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EIR Daily Alert Service

EDITORIAL

Trump Addresses Congress: Will Obama’s Coup Attempt against Him Be Defeated?

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—The intense attacks on President Donald Trump by liberal, “globalist” media and party leaders in Europe and the United States are being exposed as a coup attempt against any U.S.-Russia cooperation, or even relations. As House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes judged it today, “This is a new McCarthyism.” Hopefully, the exposed coup is losing ground.

But crucial questions now concern the President’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress tomorrow night.

How will the President deal with these “McCarthyite” demands for a policy of confrontation and even war with Russia and China?

Will President Trump, as he has indicated, present plans for large-scale modern infrastructure investment in the U.S. economy? This is not just the most widely supported promise of Trump’s Presidency. It is the means of putting real productivity and productive employment back into an economy which, without that, faces another, imminent, financial crash. Big European banks are reporting huge losses. Just the suggestion being spread in the financial media, that Trump’s much-discussed infrastructure plans are “on hold,” has led to warnings that a general blowout of debts will occur this Spring, from such as former Reagan official David Stockman and other “market analysts.”

The critical issue is a Hamiltonian credit institution to make these investments work at the most productive technological level. Schemes of tax giveaways “for infrastructure” will produce nothing.

Will the President talk about the space program, and his indicated desire for an early return to manned exploration and development of the Moon? NASA on Feb. 24 indicated a feasibility study request from the Administration. This points to a still higher level of productivity advances. The Moon is not just the next testing ground for new technologies and energy resources; it is mankind’s essential first step to the Solar System and beyond.

Will President Trump propose the Glass-Steagall Act to Congress, as he did when campaigning in October; and as both political parties’ presidential platforms demanded? Its bipartisan support in the American population has grown widely under the threat of an even more devastating financial crash.

Without breaking up the Wall Street and City of London megabanks and shutting down their speculation casinos—before they blow out again—neither investments in productivity and scientific progress, nor lending for productive employment, will occur.

Once again, the “Four New Laws To Save the Nation” outlined as essential by Lyndon LaRouche two and one-half years ago—and for which thousands of petitions have been delivered to the White House in the week leading to tomorrow’s Presidential address. As LaRouche said even then, in June 2014, the actions expressed in those “Four Laws” are not “an option,” but imperative.

THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER

Global Times Tells EU: Don’t Block Budapest-Belgrade High-Speed Railroad

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—A Feb. 23 article in the Chinese state-owned Global Times accused the EU of interfering to block the China-backed high-speed railway link-up between Budapest and Belgrade, and urged the project to be “given the green light if it is feasible and can benefit both countries.” The author of the article, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, wrote “the EU is experiencing a tough time and may seek to assert its authority by ramping up inspections and reviews, but the EU may have hit a dead end. It is unknown whose interest the EU’s investigation represents.”

In his critique of the EU’s role, Cui referred to a Feb. 20 Financial Times article which, he reported, said the “EU was assessing the financial viability of the railway and looking into whether the project would breach the EU laws that require public tenders for large transport projects.” Cui pointed out that “the $2.89 billion project to modernize the Budapest-Belgrade railway was announced in 2013 and will serve as a European example of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, and will link both EU member countries and non-EU countries. Both Serbia and Hungary have been ready for construction to commence.”

Cui acknowledged that since Hungary is an EU member, the project must comply with EU regulations, but Serbia is not a member. Taking that into consideration, “the question is how much EU rules can govern cooperation between EU and non-EU members,” Cui wrote, and “it is unclear whether the need for pragmatism in getting the project done will outweigh the need for the EU to preserve its authority.”

Cui also pointed out that “the EU is torn between the actual need for funds and construction cooperation with China, and the fear of China’s growing influence due to its involvement. The EU may attempt to create some trouble for China through review proceedings or may not want to award the best projects to China at all but leave them to EU contractors.”

PwC Study Indicated Belt and Road Initiative Is the World’s Only Economic Driver

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—EIR reported on Feb. 22 that “Real value in China’s economy, and also in its investments in countries along its Belt and Road Initiative, is shifting to infrastructure projects and rising rapidly, as detailed in a report just published by the PricewaterhouseCoopers firm (PwC).”

A closer study of that detailed PwC report reveals its more fundamental point, the “Atlas”-like character of the “win-win” Belt and Road Initiative since 2013, in effectively holding up the world’s economy after the financial crash of the trans-Atlantic banking systems.

