Is Our President 'Soul-Dead'?:
Nero Was Also Dumb
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
President Obama, writes Lyndon LaRouche, "has lately experienced a degree of accelerating rates of collapse of his popularity as President, that to a degree which is exceptional for any President in our recent national history. This pattern is shown in the accelerated popular anger, anger expressed as a soaring rate of protests against that President, since the time of his return from his flight into the refuge of a prolonged Summer vacation. The issue is not that he has lost popularity; even good men often do, and that, often, even for the good they have done; in his case, he has actually more than deserved, richly, the rising rates of popular contempt which he currently enjoys."
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
Sept. 25 (EIRNS)Hearings in the House Financial Services Committee today underlined that the Federal Reserve, backed by the White House, unconstitutionally rejects any and all disclosure of its activities to anyone. What are they hiding?
The criminality and outright treason of the Federal Reserve is threatening to cause a 1923 Germany-style hyperinflationary wipeout of the United States, with its out-of-control printing of money. The Fed has lent, spent, and guaranteed $11.8 trillion in securities bailouts this year, and according to its Richmond branch bank, now guarantees about half of all the liabilities in the entire U.S. financial system. While the Fed has the monetary aggregate of the United States growing at a 20-21% annual rate, bank credit to the economy has been sharply contracting, particularly in August and September, perhaps at a negative 15-20% rate. This intensifying credit crunch simultaneously with skyrocketing money-printing, is a recipe for an early hyperinflationary explosion of the U.S. economy, as illustrated in Lyndon LaRouche's "Triple Curve" diagram.
Most members of Rep. "Bailout Barney" Frank's (D-Mass.) House Financial Services Committee avoided the crucial issue, led by Frank himself. The hearing was held on the subject of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Tex.) bill to require the Federal Reserve to be audited every year by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The bill is sponsored by 296 Members of the House; it is dreaded by Ben Bernanke and the Fed. Bailout Barney is trying to contain its impact by a deal to incorporate the Paul bill in some form into "financial regulation reform" legislation which Frank and the White House are working on.
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)The crash in U.S. home prices will resume in the near term, because about 7 million properties that are likely to be seized by lenders have yet to hit the market, reported Bloomberg news today, citing Amherst Securities Group LP analysts. They call this a "huge shadow inventory" that reflects mortgages already being foreclosed upon, or now delinquent and likely to be foreclosed. This figure compares with 1.27 million foreclosures and delinquencies in 2005. The report says that the foreclosure "overhang"i.e., pending seizureshas been boosted by more borrowers going into default, and fewer able to catch up. In addition, changes in state laws, and loan-modification relief efforts have slowed down the time frame for seizing homes.
Home prices further tanked in August, when the median sales price was $177,700, down 12.5% from $203,200 in the same month last year. Also last month, sales of existing homes fell 2.7%, breaking the four-month string of "rosy" statistics constantly cited by the Obama administration.
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)Economists in Washington have projected that the average American household's real income is in the process of falling by a huge 9.3% (-$4,813/year) from 2007-2010, taking households back to early- to mid-1990s level income. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) projects that the average household has already had its income cut by 8.1% (-$4,212/year) from July 2007 to now. This is the largest income drop since the Great Depression, and has occurred simultaneously with a loss of wealth by households, of $6 trillion, or $50,000 per household in the United States.
The Institute's projection comes from Census Bureau reports already released, which cover only the milder period of this economic collapse, mid-2007 to mid-2008. As far as poverty of households is concerned, the EPI projects that the national poverty rate will increase to 15.1% by early 2010, even against the extremely low income measure of the official "poverty line"; that child poverty is increasing by 8.6%, to 26.6% of all American children in poverty in early 2010; and that the poverty rate among Black Americans is increasing by 7.3%, to 31.8%.
The heads of these households are not finding work, despite constant claims of an "economic turn-around" by the Obama White House. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today that long-term unemployment (joblessness for more than 27 weeks while actively seeking work) in August reached 3.2% of the entire U.S. civilian workforce, the highest level in BLS-data history, and well above the 1981 recession peak of 2.6% of labor force.
Of course this is only that fraction of long-term unemployed officially recorded as such and receiving state or fed benefits (5.1 million workers). The real number includes 6 million others who've given up and dropped out of the labor force, and others who don't receive benefits; it is near 8% of the whole workforce, who've wanted a job and been unable to find one for more than six months.
The BLS reported that in August, the number of job seekers per available job reached 6.2.
Global Economic News
Sept. 28 (EIRNS)The principal policy statements coming out of the meeting of world leaders in Pittsburgh, Pa., under the auspices of the G20, were two: first, to congratulate themselves for having carried out the most massive bailout in historywhich they decided had to be continued for the time being; and two, to declare that the G20, not the G8, should now be considered the responsible international body for making global economic policy.
The delusional nature of the whole affair is exemplified by the first five points of the communiqué:
"1. We meet in the midst of a critical transition from crisis to recovery to turn the page on an era of irresponsibility and to adopt a set of policies, regulations and reforms to meet the needs of the 21st century global economy.
"2. When we last gathered in April, we confronted the greatest challenge to the world economy in our generation.
"3. Global output was contracting at pace not seen since the 1930s. Trade was plummeting. Jobs were disappearing rapidly. Our people worried that the world was on the edge of a depression.
