.  So now, what is Trump going to do?  He could do something great; he could do something ridiculous and inconsequential, jumping all over with his wing-nut Cabinet. That would be a missed opportunity.  What will happen is, if he does pursue the negative, I think that there may be enough reasonableness in the world—particularly among the BRICS and others—that would abet that; wouldn’t let that get out of hand, I hope.  And it’s a lot of hope.

“What it comes down to is, right now don’t worry about his inaugural speech.  Six months from now, it will be inconsequential.  What will be consequential, will be what they specifically do in terms of policy and interaction with foreign nations.  There are two elements; there’s his domestic element, and I just hope that he does throw the resources to refurbish the American infrastructure, which is a mess…”

Seven Senators Blast DEA Non-Response as Opioids Flood U.S.

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—Seven U.S. Senators attacked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency this week, demanding real answers to questions they asked on whether the DEA had launched enforcement actions against pharmaceutical companies who appear to have violated laws designed to prevent opioid painkillers from reaching the black market, Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein reported in the Jan. 21 Washington Post.

In October 2016, the Post ran a multi-part series on the ready availability of opioid painkillers because of the DEA’s blind eye to doctors prescribing them and pharmacy sales of opioids, which drugs have taken nearly 180,000 lives since 2000.

The Senators wrote the DEA with questions in October, and this week, wrote the DEA a second time according to the Post, stating: “We received an insufficient response that ignored [our] questions almost entirely and recited boilerplate information about the DEA’s mission.”

The Post had reported that starting in 2013, DEA lawyers blocked enforcement efforts against large opioid distributors, and required investigators to meet a higher burden of proof, causing enforcement actions to drop.

The DEA’s chief administrative law judge issued a finding that the number of cases approved at DEA headquarters for investigation and action was “stunningly low for a national program.” The Senators wanted to know if the Justice Department had played a role in the policy changes that cut back enforcement.

Democratic U.S. Senators Edward Markey (MA), Richard Durbin (IL), Joe Manchin (WV), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Richard Blumenthal (CT), and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders signed the letter. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a similar letter to DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg and Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Wyden said the response was “totally inadequate given the life-and-death nature of the opioid crisis.”

SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE

China Moon Return Mission Set for November; Far Side for 2018

Jan. 22 (EIRNS)—China has narrowed its projected launch date for the Chang’e-5 lunar mission to November 2017, Xinhua reported today. This will be the mission to return lunar samples. It is a four-part mission, made up of an orbiter, which releases a lander to collect samples and place them in a capsule; a launcher, to bring the sample capsule to the orbiter, and the return part of the orbiter, which will bring the capsule to Earth.

The Russians used unmanned vehicles to return lunar samples, decades ago.

Next year, Chang’e-4 is scheduled to land on the far side of the Moon. This, no one has ever done.

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

Renewed ISIS Destruction in Palmyra Looks Like Revenge

Jan. 21 (EIRNS)—Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the Director General of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, told TASS that the new ISIS destruction in the Roman ruins of Palmyra appears to be revenge for the first time that the Syrian army, with Russian help, liberated the city and its ancient ruins from the barbaric grip of ISIS, in March 2016. “It was quite some time ago, probably as far back as last May, that the IS radio said they would come and stage a new ‘concert’ in the theater, and now they’ve done it,” he said making a reference to a concert that the Mariinsky Theater symphony orchestra performed after the first liberation of the city—a beautiful concert of Classical music in the Roman amphitheater; which was followed the next night by a concert of Syrian folk and patriotic songs and music, also filmed and aired by RT.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the following comment: “Barbarians are barbarians. This ideology and practice is absolutely unacceptable for modern civilization.”

In a Japanese TV interview, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad laid responsibility for the recapture of Palmyra at the feet of both the U.S. and Turkey, because ISIS retook the city “under the supervision of the Americans, under the surveillance of the American drones; they came through the desert and they occupied Palmyra.”

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