From Volume 36, Issue 37 of EIR Online, Published Sept. 25, 2009

United States News Digest

Congressmen Demand Accountability for Obama's Czars

Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) this week joined Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) as a cosponsor of H.R. 3226, The Czar Accountability and Reform Act (CZAR) of 2009. This legislation would withhold funding for any salaries or expenses of any task force, council, or similar office established by the President, and headed by an individual who has been appointed without the advice and consent of the Senate.

"While it's true that previous administrations had czars—Ronald Reagan had one, George Bush had one, Bill Clinton had three, and George W. Bush had four—the number of czars appointed so quickly by President Obama is alarming," Jones said. "With taxpayer funded salaries of up to $172,000, and additional staff, office and travel budgets, it's important that these appointments do not duplicate existing, Senate-confirmed positions. As high-level decision-makers who dictate national policies that will affect all of America's citizens, these czars must be held accountable to the same confirmation guidelines as all other presidential appointments."

Obama has 32 czars.

The Jones/Kingston bill is only the latest measure introduced against Obama's czars. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has introduced a Sense of the Congress resolution with over 100 co-sponsors, which is still growing. The resolution calls for immediate transparency in the form of a report on the czars from the Obama Administration, and for Congressional hearings on the czars.

* Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) has introduced legislation called the "Sack" Act (H.R. 3569). This legislation, introduced Sept. 15, already has 20 co-sponsors. It calls for all the existing czars to be sacked as of Dec. 31 (a "sunset" law). It also requires Senate confirmation of those positions, and bars the use of appropriated funds to pay for any salaries and expenses associated with those positions.

* Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) reported that he has asked Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to have all the czars testify before his committee.

* Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) has sent a letter with co-signers to Obama, protesting "the proliferation of 'czars' in your administration. These positions raise serious issues of accountability, transparency, and oversight. The creation of 'czars,' particularly within the Executive Office of the President, circumvents the constitutionally established process of 'advise and consent,' greatly diminishes the ability of Congress to conduct oversight and hold officials accountable, and creates confusion about which officials are responsible for policy decisions."

* Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) sent a letter to Obama asking that the President's legal advisors justify the constitutionality of the czars.

Lyndon LaRouche cautioned that the czar system is an ego issue for the President, and that, if the Jones/Kingston bill were to pass, Obama would be tempted to issue a signing statement nullifying it.

Obama Demands Extension of Patriot Act

Sept. 16 (EIRNS)—It is getting hard to tell one British imperial toady from another. Today, President Obama announced that he wished to extend controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, which was enacted after 9/11, including Federal spy agencies' power to conduct roving wiretaps, access business records, and monitor "lone wolf" terrorists, NBC-TV reported.

This will fuel the anger building against Obama's Nero-like Presidency, following as it does, Obama's decision to continue to hold detainees without trial; to escalate the Afghanistan War, while continuing the war in Iraq; and to place key areas of the Federal government under "czars," to circumvent the Constitutional powers of Congress. Opposition to the Patriot Act spans both the left and the right. As a candidate, Obama, who touted his credentials as a former professor of Constitutional law, said legal institutions must be updated to deal with terrorism, but in a way that preserves the rule of law and accountability. The Patriot Act hardly fits that bill.

Is Narcissus a Wimp?

Sept. 14 (EIRNS)—The White House handlers are trying to get President Obama to be tougher, after his speech to a joint session of Congress did not ensure passage of the Nazi-modelled health-care bill. "Who's Afraid of Barack Obama?" was the headline of an article in the Washington, D.C. Politico.

Politico says that "with the moment of truth fast approaching on Capitol Hill," on the question of his "signature" issue, cutting health-care costs, "Obama seems to lack one item that most Presidents find helpful to have in their White House tool box: Fear.... It's got some people in both parties wondering whether there really is a steel fist inside Obama's velvet glove."

Most notable is that nobody in Congress has been punished for "sharp criticism," especially from Democrats. Obama loyalists are complaining. The New York Times' columnist, Maureen Dowd, wants Obama to be "more Rocky, less Spocky." Democratic consultant Dan Gerstein says, "There has to be respect and fear," and that both Republicans and Democrats "want to see more strength of leadership from him."

They're looking in the wrong place—there's only rage.

All rights reserved © 2009 EIRNS