EIR Daily Alert Service-BRICs Offers Hope For Humanity!

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2017

Volume 4, Number 175

EIR Daily Alert Service

P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390

EDITORIAL

BRICS Summit Points the Way Out

Sept. 3 (EIRNS)—A world threatened with the present danger of nuclear war, as newly accentuated by North Korea’s sixth nuclear weapon test this weekend, and with economic devastation wrought by failure to invest in needed infrastructure and scientific advance, as in Texas and the entire Gulf Coast, would do well to rivet its attention on the Sept. 3-5 BRICS Summit, which has begun in Xiamen, China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, the summit’s host, stated that “peace and development,” and not “conflict and confrontation,” are the policies the planet needs. He pointed to the “rising financial risks” the world faces under the current system, and urged instead that “we should pursue innovation-driven development.” To achieve that, he held up the example of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and blasted the gossip that this is just one more geopolitical scheme for domination:

“Let me make this clear: The Belt and Road Initiative is not a tool to advance any geopolitical agenda, but a platform for practical cooperation. It is not a foreign aid scheme, but an initiative for interconnected development which calls for extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. I am convinced that the Belt and Road Initiative will serve as a new platform for all countries to achieve win-win cooperation.”

And for the Doubting Thomases, there is China’s phenomenal, and ongoing, achievement in pulling over 700 million of its own people out of poverty, and their efforts to do the same in the planet’s most challenging impoverished areas—Africa, Haiti, etc.

Russia under Vladimir Putin fully shares that win-win policy commitment of Xi Jinping’s—and the underlying concept of Man’s creativity which drives it forward. In a Sept. 1 dialogue with more than 1 million Russian youth in school classrooms in 24 regions across the country, Putin made the point with eloquence and simplicity:

“Your goal is not just to do something new. That goes without saying. It will, indeed, be something new based on what was created earlier. Your goal is to take a new step forward…. You who are entering a new life, need to bear this in mind, be aware of it and not just do better than previous generations, but do better on a new level…. For us to be able to maintain our sovereignty, and to make the lives of our people and future generations, your children and grandchildren, better than today, it is imperative to make qualitatively new advances.”

There is, thus, a reason that Lyndon LaRouche continues to point to the global leadership role being provided today by Russia and China, and to the need for the United States to fully integrate with the Belt and Road Initiative. Just as there is a reason that the British Empire is hell-bent on targeting those two nations for annihilation, and on also targeting the Trump administration in Washington for destruction, lest he follow through on his commitment to improve ties and cooperate with China and Russia. Because the concept which Putin presented to those million Russian youth, is the very cornerstone on which the United States itself is founded.

NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER

The Ninth BRICS Summit Gets Underway in Xiamen, China

Sept. 3 (EIRNS)—The Sept. 3-5 Ninth BRICS Summit began in Xiamen, China today. This is the first time that China has hosted a BRICS summit since Xi Jinping became President, and it promises to be a very substantive, innovative, and splashy major international event—much like the G20 and Belt and Road conferences were, under Xi’s leadership. The broad agenda, as reported by Xinhua, is:

Sunday Sept. 3: Afternoon—Opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, attended by over 1,200 business leaders from 632 companies, including nearly 80 Fortune 500 multinationals. Xi Jinping delivered the keynote address, reported in this issue.

Monday Sept. 4, Morning—Reception and group photo; Noon—Plenary Session BRICS Xiamen Summit; Afternoon—BRICS Cultural Festival; Meeting with BRICS Business Council; Signing Ceremony of the Xiamen Declaration and Action Plan. According to the independent daily, BRICS Post, the Declaration will talk about a greater role for emerging economies in the international financial architecture, a common approach to fighting protectionism, and support for the fight against terrorism in Syria.

Tuesday Sept. 5: Morning—Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries; Noon—Press Conference. The day’s activities revolve around “BRICS-Plus,” the participation of the heads of state and government of Egypt, Guinea, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand. This is a major innovation introduced by China to a BRICS summit for the first time, and is meant to transform the BRICS into a forum for ongoing South-South participation and coordination. Each of the specially invited five nations’ leaders will also hold a bilateral summit meeting with Xi Jinping. President Xi will also meet individually with the four other BRICS leaders.

