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30MILLION FOR A PRESIDENTIL CAMPAIGN. ‘`\\ x.\\ \\ THAT POSITIVELY OBSCENE! \\\\ IT’S A SCANDAL! BUYING THE PRESIDENCY TAR ONE oltrIWo MuzioN SURE ….13UTE/Frn POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE SEEN BUT NOT HEARD. Whether you’re a woman or a U.N. treaty, you can expect about the same treatment from Jesse Helms, should you be unlucky enough to wind up in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he has chaired since the War Between the States. Lost in the brouhaha over Helm’s scuttling of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is his mistreatment of another international convention: The United Nations Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Helms has been sitting on the treaty since Clinton submitted it to the Senate in 1994, following the huge international women’s conference in Beijing. Losing patience with the aging North Carolina Republican, ten Democratic Congresswomen, including Dallas’ Eddie Bernice Johnson, crashed a meeting of the Senator’s committee in late October. Bearing placards pasted with blown-up copies of a long-unanswered letter from California Democrat Lynn Woolsey to Helms about the treaty, the women stood at the rear of the room in silent protest. Helms admonished them to “act like ladies.” When they insisted on being women, he had the Capitol police escort them from the room. “One-hundred and sixty-two other countries have ratified this treaty,” Johnson told Political Intelligence, “and we feel that a person that still thinks that women have no rights shouldn’t be blocking passage of it…. We’re less than ninety days to the twenty-first century and we have a Neanderthal-minded person standing in the way of women’s rights.” It hasn’t been a good month for womenNeanderthal relations in the nation’s capital. Helms is also blocking Clinton’s nomination of former Illinois senator Carol Moseley-Braun as ambassador to New Zealand. Helms said he was waiting for a personal apology from Moseley-Braun, who in 1993 successfully campaigned against a renewal of the design patent for the insignia of the United Daughters of the The design contained the Confederate Flag, a symbol dear to Jesse’s heart, but one which Moseley-Braun argued was not worthy of the “federal imprimatur” that renewal of the patent would have given it. WHAT SURPLUS? Scarcely five months after Governor Bush rammed a $1.3 billion property tax cut through the legislature, his fellow Republican, Senate Finance Chairman Bill Ratliff, has announced that the state will probably not be able to meet its transportation funding obligations without a tax increase. Ratliff speculated that a fivecent increase in the state gasoline tax, already at twenty cents per gallon, might be necessary. “George W. Bush squandered away a record surplus in a record amount of time,” said state Democratic chairperson Molly Beth Malcolm. According to the state comptroller’s projections, many taxpayers will not see the Governor’s tax cut reflected on their property tax bill, because of rising valuations across the state. Everyone with a car will notice the extra nickel a gallon, however. It might comfort some Texans to think of it as a campaign contribution to Bush 2000, as the governor campaigns in other states on his tax-cutting record. WINK, WINK. According to a report by Joan Lowy of the Scripps Howard News Service, Governor Bush met privately with a dozen conservative Christian leaders in Washington in late September, to reassure them that his carefully constructed media image notwithstanding he is a social conservative. According to participants at the meeting, Bush repeated his position that abortion would not be a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees, but stressed that his track record of pro-life judicial appointments in Texas clearly demonstrated his philosophy. Because of 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 12, 1999