EIR Daily Alert Service
TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 2017
Volume 4, Number 81
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
April 24 (EIRNS)—With another telephone discussion Sunday on peace on the Korean Peninsula, the dialogue between President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping is taking on a world-leading importance, understood by leading Chinese figures but obscured in the Atlantic region by British demands for war confrontations.
Xi has proposed, and Trump agreed, that the two have regular conversations and an early visit by Trump to China for a second summit meeting. This is the crucial collaboration for the first American President in a century to discuss returning to Alexander Hamilton’s and Lincoln’s “American System of economy,” which defied the British Empire and made the United States the world’s leading industrial nation.
China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is driving world economic growth and truly benefitting the 60 other nations participating, putting modern infrastructure into their economies and creating productive employment. This is what Trump wants to do.
Trump is reviving the “Apollo” spirit of John F. Kennedy with Presidential space videos and his call to the Space Station today with thousands of American students watching, and he is proposing to speed the return to the Moon and Mars. China’s space program is taking the lead in Moon exploration including the never-attempted far side, looking ahead to Mars.
Trump and Xi both want a peaceful solution in Korea. London’s leaders and media, having led the McCarthyite assault against Trump’s cooperative relationship with Russia, now insistently try to blow up the North Korea crisis into world war. British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon’s declaration yesterday, that “Prime Minister May is ready to use nuclear weapons in a first strike,” as one British headline accurately reported, was war insanity, especially in a manufactured nuclear weapons crisis. Britain’s Attorney General has just declared that aggressive war is not illegal for Britain!”
The British drive to blacken and “coup” the Trump Presidency must be stopped. If U.S.-China and U.S.-Russia cooperation are on good grounds, there is no problem in the world that cannot be solved.
As the latest one-minute EIR video states:
“President Donald Trump has spoken frequently of his intent to spend $1 trillion on U.S. infrastructure to boost productivity and expand the economy. He has a wonderful opportunity next month to discuss that vision with other world leaders, including those in Asia, which is spending three times what the U.S. is on infrastructure, relative to GDP.
“On May 14 and 15, a tremendous summit will be held in Beijing, to plan out the Belt and Road Initiative. This is an international cooperation project, initiated by China, that involves: cooperation of over 60 countries; the building of what will be around $20 trillion of infrastructure; that will affect over 4 billion people.
“The May summit will include: 110 nations, 28 represented by their heads of state. It’s a great infrastructure opportunity.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
April 24 (EIRNS)—Her Majesty’s U.K. government is prepared to launch a first strike with nuclear weapons under undeclared circumstances, Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon stated emphatically today on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program.
“In the most extreme circumstances we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike,” Fallon declared. He refused to say under what conditions Great Britain would carry out a first strike, because to do so would “make the deterrent less credible.” This, in the context of emphasizing the importance of the U.K. maintaining its nuclear arsenal and submarine.
He is not some madman speaking for himself. Prime Minister Teresa May’s official spokesman upheld Fallon’s statement when questioned; telling reporters that there is “no reason to disagree with what the Defense Secretary said.”
Her Majesty’s government chose to issue this threat in the midst of the precarious international crisis around North Korea. It follows within days of the report in major U.K. dailies that U.K. Attorney General Jeremy Wright, chief legal advisor to the Crown and a Queen’s Counsel, is asserting before the courts of the Kingdom that waging a war of aggression may be a crime under international law, but it is not a crime in Great Britain.
April 24 (EIRNS)—South Korean Presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo told Reuters in an interview, that, if elected, he will work to restart the Six-Party Talks to “denuclearize” the Korean Peninsula, involving North Korea and South Korea, China, the United States, Japan, and Russia.
“While maintaining a two-track policy with sanctions and dialogue and strengthening cooperation with neighboring countries, I will seek six-party talks,” said Ahn. “By resuming the six party talks to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem, before it becomes impossible to resolve the issue, as provisional interim measures, I will pursue a freeze on the North’s nuclear weapons program, a moratorium on nuclear tests, and return of IAEA inspectors to the North and restoring monitoring cameras,” he said. Reuters did not report whether he plans to offer any concessions to the North for these issues.
