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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 24, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, December 24, 2005 FORUM Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958. Managing Editor Jeremy Pafford Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Business Manager Valerie Shields News Editor David Rupkalvis Our Opinion President is wrong on call monitoring The president should have taken the proper steps in having domestic telephone conversations monitored. rn ten word leaked out that President Bush has authorized the federal government to monitor telephone conversations of some Americans, the outcry was audible nationwide. What Bush did is not unusual — presidents have done it before — but it should put a level of fear in every American. As a matter of fact, it should flat out scare you. Monitoring telephone calls and e-mails of American citizens without oversight of either the courts or Congress is troubling. None of us should have to wonder if what we’re saying is being heard by the National Security Agency. There is no constitutional right to privacy, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be. The U.S. Constitution talks about a lot of things, including the right against illegal search and seizure, but stops short of guaranteeing privacy. Through the years, the document has changed many times. Perhaps the next change should be to guarantee that Americans have a right to some semblance of privacy. We understand why Bush wanted to monitor the calls of people thought to have contacts with terrorists and terror organizations. The nation is at war against people who operate in the shadows and would like nothing more than to obliterate our way of life. But there is a provision in place, the f oreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, that allows the government to get search warrants in private. The court is secret and fast and exists solely for the purpose of granting the warrants if the government has some legal bounds of asking for them. There are two primary issues to look at when considering the president’s actions — personal privacy and the power of government. By sidestepping the court, even if it was legal, Bush chose to increase the power of the government while limiting personal privacy. Bush and all of our government leaders need to remember that the power of the government is given by the people, not the other way around. We’re not convinced the people have given the president the power to eavesdrop on conversations without a court order. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Saturday, Dec. 24, the 358th day of 2005. There are seven days left in the year. This is Christmas Eve. Today’s Highlight in History: One hundred years ago, on Dec. 24,1905, future billionaire, aviator and filmmaker I loward Hughes was bom in Texas. On this date: In 1814, the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed die Treaty of Ghent in Belgium. In 1851, fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, DC., destroying about 35,000 volumes. In 1865, several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, Term., called the Ku Klux Klan. In 1943, President Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation Overlord. In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve television broadcast. In 1980, Americans remembered the U.S. hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds — one second for each day of captivity. ifth and rebirth caccgcArn. r«ocom. Ti I Just some    of tfiwe’d never forget... Letters to the Editor Man can’t serve two masters Many of our friends have been bewailing recendy the fact that the department stores and the shopping malls have eliminated all references to the Dec. 25 holiday as “Christmas.” Our friends are upset that not only has Christ been removed from Christmas, but also the word “Christmas” itself has been eliminated. But what should we expect? Didn’t Jesus Himself say, "No one can serve two masters.... You cannot serve Cmd and Mammon.”? Why should we expect the temples of Mammon to acknowledge Jesus? I don’t read in the Old Testament about Elijah complaining that the temples of Baal also should include a shrine to the Lord. He simply said to the people, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is, follow him!" C.S. Lewis wrote more than 50 years ago of a fictitious island call Niatirb. The inhabitants of this island celebrated a great pagan festival called Exmas. But a small group celebrated a different festival called Crissmas. He was of the opinion that these two festivals were totally unrelated. Perhaps it’s time that we made a choice to let the worshippers of Mammon worship him in their temples, while we worship the God who gave his son to save us. Bill Ball New Braunfels Tradition makes holiday special Every family has their own traditions that they enjoy each Christmas. I would like to share with you one tradition that my family continues each Christmas. On the Saturday before my father's birthday (Dec. 18) and my mother’s birthday (Dec. 21), our entire family of four generations gathers at my parents’ house to decorate their Christmas tree. We string popcorn and Fruit Loop garland and hang cookies and homemade ornaments (some of which are more than 30 years old) and candy canes. After the last ornament has been hung, we gather around the tree and listen to “The Story of the First Christmas” as told by Perry Como from his "Season’s Greetings from Perry Como” album. The entire room is completely silent, even the great-grandchildren, while we listen to this wonderful story. On behalf of the Brandt, Albrecht, Taylor, Hensley and Procknow families, we hope that you con tinue to celebrate your family Christmas traditions, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas! Tracey