Xinhua had reported Feb. 21, that PwC found that the economic value of announced infrastructure projects in which China is participating, surged by 47% in 2016 in 66 countries and regions that fall under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI region had infrastructure projects underway and deals valued at $500 billion in 2016, only one-third of which was in China.

In fact, that investment had made its biggest surge in 2013-14, rising from just under $300 billion to $400 billion in project investments, and kept rising from there. But with the impact of the 2007-08 crash, economic growth even in the 67 OBOR countries, primarily in Asia, started falling in 2011 from an average 8% annually across the region, to just 4.5% average growth of the 67 OBOR countries in 2016. Still much higher, of course, that America’s 1.5% and Europe’s 0.4% stagnation.

Only during 2016 did the economic slide reverse itself, and rise—and this, in China itself as well. In China, the average project size increased by 14% last year. Across the BRI region, the value of invested projects has been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 33% since 2013, PwC reported.

Even as world trade has stagnated in real terms, the great “economic connectivity” projects of OBOR, in utilities, transport, power, telecom, construction, etc., have been the ultimate “countercyclical investments.” They have lifted the whole OBOR region from joining the trans-Atlantic collapse.

Chinese Investments in Turkey’s Railways and Ports Speed Up

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—In an article with the Asia Times on Feb. 26, Altay Atli, an Istanbul-based academic, wrote about Turkey’s emerging role in becoming a partner of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) connectivity projects, including its Maritime Silk Road (MSR) component. “The Turkish government has already signed a number of agreements with China, mainly on cooperation in railway infrastructure development and integration of Turkey’s own projects of road connectivity toward the Caspian and Central Asia with the OBOR. An intra-bureaucracy working group specially dealing with Turkey’s engagement with OBOR was established by the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs with inputs from the ministries of transportation, energy, economy and customs. The Turkish-Chinese Business Council is working on a plan to erect a monument on the Turkish portion of the Ancient Silk Road, similar to the monument in Xian,” Atli wrote.

While its enthusiasm about OBOR was always distinctly visible, Turkey was little late in responding to China’s MSR linkages. Atli said China has made its presence felt next door in Greece, where Piraeus has been turned into “the largest container port in the eastern Mediterranean, and a major entry point for Chinese products into the European markets.” But Turkey’s attitude towards MSR has since begun to reverse. Atli wrote: “Chinese companies have already started to invest in Turkey’s port infrastructure. In 2015, a consortium of COSCO, China Merchants Holdings International and China Investment Corporation spent $920 million to buy a 65% stake at the Kumport Terminal on the outskirts of Istanbul.”

Atli also mentioned two other Turkish ports seemingly carrying great potential. One is the port of Çandarli, located north of Izmir, within viewing distance of the Greek island of Lesbos. The other is the port of Mersin on Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean coast. Mersin, Atli wrote, could establish “a new maritime hub along the Mersin-Iskenderun line,” making it the Turkey’s closest port to the Middle East, “advantageous for receiving container ships passing through the Suez and providing easy access to the North African markets, Iran and the land routes of OBOR.”

U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

New York Times: Where Is Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Plan?

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—One thinks of the ironic adage, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day,” in reading the title of today’s New York Times lead editorial—signed by the entire Editorial Board: “Missing: Donald Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Plan.”

“Which of Donald Trump’s many campaign promises would bring real benefits to the economy? Which would almost certainly win support even among people who voted against him? And which seems to have disappeared completely from the White House radar?

“The answer to all three questions is Mr. Trump’s pledge to put his self-described talents as a builder to work by spending $1 trillion on restoring the country’s crumbling bridges, potholed roads, rust-bucket trains and shabby-not-chic airports. More than a month into his presidency, no such plan has emerged, and there are no signs that one is coming anytime soon.”

In the past 24 hours, the President has said that he will discuss “big infrastructure” before Congress Tuesday night, as well as a healthcare plan to replace the failed Obamacare. Trump’s surrogates have said his budget “will not touch entitlements” but will cut departments and increase defense.

The Times editorial claims Trump was never clear what he meant by his $1 trillion plan—fixing roads, railroads, and such? Or what Cabinet members Wilbur Ross and Trade Council head Peter Navarro, advocated, in a white paper in published in October which proposed tax credits to private developers.

