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The Progressive Populist(2/8)

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George Greene

Nov 1, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/1/95


Austin, Texas--
One year ago, riding the anti-incumbent wave with support from gun-rights
activists and fundamentalist Christians, Steve Stockman unseated veteran
Democratic U.S. Rep. Jack Brooks of Beaumont.
It was one of the biggest upsets of a volatile election and
national Democrats have placed a big target on Stockman's back going into
the next election cycle. But the election of Stockman and other Republicans
to local and state offices in Jefferson County, of which Beaumont is the
seat, has shaken the confidence of Democrats in what formerly was a union
bulwark in Southeast Texas.
Labor unions formed the backbone of a Democratic majority when his
area was known as the Golden Triangle, but they have lost more than
one-half their members during a decade-long reduction in industrial jobs in
the region.
Anthony Guillory, the president of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic
Workers union local for the Mobil Oil plant in Beaumont, said that while
Stockman effectively marshaled the fundamentalists and the gun-rights
advocates in 1994, Brooks lost in part because, after 42 years in Congress,
some Democrats believed they did not have to turn out to re-elect the only
congressman many of them had ever known. Now, he said, the Republicans are
prepared to ante up to keep the seat. And many of Guillory's fellow workers
are swayed by Republican-inspired resentment against blacks and welfare
"I don't like it because it reminds me of the 1950s," Guillory said
of the rhetoric and the resentment of white men over the limited gains of
women and minorities. "The Democrats have made the white males of America
mad because they say, 'We want diversity.' Well, I don't see where the
white male numbers have gone down [in relation to minority workers], but
I'm old enough to remember total segregation," he said. "But I guess the
Democrats will have to quit talking about diversity."

Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to regain control of the House.
The main target of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are the
73 Republican freshmen elected in 1994. Many of them won by narrow margins
in traditionally Democratic districts and nearly all have voted in lockstep
with Gingrich. Polls increasingly show dissatisfaction with the extremism
of the Republican Congressional leaders, which encourage Democratic
But Democrats also have to defend challenges that are expected by
Republicans in marginal Democratic districts. In 1994, 22 Democrats and 21
Republicans won House seats by margins of between 5 percent and 10 percent,
while 22 Democrats and 20 Republicans won by 5 percent or less. About one
in four congressional seats in the country are thought to be "in play" this
cycle, with half on the Republican side and half on the Democratic side.
Democrats also are the largest minority in 40 years and they point
out that the last time the nation had a Democratic President and a
Republican Congress was 1947-48. In the 1948 election, Truman, who had been
virtually written off throughout the campaign, was re-elected and Democrats
picked up nine Senate seats and 75 House seats, regaining control of both
Tricia Primrose of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
reports that recruiting is going well, with more than 400 candidates
interested in running for Congress and strong challengers recruited in 30
of the top 35 Republican targets; despite Republican threats toward
lobbyists who contribute to Democratic candidates, fund-raising, at $5.12
million, is ahead of the pace of the last two election cycles, with 50,000
more individual donors on file; and incumbent Democrats are sticking around
in greater numbers than some had predicted.
Democrats see some opportunities in the Upper Midwest: Iowa has
four Democrat-leaning districts, all of which voted for Clinton and Dukakis
in 1992 and 1988, and all of which are represented by Republicans. They
include the 1st, which elected moderate Republican Jim Leach of Davenport
with 60 percent of the vote in 1994; the 2nd in northeast Iowa, which Jim
Nussle won with 56 percent; the 3rd District in southern Iowa, which Jim
Ross Lightfoot won with 58 percent; and the 4th, in south central Iowa,
which Greg Ganske won with 53 percent. The Republican-leaning 5th District
in northwest Iowa (which still voted 51 percent for Dukakis in 1988)
elected Tom Latham with 61 percent of the vote, but as the Contract starts
to bite, he, too, could become vulnerable.
Illinois Democrats believe they can take out Michael Flanagan, who
beat the politically crippled Dan Rostenkowski in an otherwise strongly
Democratic north Chicago district in 1994. Another potentially vulnerable
freshman Republican is Jerry Weller in the south Chicago suburbs.
Vulnerable Wisconsin congressional Republicans include Neumann in
the 1st District and Scott Klug in the 2nd, as well as the open 3rd, which
leans Democratic.
Democrats are not giving up on the South. Among the vulnerable
seats are Stockman in Texas, Edward Whitfield in Kentucky, Tom Coburn in
Oklahoma, Van Hilleary in Tennessee and Jay Dickey in Arkansas. In
Kentucky, in mid-March almost as many adults said they felt a closer
affinity to the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. By mid-May, the
Bluegrass State Poll showed Democrats with an 11-point advantage, 47-36.
Mark McKinnon, an Austin political consultant who is withdrawing
from election campaigns, believes progressive Democratic challengers will
have plenty of opportunities next year.
"The political landscape nowadays shifts more quickly than it ever
has before and there are major issues coming down the pike that could turn
things around by next year," he said. "The poll numbers are changing
dramatically on how people perceive the Republicans in Congress and the
outlook is going to look much better for Democrats next year, when the
Republicans will be in the position of having to defend some of the rather
extreme legislation they have been passing.... I think progressives should
relax, sit back and wait for the time to strike."
McKinnon's colleague is Paul Begala, who worked on Bill Clinton's
election campaign and later worked for the President before moving back to
Austin earlier this year. Begala also believes the Republicans are setting
themselves up for a big fall.
"The Republicans over-read the results of the last election,"
Begala said. "You did have a massive partisan shift in '94, but was it a
shift in ideology? No, it was a sense that government was not working for
people and that their wages were stuck and the government was not doing
anything about that.
"But as a friend who was originally from Muleshoe (Texas) said,
'Everybody voted to balance the budget but nobody voted to beat up on
little girls and steal their lunch money. ... The Republicans got a mandate
to fight waste, fraud and abuse, not to kick grandma out of the old folks'
home. And they certainly did not vote to raise congressional pay and
pensions and perks," but one of new House Speaker Newt Gingrich's first
acts was to double his office budget.

