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JIM HIGHTOWER Clinton’s Wolves Four years ago, when Bill Clinton was running for president against what he called “high-priced lobbyists and Washington influence peddlers,” he denounced the fact that our political system is “being held hostage by big-money interests.” Four years later that same guy is running for president againbut this time, he’s running with the lobbyists and Washington influ ence peddlers, apparently quite content to be held hostage by big-money interests. As the saying goes, “If you run with wolves, you soon learn to howl,” and Bill Clinton has been running closely with the wolves of Wall Street throughout his presidency, delivering NAFTA and GATT for them, handing them the telecommunications giveaway bill, opening up more of our national forests to clear-cutting by timber companies, keeping our wages low to satisfy the bond marketers, opening up the U.S. consumer market to more cheap and blood-stained imports from Chinaand, well, generally dancing with wolves. In return, the wolves celebrated Clinton early this month at a two-day fundraising frenzy in Washington. The lobbyists and special interests he once denounced helped raise a record 12.3 million dollars for Clinton and his Party. Indeed, the kick-off dinner for the frenzy was held at the posh den of James Free, lobbyist for RJ Reynolds Tobacco. He was just one of dozens of lobbyists who paid up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars apiece and were named “trustees” of the Democratic Party. Another Washington lobbyist, Peter Knight, not only was chair of the big fundraising gala, but soon will become the campaign manager of Bill Clinton’s re-election bid. What a difference four years make, huh? Both parties are now owned by Wall Street, and change will only come if we outsiders howl louder than the wolves. To break big money’s control of our politics, contact the Center for Responsive Politics: SUPER-PAC MEN Oh, excellent! Just when you thought Washington could not get any more mired in the corruption of corporate money, a super-PAC raises its ugly heada gargantuan political action committee made up of political action committees. These guys are taking our political system from gross to grotesque. It’s called NABPACthe National Association of Business Political Action Committeesand it’s made up of more than a hundred corporate powers, including the tobacco giants, oil and chemical companies, insurance conglomerates and the telephone companies. Together, these special interests have invested more than one hundred million dollars in the campaigns of current members of Congress, turning our Congress into a wholly-owned subsidiary of these corporations. This is whyon such big issues as tobacco reform, pollution protection, health-care reform and telecommunications reformour lawmakers have put the private profit interests of these corporations above the public’s interest. And that is exactly why we need total campaign finance reform that will get the corrupting power of private money out of our elections. So what is the Number One Goal of NABPAC? To kill campaign finance reform, of course! NABPAC is running attack ads against members of Congress who support bills that would outlaw PACs, and it has sent a memo to all congressional members, demanding that they “oppose all anti-PAC legislation,” or else. Or else what? Or else NABPAC members won’t feed them any more money. You see, a majority of lawmakers are hooked on corporate money, and, like junkies, they’ll do anything to keep from being cut offeven if that means voting to continue PAC corruption. Reform has to come from us, from outside the Congress. To stop NABPAC from nabbing our democracy, learn how you can support real campaign finance reform. Contact the Center for Responsive Politics: NEWT’S TRAIN WRECKS Our Loudspeaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, is always shooting from the lip about “getting Big Government off the backs of industry.” This is an ideologically correct crusade that wins big campaign contributions for Newt from the captains of industry. But before he swallows his own BS about the pure perfection of deregulation, he should talk it over with Billy Rex Hall, “Rascal” Russ and Mike Vinet. Only he can’t. They’re dead. Billy, “Rascal” and Mike are among dozens of locomotive engineers and other train employees killed in train crashes the last few yearsvictims of the deregulation mentality that Gingrich so glibly espouses from the safety of his Washington office. As railroad conglomerates have merged, downsized and been deregulated, train collisions are on the rise. Yet, railroad lobbyists strut around Capitol Hill bragging that rail accidents are down. How can they claim that up is down? Simple: They lie. The public doesn’t know it, but railroad corporations only report train accidents on a voluntary basis, which raises the age-old question: If a train crashes in the woods and the company doesn’t report it, does it make a noise? Not in Washington, which is important, since the Federal Railroad Administration bases its inspections and safety rules on these voluntary accident reportsno reports, no need for action! It’s the “magic” of Newt’s deregulation ideology. Meanwhile, this ideology is allowing the corporations to work train crews up to one hundred twelve hours a week, and to cut out such basic safety equipment as working radios. That’s rightnot all trains have radios that work! Hello. To learn what you can do to replace Newt’s ideology with common sense, contact Leroy Jones at the Brotherhood of Lo Jim Hightower is a former Observer editor and Texas Agriculture Commissioner. His daily radio commentaries are broadcast nationwide, as he continues to preach the populist gospel. JUNE 28, 1996 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15