United States News Digest
Democrats Waste Their Time Instead of Impeaching Cheney
July 20 (EIRNS)"If the Senate Democrats are not going to impeach Cheney, they are wasting their time," Lyndon LaRouche commented on July 17, on the U.S. Senate's upcoming debate on the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill. Within hours of LaRouche's remark, the Senate opened debate on the Democrats' attempt to break a GOP filibuster on an amendment, sponsored by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), that would require the Bush Administration to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment. The all-night session failed however: The 52-47 cloture vote, the next day, fell well short of the 60 votes needed to close debate on the amendment, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled the bill from the floor.
"All that keeps the U.S. war in Iraq going, is the lack of political courage needed among political leaders to stop the process of sending our troops to more needless, and utterly useless dying," LaRouche noted on the eve of the debate. The roadblock is, of course, Vice President Dick Cheney, who has been riding herd on Senate Republicans to ensure that they support the White House position.
Reid's failure is even more stark when considered against the growing sentiment among Republicans that the Bush Administration policy on Iraq must be changed. At least seven Senate Republicans have called for a change in course, and four voted for cloture on the Levin-Reed amendment. That group includes Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and John Warner (R-Va.), ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, respectively. Lugar and Warner, two of the most respected figures in the Senate on national security issues, introduced an amendment on July 13, that would require the Defense Department to begin planning activities in advance of a change in mission in Iraq. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), according to a July 19 story in the London Daily Telegraph, warned White House advisor Karl Rove that President Bush must change course on Iraq, or face a mutiny. Voinovich also said that there are other Republicans who are close to speaking out against the President's current strategy. "I have every reason to believe that the fur is going to fly, perhaps sooner than what they wanted," he said.
More Dirty Doings of Dick Cheney
July 18 (EIRNS)The longer Dick Cheney remains in the White House, the more grounds for impeachment emerge.
* After six years of stalling and subterfuge by Cheney, a former White House official (apparently disgruntled), gave the Washington Post access to the list of lobbyists who "advised" Cheney, during the closed-door meetings of his energy task force six years ago. While the list contains no surprises (oil and gas multis, Enron, power pirates, etc.), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) noted that the energy task force was an early indicator of "how secretively Vice President Cheney wanted to act." In fact, Congress' challenge for the documents went to the Supreme Court, which backed up Cheney's "I am the law" argument.
* Separately, a two-month investigation by journalist Jason Leopold, published July 19 by truthout.org, adds even more damning evidence to Dick Cheney's role in the 2000-2001 energy crisis that led to rolling blackouts in California; nearly bankrupted that state, costing it over $30 billion; and did bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric, the state's largest utility company. As EIR documented at the time, the "crisis" was entirely manufactured by Cheney-allied energy pirates, who shut down power plants for no other reason, than to drive up the price of electric power, stealing billions from California citizens and businesses.
* The Washington Post reports July 18 that Waxman has documents showing that the White House arranged for Office of National Drug Control Policy officials, using taxpayer funds, to make appearances and announce new Federal grants in districts of GOP lawmakers who were up for election in 2006. A memo from former White House political director Sara Taylor is cited, revealing that John P. Walters, the director of the office, and his deputies, traveled to about 20 campaign events in the three months leading up to the election, and that Karl Rove was involved. A 1994 law prohibits the Drug Policy office from involving itself in any political activity, even on staff members' own time. Waxman has asked Taylor for a voluntary deposition on July 24.
London Threatens Dems on Taxing Hedge Funds
July 18 (EIRNS)The London Times today tried to stampede the Democratic Presidential pre-candidates into abandoning their support for tax increases on hedge funds and private equity firmsby lying that, in the first half of 2007, "the staff of the biggest buyout firms, who traditionally have donated far more to the Democrats, funnelled 53% of their contributions ... to Republican candidates."
The Times' Tom Bawden was handed the difficult job of finding any data to substantiate that claim. In the first place, the 53% of the less-than-$500,000 sum for the first half of 2007 that Bawden says is now going to Republicans, is a tiny fraction of the millions contributed so far as bundled contributions by the 1,330 private equity firms that private equity websites estimate exist, or the 37,000+ private funds operated by the portion of hedge funds cited by the same websites. Bawden's $493,000 total for the first half of 2007 is based on the contributions of a mere 11 private equity firms, which formed a so-called "Private Equity Council" only a few months ago! This is the same Private Equity Council leading the campaign against making fund managers pay their taxes.
Secondly, the private equity industry, which is estimated to control some $700 billion, only began to contribute to candidates when the Congress began to discuss forcing these firms, and the almost indistinguishable hedge funds who work with them, to register and pay taxes like everybody else, during the 2005-2006 Congressional campaign cycle.
In the past week, the three front-running Democratic candidatesHillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwardshave all endorsed the Baucus-Grassley bill to tax the profits of hedge fund principals at the same 35% rate that others similarly situated pay.
Most of the hedge funds and private equity firms are based on British territory, such as the Cayman Islands. So, it fell to the Times today to string together some data to scare the Democrats away from bringing the "financial locusts" under control.
GOP Demands Censure of Ellison for 'Reichstag Fire' Remark
July 18 (EIRNS)Republican Congressmen Zach Wamp (Tenn.) and Eric Cantor (Va.) issued a letter today to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanding that she "swiftly and immediately reprimand Congressman Keith Ellison" for "drawing a comparison between President Bush and Adolf Hitler." Their letter demands the reprimand based on this supposed "flagrant and irresponsible comparison."
In fact, as reported July 9 by EIRNS, based on an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a video of the speaking event, Ellison (D-Minn.) is the first member of Congress to have the courage to compare the 9/11 attacks to the Reichstag fire in Berlin in 1933. His actual comments were: The Sept. 11 event "kind of reminds me" of the 1933 Reichstag fire. The fire "put the leader of that country in a position where he could basically have the authority to do whatever he wanted."
Cantor and Wamp state, "Even if Rep. Ellison now asserts that he was not implying that 9/11 was orchestrated by the administration, the comparison between Hitler and the president of the U.S. is disgraceful."
Cantor, a neo-conservative in the leadership of the Republican Party and Republican Study Group, is known both for his recent efforts in defense of hedge funds and private equity funds, and for organizing a coalition to counter the attempts being made in the House and Senate to close the tax loopholes for equity fund executives. He was also the leading defender of Tom DeLay, directly attacking the LaRouche Youth Movement in their successful efforts to defeat the Texas Congressman.
Utah Dems Capitulate to Rohatyn/Pelosi on Impeachment
July 16 (EIRNS)The leadership at the Utah Democratic convention failed even to introduce the Progressive Caucus's Cheney impeachment resolution on July 14, despite overwhelming support for such a measure from the convention attendees. LaRouche PAC supporters on the scene, who were the principal drivers of the resolution, reported that they found near-unanimous support for it in both the labor and black caucuses. The resolution was passed unanimously earlier by the Progressive Caucus.
When Wayne Holland, the chairman of the Utah State Democratic Party, was confronted by a LaRouche PAC activist after the convention closed, he asked, what kind of President would we get if Cheney were impeached? He said he did not want to take this chance, and thought that this would cause a defeat for the Democrats. He also mentioned a poll that said 75% of Democrats say that we should "let the past go, and look forward to the future." When told that there may not be time for impeachment, and that Cheney should be forced to resign, Holland replied that the Utah Dems don't want Cheney to resign, because "we want to beat him in the next election."