(Congress Cont'd in Part 2)Taking Back Congress (cont'd from Part 1)

"Voters want government to do more but they want less government.
They don't hate and loathe government. Their wages have been stuck for 20
years and at least they can take a little pressure off by voting for
somebody who will promise to reduce their taxes." But voters still want
good, free public education, student loans, job training and retraining and
other programs that help working people get ahead.
Begala noted that Gingrich's negative rating in recent polls are
worse than Richard Nixon's negatives when he was forced to resign the
Presidency for his role in the Watergate scandal. Gingrich is less popular
than Jesse Jackson and Ross Perot (although still better than Louis
Farrakhan), while Clinton's "positives" recently have broken into the 50s
and 60s in some areas.
Many congressional Democrats still are wary of embracing the
President, but Begala said they are making a mistake.
"The Democrats ought to be rallying around the President and
they're not. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and a vicious circle. If
you want people to quit trashing him, you ought to stand up and fight for
him," he said, even if they do not agree with him on all positions.
"Nobody's 100 percent," Begala said.
Even the improvement in poll numbers for the Democrats is mixed. In
a nationwide Harris Poll conducted between Sept. 28 and Oct. 1, President
Clinton's job rating, at 47 percent positive, was up from 43 percent a
month earlier. Clinton's rating was higher than Senate Majority Leader Bob
Dole's 38 percent positive and significantly better than House Speaker Newt
Gingrich's 31 percent positive and 62 percent negative.
Compared with other polls since last November's elections that
showed Democrats significantly-sometimes substantially-more unpopular than
the Republicans, the recent Harris Poll found that the percentage of adults
who are positive toward the Democrats has increased to 35 percent, pulling
approximately even with the GOP.
Carl Parker, a longtime liberal Democratic state senator from Port
Arthur, Texas, also was unseated in the turnout that beat Brooks. Parker
said one of the reasons Democrats are doing better is because people found
out that Republicans considered Medicare to be wasteful government
spending, but he said progressive Democrats need to unite and stop paying
lip service to "Democrats of convenience."
"We need to test every Democrat's credentials before we vote for
them, whether it's for school board, city council or county commissioner,"
he said, rejecting the dodge that local offices should be non-partisan. "If
you believe the Republicans don't use those local offices for partisan
political purposes, I've got some marshland in Jefferson County that I'd
like to sell you," he said.

