From Volume 7, Issue 44 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 28, 2008

United States News Digest

N.Y. City Council Makes Bloomberg 'Mayor For Life'

Oct. 23 (EIRNS)—The New York Times blog "City Room" reported today that the New York City Council had voted 29-22 to grant the wishes of Mayor Michael "I'm Above Politics" Bloomberg, and extended the city's term-limits law to allow Bloomberg to run for a third term. The Times notes this undoes "the result of two voter referendums that had imposed a limit of two four-year terms." Indeed, the Council preceded that vote with the defeat of an amendment which would have conducted a new referendum on the question, a course that had been recommended by the New York City Bar Association.

Former Ambassador Ronald Lauder, acknowledged as the leading force behind the original term-limits provision, reversed course in an Oct. 2 New York Times op-ed, in which he called for lifting term limits now, in the current financial crisis, and a return to the fascist policies of Felix Rohatyn's 1970s Big MAC. And on Oct. 19, "Felix the Fixer" himself endorsed a Bloomberg third term, to provide continuing "leadership" to "save" the city, in a Daily News op-ed. Rohatyn argued that the "global financial crisis ... is throttling New York" and that Bloomberg [who made his billions promoting the investment bubble in London and New York—ed.] must provide continuing "leadership" to save the city.

ACORN's Legal Problems Grow as Big as an Oak

Oct. 22 (EIRNS)—A recently surfaced internal report by a lawyer for ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), written on June 18, spells out multiple potential legal violations in the group's organization and activities, and recommends consulting a knowledgeable white-collar criminal attorney about the embezzlement of $1 million, according to today's New York Times.

As this news service has documented, ACORN now conduits uncountable millions of dollars for George Soros-directed political operations and the Obama for President Campaign.

Elizabeth Kingsley, a Washington attorney for ACORN, points in her internal report to potentially improper use of charitable money for political purposes; money transfers among the affiliates; and problems potentially created by employees working for multiple ACORN affiliates. Kingsley's report also gives a different account of the embezzlement of $1 million by the brother of ACORN's founder, Wade Rathke.

Obama Fundraising Under Scrutiny

Oct. 22 (EIRNS)—Sen. Barack Obama's reported record-breaking fundraising is raising eyebrows on two grounds: First, with the large amount of undocumented contributions under $200, suspicions are being raised that these come from large donors breaking big contributions into smaller ones, or that a significant portion comes from illegal overseas donations. Sources have told EIR that "a lot of people will go to jail" for illegal fundraising for Obama—but only after the November elections are past.

Second, as a Bloomberg wire story puts it: "Even as he condemns special interests and refuses money from lobbyists, Obama has followed a fundraising model created by President George W. Bush," enlisting over 500 people to "bundle" donations from friends, family and co-workers. The largest category of "bundlers" is lawyers, including many who lobbied for big Wall Street and other financial outfits, such as Lehman Bros., AIG, and Fannie Mae; the second-largest is representatives of the so-called "securities and investment industry." Obama's biggest single source of campaign cash is employees of Goldman Sachs and their families, who had contributed $739,521 through Aug. 31—even before the September deluge of contributions.

Notably, only one-fourth of Obama's money comes from donors giving $200 or less—which is less, as a percentage, than received by George W. Bush's 2004 campaign.

Will Terrorist Attack on U.S. Confront New President?

Oct. 22 (EIRNS)—A high-level intelligence source has indicated to EIR that it is virtually certain that there will be a major terrorist incident against the United States in the first six months of the new Presidency, no matter who is elected. Such an attack, the source said, would be intended to compound the effects of the financial crisis. The source cited the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, which occurred in the early months of the Clinton Presidency, and the 9/11 attacks in the first year of the Bush-Cheney Presidency, as indications that the enemies of the United States are aware that the transition period is one of heightened vulnerability.

It is for this reason that some leading institutional voices are promoting the idea that Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, and CIA Director Michael Hayden should be kept on for a year by the next administration, while other Cabinet posts are filled and the new team settles in.

Mullen Holds 'Meaningful Engagement' with Russian Counterpart

Oct. 21 (EIRNS)—Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held what he described as a "meaningful engagement" with Russian Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of his country's General Staff. Held at near Helsinki, Finland, the meeting was initiated by Makarov. Mullen said he was very encouraged that his Russian counterpart had reached out to ensure that the dialogue continued between the two countries. This was the highest-level military meeting between the two since August's Georgian conflict.

A day earlier, Mullen was in Belgrade, where he met with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Zvradko Ponos, to discuss bilateral military cooperation. Mullen was the first Joint Chiefs Chairman to visit Belgrade since 1951.

Mullen described the topics covered in his meeting with Makarov only in general terms, emphasizing that "the most important part of [today's] meeting was the dialogue, and the commitment to continue the dialogue ... into the future, and not put us into an all on or all off situation." Obviously, Mullen said, "the relationship has changed because of what happened in Georgia, but by no means does it or should it end."

Makarov was very personable and engaging, Mullen told reporters. "I would characterize these as discussions," he said. They were "not by rote or by reading a script. So it was an engagement, and it was a meaningful engagement across a lot of important areas."

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