New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 4, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
’age 4A ■ Tuesday, April 4, 1995
I To talk with Interim Managing Editor Roger Coteau about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, ext. 21
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"Our freedoms, bought with blood by the first Americans and protected with the lives of thousands of others since, are forever mortgaged. Mortgaged to the will of the American people."
— Jean Otto, editor, 1991
I T O R
Not much of areason
Elevating director of the CIA to Cabinet level is not justified
It is President Clinton’s prerogative to elevate the director of the Central Intelligence Agency to Cabinet level, as he has said he will do for his latest nominee to head the agency, Deputy Defense Secretary John M. Deutch. But the wisdom of that decision is questionable.
The agency has been out of control for a long time, and since the end of the Cold War, the need for the CIA has been seriously questioned. Director James Woolsey, who came in to clean house in the wake of the Aldrich Ames scandal, was instead swept out in less than two years, unable to rescue the agency’s tattered reputation, let alone provide evidence that there is a reason to retain the agency as a separate intelligence entity.
In some ways, the CIA has become a joke. The agency evidently has so little to do that it was recently reported that its agents were spending their time trying to get the French to import more Walt Disney movies.
In other ways, the CIA is not a joke, but an anachronistic embarrassment to the nation. Last week, The Associated Press reported, a member of the House Intelligence Committee claimed that the CIA used as a paid informant a Guatemalan colonel who ordered the murders of an American hotel operator and a Guatemalan guerrilla leader married to a U.S. citizen. ...
Given the tatterdemalion image of the spook agency, Clinton should have a better reason to elevate the CIA director to Cabinet status than that Deutch insisted. But he doesn’t, other than to give the director access to the president that Woolsey lacked. While placing Deutch in the Cabinet might acc omplish that, it also sets up a conflict between the direct r’s role as analyst and his Cabinet role as policy maker, and it guarantees nothing.
(This editorial first appeared in the Austin American-Statesman.)
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Not everything is black and white
Nancy Logan, Ph.D.
In the past several weeks, I’ve been sharing some ideas about how the way we talk to ourselves affects our moods, in particular related to depression. This area is so important to understanding and alleviating the many types of emotional distress that I will continue to address it.
Typical depressed thinking also includes “black or white,” or “all or none” thinking. This style of thinking, where something is judged to either be good or bad, is an excellent recipe for distress! Furthermore, this thinking is inaccurate, for most everything is actually “shades of gray.”
Let me give an example. Suppose you hear that a co-worker is upset with you for making an error at work. Someone skilled in black-or-white thinking could easily interpret this to be a horrible situation. One way to be sure it’s as bad as it can get is to allow yourself to think you are totally incompetent and should never have a job because you always mess up. Furthermore, you can think that the situation is hopeless and there is nothing you can do about it...it’s awful and you are bad. This way you can be really mad at yourself, and support your self-loathing thoughts.
Another self-defeating way of thinking about this situation which supports depression is to just discard the information and be mad that someone is saying
something bad about you. This way you can be really mad at someone else, and support your other-loathing thoughts which make you feel unsafe and alone.
Additionally, although we all know (and have painfully experienced) the distortion of a message as it passes through a number of people, you would avoid asking the person directly yet respectfully if she or he had a problem with your work. You would believe the rumor as a truth, without confirmation or explanation. Then you could be mad at work or other co-workers too, and loathe your job.
In contrast, if you could allow yourself to be imperfect, and allow others to be imperfect also without being “bad,” you could address the situation differently. You could pause and reflect about the feedback, recognize what parts may be true, and then plan to improve. You could be doing a good but imperfect job (gray, not black or white). We can all assume that we will make mistakes every day, although hopefully not the big mistakes. We are imperfect but striving people as a whole. Sometimes we do better than others, but most of the time there are people who could do it better, and people who would not do it as well.
Instead of being mad at the person who supposedly spread the rumor or gave you the negative feedback about your work performance, perhaps you could discuss with them what their concerns are. Most other people are not “bad,” but imperfect, striving people like ourselves. Your personalities may clash, and you may never be really close friends, but you can treat others with respect and care for yourself at the
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same time. Others are usually not good or bad, but shades of gray.
Finally, anything that comes in the form of a rumor has questionable accuracy. Perhaps meeting with the person who supposedly made the comment would help clarify if, in fact, there is a problem, and what it is if there is one. Problems at work are frequently a difference of the way people think things should be done, and if these can be discussed as a difference in ideas rather than who is right and who is wrong, solutions come far more easily.
If die job doesn’t match our interests or skills, maybe another job would be better! That doesn’t mean you are a failure, it means you could perhaps have done better work or maybe demands of the job don’t match your skills well. Shades of gray.