"4. At that time, our countries agreed to do everything necessary to ensure recovery, to repair our financial systems and to maintain the global flow of capital.
"5. It worked...."
PARIS, Sept. 25 (Nouvelle Solidarité)Olivier Blanchard, IMF chief economist, called once again, in an interview in L'Express on Sept. 23, for France to overhaul its health-care and retirement expenses, because the financial markets will not continue lending if the deficits grow too large. Blanchard does not hide the fact that the present upswing is "technical," and "the phenomenon is temporary," as are the stimulus packages, "whose impact will only be felt up to the first quarter of next year, and will then start diminishing."
Asked how to avoid a "Japanese-style scenario" of 20 years of stagnation, Blanchard says that the stimulus, which was intended to be temporary and therefore cost less and less, might have to be continued, combined with structural reforms. But when it comes to health-care and retirement costs, "we're taking a route toward problems which, over time, will be much greater than those occasioned by the stimulus plans."
We have to work on two fronts, he says, "lest financial markets sooner or later lose confidence in states' ability to repay. We don't know when or how, but the consequences could be extremely unpleasant. Reforms are therefore all the more necessary today. In France, for example, that means raising the retirement age. In the United States, health-care reform, to bring in a more equitable and effective system, is crucial for the same reasons."
Sept. 27 (EIRNS)The European Milk Strike, after two weeks of successful action by more than 100,000 dairy farmers from France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, and Switzerland, forced the European Union to accept to convene a EU Council meeting on Oct. 5, to cope with the sharp drop of prices and the market deregulation resulting from the EU's own decisions. Until that date, dairy farmers have decided to "suspend" the strike temporarily to give decision-makers a chance to offer them an alternative. If their voices are not heard, the strike will intensify. (See article in InDepth, for background.)
In a policy statement on Sept. 25, LaRouche's co-thinker in France, Jacques Cheminade, president of the Solidarity and Progress movement (Solidarité & Progrès), reacted by warning farmers not to be fooled by this "Franco-German" call for "new agricultural regulation" (which is in reality a letter to the EU co-signed by French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire and German Agriculture Minister Ilsa Aigner and now supported by 20 EU member states).
Farmers are right in telling their governments, "We don't want money, we want a policy!" Cheminade proposed that a good policy has to be "the protection of producers and consumers in a framework of mutual economic development allowing both a fair price for the producer and high salaries for the consumer. That means a break from the current monetarist system and a return to policies of productive state credit." So far, concluded Cheminade, "Europe has made the opposite choice and France is submitting to that choice."
Lyndon LaRouche in the United States and BüSo Chancellor candidate Helga Zepp-LaRouche in Germany, have defended these policies for decades.
United States News Digest
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm emerged from his crypt in academia, to post an article under the above title on HuffingtonPost.com. Lamm came to national notoriety in the early 1980s, when, as governor, he publicly argued that America's elderly have a "duty to die" and get out of the way of the younger generations. In effect, he was the public relations grandfather of Presidential advisor Ezekiel Emanuel and of Newsweek's recent cover feature, "The Case For Killing Granny."
In today's article, Lamm puts forward defenses otherwise advanced in some "health-care reform" circles. "We already ration," Lamm says. "We ration whenever we make choices among the claims of individuals who are competing for scarce resources. Government, mainly through Medicaid and Medicare, pays for approximately 50% of the cost of U.S. health care.... Having undertaken to fund some health care, public policy must be accountable for the consequences of the decision to cover some Americans and not cover others."
After summarizing the rising costs of medical care, and its percentage of GNP, Lamm lies that "We are delivering, and the public is expecting, more medicine than we can possibly afford to sustain." He argues, as has Emanuel, that rationing is inevitable in health reform. In reality, Lamm is advocating genocide, because he supports the current system of bailing out the thieving bankers, and deindustrializing the worldan intentional path toward depopulation.
This is hardly a new viewpoint on health care and the economy, for Lamm. In November 1984, for instance, he asserted on the CBS "Morning News," that "the problem we have here with high-tech medicine is that really, the Faustian bargain, where in fact what we get for a few extra days of life, all we have to do is pay the price that could bankrupt the country. These things are awesomely expensive. America cannot afford the health care we have right now." The difference is that in the early 1980s, Lamm and his queer views were relegated to some odd corner of the Addams Family ghoul house. Now, his views have gained entree to the White House.
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the community organizing vehicle created in the waning days of the New Left's late-1960s heyday, which reportedly was heavily involved in "on the ground" support-building for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, continues to find itself abandoned by its erstwhile friends and funders in government. Recent scandalous videotapes of ACORN personnel offering advice on setting up a prostitution business, coming shortly in the wake of ACORN having turned in a number of its own people to the State of Florida for voter registration fraud, appear to have been the straw that broke the camel's back.
Last week, the U.S. Senate voted to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN; the House (including 172 Democrats) voted days later to cut all federal funding for ACORN; and the Census Bureau announced it was cutting ties with ACORN. Crain's Chicago Business reported yesterday, that Census Bureau Director Robert Groves told a press conference in Washington that the existence of ACORN as a Census Bureau partner was actually impeding the bureau's ability to sign up other groups as partners, because of ACORN's negative publicity. And, AP reported today that IRS said Sept. 23 that it would no longer include ACORN in its volunteer tax assistance program, which offered free tax advice to about 3 million low and moderate income tax filers this past Spring.
