Quoted from appended article:
Her year-long fellowship at Hoover was followed by another at the Political Economy Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, Mont., an outfit whose website displays the motto "Free Market Solutions to Environmental Problems." PERC advocates selling off national parks to private firms (Disney, perhaps?) and publishes a "parent's guide to teaching children about the environment that is intended to "counter the environmental movement's indoctrination of the nation's youth in public schools." One of PERC's major funders is David Koch.
If you wish to learn more about Interior Secretary Gale Norton, do read on.
Please note, this article appears to make one important mistake. The woman identified as "Marci Albright" is, I believe, actually "Marti Albright".
And why is this important? Perhaps you haven't even heard of Ms. Albright. That's a problem.
Marti Albright was recently appointed to head the "Take Pride in America" initiative, a join partnership between the wise-use American Recreation Coalition and Ms. Norton aimed to advance the cause of privatization through volunteerism.
The more one learns about TPIA, the more frightening this program becomes. A superficial glance might lead one to conclude that TPIA was benign, if not beneficial. And how very very wrong you'd be if you were to come to that conclusion.
--- begin quoted---
Laura Flanders is the host of "Your Call" heard on KALW-FM in San
Francisco, and on the Internet, and author of Bushwomen: Tales of a
Cynical Species, forthcoming from Verso Books in March 2004.
(Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Laura Flander's new book, "Bushwomen," published by Verso Books.)
Once upon a time, Gale Ann Norton campaigned against the national security state.
An ambitious young lawyer with a radical world view, she wanted to
legalize marijuana and end the censorship of porn. As for troops
abroad, she backed a presidential candidate who would have brought
every last soldier home. He opposed Ronald Reagan, called for a ban on
nuclear weapons and pledged to dissolve just about every acronym agency
in Washington, including the EPA, the Department of Energy and most
definitely the FBI and the CIA.
Two decades later, the same Gale Norton is a federal agent herself, a
cabinet secretary in a Republican administration that has expanded
federal police powers as never before. Spying, infiltration, even
military tribunals are back. The young Norton would have scoffed at any
attempt to call an occupation abroad and Big Brother at home patriotic,
but Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, seems quite happy to play
little sister to George W. Bush's Big Bro.
In January, 2001, Ruth Bennett watched her friend's Senate confirmation
with a smile. "Gale always was very bright, ambitious and hardworking,"
says Bennett, a Libertarian who lives in Washington state. Bennett's
the sort of Libertarian who supports the transfer of federal lands into
private hands. On that, she and Norton once agreed. In 1979-80, they
toiled endless hours on the presidential campaign of Ed Clark, the
great presidential hopeful of the fledging Libertarian Party. Norton
coordinated Clark's Colorado state campaign. It was, as Bennett puts
it, an "all-out" affair. The LP was determined to rattle the monopoly
interests of the entrenched two-party system, raise a banner for
individual liberties, and to evict Washington from the public's
That Norton should come to join the Republican Party, assume a spot in
a cabinet next to Christian moralizers like John Ashcroft, and become
the nation's largest landlord-with control over some 500 million acres
of parks, wilderness and wildlife refuges is ironic, Bennett admits,
but it is not altogether a surprise.
"People change, beliefs change. I think she saw a way to get into a position where she could wield some power," Bennett says.
Ron Arnold agrees that Norton has been through what he calls, "a series
of metamorphoses." Arnold, executive director of the Center for Defense
of Free Enterprise, is the official biographer of Norton's mentor and
predecessor at Interior, James Watt. Arnold authored the 1988 Wise Use
agenda which called for the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge to oil drilling, and the selling off of public parks.
"Gale started out as a super duper attorney fighting for the property
rights issues I care about," says Arnold. But then she went astray:
"She went to work for the government and took an oath to serve. You
never keep a friend when they move to Washington," says Arnold.
