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contras who operate inside Nicaragua. There’s no telling how this money is actually spent, of course, and Matlack rightly insists that elimination of outright cash payments to the contras should be a precondition for Congressional approval of the Baker pledge. The contras will be getting other money from Uncle Sam besides the humanitarian aid. The L.A. Times reported in January that the contras were receiving $4.8 million a year in “political funding” from the CIA. The figure emerged when the press learned that the Agency couldn’t account for all of the slush fund, and was auditing Adolfo Calero’s travel expenses. In the annals of spookdom, “political funding” has meant everything from financing disinformation broadcasts to paying off informants and spies. No one seems to know at what level this funding will continue, but it’s safe to guess that the CIA is planning a major destabilization campaign once the election season gets under way in Nicaragua. There’s nothing worse than a democratically-elected communist government to mess up a hawk’s world view. Quantum physicists have recently speculated that famous “indeterminacy” of subatomic events is constantly giving rise to parallel universes, separate realities whose features we can, only dream. What a tantalizing possibility. I want to go to the cosmos where the Democrats aren’t useless cowards, where Tom Foley stands up in the well of the House and says, “A few weeks ago the Sandinistas freed nearly 1900 imprisoned members of Somoza’s National Guards; for the last year Managua has offered an open amnesty to all contras, in full compliance with the Arias plan. The death squads rage in Salvador and Guatemala while the Sandinistas, despite our crushing economic boycott, maintain democracy truly a phenomenal record. Yet in the face of public opposition, in the wake of Ronald Reagan and Oliver North’s siege on national and international law, the Bush Administration has the nerve to try to bully Congress into coughing up more money for its mercenary hooligans.” If such a world exists, I’m ready to go. ACOMPENSATORY delight of the last few weeks has been the spectacle of a hapless Jesse Jack son thrashing like a mastodon in the tar pit of Chicago politics. By the time this appears, Jackson’s stake in the windy city’s mayoral race should be swept off the table, as the revived political machine of Richard Daley celebrates its victory. \(A Daley regime back on track in Chicago! I told you we were in a rut. In appears that Santayana was being optimistic: even those who remember Jackson has gotten himself in trouble by supporting Tim Evans, an African-American city councilmember running as a thirdparty candidate against Daley. The current electoral battle is more fallout from the tragic death of the noble Harold Washington, a paragon among urban politicos. Following Washington’s death a vile nonentity by the name of Eugene Sawyer took City Hall with the backing of a junta of right-wing council members, who apparently knew a tool when they saw one. Sawyer’s mumbling, do-nothing style became a joke throughout the city, and he managed to destroy what was left of Washington’s multi-racial coalition when he took a week to fire an assistant who claimed that Jewish doctors were deliberately giving AIDS to black babies. Daley easily defeated Sawyer in the Democratic primary, and Evans stepped to pick up the progressive mantle with his “Harold Washington Party.” National Democratic leaders are grumbling that Jackson has put race ahead of party loyalty by supporting Evans. Jackson’s response, reasonable on its face, is that Evans is clearly more progressive than Daley and that Daley and other fair-skinned Chicago Democrats backed a white thirdparty candidate against Washington in the last mayoral campaign. But Jackson, as usual, is being disingenuous; if quality, rather than race, were his priority, he would have sat out the Democratic primary and waited for Evans’s entry. But Jackson did campaign in the Democratic contest for Sawyer, beside whom even Richie Daley looms large. When asked why he backed first Sawyer and then Evans, Jackson said that African-American residents of the city deserved “two shots” at the Mayor’s office. In other words, race, not merit, was Jackson’s first priority. Fine, Reverend. Thanks for reminding us. Saying that you’re no worse than Chicago’s white politicians is like telling a judge you’re no worse than all the other child molesters. I have to confront this sort of reverse-racism all the time in Washington, where one often hears local African Americans defend our degenerate mayor, Marion Barry, on the grounds that he’s no different than the pugs the white establishment kept in power for years the logical corollary being that attacks on the mayor are racially motivated. Here we see the dark reflex of race politics in America, the one tangible result of Jackson’s perpetual and useless presidential candidacy. If you criticize a black politician you risk being called a racist, or a dupe of racists. Observe the attacks of the appropriately named Gus Savage, a black Congress member from Chicago who called fellow African-American Ron Brown, the newly elected leader of the Democratic party, an “Oreo cookie” for offering to campaign for Daley. It used to be if you criticized Israel you were an anti-semite, or a dupe of antisemites. Recently, Israel has begun acting so abominably that this canard no longer plays anywhere outside the pages of Commentary. With. the Jackson/Barry duo chewing up newsprint, perhaps it will soon be safe for white progressives to have their own opinions on African-American politics. The disaster in Chicago, a fiasco in his own backyard, is naturally a terrible setback for Jackson. Having strutted his stuff in his hometown, Jackson now threatens and I use the verb advisedly to take his special brand of magic to New York, where David Dinkins, a Queens liberal, is hoping to end the reign of Ed “Who Can I Offend Today?” Koch in an upcoming election. Dinkins happens to be black, which means Jackson takes a proprietary interest in him. Still, it’s hard to see what sort of political capital Jackson brings to a city he once referred to as “Hymietown.” Dinkins should cast an eye on Texas, where, by associating with Jackson, Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower has seriously damaged his fundraising capacity and knocked himself out of a Senate race against Phil Gramm. Hightower, who has been a rising star in the national party, now looks so vulnerable that the Republicans are actually threatening to eliminate his job. The Observer’s former editor is paying a stiff price for supporting a racist demagogue who has never held elected office. Where’s the populist movement, Commissioner? I can see the mail coming already and that’s fine, but, my fellow progressives, grant me this about Jesse Jackson: he may not hold the keys to the kingdom, but he does have the nails to the cross. ANDERSON & COMPANY COPPICE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 7W731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. 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