Georgy Toloraya, a veteran Russian diplomat who is now the Executive Director of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research, emphasized the importance of the “BRICS-Plus” innovation, in an op-ed published in the Sept. 2 BRICS Post. The Ninth BRICS Summit “is not a routine meeting, because it comes at a time when the bloc is entering a new stage of intensive development,” Toloraya wrote. “BRICS is becoming the meeting place for developing countries and the platform for South-South cooperation. The ‘BRICS-Plus’ concept introduced by China (to invite five other nations to attend the Summit) is the innovation that brings to the BRICS process other regional powers on a permanent basis, and not on a case-by-case basis, which it was before. We hope that it is not a one-time event and in the future a sort of ‘BRICS friends club’ will emerge that will help these countries to cooperate with BRICS on various economic and political bases.” Toloraya also emphasized that “BRICS is particularly interested in the financial architecture of the world.”

BRICS Nations Are Confident about Their Future, President Xi Tells Business Forum

Sept. 3 (EIRNS)—Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the Sept. 3-4 BRICS Business Forum, themed “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future,” which brought together business leaders from the BRICS countries and 20 other countries to discuss the pertinent economic and social issues today, on the eve of the Sept. 3-5 BRICS Summit in Xiamen. Two other BRICS heads of state had already arrived in Xiamen, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and Brazil’s Michel Temer, both of whom attended Xi’s keynote. President Xi went through the past decade of BRICS, and laid out some guidelines for where he thought BRICS cooperation must go in the future.

Xi said: “The past decade has seen the BRICS countries making headway in pursuing common development. The sudden outbreak of the 2008 global financial crisis left the world economy reeling, which is yet to fully recover. Facing the external shock, our five countries have held the ground by strengthening the domestic economy, boosting growth and improving people’s livelihood… All this has contributed significantly to stabilizing the global economy and returning it to growth, and it has delivered tangible benefits to 3 billion and more people.” He noted, in particular, the importance of the 2014 BRICS creation of the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, which have provided support for infrastructural development, “contributing to enhanced global economic governance and the building of an international financial safety net.”

Xi also said: “Some people, seeing that emerging market and developing countries have experienced growth setbacks, assert that the BRICS countries are losing their luster. It is true that affected by complex internal and external environments, we BRICS countries have encountered headwinds of varying intensity. But the growth potential and trend of our countries remain unchanged, and we are fully confident about it.”

BRICS is now at a crucial stage of development, Xi said, and continued that “the global economic structure is going through profound changes, evidenced by shrinking global demand and rising financial risks. All this has posed challenges to the traditional strengths of the BRICS economies, taking us to a crucial stage where we must work harder to overcome difficulties….”

He emphasized, “Growth rate alone is not the answer. Instead, we should … advance structural reform and explore new growth drivers and development paths. We should seize the opportunity presented by the new industrial revolution to promote growth and change the growth model through innovation….

“Secondly, we BRICS countries should shoulder our responsibilities to uphold global peace and stability. Peace and development underpin and reinforce each other…. However, incessant conflicts in some parts of the world and hotspot issues are posing challenges to world peace…..

“Thirdly, we BRICS countries should contribute to enhancing global economic governance. Only openness delivers progress, and only inclusiveness sustains such progress….

“Fourthly, we should increase the influence of BRICS and build extensive partnerships….”

