p Park Cities ZIP codes alone. Eleven of Pearce’s neighbors in the Park Cities have reached “Pioneer” status like Girl Scouts helping out the troops, these former Bush neighbors pledge to solicit at least $100,000 in individual contributions from friends and colleagues. But in this cookie drive the stakes are slightly higher than cheap prizes for the biggest seller. After all, there will be a lot of positions to fill up in the next administration, and lots of business legislation landing on Bush’s desk in the Oval Office. Bush contributors say they are not seeking any favors for their contributions. And Bush claims donations, soft money or hard, will not affect his policies: they are just testimony to the widespread support for his campaign and evidence of free political expression. While Bush says he wants to limit contributions from corporations and labor unions because the people with stakes in those groups have no say in directing the money, he’s all for protecting individuals’ “right to express themselves,” in the form of big donations. So for those folks who feel $1,000 the cap for individual contributions to a candidate doesn’t adequately express their political feelings, Bush gives the big thumbs up to soft money donations to political parties. And Bush definitely has friends with a lot to express. People like Dwayne Andreas, chairman of Archer Daniels Midland, which produces 70 percent of America’s ethanol. Andreas has given $300,000 of his own money to the GOP since 1991 to complement the more than $1 million his company has donated. No doubt coincidentally, Bush declared in the opening stages of his campaign that he supports government subsidies for ethanol. The News found that of the top 200 soft money donors to the GOP, over half have also contributed to Bush’s campaign and eight are Bush “Pioneers.” The donors range from investors to manufacturers to oil executives, but the common thread running through most money sources is that they have business interests affected by the government. TOXIC TOOTHBRUSHES. White man strikes again. Dumping toxins on Native American reservations is nothing new, but Irving-based Friendly Systems has introduced its poisons directly into the mouths of babes. In July the U.S. District Court in South Dakota convicted Friendly of selling a chemical disinfectant to the Lakota Sioux for purposes other than those approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Between 1995 and 1997,, the reservation’s Head Start program cleaned children’s toothbrushes with the chemicals \(classified by the E.P.A. as pesticides for disinfecting following the suggestions of a friendly Friendly sales representative. So Sioux youngsters brushed Tisan and DDS-164 into their gums, and their parents claim over 100 children suffered nosebleeds, stomach cramps, headaches, strange tooth decay, and mouth blisters. When federal prosecutors took the company to court, Friendly defended itself by claiming the government hadn’t proved a “substantial difference” between E.P.A.approved uses and toothbrush cleaning, and a spokesman for Friendly told Political Intelligence the Center for Disease Control found no children injured by the chemicals. But if mouth blisters and nosebleeds weren’t enough for Friendly and the C.D.C., they were enough for the jury, and Friendly now faces up to $600,000 in fines. LIFT EV’RY VOICE. It was literacy and charity for George Bush’s speech to the Urban League’s early August National Conference in Houston. Bush took credit for Hispanic and African-American students’ increased reading scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills the end of “so-called social promotion” as the greatest achievement of his administration. He also devoted much of his brief speech to “faith-based” charities, repeating the argument that government has proven that it can hand out money but that only faith-based charities operating out of churches and synagogues can “change hearts.” If Bush is elected, churches will be handed the money to hand out. “They simply don’t have the resources they need to continue waging the war,” Bush said. Bush was relaxed and confident with the corporate-based Urban Leaguers \(after skipping national conferences of the League of United Latin-American Citizens delivering a speech that was typically short on programmatic specifics: “Money can buy things, but it cannot buy some of the most needed essentials in life, such as justice and family love and moral courage and moral dreams for our children.” Moral dreams not withstanding, the event was not a complete success for Dubya. He was probably expecting “We Shall Overcome,” but this was a “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” crowd. Bush briefly flipped through papers on the dais in search of the James Weldon Johnson lyrics, then resorted to what PreVatican II Catholics recognize as the Tridentine Mumble. He also abandoned his awful “reading” punchline, crafted for black audiences: “Reading is the New Civil Right.” \(When he recited it at an N.A.A.C.P Austin luncheon in April, the applause break was filled with total siHouston Mayor Lee Brown began his speech with a sharp focus on hate crimes, specifically the brutal killing of James Byrd Jr. In the legislative session that ended in May, Bush was the main obstacle to a bi-partisan attempt to pass a hate crimes bill named in memory of Byrd. After Bush left the convention, it only got worse for him. Vice President Al Gore was far more specific on the need for hate crimes legislation, telling the conference that hate crimes are not just directed against an individual but are an assault on a specific group. He promised to fight for a federal hate crimes law. Jesse Jackson also spoke about the need for hate crimes legislation. “Bush Jr. equivocates on hate crimes,” Jackson said. Through his press office, Bush responded by, well, equivocating. Asked for a response by the Dallas Morning News, spokesperson Mindy Tucker said, “The Governor has said that all violent crimes are hate crimes that ought to be punished fully under the law.” Just Can’t Get Enough Texas Observer? Check out our Website: http://texasobserver.org All the News that Fits! AUGUST 20, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17
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