On the other end of the 9th Congressional District, in Texas City,
on Galveston Bay, local union leader Orbie Harris said he will work to
unseat Stockman, although he questions whether putting a Democrat back in
will make a difference. "I can't see a whit of difference between the
Democrats and the Republicans. Both are parties of property, both are
controlled by corporate America and both are on the take," said Harris,
workers' representative at the Iron Workers union.
"Obviously, I'm going to do what I can to take back the 9th
Congressional District. But I wouldn't be bragging too much about the
Democrats being in power 40 years. What did it get us? Those who say
they're Democrats, I'm not sure if they even know what the word means.
"What I'm seeing in my union right now is total apathy. Every two
or four years we get a slate card from the AFL-CIO, and frankly some of my
members say, 'Isn't this really the evil of two lessers?' When you really
boil 'em down and render them away, is there any difference?"
He noted that President George Bush couldn't pass the North
American Free Trade Agreement it had negotiated-but the Democratic
administration embraced it and passed it.
"All the top Democrats-state and national-are predicated by their
ability to raise money. It doesn't matter what he or she stands for-it's
how much he or she can raise. Naturally, the first place they go is to the
bosses ..."
Harris cited Bill Greider's book, Who Will Tell the People, which
declared that both the Democrats and the Republicans are parties of
property, and working people recognize that.
"When Bill Clinton says 'let's take a balanced look,' I think
that's a key phrase," Harris said.
Harris believes the long-term answer is a labor party. "If labor,
women and minorities don't get together and start aggressively organizing a
labor party, we're lost."
Labor Party Advocates, an independent organization supported by
several international unions, including OCAW, the electronic workers, the
Longshoremen and Warehousemen and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way
Employees, as well as some West Coast building trades unions, will hold its
organizing convention June 6-9 in Cleveland. It is concentrating on
organizing a mass base that will define an agenda.
"We have to start aggressively organizing a grassroots labor party
that embraces populist progressive groups," Harris said. We need a small
platform that our Labor party would embrace: There should be more
redistribution of wealth and hard environmental laws. We need child care -
if a mother is forced to work, we should help pay for child care. It has to
be a community effort. All successful political movements have started from
the bottom up. Nothing that's come from the top down has ever been good for
workers. We have to educate from the ground up.
"We may not be able to field candidates, but we could educate
potential candidates. I think we ought to get a platform and cultivate
candidates and run them locally for school boards, city councils and county
commissioners. If a candidate doesn't go along with the program, simply
change candidates."
In the meantime, Harris said many working people are gravitating
toward the Republican Party, attracted by the participation of
fundamentalist Christians, opposition to gun control and the race baiting
and welfare bashing. "I see a separation of races and classes; we could
very well evolve into a class warfare structure," he said. "Frankly,
everyone feels disenfranchised with the hate and the horrible cuts they are
talking about."
The only answer, he said, is to organize and educate the
-- Jim Cullen, Editor, The Progressive Populist

(Numbers in parenthesis indicate the percentage vote in the district or
state for C=Clinton, B=Bush, P=Perot.)

Retiring House members:

Ray Thornton, Ark., (C55, B36 P8)
Pete Peterson, Fla., (C42, B38 P19)
Jim Chapman, Texas, Senate bid, (C39 B 38 P 23)
Sonny Montgomery, Miss., (B 58, C 34 P 8)
Harry Johnston, Fla., (C 54 B 30 P 16)
Mel Reynolds, Ill., forced out, (C 80, B 13, P 7)
Norman Mineta, Calif., quit (C 46, B 30, P 23)
Richard Durbin, Ill., Senate bid, (C 46, B 34, P 20).
Glen Browder, Ala., Senate bid, (B 47, C 41, P 11)
Tim Johnson, S.D., Senate bid. (B 41, C 37, P 22)
Jack Reed, R.I., Senate bid, (C 46, B 30, P 23).

