United States News Digest
Belatedly, Conyers Holds (Non-)Impeachment Hearing
July 25 (EIRNS)"A day late and a dollar short," as the saying goes, the House Judiciary Committee conducted a six-hour hearing today on the impeachment of the President and the Vice President. Originally billed as a hearing on "The Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush," then changed to "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations," Committee chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) denied that it was an impeachment hearing, after GOP committee members charged that this is exactly what it was but boasted that it wouldn't get anywhere, because the Democratic leadership of the House (i.e., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.]) has taken impeachment off the table.
Among the witnesses were former Republican Congressmen Walter Jones (N.C.) and Bob Barr (Ga.); Reagan Administration Justice Department official Bruce Fein; Democratic Reps. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and Maurice Hinchey (N.Y.), who said that Bush and Cheney lead "the most impeachable administration in the history of our country"; and former Rep. Liz Holtzman (N.Y.), who brings to bear her experience from serving on the Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment proceedings.
Fein declared that the Bush-Cheney Administration has clearly committed impeachable offenses; Jones did not call for impeachment, but discussed his bill to curb Presidential signing statements.
Bob Barr cited a number of instances of abuse of power, which he noted, "began before the current administration, but have been taken to new and unprecedented levels," and he warned that the next administration, regardless of party, could take these abuses "to even higher and higher levels."
A number of Committee members warned of a possible attack on Iran as a reason to initiate impeachment proceedings now. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) stated that "if this administration during the last six months decides to attack the sovereign nation of Iran, then Americans will look back and think and rethink whether or not it would have been worth pursuing impeachment at this time to deter any further misdoing by this Administration."
Also alluded to in today's hearing was a proposal being circulated in Washington, reportedly written by a former senior member of the 1970s Church Committee (on domestic CIA spying and related matters), advocating Congressional establishment of a Church Committee-style investigation of abuses of power by this, and previous administrations. According to Salon online magazine, such a bipartisan panel would investigate widespread illegal surveillance conducted inside the United States by the National Security Agency and other agencies, plus torture, rendition, and secret prisons, and the use of military assets for spying on U.S. citizens.
Double Disaster: Congress's Response to Midwest Floods
July 23 (EIRNS)The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the Midwest floods of 2008the response and what to do in the futureappears to have been a pep rally for the "greening of the Corps," which emphatically includes Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works John Paul Woodley. Woodley repeatedly spoke of the need for "non-structural" approaches to flood management, as he emphasized the "misperception" that "the Federal government is responsible for providing fail-safe protection from flooding." The bulk of his prepared testimony discussed the numerous efforts by the Corps to coordinate with state and local governments and private groups. He said a "key challenge" is to make sure "public and government leaders" make flood risk management decisions which "integrate environmental, social, and economic factors...."
Committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), along with Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), provided a few facts on what occurred and the losses. Boxer said that "precipitation across the Upper Mississippi Basin from December 2007 through May 2008 was the second-wettest since 1895," and that current estimates are that the floods caused $8 billion in losses to crop production, and that this number will go up, as livestock, farm machinery, buildings, and infrastructure losses are accounted for. Ranking Republican Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.) gave the only opening statement that spoke of promoting "national interests in the use of the waterways."
Lieberman Lauds Hagee's Christian Zionist Loonies
July 23 (EIRNS)"Sen. Joe Lieberman praises pastor who said Holocaust was God's work," is the headline on the website of the Israeli daily Ha'aretz's today, over a story reporting that Lieberman addressed a meeting of Rev. John Hagee's Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a group that hopes for an imminent Apocalypse in the Holy Land. This was despite the fact that GOP Presidential candidate John McCain, whose candidacy Lieberman supports, was earlier compelled to reject Hagee's endorsement, after Hagee was quoted as saying that God allowed the Holocaust to happen because it led to the creation of Israel.
Lieberman said that Hagee's support for Israel is more important than the controversy over Hagee's comments. "The bond that I feel with Pastor Hagee and each and every one of you is so much stronger than that, and so I am proud to stand with you tonight."
