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Major portions of the following news program have been produced by
Straight Facts Information Services as a service to KOOP Radio. 

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Good evening, and welcome to this special edition of  the KOOP
evening news program, produced by Straight Facts Radio, for August
2nd, 2000.

I'm Mark Wright.  Also reading the news tonight is Loi Medvin, from
"Radical Mothers' Voice".


Today's top story ... a major slap today against the "Family Values"
campaign and the move to replace teaching of the theory of evolution
with religious "creationism".

In Kansas, voters elected three candidates for the Kansas Board of
Education who promised to back science standards with a greater
emphasis on evolution   -  a move which, in the words of the
Associated Press, sent "a strong signal in the debate over how to
teach about the origin of life".


The current political frenzy is the upshot of a vote a year ago by the
Kansas Board of Education, which scrapped evolution as an
explanation for the origin of species from the state's science
\PAM BELLUCK NYT July 29, 2000\

Evolution is the almost universally accepted concept to explain the
origin of life and the development of living things.  As such, it's a
cornerstone in scientific understanding of virtually all life sciences.

The Kansas decision meant that evolution would not be included in the
state assessment tests that evaluate student performance  -  a move
expected to discourage teachers from devoting time to the subject. 

The board also removed from the curriculum the big bang theory of the
origin of the universe. 
\PAM BELLUCK NYT July 29, 2000\


Marxists warn that the Kansas events show the power of religious
reaction and obscurantism to throw human enlightenment into reverse.

In this case, last year's embrace of creationism represented a major
reactionary victory by the Family Values shock troops of the far right.

For capitalism, however, it's a big contradiction, because capitalist
profits are increased by technological development, and technological
development requires solid, real-world scientific knowledge.

Nevertheless, as the Kansas situation shows, the forces of reaction
are waiting in the wings, and have the capability to re-impose
measures from the Dark Ages when the needs of capitalism require


For now, however, there seems to have been something of a victory
for the Enlightenment.

Two Board of Education incumbents and another candidate who
support the state's current standards that downplay the importance of
evolution were defeated in Republican primaries yesterday. 

The lone incumbent survivor, Steve Abrams, helped write the
standards  -  but it appears he's isolated and outnumbered by board
members who back modern scientific education rather than religious

Today's election results pave the way for a potential reversal of the
religious-based standards.



Next ... an update on the reactionary push toward so-called "gun
control"  -  removing the right of the American public to possess

The top pretext for cracking down on access to firearms is supposedly
to reduce crime, by making it harder for criminal elements to get hold
of guns.

But, as today's 'Washington Post' reports, the most important piece of
federal legislation to restrict access to handguns  -  the Brady Act,
passed in 1994  -  has just been proven worthless in impacting so-
called "gun violence".

(quote) "The 1994 Brady law that regulates handgun purchases has
had no effect on firearm homicide and suicide rates in states that
previously had looser controls" says the 'Post' article.
\Guy Gugliotta Washington Post August 2, 2000\

Background checks and a five-day waiting period were key features of
the Brady legislation.


The 'Post' report cites a study in the Journal of the American Medical
Association which analyzes national homicide and suicide data from
1985 to 1997.
\Guy Gugliotta Washington Post August 2, 2000\

States were divided into two groups: 32 that in 1994 installed the
Brady law's handgun purchase controls, and 19 (including
Washington, D.C.) that already had Brady-style restrictions. 

(quote) "Our analyses provide no evidence that implementation of the
Brady Act was associated with a reduction in homicide rates" says the

And the researchers add that "We find no differences in homicide or
firearm homicide rates to adult victims in the 32 . . . states directly
subject to the Brady Act provisions compared with the remaining
control states."

It's an arrow to the heart of a key gun control pretext, according to the

(quote) "The study casts doubt on a pillar of the gun control movement
and provides a volatile addition to the politically charged debate ..."
says the 'Washington Post'.
\Guy Gugliotta Washington Post August 2, 2000\


As Straight Facts reports have noted, the 2nd Amendment to the US
Constitution -- in which the right to bear arms is embodied -- has
become more and more an embarrassment and inconvenience to the
ruling circles of modern-day imperialist America ... and whipping up the
hysteria the loudest against public gun ownership, ironically, are liberal
Democrats and many self-styled "progressives".

Equally ironically, it's rightwingers -- such as the rightist-dominated
National Rifle Association -- who've led the effort to keep the 2nd
Amendment intact and to maintain public access to guns.

James Jay Baker, the National Rifle Association's executive director
for legislative action, said the study (quote) "affirms what most
Americans already know is common sense.  Schemes like the Brady
waiting period have nothing to do with reducing criminal behavior." 
\Guy Gugliotta Washington Post August 2, 2000\

On the left, revolutionary Marxists, particularly those in the Spartacist
League and International Communist League, are virtually alone in
upholding the right to bear arms as an essential right of the working



Next ... more on the continuing crisis in capitalist Russia, now nearly
10 years after a counterrevolution overthrew the Soviet Union and its
socialized system.

As Straight Facts Radio reported Monday night, on KOOP's program
"Breaking the Silence", the result of capitalist counterrevolution in
Russia, and the rest of the former Soviet Union, has been economic
disaster and mass misery.

As we reported, the standard of living has plummeted; healthcare, and
the standard of health have plunged; diseases have spread; average
life expectancy has plummeted.

