No More Houstons: Lyndon LaRouche Says What Must Happen ‘Right Now’
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—LaRouchePAC today issued a statement on what must be done, given that the Harvey storm devastation is not a “natural” disaster, but results from criminal policy. This will also appear in print in the forthcoming issue of The Hamiltonian, the broadside circulated in New York, along with the full transcript of the address by Helga Zepp-LaRouche to an Aug. 26 conference in New York City on the U.S. infrastructure emergency. The LaRouchePAC statement, which follows below, can be downloaded for organizing.
No More Houstons: Lyndon LaRouche Says
What Must Happen ‘Right Now’
The catastrophe in Texas is a man-made disaster accomplished by the criminal negligence of this nation’s elected officials, who have continued to support Wall Street’s speculative economy and imperial ambitions while arguing that the nation cannot afford to rebuild and replace its ancient and broken-down economic infrastructure. For the third time since 2005, major American cities have been flooded and their people devastated, because the plans for new infrastructure to protect the people, requiring tens of billions in investments, have been ignored and turned down. Hurricane Harvey now looms as the worst national disaster in our nation’s history and it is a disaster which did not have to happen.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and wreaked $130 billion in economic losses. Only then, slowly, new flood-control and sea-gate infrastructure was built—at last—for New Orleans, at a fraction of the human and monetary costs of the damage inflicted by the storm. How many unnecessary deaths and suffering could this project have averted?
Four years later, the American Society of Civil Engineers met in Manhattan to discuss several storm surge barrier options for the New York City region. The estimate for the largest of these was $9 billion. The government decided to do nothing. Then, in 2012 Superstorm Sandy killed more than 100 people and caused $65 billion in economic losses. New York area residents now are going through a “Summer of Hell” as the 100-year-old regional transportation system, flooded and damaged five years ago, also was not repaired or replaced at the necessary pace.
The staggering economic and human suffering caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Texas and Louisiana Gulf region are not yet known, and will grow in magnitude as the water recedes; but, what has been known for many years, is that Texas Gulf cities are flood-prone, and have repeatedly flooded. Yet, no flood control or storm protection infrastructure has been built since the end of World War II. Plans for a new system for the Houston area had been drafted, but their $25 billion cost was deemed “too high” a price tag for our Wall Street-dominated agencies and elected officials. Now, hundreds of billions of dollars, and priceless human lives, are lost.
All of these disasters, and others in the recent period, could have been averted for a fraction of their eventual cost in lost wealth, let alone in lost lives. The media insist to Americans that each city’s disaster is caused by its particular economic habits, its choice of location, its squabbling jurisdictions, its ignoring of climate change, or its being close to water! This is nonsense. Wall Street, which has been bailed out repeatedly to the tune of trillions of dollars, with nothing but increased impoverishment of the American people to show for it, must no longer be allowed to dictate the economic policy of the United States of America.
The Real Size of the Bailout. The price tag for the Wall Street bailout is often put at $700 billion-the size of the Troubled Assets Relief Program. But TARP is just the tip of the iceberg of money paid out or set aside by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve.
“The nation calls for action, and action now!” in President Franklin Roosevelt’s words. During his presidency, and through the 1940s, the new infrastructure to prevent such “natural disasters”—such as the Tennessee Valley Authority—was funded by national credit, as through the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Works Progress Authority.
Hurricane Harvey drowning cities in East Texas should be the national alarm which ends 70 years in which the country has been without any such national credit institutions.
A Sea-Change Is Required
Lyndon LaRouche on August 30 called for a “sea change” in policy “right now.” He called for the immediate creation of a national credit institution for new, high-technology infrastructure, like that employed by Franklin Roosevelt when the vast majority of our current infrastructure was built. There is no alternative to creating a national credit institution, like that employed by Alexander Hamilton and in accord with our Constitution, to fund the necessary trillions in new infrastructure investment.
There must also be action on reinstating Glass-Steagall banking separation right now, as a new financial crisis looms and Wall Street speculation continues to prevent actual productive investment. Allowing Wall Street to eliminate the Glass-Steagall Act in the 1990s led to a crash that caused $10 trillion in lost wealth, mass unemployment, and untold loss and shortening of human lives.
