United States News Digest
Lugar Confirms Obama's Fascist Alliance with GOP Against Dems
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)Lyndon LaRouche was right again in his forecast of an Obama-Republican post-election alliance around fascist austerity. LaRouche warned that this, as well as huge election losses, would occur if the Democrats did not move to enact Glass-Steagall before the November election.
Republican Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.) outlined this fascist alliance today on CNN's State of the Union. Discussing the prospects for ratification of the new START treaty, Lugar said he believed START would be ratified, explaining: "A strategy that brings us to [a vote on START] now has pretty strong bipartisan support, starting with the President, and then Senator McConnell and othersI hope Senator Reid. Namely, that we tackle the taxes, both taxes on all Americans, capital gains, extenders, what have you. Secondly, that we either have a continuing resolution which keeps our government going, or a comprehensive omnibus spending bill, which incorporates all of the appropriations bills. And thirdly, that we take up the START treaty.
"Now the problem with this, I think, is that Senator Reid, the Majority Leader, has found that many Democrats don't want something quite that abrupt. They say [to Obamaed.], 'We made a lot of promises out on the campaign trail. We ... demand, that certain things come up, all sorts of things, across the board. Don't cut us out of this.'
"Now, the President is putting very strong pressure to cut them out of this. And they are resentful of that, as a matter of fact. So, as a result, we're on the threshold, if we get this program, one, two, three, [of] debating the START treaty...."
Obama is in collusion with Republican fascists like Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.). But a CBS poll shows that a majority of Americans, and half of all Republicans, oppose the extend-all-tax-cuts deal Obama is preparing to give the GOP. The Republican demand to extend all Bush tax cuts is supported by less than half (46%) of self-identified Republicans, only 25% of Independents, and almost no Democrats. Overall, just 26% of the population supports it. But 53%including 47% of Independents and 41% of Republicanssupports ending tax cuts for those who earn over $200,000 per individual/$250,000 per married couple.
Catfood Commission Can't Muster Votes; Proceeds with Fascist Agenda
Dec. 3 (EIRNS)After a little over an hour of speeches, the Fiscal Commission created by the Inter-Alpha Group's Peter Peterson and President Obama, adjourned today without taking a vote or even announcing a final votebecause co-chairmen Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles knew that they didn't have the required 14 votes to take it to Congress and force a floor vote on their fascist recommendations in the Congressional lame-duck session. The votes within the Commission were apparently 11 for and 7 against. Four of the 18 Commission members were not present, but had communicated their votes to Simpson and Bowles.
But Bowles and Simpson continue to boast that they have got control of the people who will write the budgets in the next session of Congress, and that 80-85% of their recommendations for spending cuts will be incorporated in the new budgets.
Talking to reporters, Bowles said that White House budget director Jack Lew had called him this morning and said that he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner want to meet with the Commission as a whole as soon as possible. Along the same lines, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said afterwards that there should be a summit of the White House and Congressional leaders to take up the Commission's recommendations and figure out how to ram them through Congress.
'Mad Hatter's Banking Committee' Throws Up Its Hands at Housing Collapse
Dec. 1 (EIRNS)Members of Senate Banking Committee, chaired by Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) shouted and waved their arms at a panel of Federal regulators today, demanding to know, "What are we doing?!" to stop a new collapse in housing/real estate values. Though the announced subject of Dodd's hearing was the mortgage foreclosure crisis, it was the new "second plunge" in housing prices and sales about which the Senators were emotingnone so much as the soon-to-disappear Dodd, who is retiring in January.
Senators Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), and Dodd kept referring to "bankruptcy judges getting tough on foreclosures"as if this were the problem threatening a new real estate collapseafter the exposure this Fall of mass mortgage/securities fraud by the biggest U.S. banks and Wall Street houses. A very recent New Jersey bankruptcy court case spooked them most. Reed pointed to "possible tax law violations, possible securities law questions, threats to the banks' valuationsare there systemic effects here?" Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) asked every regulator, "Are we facing systemic threats?" The Senators directed most questions to FDIC chair Sheila Bair, whom they seemed to consider the most sentient about the real world where collapse threatens. Bair said her agency didn't see systemic signs yet, but was worried and vigilant: "We're thinking of a 'standardized super-mod [mortgage modification]. But we have to have a functioning foreclosure process," was her answer.
Dodd closed the panel with a rant that the Financial Services Oversight Commission, the regulators' super-panel created by the Dodd-Frank bill, had done nothing to stop whatever was causing housing to plunge again. "We've had months looking at this," he shouted. "We haven't come up with a thing! It's a big problem; it's obviously systemic! What are we doing?! What have you been discussing to solve this?!" The outburst recalled the chaotic end of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Congressional Inaction Means More Hungry Americans
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)Barring some miracle in Congress, extended unemployment benefits will run out for some 800,000 Americans at midnight tonight, and for a total of 2 million by the end of December. What Republicans in Congress who are railing at the $12 billion "cost" of proposals to extend benefits don't seem to care about, is that failure of Congress to act, will mean that more Americans, including children, will go hungry. Vicki Escarra, the CEO of Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks that feeds 6 million people every month, told Huffington Post reporter Arthur Delaney, "I can assure you, if these unemployment insurance benefits are not reinstated, we'll see these numbers go up." Escarra added that "Middle class families ... have lost homes, who have lost jobs, who have any kind of illness.... They don't have any disposable income. The only area they can really give is around food, which is why we're seeing such an increase in mothers and dads going without meals and making sure their children have food...."
Escarra's point is reinforced by Cynthia Carranza, the director of the Niles Township Food Pantry, in the Chicago suburbs. Carranza told the Pioneer Local that she's never seen demand for food as high as it is now, in the five years she's worked there. In the three days before Thanksgiving, the pantry gave away "rooms full" of food and served food for more than 800 families, 200 of them on the last day. "I just didn't think it would get that bad," she said. "I saw more desperation than I have ever seen before. It was just unimaginable, the desperation I was seeing on people's faces." She noted that many of the people served were first-time users who had previously been employed.
Meeting this growing need is becoming more difficult as food has become less available and more expensive. Imagine how much more difficult it will be when unemployment benefits run out for 2 million more people.
Kucinich Blocks His Own Hearings on Fed Quantitative Easing
Nov. 29 (EIRNS)Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has announced that he is postponing hearings set for Nov. 30 before his House Government Oversight subcommittee on domestic policy, on the Federal Reserve's hyperinflationary Quantitative Easing swindle. No new date for the hearings has been set.
Among those scheduled to testify at the hearings were representatives of the Congressional Research Service, the Center for Economic Policy and Research, the American Enterprise Institute, Wartburg College, and the American Monetary Institute, but not the Federal Reserve.
A staffer at the subcommittee office told EIR that the reason for the postponement had to do with "witness issues." Purportedly, the idea was to give someone from the Fed the opportunity to testify. More reliable sources noted that the Fed and others were leaning heavily on Kucinich not to proceed.
As a Wall Street Journal blogger noted, "President Barack Obama and other Congressional Democrats, including Oversight committee chairman Edolphus Towns, have defended the Fed's latest intervention in the economy [the plan for the Fed to purchase $600 billion]. Kucinich, who has sponsored legislation to audit the Fed or let the Treasury Department swallow it whole."
The lead banner of Kucinich's campaign website proclaims him to be "America's Most Courageous Congressman." His courage seems to have reached term limits.