From Volume 7, Issue 37 of EIR Online, Published Sept. 9, 2008

United States News Digest

Soros Backs California Drug Decrim Ballot Measure

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—Drug-pushing financier George Soros has put $1.4 million behind the passage of a ballot initiative in California, the misnamed Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, which will be on the November ballot as Proposition 5. The initiative is designed to keep drug users out of jail, if they accept drug treatment.

However, while promising rehabilitation, it actually favors continuing drug use, as it allows users to continue using drugs while in treatment. Actor Martin Sheen (who rescued his son from drug addiction) contributed an op-ed to the Sacramento Bee, in which he opposed the initiative, saying that Soros's bill would prohibit funding of ongoing drug testing, so that the offenders may continue using drugs, while avoiding incarceration. The initiative is being pushed as a measure to reduce prison overcrowding.

This is the third time Soros has intervened in California to promote drug usage. In 1996, he donated nearly $500,000 to support passage of the state's medical marijuana law, and $1 million in 2000 to back Proposition 36, a "drug treatment" initiative. Soros's backing of Prop. 5 is part of his global offensive to promote drug use.

New York Times Escalates Attack on Rangel

Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—Yet another two-bit scandal has been launched against U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on page one of today's New York Times.

The newest attack is that Rangel failed to report $75,000 in income over 20 years, from a vacation home he owns in the Dominican Republic, which is rented out when he is not there—income which, if not "a wash" through depreciation and local taxes, would amount to less than $3,800/year. Rangel said if he owes taxes, he will amend his tax returns, and pay them.

Yesterday, male model Craig Schley announced that he had collected 6,000 petition signatures to run as an Independent against Rangel in the Nov. 4 election.

These developments follow two scandals launched in July, targetting Rangel for leasing more than one rent-controlled apartment—a common practice in New York City—and for raising money from constituents for a Columbia University Center to encourage minority participation in government.

What underlies Rangel's new problems after 38 years in the House, is that in this financial cataclysm, the financial predators want Rangel—who sees himself as a Franklin Roosevelt Democrat—out of his powerful position. The hedge fund and private equity industry is targetting Rangel for getting his legislation passed in the House that would have taxed the earnings of managers of these "locust funds" at a 35% income tax rate, instead of the "capital gains" rate of 15% which they were enjoying. Rangel's tax increase on the locust funds passed the House 233-189, but was blocked in the Senate.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the creation of money originates in the House of Representatives, and all revenue bills originate in the Ways and Means Committee, making it the most powerful committee in the Congress. Repeatedly, chairs of this Committee who have opposed powerful financier interests have been driven out: Wilbur Mills (1957-74) was removed via a set-up affair with a stripper; Dan Rostenkowski (1981-94) was forced out in a concocted House Post Office scandal. The great American System President William McKinley, who was assassinated in 1901, had previously been chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

U.S. Announces Dubious $1 Billion Aid for Georgia

Sept. 3 (EIRNS)—In a sleight-of-hand "gift" to the Republic of Georgia, on the eve of Vice President Dick Cheney's visit there, the Bush Administration today announced what it calls a $1 billion aid package. The "package" involves much less than meets the eye—but the Administration expects that it will nevertheless be taken as a provocation against Russia.

In a press conference this afternoon, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza said that the package consists of $570 million by end of 2008, and a second phase of $430 million in 2009. This will be directed to "ongoing humanitarian assistance," including dealing with displaced persons; physical reconstruct on of infrastructure and facilities; and support for "Georgia's ongoing economic growth." It supposedly does not include military assistance.

But the funds will be taken from various ongoing assistance programs, including the Freedom Support Act, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC). Of the first phase, $370 million would be "reprogramming" of existing funds, while $200 million would require Congressional reauthorization of existing programs that have nothing to do with Georgia. The balance—$430 million—would require funding by the new Congress and approval by the next Administration.

Bryza acknowledged that the Georgians did in fact attack Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, saying that the conflict "did not begin on August 7th with the attack on Tskhinvali by Georgia, which we do believe was a mistake." He claimed that the conflict actually began sooner, with "provocations" by South Ossetian militias.

Will Palin Be Dumped?

Sept. 2 (EIRNS)—Lyndon LaRouche has been telling you that nothing is fixed in stone in the midst of this great world crisis, and that includes the U.S. Presidential tickets.

Karl Rove's choice for John McCain's Vice President, Sarah Palin, may be the first to go. Amidst reports from such places as the London Times that GOP party elders "are in a state of high anxiety over Palin," London's Financial Times raises the possibility that McCain may have to dump Palin before the election, much as George McGovern had to dump Thomas Eagleton as his VP choice in 1972, when unsavory facts came to light. In an op-ed, "McCain's McGovern Moment," in the New York Times today, Gary Wills, a historian and Catholic social essayist, who got his start with William F. Buckley, calls upon Palin to withdraw immediately, and let McCain turn to a more experienced option, so the Republicans won't have to hold a second nominating convention, as McGovern did.

Bush, Cheney Seek Permanent State of War

Sept. 3 (EIRNS)—The Bush Administration is asking Congress to declare that the United States "remains engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us." This language, a re-affirmation of the September 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, by which Congress authorized the invasion of Afghanistan, is buried deep in a legislative proposal relating to legal procedures for Guantanamo prisoners, according to the Aug. 30 New York Times. It is another move to shred the Constitution and to box in the next Administration.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned that the Administration could use such language as "another far-fetched interpretation" to evade the law, as it did in using the 2001 Authorization to justify its warrantless wiretap program.

In an editorial published today, the Miami Herald urged the Bush Administration to leave the new war rules for the next President, or at least explain why it can't wait. The Herald puts in this same category, the Administration's proposed—and still secret—FBI guidelines. On Aug. 18, four Democratic Senators asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to hold off on issuing the new guidelines, pending a public review. The Senators said the guidelines would allow the FBI to use "a variety of intrusive investigative techniques" without any evidence of wrongdoing. This could include "data mining" of commercial databases to create profiles on innocent Americans.

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