LaRouche insists that his “Four Economic Laws To Save the Nation” must be implemented right now if this country is to recover from Hurricane Harvey and prevent similar disasters stemming from our rotting physical economy now ticking like a time bomb:
- Re-institute Glass-Steagall: break up Wall Street and its power;
- Create national credit institutions based on FDR’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation and Alexander Hamilton’s national banks;
- Invest the credit in new infrastructure with frontier technologies, including high-speed rail, fourth-generation fission, and fusion power technologies, and modern storm protection and water-management systems;
- Adopt a fusion-driver “crash program”: let a great expansion of NASA space exploration provide a driver for productivity and productive employment.
A New Paradigm Takes Hold
China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an international program of new rail “land-bridges” and great projects of infrastructural development, offers immediate cooperation for the credit and the building of a new infrastructure in the United States. This initiative is now moving on great projects they have long identified as absolutely essential, such as the Kra Canal in Southeast Asia and the revival of Lake Chad in Sub-Saharan Africa, projects long championed by Lyndon LaRouche and his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
Helga and Lyndon LaRouche are leading a national mobilization focused on moving President Trump to immediately bring America into the China-initiated Belt and Road Initiative of worldwide building of new infrastructure. That “win-win” initiative, and the United States joining in its worldwide projects and also building its own new infrastructure, means the revival of the United States as an industrial power.
On Aug. 26, Helga Zepp-LaRouche addressed a Manhattan conference on the infrastructure emergency in the United States, making the following proposal:
“Just think what enormous potential is opening up if the United States would cooperate with the Belt and Road Initiative,” Zepp-LaRouche told the conference. “I think it is really important to imagine a completely different system. If the United States would now do what Franklin D. Roosevelt did—a New Deal, Glass-Steagall, cooperate with China—the United States could experience an industrial revolution bigger than any time in its own history. People just have to imagine that we are right now at the end of a system, a system which cannot be saved. We need to replace it with a completely new system, and most people have just a hard time to imagine that, but there are examples of such changes. For example, the Marshall Plan in Europe was such an example, and the Meiji Restoration in Japan was such an example—what Roosevelt did with the New Deal; so people have to just think that such a dramatic change is absolutely possible today.”
LaRouchePAC has taken the responsibility to drive President Trump and the Congress into this action. But this is also the responsibility of all Americans that think of themselves as citizens: those who have been actively supporting the President, or supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders; those who supported no one, out of disgust at the manipulation, and continued manipulation of the election, but who have wanted a drastic change in the deindustrialization and Wall Street speculation policy ruling the country; those who know people killed, or made homeless and impoverished by Wall Street’s induced “natural disasters.” All must now act and make their voices heard.
Because, watching what is happening, again, to great American cities, leads anyone sane to the same conclusion: There is no alternative.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
More Destruction from Harvey and Lack of Protective Infrastructure against Gulf Storms
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—Every hour, new terrible instances occur of the inevitable destruction of life and economic functioning under the combined effects of Harvey and the lack of protective infrastructure on the Gulf Coast. This weekend, President Trump is set to return to Texas, and go to Louisiana. Today, Vice President Pence and his wife toured Texas. Reality requires an entire shift in policy for emergency relief and true rebuilding.
Texas-East Coast Gas Pipeline Shutdown: The main fuel pipeline carrying gasoline from Texas to the East Coast shut down today, for what the owner, Colonial Pipeline Co. says, will be a temporary period, because of the “storm-related refinery shut-downs.” No timetable for re-opening can yet be given. The same company had to close its diesel and jet fuel conveyance operations Aug. 30. Colonial is the biggest fuel carrier in the nation.
The Colonial Pipeline carries more than 3 million barrels a day from Houston, eastward to New York City. It is the main supplier for Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, among others. Re-opening the closed pipeline is contingent on resumption of the Texas refineries.
