What Is Science?
Nov. 18 (EIRNS)—That there is now an unprecedented opportunity to force through Four-Power consultations leading to a New Bretton Woods agreement, as designed by EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche is crystal clear. But precisely why this should now be the case, why this huge opportunity is now presented, is not so clear—at least not yet. Is it because of the outcome of the U.S. midterm elections? The approaching simultaneous summits of the leaders of the Four Powers at the G20 in Buenos Aires? But this opportunity need not end with those summits over Nov. 30-Dec. 1—far from it. All of these circumstances play a role, but only that role mediated by the Mass Strike process itself.
The engine of this lurching, churning, accelerating process is the Mass Strike. (In addition to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s A Defense of Poetry and Rosa Luxemburg’s Mass Strike, cognate insights into the same process are expressed otherwise in Shelley’s Hymn to Intellectual Beauty.)
It is the Mass Strike which has suddenly thrown open the door to potential changes for which the human race has been waiting and hoping for centuries, or even longer. But the Mass Strike is holding open this gate because of links and mediations which are not yet as fully understood as they will be in coming years, if we get there.
In this situation, what does the scientist do? Or, to ask the same question differently, what is science? Does he conduct a reverie at the blackboard, or elsewhere, and wait until these answers finally become clear? Not at all. Never. He acts, and he acts immediately, unreservedly, and at once, like the competent military commander shouting his orders amidst all the unknowns of the “fog of war.”
“If the trumpet blows an uncertain note, who then will heed the call to battle?”
By “action” is meant cognitive action, as Baruch Spinoza had written, and as Lyndon LaRouche specified much more closely in his September 2000 paper “Jesus Christ and Civilization,” which will be reprinted in the Nov. 23 issue of EIR. Even if immediate action were not strictly enjoined on any actual scientist by Divine Law and by the Hippocratic Oath, it were still the case that it is immediate action—not contemplation at the blackboard—which offers the only pathway to the missing answers.
Thus, when Louis Pasteur was summoned by the French government to save the nation’s silk industry in 1865, he spent five years in detailed investigations, and then put an end to the epidemic destroying the silkworms—when really he had no right to do so at all. Over five years of painstaking experiments, he had proven that the silkworm blight was due to two separate parasites—but still he knew of no way to kill either of them. Nevertheless, his tireless and detailed investigation had given him the means to unerringly separate diseased from healthy silkworms at an early stage. Once the silkworm breeders followed Pasteur’s detailed instructions, the industry was saved and rebuilt—but his scientific colleagues never forgave him.
Similarly, the great Jonas Salk, who also gave us the influenza vaccine, although never given the credit for it—was inspired indirectly by Franklin Roosevelt to put an end to the scourge of polio. As a young (and not very observant) Jew, Salk had prayed to God every day for the privilege of eventually performing some great service for humanity, under the Mishnaic concept called “tikkun olam,” or “fixing the world.” He got his wish—but, in return, at that same moment, Jonas Salk incurred the undeserved, undying hatred of the entire American scientific community, which wounded him deeply every day of his life until his death in 1995. They even threw him out of the Jonas Salk Institute (named after him despite his wishes), which he had slaved for years to create. But he never bowed down and never looked back.
The military side of the question is no different. In World War I, Douglas MacArthur rejected the disastrous trench warfare which ultimately killed off a whole generation of young European men—and which so destroyed the spirit of the Old Continent that it has never returned to the present day. The result was that at one point, the rapid, unexpected advances of the Allied forces brought MacArthur to a position where there were suddenly no significant enemy forces between his troops and the Germans’ great logistics center of Metz, France, whose capture would have meant an early end to the war. MacArthur insisted on a bold move to Metz. Alas, he was forced to ask for permission, but the British and French had other ideas. While they hesitated, the enemy hurried into position to defend the city.
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Xi Jinping Appeals to APEC on ‘Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future’
Nov. 17 (EIRNS)—China’s President Xi Jinping addressed the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Papua New Guinea today, in a half-hour speech, titled “Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future.” That and other APEC events were held aboard the Pacific Explorer in the harbor of Port Moresby, and Xi used marine references and metaphors to make his points. His main message was on international collaboration, saying, “As we brave the rough waters of the global economy and confront the many risks and challenges, it is all too befitting that we have come together on this ship to chart the course for future development and cooperation.”
