United States News Digest
Obama White House Employs Cheney-Like Secrecy
Aug. 8 (EIRNS)Those on the left who advocated the impeachment of then-Vice President Dick Cheney for his high crimes and misdemeanors see disturbing similarities in the Obama White House. John Nichols, writing in The Nation, notes that the Bush-Cheney White House's refusal to release visitor logs during the time that Cheney was conducting his energy task force portended "darker and dirtier deeds" to come. Similarly, the Obama White House has refused to reveal who came to the White House for the health-care industry meetings it hosted, including the details of the discussions with Big Pharma and hospitals. Nichols writes that, more dangerous than the breaking of an apparent campaign promise, "is the perpetuation of practices of official secrecy that characterized the Bush-Cheney den of iniquity."
"Official secrecy," Nichols writes, "especially when it involves meetings by White House aides and representatives of corporate interests that face government regulation, is corrosive. It warps the official agenda and undermines the system of checks and balances, making the legislative branch a weak second to a unitary executive."
Soros Plugged into the U.S. Treasury.
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)What investigators of any future Pecora Commission-style probe into the criminal activities of the London and Wall Street financiers must look at: Dopester billionaire George Soros controls a key intelligence channel into the U.S. Treasury Department.
Here's how it came about.
In February 2008, Soros made Keith T. Anderson the chief investment officer of Soros Fund Management, replacing Soros's son Jonathan in that post.
Soros brought Anderson over to his company from his leadership slot at BlackRock, a firm spun off from Peter Peterson's Blackstone Group in the early 1990s.
In late 2007, Anderson served as chairman of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities and Financial Markets Association. A sidekick of Anderson, BlackRock executive Rick Rieder, was then vice chairman of that same Treasury committee.
This Advisory Committee is a financiers' group which officially counsels the U.S. Treasury on the conditions under which the Treasury is dealing with the financial community for borrowing, etc. Treasury officials, in turn, report to the Advisory Committee their own analysis of the situation.
Since joining Soros, Anderson has remained chairman of the Treasury Advisory Committee, and his BlackRock colleague Rick Rieder has remained vice chairman. These two men sign the quarterly reports of the Committee to the Treasury.
Treasury lists the leadership for the Advisory Committee as Chairman: Keith T. Anderson, Chief Investment Officer, Soros Fund Management, New York City. Vice chairman: Rick Rieder, head of Fixed Income Alternatives, BlackRock, New York City.
Marine Corps Bans Social Networking on Its Computers
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)The U.S. Marine Corps has banned Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other social media sites from its networks, effective immediately, according to wired.com. "These internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user generated content and targeting by adversaries," reads an Aug. 3 Marine Corps order. "The very nature of SNS [social network sites] creates a larger attack and exploitation window, exposes unnecessary information to adversaries and provides an easy conduit for information leakage that puts OPSEC [operational security], COMSEC [communications security], [and] personnel at an elevated risk of compromise."
California's Prison Health-Care System Ruled Unconstitutional
Aug. 5 (EIRNS)A three-judge panel yesterday ordered the California prison system to reduce its inmate population of 150,000 by 40,000about 27%within the next two years.
In a scathing 184-page order, the judges said that state officials had broken previous agreements to fix its prison health system, which it called unconstitutional, and which causes one unnecessary death per week.
The ruling is the largest state prison reduction ever imposed by a Federal court over the objection of state officials, according to the New York Times.
The order occurs after a long battle by Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger to brutally cut social welfare programs, schools, and health care to get a budget. Schwarzenegger had planned to reduce the prison population by 27,000 inmates, but objections by law enforcement officials sank the plan.
This case began 15 years ago with class action suits. The medical case ended with a Federal receiver overseeing the system, and the mental health care overseen by a special master.
State Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat, appeared to position himself to the right of Hitler-admirer Schwarzenegger, saying that the court had ordered standards of care "that exceed the standard required under the U.S. Constitution."
Schwarzenegger had agreed to spend $3 billion to build two prison hospitals and create 5,000 beds for ill inmates, but reneged.
More White House Lies: No 'Stimulus' Money for Infrastructure
Aug. 5 (EIRNS)President Obama took his road show to the Midwest in economically devastated Elkhart County in Indiana, telling the audience that "the U.S. economy is beginning to recover" and asking for "patience during the road back." Yet reports from various U.S. government departments on spending for infrastructure show that nothing is moving, and the Administration's touting of the impact of infrastructure building using the stimulus money has turned out to be a complete hoax.
The Federal Transit Administration has spent about $500 million of the $8.4 billion it received. The Coast Guard has decided on the four bridges they will build, but "money will not transfer hands for a while," one official pointed out. What it means is that none of the construction projects are in a position to begin during the Summer construction season. Not much construction activity will begin during the Winter.
The White House Recovery Office said on Aug. 4 that government agencies have decided how to spend $31 billion of $73 billion going directly into construction projects, but the officials could not offer a figure on how much actually has been spent, which is next to nothing. There is no talk of how many jobs the "stimulus"-money-driven infrastructure projects have created so far.
Collapse of States Brings on Deaths
Aug. 4 (EIRNS)The Fire Department of Los Angeles, America's second-largest city, with a population of 3.8 million, is cutting emergency services. Los Angeles permanently took three ambulances out of service Aug. 2, and will pull 15 fire trucks and another six ambulances out of service beginning Aug. 5, to bridge part of a $56.5 million budget shortfall. Additionally, three slots for captains who supervise paramedics will be eliminated. The fire chief says response times will be increased, meaning that lives will be lost. The department must still find another $13 million to cut.
Meanwhile, Jefferson County, Ala., population 660,000, which includes Birmingham, the state's largest city, laid off two-thirds of its 3,600 public employees yesterday. This cuts the entire range of services, including security. A spokesman for the county sheriff announced today that he may call for the National Guard to help maintain order, come September, when the sheriff's office's current funding run out, and as many as 188 deputies may have to be laid off.
The New York Times says that ten states and the District of Columbia still lack budgets for the fiscal year which began July 1, and face a total of $4 billion in shortfalls. But that's only the beginning, as revenues are continuing to plummet. In his Aug. 1 webcast, Lyndon LaRouche called for $150 billion in emergency revenue-sharing, coupled with his measures for reorganization in bankruptcy.