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ucation must be stopped.” Interesting document, the Solemn Covenant. Among its points: “The power to tax is derived from and limited by God’s laws. Taxes upon inheritance and property are unbiblical forms of taxation which are detrimental to the existence and well-being of the family and thus the nation as a whole.” Point 8 informs us of “God’s laws of economics” \(God doesn’t like inflation or imquite blithely supersedes the entire Constitution and limits government to “the proper Biblical concerns.” This document is unquestionably a plan to overthrow the Constitution of the United States. That someone committed to its principles is apparently about to be elected to Congress from Houston should, it seems to me, give us quite some pause. I don’t doubt for a minute.that the Citizens for American Restoration are well-intentioned, and we have elected many a well-intentioned nincompoop to public office before without significant damage to the body politic. But I can’t recall, offhand, any of them who I ever thought would have difficulty swearing to uphold the Constitution. At the bottom of the Solemn Covenant, to which Eugene Fontenot has sworn alle giance, it says: “We further commit ourselves to support and encourage these elected officials and candidates who pledge to faithfully serve God in the administration of their office. We also solemnly warn that violations of such a sacred trust invites the judgment of God upon not only elected rulers, but also upon the communities which they represent and serve.” Friends, this ain’t the American way. The very first liberty established by the Bill of Rights is freedom of conscience. The very next one established is freedom from having government enforce anyone’s religious views. JIM HIGHTOWER Bank Fees are Bank Robbery Bertolt Brecht got it right when he asked: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?” Well, “Stick ’em up, sucker,” because banks everywhere keep finding new ways to rob you. The old-fashioned way, of course, is for bankers to pay you a pittance in interest for your savings, but charge you a pretty penny in interest on everything from used-car loans to credit-card charges. They’re still pulling this high-dollar heist, presently paying under 3 percent for a CD, and charging above 15 percent for a car loan. But their new way of mugging customers is by setting off an astonishing explosion of fees: ATM fees, checking fees, accountmaintenance fees, deposit-correction fees, minimum-balance fees, cashier-printout feesfees for everything except using that ballpoint pen chained to the desk in the lobby, and don’t count on that for long. They’re not nickel-and-diming us eithermore like five-andten-dollaring us. The fee for checks marked “insufficient funds,” for example, now averages $19.35even though it only costs a buck thirty-two to process the check! And this is cute: To pocket more of these lucrative fees on overdrafts, some bankers are cashing the largest checks drawn on your account first, hoping to pull down your balance so you end up bouncing several small checksallowing them to hit you with a $19.35 fee on each one of them. Little tricks like this are a major reason banks are bursting with loot these days, hauling in an all-time record of $43 billion Jim Hightower, a former Observer editor and Texas agriculture commissioner, does daily radio commentary and a weekend call-in talk show on the ABC Radio Network. in profits last year. In just the past five years, your friendly bankers have jacked up fees by halfand they now make a third of their total profits by holding up their own customers with these fees. At least bank robbers have the modesty to wear ski masks. Nostalgia for the ’50s Pat Robertsonthat high-righteous-potentate of the Republican Religious Righthas just held another cacophonous confab of his political church: “The Conservative Coalition,” preaching hell and damnation for anyone who’s not as totally bonkers as he is. Among those singing in Pat’s hallelujah chorus at the Coalition’s convention were Dan Quayle, Phyllis Schlafly, Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, Gordon Liddy, Goofy, Pluto, Daffy and the whole gang. Robertson summed up his flock’s political mission with this homily: “Our platform is relatively simple. What we would like is the return to the kind of government and values [America] had during [President] Eisenhower’s administration.” Ah, yes, the nostalgia for those idealized, Father Knows Best years of the ’50sembracing such values as: segregated schools; Joe McCarthy’s anti-American witch hunts; preachers piously burning Elvis records; the head of GM telling Congress, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America”; payola and the TV “quiz show” scandals; J. Edgar Hoover dancing in a pink tutu at Mafia parties while telling us there was no such thing as organized crime. Those were the good ol’ days? Of course, not everyone got as dewy-eyed back then as Pat gets now about the “values” our nation was pursuing. Here’s how one man put it: The United States is first in military spending and in nuclear bombs, but we rank 10th in education spending and 17th in infant mortality. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signi fies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” Who said this? President Dwight D. Eisenhower himselfPat’s role model. How about putting that in your platform, Pat? Doug Jones Average/Oct. If the economy is growing so robustly, as politicians and economists insist, if corpo rate profits are gushing, if top executives are hauling away record pay, and if the Dow Jones Average is still flying high above 3800, where does that leave you? Time to check the Doug Jones Average Hightower Radio’s real-life measure of “How ya doin’ ?” for the 80 percent of you who find yourselves working harder and longer these days, for less. The Doug Jones Average enjoyed an uptick the first week of October on reports that unemployment was not increasing, but the lift was momentary as a subsequent management survey revealed that a quarter of major U.S. corporations plan further job cuts next yearthe highest number of companies to schedule cuts in the survey’s history. Concern about skyrocketing medical bills continues to weigh on The Doug, as more and more working families are in jobs with inadequate or no health plans, meaning for them to stay in the pink of health, they have to go deeper into the red. Especially deflating was Congress’ decision to take their own generous health planspaid for by us taxpayersand go home, without doing anything about the health needs of ordinary Americans. Meanwhile, a business research group that clearly is without a clue complained that despite the “lively economy,” consumer confidence has dropped for the third month in a row. The Doug says: “Hey, our confidence is just fineit’s our income that’s running a couple of quarts low.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17