He presented five main points, and in his conclusion he discussed the Belt and Road Initiative, saying that, “the BRI is an open platform for cooperation.” He defended the BRI, saying, “It is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda. It is not targetted against anyone, and it does not exclude anyone. It is not an exclusive club that is closed to non-members, nor is it a ‘trap’ as some people have labeled it….” This directly refutes the attacks on the BRI from the Wall Street/City of London axis, including by Vice President Mike Pence, who represented the U.S. at both the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore and at the APEC summits.
He referred to rough times in the South Pacific in the past, as in World War II, and the fierce Battles of the Coral Sea and Guadalcanal. He stressed learning the lessons of history. “An ancient Chinese philosopher observed that one needs to clean the mirror before taking a look at himself and that one should learn the lessons of the past before making decisions of the day.”
Xi’s five points, in brief:
First, create openness in foreign relations an “make space for development.”
Second, focus on spreading development to more people. “We should make the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a part of our national development strategies….”
Third, focus on inclusiveness. “We live on the same planet. It is home to more than 200 countries and regions, 2,500-plus ethnic groups and over 7 billion people.”
Fourth, “focus on innovation to tap new sources of growth.”
Fifth, “we should focus on a rules-based approach to improve global governance…. Disagreements should be resolved through consultation.”
On economic activity and trade, Xi reviewed China’s opening-up actions with specificity. Tariffs have been lowered on 1,449 consumer foods, and 1,585 industrial goods. Tariffs for autos are down to 13.8%, and for auto parts, down to 6%. “China’s overall tariff rates have been reduced to 7.5%.”
U.S. POLITICAL & ECONOMIC
President Trump in California Gives Support for Firefighters and Victims of the Terrible Wildfires
Nov. 17 (EIRNS)—Today President Donald Trump is visiting fire disaster sites in Butte County, California and Southern California to give support to the valiant efforts of those contending with the terrible wildfires still raging in the state. He is travelling with Gov. Jerry Brown and Governor-elect Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), and Republican Congressmen.
Initial reports quote Trump, from Butte County, “People have to see it to understand it. We will do whatever is necessary [to help California], 100%. We’ll get it taken care of.”
The dimensions of the disaster are huge. As of last night, the northerly ‘Camp Fire’ has claimed 71 lives, with another 1,011 people considered missing. Fire authorities call it 50% contained. So far, some 9,800 homes have been destroyed, with an area of 146,000 acres burned over. The Woolsey Fire, in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties to the south, is considered 67% contained.
In total, this past week, firefighters have fought 500 separate blazes, affecting an area of 230,000 acres.
Mike Steger, a leader of the LaRouche movement in California, on Nov. 17 gave a powerful briefing to an audience gathered in New York to hear Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche, explaining the origin of the fires, beginning with the imposition of austerity/ecologism under what Steger called the “Schwarzenegger coup”—the 2003-2010 governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger—whose destruction of vital infrastructure led not only to the disastrous fires since, but also now to an outbreak of typhus (spread by fleas, mosquitoes, and lice) in Los Angeles. The video of the dialogue “Humanity Is at a Crossroads for a New Paradigm” is posted to the Schiller Institute website.
U.S. Vice President Pence Sermonizes at APEC against ‘Dangers’ of Belt and Road Initiative
Nov. 17 (EIRNS)—Vice President Mike Pence today used his speech to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Papua New Guinea, to denounce the “sins” of China and the Belt and Road Initiative, and extol the virtues of the Indo-Pacific bloc of the U.S., India, Japan, and Australia. Like many a self-righteous sermon, his message rang hollow. The reality is that actual joint development projects are proceeding throughout the Pacific region, involving China and neighboring nations to the obvious benefit of all parties.
Pence derided the BRI as involving many low-quality projects, and as a way to stick developing countries with debt. He pontificated that “the United States offers a better option. We don’t drown our partners in a sea of debt; we don’t coerce, compromise your independence. We do not offer a constricting belt or a one-way road. When you partner with us, we partner with you and we all prosper.” He said that the U.S. is a better partner because it is a democracy, but China is authoritarian.
Pence spoke of partnering with Australia for a military base in Papua New Guinea, and otherwise repeated his militant line on the South China Sea. “We will continue to fly and sail wherever international law allows, and our national interest demands. Harassment will only strengthen our resolve. We will not change course.”
He said overall that, “Our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific will prevail.”
