From Volume 38, Issue 9 of EIR Online, Published Mar. 4, 2011

United States News Digest

Gates Uses MacArthur To Warn Against Land Wars in Asia

Feb. 26 (EIRNS)—In a speech at West Point on Feb. 25, outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates forcefully reiterated Gen. Douglas MacArthur's famous, repeated warning to President John Kennedy against the Vietnam War madness. Gates said, "in my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General MacArthur so delicately put it."

Other elements of Gates' speech subtly drove this warning home, by artfully reminding his national and worldwide audience of MacArthur's immortal, Platonic farewell to West Point of May 12, 1962. Like the MacArthur who had said then, "today marks my final roll-call with you," Gates began, "I did want to take this last opportunity to share some thoughts with you." In his closing, Gates repeated both the refrain and the crescendo of MacArthur's inspired remarks, when he told the cadets, "You took on the mantle of duty, honor, and country—you passed down the Long Gray Line of men and women who have walked these halls and strode these grounds before you."

Lyndon LaRouche has been stressing this warning of MacArthur's repeatedly and forcefully over recent years; indeed, it was the focus of an entire paper of his entitled, "The Folly of Chronic Wars," dated July 22, 2010. Kennedy had had the morality and intelligence to heed MacArthur's warning, and it was just for that reason that the forces of the British Empire ordered him assassinated, so that that war could proceed, and proceed to destroy the United States over an entire decade of senseless and purposeless war. Vietnam was then by far the longest war in our national history—that is, before Obama's insane Afghanistan War. The U.S. truly never returned from the Vietnam War.

Insane Obama: The Worst Republican President Ever

Feb. 26 (EIRNS)—The theme of President Obama's Saturday radio address, this morning, was on the measures he is pushing so that America "can out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the rest of the world." He went so far as to invoke a company in Wisconsin that makes energy-efficient light bulbs as an example of what he means, without ever referring to the mass strike that has spread across the country from that state! As Obama made clear in his remarks, his policy is still to demand "sacrifice" and "fiscal responsibility," just as right-wing Republicans such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are demanding. "If we're serious about tackling our long-run fiscal challenges, we also need to cut excessive spending wherever we find it—in defense spending, spending in Medicare and Medicaid, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes," he said.

And Republican leaders in Washington proved the point, again, yesterday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) announced a plan to avoid a government shutdown, otherwise looming on March 4, by proposing a two-week continuing resolution that "only" cuts $4 billion from current spending levels. The proposal had Democrats rushing to take credit for it. Why? The cuts Boehner crafted come straight out of Obama's budget. "The plan Republicans are floating today sounds like a modified version of what Democrats were talking about," a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told Politico, on Obama's orders. "We're glad they think it's a good idea." There is one catch to Boehner's plan, which Democrats don't seem too upset about, which is, that the Republicans will demand an additional $2 billion in cuts for each week that negotiations continue past the March 18 deadline. This is supposed to keep the large group of freshman Republicans from bolting and shutting down the government anyway.

Enraged Mayors Threaten To March on Washington

Feb. 25 (EIRNS)—A bipartisan group of mayors, furious at the budget cuts passed by the House last weekend, held a press conference yesterday in Washington, in which they denounced the cuts as "un-American," "outrageous," and "unacceptable." The mayors are especially incensed about the cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program, which are contained in the House budget passed last week, but also in President Obama's budget proposal.

"I can only think of one word to describe what the House has done with HR1: 'outrageous,' " declared Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia. "Outrageous and unacceptable. HR1 is un-American. It attacks senior citizens. It attacks children. It attacks working people. It stops jobs and economic development in cities all across the United States of America. I have no idea what is going on in the minds of some who have now gotten elected on rhetoric and are trying to govern with that same rhetoric. You cannot run a country while attacking its own people."

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors will not stand for this kind of activity," Nutter emphasized. "We will not stand for this kind of attack on our own citizens, as HR1 does."

Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, the President of the Republican Mayors Association, called the GOP budget cuts "hypocritical," saying, "It is hypocritical to say you value the economy and cities and jobs and then go make drastic cuts to great programs like Community Development Block Grants, which we know have great discretionary opportunities to go exactly where they're needed in our communities. We understand tough choices. There isn't a single mayor up here that isn't making tough choices right now. We're out there weighing the value of police officers and firefighters and libraries. But it's also about priorities. And the priorities in Washington need to be about cities and jobs and the economy. And if these proposals go through, those are not the priorities."

The mayors could lead a march on the Capitol in mid-March, if they don't get what they are seeking, said Conference President Elisabeth Kautz, of Burnsville, Minn. "We are going to have a major march and meeting in [the] halls of Congress," added Bill Gluba, of Davenport, Iowa, who stated that the Mayors' Conference has decided to take the lead in organizing local and civic organizations to come to Washington to protest the cuts.

Three Die from Budget Cuts in Fire Protection

Feb. 23 (EIRNS)—The refusal on the part of President Barack Obama to reinstate Glass-Steagall, thus forcing cities to carry out budget cuts in necessary fire protection, resulted, absolutely predictably, in unnecessary deaths in the last two weeks in Philadelphia and New York City.

On Feb. 22, two children were killed in a fire in Philadelphia's Olney section. An official from the firefighters union has now questioned if Philadelphia's cost-cutting brownouts of fire companies played a role. A 7-year-old and a 9-year-old were pulled from a home once firefighters were able to knock down the flames. Engine 61, which would have been first on the scene, was closed for the day, as part of the city's cost-cutting measures.

Mike Kane, with Philadelphia Firefighters Union Local 22, says Engine 61 could have been on the scene in half the time. "Whether that Engine 61, being browned out, if that company was in service, they would have made a difference? Nobody can answer that, because we don't have a crystal ball. What we can say, is, maybe if they were there, they would have had a shot. Maybe them kids would have had a shot," Kane said. In addition to the two children who died, four other children were injured, along with four adults.

Ten days earlier, on Feb. 12, a fire in an apartment building in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, N.Y., resulted in another death. Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy told WINS radio that the plight of hundreds left homeless after the Flatbush fire, along with injured firefighters and the death of 64-year-old Mary Feagin, was directly attributable to staffing cuts at the FDNY by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

About 200 firefighters were called to the scene, and it took them seven hours to extinguish the fire. Under a now-expired agreement, 60 engine companies in the busiest city areas formerly had five-person crews; currently, all engine companies in the city are staffed with four-person crews. City officials, including Mayor Bloomberg, had argued that the cuts were necessary to prevent the closing of firehouses. In late January, Cassidy had argued that the staff reductions would result in more injuries of firefighters, more injuries and/or deaths of civilians.

Cassidy stated that, "because the first unit to arrive on the scene Saturday had one less firefighter, it took five minutes longer to get water on the fire." Cassidy pointed out that on Feb. 1, Bloomberg was able to push through cutting the number of firefighters on several trucks from five to four. That cut included the first two responding engines Saturday night. "If the cuts had not been made, this fire would have been contained to one apartment," Cassidy stated. "Sixteen [firefighters] were burned. A civilian is dead, and 100 families are homeless all because of Mayor Bloomberg's cuts."

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