“Also four-party talks with North Korea, the United States and China will be sought to establish a denuclearized Korean peninsula and a peaceful regime,” he said.
The Presidential elections are taking place on May 9, sixty days after the formal ouster of Park Geun-hye. Ahn and Moon Jae-in are the leading two candidates, both from the anti-conservative opposition side. Moon is the more ideological leftist, and several different factions have recently gathered behind Ahn in an effort to stop Moon.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
April 24 (EIRNS)—During a 20-minute spirited discussion this morning with two astronauts aboard the International Space Station, President Trump expressed his admiration for their efforts, and the scientific accomplishments of the crews on the station, and discussed plans for the future of space exploration. He stressed the importance of motivating young people to study science, asking astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer aboard the ISS, and astronaut Kate Rubins with him in the Oval office, to discuss what motivated them to become astronauts. “I know that America’s students are thrilled to hear from you,” the President told the three astronauts, stating, “we are being joined by students all across America, thousands and thousands of students,” who are “watching this conversation from the classroom.”
NASA and the Department of Education, on behalf of the White House, organized the call as an educational event, encouraging classrooms to tune in, and making educational materials available to schools, museums, and other institutions, in order to engage students and motivate them to study science, math, and technology. Helga Zepp-LaRouche observed that Trump was the first President since Kennedy to present the nation’s space policy as inspiration, and involve large numbers of students. This attacks the attempt of the British to darken his Presidency, she said.
Col. Jack Fischer, who just arrived at the Space Station on the April 22 weekend, was ebullient in his response to the President’s queries, encouraging students to study science and math. “I would say to all the students that are watching, the time to get excited is now … our future is in the stars, and you can be a part of that…. And we’re going to find a permanent foothold in the stars for humanity, if you do that.”
The date for the President’s call was chosen in order to recognize a record set today by Commander Whitson, who became the astronaut with the most cumulative time in space, and is carrying out her second long-duration station mission as Commander.
The call could not have come at a better moment, just two days after the unfortunate “March for Science.” The marchers ranged from disgruntled and misguided scientists, to Green counter-culture activists, all herded by the anti-Trump “movement.” From Houston, LaRouche PAC Policy Committee member Kesha Rogers exposed that Houston Science Enthusiasts is inviting people to a meeting for “A Taste of Science—A Taste of Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll.”
Space policy is set by the President with his advisors in the space community and in the White House. President Trump has the opportunity, in collaboration with the other space-faring nations, to set bold, long-term goals in space, from the exploration and industrial development of the Moon, to the challenging missions to Mars.
April 24 (EIRNS)—The British-led “Russia made Trump President” dirty operation is apparently having trouble standing on its own. Someone is now desperate to breathe life into the virtually stillborn Congressional investigations (both House and Senate) concerning the Trump/Russia ties, demanded by Rep. Adam Schiff and other Democrats at recent Intelligence Committee hearings. An article, “Senate Trump-Russia Probe Has No Full-Time Staff, No Key Witnesses,” written by Tim Mak of the “Daily Beast,” is being widely circulated today on the political media sites frequented by D.C. movers.
Mak details the sorry state of the “investigative activity” of the panel: Nearly three months into the Trump Presidency, they still do not have even a single full-time staffer, only seven part-time (“dual hat”) staffers, and none with any significant investigative experience. The only thing they have to show is letters to leading players which caution them not to destroy documents, and several interviews. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has had to prod them to start looking into financial connections, which implies they were not already doing that.
Mak’s big gun is “human rights attorney” Scott Horton. “To do a serious investigation would require no less than a dozen full-time staffers [with] counterintelligence, prosecutorial skills to do it, and people who have a very good sense of the forensic accounting world of Russia and Europe. Without that sort of expertise, you’re not going to get anywhere,” Horton says, seeming to know more than he says.
Indeed, Mr. Horton—who writes for Harper’s and has been a favorite, “go to” source for the Beast concerning “Russian corruption”—is an attorney for the Queen’s own DLA Piper Law Firm, reportedly “an advisor to George Soros’s Open Society Foundation,” and self-admittedly “involved” in the color revolution in Kyrgyzstan.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
April 24 (EIRNS)—Two Memoranda of Understanding for the formation of a joint Arab-Chinese “Business Council of the Silk Road” were inked in Beirut, Lebanon on Friday, between the Arab Chambers of Commerce and the China Council To Promote International Trade (CCPIT). Participants discussed ideas for raising Chinese-Arab cooperation to a “strategic partnership,” and the potential for China to play a strategic role in the reconstruction of Iraq and Syria, in cooperation with Arab companies, Xinhua reported.
