United States News Digest
Obama To Release Austerity Plan After Jobs Speech
Sept. 3 (EIRNS)President Obama is set to reveal his budget-cutting plan shortly after he announces his slave-labor plan for the unemployed, in which the jobless will be put to work to "earn" their unemployment benefits, without actually creating any new jobs at all. The White House announced yesterday that Obama will make a separate speech on deficit cutting soon after his jobs speech on Sept. 8. While the two events are being played as separate plans, they are, in fact, one and the same, as Politico reports that Obama's speech will include a call for deeper austerity from the 12-member so-called super-committee, beyond the $1.5 trillion that it's already mandated to slash from Federal spending. The extra cuts are supposed to free up cash for more "stimulus" spending, such as tax breaks, to "boost" the economy.
The White House announcement didn't provide any details of the plan, but Obama himself has long made it plain that it will include cuts to Medicare and a reduction in the CPI, thus cutting Social Security and other Federal benefits. These were proposals that Obama had put on the table during his private debt ceiling negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Obama and Boehner had agreed to about $250 billion in Medicare cuts, including raising the eligibility age to 67, before the whole discussion fell apart over disagreements on tax revenues.
Meanwhile, the super-committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Sept. 8, the same day that Obama will be delivering his "jobs" speech to a joint session of Congress.
Democratic Candidates Trying To Avoid Being Tainted by Obama
Sept. 2 (EIRNS)The Rasmussen polling firm reports that President Obama's job approval rating continues to fall, with only 21% of voters strongly approving of Obama's performance (vs. 43% in January 2009), while 42% now strongly disapprove of his performance.
Not surprisingly, the National Journal reports today that Democratic candidatesparticularly those now running in special electionsare distancing themselves from Obama. "The President's dismal poll ratings, should they continue into next year, could sink Democratic hopes for reclaiming ground in the House and retaining control of the Senate especially in battleground states and swing districts," says the Journal.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), for example, has recently objected that the word "fight" isn't in Obama's vocabulary, while Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) has pointedly refused to endorse the President's reelection.
In one of the House special elections this month, in Nevada, Republicans are running ads linking the Democratic candidate with Obama. "It's a sea change from the early days of his Presidency, when liberal and moderate Democrats alike sought to tie themselves to the President and benefit from his popularity and charisma," says the Journal. Now they can't get away from him fast enough.
Obama Follows in Bush-Cheney Footsteps
Sept. 2 (EIRNS)It's not only that Barack Obama and Dick Cheney are eighth-cousins. And that Obama and George W. Bush are 11th cousins. It's become more and more clear, that this relationship is more than just distant kinship.
One thing that Obama and Cheney agree on, is defiance of the U.S. Constitution, and of the War Powers Resolution, when it come to launching war on other countries. In his new book, according to The Hill, Cheney writes that as Defense Secretary under President George H.W. Bush, he argued against seeking Congressional authorization for the first Iraq war.
More significant, as EIR has reported a number of times, is the continuity between the Bush-Cheney war policies and Obama. PBS's Frontline, in an examination of "Top Secret America" on Sept. 6, includes an interview with CIA lawyer John Rizzo, who says, "With a notable exception of the enhanced interrogation program, the incoming Obama Administration changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations. Things continued. Authorities were continued that were originally granted by President Bush beginning shortly after 9/11. Those were all picked up, reviewed and endorsed by the Obama Administration."
Frontline adds that while candidate Obama "promised a sweeping overhaul of the Bush Administration's war on terror" and "a top-to-bottom review of the threats we face and our abilities to confront them," Rizzo pointed out that, in fact, Obama officials, during the transition, made clear to the CIA that they intended almost complete continuity. Greenwald notes that Rizzo is joined in this assessment today by Dick Cheney, who cites this continuity to claim "vindication," saying: "[Obama] ultimately had to adopt many of the same policies that we had been pursuing because that was the most effective way to defend the nation."
On the same day, the Washington Post ran a major story on transformation of the CIA over the past 10 years, from being a primarily analytical organization, to running counterterrorism and paramilitary operations, featuring drones and hunter-killer teams. The CIA now controls a fleet of 30 armed Predator and Reaper drones, and has become, in the words of an unnamed former intelligence official, "one hell of a killing machine." Indeed, CIA drones have reportedly killed more than 2,000 people since 2001and others report that this has intensified during the Obama Administration.
Kasich Selling Off Ohio Prisons
Sept. 2 (EIRNS)Despite the massive failures of prison privatization in various states, Ohio's Gov. John Kasich (R) is charging ahead with trying to sell off that state's correctional facilities. The Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Ashtabula County, has just been sold to Corrections Corporation of America for $72.7 million, more than the $50 million needed from the privatization effort to balance the state's prison budget, according to the New York Times. The prison is the only one of five prisons which the state put up for sale that will be sold, state officials said, as the four other prisons for sale did not generate high enough offers, state officials said.
Chris Mabe, president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, said the union expects deterioration in salary, benefits, and working conditions for those prison staff members who move to the private sector from the public sector. He said staffing is the main way in which CCA cuts costs.
Obama Appoints Eugenicist as New Chief Economics Advisor
Aug. 29 (EIRNS)To replace Prof. Austan Goolsbee of the Friedmanite Chicago school of economics, as his Chief Economic Advisor, President Obama today appointed "behaviorist economist" Prof. Alan Krueger of Princeton University, recently of Tim Geithner's top Treasury team.
Since Krueger is a labor economist, supposed to be an expert on wages, employment, and unemployment, and being appointed in a mass unemployment crisis, it's notable that a) he's incompetent on what's happening to mass unemployment; and b) he's associated with the claim that cutting off unemployment benefits will make workers get a job.
On a), Krueger wrote a showy opinion column for Bloomberg in early April 2011, called "Why Unemployment Rose So Fast and Is Now Falling So Fast"! "The conventional wisdom now holds that the [unemployment] rate should rise, because many workers who left the labor force will come back and start looking for a job as the economy improves," Krueger said. "I'm going on record as a contrarian. I suspect a large rise in the labor force won't cause the unemployment rate to jump. Instead, I suspect were going to see a continuing decline in the unemployment rate." Since Krueger's expert opinion was stated, the economic collapse has clearly worsened, not improved; the official unemployment rate has risen from 8.8% to 9.2%; the labor force has actually shrunk by another 465,000; and 840,000 more Americans have dropped out of it.
On b), Krueger's most recent well-publicized paper (with Swedish economist Andreas Muller) is "Job Search and Unemployment Insurance: Evidence from Time-Use Data," Journal of Public Economics, February 2011. In it, he "finds" that people's efforts to find work are not stimulated by length of unemployment, but rather by getting lower unemployment benefits, and/or by being (or about to be) cut off from benefits entirely. This is Krueger's "behaviorist" front, and he takes over Obama's CEA at a time when more than 3 million long-term unemployed are losing, or set to lose their benefits over the next four months.
Krueger was an author of the insidious "Hamilton Project" 2009 proposal, denounced by the labor movement at the time, to replace unemployment insurance with "wage insurance"a relatively short-term "paid job-training," pushing unemployed people into low-wage jobs.
More indicative of NerObama's intentions with this appointment: in addition to being a Geithner ally and behaviorist, Krueger is a eugenicist. He has been a long-time staff leader at the eugenics movement's Office of Population Research at Princeton University. American Eugenics Society founder Frederick Osborn created that office at Princeton in 1936, the year after the eugenics movement triumphed with the passage of Hitler's Nuremberg race laws.