United States News Digest
Democrats Capitulate to Bush on the Budget
Dec. 14 (EIRNS)The singular achievement of Congressional Democrats next week, assuming they even manage to do it, will be the completion of a deal on the fiscal 2008 budget which now looks like it will be a total capitulation to the Bush Administration. Democrats are blaming Senate Republicans for blocking every bill that the House sends over to the Senate, but they are also faulting each other for their failure to pass any meaningful legislation. According to yesterday's Washington Post, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) accused Senate Democratic leaders of developing a "Stockholm syndrome," i.e., showing sympathy to their Republican "captors" by caving in on everything from middle-class tax cuts and tax increases for the super-rich, to tying Iraq War funding to troop withdrawal timelines, to mandating renewal energy quotas. For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has complained about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's "iron hand" style of running the House.
The budget deal that Pelosi hinted at yesterday, gives up the extra $22 billion in domestic spending that the Democrats had wanted to include in an omnibus package, wrapping up the remaining 11 appropriations bills as well as any strings attached to the Iraq War funding. The amount of the Iraq War funding has not yet been worked out, though President Bush said, this morning, he would accept a "down payment." Pelosi said she hoped that a bill would be worked out over the weekend by Dec. 18. Bush also offered his solution to the budget crisis: Congress should pass a continuing resolution to cover the rest of the fiscal year, if it can't pass a budget deal by the time of the holiday break.
Bloomberg May Make $1 Billion Bid for the Presidency
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)In an article entitled "Where Bloomberg Fits in Election; Opportunity for run could evolve based on how primaries play out," the Wall Street Journal today confirmed Lyndon LaRouche's earlier assessment that by accelerating the primary election schedule, the Democratic and Republican party leaderships and the Presidential candidates have opened the door to an independent candidacy on the part of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R).
The Journal reports: "Those close to Mr. Bloomberg said the 65-year-old billionaire is considering a White House bid, despite his repeated denials. Moreover, friends and advisers said, developments make a candidacy more conceivable."
While spinning out various scenarios which would make a candidacy more likely, the article says that "friends and advisers said Mr. Bloomberg hasn't ruled out a run against any of the leading candidates, and such a bid would be more likely if the primaries leave the nominees bloodied and voters looking for other options."
The Journal quotes Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg's chief political strategist, who ran both of Bloomberg's mayoral campaigns, saying that if Bloomberg runs, it will be a "billion-dollar campaign."
Rove, Bolten To Receive Congressional Contempt Citations
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted for contempt citations for former Presidential advisor Karl Rove and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, the latest move in the ongoing inquiry into the possibly politically motivated firings of Federal prosecutors. The citations, which were approved by a 12-7 vote, will now go to the floor of the House and Senate for further action.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto's response to the news of the contempt citations was, "They should be fully aware of the futility of pressing ahead on this."
New Jersey Becomes First State To Abolish Death Penalty
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)With a vote today in the state Assembly, New Jersey has become the first state in the U.S. to abolish the death penalty, since it was reinstated in 1976. Members of the lower house voted 44-36 to replace the death sentence with life in prison without parole. The state Senate approved the bill Dec. 10, and Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat, has said he will sign it within a week.
A special state commission found in January that the death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison, hasn't deterred murder, and risks killing an innocent person.
Lyndon LaRouche has long argued that the death penalty is nothing more than "human sacrifice," which undermines respect for life.
Colorado Video-Game Killer Copied Earlier Shooters
Dec. 13(EIRNS)This past week, two young shooters, "computer junkies," as described by one newspaper, trained on video games, killed 13 people and wounded many others, in two separate incidents. Before the shootings, both posted computer messages quoting from the Columbine High School killers, with one also threatening to surpass the 32 people killed last April at Virginia Tech. The shootings both ended when the shooters committed suicide.
On Dec. 8, Matthew Murray went to a religious meeting in Colorado and killed two people. After the shooting, and having evaded police, he went home and posted on his computer, quotes from Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, writing, "He is coming for everyone" and "will shoot to kill." The next day he shot and killed three more people at a church service, before committing suicide.
Murray was "inspired" by the shootings in Omaha, Neb., last week, by computer gamer Robert Hawkins. Murray wrote on his computer, the day after news of Hawkins' rampage, that it "sounds like one of the Nobodies became a Somebody." Nineteen-year-old Hawkins, in turn, had been "inspired" by Virginia Tech mass murderer Seung Hui Cho. An hour and a half before his rampage at a crowded Omaha mall, where he killed eight people, Hawkins wrote on his computer that he was going "to try to beat Cho's high score," before also committing suicide. Hawkins' friends wrote messages on MySpace threatening to kill a girl who had disparaged Hawkins.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (ret.), author of books exposing video games, commented yesterday on the multiple murder/suicides, that they were the result of thousands of hours of playing video-game "murder simulators." The shooters only committed suicide when they were confronted, and realized that their "game is over" (see this week's InDepth for "Mass Murder by Internet!: Games Pose New Issue of Law," by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.; and "Ban Killer Video Games and Internet Violence!," by Helga Zepp-LaRouche.