The Lebanese businessmen and bankers involved are eager to join the Belt and Road Initiative. Xinhua reported that Nabil Fahed, Vice Chairman of Beirut Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, spoke of the importance of the new Business Council, and his hopes that “Lebanon will be a key center for the Silk Road.” The chairman of Lebanon’s Fransabank Adnan Kassar spoke of the advantages of location, human resources, and relatively high-level security in the region, which Lebanon offers for the Silk Road. Arab Chambers head Nael al-Kabariti urged that cooperation between China and the Arab countries be strengthened.
China’s Ambassador to Lebanon Wang Kejian emphasized that the Belt and Road Initiative is carrying out giant projects in many countries along the Silk Road. “The Chinese government fully supports Chinese companies investing in the Arab world, and encourages Arab companies to develop their businesses in China,” he said.
The Chinese delegation, led by CCPIT head Jiang Zengwei, also held separate bilateral meetings with Lebanon’s President Gen. Michel Aoun, and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Economy Minister Raed Khoury, former minister and Fransabank chair Kassar, and Ambassador Wang joined Jiang at the meeting with Aoun, the Presidency media office reported. Jiang was reported to have praised Aoun’s election, saying it encourages business and “gives Chinese and Lebanese businessmen an opportunity to work together and improve ties.”
Jiang, Wang and Kassar then met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Kassar there urged that “the government take all measures that will encourage Chinese companies to invest in Lebanon to expand cooperation in infrastructure, and to facilitate trade and investment in new energies and vital sectors such as agriculture and finance in a way that achieves common progress and development.”
April 24 (EIRNS)—The first ministerial meeting of the Ancient Civilization Forum, a joint initiative of the Greek and Chinese Foreign Ministries, opened in Athens on April 23 and will continue on April 24. The Foreign Ministers of the “GC10,” or Great Civilizations” of Greece, China, Egypt, Bolivia, India, Italy, Iran, Iraq, Mexico and Peru are participating.
On Sunday evening Greek Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou spoke at the opening session, entitled “The Timeless Significance and Resonance of Ancient Civilizations, Their Influence and Their Relationship with Modern Times.”
“A great contribution of Greeks to the Western civilizations is the introduction of dialog as a foundation of democracy, as the core of its institutions,” she told the conference. “The borders on the map may have changed, the distribution of power, the name of the powerful, but cultures have always remained stable as an endless pool of knowledge and memory. Through these cultures we can be inspired to respond to the problems of our time, fanaticism and intolerance; the crisis and the impasses.”
Ahead of the conference Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. “We have the pleasure of establishing this forum of great ancient civilizations, an idea of the two foreign ministers of Greece and China, as the two countries have marked the world’s cultural heritage with their ancient civilizations,” Tsipras said during his meeting with Wang. Tsipras also said he is very pleased to be attending the Belt and Road Forum that will take place in Beijing in mid-May.
Greek President Pavlopoulos said his country looks forward to forging closer bilateral cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples, as well as the entire world. “I believe that China, thanks to its great history and power, can play a significant role. That is why Greece as a member state of the EU appreciates China’s cooperation as very important not only for Greece but for the EU as a whole,” Pavlopoulos said.
Wang said the “Ancient Civilization Forum” has provided dynamism in both thought and culture for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. “The Ancient Civilization Forum and the Road and Belt Initiative can be essentially traced to the same origin,” he said.
Wang Yi also met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ahead of the forum, and said China stands ready to expand cooperation with Iran under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
For his part Zarif said that Iran welcomes and supports the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, and is willing to promote its development through the Ancient Civilization Forum so as to achieve common development.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
April 24 (EIRNS)—It would be difficult to name a financial publication or media source which has NOT attacked or “debunked” the Glass-Steagall Act in the two weeks since a Senate bill, S.881, joined the House bill, HR 790, and Congress then adjourned. A three-part diatribe by the Heritage Foundation, another trilogy from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, all major London dailies and American media from Wall Street Journal to the New Yorker. The fear is palpable, despite all denials, that Glass-Steagall, Wall Street’s wolf’s bane, could progress in Congress.