Ammonia Plant Exploded, Caught Fire: Early this morning, the Arkema ammonia plant in Crosby, Texas, had two explosions, and caught fire. This came as a result of loss of power to refrigerate the explosive chemical components kept at the facility. Knowing explosion was inevitable, authorities evacuated the area yesterday, for a 1.5-mile radius. Ten sheriff’s deputies were hospitalized for inhalation treatment.
Huge Agriculture Losses: Too soon to tally, the losses to farming and ranching will be huge along the storm track, with damage to crops, livestock and conditions for future production. For example, 13 of the 50 counties declared disaster areas by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, produce cotton. Among the hardest hit are growers in the Upper Coastal Bend. High winds blew through their cotton fields, destroying stalks and lint, according to experts at the Texas Agriculture Department. Elsewhere, the lint is soaked and degraded. Losses easily are 100%. Plus cotton warehouses are damaged.
The rice crop, though 75% harvested, may have sustained big losses in the storage bins, from all the wind and water damage.
Cattlemen rushed to move their stock to higher ground, and shelters for displaced animals are operating elsewhere in the state, but the losses will be showing up soon.
London’s The Economist Calls Trump Unfit for Office
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—Joining—or more likely directing—the call for President Trump’s removal from office as “Unfit” (the title of their editorial in the Aug. 19-25 issue), The Economist editorializes that “Donald Trump has no grasp of what it means to be President.” With a cover picture showing Trump speaking through a megaphone which is a KKK hood, the editorial asserts to the U.S. population, how to view the man they elected: “Far from being the savior of the Republic, their President is politically inept, morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office.”
The Economist, of course, treats the KKK and Nazis as legitimate organizations with growing support, ignoring the FBI control and the fact that they have virtually no support in the country. Rather, anyone who doesn’t denounce Trump is considered a white supremacist. A second article in the same issue is titled “Donald Trump’s Failure of Character Emboldens America’s Far Right.”
This voice of the British Empire targets Republicans, saying that Trump, while enjoying overwhelming support from the Republican base, “is not a Republican,” and instructs the Republicans in the Congress: “Rather than indulging his outrages in the hope that something good will come of it, they must condemn them.” The Empire has spoken.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
China: We Won’t Allow Chaos on Our Doorstep
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—China and Russia are both standing by their contention that there is no military solution to the problem of North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, even in the wake of the latest test on Aug. 29, when North Korea launched a medium-range missile that flew over Japan and landed in the ocean about 1,200 km east of Hokkaido.
Senior Col. Ren Guoqiang, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, made clear today that while China objects to such missile testing, it will not allow war to come to the Korean Peninsula. “We firmly oppose any trouble-making or trouble-provoking actions at the doorstep of China, definitely allow no war or chaos on the peninsula, and strongly urge that all relevant parties would exercise restraint instead of provoking each other and escalating regional tensions,” he said during the ministry’s monthly press briefing.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a similar message for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Aug. 30, during a phone call initiated by the U.S. side. (See next item).
Back in Washington, Secretary of Defense James Mattis hosted South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo yesterday, for discussions on the U.S.-South Korean alliance. They expressed support for “ongoing diplomatic efforts” for the denuclearization of the North, while also stressing the importance of the alliance, according to the read-out issued by the Pentagon.
The U.S.-South Korean Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise concluded today. While the exercise did not involve U.S. strategic assets, such as B-1B bombers, a separate exercise, reported to be in direct response to the most recent North Korea missile launch, took place, involving not only two bombers and South Korean F-15K fighter jets, but also four U.S. Marine Corps F-35B joint strike fighters flying from their base in Japan. They staged air-to-ground precision-strike drills against the North’s core facilities over the Pilseung Range in the eastern mountainous province of Gangwon, reported the Yonhap news agency. “The U.S. did not dispatch bombers (to Korea) during the exercise in hopes that the reduced scale would send a positive signal to North Korea and the region,” an unnamed U.S. Forces Korea official said. But instead the North responded to the gesture with a series of provocative acts, said the official.