The good news for Arnold (if not for Bennett) is that in Norton,
so-called "property rights" advocates still have a friend. She has not
given up on the "Wise Use" agenda; she has just found a way inside
government to pursue anti-government goals. Sure enough, she told the
Senate confirmation committee that she looked forward to managing the
"untamed wilderness of Alaska" as a "beautiful and special place." But
once confirmed, a beautiful place for oil drilling turned out to be
what she had in mind. She still talks about individual freedoms; they
tend to be the freedoms of miner, the driller, the corporate rancher,
that's all. The freedom of the pot smoker or the war resister has long
gone by the by.
Gale Norton was born in Wichita, Kan. in 1954, a baby boom child,
daughter of Dale and Anna Jacqueline Norton. Her father received his
professional training on the public purse, learning aviation mechanics
in the U.S. Army. He parlayed his skills into a lifetime of jobs in
private business, working for the aviation firms Cessna, Beech
Aircraft, and for more than decade, Learjet. When Gale was five, the
Nortons moved to Thornton, a liberal suburb outside Denver. These were
the days of population growth and city sprawl and construction-boom
galore. The demand for power and energy was rising, and private
companies working on government contracts made out like bandits with
backhoes. As far as families like the Nortons were concerned, they
weren't rich (they lived in a trailer when they first moved to town)
but the American Dream was alive and well; it was playing at the
movies, too, and John Wayne starred.
At the height of the Vietnam War, eager to distract from the
environmental devastation and human carnage in Southeast Asia,
President Nixon took the temperature of the times and hit a Green-note
his 1970 State of the Union. "The 1970s absolutely must be the years
when America pays its debt to the past by reclaiming the purity of its
air, its waters and our living environment," Nixon told Congress. "It
is literally now or never."
Gale Norton was 16, a high school "A" student, an outspoken kid,
according to her teachers, who "wasn't Miss Popularity by any means."
She spent little time on dating, but did take time off to protest the
Vietnam war. Born the same year as her cabinet colleague Condoleezza
Rice, Norton was a few years behind her in college, but they both
attended Denver University. In 1975, Rice received her BA and graduated
with a degree in political science and a husband, Harold Everett Reed,
a man four years her senior.
Marci Albright knew Norton then. Albright attended D.U. undergraduate
and D.U. law alongside Gale. In the 1990s, she served as her friend's
chief deputy in the state Attorney General's office and in 2003, she
followed Norton to the Department of the Interior.
"Gale was always extremely bright," says Albright now. Norton worked on
the transportation law journal, rather a dry area of the law, Albright
agrees, but "You have to understand. Gale was always very interested in
Norton's marriage with Reed was on the rocks. Personal differences and
changed priorities drove them apart, Norton has said. (Reed was outed
in 1993 by a local gay magazine, Out Front, which described him as
"having been seen over the years in a variety of leather outfits." )
It was really tough everywhere for women in law school in those years,
and "Denver was no exception," says Albright. Norton was not only a
woman, but she was married, heading for a divorce, ambitious and alone.
No wonder she fell for Ayn Rand.
Norton has said that it was Ayn Rand's 1943 novel The Fountainhead that
turned her away from the collectivism of the anti-war set and on to
"I liked the philosophy based on individuality," said Norton. One
assumes she's talking about the male individuality in The Fountainhead.
The heroine in Rand's classic is "taken by force," by Rand's hero,
Howard Roark. A brilliant, ambitious architect, Gary Cooper played
Roark in the film.) Roark's "taking" of Dominque Francon is all part of
his struggle against the forces of obscurity and conformism. He gains
individual recognition and acclaim. (Francon, for her part, comes to
submit to his power and brilliance.)
Something clicked, says Norton. It must have been the click of
wish-fulfillment. At the time, Norton and the rest of the females in
her class were in an uphill battle for recognition. "We all wondered if
firms would hire us when we got out, or if we'd be shunted off to
paralegal work," says Albright. The firm that hired Albright had never
hired a woman before. Once in the workforce, success depended, she
says, on differentiating oneself from other females.
"We felt compelled to wear the same business suits and Oxford shirts as
the men, and those loopy feminized ties... We had to fit in with the
male establishment to distinguish ourselves from the legal secretaries."
