United States News Digest
Holder's Opponents Cast About for Pretexts
Jan. 23 (EIRNS)The day Barack Obama named Eric Holder to be Attorney General, Dec. 1, 2008, former George W. Bush steering mechanism Karl Rove said, on the NBC "Today Show," that Holder "was deeply involved as the Deputy Attorney General in the controversial pardon" of financier Marc Rich. Rove went on, "I think it's going to be clearly examined, if for no other reason than people want to lay down markers that that kind of behavior is inappropriate.... But again, there will be some attention paid to this."
Two weeks later, Washington Post writer Ceci Connolly said on MSNBC's "The Chris Matthews Show," "Word on the street is that Karl Rove is going to be helping lead the fight against Eric Holder when his nomination for Attorney General heads up to the Senate."
Here is the story: In mid-November, before the official designation of Holder, the George Soros-run drug lobby came out screaming against his prospective nomination. The Drug Policy Alliance, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and other pro-drug outfits denounced Holder as a warrior against drugs, whose placement as Attorney General meant the Obama Administration would come down solidly against the narcos.
Despite overwhelming support for Holder from the law enforcement community and also from traditional Republicans, a minority of Republican Senators have played out a comedy of sorts in the Judiciary Committee, delaying Holder's confirmation using the Rich pardon, and other pretexts, such as the possibility that Holder might prosecute torturers; and that as a private attorney Holder had represented bad corporations.
Republican Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Cornyn (Tex.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), and Jon Kyl (Ariz.) affected not to notice the megabucks Soros drug lobby carrying on its own furious campaigndope users being told to press Republican Senators to stop Holder, lest their stash be confiscated.
Meanwhile, the libertarian National Review is waging a crusade to block Holder's confirmationon all the "right-wing" pretexts. This magazine has been a mouthpiece for the drug lobby since founder William F. Buckley called for legalizing dope in the 1970s. National Review ran a 2004 cover story by Ethan Nadelmann, head of Soros's Drug Policy Alliance, demanding an end to the War on Drugs, and devoted subsequent issues to Nadelmann's rebuttals of government anti-drug spokesmen.
Obama Issues Orders To End Torture, Shut Secret Prisons
Jan. 22 (EIRNS)Flanked by 16 retired generals and admirals, President Barack Obama today signalled a sharp break with the unconstitutional practices of the Bush-Cheney Administration, by signing a series of Executive Orders which will end the use of interrogation methods that violate the Geneva Conventions; shut down the Bush Administration's network of "black site" secret prisons; and close the Guantanamo prison camp within one year. The orders also create two task forces, one headed by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense, which will study detainee policy and report to the President in six months; the other led by the Attorney General with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, which will study whether the Army Field Manual should remain the only standard for interrogators, and which will review the practice of extraordinary rendition.
"President Obama's actions today will restore the moral authority and strengthen the national security of the United States. It is vital to the safety of our men and women in uniform that the United States never sanction the use of interrogation methods that we would find unacceptable if inflicted by an enemy against captured Americans," said the 16 flag officers in a statement.
"By unequivocally rejecting torture and other cruel and inhumane treatment, shutting down secret prisons, providing Red Cross access to prisoners in U.S. custody, rejecting the legal opinions that facilitated and excused torture, and announcing the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison, President Obama has rejected the false choice between national security and our ideals. Our Nation will be stronger and safer for it."
Retired Adm. John Hutson said that President Obama "is absolutely dedicated to getting us back on track as a nation. This is the right thing to do morally, diplomatically, militarily, and constitutionally. But it also makes us safer."
Levin Cites Pecora Commission in Senate Hearings
Jan. 21 (EIRNS)"The Pecora hearings before a Senate Committee in the 1930s pulled back the curtain on the abuses that gave rise to the Great Depression," noted Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) today, during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. The hearing was called on the theme, "Where Were the Watchdogs? The Financial Crisis and the Breakdown of Financial Governance," which was to examine the findings of a recent GAO report on financial regulation.
Levin, who chairs the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, was arguing for the need to analyze what has gone wrong in the financial system. Levin documented the push toward deregulation that took off since 1994, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall law and the prohibition of regulation of derivatives and swaps, including credit default swaps.
UN Rapporteur: Bush, Rumsfeld Should Be Prosecuted for Torture
Jan. 21 (EIRNS)The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, said last night that the United States should pursue legal action against former President George Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for torture. "Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation" to bring proceedings against them, AFP reported Nowak as saying. He noted that Washington had ratified the UN Convention on Torture, which required "all means, particularly penal law," to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it. "We have all these documents that are now publicly available that prove that these methods of interrogation were intentionally ordered by Rumsfeld" against detainees at the U.S. prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Nowak pointed out.
Growing Drumbeat for Obama To Slash Entitlements
Jan. 21 (EIRNS)From the synarchist "left" to the Neanderthal "right," the U.S. press and economic pundits are working to get the Obama Administration to cut entitlements, such as Social Security and Medicare. The Washington Post led the way on Jan. 16, with its interview with Obama, pushing him to declare a commitment to make a "grand bargain" for sacrifice, especially in these areas. His response gave them some quotable quotes in this direction, which should be seen for what they are: responses to pressure.
Today, the Wall Street Journal takes the lead. They publish "advice" to Obama from so-called notables, such as Francis "End of History" Fukuyama, recommending cutting entitlements. They run a column by Holman Jenkins, Jr., who recommends that Obama follow the path of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, in first announcing a huge stimulus, and then slashing social services like Medicare and Social Security. Jenkins comments that, alas, Obama, unlike Pinochet, might run into difficulties with the Congress.
The third assault comes in the editorial column, where the Journal rips into the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), as being a disastrous expansion, because it will cover children in families whose income is three times the official poverty level. This is the program which George W. Bush vetoed twice, despite its bipartisan support, and the Journal is afraid it will now pass.
USAID Pays Soros for Global Needle Exchange Program
Jan. 19 (EIRNS)The State Department's Agency for International Development (USAID) has a multi-year relationship with George Soros's Open Society Institute (OSI), with the U.S. government paying Soros to provide "clean needles" for AIDS prevention programs in Eastern Europe. The details of the relationship, as far as they are known, are provided in a 2007 Special Report by the National Legal and Policy Center, a cottage industry group of Newt Gingrich. NLPC's figures, drawn from OSI's Internal Revenue Service filings, showed that, between 1999 and 2005, U.S. taxpayers paid billionaire Soros over $35 million.
This arrangement evolved in response to the 1989 declaration by Congress that U.S. dollars could not be used to purchase syringes for "needle exchange" programs. Needle exchange is a central part of Soros's "harm reduction" approach to accommodate drug use. Since the restriction of Federal funding, the USAID programs have turned cash over to Soros, who then supplies the needles which U.S. law prohibits the direct purchase of. Much of this was flushed out in hearings, beginning in February 2005, held by Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), who was then chairman of the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.
When Soros's subversion began to come to light, he did the obvious thing: obfuscate and deny. The report says he stonewalled both Souder's subcommittee and NLPC FOIA requests for over a year before complying. He also created another organization, the Alliance for Open Society International (AOSI), which took over the administration of many programs in 2004.
The report also opens a window on a potentially much larger collusion, with a case study of the Soros Foundation Kazakstan (SFK), which has received tens of millions of USAID dollars since 2001. Since there are 32 of these "national" funds, it could be a much larger problem, indeed.