Xi then put forward the Chinese proposal for creating a “BRICS-Plus”: “We should leverage our respective strengths and influence, promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, pool the collective strengths of all countries and jointly defuse risks and meet challenges.” Xi explained China had invited five countries from different regions to Xiamen for a Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, “to join the BRICS leaders in discussing global development cooperation and South-South cooperation, as well as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The full text of President Xi’s speech is available at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-09/03/c_129695215.htm

Putin Mobilizes the Next Generation To Aspire To Make ‘Qualitative New Advances’ for Society

Sept. 1 (EIRNS)—More than 1 million Russian youth in school classrooms in 24 regions around the country watched a live, 45-minute “Open Lesson” program addressed by President Vladimir Putin today, in celebration of the start of the new school year and National Knowledge Day. The theme of this year’s program, geared to students at the high school level, was “Russia Focused on the Future!” Designed to encourage students to think about which of Russia’s great scientific and engineering projects they wished to participate in as adults, the “Open Lesson” program demonstrates how a nation committed to the future, inspires and excites its young people to develop their minds and talents to their utmost.  (The complete Open Lesson program is available with English dubbing at https://sputniknews.com/russia/201709011056987951-putin-speech-yaroslavl-knowledge-day/)

Putin reminded these maturing adolescents that “generally the highest satisfaction you can derive from your work,” is when a person chooses to share the results of their labor with other people and the nation. A short video broadcast at the opening of the program identified 12 great projects and tasks underway in Russia, and urged the students to consider them as “your project, your country, your future.” The projects range from work on developing nuclear-powered spacecraft that “will change the whole nature of space travel” and fulfill humanity’s dream of going outside the Solar System, to building national high-speed rail, and opening the Northern Sea Route by developing a new generation of nuclear-powered icebreakers.

Putin addressed the students, and then commented, after each of 10 students from the audience at the school in Yaroslavl where he was speaking and from the schools around the country connected interactively, spoke about which project excited them. Putin used those answers to expand on the potential or economic importance of the technology chosen, and drew their attention to other considerations. In response to a student who reported that he had decided not reject a job offer from Google in California, and to go to work with the government atomic energy corporation Rosatom instead, Putin spoke of the importance of Rosatom’s international work. “We are not stingy,” Putin said, continuing that Russia never just sells its products, but creates a whole industry in partner countries, training their specialists, transferring technology, and creating jobs. Those countries then develop, and that allows Russia to also develop more.

In his opening remarks, he emphasized that Russia has been in existence for far longer than 1,000 years. “Over this 1,000 years, our ancestors, the generations that went before us have made tremendous efforts to make our country the strong and powerful state that it is today. They crossed it all the way to the Pacific Ocean and attained great achievements in science, technology and education….

“Hence, the question: If we have existed for over 1,000 years now, and are actively developing and growing stronger, that means that we have something that is helping us do so. This something is our internal nuclear reactor, which propels us.” (The translation of President Putin’s opening remarks are posted to the Kremlin website: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55493)

‘Perhaps the Future Has Finally Arrived for Haiti’: Chinese Plan $4.7 Billion Renovation of Port-au-Prince

Sept. 1 (EIRNS)—On Aug. 25, Ralph Youri Chevy, mayor of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, formally accepted a proposal from China’s Southwestern Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute to rebuild that city, including its port, over the next three years, to provide all the infrastructure required to modernize the capital and uplift its impoverished population, which had never recovered from the effects of the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

A beautiful, wonderfully optimistic video of the renovation project was released by the Haitian firm Bati Ayiti, which will be partnering with Chinese firms to complete the project, to create “a brilliant future” for the city, as the video states. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5vmt77tLmc.)

Although financing for the $4.7 billion renovation project is not yet pinned down, journalist Georgeanne Nienaber noted in an Aug. 27 article in the Huffington Post that “China has made good on similar projects in its estimated trillion-dollar Silk Road initiative, not to mention 30 futuristic infrastructure projects in its own country. Perhaps the future has finally arrived for Haiti, and as a result, the Caribbean corridor will be transformed.” Telesur news agency reported that the initial idea for the project came out of the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation hosted by Beijing.

China’s proposal stands in stark contrast to the criminal neglect of the Obama administration and allied “Western donors,” who rejected the emergency proposals made by American statesman Lyndon LaRouche immediately after the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, which, had they been implemented, could have averted the human disasters, including a horrific cholera epidemic, which Haiti’s population has endured over the seven years since.