ACORN has taken several rearguard actions, including hiring a former Massachusetts Attorney General to conduct an "outside review" of its legal problems, and filing a lawsuit in Maryland under the state's wiretap law, against the "reporters" who produced the scandal videos, and the Washington Times columnist who masterminded the publicity about them. But this appears to have had little effect on the avalanche ACORN is facing.
Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who was the sponsor of the House legislation to defund ACORN, on Sept. 23 asked the House Judiciary Committee to summon Bertha Lewis, ACORN founder Wade Rathke, and other ACORN officers for a hearing on its activities. Issa has also requested the Treasury Department conduct a review of IRS oversight of ACORN and similar organizations; and The Hill reported today that Treasury's Inspector General has agreed to do so. Issa elaborated on his request, "The lack of an appropriate firewall between ACORN's charitable activities and its political arm has raised significant questions regarding the appropriateness of their status as a taxable nonprofit corporation and their management of federal dollars. Cutting ties with ACORN is a good first step for the federal government, but since they have been the recipients of taxpayer dollars, we have an obligation to investigate to discover whether or not those dollars were misused in any way."
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)An attack on President Barack Obama published in the London Guardian today, is more honest than most of such, now-frequent attacks appearing in British dailies. The article states that the reason Obama has been unable to impose British policies upon the United States, is the republican political system established by the U.S. Constitution. That system is what London demands be ripped apart.
"Obama The Impotent," as the Guardian piece is titled, complains that Obama's "oratorical skills," which so excited people worldwide, have not proved sufficient to get the United States to lead on climate change or financial reform or health-care reformthe key points of British policy. "A sinking feeling is arising among many that President Obama may not be up to the task, that he may not possess the artful skills needed to accomplish even his own goals," author Steven Hill writes.
"But it must be recognised that it's not just Obama's shortcomings that are causing the problem. "The very structure of the American political system is at the heart of these failures," Hill proclaims (emphasis added). His main vitriol is directed at the "unrepresentative Senate where 'minority rule' prevails" (two Senators elected per state, regardless of population; the filibuster procedure, under which "a mere 41 senators, representing as little as 20% of the nation's population, can stymie the other 80%"; etc.). Hill finds "the sclerotic U.S. political scene ... deeply troubling."
Why is an American (for such is Hill's pretension) writing in the British Fabians' newspaper, attacking the American system of government?
Hill is a career agent of British influence, operating shamelessly within the U.S.A. for the overthrow of the American Constitution. He cofounded and for many years led the Center for Voting and Democracy, financed with huge grants from George Soros and his foundation network, for propaganda favoring a national switch to British parliamentary-type system. Hill's group traces itself to 19th-Century British East India Company leader John Stuart Mill and his American political circle. In 1993, it gave a Champion of Democracy Award to British intelligence figure Paddy Ashdown.
Hill wrote this year (Sacramento Bee, "Constitutional convention: What history teaches," March 21) that America's "Founders were not as brilliant as the mythmakers would have us believe.... During the ... Convention of 1787... the Constitution was hashed out by delegates who were thoroughly confused and at times beyond their depth.... On three occasions... the delegates voted for the selection of the president by 'the national legislature'what we know today as a British-type parliamentary system. But apparently this proposal didn't satisfy...." Hill contends that now, we need a "substantive overhaul of ... key institutions."
Ibero-American News Digest
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)The Honduras crisis has been placed on the front burner again, dragging, as intended, Ibero-American governments once more into the British Empire's orchestrated trap of "right-left" conflict, between Hugo Chávez's "Bolivarians" and right-wing synarchists, even as the world enters the terminal phase of economic breakdown.
The situation changed for the worse on Sept. 21, after deposed President "Mel" Zelaya, a "Bolivarian" asset of Nazi George Soros's drug legalization apparatus, was spirited back into the country by unknown means, holed himself up in the Brazilian embassy, and announced that he had come on a mission of love, to negotiate an end to the crisis. His "Ambassador" to Panama, Juan Alfaro Posadas, was more honest, insisting that the Zelaya team is fighting for a Constituent Assembly: precisely the Constitutional violation for which Zelaya was removed from office in June.
The Micheletti government that replaced him is demanding that the Brazilian government either offer Zelaya amnesty, thus providing grounds to legally remove him from the country, or hand him over to authorities.
During a Sept. 21 press conference with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on both sides to maintain calm and resist provocation. "This is not just a one-sided request.... Both sides have supporters who need to be restrained and careful in their actions in the days ahead," she said. But with Zelaya using the Brazilian Embassy as a platform to incite protests, the Micheletti government responding with a state of siege, and Honduras's neighbors fomenting economic sanctions against the nation, already among the three poorest in the region, escalations and provocations can be expected.
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)Antonio Valdéz Villanueva, the Secretary General of the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) in Ciudad Obregon, offered a lesson in regional leadership, in his call to action against the global economic crisis and its effect on Mexico, in a speech Sept. 5 to his trade union's annual convention in Ciudad Obregon, in the presence of outgoing Sonora Gov. Eduardo Bours. Valdéz is a member of the Pro-PLHINO Committee, which is organizing for massive expansion of Mexico's water infrastructure. He and other members of the committee met with Lyndon LaRouche in Monterrey, Mexico in April of last year.
