United States News Digest
Soros Fights To Control Obama Administration
Nov. 5 (EIRNS)Although London asset George Soros paid to make Barack Obama the Democratic Party candidate for President, Obama has announced a cabinet in which Soros interests have no predominance.
Soros is using various means to fight to regain control. One is through his agenda for legalization of narcotic drugs, for which he has recently founded a so-called Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, headed by bought-off former Presidents of Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. In support of this Soros effort, the Wall Street Journal today publishes an op-ed by Soros's longtime pro-drug henchman Ethan Nadelmann, begging Obama to consider drug legalization. The Journal also includes a short rebuttal of Nadelmann's piece, by White House Drug Czar John Walters, also addressed to Obama.
Obama Urged To End Bush-Cheney Torture Policy
Dec. 3 (EIRNS)A dozen retired generals and admirals are meeting with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team today to urge a sharp break with the Bush-Cheney Administration's interrogation, detention, and rendition policies. "They are going into the meeting armed with a list of 'things that need to be done and undone,'" retired Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, former chief of the U.S. Central Command, told AP. "It is fairly extensive."
The group, organized by Human Rights First, represents more than three dozen retired flag officers with nearly 80 stars among them. During the Presidential campaign, they met with Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton, and previously worked with John McCain on anti-torture legislation in the Senate. At a recent conference at Fordham University Law School in New York, Human Rights First advocated banning all torture by any agency or agent of the United States, and aired a film they have distributed to over 1,500 U.S. Army training units that backs the full ban on torture or use of psychological or physical force as specified under international laws.
Retired Army Gen. Paul Eaton, who was in charge of the training of Iraqi forces in 2003-04, says that it's crucial for the nation's leaders to send the right message on the treatment of prisoners. Eaton pointed out that Vice President Dick Cheney once dismissed waterboarding, as a "dunk in the water," and that such statements influenced rank and file soldiers to believe that brutality was not really prohibited. "This Administration has set a tone problem for the military," Eaton told the New York Times. "We've had eight years of undermining good order and discipline."
Military Role in Domestic Security To Be Expanded
Dec. 1 (EIRNS)The Defense Department plans to have three combat brigades assigned to homeland defense by 2011 for a total of about 20,000 troops, about 6,000 of them National Guard and reserve units, reports the Washington Post today.
The Post report, while simply expanding on earlier reports such as that in the Oct. 10 issue of EIR, serves to underscore the increasing militarization of domestic security that Lyndon LaRouche warned against in 2002, when he characterized the creation of U.S. Northern Command as "crossing the Rubicon," and as "preparation to create a Caesarian military dictatorship."
LaRouche further warned in his Oct. 1, 2008 webcast that the Bush Administration was disposed to use the military inside the United States if it didn't get its bailout bill passed. LaRouche's warnings were subsequently confirmed by at least two members of Congress, who publicly reported that the Administration had threatened martial law if Congress didn't capitulate on the bailout bill.
Northern Command, for the first time, received control of a U.S. Army brigade combat team on Oct. 1, which forms the nucleus of a consequence management force trained to respond to a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack on the United States. At the time the brigade was assigned, Pentagon officials also stated their intention to create two more such response forces by 2011. The Army Times Sept. 29 reported that the brigade's training included how to deal with civil unrest and crowd control.
The Post notes that there are critics of this use of the military, because it may undermine the 130-year-old Posse Comitatus law, which proscribes the use of the military in domestic law enforcement.
N.Y. Times Attacks Gen. McCaffrey
Dec. 1 (EIRNS)The Sunday New York Times yesterday featured a vile, front-page attack on retired Army four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey. McCaffrey was President Clinton's anti-drug czar, and has been a consistent independent voice against drug-trafficking and legalization, and an outspoken critic of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld conduct of the war in Iraq. Among matters which incurred Rumsfeld's and the White House's ire were McCaffrey's warnings about unchecked drug production in Afghanistan.
The Times attempts to make the case that McCaffrey's criticism of Rumsfeld's policy of invading Iraq "on the cheap" was just an excuse for promoting the interests of his defense industry clients, and that his support for certain aspects of the Administration's later changed policy, was an effort to ingratiate himself and his clients.
"My public media commentary on the war labeled me as an early and serious critic of Rumsfeld's arrogance and mismanagement of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," Gen. McCaffrey said in a personal statement. "The New York Times noted my strong on-air criticism as an NBC commentator. My op-ed objections to the execution of the war were published in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, USA Today and other media. Hardly the stuff of someone shilling a war for the Administration or privately pushing his business interests with the Pentagon. Thirty-seven years of public service. Four combat tours. Wounded three times. I would hope that the country knows me as a non-partisan and objective national security expert with solid integrity."
States Seek Federal Stimulus Package
Dec. 1 (EIRNS)The day before the state governors were to meet with President-elect Barack Obama in Philadelphia, the head of the governors association and the president of the state legislators national organization held a press conference in Washington, laying out the plight of the states' finances, and making the case for a Federal stimulus package that would bolster aid programs and finance infrastructure projects.
Democrat Joe Hackney, Speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly and the president of the National Conference of State Legislators, said that in fiscal 2008-09 the states have made $53 billion in cuts to their budgets, and that he anticipates that in fiscal 2009-10, they will have to make an additional $90 billion in cuts. He called on the Federal government to provide temporary increases to Medicaid, to extend unemployment benefits, to increase monies for food stamp programs, and to finance infrastructure.
Betraying his lack of understanding of the gravity of the crisis his constituents face, Gov. Jim Douglas (R-Vt.), the vice chair of the governors group, said that "the downturn is going to be with us for probably a couple years." He said that 43 states are facing deficits. Douglas said that his state has had to make successive budget cuts of 2%, then another 2%, then 3% in the recent period. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, the head of the National Governors Association, said that that organization has identified some $136 billion worth of infrastructure projects that could be begun quickly. While about 70% of them are transport projects, he also mentioned water and sewer repair, and levees. He said that each $1 billion in infrastructure programs generates 40,000 jobs. He also made a pitch for "renewable and alternative energy" projects.
Rendell and Douglas later met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and George Miller (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, seeking an additional $156 billion in Medicaid funding and infrastructure spending.
Bush Regime Twists the Medicaid Knife
Dec. 1 (EIRNS)The Bush Administration has decreed that low income people on Medicaid can pay more or "choose to delay or forgo care rather than pay their cost-sharing obligations." The edict allows states to "deny care or coverage to Medicaid beneficiaries who do not pay their premiums or their share of the cost for a particular item or service."
States will now "charge premiums and higher co-payments for doctors' services, hospital care, and prescription drugs provided to low-income people under Medicaid," reports the New York Times.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 13 million poor peopleabout a fifth of Medicaid recipientswill face new or higher co-pays. The CBO said that most of the "savings" to the government will come from "decreased use of services."