From Volume 38, Issue 13 of EIR Online, Published Apr. 1, 2011

United States News Digest

Gov. Walker: It's the Law Because I Say It's the Law

March 27 (EIRNS)—In a display of Nazi arrogance that would have made Hitler's crown jurist Carl Schmitt blush with pride, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's gang moved this weekend to implement his illegal union-busting law, even though there is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against it, and it has not been published in the official Wisconsin State Journal, as required by law.

Secretary of State Doug La Follette rightly said on Saturday that the bill was not in effect, because his office had not yet published it in the State Journal—because there's a TRO. But the bill was published on Friday by the Legislative Reference Bureau, which was not named in the TRO. So the head of Walker's Department of Administration, Mike Huebsch, pronounced in a written statement: "Upon the advice of my legal counsel, the Department of Administration will begin the process of implementing [the law] as we are required to do the day after a bill is lawfully published."

Translation: It's the law, because we say it's the law.

Over 50 Million 'Food Insecure' in U.S.A.

March 25 (EIRNS)—On March 24, the group Feeding America, a consortium of about 200 private food banks around the United States, released a Report on "County Level Food Insecurity and Food Cost in the United States" for 2009. The "Map the Meal Gap 2011" report, based on compilations of census, USDA, and unemployment data, does a county-by-county breakdown of "food insecurity." The overall conclusions are that 16.6% of the population was food-insecure in 2009—that's about 51.6 million people. "Food insecurity" is defined as lack of access to enough food for an active healthy life for all household members.

According to the Executive Summary, 45% of those who are food insecure have incomes above the ridiculously low Federal poverty level to qualify for food stamps, but don't have enough to buy food. By far the largest percentage—59%—of highly food-insecure counties are rural. Most of these, percentage-wise, are in the South, especially the South Atlantic and East-South Central regions. The percentages of food insecure in the counties with the highest percentages range up to 37.6% (Wilcox, Ala.). The top ten counties in food insecurity are all in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.

However, the largest numbers of people are in the metropolitan regions, headed by Los Angeles (1.7 million—17.4%) and New York City (1.3 million—16.2%). Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix all have more than half a million food insecure.

Air Traffic Controller Staff Cutbacks Jeopardize Safety

March 24 (EIRNS)—Two passenger jets, with 97 and 68 people on board, respectively, landed at Reagan National Airport without clearance from the airport tower early Wednesday morning, after they were unable to raise anyone there. The biggest danger in a late-night landing is maintenance workers and equipment on the runways. It is reported that a supervisor, the only controller on duty, fell asleep in what was his fourth overnight shift in a row.

The air-traffic control system has been in disarray ever since President Ronald Reagan fired striking controllers in 1981 (something which Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker views as a model for his efforts to bust public employee unions). The effects of that loss of experience and skill in 1981, compounded with understaffing, still jeopardize air safety today. Fatigue has been a major issue for years. Suspected controller errors rose to 1,887 incidents in 2010, up from 1,233 the previous year.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood immediately ordered the FAA to put two controllers on the midnight shift at Reagan National Airport, and ordered a review of staffing at other airports around the country.

Judge: N.J. School Aid Cuts Unconstitutional. Christie: So What?

March 23 (EIRNS)—A judge appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that cutting $1.6 billion from state aid to local schools is unconstitutional. Gov. Chris "Muammar" Christie has declined to say whether he would obey a court order to restore the funding. He told NJ101.5 radio's "Ask the Governor" program that the state doesn't have the money to restore the cuts, even if the court orders him to do so.

Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne ruled March 22 that state aid cuts have prevented school districts from providing the "thorough and efficient" education mandated by the state's constitution, especially for poorer children.

Christie's education bureaucrats argued before the judge that the state still provides a "thorough and efficient" education with austerity funding. Others disagree. Garfield Superintendent of Schools Nicholas Perrapato, for example, said the cuts have "pulled the rug out" from poorer districts such as his own, The Bergen Record online) reports. Garfield's funding has been cut by $3 million. And it has laid off nearly 100 staff, eliminated many programs, and increased class sizes.

But the solution is not yet coming from those who think they are defending education: "It would also be unfortunate if people felt the need to blame anybody for this," said New Jersey Education Association spokesman Steve Wollmer.

No Future for California State University System

March 22 (EIRNS)—Even if Gov. Jerry Brown (D) gains a concession from Republicans to put a referendum for a tax increase on the ballot—which, at the moment, appears unlikely—and even if the voters pass his proposed tax increase, the California State University (CSU) system will likely reduce enrollment in its 23 universities by 10,000 students, for the year 2011-12. Brown's "best case" budget calls for a $500 million cut in the system. If the proposed tax extensions, which he is counting on, are not granted by the voters, the cuts in the CSU budget will be closer to $1 billion, which would mean larger cuts to enrollment and increased tuition, as well as significant staff reductions.

Student leaders from the CSU system heard from LaRouchePAC representatives at their gathering last Saturday, and are considering a call for Glass-Steagall. The only other proposal they have is to increase taxes on oil companies, a tax which would be passed on to consumers—including students and their already-stretched families. The student governments of the CSU system were among the organizers of the March 14 march and rally in San Francisco, which drew between 10,000 and 20,000 participants.

Brown's present strategy is to win over two Republicans in both the Assembly and the Senate, to give him the two-thirds vote he needs, to place a tax bill on the ballot. He is hoping to cover half the $25 billion deficit by tax extensions, the other half by cuts. Although several Republicans have been meeting with him, they have thus far refused to support a vote, leaving the state in a familiar place—bankrupt and without a balanced budget.

Michigan Governor Adopts Obama Tactics for Smashing Unions

March 22 (EIRNS)—Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced his "Economic Vitality Incentive Program" yesterday, a behavioral-economics "incentive" program to force Michigan's municipalities to crush their own unions if they want to get state revenue sharing. It is precisely modelled on the Race to the Top (or, "Racist at the Top") program of Barack Obama and the clique of behavioral economists who surround him.

Whereas, before Obama, Federal education subsidies were based on the principle of every student's equal right to an education, now Obama's RTTT forces children, teachers, schools, and states to compete in their willingness to implement Obama's "reforms," in order to qualify for a small amount of money, while denying it to other schools and students. This is why RTTT was condemned as racist by all major U.S. civil rights organizations last year.

In just the same way, Snyder's program would deny cities and towns the state revenue-sharing which is now theirs by right, unless they successfully compete against other cities and towns to implement Snyder's so-called "reforms"—mainly unionbusting.

A commentary posted on notes that, under Snyder's plan, municipalities have to adopt reforms to get the funds that were formerly distributed as revenue sharing. "This is similar to how the federal government structured the 'Race to the Top' program, which forced states to embrace reform to get a piece of stimulus funding," notes author Nathan Bomey.

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