The renovation project, which is part of a $30 billion package offered by China to develop all of Haiti, is divided into six sub-projects, involving water and drainage works, road improvements, environmental protections, drainage and sanitation, a communications network, transportation, and reconstruction of the historic “old city” of Port-au-Prince. According to Nienaber, drainage engineering will be primary, with flood interception trenches and rainwater runoff collection systems routed to rivers and the ocean. A water purification plant capable of handling 225,000 cubic meters per day will be built, to ensure a supply of safe potable water. A new sewage plant will treat 180,000 cubic meters per day to required standards and be discharged along the rivers and sea, according to project engineers quoted in the Bati Ayiti video.

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

North Korea Conducts Sixth Nuclear Test

Sept. 3 (EIRNS)—North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test earlier today (Sept. 2, Saturday night U.S. Eastern time). North Korea’s state media claimed, in a “critical announcement” issued at 3:30 p.m. local time (07:00 UTC), that the test was a “complete success of a hydrogen warhead for an ICBM.” The test took place hours after North Korea claimed that it had completed its thermonuclear technologies, and was now capable of producing “powerful nuclear weapons at will.” The seismometer readings from China and South Korea measured 6.3 and 5.7 magnitude tremors, respectively, resulting from the blast—substantially greater than North Korea’s earlier nuclear tests.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared that “appeasement with North Korea” will not work. “North Korea has conducted a major nuclear test,” Trump said. “Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”

China’s Foreign Ministry said that China “expresses its firm opposition (to the test) and strongly condemns it.” North Korea “has ignored the international community’s widespread opposition, again carrying out a nuclear test. China’s government expresses resolute opposition and strong condemnation,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the test “yet another example of Pyongyang’s outright disregard of the demands of respective UN Security Council resolutions and international law [and] deserves absolute condemnation.” At the same time, the ministry advised restraint and a return to dialogue. “Under the unfolding conditions, it is essential to keep calm and to refrain from any acts, which may lead to further escalation of tensions,” the statement said. “We urge all interested parties to promptly return to dialogue and negotiations, the only possible way for a comprehensive settlement of the Korean Peninsula problems, including the nuclear problem.”

Analysts’ initial estimates of the yield from Sunday’s test varied, ranging from 100 kilotons up to 1 megaton. Either way, said Jeffrey Lewis of the Arms Control Wonk website, it was “a staged thermonuclear weapon” which represents a significant advance in North Korea’s weapons program, reported AFP. Koo Kab-woo of Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies suggested that North Korea may not need any more tests, however, since Pakistan conducted six tests in 1998 and none since. “If we look at it from Pakistan’s example, the North might be in the final stages” of becoming a nuclear state, he said.

U.S. POLITICAL & ECONOMIC

Huge Hurricane Recovery Cost: Why There Is No Alternative to Investing in New Infrastructure

Sept. 2 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump, touring Houston, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana today with his wife, has sent a request to Congress for $7.9 billion, a small “down payment” on the huge coming recovery costs for the region of East Texas which was unprotected from Hurricane Harvey. The request is for $7.4 billion supplemental FEMA funds and $450 million for small business disaster loans and aid. A senior aide to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee expected “$20 or $30 billion soon” in such aid requests. Media reports suggest the House leadership will, as the President requested, attach a debt ceiling increase to this first aid bill; if so, this will tend to isolate the mainly GOP members demanding spending cuts with the debt ceiling increase, and set the stage for much larger emergency requests.

In addition to vast losses in personal wealth, jobs, wages, houses and other structures, and human lives, there remain the busiest U.S. ports shut down; and more than 35% of American oil refinery capacity shut in. No major refinery has been built in 40 years in the United States, while numerous have been shut down, so that fossil energy infrastructure, as well as nuclear power, has been shrinking and impoverished.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) told MSNBC that she will introduce this week a $152 billion emergency aid bill. This recalls the $120 billion emergency aid bill introduced in late 2005 by then-Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina; ultimately that approximated the $130 billion in Federal and state aid actually appropriated for the Gulf Coast Katrina recovery and building of new water management/storm protection infrastructure at New Orleans.

