United States News Digest
Oberstar Defies Obama with Infrastructure Bill
June 19 (EIRNS)Despite a demand from the White House to "wait 18 months," Rep. James Oberstar (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, introduced a bipartisan bill on June 18, co-sponsored by fellow committee leaders John Mica (R-Fla.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), and John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.).
A press statement from Oberstar's office said, "Delay is unacceptable. If we delay the new authorization, states will hold back on new projects, and that will cost jobs."
Ranking Republican Mica added, "This is no time to sidetrack the only bill coming before Congress that will create millions of jobs.... I am prepared to move forward in a bipartisan effort to restore our nation's crumbling infrastructure and put people to work with the bill we have agreed to introduce."
A 100-page white paper on this bill lays out some important issues: Auto and truck traffic on crumbling highways, bridges, and tunnels kills over 42,000 people a year in accidents. This is the leading cause of death for people between 3 and 25 years of age. Millions of Americans a year are injured in highway accidents. The Oberstar bill calls for investing billions of dollars immediately in high-speed rail to make the nation's transportation system safer.
But the bill's billions pale when compared with the American Society of Civil Engineers' estimate that U.S. infrastructure requires an investment of $2.2 trillion over the next five years just to bring existing infrastructure to a state of good repair. In contrast, Oberstar notes, China is spending $730 billion on transportation over the next four years, ending 2012.
Summers to California: 'Drop Dead'
June 16 (EIRNS)California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer has been asking the White House for as long as a year to help California deal with its budget crisis, but this week, he tried one more time, despite the fact that, during his recent trip to California, President Obama had indicated to Governor Schwarzenegger that no aid would be forthcoming. Lockyer's letter resulted in a desperate meeting between a delegation of the state's elected officials and the Obama economic team yesterday. The Administration turned them down.
At today's White House briefing, spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the states had already been given "extraordinary" assistance in the stimulus package, and, thus, "this budgetary problem unfortunately is one that they're going to have to solve." California state comptroller John Chiang estimated last week that California was "less than 50 days away from a meltdown of state government."
The Washington Post reported that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, top White House economic policy advisor Larry Summers, and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer represented the Administration in the discussion, which concluded that California "could hold out a little longer and get [its] budget in order, rather than rely on a federal bailout." The Post noted that the state's problems date back to 1978 and a "ballot initiative" (Proposition 13) "that severely limited property taxes." Forced to rely heavily on capital gains and personal income taxes, the state's funds tanked in the last months, as the global economy collapsed.
Biden Reveals: Administration Knows Nothing About Economy
June 14 (EIRNS)Vice President Joe Biden today tried to defend the Obama Administration economic policy, declaring, "The economy is getting better!... Things are getting better!" under interrogation from "Meet the Press" interviewer David Gregory. Armed with quotes from Biden and from the Obama economics team's stimulus project, Gregory hammered Biden with the White House claim that the stimulus plan was going to hold unemployment at 8%, when it is already 9.4% by the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, which already under-report unemployment.
Biden babbled that "everyone guessed wrong" on the economy. "No one realized how bad the economy was. The projections, in fact, turned out to be worse. But we took the mainstream model as to what we thought, and everyone else thought, the unemployment rate would be," he said. "Everyone guessed wrong at the time the estimate was made about what the state of the economy was at the moment [the stimulus package] was passed."
This is a lie. The White House knows Lyndon LaRouche was right. LaRouche not only called the shot on how bad the economy was in July 2007, but he also called the shot on the stupidity of the White House on May 28, 2009 in his article "Where the Day Starts with Jerks: Wall Street."
"The truth about successful economies, which the White House today has no presently manifest desire to hear, is that the growth, even the mere maintenance of actual economic wealth, as measured per capita and per square kilometer of territory, requires a secular trend of increase in the physical productivity as measured per capita and per square kilometer of the total net physical output of an increased margin of physical, not monetary, wealth.
"That is why the present administration and the admirers of its current policies are so stupid when it comes to matters related to the defense of the economic future of the existence of this nation.
"If you wish to know why the current economic policies of the Obama administration are so viciously stupid in their effects, it is the virtually satanic quality of ignorance of economics by the President and its currently leading economic advisors." They rely on Adam Smith's satanic outlook in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and other behaviorist garbage, LaRouche wrote.
New Climate Change Line Copies Bush Homework
The U.S. Global Change Research Program released a 196-page report June 16 entitled "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States," which is being billed in the media as the first major climate report from the Obama Administration.
In reality, this report is only the final draft of a report that was released for public comment by the Bush Administration last year.
The report is a collection of the usual global warming scare stories of disastrous sea-level rise and monster hurricanes. The Obama Administration timed the report's release so it could be used as a propaganda tool to try to ensure the passage of the genocidal Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill.
Bush Envoy to Israel Exposes Settlements Lie
Daniel Kurtzer, Bush Administration ambassador to Israel (2001-05), has demolished claims by neocon Netanyahu boosters, such as Charles Krauthammer, that President Bush signed away the U.S. demand for a total freeze of Israeli settlement expansion. Kurtzer reminded readers in a June 14 Washington Post op-ed that the March 2001 Mitchell Report, which Israel adopted in 2003 as the "roadmap" for a two-state solution, explicitly includes an Israeli freeze on all settlement activity, including natural growth of settlements. Kurtzer then showed that the three documents that the Netanyahu government claims are a U.S. repudiation of the freeze, are not what the Israelis claim.
Neither the 2003 draft understanding between Ariel Sharon and Stephen Hadley, nor the April 14, 2004 letter from President Bush to Sharon, nor the later letter from Dov Weissglas to Condi Rice reverse the ban on settlement growth. Kurtzer's argument in the op-ed is consistent with reports from high-level government sources to EIR, that even President George W. Bush has recently confirmed that he never intended to alter the Mitchell Report "road map" in his letter to Sharon.
This takes on special importance in the ongoing Mitchell diplomacy, because George Mitchell has clearly defined the settlement freeze as a non-negotiable demand on Israelone that he will insist is a first precondition for any further steps.