Today the Washington Examiner joins in, with a particularly resentful and lengthy opposition, “Trump Team Muddies Deregulation Message with Glass-Steagall Chatter.” Among its many complaints: Trump has abandoned some other campaign promises, why hasn’t he given up on this one?; Glass-Steagall muddies the waters of Republican attempts to deregulate and “repeal and replace” Dodd-Frank; bank regulators could do the same thing without legislation; it’s a bad distraction for Wall Street bankers trying to comply with the Volcker Rule!; it isn’t likely to pass, but it might; and, FDIC vice-chairman Thomas Hoenig has a “bold proposal for ring-fencing” which is so much easier and more available; and so on and forth.
The right-wing American Enterprise Institute added a column in American Banker April 24, claiming against 60 years’ historical evidence, that Glass-Steagall restoration would worsen the crisis threat of too-big-to-fail banks.
Lurking behind this fight, is a debt bubble in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBs), real estate investment trusts (REITs) and leveraged U.S. corporate debt in general, which could blow out this year.
Some 8,650 retail stores will close in 2017, estimates Credit Suisse research, three times the 2,700 which closed in 2016, and higher than the previous 2008 peak in retail busts. The Wall Street Journal reports that 10 retailers with more than $50 million in liabilities filed for bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2017, whereas there were nine such in all of 2016. The United States has double the retail space and retail sales per capita of any other major country (4-6 times most), and the world’s highest commercial rents. More to the point, it now has $14 trillion in debt of non-financial corporations, compared to $8 trillion in 2007.
An April 18 IMF report was greeted with disbelief: 20% or more of U.S. non-financial corporations will default if interest rates rise quickly to 4-5%, the IMF researchers estimated. Morgan Stanley research published a much more detailed report April 20 which confirms the IMF in spades. It finds that non-financial corporate debt to cash-from-operations is at an all-time high ratio of 3.2:1 (2.7:1 is the highest it’s ever been before). The debt-to-EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation) leverage of these corporations is equal to its all-time high.
These companies’ total profits, as already reported, did not grow from 2011-2013, and now have fallen from 2013-2016.
This situation was featured by former investment banker and economist Nomi Prins in her March 16 interview with LaRouche PAC, based on her January forecast for 2017 which foresaw a serious economic collapse in United States by the end of the year, with mass corporate defaults.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
April 24 (EIRNS)—To “promote innovation and cooperation in space exploration,” Xinhua reports that China yesterday created a “coalition,” initiated by the Chinese Society of Astronautics and the Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, which involves 48 universities, research institutes, and academic organizations, both domestic and from abroad. Its purpose, explained Tian Yulong, Secretary-General of the China National Space Administration, is to “boost exchanges in space innovation between its members, and help joint training of high-caliber professionals.” China is already giving access to its space technology, such as its BeiDou navigation satellite system, to countries along the Silk Road. Joint satellite projects have been under discussion.
Highlighting its own achievements in space, today China celebrated its second annual national Space Day. Activities included public lectures, including by astronauts. One was by Wang Yaping, crew member on the Shenzhou-10 mission. Speaking to 400 middle school students in Macao, she recalled the science lessons she taught in space, and said that she wanted to travel to the Moon, dressed like princess Chang’e and holding a rabbit, to the delight of the children.
Xinhua covered the review of some of the comments on China’s space accomplishments by President Xi Jinping which was carried on CCTV English today as part of the celebration. In a meeting in January 2014 with scientists and engineers who carried out the Chang’e-3 lunar mission, Xi described innovation as “the soul of a people and the source of a country’s prosperity.” He said, “As we made [lunar rover] ‘Yutu’ lay its prints on the Moon, we also imprinted the extraordinary creativity of the Chinese nation onto the history of human civilization.”
Meeting in late 2016 with astronauts and other involved with the Tijagong-2 module visited by the Shenzhou-11 crew, Xi said: “The universe is vast, and exploration of it will never end.”