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Congresswoman Holmes Norton
Spills the Beans

March 27, 2001 (EIRNS)--In an informal meeting held with constituents on Thursday, March 22, D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton revealed that Oklahoma Republican Rep. Ernest Istook, Jr., of the House Committee on Appropriations, had threatened to jail Mayor Anthony Williams, as well as members of the Washington, D.C. City Council, for keeping D.C. General Hospital, the District's only public hospital, open through a set of operating loans.

Istook allegedly made the threat in the summer of 2000, while he was chairman of the D.C. subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, which has power over the D.C. budget.

Confederate-thinking elements in the Congress, had sought to force the closing of the hospital by allocating only a $40-million subsidy to it, when it was known that the hospital's operating expenses well exceeded $75 million. Further, it was known, that one of the major factors in deficits run at the hospital, was the tardiness in reimbursement of D.C. General by the U.S. government for tens of millions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid payments due for services rendered!

Employing the financial accounting methods of Hitler's Economics Minister Hjalmar Schacht, Istook follows in the footsteps of Newt Gingrich, cutting the "financial consumption level" of the hospital, much the same way that the Nazis cut the food consumption levels of the victims of the concentration camps to starvation levels. His stated plan: If elected officials, or even the Congressionally-appointed Control Board, still attempt to keep the hospital services open in the District, use direct police-state methods and indict them. In this way the Gingrich theory of "Conservative Revolution" is to be combined with the Himmler-like "resettlement method" of handling the District's African-American population, known in D.C. as "Negro Removal." If the hospital leaves, the people will leave as well, or die.

Triumph of the Will?

In the official record of Congressional deliberations on the hospital, from July 25, 2000, ominously entitled "Political Will and Fiscal Will," Rep. Istook chastises the City Council, the Financial Control Board, and the Public Benefit Corporation, which runs the D.C. hospital system, for using "a facade of 'loaning' money to the PBC.... The greater threat to public health in the District is not the potential closing of D.C. General Hospital, but in letting it continue to siphon off precious health-care dollars...."

The Committee's majority report continues: "Just as bad as the financial failure is the failure of political will to address this problem. The Committee is disappointed that officials have preferred to procrastinate and spend, rather than risk the unhappiness of the political constituencies involved in PBC and D.C. General Hospital." "Political constituencies" is a Confederate euphemism for the African-American electorate and inhabitants of Washington, D.C.

According to Delegate Norton, in that same July, Istook met with Mayor Williams and members of the Council, and told them that they had committed felonies by extending the funds to keep the hospital open, that he would seek jail for them, if they did not rectify the situation, and that if the law allowed "some loophole"--that is, if, in fact, the D.C. government had the right to make such an arrangement, he would make sure the loophole were closed, and that the elected officials were thrown in jail.

In effect, Rep. Istook was speaking for the Gingrichite, outright fascist view, that the defense of the general welfare of the population would be subjected to police-state measures of repression.

In her discussion with constituents, Norton confirmed this outlook by the Stone Age Republicans. She stated that the intent of Istook was to write the closing of D.C. General into the year 2001 Appropriations bill as a precondition for any release of funds to the District. The following is a paraphrase of Holmes Norton's account of a meeting, which also included Alice Rivlin, head of the D.C. Control Board:

"I came to the meeting for one reason only, and that was to keep him [Istook] from writing into the Appropriations bill that D.C. General Hospital had to be closed for the District to see a penny of their budget. That's what he was going to do and I stopped him. It was the only reason I got involved. Williams wasn't going to do sh--. That's the only reason why. Ask anyone here. If it is a D.C. bill, Eleanor doesn't intervene. It has been my policy for 10 years to leave it to the Mayor. It was all my doing. I got him to agree to let them overspend the budget. What I had to do was negotiate more money, so I could keep Tony Williams out of jail. I said, 'Let them take the money out of the reserve fund.' I was able to get $90 million, so that they wouldn't be in violation anymore, but I told Williams that next time, he was going to have to deal with it, because it was a matter of home rule. I don't know the issues. There has to be a plan. The Control Board has deferred to the Mayor and the Council, and they have to come up with a plan on how they are going to close this damn place down. But it would have been closed, and Tony Williams' ass would be in jail if it wasn't for me."

What Delegate Holmes Norton's statements underscore, is that Mayor Williams and the Control Board officials have been acting under threat from the fascist Control Board, and that responsibility for the threatened closure of D.C. General, with its attendant genocidal consequences, lies squarely in the Congress.

In the now-famous town meeting held at Union Temple Baptist Church by Mayor Williams on Feb. 28, in which the Mayor attempted to sell his plan to shut the hospital, LaRouche representative Lynne Speed, who did not know the above story, confronted the Mayor with the following policy-option. "You, the City Council, and the Control Board, were chastised by Rep. Istook of the Appropriations Committee last July for continued financing of D.C. General Hospital. That Committee acted to force on you a policy that would directly result in the deaths of citizens of the District. That is well known. Such a policy, willfully adopted, is no different than the policies of the Nazi government from 1933-1945. If you are interested in the well-being of the people, as you say you are, then will you lead them to the Congress to demand that this hospital not be shut down, and that the principle of the general welfare be upheld, instead of that of Nazi shareholder values?" Williams replied, "I appreciate the passion of your statement, but we must be careful as to how we use the term 'Nazi.' "

Given the revelation by Delegate Holmes Norton of the "done deal" to shut D.C. General, no matter what its predominantly African-American population thinks, it is now clear why he answered that question, in that way. It is also clear that citizens concerned to stop the shutdown of D.C. General Hospital, now about to be privatized into the care of a corporation beset by charges of racketeering nationally, have to direct their opposition to the center of decision-making, the Congressional Committee on Appropriations. This term, the committee is headed by Rep. Bill Young, Republican of Florida; the D.C. Subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Joe Knollenberg, Republican of Michigan.

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