Steve Gunderson, Minn., (C 43, B 33, P 24)
Mel Hancock, Mo., (B 45, C 36, P 18)
Carlos Moorhead, Calif., (C 44, B 36 P 19)
Dick Zimmer, N.J., Senate bid, (B 43, C 40 P 17)
Wayne Allard, Colo., Senate bid, (B 38 C 37 P 25)


Open Seats:
Paul Simon, Ill., (C 49, B 34 P 17)
Bennett Johnston, La., (C 46 B 41 P 12)
Jim Exon, Neb., (B 47, C 29, P 24)
Howell Heflin, Ala., (B 48, C 41, P 11)
David Pryor, Ark., (C 53, B 35, P 10)
Bill Bradley, N.J., (C 43, B 41 P 16)
Claiborne Pell, R.I., (C 47 B 29 P 23)
Sam Nunn, Ga., (C 43 B 43 P 13)

Incumbents up:
Max Baucus, Mont., (C 38, B 35, P26)
Joe Biden, Del., (C44, B35, P 20)
Tom Harkin, Iowa, (C 43, B 37, P 19)
John Kerry, Mass., (C48, B 29, P 22)
Carl Levin, Mich. (C 44, B 36, P 19)
Jay Rockefeller, W.V. (C 48, B 35, P 16)
Paul Wellstone, Minn. (C 44, B 32, P 24)

Open Seats:
Hank Brown, Colo, retiring, (C 40 B 36 P 23)
Bob Packwood, Ore., forced from office, (C43 B 33 P 24)

Incumbents Up:
Thad Cochran, Miss., (B50, C 41, P 9
Bill Cohen, Maine, (C39, B30, P30)
Larry Craig, Idaho (B42, C28, P27)
Pete Domenici, N.M. (C46, B37, P16)
Phil Gramm, Texas, (B41, C37, P22)
Mark Hatfield, Ore., C43, B33, P24)
Jesse Helms, N.C., (B43, C43, P14)
Jim Inhofe, Okla., (B43, C34, P23)
Nancy Kassebaum, Kan., (B39, C34, P27)
Mitch McConnell, Ky., (C45, B41, P14)
Larry Pressler, S.D. (B41, C37, P22)
Alan Simpson, Wyo., (B40, C34, P26)
Bob Smith, N.H., (C39, B38, P23)
Ted Stevens, Alaska, (B40, C30, P 28)
Fred Thompson, Tenn., (C47, B42, P10)
Strom Thurmond, S.C., (B48, C40 P12)
John Warner, Va., (B45, C41, P14)


District Winner Margin
CA-22 Seastrand 1563 votes
CA-49 Bilbray 4686 votes
GA-7 Barr 5287 votes
KY-1 Whitfield 2502 votes
NE-2 Christensen 1766 votes
NV-1 Ensign 1436 votes
NJ-8 Martini 1833 votes
NC-4 Heineman 1215 votes
OH-6 Cremeans 3422 votes
PA-21 English 4643 votes
WA-5 Nethercutt 3983 votes
WA-9 Tate 5382 votes
WI-1 Neumann 1120 votes

Total Difference 38,838

If 19,500 Voters had voted Democratic rather than Republican in 1994, Newt
Gingrich would not be Speaker of the House.


Representative District '94 vote %
Jim Bunn Oregon 5 50
Phil English Penn 21 50
Mark Neumann Wisc. 1 50
Peter Torkildsen Mass 6 51
Tom Coburn Okla 2 52
Steve Stockman Texas 9 52
Linda Smith Wash. 3 52
Frank Riggs Calif. 1 53
Greg Ganske Iowa 4 53
Jack Metcalf Wash. 2 54
Peter Blute Mass. 3 55

Source: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Others: 1994 Presidential
Edward Whitfield Ky 01 C48, B39, P13
Van Hillearay Tenn. 4 C48, B40, P11
Jay Dickey Ark. 4 C57, B31 P10
Henry Bonilla Texas 23 C42, B41, P17


