From Volume 8, Issue 30 of EIR Online, Published July 28, 2009

United States News Digest

Obama's Personal Doctor Opposes Health Plan

July 26 (EIRNS)—According to the Daily Telegraph, President Obama's former personal physician, Dr. David Scheiner, who treated him for 22 years, has accused the President of capitulating to the health-care lobby. Dr. Scheiner also reported that he was bounced from the invitation list to a White House event, because he intended to ask a question in favor of the single-payer option.

"I was all set to go to an event; I got an email from the White House the Sunday before, and then suddenly I was told 'there were too many people' coming," he said. "I think they knew I was going to ask an awkward question about the single-payer option."

Obama Takes Aim at California and New York on School Grants

July 26 (EIRNS)—Even as his fascist health plan would deny large states such as California and New York Medicaid funds and shift them to less populated states, Obama has threatened these same two states with ineligibility for education stimulus funds. States barring the use of student achievement data to help set teacher pay would be become ineligible for $4.35 billion in education stimulus funds, under guidelines proposed by Obama on July 24. The measure would disqualify states such as California, New York, and Wisconsin from applying for the grants, unless they change laws excluding student-performance data from evaluations of teachers and principals.

In a press conference with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama said: "In too many places we have no way, at least no good way, of distinguishing good teachers from bad ones." The grants will go to states that "use data effectively to reward effective teachers, to support teachers who are struggling, and, when necessary to replace teachers who aren't up to the job."

The program also will not allow participation by states that put a cap on the number of charter schools. This would include Massachusetts.

It's Not Just California That's Shutting Down

July 27 (EIRNS)—While the draconian budget cuts being imposed by California in its budget "deal" are making headlines, similar actions are underway all across the country. Some notable examples:

* Pennsylvania still does not have a budget, although there are now plans passed in each of the House and the Senate, which have to be reconciled. The last paychecks for June were sent out on July 24. As of this coming week, 33,000 state workers face the prospect of no paycheck at all, and 44,000 more are scheduled to be cut off by the end of the month. Many employees of the state judiciary already have missed a paycheck. Nearly 18,000 Pennsylvanians who have run out of unemployment benefits, won't get additional money because the legislature has not authorized the spending.

* Illinois passed a budget in mid-July, which led to $2.1 billion in cuts for social services, including daycare, mental health counseling, and the like. Overall, lawmakers estimate a 14% average cut in funds to private social service agencies, some of which have already begun to close their doors. In addition, 3,000 state workers will be laid off, and 30,000 children will no longer have a special preschool program available.

Drug Czar: Pot 'Legalization' Not in My Vocabulary

July 24 (EIRNS)—In an operation that has George Soros's international drug legalization apparatus howling, marijuana plants valued at more than $1.26 billion were uprooted and destroyed over the last ten days in Fresno County, Calif., and 82 people have been arrested by law enforcement against marijuana plantations on national park lands, and the traffickers who run the "farms" and sell the dope.

The dope lobby is now calling "Drug Czar" Gil Kerlikowske, the former police chief of Seattle, Wash., Buffalo, N.Y., and Ft. Meyers, Fla. police chief the "drug dictator," and making efforts to pit him against Attorney General Eric Holder. In reality, the dope lobby has tried to create Administration policy by quoting Holder out of context, and shamelessly spinning his words into a promise that personal use by "medical mairjuana"-designated users would not be prosecuted. The dopers tried desperately to spin this into a promise not to shut down the multibillion-dollar illegal marijuana plantations.

Now, a multi-jurisdictional operation in California, that began in February 2009, has exploded into view. "Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit," said Kerlikowske, reported the Fresno Bee on July 22. He was talking about the massive anti-marijuana operation known as "Save Our Sierra" (SOS). "Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine," he added, according to the Bee, which placed Kerlikowske at a site overlooking a "foothill marijuana farm on U.S. Forest Service land."

So far, in operation SOS, more than 314,000 plants were uprooted in 70 gardens—numbers expected to rise as the enforcement action continues. Agents also seized $41,000 in cash, 26 firearms, and three vehicles. In all of 2008, about 188,000 marijuana plants were seized in Fresno County, so the seizures this week alone far outstrip the previous efforts.

Kerlikowske now heads, with Viktor P. Ivanov, director of Russia's Federal Drug Enforcement Service, the Drug Trafficking section of the recently created U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission.

Drug czar Kerlikowske's statements are a big blow to Soros's Drug Policy Alliance Network, which began its first-ever conference for "harm reduction professionals" today in Los Angeles—i.e., dope dealers who hide behind medical marijuana laws.

Obama, USDA to Texas Farmers: Drop Dead

July 19 (EIRNS)—Despite the multi-year drought that is hitting Texas farmers and ranchers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it will be October or even November before it can confirm the producers' eligibility for Supplemental Revenue Assistance approved by Congress in 2008.

Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced July 16 that he has declared 167 Texas counties to be disaster areas, because of the fire hazard caused by the drought.

The Austin American-Statesman reported July 18 that Texas lawmakers say the delay by the Obama USDA is unacceptable, with crop losses mounting from the drought.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addressing this year's delay, Sen. John Cornyn (R) wrote that "these producers have done all that USDA has asked of them in order to prove their dire conditions and confirm eligibility, and yet they wait."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) said in an e-mailed statement that she met July 17 with the Texas Farm Bureau. Hutchison said immediate assistance would give farmers and ranchers "the help they need to make it through the current drought."

Federal declarations of emergency can pave the way for farmers and ranchers to seek low-interest loans. But, the Associated Press reports, in an April 27 letter to Perry—nearly three months ago—Vilsack said the USDA couldn't accurately determine agriculture production losses for 184 counties.

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