From Volume 38, Issue 19 of EIR Online, Published May 13, 2011

United States News Digest

Mass Strike Scares GOP: Backs Off Medicare Privatization Scheme

May 6 (EIRNS)—After facing enraged constituents during their Easter recess, members of Congress are reportedly stalled at reaching agreement on the brutal budget cuts that Obama's Fiscal Responsibility ("Catfood") Commission and Congressional Republicans are demanding.

Obama's cut-down Congressional deficit commission met at Blair House yesterday, with Vice President Joe Biden chairing. Politico says there is no road map for a deal, and that the only concrete progress was that they agreed to meet twice a week through the end of May. And the Wall Street Journal reports that the "Gang of Six" effort to come up with a plan modeled on that of the original Deficit Commission, has stalled.

Also on May 5, House Republicans signalled that they were backing away from Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) scheme to privatize Medicare. Rep. Dave Camp (Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said that while he still supports the Ryan plan, opposition from Democrats made it pointless to proceed. "I'm not interested in talking about whether the House is going to pass a bill that the Senate shows no interest in," Camp said. But it's not the Senate that the House is afraid of: It's their own angry constituents.

Washington Non-Action in Face of Record Midwest Flooding

May 5 (EIRNS)—The Ohio River hit record heights earlier this week, and Mississippi waters are rising to near-record levels. Late on May 2, the Ohio River crested at 61.72 feet, more than 2 ft. above the February 1937 record of 59.5 ft. "Compared to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, this flood is going to be a lot nastier," was the summation by the National Weather senior hydrologist Mary Pope, this week in Jackson, Miss. May 17 is the projected date for the river to crest at Vicksburg, where it is expected to reach 64.5 feet—16 ft. higher than the official 48-foot flood stage.

Flooding is occurring both on the mainstem Mississippi and Ohio sites, such as at Memphis, Tenn., and small towns, as well as upstream on the tributaries and lesser watersheds. Locks are closed—many are overtopping—in large stretches of waterway, on orders of the U.S. Coast Guard. Due to safety issues, shipping is suspended on long parts of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, as well as the Mississippi and Ohio. Large areas of cropland are ruined. The hit to agriculture will be huge.

The performance of the stripped-down state and local agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Guard cannot compensate for the fact that they are severely understaffed.

Similarly, the entire system-wide flood control capability—levees, dams, gates, floodways, etc.—was never fully built-out, nor maintained.

"Fatigue has been a factor," said Col. Vernie Reichling, head of the Army Corps Memphis District, at a May 3 press conference in Sikeston, Mo. "Some of our people have worked 24-36 hours straight. They've been working with high explosives, and there is a concern for safety. We have been constantly adjusting to conditions. The conditions Mother Nature threw at us were severe."

Given this situation, the threat of more severe weather ahead, and the prospect of vast aid needed to rebuild, the White House response of "disaster-as-usual" pretenses is a mockery. Obama, the Agriculture Department, and other agencies are doing the minimum. Obama yesterday announced approval for official disaster declarations in cited counties in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky; he previously announced Federal recognition of disaster counties elsewhere in the flood zone. The Presidential disaster declaration authorizes FEMA and Homeland Security to provide aid and partial funding. "Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75% Federal funding." You locals—already economically destroyed by the Obama Recovery, and now under water—are supposed to come up with the rest!

On May 3, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and FEMA director W. Craig Fugate issued a joint pledge to aid the farm operations now under water in the national Bird's Point/New Madrid floodway, in use to mitigate worse flooding on the Mississippi River. In the face of White House prevarication, on top of uncertainty and damage, the floodway farmers have resorted to suing the Army Corps.

Studies Show that 2009 Mammogram 'Advice' Is a Killer

May 3 (EIRNS)—Three studies have been released studying the impact of the 2009 advice given by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that women under 50 should not get mammograms.

The Task Force was a precurser to IPAB, the death panel in Obama's health-care program, modeled on Hitler's T4 program to deny health care to certain categories of people to "save scarce resources." The Task Force's 2009 study advised that "only" several thousand women would miss being diagnosed with breast cancer by waiting to the age of 60 rather than 50, thus saving money for insurance companies and the government.

The new studies show that failing to get regular mammogram screenings beginning at age 50 left women more likely to discover cancer at an advanced stage. A study in Colorado suggests that 62% of doctors changed their advice to match the U.S. guideline and 16% fewer women got the test. Such a delay often resulted in larger tumors and a worse prognosis once the cancer was uncovered, the data showed.

The three studies were presented at separate medical meetings held May 3 and May 6 by the American Society of Breast Surgeons in Washington and the American Roentgen Ray Society, representing radiologists, in Chicago.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is still active, reviewing 30 more medical areas involving cervical cancer tests, dementia, glaucoma screening, and the use of electrocardiographs for detection of coronary heart disease. If Obama's genocidal IPAB is not stopped, such "advice" will instead become death warrants.

Obama Budget To Leave Washington's Homeless on the Streets

May 2 (EIRNS)—Although Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's 2012 budget provides a slight increase in spending for homeless services, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH) has discovered that, due to a loss of $15 million in "one time" Federal money, D.C. shelters could be forced to close during all but the coldest "hypothermia season" months of the year. In what homeless advocates are calling a "grave situation," if the D.C. Council does not "act to address the funding shortfall" of $18.4 million—a virtual impossibility—WLCH calculates that D.C.'s Department of Human Services will be forced to triage, closing down "year-round single womens' and mens' shelters" and throwing 1,200 people on the streets.

The nation's capital has already reversed its policy of providing families certified to have no alternative dwelling a guaranteed shelter, throwing an estimated 300 families on the street for the remainder of FY 2011. Gray's budget would also slash funding for the successful Emergency Rental Assistance Program (for families with disabilities), forcing it to provide aid to more than 800 fewer families during the coming year. "That our elected officials would choose to support a budget that allows homeless children to live in parks and abandoned buildings in the nations capital is unconscionable," said Patty Mullahy Fugere, Executive Director of WLCH.

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