From Volume 38, Issue 41 of EIR Online, Published October 21, 2011

United States News Digest

Harry Belafonte: 'Obama Has Failed the Test'

Oct. 16 (EIRNS)—In an interview with Robert Portman for, published today, occasioned by the release of his new memoir My Song, the 84-year-old Harry Belafonte relished his memories of Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Robeson, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others, while saying of Obama:

"Yes, I understand that he fought hard to be head of this nation, and we gave him his desire. But it is silly, if not completely uninformed and malicious, to think that certain political expectations from a politically progressive perspective were not blown up to the heights.... But even if we had looked more deeply, he still would have been our choice, based upon who was running against him. Now, we come to the moment when he has failed the test. That doesn't mean he can't change the mark.

"But there's no question that he has a failing grade in the way he's handled his platform. Absent in the arsenal of possibilities is a moral compass. If that compass was fully engaged, he could have stepped above the political fray, and made courageous statements about laws regarding homeland security such as the Patriot Act that are still on our books. He could have stepped to the table and not just have reversed those laws but refused to have them applicable during his administration, and instructed the Justice Department to cooperate.... [Emphasis added.]

Walls Closing in on Obama: Fast & Furious, Solyndra

Oct. 15 (EIRNS)—The walls are closing in on Obama in both the Solyndra and Fast & Furious investigations.

* In the Fast & Furious case, CNN anchor John King aired a March 2011 TV interview with Obama, in which the President claimed that he and Attorney General Eric Holder had already tasked the Justice Department Inspector General to investigate Fast and Furious. That was as long as two months before Holder told Congress that he only "heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."

On Oct. 12, the night that a subpoena was delivered targeting Holder, top levels of the Justice Department, and the White House, John King interviewed Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) about whether Holder was lying to the Committee of which Cummings is the ranking member.

Chaffetz said, "...remember, we have got two dead agents, we have 2,000 weapons that are unaccounted for, and I feel like we have been misled because for the attorney general to come to Congress and say, well, he just heard about it a couple weeks ago, and the documents show otherwise, it doesn't added up."

* In the Solyndra investigation, the White House has flatly refused to turn over any more documents—including e-mails to and from Obama's Blackberry—to the Congress. On Oct. 5, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) requested all communications among White House staff and officials relating to Solyndra.

But on Oct. 14, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler sent a letter to Stearns and Upton flatly refusing to provide any more White House documents on the grounds that the Congressional request "implicates longstanding and significant institutional executive branch confidentiality interests." The letter has not been released but was leaked to a number of Washington media. Ruemmler claims that the Congress has plenty of documents to work with—70,000 pages, including 900 White House pages—and "There is nothing in the documents produced by DOE, OMB, Treasury or the White House that the White House intervened in the Solyndra loan guarantee to benefit a campaign contributor," reported CNN, the first to report on the letter.

Ruemmler's letter did not assert executive privilege says Politico, and the Congress has the option of issuing subpoenas.

Obama on the Couch: Desperately Seeking Cheney

Oct. 15 (EIRNS)—President Obama "suffers from father hunger," according to the forthcoming book, Obama on the Couch, to be published this week. Dr. Justin Frank, author of the famous Bush on the Couch, says in his new book, that the abandonment of Obama by his father and stepfather has shaped his entire psyche. U.S. News & World Report has a short item in its Washington Whispers column and it is posted prominently on Drudgereport this morning. "The abandonment by his father when he was an infant and by his stepfather at age 10 has left President Obama with a 'father hunger' that influences everything from why he distances himself from pushy supporters, to his strong desire to compromise and bring people together, to his aggressive campaign to kill Osama bin Laden," the Washington Whisper column reports.

"In Obama on the Couch, George Washington University professor Justin Frank also reveals that Obama has spent much of his life seeking out father figures, but most, like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Vice President Biden, have disappointed him." The Whisper column quoted from Frank's book: "Obama searched for a father, for someone to relate to who could help him—a strong man who knew what to do."

One astute observer hypothesized that, at long last, President Obama has found the father figure he can emulate and resolve his deep-seated obsessions: Dick Cheney! From his abandonment of plans to shut down Guantanamo Bay, to his extension of the Patriot Act, to his assassinations of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, Obama has won the former Vice President's praises—something he is having a hard time winning from the Democratic Party that put him in office, and is now having severe buyer's remorse. Obama on the Couch will be released to book stores Oct. 17.

Senators Complain About FEMA Underfunding

Oct. 15 (EIRNS)—The current and previous Presidential administrations came under fire on Oct. 12, during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, for years of chronic underfunding of Federal disaster response. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) complained that the budgetary "underestimating syndrome" makes it impossible for Congress and the American public to understand the magnitude of disaster response and recovery needs. Cochran said that based on current budgetary practices, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund could face a $16 billion shortfall by 2016.

Cochran was joined in his concerns by FEMA administrator Craig Fugate. "To be honest ... I'm very concerned [that a lack of funding] will compromise our ability to respond," said Fugate. He added that his agency not only needs funds for recovery from past disasters, such as the wave of floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes that swept through the country this year, but also to prepare for disasters to come. He reported that the agency spent $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2011 on disaster response and recovery, a figure that makes a mockery of the $6.4 billion that the administration has requested for 2012, and the $2.6 billion that Congress has so far appropriated.

Labor Spokesman: Glass Steagall? "We Have to Put that Back"

Oct. 13 (EIRNS)—Today, the co-author of a new report, refuting the lie that public sector workers are the cause of state and local budget deficits, said of Glass-Steagall, "We have to put that back."

Sylvia Alegretto, of the University of California at Berkeley, where she is an economist and deputy chairman of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, was speaking on a telephone press conference by labor advocates, hosted by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Allegretto spoke in reply to a question from EIR's Marcia Merry Baker.

Allegretto's initial presentation of the new report stayed within the confines of opposing the false charges that public sector workers' collective bargaining, pensions, wage-scales, etc., were responsible for unbalanced state and local budgets. The report instead cites as causal, the impact of the housing bubble and "Great Recession."

When Baker said that the housing bubble itself is but a part of decades of casino economics, now at an end, and that we have to force a radical policy shift with H.R. 1489 to re-instate Glass-Steagall, to create credit for large-scale projects and jobs, and emergency grants for bankrupt state and local governments, Allegretto responded in agreement and in detail.

She spoke of the crisis now, where 30-40,000 state and local jobs are being lost each month. "We have to put a fire-wall between commercial and casino banking. There are great differences between the two. "Yes, re-establishing Glass-Steagall would really help."

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