War or Peace—The Deciding Moment Is At Hand
May 6 (EIRNS)—The emerging resolution of the long-festering Korea crisis provides a positive model: no matter how intractable a situation appears to be, if the great powers of the world can work together, any problem can be overcome. Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and Vladimir Putin worked together toward a common goal, allowing all sides, including Kim Jong-un, to trust the process as a whole. With the New Silk Road development process underlying the political dialogue, the win-win outcome can be clearly seen by all parties.
Why can’t this process be applied to the other crisis spots? The British Empire has always depended on such regional crises, in most cases created by the British in the first place, to force the world powers to line up on opposite sides—Arab vs. Jew; Sunni vs Shi’a; East vs. West. Were the U.S. to stop playing the enforcer for these British controlled conflicts, and join China and Russia in the spirit of the New Silk Road, all these conflicts could be resolved relatively quickly, as in Korea.
Trump has insisted that the U.S. must end its role as the “world’s policeman” on behalf of the Empire—and yet, the war party within the U.S. is now screaming for war on Iran, for war on Russia over Ukraine, and for a permanent colonial occupation and division of Syria. The U.S. Navy has just reconstituted the Second Fleet, to patrol the North Atlantic—it had been de-activated in 2011—based on the insane proposition that Russia and China have suddenly become “great power threats” to the United States, as declared in the new National Defense Strategy. That same war party is also giving credence to the fraudulent claims presented by Bibi Netanyahu, that Iran is “still” making nuclear weapons, despite the public rebuttal of this lie from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
While China’s Belt and Road underlies the great potential for a new paradigm for mankind, based on development and shared progress, it is the precarious condition of the western banking system which underlies the drive for war by the British and their assets in the U.S. Economist and historian Nomi Prins wrote last week: “Today, we stand near—how near we don’t yet know—the edge of a dangerous financial precipice. The risks posed by the largest of the private banks still exist, only now they’re even bigger than they were in 2007-08 [some 40% bigger—ed.] and operating in an arena of even more debt.” Without the implementation of the total LaRouche program—restoring a science driver for fusion and space exploration, creating national banking to generate national credit for the real economy, and a Glass-Steagall reform of the bankrupt financial system—there is no possibility that this bubble will not soon explode. The financial lords of the Empire would prefer war—not just a local war, but a war on Russia and China, whose cooperation in the Belt and Road threatens their looting rights in the developing nations.
The greatest danger to the Empire is that Trump will live up to his intention to establish friendly relations with both Russia and China, breaking the imperial divide. The Russiagate coup attempt against Trump is the British intelligence response to that danger. This past week, U.S. Judge T.S. Ellis III dealt a blow to that coup attempt, telling the Mueller witch-hunt team that they had gone far outside their mandate, bringing charges against Trump associates which had nothing to do with any connection to Russia at all, purely to coerce them to “sing” or to “compose” information which “would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever.”
The justice system in the United States has been subverted, starting with George Bush’s Patriot Act, the NSA mass spying on the population, and the corruption of the intelligence community under both Bush and Obama. This corrupted system is itself now on trial.
The issue of war or peace will not be decided on any one of these crisis situations, but by whether or not the American people find in themselves the will to address them all at once, to create the new paradigm, with the LaRouche Four Laws and participation in the New Silk Road globally. The revised LaRouche PAC pamphlet on this necessity, LaRouche’s Four Laws—America’s Future on the New Silk Road, is now published and available for distribution.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Angry Judge: ‘C’mon!’ Mueller Team Going after Manafort To Lead to Trump Impeachment
May 4 (EIRNS)—U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, at a hearing today in Virginia in the case of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman of Donald Trump, dressed down Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, for assuming “unfettered power,” and seeking to get information on Manafort just to oust President Trump from office.
The judge said, “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort. You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump, and an impeachment, or whatever,” as transcribed by Fox News. “That’s what you’re really interested in.”
The occasion for this confrontation was a hearing on Manafort’s motion to dismiss an 18-count indictment on bank and tax fraud-related charges. Manafort’s counsel argued that Mueller does not have the power to level the indictments, since they have nothing to do with “Russian collusion” which is the mandate of the special counsel. Manafort wants them thrown out.