In his speech, Valdéz argued: "At different times, and on different occasions, we shared with you [Governor Bours] the analysis that the federal government was gravely underestimating the character and the consequences that the international economic crisis would have on Mexico. Going back to February 2008, in a national statement published as an advertisement in the newspaper Reforma, and addressed to President Felipe Calderón, we warned him that the U.S. financial crisis was not a cyclical event, but rather a structural and systemic crisis, that obligated Mexico to take in-depth action to protect the national economy by establishing a vigorous policy of public investment in infrastructure, such as the Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PLHINO).
"Throughout that entire year, and a large part of 2009, the President disregarded our warnings, despite the fact that in August 2008 we reiterated them to him during one of his few visits to the state, and we reasserted that the world economic crisis was worse than the great depression of the late twenties. In spite of everything, even at the beginning of this year, the Treasury Secretary, tried to minimize the crisis and its consequences by going so far as to characterize it as a simple little cold.
"The disaster can now no longer be hidden. They can't put the elephant under the bed. The reality is that Mexico is economically disintegrating. We don't have a budget crisis, as such; we have national economic bankruptcy. There is a collapse of more than 30% in the federal government's revenues, as a consequence of economic paralysis; a vertical fall in exports; budget agony in the states and municipalities; and recognition that we will be closing out the year with a million new unemployed, who will join the army of more than 4 million unemployed that have been generated under the government of Felipe Calderón.
"This disaster has left Mexico defenseless in the face of the financial interests of the drug trade and organized crime. As if this calamity weren't enough, and in a kind of dramatic colophon, the President decided to ratify with his signature the legalization of drug consumption.
"We are realists and not prophets of doom: if we do not change the country's course, we will end up with social decomposition and chaos.
"The federal government is opting for a remedy which is worse than the disease: cutting the budget and raising taxes. Hot water for a patient with fever. They are going to kill the patient, but they don't want to abandon their failed economic prescriptions.
"Mr. Governor: This is the legitimate concern of the CTM. We do not want Mexico to die. We will not let Mexico die. The Mexico which the CTM wants is alive in the intention of the 1917 Constitution; it is alive in the principle that the general welfare is the sustenance, responsibility, and purpose of the nation state. Mexico need not continue to be a battering ram and loot for the speculative markets. Mexico must develop its productive potential, its physical and intellectual capabilities. Mexico is greater than the incompetence and the fears of the federal government."
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)New York's best-known financial predatorsCEOs and other top executives of Wall Street's major banksmet with Mexican President Felipe Calderón yesterday to put him on notice that his proposed fiscal austerity "reform" for 2010 isn't acceptable. It doesn't squeeze enough out of the Mexican people. More corpses, please.
Especially vocal was Merrill Lynch-Bank of America, which has prepared a report on Calderón's economic reform package, the centerpiece of which is a new 2% sales tax on food and medicine. Not good enough, say the vultures. The proposed reform isn't a "serious attempt" to eliminate certain tax loopholes or broaden the tax base, and cuts in expenditures "aren't as significant as first thought."
Mexico's economy will decline by 6.8% in 2009, these fascists say, underscoring that this is the biggest drop in all Ibero-America. So, they ask, why hasn't the government considered the "convenience of readjusting the VAT tax" on consumption? The Merrill Lynch hyenas say there is too much "inertia" in the area of expendituresproposed cuts aren't large enoughand the proposed tax hikes will increase revenue by only 1.4% of GDP. They demand the government instead accelerate the looting of already-bankrupt states and municipalities, and make them swallow even "stronger fiscal discipline."
Sept. 20 (EIRNS)The A/H1N1 virus has reappeared in at least seven Mexican states, especially those of the Southeast. In response, a panicked President Felipe Calderón and Health Minister José Angel Cordova are saying that accepting the brutal economic austerity "reform" package the President has proposed to the Congress is the only way to generate the funds needed to combat the pandemic. This is like dousing a fire with gasoline.
Speaking in San Luis Potosí Sept. 17, the President warned that Mexico needs funds to deal with "catastrophic eventualities"; it must protect people's health and purchase respirators, vaccines, and other medicines, he said. But the financial resources don't exist, so "we must generate them among ourselves" by supporting the monetarist reforms, including taxes on food and medicine, that have been put before the Congress.
Speaking Sept. 19 from León, Guanajuato, Health Minister Cordova reported that the government has been forced to use funds from the Catastrophic Expenses Protection Fund, normally used for women and children suffering from cancer or HIV/AIDS. It is essential, he said, that the Congress back the President's "economic reform."
Although Mexico has already put in an order for, and paid for 30 million doses of the A/H1N1 vaccine that European labs will be producing, Cordova said that the government is now "begging" those labs to make some of the vaccine available in October, rather than in December as originally planned.
Western European News Digest
Sept. 28 (EIRNS)The BüSo party, led by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, crossed the 1% hurdle in numerous districts, in the national German elections on Sept. 27, notably in the city-state of Berlin and the state of Saxony. In 3 out of ten Berlin districts, the party won between 1.0 and 1.2%, and in six of seven Saxon districts, between 1.0 and 1.8%, as well as 1.2% in one Bavarian districtin spite of an almost total media boycott. This shows that the BüSo is moving upwards on the scale of the smaller parties, and that the mandatory 5% threshhold for seats in the Bundestag (national parliament) is within reach for the next elections.
