Jim Hightower

The Pilgrimage of Granny D

‘m in love. Hopelessly in love. Doris Haddock is her name, but she’s called “Granny D” by her family and friends, and she’s filled with the fighting spirit that makes America so great. She’s an 89-year-old great-grandmother on a mission. Her goal is to help get the corrupting power of big campaign money out of politics. To rally public support, Granny D is walking across America — all 3,000 miles of it. “Call me crazy, call me God-sent,” she says. “I am on a crusade to create a groundswell for campaign finance reform to eliminate the cancer [of big money].”

She flew from her New Hampshire home out to California in late December, then began walking east from Santa Monica on January first. She plans to average ten miles a day as she treks through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia — and finally, sometime next November, to cross the Potomac and walk straight up Capitol Hill to the halls of Congress. There, she’ll deliver thousands of petitions that she will have collected along the way.

“I’m traveling as a pilgrim,” Granny D says. She’s asking people for a meal, for a warm place to sleep at night, and, of course, to sign and spread her petitions. Already, support is building for this unique, heartfelt crusade — local media pour out, townsfolk gather at the city line to escort her, people walk with her, rallies for reform are held when she visits, and travelers who pass her on the road invariably honk and shout, “Go Granny Go.”

She’s a Granny with both an 800 number and a web site, so if you want to follow her travels, know when she’s coming to your town, or get her petition, go to grannyd.com, or call (800) 298-2182.

GOING BANANAS FOR TRADE

America’s trade policy makes about as much sense as a rooster wearing socks.

For months, the Japanese and others have flagrantly dumped steel into the U.S. market, selling it at prices beneath what it costs them to produce it. Not only is this illegal, but it’s also a crushing blow to our own steelworkers and their towns — yet the milquetoast Clinton administration has done little about it.

Contrast this to the full-fledged war dance that the Clintonites have been engaged in over another commodity: bananas. Our country has marched to the brink of an all-out trade war with Europe over bananas — even though the U.S. produces no bananas and no U.S. jobs are at risk.

Well, there is one U.S. job attached to bananas — Carl Lindner’s. His corporate empire, based in Cincinnati, includes ownership of Chiquita Brands, which produces beaucoup of the yellow fruit in Central America. Lindner has been in a long pout because he wants the Europeans to buy his bananas, but instead they’ve been buying from their former colonies in the Caribbean. So Lindner has gone to Washington, enlisting everyone from Bob Dole to Bill Clinton to threaten the Europeans with a trade war if they don’t start buying from Carl.

He has such clout in Washington because the one thing Lindner produces more of than bananas is campaign contributions. Indeed, when Dole was running for president, he flew around in Lindner’s corporate jet. Lindner also gave $500,000 to the Clinton re-election effort one day after Clinton’s top trade official filed a formal complaint against the Europeans on behalf of Chiquita bananas. Three years later, his banana war has escalated to the point that Clinton is imposing 100-percent tariffs on such European goods as pecorino cheese and cashmere sweaters.

Jim Hightower’s talk show broadcasts daily from Austin nationwide. Find him at www.jimhightower.com.

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Published at 12:00 am CST
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