While expected to adjudicate the relevant matters, Judge Ellis has not had in his possession the texts of the official documents defining the scope of Mueller’s efforts. Moreover, some of the information used for indicting Manafort came from a Department of Justice probe going back to 2005, which long pre-dates the formation of the 2017 Mueller investigation. Judge Ellis questioned both of these circumstances, confronting prosecutor Michael Dreeben, of the Mueller team. The judge said, “We don’t want anyone in this country with unfettered power. It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special prosecutor has power to do anything he or she wants. The American people feel pretty strongly that no one has unfettered power,” as transcribed by CNN.
In various ways, the Mueller team tried to give the judge the run-around. Dreeben gave Ellis an argument about how the investigation of Manafort and the charges against him can date back to before the Trump campaign formed. Ellis sternly replied, “None of that information has to do with information related to Russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump.”
Overall, the Mueller team asserted that, in the May 2, 2017 letter appointing Mueller by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller was given broad authority. And secondly, in the August 2017 scope memo, there are some sections which must be secret, because of ongoing investigations and national security interests.
Ellis ridiculed that response of the Mueller Special Counsel’s office by paraphrasing, “We said this was what [the] investigation was about, but we are not bound by it, and we were lying.” The judge added, “C’mon man!”
Judge Ellis ordered the Mueller team to provide him the unredacted text of the scope memo within two weeks. When the attorneys demurred, claiming that the memo had content unrelated to Manafort, Ellis said, “I’ll be the judge of that.”
Dershowitz: Judge Ellis Exposed U.S. Prosecutors’ Dirty Operations against President
May 5 (EIRNS)—Senior civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz welcomed Judge T.S. Ellis’s denunciations of Robert Mueller’s operation going after Paul Manafort and other witnesses to get them to “not only sing, but also compose” against President Trump, in an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program last night. Judge Ellis has blown the whistle on this practice, Dershowitz said.
Everybody knows this is the way prosecutors operate, squeezing people “to get Mr. Big,” sometimes stretching the law to create a crime to be charged against a potential witness, threatening their families. But “now Mr. Big is sitting in the Oval Office”; former FBI Director James Comey and Mueller are treating the President of the United States as if he were a mafia boss, Dershowitz exclaimed. Trying to find the underlings, squeeze them, threaten them, and “maybe they will sing, maybe they will compose…. This is a common tactic, and every American ought to know that.”
Pat Lang Praises Judge Ellis, But Says ‘We No Longer Have a Constitutional Republic’
May 6 (EIRNS)—Col. Pat Lang (ret.), whose blog is used by many active and retired military to air their views, posted praise of Judge T.S. Ellis III, today on his website, for “shining a spotlight on the fact that the Mueller continuation of a counter-intelligence investigation against the Trump campaign is using secret authorities to shake down Trump associates to ‘compose’ allegations that would create a casus belli for an impeachment proceeding.”
Lang reviews the decline of American Constitutional rights: “Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Bush/Cheney Republican government, backed by national security state Democrats like Hillary [Clinton], passed draconian laws like the Patriot Act to whittle down due process protections and to enable unfettered surveillance of Americans. The Obama administration used these secret powers for political purposes. Now the liberals and even previously those that fought for civil liberties like the ACLU are backing the use of these secret intelligence and law enforcement powers to further the wounding of a President, just because they dislike him.”
He concludes that “this runaway abuse of intelligence and law enforcement capabilities is just a sign that we no longer have a constitutional republic, and no matter the rhetoric, only draconian actions like completely shutting down the FBI, CIA, ODNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] and repealing the Patriot Act and FISA, among others, and starting back up from scratch will provide the opportunity for restoring confidence among many Americans…. As Pogo said—We have the met the enemy and he is us!”
U.S. Department of State Cuts Off Funding to Syria’s White Helmets
May 4 (EIRNS)—CBS News reports that the U.S. Department of State halted financing for the notorious White Helmets. U.S. funds account for a third of the organization’s funding.
“Now they are not getting any U.S. funding as the State Department says the support is ‘under active review,’ ” CBS reported. CBS quoted White Helmets leader Raed Saleh as saying that there had been no signs that funding was going to stop two months ago when the organization’s members were hosted at the State Department. In March, a “documentary” on the group won an Oscar to great acclaim.
“Our meetings in March were very positive. There were even remarks from senior officials about long-term commitments even into 2020,” Saleh was quoted by the CBS as saying. “There were no suggestions whatsoever about stopping support.”
The Russian exposure of the White Helmets faking a “chemical attack” in Syria has potentially finished their history of lies and terrorist support.