People who are depressed tend to evaluate others and themselves in “all or none,” “good or bad” thinking. This contributes to self-loathing (when we label ourselves as “bad”), alienation from others (when we label others as “bad”), and inability to solve problems (when we label the situation as “bad” and unalterable). Conversely, when we evaluate ourselves and others with shades of gray rather than the extremes of “good” or “bad,” we are better able to make appropriate changes in our lives and/or behavior; better able to remain respectful of ourselves and others; and better able to resolve problems. Optimism, hope and closeness with others and healthy love of self are the payoffs.
(Nancy Logan is a Psychologist who lives in New Braunfels.)
Democrats flex muscle in risky strategy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats voted in droves against tenn-lim-it and balanced-budget amendments to the Constitution, the two most popular items on the Republican agenda. TTiey have proven they’re capable of thwarting the GOP majority, but at what price?
HouseSpeaker Newt Gingnch and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole vow that it will be a high one. Both have made raw political threats aimed at Democrats they blame for the two failures. Gingrich, R-Ga., has even suggested Democrats have a political death wish.
At first glance it’s hard to fathom a political rationale for lining up en masse against constitutional amendments that have 70 percent-plus support in public opinion polls.
But Republicans were rewarded rather than penalized in the last election after killing off legislation. They blocked health care reform and several oilier major initiatives late last fall. And Democrats are banking on the same kind of success.
“They’re saying no, no, no,” said Republican pollster Bill Mclnturff.
Today in history
"They are systematically imitating what they perceive to be the Republican behavior of 1994.”
The objective is to suggest that Republicans are incapable of delivering the changes they promised. The risk is that Democrats could be viewed as the reason why.
That didn’t slop 80 percent of them from voting against limiting their own terms. Gingrich chalked up the massive Democratic opposition to cynical selfinterest while insisting that dozens of GOP opponents acted on high principle. In fact both parties made the same arguments against the proposition: essentially that it was anti-democratic and unnecessary.
“If they (voters) want to get rid of any of us, they can. And I might add, they are doing a pretty good job of it,” quipped House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo. Until this year, he was the majority leader.
Gephardt contends term limits won’t be nearly as important to voters as jobs, wages, education, health care and
crime. “He should quit meeting with Democratic consultants," Gingrich retorted on hearing this.
One of those consultants, pollster Mark Mellman, said term limits don’t even rate an asterisk when people are asked to name the most important problems facing the country. “I’m not convinced they’re going to be decisive” in the next election, he said.
The balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution got its requisite two-thirds majority in the House, only to be stopped dead in the Senate by a one-vote margin. Opponents included a sole Republican — Mark Hatfield of Oregon — and six Democrats who had previously supported the amendment.
Few Democrats argued against it on constitutional grounds. Instead many withheld their votes after Republicans refused to put the Social Security mist fund explicitly off-limits to budget-cutters.
“There is satisfaction in the realization that we’re protecting something that the American people feel very strongly about," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. “I think
Republicans are just as vulnerable politically as any Democrat who may have voted against it, as long as they’re unwilling to take Social Security out of the calculation."
Public support for a balanced-budget amendment drops sharply when people are asked if Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements should be cut in order to erase the federal deficit. The findings lead even some Republican strategists to conclude that Democrats may fend off campaign attacks on the issue.
A nonpartisan researcher, polling director Andy Kohut of the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press, agreed with Democrats that people generally are more concerned about issues like crime and wages than political reforms such as term limits and a balanced budget amendment.
On the other hand, Kohut said, those reforms are extremely important to the independent-minded voters who supported Ross Perot in the last presidential election. And, as he pointed out, “both parties need them.”
By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, April 4, the 94th day of 1995. There are 271 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 4,1968, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death in Memphis, Tenn. He was 39.
On this date:
In 1818, Congress decided the flag of the United States would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.
In 1841, President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugur
al, becoming the first U.S. chief executive to die in office.
In 1850, the city of Los Angeles was incorporated.
In 1887, Susanna Medora Salter became the first woman elected mayor of an American community — Argonia, Kan. ,
In 1902, British financier Cecil Rhodes left $10 million in his will to provide scholarships for Americans at Oxford University.
In 1945, 50 years ago. U.S. forces liberated the Nazi death camp Ohrdruf in Germany.
In 1945, U.S. troops on Okinawa encountered the first significant resistance from Japanese forces.
In 1949,12 nations, including the United States,
signed the North Atlantic Treaty.
In 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves tied Babe Ruth’s home-run record by hitting his 714th round-tripper in Cincinnati.
In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a U.S. Air Force transpor plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crashed short ly after take-off from Saigon.
In 1979, Zulfikar AH Bhutto, the deposed prim< minister of Pakistan, was hanged after he was con victed of conspiring to murder a political opponent Five years ago: Secretary of State James Bake began three days of talks in Washington with hii Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, to dis cuss the Lithuanian crisis and arms control issues.