Political intelligence and other oxymorons

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1995:

The Green Scissors Coalition,
led by Jill Lancelot of the National
Taxpayers Union Foundation and Ralph
DeGennaro of Friends of the Earth, has
recommended to Congress a series of bud-
get cutbacks that would trim $33 billion
from the federal budget over the next
decade-plus with benefits for wildlife
habitat. The cuts aren’t likely to be made,
however, as they include irrigation subsi-
dies to big landowners in Republican-
dominated southern California and would
require significant amendment of the
Mining Law of 1872, any changes to
which have been fought by the wise-use
lobby. The law allows mining firms to
buy mineral rights to federal land for
under $5.00 an acre, while paying no roy-
alties on the proceeds of what they extract.

“The National Rifle Associat-
ion is the reason the Republicans con-
trol the House,” President Bill Clinton
told the Cleveland Plain Dealer a few
days after going duck hunting in an admit-
ted bid to curry favor with gun owners.
“The fight for the assault weapons ban
cost 20 Democrats their seats in
Congress.” Responded NRA lobbyist
Tanya Metaska, “For once the president
and I agree.” The assault weapons ban and
other key provisions of the 1994 Crime
Bill that included it are considered likely
to be repealed in March. Other tradeoffs
for the assault weapons ban included
allowing hunting in the East Mojave as
part of the price of the California Desert
Protection Act, and the inclusion of a fed-
eral hunter harassment act within the
Crime Bill––not likely to be repealed.
referendum measure
approved in November by 68% of
Nevada voters requires the state to collect
sales tax on all goods sold by charities,
including the proceeds of thrift shops and
yard sales. “There is some effort being
made to change it,” says Pete Bachstadt of
the Carson/Eagle Valley Humane Society.
“One bright spot for environmental-
i s t s , in the new Congress, says
Common Ground, “is Senator John
Chaffee, the Rhode Island Republican,
who takes over the Environment
Committee. Chafee’s record in support of
the Endangered Species Act is solid,”
and “will be critical in tempering endan-
gered species legislation coming out of”
the House Natural Resources Committee,
headed by wise-user Don Young of
Alaska. Common Ground is a publication
of The Conservation Fund.
The Michigan-based Human-
itarians for Environmental & Animal
Laws Political Action Committee h a s
called upon newly formed national
P A C s set up by the Doris Day Animal
League and Humane Society of the U.S. to
pledge that they will “NOT fundraise in
any state that already has a viable PAC”
working for animal protection. “The last
thing we need is a replay of how the large
national groups and their ample budgets
for relentless direct mail take huge sums
out of local communities and states even
as the local and state animal protection
groups struggle to survive,” said HEAL-
PAC founder Eileen Liska––who added
that campaign financing reforms leading
to the abolition of PACs would be better
for animals anyway.
HEAL-PAC “has now been a
decisive factor in four elections in 1992
and 1994,” according to Eileen Liska.
Most notably, HEAL-PAC endorsement
apparently won Republican Sal Rocca a
seat in the Michigan House in 1992 after
his opponent ridiculed his support for an
animal protection bill; and in a turnabout,
a HEAL-PAC endorsement helped
Democrat George Hart keep his seat in the
Michigan Senate last fall,
after Republican challenger Nancy Hubbard
attacked his support of a bill to prevent
carrying unrestrained dogs in the backs of
pickup trucks.
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