TASS reports that in her May 4 press briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, with a touch of irony, that the U.S. cutoff is “fantastic news…. What’s wrong? Didn’t they like the last film?” referring to the staged film of a chemical attack in the Douma hospital. “We’d like to know exactly how much money the White Helmets received from the U.S. government,” she said, as well as from the U.K. and France, since these three bombed Syria on April 14. “This is an issue of particular importance, as it could help understand how this mechanism for producing false information operates.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Netanyahu To Meet Putin in Moscow May 9
May 6 (EIRNS)—With Israel apparently on the verge of launching war against Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be traveling to Moscow on May 9 to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The May 5 morning edition of Times of Israel reported that Netanyahu told his cabinet that it’s better to have war with Iran now than later. “We are determined to block the Iranian entrenchment [in Syria], even at the cost of confrontation,” Netanyahu said at the start of the cabinet meeting. “We don’t want an escalation, but we are prepared for every scenario. We don’t want confrontation, but if there needs to be one, it is better now than later.”
Netanyahu also highlighted the importance of his upcoming meeting with Putin. “My meetings with the Russian President are always important for the [Israeli Defense Forces] IDF and the country, but the meeting this week is especially important in light of the attempts by Iran to establish itself in Syria,” Netanyahu said.
Russia, however, considers Iran a strategic partner in the stabilization of Syria, and is unlikely to support any actions by Israel that will threaten that.
Russian Foreign Ministry Wants Answer from NATO on Novichok Programs
May 5 (EIRNS)—Who was in charge of supervising Novichok programs in NATO member states and are there other NATO countries which had such programs? That question was raised by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in her May 3 briefing, in light of the “honest and courageous” decision by the Czech government to report that the nerve agent Novichok—the same agent which the U.K. charges was used to poison Sergey and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on March 4—had been synthesized in the Czech Republic “literally a year ago.”
“We mentioned that there are NATO laboratory specialists in the Czech Republic who deal with such matters,” Zakharova said.
“Does anyone believe that the North Atlantic Alliance was not aware of Novichok being synthesized in the Czech Republic? Of course NATO was more than just aware of it. Now here is a good question: Who participated in supervising these programs on behalf of NATO, how were they supervised and at what level? This is my first question. The second question is what other NATO member countries—I would like to get an official NATO statement—were engaged in similar research?”
U.K. Wants NATO To Run Western Media
May 5 (EIRNS)—British Imperial minions are now openly demanding wartime controls over news reporting in the West, in recognition that they are losing the battle for control over people’s minds.
U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Political Director Richard Moore celebrated World Press Freedom Day on May 3 with a statement posted on the FCO home page crudely headlined “You’re Not Entitled to Your Own Facts.” Only “our” facts are acceptable; anything from Russia is “disinformation.” Moore proclaimed that “we, along with our partners and allies, have to fight to ensure that facts are established, that disinformation is countered and that obfuscation is met with clarity.”
U.S. Reactivates Second Fleet ‘To Rival Russia in North Atlantic Great Power Competition’
May 5 (EIRNS)—The Navy Office of Information reported the announcement yesterday by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson that the Second Fleet was being established. Richardson said in Norfolk, Virginia: “Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we’re back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex.” The National Defense Strategy, which was released in January, names Russia and China as “strategic threats.” Richardson went on, “That’s why today, we’re standing up Second Fleet to address these changes, particularly in the North Atlantic.”
The Second Fleet was disbanded in 2011, before the British and Obama unleashed the anti-Russia campaign through the coup against Ukraine in 2014.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Argentina Plunges into Financial Chaos; Wall Street Asks, Can Macri Survive as President?
May 5 (EIRNS)—Argentina’s long-simmering currency crisis came to a head this past week, when a run on the peso forced the government of neo-liberal President Mauricio Macri to intervene, spending close to $9 billion of national reserves over a two-week period to stem the peso’s fall, and raise interest rates to a phenomenal 40%—up from 27.25% on April 27. The cabinet and economics team have been in non-stop emergency meetings over recent days.
The crisis occurs against the backdrop of deepening social unrest stemming from astronomical utility rate hikes and subsidy cuts. Labor is mobilized to halt government plans to enact reforms that will eviscerate workers’ rights.