In a statement today, reported by Xinhua, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded to Pence’s sermonizing: “We suggest that a certain country match its words with its deeds, rather than wag the finger at others. The country should treat all countries on an equal footing no matter how big or small, respect other countries’ right of following a development path that accords with their own national conditions and make real contributions to developing countries.” Hua said that in his speeches to the APEC summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed both inclusiveness and innovation, as well as rules-based approach, to cope with common challenges and achieve mutual benefits.
“Upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith, China has contributed to the social and economic development of these countries within its capability,” she said, referring to the cooperation that China has developed with many countries. She further said that this kind of assistance, with no political conditions attached, had fully respected the willingness of the recipient countries and their people. “There is not a single country getting into debt crisis due to its cooperation with China,” she said, directly responding to Pence’s allegation that the Belt and Road Initiative is a debt trap. “On the contrary, they have all improved the capacity of independent development and people’s livelihood so the cooperation with China is widely welcomed by vast developing countries and their people.”
Kansas Cattlemen Back ‘New Silk Road Spirit’ in Foreign Policy, Glass-Steagall at Home
Nov. 16 (EIRNS)—The Kansas Cattlemen’s Association (KCA), at their 20th annual convention this month, passed a number of resolutions, among them a policy resolution, calling for U.S. foreign relations in the “spirit of the New Silk Road,” and also a call for reenacting the Glass-Steagall Act, to provide sound banking and credit to rebuild the United States.
The timing of these resolutions is significant, given that President Donald Trump in two weeks, will be at the G20 summit in Argentina, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The KCA “Silk Road” resolution specifically states that Xi has invited the U.S. to collaborate on the New Silk Road, which would be a “win-win” foreign policy for the United States.
The KCA was formed in 1998, and its gatherings bring together cattlemen and others from across Kansas and other states. The third largest cattle-producing state in the country, Kansas has 6.3 million head of cattle, a little over twice the state’s population. The KCA states that it is “committed to restoring profits, self-esteem, freedom, fair trade, trust, and community pride back to the farms, ranches, and rural communities across Kansas and the nation.”
EIR’s Bob Baker spoke at the annual KCA banquet, laying out the strategic picture of the world now poised to defeat the World Wildlife Fund/British Empire crowd once and for all, and potentially to enter a new paradigm of development for mankind. He stressed the importance of pushing for the great power leaders—the U.S., China, Russia, India, and others—to confer at the G20 summit on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, on starting talks for a new world financial system favoring development, a “New Bretton Woods” system. Many KCA members are very up-to-date and aware of the stakes involved, from Baker’s monthly updates in the KCA News over the past two years. In particular, he has reported on the history of the American System, and the urgency now for Lyndon LaRouche’s “Four Laws” of economic measures to restore it
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
British Government’s Cul-de-Sac Deepens
Nov. 18 (EIRNS)—Britain’s government crisis deepened today, as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reiterated, in a Sky News interview reported by BBC, that his party would oppose Prime Minister Theresa May’s phony agreement with the EU on Brexit when it comes before Parliament. Many Tories oppose it as well, and some will surely break Conservative Party discipline to vote against it, while the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, which gives May a slender majority in Parliament, will also vote against it. All that appears to ensure that the agreement will lose, which might be sufficient to bring down May’s government by itself, even without the threatened Tory vote of no-confidence (see Nov. 16 EIR Daily Alert).
Corbyn’s own position is peculiar. He is known to oppose the supranational tyranny of the EU, even though he voted “Remain” in the 2016 referendum. But his party has a different view, accepting that tyranny, and Corbyn officially represents his party’s position rather than his own.
At the same time, the procedure to force a party no-confidence motion against May is proceeding in the Conservative Party. British media report that 25 named Tory MPs have confirmed that they have sent letters of no-confidence, out of the 48 required. But it is also known that other, not-named MPs, have sent such letters as well. Once the 48 letters are in, there is a grace period of two days before that fact is made public. Some British media estimate that the two days’ grace period may already have begun.
Furthermore, Tim Ripley and Mark Hookham report in the Times of London today, that “a team of Army planners has started drawing up emergency measures for deploying troops to respond to any chaos caused by the U.K. crashing out of the EU without a deal.” The same newspaper sent out a newsletter Nov. 15 with the subhead “What the Hell Is Going On?” It began, “For the avoidance of doubt, I am writing this at 5:45 p.m. and everything that follows was right at the time I pressed send.
