From Volume 38, Issue 44 of EIR Online, Published November 11, 2011

United States News Digest

Nerobama's 'Cannes-Do' Delusions on Display

Nov. 4 (EIRNS)—At the close of the failed G-20 summit meeting today in Cannes, France, President Obama babbled about the great progress that he claimed had been achieved, saying that the summit had "made important progress to put our economic recoveries on a firmer footing," and, then boasted that, "here in Cannes, we moved the ball forward."

And while raving about how he has turned the U.S. economy around, Obama tried to assert that Europe must follow the U.S. lead, where "we did what was necessary to address the crisis and put ourselves on a stronger footing and to help rescue the global economy."

Obama then demonstrated his ignorance of, and contempt for, the American Revolution, attributing it to the degenerate "Enlightenment," and showing that he doesn't have a clue about the difference between the American and the French Revolutions. "It was the ideas of the Enlightenment, centered here in France, that helped inspire a band of Colonists across the ocean to seek our freedom," Obama said. "It was the success of our Revolution that helped inspire your own. In our founding documents, we pledge ourselves to the same inalienable rights, and to the truth that all men and women are created equal.... We live by a common creed: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—liberté, égalité, fraternité."

California Hospitals File Suit vs. Obama Administration, State Officials Over Cuts

Nov. 3 (EIRNS)—This week the California Association of Hospitals filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, against Obama Administration and state officials, who have mandated treatment-reimbursement cuts of at least 10%, for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities that treat poor people. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) asked for, and was granted, a waiver last week by Administration officials, to make such cuts in the state's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal. The cuts are retroactive to June 1, and were requested by Brown for his 2011-12 budget.

Spokesmen for state medical facilities say that many, especially rural, facilities cannot absorb such cuts; they will have to close. So, the lawsuit, inclusively against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, was filed as a rear guard response.

New Glass-Steagall Call from Right-Wing Quarters

Nov. 2 (EIRNS)—Andrew Breitbart's widely read, right-wing anti-Obama blog, "Big Government," today informed its readers that there is something they do want government to do: Reinstate Glass-Steagall. The article, "A Regulation That's Right: Bring Back Glass-Steagall" by Dock David Treece, has been re-posted on some Tea Party and similar blogs.

"Now we're begging: Will someone PLEASE bring back Glass-Steagall? The Glass-Steagall Act was, of course, the legislation passed in the early 1930s in response to a certain banking crisis that led to a particular Great Depression. Among other things, the Act erected a Chinese wall between a financial institution's investment banking and merchant banking functions. In less complicated terms, the law forced banks to separate any business it was transacting on behalf of clients from the speculative moves it made with its own money. For the layman: banks can't make dumb bets with clients' money.

"Sort of makes sense, doesn't it?" Treece writes.

Noting that big financial firms, gambling with their clients' money, go bust quickly, as MF Global just demonstrated again, Treece concludes: "Americans would certainly help press the issue by urging Congress to reenact the Glass-Steagall Act. It kept the problems we now face at bay for roughly 7 decades and would go a long way in helping clean up banks."

The hard-core Austrian School fascists are not happy that Glass-Steagall is gaining in layers they thought their own. Ludwig von Mises Institute's Dr. Tom Wood yesterday put out a screed against Glass-Steagall ("irrelevant ... a red herring") which is making the rounds.

Earlier in the week, the debate on Glass-Steagall received a boost from an unlikely source: New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman. Writing in the Sunday Review, Friedman takes off on an "immoral" deal in which Citigroup agreed to pay $285 million fine for selling toxic mortgage-backed securities and betting against them, on which they made $160 million profits. Friedman lists four points of reform: 1) Break up the Too Big To Fail banks. "We can't risk another trillion-dollar bailout." 2) No "proprietary trading" of FDIC-insured funds. 3) Transparency of derivatives trading. 4) Finally, "an idea from the blogosphere: U.S. congressmen should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms that they're taking money from. The public needs to know."

Although he doesn't mention Glass-Steagall, his point was picked up by numerous authors, such as Joe Klien, in Time magazine, who wrote: "Friedman's rule is an absolute must: no gambling with FDIC-insured deposits, which means the Glass-Steagall guidelines need to return."

Obama's Official Secrets Act

Nov. 2 (EIRNS)—In an editorial yesterday on "Obama's Secrets," the Los Angeles Times went after the latest move towards dictatorship by President Obama brought out in the open, the assertion that the government can lie to you about what it is doing, "because we say so."

The proposal put forward by Obama's Eric Holder-led Justice Department, is, as the Times puts it, "to allow government agencies to lie about the existence of documents being sought under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. At present, if the government doesn't want to admit the existence of a document it believes to be exempt from FOIA, it may advise the person making the request that it can neither confirm nor deny the document's existence. Under the proposed regulation, an agency that withholds a document 'will respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist,' " the editorial explains.

The Times calls the proposal "outrageous. It provides a license for the government to lie to its own people and makes a mockery of FOIA. It also would mislead citizens who might file an appeal if they knew there was a possibility that the document they sought was in the possession of a government agency. Such an appeal would allow a court to determine whether the requested document was covered by an exemption in FOIA....

"The government should be free to withhold those documents, subject to review by the courts, but it would be unacceptable—and deeply undemocratic—to pretend they don't exist. The Justice Department should discard the rule and start over," the editorial concludes.

Last week, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking minority member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to the Justice Department promising to take all necessary action to stop this proposal from ever taking effect, after demanding answers to such pertinent questions as:

"Has the DOJ instructed, or otherwise approved, an agency providing a knowingly false statement about the existence of documents in responding to a FOIA request or to a FOIA requester? If so, how often has this been done? Describe the circumstances surrounding each use of a knowingly false statement DOJ has approved as an appropriate response to a FOIA request."

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