While the Central Bank intervention supposedly stemmed the peso’s decline, Wall Street is nervous about the fate of its erstwhile darling, Macri, and whether he can impose the deeper austerity it says is necessary, and make it through to next year’s presidential elections. Also of concern, even in London and on Wall Street, is the fact that Macri has vastly increased the country’s foreign indebtedness, to $216 billion in 2017, up 20% from the previous year, while economic growth has stagnated. More than one analyst has raised the specter of a crisis like 2001, when Argentina defaulted on its debt.
On May 3, Fitch ratings agency downgraded the country’s long-term outlook to “stable” from “positive,” which it said reflected “macroeconomic policy frictions and political headwinds that have intensified beyond Fitch’s prior expectations.” Macri’s “gradualist” approach to austerity has failed, Fitch claimed, and demanded that monetarist reforms be accelerated. On April 28 Stratfor warned that “Macri’s chances for reelection could be severely undermined if his reforms don’t start generating more visible economic results.”
Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne announced May 4 that the government will reduce the budget deficit, which was 3.9% of GDP in 2017, down to 2.7% this year, instead of the previously-stated target of 3.2%. Dujovne also blamed Peronist opposition in Congress for creating “uncertainty” for daring to propose “irresponsible” legislation to revoke the utility rate hikes.
U.S. Farm Sector Was Reeling Long before Trade Uncertainty; Milk Producers in Crisis
May 4 (EIRNS)—At present U.S. soybeans are in the headlines, because buyers in China, the biggest destination for U.S. soybeans, are holding off from placing any orders, given the uncertainty about whether a 25% import duty might be imposed on incoming soy. Furthermore, mega-soy trader Bunge reports that Chinese customers have cancelled orders for over 60,000 metric tons of U.S. beans, as of April 19. However, long before U.S. President Donald Trump called the question on trade, the question of the rotten state of the U.S. economy was called for farmers of all commodities, and for all other aspects of U.S. real production activity.
Producers of standard crops, such as wheat and corn, are farming at a loss, and their farms are surviving by off-farm income, insurance and debt. Net farm income is down by 50% in the last five years.
Milk producers are especially hard hit by prices too low to maintain dairy farmers’ operations, because they cannot “fallow,” or let-up, in maintaining their milking herds, and they have a perishable product. Facing ruin, many are selling out. Federal emergency action is required, but Washington policy continues to conform to the Wall Street principle of non-intervention. In reality, this is intervention for financial rake-off, and modern-day British East India Company, plantation-style production.
This month, Walmart will open its own massive milk-processing operation in Indiana, intended to process 100 million gallons of milk a year for 600 Walmart stores, and get its raw milk supply at super-low prices from Midwestern, corporate herd operations (plus, who knows, imported milk “constituents”). Walmart’s former supplier, Dean Foods, has terminated contracts with some 100 family dairy farms in eight states—Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Walmart is a Wall Street success story.
This is an example of the clash between the current destructive system in the U.S., and that of China, where the practice of supporting farmers is actively practiced, which once characterized the U.S. build-up and food security system.
Look at the former top dairy state of Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on April 18, ran the story, “Family Farms Decimated by Wisconsin’s Dairy Crisis.” In short, “Wisconsin lost 500 dairy farms in 2017, and about 150 have quit milking cows so far this year, putting the total number of milk-cow herds at around 7,600—down 20% from five years ago.” The rate of Chapter 12 (Federal) bankruptcies in the western part of the state was the highest in the nation in 2017. Empty barns are a common sight. Farm suicide rates are rising.
‘Silent’ U.S. Housing Crisis: High Costs, Debt, Rates of Eviction, and Homelessness
May 4 (EIRNS)—All housing data reports have begun to use the words “affordability crisis”; and evictions and homelessness are surging.
The March report of CoreLogic Inc. found average home prices (new and existing combined) 7% higher than one year earlier. This rise was also experienced in 2013-14; a 5-6% annual rise has been a “floor” since 2011. Home prices are now higher in absolute terms than in 2006. However, new home prices have become so high (the national average is about $375,000) that construction of new homes has dropped off, resulting in an actual shortage relative to demand. Homebuilders are extremely debt-leveraged, and lumber prices have risen by 40% over the past two years. So prices keep rising, while total home sales are dropping at about 4%/year because of a larger fall-off of new home sales.
In the 50 largest U.S. cities, 26 are now designated as “overvalued” locations for houses, meaning average prices are 10% or more above the level at which the average household would pay one-third of its monthly income to own the house. This again from CoreLogic. Its CEO Frank Martell is quoted April 29, “The dream of homeownership continues to fade away for the average prospective buyer. Lower-priced homes are appreciating much faster than higher-priced properties, making the affordability crisis progressively worse.”