“If a lot of time has passed since then, like 15 minutes or more, everything could have changed. We might not have a prime minister. You might be prime minister. I might be prime minister. I might have been ousted by now….”
Wall Street Journal Warns of Economic Crisis Worldwide
Nov. 16 (EIRNS)—The lead editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal is a rather unusual warning, given the source, to the Trump administration, that, while the U.S. economy is doing well right now, “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Although it doesn’t mention the huge financial bubble in the U.S., it points to the serious economic slowdown in Europe, on top of the political chaos there, and the slowdown in growth in China, as signals of global problems which certainly impact the U.S.
The current U.S. growth, the Journal writes, is due to tax reform and deregulation unleashing “animal spirits.” But, it writes, both the German and Japanese economies declined in the last quarter (0.2% and 0.3% respectively). The currency flight into the dollar is no reason to cheer, it goes on, but is causing problems around the world. “The high-yield bond market has the jimmy legs and oil prices are down on weaker demand. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, the insouciant one, on Wednesday called events ‘concerning.’ ”
On the political crisis in Europe, the Journal observes that “Germany could soon gain a new leader, and the European Union tries to bludgeon Italy into an anti-growth budget. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government in London is hanging by a thread.” It particularly worries that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn could come to power, “and watch the pound fall if that happens.”
“All of this is a warning for Mr. Trump and others in Washington: No moat can protect the U.S. economy, and they need to adapt.”
The Journal’s recommendation, aside from telling the Fed not to raise rates (at least until next year), is that President Donald Trump must “settle his trade tempests,” including with Europe and with China, and that, “This month’s G20 summit is a chance for Mr. Trump to show some economic statesmanship and look for a trade truce.”
Staring into ‘Gates of Hell,’ New Yorkers Trapped in Decrepit Transit System during Snowstorm
Nov. 17 (EIRNS)—The Eastern U.S. early season snowstorm Nov. 15-16 was no record-setter, but nevertheless wreaked havoc and injury throughout the Eastern Seaboard, due to lack of modern mass transit. There is no redundancy in case of a breakdown in one element of the transportation system, many of whose vital segments, bridges, tunnels, rail lines are over a century old.
In New York City there were mob scenes of stranded commuters, trapped for hours at transit terminals. “The Gates of Hell” is how the New Jersey Hackensack Daily Voice headlined the situation in its photo-report yesterday, referring to Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.
Ground zero for the dislocation were the two long-outmoded commuter hubs in Manhattan, the Bus Terminal and the Pennsylvania Rail Station. Trains and buses couldn’t move on time because of the storm and accidents, due to the completely inadequate grid of rail lines and roads, thereby stranding thousands of commuters in place. The Bus Terminal was so overcrowded inside the building, on No. 15, that officials blocked the entrances at 5:15 p.m., to prevent more people trying to get in, with the lock-out remaining for hours. The crowd outside quickly grew to thousands, and stretched a city block. Security guards were posted at the doors, trying to maintain order, as screaming and fights broke out.
The upper level of the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River between Washington Heights in upper Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey, turned into a parking lot, after icing caused a 20-vehicle crash. Several drivers abandoned their cars and fled on foot.
Dramatic UN Finding Reports One-Fifth of All Britons Live in Poverty
Nov. 17 (EIRNS)—The austerity of the Conservative Party-led British government is in violation of the United Nations human rights conventions. Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, ended a two-week fact-finding mission to the U.K., where he found evidence of the devastating effects of the British government’s austerity policy on the growing number of poor and destitute in Britain.
Citing figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Alston said about 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials, and that child poverty could rise by 7% between 2015 and 2022, and could possibly increase by 40%. “It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty,” he said in a Nov. 16 statement.
Altson’s statement further charged that the government has inflicted “great misery” on its people with “punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous” austerity policies driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity. He called the levels of child poverty—“almost one in every two children”— “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster,” in a county which is the world’s fifth largest economy.
Austerity policies, he told a press conference reported by the Express, are in breach of four UN human rights agreements relating to women, children, disabled people, and economic and social rights: “If you got a group of misogynists in a room and said, how can we make this system work for men and not for women, they would not have come up with too many ideas that are not already in place.” He slammed the policy of limiting benefits payments for only the first two children, as meaning “That poor people mustn’t have more than two children and if they do the rest will suffer. It’s a perfect way to punish families.”
