From Volume 38, Issue 32 of EIR Online, Published August 19, 2011

United States News Digest

The Crimes of Obama: U.S. Homelessness Is Soaring

Aug. 14 (EIRNS)—According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, the number of tent cities and shantytowns built by the homeless in the U.S. is growing so fast that it's almost impossible to keep track of them. This appears to be one of the only "growth industries" in the country, says Coalition organizer Michael Stoop.

"There are tent cities in just about every major city," of all shapes and sizes, Stoop reports. They bear names such as "Dignity Village," "Pinellas Hope," or in some cases simply "Tent City."

Emblematic is the tent city in Lakewood, N.J., made up of tents, shacks, trailers, and tepees, with a population of 70 homeless people. ABC News interviewed one resident, Marilyn Berenzweig, 60, a successful New York textile designer before she and her husband lost their home, and any other option for avoiding homelessness. They live in a shack they built themselves, with no electricity or running water.

For the past year, the Lakewood tent city, located 25 miles north of Atlantic City, has been fighting a lawsuit filed by the township (population 92,000—seventh-largest municipality in the state) which is trying to shut it down, even though it is located on public land. There are no homeless shelters in Lakewood.

FDR's Grandson Calls Obama 'The Absent Commander-in-Chief'

Aug. 12 (EIRNS)—In a column in the Huffington Post titled "The Absent Commander-in-Chief: Who's in charge here?" President Franklin Roosevelt's grandson Curtis Roosevelt contrasts Obama's lack of leadership and involvement in military affairs, to the way that FDR exercised his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief; Roosevelt also contrasts the President's conduct with Obama's own campaign rhetoric in 2008, when he promised a new military and foreign policy.

Today, Roosevelt notes, the U.S. has a military presence in more than 160 countries, and has more than 720 bases to maintain. We have more troops in Afghanistan than at any time over the past ten years, and a higher rate of casualties as a result. You'd think that Obama might explain to the nation why this is the case.

"For President Obama to be open with the nation on these subjects he would have to address public opinion," Roosevelt argues. "It would take courage to strongly refute the crude distortion of 'patriotism' established by right wing fundamentalists. Courageous acts, however, make a good presidency. The things many of us admire about FDR—not only as commander-in-chief—are often the result of his taking substantial political risks." But Obama never did any of this. "Grasping his responsibilities as C-in-C seemed foreign to him.... While always having an aura of self-confidence, the President nevertheless seemed to be in awe of beribboned military brass and seasoned Defense Department hands...."

While FDR relied heavily on his military leaders, "FDR knew that war was his responsibility." As for Obama, "the President does not seem to be in charge," Roosevelt concludes. "And that is a serious charge."

Appeals Court Strikes Down Part of Obamacare as Unconstitutional

Aug. 12 (EIRNS)—Adding to the conflicting rulings by various Federal courts, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta today struck down the "individual mandate" in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional, but it allowed the rest of the Obamacare law to stand. In a 2-1 decision, the Appeals Court ruled in favor of 26 states that had filed suit in Florida to challenge the requirement that forced individuals to own health insurance.

"What Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die," the judges wrote. "This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives."

The court ruled that the remainder of the law, without the individual mandate, can stand, even though the lower court had said this was impossible, citing the Obama Administration's own arguments that the viability of the entire health-care scheme was dependent on the mandate requiring everyone—particularly young, healthy individuals—to buy a private health insurance policy.

Today's decision conflicts with a ruling by the 6th Circuit U.S. Appeals Court in Cincinnati, which had upheld the individual mandate as constitutional. That case has already been appealed to the Supreme Court. The 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond has not yet ruled on an appeal of a ruling by a Federal judge in Virginia, a ruling which holds the individual mandate to be unconstitutional. The Blog of the Legal Times says that today's decision also makes it more likely that the case will be taken up by the Supreme Court in the coming term, which starts in October, meaning, it would be decided before the 2012 Presidential election.

London Riots Coming to America?

Aug. 11 (EIRNS)—The combination of high unemployment among youth, the reduction of police forces and other essential city services, and the inflow of drug-trafficking and other organized criminal gangs into American cities, has created an explosive mixture which is only waiting for something to detonate it.

The fact that youths in Britain, especially from immigrant communities, have no future, is a key factor in the riots that are shaking British cities, riots that also occurred in the context of bone-crushing austerity being imposed on Britain by the Cameron government. Lyndon LaRouche noted today, that while there may be players trying to orchestrate these riots for their own political ends, this outbreak is real, and it is out of anyone's control.

The same ingredients exist in the U.S.: a no-future generation of young people, murderous austerity being imposed on the population by all levels of government, and a political leadership more concerned about meeting the accounting demands of Wall Street than with leaving a strong foundation of development for posterity.

Indeed, small-scale versions of what's happened in London have already broken out in a number of U.S. cities. "Flash mob" rampages in Philadelphia prompted Mayor Michael Nutter to impose curfews on certain parts of the city. In Chicago, flash mobs have been robbing businesses and assaulting passengers. In Wisconsin, on Aug. 7, gangs of youth were attacking people exiting the State Fair, in their cars, on motorcycles, and otherwise, in a scene that was described by some witnesses as like something out of a war zone.

"It is possible that something similar to what has happened in London could happen in America," Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a veteran of the Civil Rights movement, told Politico. "I think that unless we move and move very fast to help that segment of our society that has been left out and left behind ... then we're really playing with fire."

Fires like the one that Lewis warned about may already be burning in New Jersey, which, under Gov. Chris Christie (R), has lost 3,800 police officers to budget cuts since January 2010, and has experienced a consequent spike in crime rates that is being seen as a breakdown in the society itself. "The community is splintering, coming apart, turning on itself in ways we've not seen before," Rutgers historian Clement Price told the Newark Star-Ledger last week. "The values that kept community together are breaking down—respect for church, family, the elderly, neighborhood solidarity."

Price downplays the economic crisis as a factor in this, but others disagree. "Society seems to be breaking down at the same time the economy is breaking down," says Mittie Southerland, executive director of the Academy for Criminal Justice. "There is now less informal, internal social control in many neighborhoods, while, at the same time, we face a severe reduction in formal, external social control—the police." The political discourse about budget deficits adds to the problem. Christie, Southerland notes, has called pay and benefits for police "obscene," which only erodes public support for the police, breaking the trust that formally existed between them and the people. She adds that shooting deaths of police officers, nationally, are up nearly a third in one year, including two dead in New Jersey.

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