Lavrov and Tillerson Hold Discussion on North Korea, Lavrov Stresses Caution
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a telephone discussion Aug. 30 on North Korea. TASS reported on the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which said, “The situation around the missile launch carried out by North Korea the day before [early on Aug. 29] was the focus of attention. The sides stated that this move came as a new rude violation by Pyongyang of numerous resolutions by the UN Security Council.” According to TASS, the Ministry “said Lavrov had emphasized that search for political-diplomatic ways to overcome tensions on the Korean Peninsula had no alternative and stressed the importance of refraining from any military moves fraught with unpredictable consequences.”
Continued Scare-Mongering against Russia—NATO Demands More Transparency on Zapad Exercise
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—NATO is sending three experts to observe the Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 exercise, which is scheduled to run from Sept. 14-20, but is still complaining that it doesn’t have the access it wants. NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the three experts will attend “Visitors’ Days” in Belarus and Russia after they were invited to attend, reports the Associated Press. But she said international rules—she is referring to the OSCE Vienna Document that governs transparency of military exercises by both NATO and Russia—permit monitors to have much wider access, including briefings on the exercise, opportunities to talk to soldiers, and overflights.
Lungescu claimed that the invitations that NATO received are not a substitute for real observation under the Vienna Document. “Russia and Belarus are instead choosing a selective approach that falls short. Such avoidance of mandatory transparency only raises questions about the nature and purpose of the exercise,” she complained.
Adding to such scare-mongering is the deployment of additional U.S. F-15C fighter jets to Lithuania during the period of the Zapad exercise. The U.S. has taken over the Baltic air policing mission this quarter, but instead of deploying the usual four aircraft, sent seven instead, to join the extra 600 airborne troops that have also been deployed in Lithuania.
Russia, of course, has rejected the claims made against the Zapad exercise by NATO and sympathetic news media outlets. Pushback is also coming from some unexpected directions, such as the Latvian Ambassador to Moscow Maris Riekstins, who warned against such hysterics during an appearance on national television earlier today. “We should be vigilant, but do not need to be hysterical,” he said. Riekstins called the invitations of Russia and Belarus to send Latvia’s monitors to the drills a positive gesture, but said that there still should be more transparency. Latvia is among those countries that have been invited to send observers and is sending three.
Simon Saradzhyan, a research fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center, writing in an article on the Belfer Center “Russia Matters” blog, not only debunks the fear-mongering about the exercise, but also takes on the matter of transparency that NATO is putting so much stress on. While transparency could be improved, it “will not qualitatively diminish the chance of a conflict. That possibility will continue to loom large as long as the underlying causes of potential conflict are not addressed, such as Russia’s concerns about NATO’s expansion to the post-Soviet space and Western allies’ concerns about Russia’s use of force against neighbors.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Russia-Mongolia-China Transport Corridor To Be Up and Running by 2018
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov announced that the new Russia-Mongolia-China economic corridor will be opened for road transport in 2018. The program to set up an economic corridor was signed by the leaders of the three countries within the framework of the Tashkent summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June 2016.
A glance at the map shows this corridor would serve northern China. “We expect that this agreement will come into effect and will be ratified shortly in our countries. And haulage via the Russia-Mongolia-China corridor will open already next year, in 2018,” the minister said during a seminar where representatives from the three involved countries reviewed preparations to implement an intergovernmental agreement on international transport via the Asian network of highways. TASS noted that Russia has already ratified the agreement.
“This is the development of the central railway corridor, organizing transit trucking activities on the Tianjin-Ulan Bator-Ulan Ude route, and paving a road along this route,” Sokolov said, and that the Silk Road highway will be the first part to be completed.
“The issue of obtaining bilateral and multilateral permission for hauling different types of cargoes between the countries is now under discussion. A data bank is being put together with a list of shipments that will include oil cargoes and unified containers,” he said. The meeting followed statements made last February by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who had called for pursuing the economic corridor project which he said would help support economic development and encourage Mongolia’s participation in international affairs.