Living in the Holy Baptist Empire of East Texas, where the First Baptist
Church is just a stone's throw from the local beer joint and the First
National Bank is housed in a double-wide, at least provides plenty of
interesting stories. When you plunk elements of feminism and liberalism
slap-dab down in the middle of Klan Kountry as well, the possibilities are
I hail from tiny Tool, Texas, whose claim to fame is that Anne
Rice's husband's cousin's neighbor's kinfolk (or somesuch) once lived
there. And our mayor, Red Phillips, was one of the original "Our Gang"
kids, playing the chubby little kid who wore the knit hat with the ball on
top and tormented Spanky. That's our mayor. Tool is so small that we have
no grocery store, no post office, no school. We do, however, have legions
of churches, mostly Baptist, mostly housed in corrugated metal buildings or
double-wide trailers. And lots of auto body shops.
Tool is a suburb of Greater Gun Barrel City, a favorite touristy
spot for Dallas' nouveau riche and assorted paramilitary organizations.
It's a haven of white trashedness, replete with grand and gaudy yard art,
the requisite pink flamingos, porcelain toilet/flower pots and the like.
The late baseball great, Mickey Mantle, was a founding father and developer
of Gun Barrel City. Rumor holds that what attracted Mantle to the area was
its seemingly never-ending supply of moonshine stills.
One thing is for certain: both Tool and Gun Barrel City are held
firmly in check by the Christian Right of Henderson County. While not a
bastion of liberalism, Henderson County has given us such great populists
as former U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough and Federal Judge William Wayne
Justice. Among other things the Christian Right is trying to clean up those
blots on the county's legacy.
Yarborough sponsored more bills promoting libraries than anyone
else, ever. He expanded the G.I. Bill of Rights and battled big real estate
interests to create the Big Thicket National Park and to preserve Padre
Island. While working for the Texas attorney general's office, he secured
the ruling that made the Permanent University Fund (the state oil revenue
earmarked for higher education) immune from the bone-picking jaws of
predators, and he continued to support educational opportunity as a
senator. Books. Education. Yarborough.
Justice, who was appointed to the federal bench by Lyndon Johnson
at Yarborough's behest, once was considered the most hated man in Texas.
Justice presided over the desegregation of public schools in Texas, secured
the right to education for the children of undocumented workers, and forced
the Texas Department of Corrections to adhere to simple codes of human
Neither Yarborough nor Justice currently reside in Henderson
County, but their influence cannot be denied. A couple of years ago, all
that liberal influence came back to haunt the good citizenry of Gun Barrel
City. It was time to replace the city signs. In the past, the signs had a
picture of a long-barreled shotgun, with the caption, "Welcome to Gun
Barrel City, We Shoot Straight With You." But all this talk about gang
violence and arms-for-hostages and crazed postal workers caused one ol'
liberal codger to go plum loony and suggest to the city council that
perhaps a picture of a shotgun would send a bad message to the youth of the
city. (Gun Barrel is a retirement community, so the "youth" were probably
somewhere in their early 60s.) A ruckus ensued, with several folks chasing
the liberal into the parking lot and threatening to "git a rope." The last
anyone saw of the liberal in Gun Barrel City was his tail lights headed
west. We did get a decidedly more friendly sign, though: a shotgun pointed
at a heart.
Gun Barrel is once again in the midst of turmoil. Seems this new
crop of city council members are doing their level best to stir up some
excitement, which can be dangerous to folks with heart conditions. Three
council members have decided that they should be able to meet and conduct
business any ol' time they get good-n-ready-in their living rooms, at the
Catfish Corner, in the express line at the Walmart. Things like that.
The last time they tried their skullduggery, they waited for the
mayor to leave town, then called a special session. It didn't take long for
a group of ham radio operators who meet every morning at the Dairy Queen
(the cultural hot spot of Gun Barrel) to catch wind of it and they quickly
rallied and stormed the meeting. The councilmen were so stunned they called
in a Texas Ranger and the sheriff's department to protect them from the
group of ruffian AARPers. To make matters worse, so many people attended
this impromptu meeting that it had to be moved from city hall to the local
senior citizen's center, which was holding its weekly Senior's Luncheon.
Blue Hairs armed with tomatoes.
The mayor called the citizens a bunch of "pagans" and "heathens,"
the citizens called the council a bunch of no-account, belly-crawlin',
slime-suckin', no-good rascals. A few (including me) set back and called it
all entertainment.
The citizens have taken a "pickle jar vote" to determine the future of the
city council. One jar reads "Impeach" the other "Lynch" and each citizen
could vote with loose change. As it stands, they have collected enough
money to hire a lawyer and have filed suit against the council, accusing
them of malfeasance, illegal meetings, and general hooey pooey. If that
doesn't work, they say lynching is still high on their list of options.
Eyebrows were indeed raised when city administrator, Allan Taylor,
found a "bomb" under his van as he headed to work one morning. The bomb was
a pickle jar wrapped with nails and filled to the brim with gasoline and a
lighted fuse. Some folks think he planted that bomb there himself, pointing
out the obvious: country folk use pipe bombs, not pickle jar explosives.
One good thing has come out of all the turmoil in Gun Barrel:
people are getting involved in local politics again. So many people attend
city council meetings that they are now broadcast by closed-circuit TV in
the parking lot. Folks get there hours early just to get a front-row seat.
Others bring their lawn chairs and coolers. A petition to fire the city
administrator and impeach city council was circulated at the last council
meeting and 650 people signed it-over TWICE the amount of folks who voted
in the last election.
Though it's sometimes hard being the only openly liberal person
living in the Greater Gun Barrel City region of Texas, stories such as this
make it bearable. That, and all the praying that is being done in the many
churches for my "lost liberal soul."
So I shall wear my scarlet "L" proudly, and report back to you each
and every month with another Tale from East Texas.

