United States News Digest
Cheney To Push Anti-Russia Provocations on European Trip
Aug. 29 (EIRNS)In a background briefing yesterday, an unidentified senior Administration official laid out the following itinerary for Dick Cheney's travels next week:
* Sept. 3: Azerbaijan, including a meeting and dinner with President Aliyev; energy will be a major topic of discussion.
* Sept. 4: Georgia, for meetings with Saakashvili and his team, assessment of humanitarian aid, discussion of "the need for a comprehensive long-term strategy by the international community to help Georgia recover and rebuild, including the critical task of supporting the democratic choice of the Georgian people to integrate further with Euro-Atlantic institutions, including NATO."
* Sept. 4-5: Ukraine, private dinner with President Yushchenko. Sept. 5 will feature a meeting with Yushchenko and with Prime Minister Tymoshenko. Ukraine seeks deeper integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions, including NATO, which the U.S. will continue to support, the official said.
* Sept. 6-7: Lake Como, Italy, at the Ambrosetti Conference.
* Sept. 8-9: Rome, discussions with the Italian President and Prime Minister.
When asked about pipelines, the official stressed the U.S. interest in "ensuring a diversity of supplies and supply routes to Europe and the international market," and said that the United States wants to help Azerbaijan and Central Asia and the Caspian Basin develop these resources.
Notably, the official took his lead from the British, saying: "I would point you to Foreign Minister Miliband's speech yesterday in Ukraine, and the kind of impact he observed there about what the most recent events portend for the way Europe thinks about its energy future, and the way the rest of the world needs to think about energy security in light of this unpredictable behavior by Russia that stands as a major supplier of oil and gas into Europe."
Bush Administration Set To Kill U.S.-Russia Civil Nuclear Agreement
Aug. 28 (EIRNS)The Bush Administration yesterday put out the word that it is preparing to scrap the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia, as has been mooted in the wake of the Russia-Georgia conflict. The agreement, worked out at Kennebunkport and known as the "123 Agreement" (see EIR, July 20, 2007), enables cooperation on the development of civilian nuclear power projects, and has been subject to intense Congressional opposition from both Democrats and Republicans who wanted to stop Russian assistance to Iran's civil nuclear program at Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant. Last year, the House voted 397-16 to bar the U.S.-Russia 123 cooperation as part of an Iran sanctions bill. In the Senate, although there is more support for the 123 agreement, there are 70 co-sponsors on an Iran sanctions bill which would also prohibit "123" cooperation.
Until recently, the Administration strongly defended the "123" agreement, and was intimating that Bush would veto any bill which tried to kill it. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), now the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, who previously supported the agreement, has withdrawn his support for it. So now, according to today's New York Times, the Administration has concluded that the agreement could not survive a Congressional vote, and is moving to kill it itself.
Soros Pushes Pot Decrim in Massachusetts
Aug. 28 (EIRNS)Drug legalizer and mega-moneybags George Soros is pushing for marijuana decriminalization in Massachusetts.
The Associated Press reported yesterday: "A measure that would decriminalize minor marijuana possession cases is on the ballot in Massachusetts largely because of one man: billionaire financier and liberal activist George Soros. Of the $429,000 collected last year by the group advancing the measure, $400,000 came from Soros, who has championed similar efforts in several states and spent $24 million to fight President Bush's 2004 re election bid. The Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy needed about $315,000 of that just to collect the more than 100,000 signatures that secured a spot on the ballot, according to campaign finance reports reviewed by The Associated Press."
UAW, Automakers Parody LaRouche 'Retooling' Policy They Rejected
Aug. 27 (EIRNS)At the Denver Democratic Convention, the Detroit 3 automakers, United Auto Workers (UAW) national leadership, and Michigan Congressmen are starting "an all-out blitz" aimed at Congressional passage of $50 billion in Federal credits to "retool and save" the auto industry. They will hit the Minneapolis GOP Convention as well.
This is a sad parody of the Economic Recovery Act of 2006 (ERA) proposal of Lyndon LaRouche, first circulated to Congress in Spring 2005, to save the auto industry with a World War II-style federally sponsored retooling of the machine-tool plants, centered on a new mission of building elements of new economic infrastructure such as high-speed rail corridors. Some 50 American auto/machine-tool and auto-parts and systems plants have been closed; many others lost most of their workforces, since LaRouche's first warning in February 2005 of bankruptcy looming over the automakers, and his proposal to save the industry's irreplaceable capacity. Leaders of many of the affected UAW locals went to Washington to push for the ERA. A new Federal corporation like the wartime Defense Plants Corp., authorized to extend Federal credit of $1.2 trillion a year on plant retooling and infrastructure projects, was proposed by LaRouche.
Now a policy of Federal loans to the automakers for retooling their plants to make small, fuel-efficient cars, appears in the Democratic Platform adopted at Denver. Michigan Sen. Carl Levin told the Detroit News that during the week of Sept. 16, the CEOs of GM, Chrysler, and Ford would meet with the Democratic Congressional leadership on it in Washington. Shamelessly, "some executives compare this to retooling plants for World War II," the LaRouche policy which was killed by "Democratic Party" bankers and funders Felix Rohatyn and George Soros, with help from the auto CEOs. The automakers admit that they now need $50 billion in Federal loans and loan guarantees to survive at all, because they are shut out of the capital markets, while making massive losses. The national UAW, which refused to fight for a real retooling policy when their union members' employment was at stake, are now mobilizing to save the SUV-addled auto managements and shareholders.
The energy bill passed in December 2007 already authorized $25 billion in these "mini" retooling loans, but Congress hasn't appropriated any of that spending. This appropriation was endorsed by Republican candidate Sen. John McCain on Aug. 22. But this is clearly not enough for the bailout the Detroit 3 desperately need. And there's a little problem: That 2007 bill specified that the Energy Department must "ensure the automaker applying for them is financially viable without the receipt of additional Federal funding...."