In terms of the general outcome, Helga Zepp-LaRouche remarked that the efforts of the "forces of the Empire" those who just rolled over the hyperinflationary bubble at the G20 meeting in Pittsburghto put in their preferred candidate were successful. Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will now form a government with the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). However, this is a Pyrrhic victory, and the "yellow-black" coalition will soon experience a hard landing, as it inherits all the problems of the old government (debt, unemployment, recession, collapse of exports) and confronts a new phase of economic collapse. In this context, the BüSo campaignfocussed on the only alternatives to thatsoared to a qualitatively new high point, putting Zepp-LaRouche's party in a position to reap the fruit of its work.
The new coalition between the CDU (33.8% ) and FDP (14.6%) is expected to implement the very same neoliberal and cost-cutting policies which caused the first round of global economic-financial crisis. This approach will further decimate the real economy and lower the living standards of broad layers of the population.
In any case, the majority that Merkel's new government will command in the Bundestag is slight, and the obsessive cost- and tax-cutting views of her new coalition partner, liberal Guido Westerwelle, will most likely give rise to dissidents within the CDU, as soon as the murderous cuts in the social, labor, and health budgets come on the agenda. In other words, this is not a stable government.
The CDU would do well to learn from the debacle of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) (23%), which was punished by the voters for having betrayed the labor unions' interests, so much so that it lost a full third of the vote it still had in 2005. In addition, the steep increase in votes for the left-wing populists of the Linkspartei (11.9%) and the radical ecologists of the Greens (10.7%), as compared to 2005, does not indicate political stability for Germany.
Sept. 21 (EIRNS)Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Chancellor candidate for the Civil Rights Solidarity Movement (BüSo) was a featured speaker at the 2009 Workshop of the German Association of Construction Inspection Engineers (BVPI) on Sept. 18, on the North Sea island of Sylt, with 250 attending. She participated in a panel discussion on "The Lessons To Be Drawn from the Financial Crisis," along with the president of the Berlin Chamber of Engineers, Dr. Jens Karstedt; the director of the Liberal Professions Association, Dr. Arno Metzler; and Dr. Werner Marnette, who was Economy and Transport Minister of Schleswig-Holstein until May.
Zepp-LaRouche was invited to make the opening statement. She said that this is just not another financial crisis, but a complete breakdown crisis of the world economy. Although other panelists attempted to play down the problem, Zepp-LaRouche argued that no attempt has been made by establishment economists to examine the actual causes of the current crisis, and that these economists have shown how bankrupt they are. They turned a blind eye, in particular, to the dramatic breakdown of the real economy, which started well before 2007.
Zepp-LaRouche also noted the situation in the United States, where citizens are revolting against the multitrillion-dollar bailouts of the banks, at the expense of taxpayers who are being asked to shoulder more and more austerity.
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)The spokesman of the EU Environment Commission today rejected requests advanced by Italy in a letter to the Commission, to review earlier CO2 targets considered punitive by the Italian government.
The EU emission plans are also being challenged by Poland and Estonia, which, unlike Italy, went to the European Court within the deadline. The Court ruled against the Commission, which is now terrified that this could jeopardize "the stability of the current emission market," where the ruling threatens to collapse certificate prices. There are six more pending challenges at the Court.
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück again attacked the City of London in an interview with the weekly magazine Stern, in which he said that London is the obstacle for regulation of the financial sector. "There in London, is clearly a lobby which wants to defend its competitive advantage with its teeth and nails," Steinbrück said. He pointed out that the British financial sector represents 15% of GDP, whereas in Germany it's only 6%. Therefore, regulating hedge funds "is particularly difficult in Britain, to put it politely."
Steinbrück appears to be traumatized from the experience of last year, which he does not want to repeat. "It is as if a [stick of] dynamite exploded close to our ears." He attacked Deutsche Bank, because of 25% yields on capital. "This makes me gasp for air. You can have such yields in the long term only by damaging the balance in the markets."
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)The United Kingdom today officially announced that it would not enforce laws against "assisted suicide" except in certain limited cases. The Crown Prosecution Service published an interim policy on when it would refrain from prosecution, such as if the killing is "motivated by compassion," and if the victim is an adult.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer issued the guidelines and called for public participation in a 12-week consultation over the assisted suicide policy. It is not intended that the government's involuntary euthanasia would be part of this public review.
Sept. 26 (EIRNS)The vice president of the Sinn Fein party in Ireland called on the Fianna Fail/Green party government to resign, for bailing out the banks while brutally cutting the national budget. The move followed the government's announcement of the creation of a National Asset Management Agency, which will use EU54 billion worth of government-backed bonds to bail out Ireland's major banks.
Sinn Fein Vice President Mary Lou McDonald, speaking at a protest rally on Sept. 19, denounced the government, saying, "Any government which prioritizes greedy bankers over the welfare of children can no longer have the support of the Irish people and should be ashamed of themselves. So let's be clear, this government needs to fall and it needs to fall soon."
