United States News Digest
Rodriguez Victory Changes Axioms of What It Takes To Win
"The perception of what it takes to winall that was shattered by this election," declared newly elected Democratic Congressman Ciro Rodriguez at the opening of his victory speech Dec. 12 in San Antonio, Texas. Rodriguez said it was due to a grassroots mobilization, reminding people at the victory celebration that there were few who stood with him when the race began. The San Antonio Express News called his 55-45% victory a "landslide." Rodriguez won 38,447 votes to seven-term incumbent Henry Bonilla's 32,265, in an election that polls were giving to the Republican candidate just a week ago. The win gives Democrats a 233-202 margin in the House, one vote larger than the previous Republican majority.
Bexar County, which includes the northern, western, and eastern rim of the city of San Antonio, comprised 45,524 of the 70,412 votes that were cast. The district includes University of Texas San Antonio, with about 20,000 students, and Palo Alto University, both commuter colleges which were key targets of organizing by the LaRouche Youth Movement. The 18.38% turnout in the county, in a runoff election that most voters didn't even know aboutuntil the LYM got therewas much bigger than poll officials expected, coming close to the 30.87% who voted in the Nov. 7 general election in that county.
An independent poll on Dec. 4, Survey USA/WOAI-TV, put Bonilla ahead of Rodgriguez by 53-46%. Polls by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which were never made public, were reported to have the two candidates tied at 44% each (the rest undecided) about one week ago; a few days before the election, they showed Rodriguez ahead by three points, according to rumors.
Illustrating Bonilla's desperation as election day neared, he brought in the hated Vice President Dick Cheney to campaign for him, according to the San Antonio Express.
Jaime Carillo wrote in the Express of Dec. 13: "Rodriguez' win was an earthquake that continues the Democratic takeover.... Defying every political truism of Bexar County politics, Bonilla started the night by becoming the rare well-known Republican to not only lose early voting, but to lose it badly...." Rodriguez, age 60, had earlier served eight years in Congress and 11 years in the state legislature.
Lyndon LaRouche has identified the Democrats' stunning upset victory in the Texas 23rd Congressional District a case study in the "New Politics," demonstrating the success of the "mass effect" organizing of the LYM.
Democrats To Demand Accounting of War Spending
As President Bush prepares to submit a supplemental request of $120 to $160 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, the Democrats plan to demand integrating that spending into the regular Federal budget, the New York Times reported Dec. 14. Not only was this proposed by the Iraq Study Group report, which stated that the "costs of the war in Iraq should be included in the President's annual budget request," but two early measures passed by the Congress point in the same direction. A provision added to a defense policy measure, signed into law by Bush in October, directed him to include in his budget a request for appropriations for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, an estimate of all money expected to be required for the year, and a detailed justification of the request. In June, the Senate also approved a proposal by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) to spell out the expected war costs in his annual spending plan.
Lyndon LaRouche said that the House of Representatives can insist on these measures, and that if included in the Federal budget, this would show that the war is a major cause of the budget deficit. If Bush refuses, then the fight will commence between the Congress and the President.
Carter Attacks One-Sided Slant of Israel Discussion
Former President Jimmy Carter points out, in a Dec. 8 Los Angeles Times commentary, "Speaking Frankly about Israel and Palestine," that, "The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nationsbut not in the United States," where there is a "severe restraint on any free and balanced discussion of the facts," because of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)'s lobbying and the absence of significant contrary voices. "It would be almost politically suicidal," he continued, "for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defense of justice or human rights for Palestinians.... What is even more difficult to comprehend is why the editorial pages of the major newspapers and magazines in the United States exercise similar self-restraint, quite contrary to private assessments expressed quite forcefully by their correspondents in the Holy Land."
Carter discussed the criticisms of his just-released book Palestine: Peace or Apartheid in the media, by members of Congress, and others, stating, "Out in the real world, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive," and goes on to describe the responses at public book-signings at book stores. He also notes, "I have been most encouraged by prominent Jewish citizens and members of Congress who have thanked me privately for presenting the facts and some new ideas" (see Southwest Asia digest for Lyndon LaRouche's response to President Carter's book).
Meanwhile, the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) ran ads last week criticizing Carter in leading newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The text in the Dec. 11 Times is headlined, "There's Only One Honest Thing About President Carter's New Book. The Criticism," and quotes denunciations of the book by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), and the former director of the Carter Center. The ad says that Carter ignores Israel's offer of a Palestinian state at the 2000 Camp David Summit, the election of Hamas, and that he "blames the Middle East crisis on myths like Jewish control of the government and media."
In a Times article on the ad campaign, ADL National Director Abe Foxman is quoted saying that, "The reason he gives for why he wrote this book is this shameless, shameful canard that the Jews control the debate in this country, especially when it comes to the media. What makes this serious is that he's not just another pundit and he's not just another analyst. He is a former President of the United States."
Lyndon LaRouche remarked, that Abe Foxman can never get anything right unless it's really Right.
Leahy Promises To Restore Constitutional Balance
In a speech outlining his agenda for the next Congress, the incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), promised "to repair real damage done to our system of government over the past few years."
"The White House has behaved as if the Constitution begins with Article II," Leahy said, addressing a large audience at the Georgetown University Law Center. "And they've taken their extreme ideology of a 'unitary executive' to strip both Congress and our independent federal judiciary of their rightful roles. For this country to succeed, the constitutional balance has to be restored."