Alston visited towns and cities including London, Oxford, Cardiff, Newcastle, Glasgow and Belfast, where he said it was “obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in food banks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the government to appoint a minister for suicide prevention and civil society to report in depth on unheard-of levels of loneliness and isolation.”
His 24-page report, to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next year, will show that in the U.K. “poverty is a political choice.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
UNSC Discusses Yemen Humanitarian Catastrophe, as UN Envoy Seeks Peace Meeting in Sweden
Nov. 17 (EIRNS)—The UN Security Council met yesterday to discuss the situation in Yemen and heard from special envoy Martin Griffiths, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, and David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program. Griffiths stressed a couple of points in particular during his presentation, according to the transcript published by the UN.
He described the port of Hodeidah as the “center of gravity” of the war. The situation there is fragile and urgent action is required, he said. He plans to visit Hodeidah next week, and reopen the proposal made earlier in the year to put the port under UN supervision in order to keep it functioning.
Griffiths welcomed the recent calls by all parties expressing renewed commitment to work on a political solution. “I welcome President Hadi’s announcement to move swiftly to a political solution, and I know from my contacts in Sana’a that Ansar Allah is also committed to this,” he said, stating that he intends to convene a meeting in Sweden soon. “I believe we are close to resolving the preparatory issues that will allow to make this happen,” Griffiths said.
Lowcock reported that, despite calls for the violence to stop, UN sources have observed nearly 800 separate incidents of shelling, armed clashes or air strikes across Yemen, often with devastating consequences for civilians and, that due to the fighting, humanitarian programs have been scaled back in the port of Hodeidah.
Beasley, fresh from a three-day visit to Yemen this week, said that he had witnessed a country on the brink of catastrophe: “What I have seen in Yemen this week is the stuff of nightmares, of horror, of deprivation, of misery. And we—all of humanity—have only ourselves to blame.” To avert famine, Beasley said, the international community must combine increased humanitarian funding with “an all-out effort to restore the Yemeni economy.” He said that will require scaling up assistance to help 12 million Yemenis, which would require about $150-$160 million a month. And it would require a cash injection of $200 million a month into Yemen’s economy to stabilize its currency and stave off economic collapse: “Yemen is on the brink so together we must act,” Beasley said. Otherwise, he warned, “we will be in the position of deciding which children live and which children die.”
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
Expert Shows Maglev Transportation Is Eminently Feasible in U.S. Northeast Corridor
Nov. 16 (EIRNS)—Kevin Coates, an expert on magnetic levitation (maglev) technology, published a powerful article in the Baltimore Suntoday, in which he argued for a maglev line for the Washington-Baltimore-New York-Boston corridor. He further explained that maglev is more than a new technology, but is rather an entire class of transport technologies.
Coates writes: “Since I arrived in Maryland 35 years ago, traffic congestion has increased almost exponentially. Yet relatively nothing has been done to alleviate the congestion problem. This is because very little can be done to accommodate a doubling or tripling of the number of vehicles. The simple reason for this is that road capacity is limited—and measurable. If the ‘throughput’ of vehicles exceeds 2,000 vehicles per lane-mile, per hour, you get traffic jams.”
The city of Shanghai, China, he writes, with a population of more than 24 million, will soon have 19 subway lines that will “provide station access that is no further than 2,000 feet from any resident in the central part of Shanghai.” The maglev connecting the city’s Pudong International Airport to the downtown, is being extended to the west to a domestic airport cum high-speed rail station, which will cut the present two-hour commute between airports to “15 reliable minutes.”
“This is a perfect example of why congested areas such as our Northeast corridor demand new transportation infrastructure that enables the reliable and efficient movement of more people per hour through a narrower right of way than any 20-lane highway—and something a dual-track maglev does in a financially sustainable and environmentally benign way.”
Coates points out that maglev has extremely low operational and maintenance costs, and that these are the same for low-, medium- and high-speed versions. “Through automated high-quality mass production of component parts and advanced construction techniques…” he says, “both manufacturing and construction times could be vastly accelerated and, as a consequence, result in an initial capital cost that was far lower than high-speed rail infrastructure costs.”
Coates concludes: “The real objective of the Northeast Maglev project is to build a 1-hour maglev from D.C. to New York City to make driving I-95 unattractive and financially impractical. Future generations are the ones who will thank us for building such a smart travel option.”