The Sinn Fein call is particularly significant in that it comes on the eve of the Oct. 2 repeat-referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, which Treaty is supported by the government, but opposed by sections of the Irish population which are determined to preserve their national sovereignty.
Russia and the CIS News Digest
Sept. 15 (EIRNS)As divisions rise among the British imperialists, where some want an alternative to what they see as the failed Blair-Obama policies, there has been exposure of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachov's role as a British asset against German unification, simultaneous with early declassification of British Foreign Office files on the period of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In a letter appearing in the Financial Times today, Gorbachov's role is exposed by Alex Pravda, a top British expert on Soviet foreign policy. Formerly at Chatham House, Pravda is now at St. Antony's College, Oxford. He gives no source for his assertions, but they probably come from certain Kremlin documents which have just surfaced in London.
Alex Pravda writes:
"Sir, Philip Stephens rightly reminds us that Margaret Thatcher was not only hostile to German unification but also concerned to avoid destabilising Mikhail Gorbachev ('A misreading of the past holds a lesson for the future,' September 11).
"Well before she shared her misgivings about German unification with François Mitterrand, she made her views clear to Mr. Gorbachev. Halfway through a meeting with him in Moscow on September 23 1989, she asked that notes not be taken of what she wanted to say about German developments. Mrs. Thatcher then proceeded to confide that she and Mr. Mitterrand were opposed to unification as they saw it bringing border change, undermining stability and posing a threat to security. The Soviet leader made no comment.
"At a politburo meeting on the eve of the fall of the Berlin wall, Mr. Gorbachev explained western opposition to unification as an attempt to use the Soviet Union to obstruct the process and sow conflict between Moscow and Bonn to prevent their reaching a deal. He underestimated Mrs. Thatcher's visceral fear of the Germans, just as he overestimated Helmut Kohl's personal assurances that he would cooperate with Moscow to manage a gradual change in relations between the two Germanys.
"Mr. Gorbachev was surprised and angry at what he saw as Mr. Kohl's opportunistic use of chaos in the German Democratic Republic to swallow East Germany. Resigned to unification, Mr. Gorbachev then went on to agree to NATO membership for a united Germany, not as 'an admission of defeat'as Mr. Stephens impliesbut as a price worth paying for partnership with Bonn and Washington."
See InDepth for further discussion of the British revelations, in "London 'Adjusts' to Collapse of Obama Presidency."
Southwest Asia News Digest
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)President "Nero" Obama's tripartite "summit"a 40-minute meeting with Palestinian President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Sept. 22, was a capitulation to the British imperial control of the region. Using Netanyahu and the Anglo-Israeli lobbying apparatus in the U.S., the British Empire again succeeded in humiliating the Palestinians, and getting the U.S. to give a green light to fascist Netanyahu. The issue of ending settlement expansion has dissolved into pathetic haggling over whether Israel will agree to a one-year, nine-month, or six-month freeze on settlement construction, and whether Jerusalem is to be included. Obama caved.
Reuters reported that after today's manic activitiesa press conference by Obama before he met separately with Netanyahu and then Abu Mazen, followed by the two separate meetings, which were then followed by the "summit," which was then followed by another press statement by Obamait appears that Obama is "laying the groundwork to abandon his quest for an immediate Israeli settlement freeze and instead try to get Israel and the Palestinians directly" into peace talksi.e., rushing the calendar as he has done on the Nazi health care bill.
Obama continues to refuse to allow discussions with or recognition of Hamas, which overwhelmingly won the Palestinian national elections of 2006the last elections ever held in the Palestinian Authority. Obama also continues to block reconstruction aid to economically ravaged Gaza.
While Netanyahu held his own press conference after the photo opportunity, saying that Israel wants peace talks "without preconditions," the Palestinian side was condemned to hold its press conference under the thumb of Tony Blair, where it was obvious that Blair, the special envoy of the Quartet, has had a major hand in backing up Netanyahu to defy the United States. At the Blair press conference, Salem Fayyad, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, stood by as Blair defended Israeli intransigence, including the continuing blockade of reconstruction and vital supplies to Gaza. On the blockade, Blair said, "The kidnapped Israeli soldier [Shalit] needs to be released" by the Palestinians. When Prime Minister Fayyad stated that "the peace process will not be credible without a freeze on Israeli settlements," Blair contradicted him, saying that the Americans know that negotiations can only be credible if they have "a good chance of success." In other words, Israel will not agree on a freeze.
Sept. 25 (EIRNS)The Palestinians hear President Obama saying good things, but see that he is not delivering on anything. This was the gist of remarks delivered to the New America Foundation by Hanan Ashrawi, long-time Palestinian political activist, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and recently elected to the PLO executive committee. She told the audience that the trilateral meeting on Sept. 22 among Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) was seen among Palestinians as a photo opportunity without substance, and the recent diplomacy by U.S. special envoy George Mitchell as a failure. The number one issue is the Israeli occupation, and, in particular, Israeli settlement activity, which must stop. Instead, Netanyahu thumbed his nose at the Obama Administration.
Ashrawi's assessment of Obama's speech at the UN General Assembly was that he articulated the major issues, that the occupation must stop, and that there needs to be a comprehensive approach to peacemaking. "He makes the right noises, but the question is, can he make the right moves," she said. When asked what needs to happen next, Ashrawi said, "We can't keep playing with smoke and mirrors. If Mitchell can't deliver, he has to say so." She later added, "If the U.S. can't get a settlement freeze, how can they get anything?" What will happen, therefore, is, "we'll enter a new cycle of talks for talks' sake, while we lose more land and more lives." And, without a settlement freeze "there will be no [Palestinian state] to be had."