Poverty has exploded, with wages a pittance.

Russia's own State Statistics Committee reported that the average 
wage for Russian working people is now $82 a month  -  and, even at
that level, millions in the Russian workforce haven't been paid in many
\Associated Press/NYT July 31, 2000\

While mass conditions deteriorate, Russia's new capitalist economy
has been getting shakier.

The country's food production has plummeted, and analysts are
estimating that Russia's inflation rate could skyrocket to as high as 35

At the same time, a "cowboy capitalism" culture has emerged, with
crime syndicates controlling much of the nation's economic activity,
and corruption commonplace.


The free-for-all, rip-off environment is illustrated in the current absurd
battles over patent rights.

The controversy was detailed in a 'Washington Post' report this past
Sunday, which starts out with a multiple-choice question:
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\

When was the glass bottle invented?

A) Sometime around 1500 BC by Egyptian artisans ... 

B) In 12 AD by Chinese Emperor Wu Hezhou ... 


C) Just a  few months ago, in Moscow, by a company named Intellect.


Well, as you might already have surmised, the Russian company,
Intellect, managed to get ownership of the patent rights to the glass
bottle in Russia  -  even though, by its own admission, it's never made
a bottle! 

And it's certainly never "invented" a bottle of any kind.

According to the 'Washington Post', "Late last year, Intellect won a
patent from Russia's official patent office for 'glass containers.'  Not
just a specialized bottle in a fancy shape -- all bottles."
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\

And this past spring, says the 'Post', "the company sent letters to
Russian breweries informing them that use of a bottle requires
royalties to the tune of 0.5 percent of gross revenue from beer sales."
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\

The government's issuance of a patent to Intellect, and the company's
extortion-like demand for money, have ignited what the 'Post'
describes as "furious criticism from business people who are trying to
work in this country's fledgling capitalism."

(quote) "Ten years after communism's fall, laissez faire is far too tame
a phrase to describe Russia's business climate" says the 'Post'. 


The article goes on to give some of the flavor of unbridled "free
market" capitalism in the wonderful, new, supposedly "democratic"


In business here, the unimaginable is routine. Masked men carrying
weapons designed to destroy tanks can barge into your office
demanding back taxes -- and they might not even be from the tax
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\

According to the 'Post', small businesses are prey to numerous "fire
inspectors" who shake the proprietors down for cash. 

(quote) "In Russia, even receptionists wear flak jackets" the article

Sounds like the kill-or-be-killed world of capitalist competition, all right.


The problem, complains the 'Post', is that thing's weren't patented in
the previous, socialized economic system.

In a socialized system, human beings have the right to anything  -  and
that's a big problem when you get to capitalism, where everything must
be "owned" by somebody.

So "Russian business law is weak" moans the reporter.

Rospatent, Russian capitalism's government patent agency, is "hard at
work" trying to divvy out patent rights, but "Russia still lacks modern
patent laws" laments the 'Post'.
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\


Valery Makarov, the vice president of Intellect, says his company is
just doing good.

In an interview, Makarov insisted that money isn't the issue

Instead, he claimed, Intellect has a "mission" to bring Russia into the
modern world on patents. 
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\

According to the 'Post', "His logic is as follows: Under Soviet rule,
everything belonged to the state, including intellectual property. When
the Soviet Union collapsed, companies were privatized. But what
about ideas? Things? These are just floating around, unprotected."
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\

(quote) "We're trying to create a market of industrial property and to
make the market attractive to investors" says Makarov.


So Intellect has valiantly dedicated itself to the arduous task of taking
out patents on well-known objects and then seeking royalties for their

The company has patented such items as nails and railroad tracks,
reports the 'Post'. 
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\

It didn't mention whether a patent on the wheel might be next.

Last year, Intellect received its patent for glass containers by filing an
elaborate description of an object with "complex characteristics" says
the 'Post', illustrated by line drawings of "oblique conic sections." 
What it boiled down to was ... bottles. 
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\


With its patent on bottles in hand, the company then put the bite on
the rest of Russian industry.

"We looked around and saw a number of items that came under our
patent" said Makarov.
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\

"We wrote 11 breweries and offered to cooperate with them." 


The company is salivating over the prospect of raking in royalty
revenue on the bottles it has patented, but never invented.

>From breweries alone, that would amount to about $8 million a year.

Makarov particularly relished the idea of putting the tap on big
companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

But Russian brewers "view all this as hogwash" says the 'Washington

(quote) "It's as if they had patented the word `mother' and then
charged for it" said the director of one big Moscow brewery.
\Daniel Williams Washington Post July 30, 2000\


And that concludes the Straight Facts edition of the news, produced by
Straight Facts Radio.

The next Straight Facts edition of "KOOP Evening News" is scheduled
for broadcast on August 16th.

Stay tuned for the remaining half of tonight's news program, in just a
moment, produced by Texas Association for Public Transportation.

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And that brings us to the end of tonight's edition of the "KOOP Evening
News" program.

Be sure to tune in again tomorrow evening at 5:30 for another edition
of the "KOOP Evening News".

The next edition of the "KOOP Evening News" produced by Straight
Facts Radio will be broadcast on August 16th.

And stay tuned for "Left-In-Sight", coming next, right here on KOOP
Austin, 91.7 MHz.

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