“A big infrastructure package involving direct government spending would,” says the Times, “politically and economically, be a slam-dunk compared with other misguided investments and policies, like building a border wall, or cutting taxes for the wealthy.” The Times cites the American Society of Civil Engineers “Report Card” for the U.S., giving U.S. infrastructure a grade of D+, with $3.6 trillion in spending required by 2020.

“Three-quarters of people surveyed by Gallup last year said they wanted the federal government to increase infrastructure spending,” and Democrats support this, too, the Times says.

A typical estimate to repair and upgrade is $5 trillion. What is required and necessary is the passage of Lyndon LaRouche’s Four Laws.

Anatomy of a British Coup Plot: Follow the Leaks

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—When Donald Trump was confronted with “evidence” of his National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn’s alleged contacts with Russian officials, his response was to turn the tables, and ask who was the source of the leaks of highly classified material which formed the basis of the charges against Flynn. A new posting by Gareth Porter, “How ‘New Cold Warriors’ Cornered Trump” Feb. 25, traces the appearance of these “leaks,” which Porter calls “an unprecedented campaign by Obama administration intelligence officials, relying on innuendo rather than evidence, to exert pressure on Trump to abandon any idea of ending the New Cold War and to boost the campaign to impeach Trump.”

Porter picks up the story on Jan. 6, when “a brazen and unprecedented intervention in domestic U.S. politics by the intelligence community” began with the release of a 25-page dossier (designed to influence the vote of the Electoral College members). Here it was asserted, for the first time, “that Russia had sought to help Trump win the election.” This effort was led by CIA Director John Brennan, along with FBI Director James Comey, DNI James Clapper and NSA Director Mike Rogers (although Clapper backed away at the final minutes). The issuance of this report, Porter says, “begs the question of motive … [since it] was clearly determined to warn Trump not to reverse the policy toward Russia to which the CIA [along with the British and Hillary Clinton—ed.] and other national security organizations were firmly committed.”

The campaign against Flynn followed immediately; it likewise “began with a leak from a ‘senior U.S. government official’ to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius” revealing the contents of Flynn’s Dec. 29 phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Never mind that communications of government officials have “always been considered [some] of the most highly classified secrets in the U.S. intelligence universe of secrets”; thus began a “concerted campaign” of using such leaks in the targetting of Flynn. Although Porter omits it, it was at this point that a British hand revealed itself, with MI6 agent Christopher Stevens’ sleazy dossier published by BuzzFeed.

As this story approached a crescendo, yet another leak was revealed, this time by Obama “stay behind” Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. On Feb. 13, Yates released a report—after consultation with CIA’s Brennan, DNI Clapper and FBI’s Comey—charging that Flynn had committed another offense, in lying to Trump administration officials (specifically the anti-Russia Vice President Mike Pence) about the nature of his contacts with Russian officials. By the end of that day, Flynn was gone.

Porter does not hesitate to implicate the media as co-conspirators in these events, especially the Washington Post, which was compliant to the point of reversing its own coverage in the middle of the Flynn, Kislyak, Pence story.

To call these leaks “fake news” misses the larger point, a coup attempt against the newly elected President. Porter cautions opportunistic “Progressives” who would hop on this snow-balling “get Trump” operation, that they “are in danger of becoming an unwitting ally of those military and intelligence bureaucracies” which they would otherwise rightfully suspect.

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

Prominent German Conservative Wants New Policy Toward Russia

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—Still arguing from the guess-based assumption that Trump’s Presidency would make the U.S.A. totally incalculable, Michael Stürmer, a leading German conservative analyst and author, in an op-ed for Die Welt, calls on Europe to work with the more calculable Russian President Putin. Stürmer says that an end should be put to the demonization of Putin which was introduced under Obama, and the sanctions against Russia be replaced by a constructive approach, with new ideas of economic and political cooperation with Russia.

Instead of repeating their complaints about the non-fulfillment of Minsk II over and over again, people should leave the issue to the attention of future historians, Stürmer said, hinting to a way out of the unsavory solidarity with the Kiev regime which has been typical so far of the German elites.

This change of approach has also been recommended by such leading American politicians as John Matlock, the last U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and Henry Kissinger, Stürmer notes. He then identifies three currents of policymaking interests in Russia: the power men, the siloviki; the oligarchs; the liberals who want reforms. The Kremlin is just the monitor above the three, Stürmer says, and Putin knows that the Russian economy has to escape from the oil revenue trap. But to modernize, Russia needs the West, needs Europe, while Europe needs stability and peace, which cannot be achieved without Russia. It is time for a new “Ostpolitik,” a new opening-up to the East, writes Stürmer, who is close to the more conservative current of the Christian Democrats.

COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM

Yet Another IMF Managing Director Convicted, Headed to Jail

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—In the first prosecution of perpetrators of a deadly “bail-in” expropriation of bank depositors, Spanish prosecutors have convicted and sentenced to jail Rodrigo Rato, another of those criminals known as Managing Directors of the “respected” International Monetary Fund.

Unlike current Director Christine Lagarde, Rato is actually likely to go to prison for four years. Unlike Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Rato’s conviction is for massive stealing, not whoring and pimping. And unlike either of the other two, Rato was caught and convicted after his term as Managing Director, when he became head of Spain’s Bankia Group and stole from its depositors in the notorious Bankia “bail-in”—the original “Cyprus template.”

AFP reported today: “Rato was economy minister and deputy prime minister in the conservative government of José María Aznar [who may have taught him a trade—ed.] from 1996 to 2004, before going on to head up the IMF until 2007. His subsequent career as a banker was short-lived—from 2010 to 2012—but apart from the credit cards case, it also led to another banking scandal considered the country’s biggest ever.

“Thousands of small-scale investors lost their money after they were persuaded to convert their savings to shares ahead of the flotation of Bankia in 2011, with Rato at the reins. Less than a year later, he resigned as it became known that Bankia was in dire straits. The state injected billions of euros but faced with the scale of Bankia’s losses and trouble at other banks, it asked the EU for a bailout for the banking sector and eventually received €41 billion.”

The “credit cards case” refers to separate convictions of Rato and a total of 65 other bankers—something Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder would never have allowed—for embezzling from credit cards of Bankia and Caja Madrid, also headed by Rato.

In a separate report, criminal City of London bank HSBC reported that it was being investigated by tax and law enforcement agencies around the world, including India, the United States, France and Belgium, for alleged tax evasion, money laundering and unlawful cross-border banking solicitation.

Productivity Hit a Nadir under Obama

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—Stagnating productivity in the U.S. economy reached its worst low in many decades in the last year of Barack Obama’s too-long stay in the White House. The Labor Department announced Feb. 24 that labor productivity, which averaged just under 0.4% annual growth over the past decade, grew just 0.2% in 2016. Three-plus percent annual growth was routine in better times, during most of the 20th century.

Wage increases usually follow along with increases in productivity. In the U.S. economy, the only sectors which have produced real hourly wage gains in the past two years (December 2014 to January 2017) are manufacturing, construction, and wholesale trade. And those real gains were still very small, 0.2% in manufacturing, 0.1% in construction and wholesale trade.

OTHER

New Study: Pediatricians Warn Against Pot Use for Teens

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—The American Academy of Pediatrics is strengthening its warning of the potential harm to today’s teens because of increasingly lax laws and attitudes towards marijuana use, Associated Press reports.

A new report is published today in Pediatrics from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which opposes medical and recreational use of marijuana by teens. This is particularly important because most states have legalized medical use for adults, and many have decriminalized or legalized adults’ recreational use.

Dr. Seth Ammerman, one of the report’s co-authors, says parents should know that the brain continues to develop until the early 20s, raising potential short- and long-term effects of a mind-altering drug. Furthermore, the report says those who use it at least 10 times a month develop changes in brain regions affecting memory and the ability to plan, and that some changes may be permanent.

Frequent use beginning in the teen years may lower IQ scores, the report says. Some studies show that using marijuana at a young age is more likely to lead to addiction than starting to use it in adulthood.

Recreational use is illegal for those under age 21 even in states that allow adult use, and adults should not use, or store, any marijuana equipment where children can see or find it.

Government data shows that almost 40% of U.S. high school students have tried marijuana; about 20% are current users, and close to 10% first tried it before age 13. Although the study shows that use has increased among those 18 and older rather than younger teens, it is a fact that kids aged 12-17 increasingly think that marijuana use is not harmful.

Dr. Sheryl Ryan, a Yale University pediatrics professor and lead author of the academy report, says marijuana is the “drug of choice” of many of her teen patients, who think that their parents used pot in college and turned out OK. But, says Dr. Ryan, today’s marijuana is much more potent and potentially more risky.

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