Leahy said that his new agenda for the Judiciary Committee is "an agenda of restoration, repair and renewal: restoration of constitutional values as well as the rights of ordinary Americans; repair of a broken oversight process and the return of accountability; and also, and just as important, a renewal of the public's right to knowthe right of every American to know what their government is doing."
Leahy said that examining the Administration's use of data-mining to create massive and secret databanks and dossiers on private citizens will be one of his highest priorities. He said he intends to call Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a witness "quite soon," and said he will seek subpoenas for Administration officials if necessary.
Other priorities outlined by Leahy for oversight and legislation are:
* war profiteering;
* warrantless wiretapping in violation of the law;
* restoring habeas corpus and other fundamental rights stripped away by the Military Commissions Act;
* patent reform, to make life-saving medicines available and affordable around the world.
Lynne Cheney's Foundation Funds John Train History Project
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has granted $725,000 to the Northcote Parkinson Fund to produce a two-hour film for television entitled, Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton.
John Train, the financier who conducted the "Get LaRouche" meetings in 1983-84, is chairman of the Northcote Parkinson Fund, which got the NEH grant in June 2006. The NEH is still led de facto by Lynne Cheney, through the current NEH leaders who were in her personal entourage when she chaired the NEH in 1986-1993.
The film, production of which is sponsored by the Train organization, is the joint project of Michael Pack and Richard Brookhiser. Pack has received the bulk of the Train organization's funds over the years, sharing that largesse with his sometime documentary-filmmaking partner, former LaRouche associate Kenneth Mandel. Richard Brookhiser is Senior Editor at William F. Buckley's National Review magazine.
Brookhiser and Pack previously collaborated on the documentary, Rediscovering George Washington. Brookhiser is the curator of the notorious neo-con exhibit on Alexander Hamilton running at the New York Historical Society; Hamilton is portrayed there as the founder of the current system of financier-oligarchy economics.
That New York project overlaps with a similar outrage, the intended Alexander Hamilton Center at Hamilton College in Utica, New York, which was heavily promoted by David Horowitz and the rest of the Lynne Cheney campus gestapo apparatus. Hamilton College recently wisely decided to abort that project, since it was to be run by "outside" interests.
Democrats Announce Long-Term Continuing Resolution
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WVa) and Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc) announced on Dec. 11 that they will propose a continuing resolution to fund all Federal government operations through Sept. 30, 2007the end of the 2007 Fiscal Yearinstead of only through February, as passed by the Congress before it recessed.
The outgoing 109th Congress has only passed two of the 11 annual appropriations bills, those funding the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Meanwhile, Bush's Fiscal Year 2008 budget proposal and the 2007 Supplemental Defense Budget for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will arrive in Congress at the beginning of February. Therefore, to be ready to act on both, and prepare their own proposals, the Democratic leadership decided to "turn the page" by seeking a long-term continuing budget resolution. Byrd and Obey stated: "The outgoing Republican leadership's failure to govern has denied the new Congress the opportunity to start with a fresh slate.... There is no good way out of the fiscal chaos left behind by the outgoing Congress.... After discussions with our colleagues, we have decided to dispose of the Republican budget leftovers by passing a year-long joint resolution. We will do our best to make whatever limited adjustments are possible within the confines of the Republican budget to address the nation's most important policy concerns."
Unlike the three Continuing Budget Resolutions passed since Sept. 30, this one will not mandate using the lowest level of funding passed by the House, the Senate, or the current budget. However, the adjustments that can be made are limited. All "earmarks" for specific projects in Members' home districts will be frozen.
Kucinich, Paul Hold Briefing on Iraq Civilian Death Toll
On Dec. 11, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) co-sponsored a Congressional oversight briefing, "The Impact of 650,000 Excess Deaths in Iraq: An Overview of The Lancet Mortality Study in Iraq." Speakers included Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and two physicians from the team that prepared the study that appeared in Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal. The most startling comment from the two doctors, was that the vast majority of non-combatant deaths were due to violence, not to disease, lack of food, dirty water, etc.
Both Dr. Paul (a physician) and Rep. Kucinich (who recently announced his intention to run for President in 2008), in their opening statements, stressed the unimaginable level of pain and suffering among the non-combatant population in Iraq, with Kucinich pointing out that, as painful as is the U.S. death toll of close to 3,000 soldiers, the Lancet study numbers indicate that for every U.S. service member killed, 200 Iraqi citizens have been killed, and that if such violence were inflicted on the U.S. population at the same rate, we would have lost 7.8 million Americans. Rep. Paul underscoredas a medical doctor, having spent a good part of his professional life trying to reduce pain and sufferingwith the numbers of 650,000 non-combatant deaths in Iraq, together with nearly 3,000 American soldiers killed, and some 100,000 U.S. soldiers permanently disabled, how important it is for the Congress to look at this unintended (in his view) consequence of this war, not least in the hope that in the future Congress will take its constitutional responsibilities regarding war and the declaration of war more seriously.
Kucinich said that since the President does not understand the necessity of getting out of Iraq, that the Congress must do the one thing the Constitution provides for, which is to cut off future war funds, and demand that the President use the current funds in the pipeline from the Oct. 1 appropriations, to bring the troops home. He concluded the briefing by quoting from Franklin D. Roosevelt, regarding our foreign policy, that the science of human relations involves being more than we are and doing better than we do.