United States News Digest
New York Times Jumps into Fleet Street Tabloid Wars vs. Murdoch
Sept. 5 (EIRNS)The New York Times Magazine today featured a detailed exposé of how one of Rupert Murdoch's English tabloids, News of the World, got caught spying on members of the British royal family. Lyndon LaRouche commented that, while there is nothing new in the Times piece, it is an indication of deep factional splits in the British Commonwealth Establishment, including the Wall Street crowd that runs the New York Times. Since Murdoch took over the Wall Street Journal, the warfare between the Times and the Journal has intensified, as has Murdoch's recent escalation against President Obama, through all of his media outlets, including Fox News. A faction of the British intelligence apparatus has decided that Obama is an albatross it doesn't care to have around its neck.
The Times Magazine piece, based on an exhaustive investigation of events going back to 2005, revealed that a reporter for News of the World, employing a private investigator, was hacking into cell phone voice messages of Prince Harry, Prince William, and the staffs of the two young royals. Scotland Yard launched a probe into the hacking and confirmed the charges, identified both the reporter and the private eye, and found evidence of many other instances of phone message hacking by other reporters for the Murdoch tabloid. However, Scotland Yard restricted its probe to the reporter and the private eye, because of close collaboration with Murdoch.
There is now a string of lawsuits pending over the alleged hacking, and the Times is clearly trying to stir the pot against Murdoch. The head of News of the World, when all of this hacking was going on, was Andy Coulson, who recently left the newspaper to become the chief media liaison for Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron.
Some Democrats Oppose Obama on Social Security Cuts
Sept. 3 (EIRNS)In private discussions with Democratic Party insiders during his Martha's Vineyard vacation, President Barack Obama made it clear that he is all for trashing Social Security, which is a top agenda item of the Simpson-Bowles National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility (aka the "Catfood Commission"). In response, some Democrats are taking preemptive moves to block any changes in Social Security. The Congressional Progressive Caucus is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter, to be sent to President Obama, vowing to block any changes; firedoglake.com reported yesterday that they are considering introducing a privileged resolution when the House briefly reconvenes on Sept. 14, to shut off the option altogether.
On Sept. 2, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) penned an op-ed for Politico, citing a recent Congressional Budget Office report that the Social Security Trust Fund is fully solvent, at current payment levels, through 2039. Sanders denounced any proposed changes such as privatization or raising the retirement age. He noted that, if the maximum income taxed for the Social Security Trust Fund were raised from the current $106,800 a year, the fund would be solvent into the indefinite future.
An even more powerful argument was presented in a New York Daily News op-ed today by Steve Hill, who called for doubling of Social Security benefits. A recent New America Foundation study showed that retirees from the lower 50% income brackets rely on Social Security for 84% of their retirement income. In the past, Social Security was seen as one leg of a three-legged stool, which also included pensions and personal savings, usually in the form of home ownership. Pensions are gone for the vast majority, and home values have crashed, while foreclosures have skyrocketed; therefore Social Security is, for many, the only source of retirement income.
Pelosi's Dictatorial OCE Strikes Again
Sept. 2 (EIRNS)House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) unconstitutional Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) struck again this week, filing vague charges of "appearance of impropriety" in fundraising against three Congressmen. Five others were "cleared" in this latest OCE case, but only after their reputations had been dragged through the mud.
Until now, the OCE, set up, as EIR has documented, as a private hit squad for the financier interests, had focussed its fire on members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Now the message is being delivered that no Congressman is immune. The dictatorial methods wielded over the past ten years of Bush-Obama government are expanding, terrorizing Congress, that any one who crosses the Administration can see his or her political career ended by little more than innuendo.
Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), and Tom Price (R-Ga.) were informed on Aug. 30 that the OCE had formally recommended that the House Ethics Committee open investigations against them for "appearance of impropriety" in fundraisingnot for breaking any law, but for allegedly having "solicited or accepted contributions in a manner which gave the appearance that special treatment or access was being provided to donors or the appearance that the contributions were linked to an official" (emphasis added).
Here you have the OCE, set up with money and personnel from Nazi-trained, drug-running speculator George Soros, charging Congressmen with holding fundraisers at which representatives of financial interests were present, while Congress was considering Wall Street's financial reform bill. That's chutzpah!
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who was cleared, declared, in an angry letter to the OCE, released after charges had been dropped against him: "If holding a general fundraiser while Congress was in session voting on legislation that went through one of my committees, is in violation of House Ethics Rules, then that is a broad new limitation on Members' fundraising activities," based on allegations of what constitutes "appearance of impropriety."
Murder-Suicides Increasing with Breakdown
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)There have been five murder-suicide incidents in the past two weeks, resulting in ten deaths, in Las Vegas alone. The latest victims, 74-year-olds Donald and Barbara Romano, were found dead in their multimillion-dollar home. The two were heavily involved in real estate marketing. Their daughter confirmed that economic woes were behind their deaths, telling the Las Vegas Regional Journal, "Their financial situation was not good." The local homicide investigator says that there has been a sudden increase in financially connected fatalities.
Nationally, statistics on murder-suicides are non-existent, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center. You see, in the infinite wisdom of the statistician, the murders are tracked by the FBI, while the suicides are tracked as a mental-health issue. Last year, however, a group of U.S. and European "scientists" combed the records in Western European vaults, and concluded that for every 1% increase in unemployment, there was a 0.8% increase both the murder and suicide rates (again, figures compiled separately). However, for a larger, 3% increase in unemployment, suicides jumped 4.5%.
Psychologists have developed a category of crime called "familicide," in which one parent kills the other, the children, and then him or herself. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this phenomenon is on the rise.
Federal Homeless Figures Sorely Deficient
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)Figures presented by the U.S. Department of Education indicate that figures provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) vastly underestimate the problem of homeless families. The National Association for Education of Homeless Children and Youth has a new report out, saying that, according to the National Center of Education Statistics, "the number of homeless children and youth (preK-12) increased from 679,724 students in the 2006-2007 school year, to 956,914 students in the 2008-2009 school year," close to a 50% increase in just two years. The HUD's figure for total homeless individuals is 643,067.