Lieberman appeared before Hagee's mob in spite of the delivery of over 40,000 petition signatures urging him not to speak there. The signatures were organized by the pro-peace "J Street" group, whose head Jeremy Ben-Ami said: "The purportedly 'pro-Israel' views of Hagee and his supporters bear little to no resemblance to the consensus of the vast majority of American Jews, who strongly support a negotiated, two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and active engagement by the United States to facilitate it."
Gore Upstages Pelosi in Texas with His Anti-Carbon Genocide
July 21 (EIRNS)At the NetRoots Nation blogger convention July 19, in Austin, Texas, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ended her 40-minute exchange with the 2,000-person audience, with a grand entrance by Al Gore, complete with a staged embrace.
Gore's Austin speech was the second of three national pitches he gave last week for his protect-the-climate, kill-the-people programJuly 17 in Washington, D.C., and July 20 on NBC's "Meet the Press." His message: In ten years, all U.S. electricity must come from carbon-free, "renewable sources"solar, wind power, and geothermalto prevent the meltdown of the Earth. Since some 70% of U.S. electricity comes from coal at present, this amounts to calling for the economy to shut down.
Internationally, coal is likewise the predominant mode of electricity, because nuclear was blocked 40 years ago. Among Gore's many lying assertions, is that the world has almost run out of coal. In truth, there are still significant coal depositse.g., in Alaskathat could be a bridge to nuclear. Gore gave dire predictions, including that the North Polar ice capmillions of years oldwill melt in five years.
On July 18, in Washington, Pelosi defended Gore as a "visionary," when reporters at the Democratic Congressional Policy press conference asked her what she thought of his radical statements.
In Austin, she laid it on thicker, saying that it was because of Al Gore's legislative work in Washington for telecommunications, that there was the Internet revolution. "Without him, there would be no Netroots Nation," she said.
Soros Is Buying Up the New York State Democratic Party
July 21 (EIRNS)George Soros's extended family has given over $1 million to local Democrats since 2000, with $199,000 just this year, according to an article in the July 18 New York Observer. Recipients have included State Senators Eric Schneiderman, David Valesky, and Craig Johnson; former Senator Rick Dollinger; and New York City Councilmember Joe Addabbo, Jr. New York State Democratic Campaign Committee chair Bill Samuels says, "it's an honor" to get Soros's cash, and that it's not just George, rather "it's the [whole] family." Figures from the New York State Board of Elections confirm that Soros money has come primarily from George ($441,000), but also from his wife Susan ($26,000), son Robert ($279,223.27) and Robert's wife Melissa ($198,000), son Jonathan ($113,750) and Jonathan's wife Jennifer ($4,000).
The effort began, says the Observer, in 2000, with $125,000 going for a drug legalization "lobbying group," trying to "change the state's drug sentencing law." An additional $85,000 went into "legislative candidates in Manhattan, Queens and Long Island," but (the National Democratic Party should take note), they all lost.
Note that in 2006, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg began buying into the New York Republican Party, with contributions of over $1 million in that year alone.
Arnie's Plan To Kill Poor Patients Gets Court Approval
July 20 (EIRNS)California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to "balance" the state's budget on the backs of the poor and the sick got the go ahead, July 16, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed itself and approved a 10% cut on Medi-Cal drug payments that Schwarzenegger had ordered last February. Lynn Rolston, the chief executive officer of the California Pharmacists Association, told the Oakland Tribune that, after the appellate court decision, many pharmacists had called to tell her, "This puts me in a terrible moral dilemma. I have no choice but to turn people away." The pharmacists say that the 10% cut means that they will lose between a few dollars and a few hundred dollars on every prescription, and that Medi-Cal patients with chronic diseases requiring expensive medications for treatment will be hit especially hard. Rolston emphasized that if their care is interrupted, the additional medical costs will outstrip the savings in drug costs, "because people will flock to emergency rooms and higher-cost care"or even die, she might have added.
Toby Douglas, the deputy director of health-care policy for the state Department of Health Care Services, said that Medi-Cal takes up a substantial portion of the state budget and therefore, "Medi-Cal has to be part of the solution."