From Volume 38, Issue 34 of EIR Online, Published September 2, 2011

United States News Digest

Obama Must Be Removed From Office To Rebuild Emergency Response Capabilities

Aug. 26 (EIRNS)—As long as Barack Obama occupies the Office of the President, natural disasters will kill many Americans whose lives could otherwise have been saved. He must be removed from office without delay and emergency funding must be provided to state and local governments to beef up their emergency response capabilities. The fact that the White House announced, today, that Obama would cut short his Martha's Vineyard vacation a day early and return to the White House, tonight, to monitor Hurricane Irene and the Federal response to it doesn't change this basic fact. Obama's return to Washington seems to be motivated more by a desire to appear to be on top of the storm and its response, and not look like George W. Bush did after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, than it does a serious Presidential effort to actually protect Americans.

Obama's record, after all, is one mainly of malign neglect. He has failed to fight for the money from Congress to keep FEMA adequately funded to both immediately respond to natural disasters, and help communities rebuild from the devastation afterwards. He has simply not asked Congress to provide the funds for FEMA to carry out all of its responsibilities under the law. Even worse was his performance after Joplin, Mo., was devastated by a tornado, last May. Instead of immediately travelling out to Joplin to see the damage for himself and provide leadership, he continued with his jaunt to Europe to, among other things, kiss the butt of the Queen of England.

Then there's the budget cuts already taken and coming down the road. Twenty-four states reduced funding for emergency response from 2009 to 2010, and the trend is likely to continue. "Agencies have been forced to cut staff positions, institute furloughs and hiring freezes despite the fact that most are already understaffed," Trina R. Sheets, executive director of the National Emergency Management Association, told Bloomberg News. It's clear from surveying the situation that state emergency management agencies have already become heavily dependent on Federal grants to keep functioning, as state tax revenues have fallen, but now, under the austerity regime of the Super Congress, have to expect to see that source of income decline rapidly from 2012 on out.

Trumka Warns Obama: Don't Count on Labor's Vote

Aug. 26 (EIRNS)—AFL-CIO president Rich Trumka warned yesterday that organized labor will not automatically support Obama or Congressional Democrats on election day, if they don't fight more aggressively on behalf of working people. In fact, he warned, many in the labor movement may sit out the 2012 Democratic National Convention. "There are some of our affiliates that aren't going to participate," said Trumka. "We're still talking about it."

Trumka also bolstered reports that the AFL-CIO will set up its own super-PAC. "We're going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people," Trumka said. "You're going to see us give less money to build structures for others, and more of our money will be used to build our own structure."

Trumka blasted Obama for allowing Republicans to set the terms of debate— focusing on what he called a manufactured debt crisis instead of a jobs agenda. "I think he made a strategic mistake when he confused job crisis with deficit crisis," Trumka said. "He started playing on the Republican ground."

"We do not have a short-term deficit crisis. It does not exist," Trumka said. "We have a short-term jobs crisis. And if you fix the job crisis, the deficit crisis goes away."

DOJ Defends Obama's Violation of Constitution and War Powers Act

Aug. 24 (EIRNS)—On Friday, Aug. 19, the Department of Justice answered the suit brought on June 15, 2011, by 10 members of the Congress, asking the court to grant injunctive relief and to suspend military operations in Libya. In asking the court to dismiss the motion, the DOJ ignores the Constitution and instead engages in outrageous sophistry in defense of Obama.

The argument presented is essentially that the "plaintiff legislators have numerous legislative options at their disposal regarding the ongoing operations in Libya." In another location the DOJ attorneys argue that the plaintiff legislators "have collegial or in-house remedies available to them." "Here, as in prior cases, 'plaintiffs' dispute is primarily with their fellow legislators, as these are the individuals who have refused to vote in favor of certain legislative measures introduced in Congress with regard to Libya."

In this respect the DOJ argues that the House has "at least twice rejected proposals (including one sponsored by plaintiff Kucinich) to defund United States military operation in Libya and has voted down a resolution sponsored by plaintiff Kucinich directing immediate withdrawal of United States armed forces pursuant to the War Powers Resolution." Moreover, "the full Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting a no-fly zone, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a resolution in support of the ongoing operations.... Plaintiffs are fully able, in their legislative capacities, to seek their desired goal."

Incredibly, the DOJ argues that the plaintiffs don't have standing because they "do not identify any particularized or concrete injury that they have suffered as individuals," and that they "have not been authorized to represent" the House, let alone the Senate (of which there are no plaintiff members), "in this action."

Suffice it to say, that regardless of how this matter is adjudicated in the courts, the Congress does have the power to impeach Obama, and such action is long overdue.

Is Holder Protecting Obama in 'Fast and Furious' Gun-running Case?

Aug. 24 (EIRNS)—On July 26, 2011 a report was issued, entitled "The Department of Justice's Operation Fast and Furious: Fueling Cartel Violence." The report was prepared for Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and for Senator Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The two have been investigating the circumstances behind a sting operation which resulted in the purchase of 1,418 weapons by the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. The idea was that officers from the ATF would keep track of the guns in the hope that they would lead them to drug cartel kingpins. But, instead, at least one U.S. border agent, Brian Terry, and dozens more in Mexico have been killed using these weapons. There are 1,048 of the weapons that remain unaccounted for.

The question being investigated is: Who in the Obama Administration authorized the program? Thus, far the Administration has pursued a policy of stonewalling and coverup.

Last week it was reported that three agents involved in Fast and Furious, the name of the operation, had been promoted and moved from Arizona to Washington, D.C.

Grassley and Issa also sent a letter to Holder on Aug. 16 in which they say that he broke an agreement with them by refusing to fully respond to questions on Fast and Furious.

Specifically, Holder did not answer the question as to whether he had read the ATF briefing paper which stated, "Currently, our strategy is to allow the transfer of firearms to continue to take place." Another question which was unanswered was whether the briefing paper was "ever provided to the Deputy Attorney General's Office or any other component of the Justice Department other than ATF."

Regime to Announce NeroWork$— Unpaid Labor 'Jobs' Program

Aug. 22 (EIRNS)—It doesn't meet union wage standards. It doesn't meet government-mandated "prevailing wage" standards, nor even minimum wage. It's NeroWork$, one of the jobs mirages the Regime means to rub into the face of the nation after Labor Day.

The unpaid labor program is modelled on Georgia Work$, a peculiar institution that's making James Oglethorpe roll in his grave. It has been in place since 2003. Under the guise of "training," long-term unemployed get a stipend of about $100 a week to cover transportation and child care for about six weeks, while they continue to collect unemployment, and "audition" in the private sector—at no cost to the employer. Even the Wall Street Journal had to admit, "Another concern is that programs such as Georgia Works may amount to free labor for employers, who could cycle through jobless participants without helping them at all."

As Nero lied in Atkinson, Ill., last week, "You're essentially earning a salary, and getting your foot in the door into that company." But once the "training" period is up, the employer has no obligation to put the "trainee" on the payroll.

National Employment Law Project deputy director Andrew Stettner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "We reviewed Georgia Work$. It looks more like work than training.... You can't try someone out and not pay them. It's not allowed under our nation's labor laws." He added, "If a lot of businesses can bring in a lot of people essentially working for free, somebody else [working full-time] isn't getting an extra shift or extra work hours."

But Michael Thurmond, the Georgia Labor Commissioner on whose watch the slave labor program was initiated, says, "It's about leveraging existing resources.... We have huge budget deficits in Washington, and states are struggling. The only logical strategy is to utilize existing resources"—the millions of desperate unemployed.

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