From Volume 37, Issue 17 of EIR Online, Published Apr. 30, 2010

United States News Digest

Chicago Bank Failure Could Revive Interest in Rezko-Obama Ties

April 24 (EIRNS)—Life got a little more complicated for Barack Obama, yesterday, when the FDIC shut down Broadway Bank of Chicago, after it missed a deadline to raise $85 million in capital. Broadway was owned by the family of Alexi Giannoulias, once described as the "protégé" and basketball partner of Obama. Giannoulias, now the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate from Illinois, seems to have even deeper ties than that, including to the organized crime apparatus of convicted felon Tony Rezko. According to Chicago media reports, Obama got such a good deal on the mortgage on his second house in Chicago, the one that Rezko sold him, because he walked into the bank with a bid from another bank, unnamed. It's been rumored that that bid came from Broadway Bank.

Giannoulias had been a senior loan officer at Broadway until 2006, when he decided to run for state Treasurer. The Democratic Party endorsed his opponent, a 12-year state prosecutor, but Obama supported Giannoulias. The latter was only 29 years old at the time, and had never run for public office, but he easily won the Democratic Party nomination, and then the general election, with his family money and the star power of Obama behind him. However, even after he had won the nomination, senior party leaders in the state, including the speaker of the state house Mike Madigan, refused to endorse him because of reputed links to organized crime. This not only involved reported ties to Rezko, but also to Michael "Jaws" Giorango, a Chicago mob figure convicted of bookmaking and promoting prostitution. Giannoulias had touted his "experience" as a loan officer as a credential in his 2006 campaign, but, according to Politico, began to downplay it after reports emerged "of dubious loans and financial dealings with organized crime members and convicted political fixer Antoin ('Tony') Rezko."

It now appears that Obama is prepared to let Giannoulias twist in the wind, even to lose another Democratic Senate seat, rather than attract more attention to their relationship by backing his Senate campaign. Politico reported April 23, before Broadway Bank was shut down, that Illinois' senior Senator, Dick Durbin (D), went to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, asking for help for Giannoulias's campaign, but left without any commitments. Politico surmised that the White House "seems open to the idea of losing Obama's old seat rather than putting the President's prestige on the line" for Giannoulias. Obama apparently fears renewed attention to his own ties to Rezko—and who knows what else?

Issa Requests That Holder Name a Special Prosecutor

April 22 (EIRNS)—On April 21, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that he "name a special prosecutor to conduct a formal investigation into whether a crime was committed when White House officials attempted to secure Rep. Joe Sestak's withdrawal from Pennsylvania's Democratic Primary for the United States Senate," the seat now held by Sen. Arlen Specter. According to Issa, "This request follows attempts I have made to obtain more information from the White House. I have written two letters asking some basic questions. To date, the White House has not responded. Their silence is virtually an admission that they do not quarrel with Rep. Sestak's account. The White House's unwillingness to clearly and emphatically deny Rep. Sestak's allegations of criminal conduct leads me to conclude that his account is accurate, reliable and truthful."

Issa concludes: "After you have reviewed this matter, I would appreciate it if you would let me know how the Department plans to proceed."

As Issa stated in an interview on April 19, the ultimate target of this investigation is likely President Obama himself, because either he made the offer, or an officer of the President made the offer. If the offer was made by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, or some other high ranking officer we certainly would believe that the President knew, or in vague terms, knew about it," Issa wrote.

Blagojevich Defense Wants Obama Subpoenaed

April 22 (EIRNS)—According to an article in the Chicago Tribune by Jeff Coen, lawyers for Blagojevich today asked a Federal judge for permission to subpoena President Barack Obama to testify at Blagojevich's upcoming trial.

Blagojevich is charged with using his office to enrich himself and close associates, including allegations he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat that Obama vacated in 2008 with his election to the White House.

The filing charges that Obama has direct knowledge related to allegations in the indictment and, additionally, has made public statements in direct contradiction to other witness statements.

LaRouche: Only Idiots Don't Understand What 'Tea Parties' Are

April 18 (EIRNS)—Don Balz of the Washington Post today joined the ranks of those political commentators who are trying to pin labels on the "Tea Parties." Balz wrote that unlike the Ross Perot voters of 1992, who were truly independent, the so called "Tea Party" of today is only an adjunct of the right wing of the Republican Party.

"He's an idiot!" Lyndon LaRouche replied. "Actually, [the Tea Party's] character is that it's pushed by the circumstances. People are responding to circumstances: they hate the government! This present government is hated!"

"They're not stupid enough to be Obama voters," LaRouche said, "and are searching for a remedy, an alternative, in the 'Tea Party.' We're not defending the Tea Party, because we don't know where it's going, exactly. But it's based on a very legitimate protest against the moral corruption characteristic of the Obama Administration....

"We don't know where they're going; they don't know where they're going, but they are a legitimate reaction against the criminal policies, which are in fact criminal policies of the Obama Administration, and the crooked, gangster methods used by the Obama Administration. And we can now refer to 'gangster methods.' Protest movements are not necessarily defined by what they're for; sometimes, they're defined by what they're against. Only idiots don't know that!"

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