Contrast this to the report of Rep. Al Green (D-TX), interviewed Sept. 1 by The Intercept, that he has repeatedly tried in recent years to secure $311 million in appropriations for flood control infrastructure upgrading around Houston, but that this little appropriation was removed by appropriators each time. And while Green was attempting this, floods in Houston in 2015 and 2016 alone caused $8 billion in economic losses and more in state and Federal recovery funds!

For the most flood-prone major city in America, this negligence is absurd and criminal. As the FDR Administration’s video “Valley of the Tennessee, 1944” describing the TVA put it: “Destruction from the sky. This is the way it was, year after year…. This was the havoc caused by greed and neglect, and men working alone and unaided against the forces of nature.”

FBI Storms Russian Trade Representation In Washington

Sept. 2 (EIRNS)—Hours after the State Department ordered it vacated, officers from numerous U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, arrived at the Russian Trade Representation building in Washington, D.C., threatening to, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, break the door down if they weren’t allowed inside to search the premises. The Russian Federation Trade Representative in the U.S. Aleksandr Stadnik told journalists that he considers the searches at the compounds as a takeover in violation of international law, reported RT.

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry summoned Anthony Godfrey, the U.S. Embassy’s Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs, to hand him a note of protest regarding the search of both the trade mission and the consulate in San Francisco. “It is underlined in the note that we consider the illegitimate search of the Russian premises without the presence of Russian officials and the expressed threat to break down the entrance door as an unprecedented, aggressive act, which could be used by U.S. special services to stage an anti-Russian provocation by planting compromising items,” the ministry said in a statement. “The U.S. authorities must stop these crude breaches of international law and cease encroaching on the immunity of Russian diplomatic missions. Otherwise we reserve the right to take retaliatory measures based on the principle of reciprocity.”

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Describes Congressional Sanctions as Attack on U.S. President Trump

Sept. 1 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during his speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations today that the U.S. Congress is undermining Trump’s intention to improve relations with Russia. This was hours before the ministry announced the FBI plan to invade the Consulate in San Francisco Sept. 2, and the subsequent raid on the Russian Trade Representation in Washington, D.C. the same day.

TASS reports that Lavrov said that after the meeting between Trump and Putin, “it became clearer that President Trump, as he said many times after the meeting, was interested in bringing relations with Russia back to normal…. This is a mutual goal, since we share this position. We are ready to move forward at a speed that would be convenient for the Trump administration. We understand that efforts are being made to corner [the administration] at every opportunity, so we don’t believe it is necessary to take any active steps concerning relations with the U.S.”

He also said: “We understand that there are forces that simply want to undermine the administration. This is our viewpoint on the sanctions that Congress has forced on Donald Trump.”

TASS continued, “Lavrov also said that the sanctions bill passed by the Congress is aimed more at Trump than at Russia, as U.S. legislators seek to prevent him from fully using his Constitutional powers as far as foreign policy goes.”

“As you know, it takes two to tango, but it seems to me that our partners keep performing an individual breakdance,” Lavrov said. He went on, all of the “exchange of sanction moves” were initiated by the Obama administration to undermine relations and hinder the incoming President from changing the situation for the better. Lavrov emphasized that Russian responses to hostile actions would not damage Russia’s own interests, but, “at the same time, we will furnish tough responses to moves that inflict damage for no reason based only on someone’s wish to ruin our relations with the United States.”

COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM

There Is Obviously No Special Prosecutor for Wells Fargo

Sept. 2 (EIRNS)—While Special Counsel Robert Mueller marshals the resources of U.S. Attorneys, state attorneys general, IRS investigators and highly paid private detectives to his Get Trump Task Force, it is clear that no one has time to bother Wells Fargo Bank, which is setting new records on the well-worn Wall Street path of crime, completely unscathed.