It came as no surprise to Albright when Norton signed up with the new
policy shop in town: Mountain States Legal Foundation. James Watt, an
outspoken Denver lawyer was the group's first president. He claims
Norton "sought us out." They were a perfect match. Norton wanted
influence in the policy world and nothing to do with the public
interest outfits that were just then absorbed with equal opportunity
issues of collective rights of women and minorities. And she suited
MSLF's agenda. A smart, male-identified, blonde, blue-eyed woman,
Norton was an attractive spokesperson for a New Right movement that was
eager to distinguish itself from its ineffective brothers in the male
supremacist Old Right.
Watt told the Denver Post that Norton came off well in a job interview.
"I was so impressed with her, but I didn't know what a libertarian she
was," he said. A colleague of Watt's told him that "A Libertarian is
just a conservative Republican who smokes grass." When he asked Norton
about it, she laughed. "She said she didn't smoke grass but it gave the
right connotation." If she didn't smoke grass, Watt should have been
especially impressed. Avoiding marijuana in Norton's circles at the
time was quite an accomplishment.
The Libertarian Party was founded in Denver in 1972. Stressing
individual freedom above all else, Libertarians favored an unregulated
economy, an end to all laws governing private behavior between
consenting people, a return to the gold standard, "freedom of choice"
in abortion, quitting the United Nations, and opposition to the draft.
"Yes, I was an active Libertarian," Norton told a reporter in 1994.
"But then I decided to go into practical politics."
A "senior attorney" at the age of 25, at Mountain States, Norton helped
file lawsuits disputing Interior Department grazing permits and
Environmental Protection Agency clean air rules. With Watt, she
submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that challenged the
constitutionality of the Surface Mining Act. She represented the state
of Louisiana's bid to repeal the Crude Oil Windfall Profits tax on oil
companies which passed during the Carter administration. She worked on
the case with Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago
Law School, an up-and-coming libertarian legal scholar.
Policy-wonk that she was, Norton also immersed herself in what was then
a rather obscure backwater of property-rights debate. She took up what
is called the "takings" issue, and helped to craft an argument that the
Fifth Amendment of the Constitution requires the government to pay
polluters not to violate environmental laws, and "compensate" timber
companies for the old growth trees they are not allowed to log.
Norton's mentor Epstein, in a 1985 book on "takings" argued that along
with environmental laws, minimum wage laws and labor codes, building
permits, even income taxes were a form of "takings" that should be
compensated. The advantages to the corporations, like Coors, that
underwrote such work were obvious. In fact, a study published in the
Yale Law Journal in 1984 revealed that in 24 of the cases on their
docket, MSLF advocated positions that "directly benefited corporations
represented on their board of directors, clients of firms represented
on its board of litigation, or major contributors to the MSLF's budget."
Norton's work at Mountain States was rewarded in 1983 by a fellowship
from Stanford University's Hoover Institute. There again just like
Condoleezza Rice, Norton was given free time to explore new policy
possibilities and legal loopholes in the environmentalists' rules.
Among other things, she studied what was then the novel idea of
changing air-pollution laws to permit industries to exchange "emissions
credits." Under George W. Bush, the idea was written into the Clean Air
Her year-long fellowship at Hoover was followed by another at the
Political Economy Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, Mont., an outfit
whose website displays the motto "Free Market Solutions to
Environmental Problems." PERC advocates selling off national parks to
private firms (Disney, perhaps?) and publishes a "parent's guide to
teaching children about the environment that is intended to "counter
the environmental movement's indoctrination of the nation's youth in
public schools." One of PERC's major funders is David Koch.
By the time the Louisiana "Windfall Profits" case (U.S. v. Ptasynski)
came to be heard in Washington, Norton's former boss Watt was serving
in the Reagan administration. Busy at the Department of Interior, he
made time to watch his former employee argue her case before the
Justices. Norton lost, but she attracted the eye of Washington and Watt
says he lobbied for the administration to bring her on board.
"The first position (we) put her in was over at (the U.S. Department
of) Agriculture," he told the Denver Post in 1994. She arrived in 1984.
By then, things had become pretty hot for Reagan's anti-regulatory
regulators. Watt himself was burning up.
Ham-handedness just wasn't going to cut it. After Watt exited in ignominy, Norton came to town.