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JIM HIGHTOWER Witness the current push by top Pentagon brass to convince the Clinton Administration to lift the twenty-year ban on the sale of high-tech weapons to Latin America. The ban was put in place to combat widespread human-rights abuses by military dictators in the region. The juntas buy our guns, missiles and other hightech gadgetry to use against their own people, especially insurgents struggling for democracy. Now comes William Perry, the Secretary of Defense, arguing on behalf of U.S. military contractors that democracy is in bloom throughout Latin America and that today’s Latin rulers are all sweet pussycats. Has this guy checked in with Guatemala recently? Or Chile? Or El Salvador? Or, for that matter, Mexico? They all have militaries that are engaged in much more than patty-cake conflicts with their own people. And of all the things that these and other developing countries needis a fleet of multimillion-dollar F-16s really a priority? And if so, why? OK, you say, it’s not our business what they need or don’t need. Maybe not, but it is our business what kind of business our country engages in. Perry speaks piously about the number of U.S. jobs these sales could mean, but he doesn’t point out that not all the arms would be made in the U.S.A., that more than half of the cost would be paid not by the Latin rulers but by us taxpayers, or that we ought to be converting our military industry to building high-speed trains and other projects America needs. Did you know that Perry himself used to work for some of the same contractors he is now trying to get business for? To fight his whorish madness, contact the Campaign for PENTAGON PORKERS! Look out, the Hogs are loose again! Time for Hightower’s Hog Report. Here they come! General Dynamics, Hughes Aircraft, GE and practically every other major Pentagon contractor, rushing with their army of lawyers at the IRS, demanding billions of dollars in tax refunds from Uncle Sugar. These giants have sniffed out an old piece of legislation, passed in the 1980s to give a tax credit to companies that increase their research spending. These tax breaks were intended to be an extra incentive for firms to conduct product-development research that would make America more competitive in the world market. Before you can say “Boondoggle,” though, the Pentagon hogs thought, “Hey, we could take a bite of this. Didn’t we do a bunch of research in the ’80s to develop Star Wars, the B-2 Bomber and other useless weapons? So why shouldn’t we get a tax refund on the hundreds of billions of dollars we spent on that research?” Here’s why they shouldn’t get it: They did not pay for that researchyou and I did! Remember the Reagan military buildup, when “The Gipper” lost his grip and shoveled a trillion of our tax dollars into weapons research? These are the very outfits that got that trillion dollars. Never mind that they delivered junkcost overruns, planes that don’t fly, $1,600 toilet seats and so forth. Now they have the gold-plated audacity to ask us for a tax refund on research that we paid for in the first place. It’s no small handout they want us to give them eitherat least a couple of billion bucks. Still these hogs have no shame, claiming that, technically, they are entitled to it. As a spokesman for Hughes Aircraft asked: “Are people going to be unhappy because [we] prospered during the Reagan defense buildup and now are getting a refund?” Altogether now: “Yes!” This is yet another example of corporate welfare that’s draining our country dry. ROBERTO LOCO! Oh good! Bob Dole is going to deal at long last with one of the greatest problems affecting your family and mine. Good jobs at good wages? Naw, no time for that. Health care for all? Get real. No, no, the “crisis” the Dolester is putting waaaay up on America’s agenda this year is one that I know worries you day and night: making English our official language. Never mind that English already is the de facto official languagenot only in our country, but it’s the international language of finance, science, diplomacy, sports and every other human activity all around the globe. And never mind that members of Congress themselves can barely speak English. For example, asked his opinion of the movie “Independence Day,” Dole said: “We won. The end. Leadership. America. Good over evil.” Whoa, kemo sabe, someone buy Bob a verb! This is English? No wonder our laws are so screwed up. But here comes Bob promising that he’ll make English our “official” tongue so American boys and girls don’t grow up speaking Swahili, Spanish, Mandarin or any of them other “furriner languages.” Indeed, about 150 languages are now spoken in our great country \(151 if you Dole and his fellow xenophobes are after, fearing that Spanish-speaking immigrants will displace the Queen’s Good English with their Latin tongue. But as one who lives on the Mexican border, I can tell you that these immigrants are coming to America seeking a better life, NOT as part of a subversive plot to spread Spanish on our soil. And like all immigrants, they end up speaking English by the second generation. Still, Bob wants government to outlaw any language but English. Does he know that this will require that all references to jalapeno be stricken from the books, and that Boca Raton, Florida, be called by its proper English name: Rat Mouth. This is progress? Ay ya ya, that Bob Dolemuy loco! Jim Hightower is a former Observer editor and Texas Agriculture Commissioner. His new radio show broadcasts daily from the Chat & Chew Cafe in Austin, Texas, where he continues to preach the populist gospel. Arms Hucksters In the madcap world we call Washington, common sense is made to stand on its head and raw stupidity is celebrated as virtue. SEPTEMBER 27, 1996 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21