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By WILLIAM M. BRINTON

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There, Speaker Gingrich was the leader of the seventy-three freshman members elected in 1994. These were the Republican firebrands of the right who would not budge until they get a balanced budget by 2002. They inflicted a lot of damage on each other and the Republican Party. These ideologues failed to predict how President Clinton might react to a threat of default by the United States. He made it plain to the ideologues, but they didn't believe him. The failure was a major political miscalculation by the Republican leadership in the House.

Almost without exception, they have lost, paying fines or being enjoined from any further violations of law. The Clean Water Act of 1972 is under attack now, not by those who pollute rivers and streams, but by Congress itself. Another law enacted by Congress is in danger of repeal, the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It has been used by environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund to halt clear cutting old-growth timber stands in Washington, Oregon, and California. The Northern Spotted Owl, specifically protected by the ESA, has been more than a symbol of resistance to this practice which leaves grotesque areas barren of any trees.

In early 1996, its government agency bought 2 million metric tons of wheat from America. American business concerns are eager to import goods manufactured by cheap Chines labor. They are pouring money into Chinese special economic zones to build plants where workers are paid less than a living wage to turn out everything from toys to clothing for export to the United States. China also looks to Boeing for commercial jets in the passenger trade. Beijing however, extorts know-how and high-skill jobs from Boeing and other manufacturers of technology.

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