One million households were evicted in 2016, or one in 90, counting only those in which an eviction order was issued, not when tenants were removed merely by threats or forms of harassment. From Illinois across the Rust Belt to Pennsylvania and south through Appalachia through the Carolinas, the rate of eviction was between 1 in 50 and 1 in 25, rising as high as 1 in 9 in the Richmond area, according to data reported in the New York Times April 7.
Homelessness in Los Angeles was at just about 35,000 people in late 2017, a 20% increase in one year according to a Bloomberg April 16 story about Mayor Eric Garcetti proposing a fund to provide shelter (in the larger metropolitan area, 55,000 according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD). San Francisco has a Department of Homelessness, and its data are that 20,000 people there have been homeless for some time during the year, in each of 2016 and 2017. It is currently a major, perhaps the major, issue in the June 5 San Francisco mayoral race. Homelessness in New York City is more than 75,000, which is 4% up from 2016, and 14% higher than 2015 according to HUD. The New Orleans government says the number of chronic homeless has been decreasing, but new, “affordability homeless” numbers are increasing.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Former French Premier Raffarin Creates ‘Leaders for Peace’ against ‘Rumblings of War’
May 4 (EIRNS)—At a press conference in Paris yesterday, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former Prime Minister under Jacques Chirac, announced the creation of his NGO called “Leaders for Peace” (Leaders Pour la Paix, LPP).
“War is rumbling” said Raffarin in a text explaining the aims of this new organization. “Threats are proliferating, tensions extending, conflicts are multiplying”; while some elements change, one thing is constant: “the risks are becoming worse. The great powers are at war, often in third countries, but live in peace at home. … To the multiple crises, we react with fierce emotions, but we mobilize our minds little. … Thus, it appeared to us that the source for an awakening is that public opinion become conscious of the gravity of the world situation.” Against this, he said, we must promote the “spirit of peace” in every way. “A military intervention does not create, in itself, the condition for peace. The use of force, is sometimes necessary, but if there is no political project, it will lead us nowhere. We must build political perspectives.”
The main objective of the NGO, which will have a permanent secretariat and become actively engaged, is 1) to “promote the consciousness of the gravity of the situation through a public pedagogy of crisis; 2) to promote innovating approaches to renovate the way to think about peace and the methods to achieve it; 3) choose a strategy of influence towards international actors.” Among the things they intend to do is to promote the creation of a university for peace, and to develop what the idea of peace is for public opinion and for youth.
To various questions raised at the press conference—on his thoughts about the new Iran crisis; Netanyahu’s press conference exposing the alleged Iranian nuclear facilities; and the Korean Peninsula—Jean-Pierre Raffarin responded that what must be banned is the idea of “excluding” a particular country from international relations, and what must be adopted, on the contrary, is the need for “dialogue,” which is what he upheld in the cases of Iran, Russia, and Hungary. On Iran he said it would be regrettable if, just as that country has come back to the international table, it should be excluded once again. “To exclude a force,” he said, “is to radicalize it, and that’s exactly what we want to avoid.”
Over the last years, Jean-Pierre Raffarin has become a spokesman for dialogue with China and Russia. Raffarin has promoted the Franco-Chinese dialogue at a high level over many years, and he has promoted a strong European cooperation with China’s New Silk Road since its creation in 2013. Raffarin was France’s representative at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, on May 14-15, 2017 in Beijing.
As president of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Armed Committee, Raffarin has met with Russia’s Vladimir Putin several times, in 2003, when he was Prime Minister, and most recently on the sidelines of the May 2017 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. During the recent Skripal affair, after the main Western countries sided with Britain’s Theresa May, Raffarin stated publicly that May had gone too far against Moscow. During his press conference yesterday, he proudly made reference to his participation with the Chirac government which condemned the war against Iraq. And, in responses to journalists he strongly upheld the need for dialogue with Russia and China.
Raffarin recently resigned from his presidency on the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, three years before the end of his term, in order to promote this activity as well as the Chinese New Silk Road project, for which he has become one of the main spokesmen in France since September 2013, when Xi Jinping launched the project at a press conference in Astana, Kazakhstan. In the meantime, he has adopted a “constructive” attitude towards French President Emmanuel Macron, but has not joined his party, as many members of Les Républicains did following Macron’s election last year.