Carol Countryman is a free-lance troublemaker from Tool, Texas.



Casper, Wyoming--
Agribusiness has paid more than $1.1 million to the PACs of the seven U.S.
senators and 10 representatives who are sponsoring legislation to give our
national wildlife heritage to the states. This land steal involves 270
million acres of public land that are now administered by the Bureau of
Land Management.
The Mafia's boss of bosses would be envious.
Construction industries have given the PACs of these 17 nearly half
a million dollars; real estate interests have kicked in more than $130,000.
These donations to the senators are based on a six-year span
beginning with January 1989, according to the non-partisan organization
Project Vote Smart. Big bucks to the representatives are computed on a
two-year basis.
Industries and businesses don't give away money without strings
attached. They get a return for their investments - usually a big return.
It is probably too cynical to call the 104th Congress "the best
money can buy." But there is room for suspicion.
Sadly, Wyoming's entire congressional delegation belongs to "The
Land Grab 17."
Would it surprise you to learn that Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., is
also a sponsor of this federal-land grab? He has no constituents in the
West. He has no interests in this issue. Or does he? Jesse's PAC received
more than $200,000 from agribusiness in the past six years.
Only the most naive think that former BLM land will remain public
domain once state legislators get their hands on it.
Wyoming's statutes, passed in the heat of the 1979-1980 Sagebrush
Rebellion, allow for the sale of these lands. Similar legislation was
passed in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
Early this year, the Montana Legislature proposed selling all its
state lands and BLM land, if the state controlled it. Fortunately, this
ill-advised legislation did not pass. But the concept is there.
Oregon, according to a Sept. 13 Associated Press story, plans to
sell 600,000 acres of its eastern rangeland. The Oregon Land Board could
adopt the massive sale plan by December. The state wants more money for its
acreage. The acres under siege include state forests, farmland, rangeland,
and waterways.
How fast would Oregon sell off its 15.7 million acres of BLM land?
Much of the BLM land in Oregon is located in the southeastern part of the
The BLM manages 50 million acres of forested lands. If the states
get their hands on this land, look for bald, brown, clear-cut mountains all
over the West.
What makes anyone think this wouldn't be the pattern in all the
western states?
Former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm recently complained that his state
and Utah are growing in population faster than anywhere in the nation. What
do you think Colorado will do with its 8.3 million acres of BLM land? Or
Utah with 22.1 million acres?
The states have difficulty managing their own lands. The first
excuse states would use to sell BLM land would be the need to increase the
number of state employees to properly manage this new acreage. The State
Land Office in Nevada, for instance, only has a staff of six people. How
are they going to administer an additional 48 million acres of BLM land?
This rationale would be quickly followed by an abundance of reasons
to turn these public lands over to private interests.
Western states will lose federal money they now get because of this
BLM land grab. Alaska currently receives about $10 million each year of
direct financial transfers from the BLM. It would lose that. Colorado would
lose approximately $40 million each year; Oregon would lose approximately
$100 million per year; Wyoming would kiss off $248 million each year.
These states would have to make up the loss by selling off our
nation's heritage in nature.
The bottom line here is money: money for the state, money for
influential private interests, money for agricultural interests.
Under the rubric of states' rights and the so-called War on the
West, "The Land Grab 17" are hiding the real intent of their proposed
States' rights is not the issue here; money is. And unfortunately,
money speaks louder than the ordinary citizen's interest.
This land grab isn't for the public's benefit. It is crafted to
benefit the wealthy. And your congressmen. That's the only multiple use the
public will ever see from this theft of public domain.
The landscape will begin to be parcelled out for those who can
afford it. The land will be bought and locked up. The best scenic spots
will be sold to those who have million dollar bank accounts.
Good-bye public access. Good-bye to the grand unobstructed vistas
in the West. Good-bye to the only connection to the land urban dwellers of
this nation have. Good-bye to the West many of us love. Farewell to
landscapes that still ring with the sanctity of silence.
This legislation, which has been proposed in both houses of
Congress, can - if passed - wipe out the nation's right to and appreciation
of scenic trails, wildlife, recreation trails, wetlands, and vast
wilderness areas.
The land that the BLM manages belongs to all Americans - not the
states, and not just the rich.
Those who love hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, boating, or the
great scenic vistas of the West must speak out now.
Call your members of Congress and protest against this incredibly
selfish attempt to steal the public's land.
"The Land Grab 17" should be chastised for putting the nation's
heritage at risk: Senators Craig Thomas, R-Wyo.; Alan Simpson, R-Wyo.;
Conrad Burns, R-Mont.; Larry Craig, R-Idaho; Dirk Kempthorne, R-Idaho; Ted
Stevens, R-Ala.; and Jesse Helms, R-N.C. And in the U.S. House, Reps. James
Hansen, R-Utah; Barbara Vucanovich, R-Nev.; Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo.; Wes
Cooley, R-Ore.; Richard Pombo, R-Calif.; John Doolittle, R-Calif.; Wally
Herger, R-Calif.; Joe Skeen, R-N.M.; Bob Stump, R-Ariz.; and Wayne Allard,
They deserve our scorn.

