From Volume 8, Issue 2 of EIR Online, Published Jan. 13, 2009

United States News Digest

Homeowners and Bank Protection Act in Indiana Senate

Jan. 10 (EIRNS)—Indiana State Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago), filed Lyndon LaRouche's Homeowners and Bank Protection Act (HBPA) this week in the Indiana Senate. The resolution, SR 7, will be formally introduced and given a committee assignment in the coming weeks. A similar resolution was introduced in the Alabama Senate resolution last Spring. East Chicago, which suffers from high foreclosures and economic disintegration due to the collapse of the steel and related industries, is one of half a dozen cities that passed the HBPA in the Spring of 2008.

Some Senate GOPers Front for Soros on Holder Nomination

Jan. 10 (EIRNS)—Some Senate Republicans have jumped into bed with dope-pusher George Soros to criticize the nomination of Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General. Hearings begin Jan. 15. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters yesterday, that Holder "has got serious questions to respond to" on a number of matters, including the pardons at the end of the Clinton Administration, but, "Beyond that, I don't anticipate trouble for the new President's nominees." Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, delivered a speech on the Senate floor this week, in which he asserted that Holder, during the Clinton Administration, at times "appeared to be serving the interest of his superiors," rather than heeding recommendations from career Justice Department lawyers.

Where was Specter when Alberto Gonzales was confirmed as Attorney General? Gonzales's only job while in the position was to protect Dick Cheney from prosecution, yet the Republicans voted unanimously for his confirmation.

The issues that the GOP intends to raise, according to today's Washington Post, include a legal services contract that Holder was awarded by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which was never fulfilled; Holder's defense of commercial corporations while in private practice with the law firm of Covington & Burling; his support of gun control; and, of course, the Marc Rich and FALN pardons in the final days of the Clinton Administration. Not mentioned by the Post and other coverage, are Soros and the dope lobby, which fear that Holder will oppose their drive for drug legalization.

Meanwhile, reports that Virginia's former senior Republican Senator John Warner (Va.) will testify for Holder.

Obama DoJ Appointments Promise Break with Bush-Cheney Policies

Jan. 6 (EIRNS)—President-elect Barack Obama announced four high-level Justice Department nominations on Jan. 5, following his earlier nomination of Eric Holder for Attorney General. The most significant is that of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)—the office which was perverted under the Bush-Cheney Administration to turn out fraudulent legal opinions justifying torture and other illegal and unconstitutional practices. Johnsen, a professor at Indiana University, spent five years in OLC during the Clinton Administration, and has been outspoken in her denunciations of the "corrupt" legal advice given by the OLC during the past seven years.

Other nominations are:

* Elena Kagan, Dean of the Harvard Law School and a former Clinton White House legal advisor, for U.S. Solicitor General; like Johnsen, Kagan has been a featured speaker at conferences of the American Constitution Society, the left-liberal counterpart to the Federalist Society;

* David Ogden, a former senior official in both DoJ and DoD, and the head of Obama's DoJ transition team, as Deputy Attorney General, the Department's #2 position;

* Tom Perelli, who was counsel to former Attorney General Janet Reno, as Associate Attorney General, in charge of civil matters.

California's Governator: Shut Schools To Save Money

Jan. 8 (EIRNS)—California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's newest budget-cutting pitch: Stop state funding for a week of the school year, according to today's Los Angeles Times. This is projected to save $1.1 billion. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell called the proposal "devastating," and said, "It would particularly hurt our low-income students and students of color," because affluent districts are more likely to be able to pay for the five days themselves while poorer districts will be forced to eliminate those teaching days. "The result would be a further widening of the achievement gap." If five days are cut, each of the state's 1,054 school districts will have to renegotiate contracts with unions representing teachers and other employees, for potential pay cuts.

U.S. Senate Backs Genocide in Gaza

Jan. 8 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Senate today passed a resolution supporting "Israel's right to self-defense." While giving lip service to protecting the lives of innocent civilians, the resolution repeated the Israeli mantra that any ceasefire must be "durable, enforceable and sustainable." The Israeli insistence on these conditionalities has prevented any ceasefire resolution from passing the United Nations Security Council to date, as the U.S. has promised to veto any resolution which does not include this wording.

In remarks to the Senate before the vote, both Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell postured, saying that were the United States hit by missiles lobbed across the Canadian border, the world would expect the U.S. to defend itself as Israel has been forced to do now. In fact, by their co-sponsorship of this resolution, they have already been hit with the bomb of world opinion that will cause their already dismal approval ratings to be shot to smithereens.

The House passed a similar resolution the next day, with five no votes and 23 abstentions, mostly Democrats.

Times Wants Congressman Rangel Out

Jan. 4 (EIRNS)—The New York Times, which supported Hitler and eugenics at one time, is currently upping the pressure on the 111th Congress to remove House Ways and Means chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), with another "exposé" for the Ethics Committee's investigation of the senior Congressman.

A Jan. 3 Times smear by David Kocieniewski describes the contact between Rangel and insurance giant AIG, over Rangel's attempted fundraising from AIG for a City College of New York (CCNY) Public Service Center, suggesting a conflict-of-interest problem for Rangel.

However, the counsel for the Ways and Means Committee burst that balloon, telling the Times, "The law expressly permits members of Congress to engage in fundraising activity on behalf of non-profits such as CCNY, and recognizes that donations will inevitably coincide with legislative activity."

Next, the Times charges that Rangel initially opposed, then supported a tax change that benefitted AIG. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), told the Times, "While Chairman Rangel opposed extending the provision this year, a majority of Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee supported doing so, and the Chairman listened to his membership." Furthermore, Rangel had signed off on the measure before AIG's letter was sent to him.

Finally, the Times attempts to show that Rangel was involved in AIG's bailout from bankruptcy. But, the Treasury Department seconded the account by Rangel's aides, that he played no role in negotiating the bailout. As Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) put it for the Times, "To say that Chairman Rangel has had minimal involvement in the bailout negotiations would be overstating things."

Virtually the entire Ethics Committee from the previous Congress will be replaced on Jan. 6 by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

All rights reserved © 2009 EIRNS