The consequences for Wells of its ever-expanding crime trail, one year after its first admissions, remain a tiny $180 million fine, and a couple of embarrassed executives who had to leave, comfortably, to “pursue other opportunities.”

On Sept. 1, one year after the bank had to admit defrauding hundreds of thousands of depositors with 2 million fake investment accounts, the Wall Street Journal reported that Wells now admits 3.5 million “potentially unauthorized” fake accounts. This is aside from several hundred thousand fake mortgage insurance policies, which resulted in homeowners being foreclosed on for not paying their real mortgage insurance; and the fake brokerage accounts opened by Wells’ Atlanta wealth management unit; among a longer list.

The Journal suggested the cruel prospect that this “may boost the possibility of future Congressional hearings.” The bank itself announced Sept. 1 that there were “no updates” on any Federal or state regulatory investigations. It is required by law to report any developments in those investigations, so this indicates that there are none.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) was moved for the second time in a year, to announce on Sept. 1 that she “will introduce legislation to break up huge banks like Wells Fargo when they cause great injury to their customers.” In a brutal irony, Waters herself is facing charges from the House Ethics Committee simply because her husband sat on the board of a small California bank which received a $10 million TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailout in 2008 in which she was reportedly involved. Wells Fargo received a $25 billion TARP bailout, and evidently, an indefinite license to commit crimes.

SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE

Global Warming Fraudsters Try To Make Hay from Hurricane Harvey

Sept. 2 (EIRNS)—As expected, many man-made global warming fear-mongers are shamelessly trying to use the Harvey tragedy to push their propaganda. As just one example, the Sept. 1 Houston Chronicle ran an article, “Harvey Highlights How Climate Is Changing.” Climate fraudster Prof. James “Hockey Stick” Mann of the University of Pennsylvania appeared on BBC Aug. 31 to claim that climate change was causing “more, and more intense storms in the Gulf of Mexico.”

One useful, qualified source to debunk this junk is “climate skeptic” Dr. Roy Spencer. He has a doctorate in meteorology (1981), was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center until 2001, and then became a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he led a program to develop accurate global temperature readings from satellite measurements (he received an “Exceptional Scientific Achievement” medal from NASA for this work). Dr. Spencer’s research has been entirely supported by NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Energy. He continues to work for NASA on global temperature measurements with satellite data.

It’s worth quoting from his Aug. 28th blog post, “Why Houston Flooding Isn’t a Sign of Climate Change.”

Under the subhead “Floods Aren’t Just Due to Weather,” he writes, “Major floods are difficult to compare throughout history because the ways in which we alter the landscape. For example, as cities like Houston expand over the years, soil is covered up by roads, parking lots, and buildings, with water rapidly draining off rather than soaking into the soil. The population of Houston is now ten times what it was in the 1920s. The Houston metroplex area has expanded greatly and the water drainage is basically in the direction of downtown Houston. There have been many flood disasters in the Houston area, even dating to the mid-1800s when the population was very low. In December of 1935 a massive flood occurred in the downtown area as the water level height measured at Buffalo Bayou in Houston topped out at 54.4 feet. By way of comparison, as of 6?30 a.m. this morning [Aug. 28], the water level in the same location is at 38 feet, which is still 16 feet lower than in 1935. I’m sure that will continue to rise.” (As of Sept. 2, it has reached a new record of 63 feet.)

Under the subhead, “Was Harvey Unprecedented in Intensity?” Spencer explains, the “U.S. has had only four Category 4 (or stronger) hurricane strikes since 1970, but in about the same number of years preceding 1970 there were 14 strikes. So we can’t say that we are experiencing more intense hurricanes in recent decades. Going back even earlier, a Category 4 hurricane struck Galveston in 1900, killing between 6,000 and 12,000 people. That was the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history. And don’t forget, we just went through an unprecedented length of time—almost 12 years—without a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) making landfall in the U.S.

“And don’t pay attention to claims of 500-year flood events, which most hydrologists dislike because we don’t have enough measurements over time to determine such things, especially when they also depend on our altering of the landscape over time.”

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