Charles Levendosky is editorial-page editor of the Casper Star-Tribune.


Spirit Lake, Iowa--
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman says he is willing to do anything
he can to break up the vertical integration of the pork industry.
Glickman wants to see how his lawsuit against meatpacker IBP over
alleged anti-competitive beef marketing agreements turns out. If
successful, Glickman said he would be willing to use similar actions in
pork and poultry.
"It's an important issue to me. I am interested in anti-trust
efforts," Glickman said of his action against corporate hog production, in
an interview with The Progressive Populist. "I want you to know that I have
talked with (Attorney General) Janet Reno about this, and (Senator) Tom
Harkin talks to me and Reno about this all the time."
"I also want you to know that the President is interested in this.
This is not just a hog-chicken-beef issue. We need to define what our
public view is of economic concentration in all areas."
Glickman dismissed the suggestion that special interests-such as
Tyson Foods, which curried favor with former Agriculture Secretary Mike
Espy-could have bought him off.
"That is absolutely not true. Nobody owns me," said Glickman, a
former congressman from Wichita, Kansas. "With me around you have somebody
who at least worries about production, who worries about if a farmer has
choices about if he can sell his product. I want you to know, very clearly,
that I care very much about this issue."
Glickman added that the USDA recently told Arkansas poultry
producers to stop using "fresh" labels on frozen products. "That did not
endear them to me," he said.
The USDA also has commissioned a study by seven land-grant
universities looking into packer concentration in all categories of mean.
That study will see what, if any, effect concentration and ownership from
farrow-to-slaughter has on the market. Glickman said he will use the study
to determine what his policy choices will be.
The study could help spur the Justice Department to act on
anti-trust enforcement, he said.
Further, Glickman said his lawsuit against IBP, using the Packers
and Stockyards Act, could provide an opening to attack vertical
"At least it may have a rehabilitative effect," Glickman said. "It
might make these guys stop and think. I don't know. We need to find out
what the law is. For years, no one did anything about this."
IBP argues that marketing agreements are not exclusive and have
been in use for 20 years. IBP has been careful to stress that it will pay
premiums for quality pork that is graded, but that it will not exclude
independent producers from doing business. IBP says it depends on
independent producers to keep larger, corporate suppliers in check.
Glickman charges that there are a "few favored customers" among the
large beef packers, most concentrated in Garden City, Kansas. "If you're
not one of the favored few, you can't sell. It's as simple as that."
Glickman said he has met with IBP Chairman Bob Peterson. He also
said IBP is "not the worst," although he declined to supply other names.
The continuing economic concentration in agriculture-where four
meatpackers control 85 percent of the beef slaughter-is a "dangerous
trend," Glickman said.
"It began 25 years ago in agriculture," he said. "There has been a
demographic revolution in rural America since the end of World War II
really. I'm not going to prejudge it all. Some of this may be the way of
the world, and there's nothing I can do about it. I do believe it is
important enough for us to take a very serious look at-captive shifting,
forward contracting, all that. We have to ask: What is the state of
"We in our department must be advocates for the family farm system.
That is my charge from the President. I want to do the right thing, the
sensible thing. And I want you to know that someone cares, that the
President himself cares about this. We cannot deliver miracles. We can
promise to do our best."


