It seemed odd therefore when “Baghdad Chris” Lupke, the PARD spokesman, attempted in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News yesterday to dismiss Chuck Millham’s allegations of PARD’s union ties:
I have no special expertise nor have I received any help, training, support or funding from any such national union movement. I am not a member of a union nor is anyone in my family.Lupke used the pronoun “I” four times in those two paragraphs. What about “PARD” or “we”? That, my friends, is a non-denial denial. “Nor is anyone in my family” was great, very reminiscent of Nixon’s famous “Checkers” speech.
At a recent Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development meeting, I asked if anyone was – no one raised their hand.
And what is Lupke running? A quiz show? Why ask for a show of hands at the PARD meeting? Isn’t he in a position to know whether or not PARD is receiving outside contributions from the UFCW or associated anti-Wal-Mart groups. Embarrassingly for Lupke and PARD, the day following Lupke's pathetic letter, a story ran in the Daily Evergreen about PARD’s screening of the anti-Wal-Mart movie directly contradicting this “denial”:
“It’s slavery,” said Anthony Walters, a representative of UFCW Local 1439, who answered questions after the video presentation. “When workers are kept in the workplace, forced to pay rent and utility fees that exceed their wages, it is slavery.”Whoa! Hey! Who let that guy in here?! BTW Brother Walters, anyone who works for Wal-Mart does so voluntarily. In Washington, state workers have to pay union fees, whether they are a member of the union or not, or face being fired. That may not be slavery, but it sounds like indentured servitude at the very least.
Lupke may have no special expertise in activism but some PARD members have written books and given papers at professional conclaves on the subject. The whole “we’re just plain folks” spiel is unseemly coming from former Fulbright scholar Lupke.
On a different note, according to the Evergreen article, there was a sighting of former city council candidate Gary “The Phantom Menace” Johnson at the PARD cinema absurdité event. As you may recall, Candidate Johnson refused all interviews from the media and did not appear at a public League of Women Voters candidate forum:
“Some people are discouraged because they feel the City Council is in favor of Wal-Mart,” said Gary Johnson, who has lived in Pullman for more than 40 years. “They figure, ‘Why speak up?’ ”Considering Johnson was outvoted by nearly a five-to-one margin by pro-Wal-Mart candidates in Ward 1, the statement should be rephrased to “Some people are encouraged because they feel the City Council is in favor of Wal-Mart. They figure, ‘Why vote for a PARD puppet regime?’”