Japanese Trade Minister Speaks on the Future of Proposed Energy Bridge to Russia
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—In an interview with Sputnik, Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko spoke on the prospects for building an energy bridge between Russia and Japan. “As far as the energy bridge is concerned, without predicting any results, we are carrying out joint examination of different issues of the system plan, from the point of view of technology and costs, without any commitments,” Seko said.
“There are difficult challenges ahead of the implementation of the Russia-Japan gas pipeline project, such as deciding who will be the subject of investments in construction, deciding on the route, what to do with fishing and ensuring security. First of all, it is necessary to study the profitability for private business as compared to, say, LNG,” the minister said. “I am planning to take part in the upcoming Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok if the circumstances allow,” Seko said, and that the agenda of his visit is currently being worked out.
The third Eastern Economic Forum will take place in Vladivostok on Sept. 6-7. Among the high officials attending will be Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga.
Nigeria Finalizes Construction of Mambilla Hydropower Plant
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) has awarded an engineering contract to China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC) to build the $5.8 billion hydroelectric power project in Mambilla. When completed, the project is expected to generate 3,050MW of electricity, reported Power Technology, an industry website. Mambilla hydropower plant is located on the Donga River in the eastern Taraba State.
CCECC was approved for the project following a memorandum submission to the FEC by Nigeria’s Power, Works, and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola. In October 2005, the FEC approved a preparatory cost of N2 billion naira ($55 million) for the Mambilla hydropower project, which is expected to be completed in around six years once construction begins, Power Technology’s Aug. 31 report said.
Fashola was quoted by the Nigerian Tribune on Aug. 30 as saying: “The scope of works is very extensive. It requires construction of four dams. One of them is 150m in height, while the intermediate two are 70m in height, and the smallest is 50m in height. Just for concept and scope, the 150m one is essentially the size of a 50 story building, because you have approximately 3m a floor. The intermediate one is roughly a 20 story building. It also includes 700km of transmission lines. It will be in Taraba State, in the area called Gengu.”
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Taiwan Blackout Pinned on Nuclear Pull-Out
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—Taiwan experienced a severe blackout on Aug. 15, leaving 7 million households and many businesses without power for about four hours. The immediate cause was human error at a power plant, but it is widely recognized that the ongoing phaseout from nuclear power is the root cause, due to a lack of dependable energy and the needed redundancy.
Taiwan has six nuclear plants with two under construction, but construction has been halted on both, and the green government of President Tsai Ing-wen has declared a total shutdown of nuclear power by 2025, when the official certification on the last plant runs out. According to “Focus Taiwan,” in June only one of the six existing plants was operating. Despite the anti-nuclear government policy, the state-run utility Taiwan Power Co. was allowed to reopen two which had been under maintenance, simply to make it through the summer. The outage on Aug. 15 has stirred up calls to reconsider the foolish and dangerous anti-nuclear policy.
The Global America Business Institute (GABI), a Washington-based pro-nuclear institute backed by the Korean nuclear industry, issued a statement Aug. 30 advising South Korea to take note of the blackout and rising energy prices in Taiwan, warning that the same will happen in South Korea if President Moon Jae-in continues with his anti-nuclear plans, which are similar to those in Taiwan—stopping ongoing construction, and phasing out plants when their registration runs out rather than extending them.
Chinese To Develop ‘HyperFlight’ Hyperloop System
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), the main contractor for China’s space program, announced Aug. 30 at the Third China (International) Commercial Aerospace Forum in Wuhan that it will develop a hyperloop system with speeds up to 4,000 kmh, Xinhua reports. The sources said the company would complete the program, called HyperFlight, in three steps: 1,000 kmh for intercity transport, 2,000 kmh for inter-regional transport, and 4,000 kmh for international routes along the New Silk Road.
“HyperFlight will be a new signature product for China in addition to aerospace, high-speed rail, and nuclear power, according to the company,” Xinhua reports.
The system will reduce air resistance with a low vacuum tube and supersonic shape, and reduce friction resistance via magnetic suspension.
Mao Kai, technical director of the HyperFlight project, said his company has teamed up with more than 20 research institutions from China and abroad, and boasts 200 patents in related fields, according to Xinhua.