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POLITEX: BUSH EXPLOITS THE HUNGRY FOR POLITICAL GAIN: Last month in Iowa George W. Bush called upon the Clinton administration to move quickly to get an $800 million allocation of surplus food to hungry nations. "This administration and the Department of Agriculture must move quickly and expeditiously to spend that money and move our food to people who need it all across the world," the Texas governor said. Apart from seeing Bush's message as an early allusion to Thanksgiving, it also had political meaning. Iowa voters could use a government buy-out of their surplus grain, which has created an historic low in commodity prices. (AP) However, although there are more hungry people in Texas than all but one state in the union, the governor made no note of any need in his own state. During Bush's tenure as governor, the percentage of poor Texans not receiving food stamps has more than doubled from 25 percent in 1995 to 56 percent in 1999, according to a recent study by the Texas Department of Human Services. (FWST)

It is estimated that 1.1 million children in Texas are hungry or at risk of hunger 32% of all Texas children. (CPPP) Rather than calling on Clinton to help feed hungry Texans, Bush indicated that in this country "faith-based programs have historically played a crucial role in feeding the hungry," but did not account for the failure of either his administration or the state's faith-based institutions to deal with Texas' hunger problem. For more information, see "Bush Lax on Hunger in Texas"11/18/99

Carlos Guerra has recently added to the above: "As we laud Gov. Bush's concern for the world's hungry, let's not forget that some of those hungry people are American. "Most people think of hungry people and homeless people as the same, the problem of hunger reaches far beyond homelessness," Bread for the World reports. "In a time when our economy is especially strong, more than 10 percent of U.S. households do not have access to enough food for an active healthy life, and are forced to choose between relying on emergency food sources or going hungry. Children account for nearly 40 percent of this group."

"Where are these Americans? In "Measuring Food Security in the United States," the U.S. Department of Agriculture studied hunger in America from 1996 through 1998. Texas had the dubious distinction of having the second-highest percentage of households 13 percent with "food insecurity," or the inability to meet basic food needs at all times. As for homes with "food insecurity with hunger," or "the uneasy or painful sensation caused by a lack of food (and) the recurrent and involuntary lack of access to food," Texas ranked No. 1." (SAEN)

Exploiting Kids Behind Bars: " While Gov. George W. Bush and supporters of his 'get tough' juvenile justice policies are celebrating Texas's juvenile crime drops ['Youth Feel the Force of a Vow Kept,' Washington Post, Nov. 9], similar and greater declines in youth arrests have been witnessed in jurisdictions that haven't increased the number of youth behind bars. For example, in the District, the number of kids in locked detention fell from 450 in 1990 to a little more than 100 by 1996. During the same period, the number of kids arrested for homicide in the District dropped 67 percent, from 69 to 23. The juvenile homicide arrest rate continues to drop, and the number of detention beds hovers around 100. Meanwhile, in Texas, where Gov. Bush tripled the number of juvenile beds in locked detention to 4,446, the juvenile homicide rate dropped by a less impressive 43 percent (from 163 to 92). Juvenile crime rates are dropping everywhere, and while a number of reasons explain the decline, simply locking up more kids isn't one of them." Jason Ziedenberg, Policy Analyst, The Justice Policy Institute, Washington,D.C., 11/22/99

EXPLOITING SICK PEOPLE." In Texas, the state medical association bankrolled enough [Republican] candidates to win a majority on its Supreme Court. When the [Republican] court ruled 5 to 3 for a hospital on a controversial negligence case, the association claimed victory. Texas Chief Justice Thomas Phillips was troubled by the decision, although he says he does not think the donations were a factor." [Phillips did not say if he considered Bush's new Tort laws which favor the hospital over the plaintiff a factor.] 11/22/99, U.S. NEWS

EXPLOITING HUMAN RIGHTS: Yesterday on CNN George W. Bush indicated that human rights would not be a priority of foreign trade in a Bush administration. "The issue of human rights was broached by the CNN interviewer, who asked the governor if special provisions should be included in trade agreements to hold offending countries 'accountable' for employing 'slave labor' or allowing poor environmental practices. 'I think what the working people (in the United States) ought to understand is that free trade will yield higher paying, higher quality jobs in America,' Bush responded." (HC) 11/19/99

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