We are ruled by Big Business and Big Government as its paid hireling, and
we know it. Corporate money is wrecking popular government in the United
States. The big corporations and the centimillionaires and billionaires
have taken daily control of our work, our pay, our housing, our health, our
pension funds, our bank and savings deposits, our public lands, our
airwaves, our elections and our very government.
It's as if American democracy has been bombed. Will we be able to
recover ourselves and overcome the bombers? Or will they continue to divide
us and will we continue to divide ourselves, according to our wounds and
our alarms, until they have taken the country away from us for good?
Senate Democratic majority leader George Mitchell exclaimed late in
1994, shortly before he abandoned the Congress in disgust: "This system
stinks. This system is money." The law of life among us now is what
Jefferson called "the general prey of the rich on the poor." The moment is
dangerous. Democracy is not guaranteed God's protection; systems and
nations end. If we do anything serious now we might make things worse; if
we do nothing serious now we are done for.
The challenge of 1776 was one thing; the challenge of 1995 is
another. The northern Europeans who were our country's founders
exterminated or confined millions of Native Americans whose ancestors had
been living here for 30,000 years. African-Americans were enslaved until
the Civil War; women were not allowed to vote for 131 years, until 1920.
But after the abolitionist, women's suffrage, farmers', union, progressive,
civil rights, environmentalist, feminist and gay and lesbian liberation
movements, and much more immigration, the question now is whether we can
found the first genuinely international democracy. If we cannot, the
corporations have us.
Why is there no longer any mass democratic organization we can
trust and through which we can act together? Where is the strong national
movement that is advancing working Americans' interests, values and hopes?
Where is the party of the common person? It's no coincidence that within
the same historical moment we have lost both our self-governance and the
Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, on which many millions of ordinary
people have relied to represent them since the 1930s, has been hollowed out
and rebuilt from the inside by corporate money. What was once the party of
the common man is now the second party of the corporate mannequin. In
national politics, ordinary people no longer exist. We simply aren't there.
No wonder only 75 million of us eligible to vote in 1994 did so, while 108
million more of us, also eligible, did not.
What is government about? As a worker told reporter Barry Bearak
last spring about the U.A.W. strike against the Caterpillar corporation,
government is about "control, you know, who controls who." Ernesto Cortes
Jr., the organizer who helps people in communities in the Southwest to act
together in their own interests, once exclaimed: "Power! Power comes in two
forms: organized people and organized money." To govern ourselves, power is
what we need. To get it we must want it and organize for it.
This is a call to hope and to action, a call to reclaim and
reinvent democracy, a call to the hard work of reorganizing ourselves into
a broad national coalition, a call to populists, workers, progressives and
liberals to reconstitute ourselves into a smashing new national force to
end corporate rule.

(Dugger Continued in Part 3)

Greg Wait

Nov 1, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/1/95
Posting this type of material is both inappropriate and illegal. The material
is copyrighted. Even printing excerpts without permission is a breach of
copyright law.

It is _not_ inappropriate to post your opinion of the journal in question and
supply information on how it can be obtained, but you are breaking the law, and
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Please remove these posts.

Greg Wait (
-=May Joy and Innocence Prevail=-

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