Another point Ashrawi made, is that there are many ways the U.S. can tell Israel, "We mean business," such as by lifting the cover the U.S. provides Israel at the UN, or using the UN Goldstone report on the deaths and destruction in Gaza that resulted from last Winter's Israeli assault. The U.S. failure to act, she argued, undermines the peace camp in Israel, since there are many Israelis who are very critical of Netanyahu's policies. "We can't afford the [peace] process for its own sake," she said. "Let's see action."
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)Former President Jimmy Carter, speaking at Virginia's James Madison University's Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence, said Israel's settlement activity is hindering peace. "As President Barack Obama has made clear, the key factor that prevents peace is the continuing building of Israeli settlements in Palestine, driven by a determined minority of Israelis who desire to occupy and colonize East Jerusalem and the West Bank," Carter said, according to an AP story published in the Jerusalem Post.
"All 22 Arab countries have offered diplomatic recognition and full trade and commerce, if Israel will withdraw from occupied territories," he said. "The alternative to two states is one nation in the same area, within which Arabs will soon comprise a clear majority. This will mean the end of a Jewish state, or else an apartheid system within which Palestinians are dominated and deprived of equal rights."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to freeze all settlement activity, which is a precondition set by U.S. Middle East Envoy George Mitchell before negotiations can begin.
The Gandhi center was awarding Carter for his humanitarian efforts.
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)After what has been described as the "cold summit" among President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), Netanyahu is simply sticking it to Obama. He told the Israeli daily Ha'aretz that Israel will never return to the 1967 borders. He then praised Obama's speech and then was spinning it by claiming that when Obama spoke of creating two states, including a "Jewish state of Israel" and a "Palestinian state," that Obama had demonstrated his support for Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the "Jewish state." The Palestinians have refused to concede to this sophistry, since not only has no other state done this, but it opens up the question of the rights of Israeli Arabs, who hold Israeli citizenship.
Then on the same day that Obama spoke before the United Nations, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved 37 more West Bank housing units in the settlement of Karnei Shomron, according to Yedioth Ahronoth. Just a few weeks ago, Barak approved the construction of 455 housing units in the West Bank.
Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer criticized Barak's decision, saying that the Defense Minister has become "Yesha's contractor," referring to Yesha, the main settler organization. "The Israeli government is singlehandedly destroying any chance for a peace agreement and jeopardizing our relations with the U.S.," Oppenheimer said.
Sept. 21 (EIRNS)Former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb (Va.), former GOP Sen. Daniel Coats (Ind.), and Charles Wald, a retired general and air commander in the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom, have a Washington Post op-ed today, threatening Iran with U.S. attack. Their saber-rattling comes after Zbigniew Brzezinski's call for the U.S. to attack Israeli planes were they to head to attack Iran.
The three are authors of a Bipartisan Policy Center report, "Meeting the Challenge: Time Is Running Out," released last week. Bipartisan Policy Center is a Washington think tank nominally founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell.
The op-ed declares, "A U.S.-led military strike [on Iran] is a feasible, albeit risky, option of last resort." The authors conclude: "Next month's talks may be one of the last opportunities to diplomatically address the advancing Iranian nuclear threat. If Iran chooses to waste yet another such chance, President Obama will have no choice but to fulfill his February commitment to 'use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.' "
Asia News Digest
Sept. 23In his detailed report on the assessment of the war in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the U.S. and NATO troops there, has urged the administration, in effect, to create a new Vietnama disastrous policy that is only in the interest of the British Empire. To that end, he went out of his way to conceal two important facts, whose concealment may push President Obama to go along with McChrystal's call for more troops.
One of McChrystal's central deceptions is the contention that, unlike the Soviet invaders in the 1980s, the United States is not perceived by the Afghans as occupiers. He quotes Afghan Defense Minister Wardak saying, "I reject the myth advanced in the media that Afghanistan is a 'graveyard of empires,' and that the U.S. and NATO effort is destined to fail. Afghans have never seen you as occupiers, even though this has been the major focus of the enemy's propaganda campaign. Unlike the Russians, who imposed a government with an alien ideology, you enabled us to write a democratic constitution and choose our own government. Unlike the Russians, who destroyed our country, you came to rebuild."
That's self-consoling tripe; all information available from the ground in Afghanistan indicates that AfghansPushtuns, Takjiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and other minoritiesreject the United States presence by a large majority.
Also, McChrystal, in his report, says that the insurgency is orchestrated by the Pushtuns, and remains confined to the Pushtun-majority areas. However, that is no longer true. Kunduz, Mazhar-e-Sharif, and Baghlan provinces, all located in the north of the country, and all Pushtun-minority provinces, are now under control of insurgents, causing disruption to NATO's northern supply route.
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today that the U.S. will engage in direct talks with the military government of Myanmar, as Myanmar's Foreign Minister Nyan Win was allowed to visit Washingtonthe first time in nine years that a Myanmar official was permitted to come to the capital.
