From Volume 7, Issue 7 of EIR Online, Published Feb. 12, 2008

United States News Digest

Support for LaRouche's 'Firewall' Act Continues To Grow

Feb. 9 (EIRNS)—Support for Lyndon LaRouche's Homeowners and Bank Protection Act (HBPA) is continuing to grow, as the financial system continues to disintegrate. On Feb. 5, resolutions calling on Congress to pass the HBPA were introduced into the legislatures of Georgia, Vermont, and Oklahoma. In Georgia, the resolution has six co-sponsors. On Feb. 6, the city council of Warrensville, Ohio, southeast of Cleveland, unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the HBPA.

In New York, State Assemblyman Peter Rivera of the Bronx introduced a similar resolution with 42 co-sponsors, including some Republicans. The New York resolution specifically refers to President Franklin Roosevelt's April 13, 1933 Declaration of National Policy, which stated "that the broad interests of the Nation require that special safeguards should be thrown around home ownership as a guarantee of social and economic stability, and that to protect homeowners from inequitable enforced liquidation in a time of general distress is a proper concern of the Government," as a precedent for Congress to protect homeowners and the chartered banking system from the rapidly deflating housing bubble.

Cheney Backs War Crimes

Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—On Feb. 5, CIA Director Michael Hayden admitted for the first time, on the record, that the United States had committed war crimes, by torturing ("waterboarding") three prisoners in U.S. custody. The following day, White House spokesman Tony Fratto asserted that waterboarding is legal, and that President Bush could authorize the CIA to use it again under specific circumstances. On Feb. 14, in his speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) in Washington, and again today at a GOP fundraiser in Harrisburg, Pa., Vice President Dick Cheney gloated over the waterboarding of prisoners.

"Just as we monitored the communications of enemies at large, we've also gotten information out of the ones that we have captured," Cheney boasted. "The military has interrogated terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, and, in addition, a small number of terrorists, high-value targets, held overseas have gone through an interrogation program run by the CIA. It's a tougher program for tougher customers. These include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11."

"It's a good thing we had them in custody, and it's a good thing we found out what they knew," Cheney said. Also yesterday, Attorney General Michael Mukasey was asked by House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) if he would open a criminal investigation into the now-confirmed use of waterboarding. Mukasey said he will not, for the reason that whatever was done, was found to be permissible under a Justice Department memo at the time.

As if war crimes can be made legal by a Justice Department memo! The United States and its allies did not allow such a defense for Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg: The Nazi lawyers were prosecuted alongside those who carried out the Nazis' war crimes.

No End to Media Slanders of the Clintons

Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—MSNBC, a subsidiary of NBC-TV, was forced today to suspend news correspondent David Shuster, for offensive remarks about Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton he made during a evening news broadcast Feb. 7. In commenting on the calls that Chelsea has been making to super-delegates on her mother's behalf, Shuster blurted out, "Doesn't it seem like Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?" Soon after the broadcast, the Clinton campaign organized a conference call with reporters and activists, to blast MSNBC and Shuster for the vicious attack. On the following morning, Shuster appeared on MSNBC news shows to apologize; soon after, the station announced that he had been suspended from any further appearances. NBC has been negotiating with the Clinton and Obama campaigns to host a televised Presidential candidates debate in late February, and after the Shuster smear-job, the Clinton campaign is rethinking whether to go ahead with the debate on the network. Howard Wolfson, a Clinton campaign official, told reporters that there has been a pattern of such slanderous coverage on NBC.

Schwarzenegger's Privatized Toll Road Defeated

Feb. 7 (EIRNS)—The California Coastal Commission dealt a blow to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's push for toll roads, with an 8-2 vote, following a public hearing attended by more than 3,000 people. The vote rejected a plan for a toll road which would extend State Route 241 in Orange and San Diego counties, a plan backed by the Transportation Corridor Agency. Schwarzenegger wrote a letter, dated Jan. 15, to the chairman of the Coastal Commission, urging endorsement of the toll road. The major argument of Schwarzenegger and the toll road advocates is that it is needed to relieve highway congestion, at a time when the funds do not exist to build new highways. In his letter, the Governator presented the argument of his controllers, George Shultz and Felix Rohatyn, who are promoters of a fascist scheme which they present as an approach to "infrastructure." Schwarzenegger wrote that the project should be adopted, as it "does not rely on scarce state and Federal transportation funds. It is a public private partnership (PPP) project that will rely on private capital for funding. This could not be more important as state leaders struggle with closing a budget deficit while protecting funding for vital services such as education and health care."

This argument is based on a lie: The Governor's fiscal 2009 budget does not protect vital services, as he has proposed major cuts in health care and education, along with all other social programs designed to aid the poor and vulnerable in the state. Lyndon LaRouche has characterized the Shultz-Rohatyn PPPs as a corporatist policy, modeled explicitly on the "infrastructure" programs of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Schwarzenegger's partner in pushing this approach is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been designated by Shultz and Rohatyn to be the next President of the U.S.A. Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg endorsed the Mussolini PPP model at a much-hyped press conference in Los Angeles on Jan. 19.

This is the third major defeat inflicted on Schwarzenegger in the last week. His so-called health insurance plan, which would have been a boondoggle for his big supporters in the insurance industry, was defeated in the state senate. Voters on Feb. 5 rejected Proposition 93, the flawed plan to change term limits, which Arnie supported. And last night, one of his model PPP programs, the Foothills South toll road, was scrapped by the Coastal Commission. Perhaps Californians are deciding it is not so "cool" to have a fascist governor, after all.

Government Lawyers: Veterans' Medical Care Is Discretionary

Feb. 5 (EIRNS)—Lawyers for the Department of Veterans Affairs are arguing that the department's health-care mandate extends only "to the extent and in the amount provided in advance in appropriations acts for these purposes," and therefore "creates no such expectation that veterans are entitled to care." In other words, the medical care provided by the department for veterans, including war wounded veterans, is entirely at the discretion of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, not dependent on the needs of veterans. These lawyers argue that the law only provides for "eligibility" for medical care and does not make it an entitlement.

The argument was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Jan. 30, in response to a lawsuit filed, last July, by Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United For Truth. The suit charges that the veterans have little recourse when their medical claims are rejected. Gordon Espramer, the lead attorney for two veterans' groups, told the San Francisco Chronicle that "Veterans need to know in this country that the government thinks all their benefits are mere gratuities. They're saying it's completely discretionary, that even if Congress appropriates money for veterans' health care, 'we can do anything we want to with it.'"

League of California Cities Caught in Hoax vs. HBPA

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3 (EIRNS)—The League of California Cities has been caught in a fraudulent effort to counter support for Lyndon LaRouche's Homeowners and Bank Protection Act (HBPA) among city governments in California. The Carson City Council scheduled a hearing this week on the HBPA. A posting on its website identifies Ann Marie Wallace, former regional manager of the League, as advocating that the council hold off passing the resolution in the grounds that the League believes that HBPA "leans toward Proposition 98," which the League opposes.

This is a transparent fraud, as Prop 98, which is on the June ballot, addresses the issue of eminent domain. Sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a notorious anti-tax organization, this resolution is completely unrelated to the issues raised by the HBPA, which calls for a moratorium on foreclosures, and the establishment of a firewall to protect Federal and state chartered banks from the collapse of the speculative markets.

City councilmen and other local elected officials should investigate why the League would make such a transparently fraudulent claim, which serves to protect speculators and financial predators, at the expense of homeowners and communities. California cities are among those most devastated by the collapse of the housing bubble.

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