Page 8


18 89397 01 0 74470 4 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE RON PAUL, DON’T CALL! House Speaker Newt Gingrich traveled to San Marcos to kick off the congressional campaign of Democrat-turned-Republican Greg Laughlin, but if the visit did Laughlin any good, it was hard to tell. Elected as a Democrat in 1988, Laughlin bolted in 1995. This year, running as an incumbent with a brand new seat on the House Ways and Means Committee and the endorsement of both President and Governor Bush, Laughlin could only pull forty-six percent of the Republican primary runoff vote against former Republican Congressman and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ron Paul. Is an embrace by the Speaker a kiss of death for candidates? The Wall Street Journal seems to think so, citing Gingrich’s twenty-two percent approval rate and observing that a visit from the Speaker is a “mixed blessing for the Congress Members he’s trying to help lots of money accompanied by protests and negative publicity.” What does all of this mean for the state’s Republican House delegation? Albert R. Hunt, in the Journal’s “Politics & People” column, saw it like this: “There is a widespread feeling that Rep. Armey, a principled ideologue, is a lousy spokesman for the party. Relations between the Speaker and the consummately ambitious House whip, Tom DeLay, in the words of one insider, ‘verge on warfare.'” Hunt all but wrote Gingrich off, warning that the “full-scale inquiry into his ethical practices is far more serious than is commonly supposed.” RADIO DAZE. On the same day the New York Times ran the professional obituary of New York talk show radio racist Bob Grant, a fax from the Texas Triangle announced the plug will be pulled on Austin’s radio homophobe Wyatt Roberts. Grant got axed by Capital Cities/ABC after saying he was concerned that Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown might have survived the plane crash that took his life in Croatia. Seven months ago, Roberts’ talk show on Austin’s KXIL-AM targeted the Triangle, a statewide gay and lesbian newspaper, reading the names of Triangle sponsors on the air. In December, Roberts called for a boycott of Triangle advertisers. “For four months,” Triangle Publisher Kay Longcope said, “Wyatt Roberts has tried to drive us out of business. But come next week, he’ll be off the air and we’ll still be publishing. Ironic, isn’t it?” Roberts will continue as executive director of the American Family Association of Texas, a fundamentalist Christian group. BANK SHOT. San Antonio Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez has cast a cold eye on the Federal Reserve’s Dallas operation, and the General Accounting Office report he commissioned found that the Dallas Fed “lacked adequate accountability over its fixed assets, and had inconsistent and outdated financial information in its general ledger that was not clearly described.” Not to worry, a Dallas Fed spokesperson responded in a response to the GAO report: “The bank has incurred no losses….” Last year, Gonzalez introduced the Federal Reserve Audit and Accountability Act of 1995, which proposes radical measures such as independent audits and an itemized budget for all Federal reserve operations. INDONESIA, MINE AMOUR. Despite public relations setbacks here and abroad, Freeport-McMoRan continues its corporate shell game over the company’s mining operations in West Papua, New Guinea \(referred to by its Indonesian masthe Indonesian military has put an additional two thousand heavily armed troops in the area, in response to continuing unrest following popular uprisings in early March \(TO, The army continues also to search for members of the Free Papua Movement ropean hostages since January. The OPM blames the presence of the Freeport mine for a history of documented human rights violations that have occurred in and around the mine. TAPOL, a human rights group based in London, reports that army troops raided the offices of LEMASA, the council of the Amungme, an indigenous tribe displaced by the mining project. Since the March up. risings destroyed fifteen million dollars worth of Freeport equipment, LEMASA had been negotiating with the company for improved living and working conditions for the local people. In a meeting with LEMASA on April 14, Freeport offered to spend fifteen million dollars per year on development programs. Although the Associated Press reported that the Freeport offer constituted an “agreement,” LEMASA in fact rejected the offer, saying it “fails to address the roots of the problem.” \(It was also not clear whether the fifteen million dollars was in fact new money, or identical to the funds Freeport already claims to spend on Meanwhile, on April 19, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation settled their arbitration case regarding OPIC’ s insurance on the mine operation. OPIC, an See “Indonesia,” p.11 24 MAY 3, 1996