Clinton said in New York that the official U.S. review of Myanmar policy would be released in a few days, and that although sanctions against Myanmar would not be lifted immediately, they would be lifted over time, as relations improved, and steps toward democracy were implemented in Myanmar.
In Myanmar, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, was advised strongly by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), during his visit to Myanmar in August, to drop her support for the destructive and useless sanctions, called Clinton's announcement "a good thing." Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has issued an appeal to the government to begin talks, breaking from the party's refusal to talk with the government, which they consider illegitimate.
Senator Webb and his counterpart in the House, Rep. Eni Faleomaveaga (they run the Asia subcommittees of the foreign policy committees in the Senate and the House), met with Foreign Minister Nyan Win in Washington over the weekend, as did the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council. Myanmar's Prime Minister, Thein Sein, will also speak at the UN this week.
British assets in the U.S. are going crazy over this diplomatic breakthrough, which is taking place in parallel to the Bill Clinton-led opening in relations with North Korea. These breakthroughs are undermining the empire's use of Myanmar and North Korea as so-called "rogue nations," dragging the U.S. into confrontation with them, and thus also with their supporters in Russia, China, and India. In other words, the true reason for demonizing these countries is to undermine the potential for the Four-Power Agreement proposed by Lyndon LaRouche, as the precondition for stopping the world's collapse into a new dark age. Thus, the George Soros-run human rights mafia on the left, and neo-con fanatics at the Weekly Standard on the right, both run by the City of London, are denouncing Senator Webb and Secretary Clinton for "coddling dictators" and "selling out freedom fighters."
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)The main party in the new Japanese government, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), promised during its campaign to eliminate "wasteful government expenditure," so that more government resources could go to hard-pressed Japanese families. Having a strong green tinge, the DPJ instead moved swiftly to stop the construction of dams and highways. However, the population has quickly let the DPJ know that it does not necessarily find such projects wasteful.
A case in point is the Yamba Dam outside Tokyo, which is being constructed for both flood control, and to provide a needed water resource for the Tokyo metropolitan area. Construction and Transport Minister Seiji Maehara moved almost immediately upon taking office to shut down this $4 billion project. almost immediately local residents and officials expressed their outrage.
That outrage was expressed so clearly that the minister had to back off, and issued a statement saying, "Unless we obtain the understanding of local residents and metropolitan and local governments that are connected to the construction, we won't start with legal procedures" to shut down the project.
Today, Maehara went to the district affected to "explain." The local population boycotted his visit and officials, who did not have that option, gave him a cold reception.
An even darker cloud of popular disagreement is on the horizon for Prime Minister Hatoyama's goal of a 25% cut in CO2 emissions. While the new government currently enjoys a 72% popularity rating in polls, its anti-industry, anti-jobs emissions policy is supported by only 42% of the population.
This is before an actual policy has been presented. When the greenies have to detail exactly what this deadly reduction will mean in terms of sacrifices by the population and in the economy, a wave of massive rejection will sweep the nation.
Sept. 26 (EIRNS)"For the national security of the country, we forbid Rebiya Kadeer to enter Taiwan," said Chiang Yi-hua, minister of the interior, told the members of Taiwan's legislature, in reference to the British asset running the Uighur insurgency against China.
Chiang was responding to opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers, who asked the government to grant Kadeer an entry visa for December. Chiang told the Legislative Yuan that Kadeer's organization, the World Uyghur Congress, maintains close relations with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which is declared a terrorist group by the United States and the United Nations. The group's secretary-general, Chiang told lawmakers, is wanted by Interpol.
Africa News Digest
Sept. 28 (EIRNS)President Obama has done harm to the United States and to Kenya, on behalf of the British and the International Criminal Court (ICC), by causing letters to be sent to 15 high officials of the Kenyan government, threatening sanctions against them personally and against their government, if British-designed reforms are not speedily put into place. The 15 recipients are believed to overlap the secret list given to the ICC by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which includes 6 cabinet ministers and 5 MPs suspected of promoting violence after the 2007 presidential election.
U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger announced the sending of the letters at a press conference Sept. 24. He made it clear that, although the letters were signed by Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson, they were inspired by "the highest" level of the U.S. government. The letters state in part: "President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have made clear their deep concerns that the key elements of the reform agenda have not been implemented," according to the Kenyan press. The recipients include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, the head of the civil service, MPs, and others. Ranneberger said the U.S. would also scrutinize Kenya's funding proposals to the IMF, World Bank, and African Development Bank.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki responded by writing directly to Obama, expressing his "displeasure and concern" that the United States was issuing private threats to members of his government over matters of Kenyan government policy.
Even before the letters were sent, the Obama Administration had demanded the removal of the Kenyan Attorney General and Chief Justice.
Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula today announced that he is summoning Ambassador Ranneberger for an explanation, and that the government is considering its options in response to the Obama letters, which he called "an act of intimidation."
Yesterday, an unnamed senior government minister told The Standard, a Kenyan daily, that President Kibaki has asked Obama to recall Ranneberger.
Meanwhile, ultra-British figures in the Kenyan government, led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, are supporting Obama's action. Odinga himself, responding to a question at a Harvard University forum on Sept. 24, said that the U.S. government was "totally entitled" to take such action against Kenyan officials.
Does Obama have the same attitude toward Kenyans that he has toward Americans?
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