Procknow New Braunfels Bell-ringers are an inspiration I can’t understand why some area businesses will not allow the Salvation Army to ring their bells in front of their stores. The Salvation Army helps so many people. When I see those people giving freely of their time smiling and thanking everyone for whatever they can give, it inspires me to what Christmas is really about. So when I go shopping, I will target only the stores that have a bell-ringer. Ray Caldwell New Braunfels Think when you decorate trees If decorators of roadside Christmas trees can find the time during the busy holiday season, surely they can find the time to undecorate these trees as well. As Winter Prosapio’s story mentions (H-Z, Dec. 19), the Fox family was still removing hooks used from last year’s decorations. The shiny decorations and hooks are hazardous to wildlife who may ingest them. Why not decorate with items that might provide food or nesting materials for the animals that inhabit the area? Plastic items used for decorating also litter the area as they deteriorate. To the Fox family and other decorators — continue your family tradition of decorating the trees, and create a new tradition of restoring the trees to their natural splendor in January. Emily May (Janyon Lake LETTERS POLICY ■ Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to Editor c/o Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606-3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- United States Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey HUTCHISON Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fox: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web addreee: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 Texas Government GOVERNOR ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATEHOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 E-mail address: [email protected] STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512) 463-0125 E-mail address: [email protected] ■ Judith Zaffirini RO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262Clinton, other Democrats show total disregard for national security DICKMORMS Dick Morris was an adviser to Bill Clinton for 20 years. Anyone who wonders whether the Democratic Party in general and Sen. Hillary Clinton in particular are really tough on terror — or are just posing for the cameras — needs to look at the recent vote by the entire Democratic Senate delegation (excepting only Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and South Dakota’s Tim Johnson) to prevent closure of their filibuster against the Patriot Act extension. While the legislation President Bush proposed extends the entire act, certain key provisions are set to expire at year’s end. By voting to allow these provisions to lapse, the Democrats have shown a total disregard for national security. It is particularly galling that Sens. Clinton and Chuck Schumer — whose New York constituents are in the terrorists’ bull’s-eye — voted to let these vital protections expire. { low galling? One of the key provisions that was due to expire in less than two weeks is one that President Bill Clinton presented as the cornerstone of his response to the escalation of terrorism in the wake of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The measure allows “roving wiretaps” — so that the FBI can tap all phones a suspect uses, rather than just one specific number. Hillary’s vote to let this provision expire is incredible. Back in the 1990s, the Republican-controlled Congress refused to enact the legislation prompdy—and the Clintons excoriated the COP for dragging its feet on this vital proposal. After 9/11, the measure became law in the Patriot Act; it remains a centerpiece of the war on terror. Yet now Clinton, Schumer and the rest of the Democratic Party in the Senate voted to kill it. As a further Christmas anti-present to New Yorkers, Clinton, Schumer & Co. are also working to kill the Patriot Act provision that demolishes the infamous wall — erected by Clinton-era Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick—between those who investigate terrorism and those who prosecute suspects. The goal was to avoid tainting criminal prosecutions by avoiding the collection of evidence without a full search warrant. But the result was to keep the left hand from knowing what the right hand was doing when it came to preventing acts of terrorism — like the 9/11 attacks. As a result of the wall, the FBI was unable to access the personal computer of Zacarias Moussaoui when it had him in custody before 9/11; that laptop reportedly contained the names of other hijackers. Equally irresponsible is the criticism Democrats are leveling at President Bush for his use of National Security Agency wiretaps to catch terrorists. Before Clinton and Schumer criticize this policy, they’d do well to reflect on the fact that the Brooklyn Bridge might well be rubble, with thousands dead, if Bush did not use these wiretaps. In 2002, the Feds picked up random cell phone chatter using the words “Brooklyn Bridge” (which apparently didn’t translate well into Arabic). They notified the New York Police Department, wliich flooded the bridge with cops. Then the Feds overheard a phone call in which a man said things were “too hot” on the bridge to pull off an operation. Later, an interrogation of a terrorist allowed by the Patriot Act led cops to the doorstep of this would-be bridge bomber. (His plans would definitely have brought down the bridge, NYPD sources told me.) Why didn’t Bush get a warrant? On who? For what? The NSA wasn’t looking for a man who might blow up the bridge. It had no idea what it was looking for. It just intercepted random phone calls from people in the United States to those outside — and so heard the allusions to the bridge that tipped them off. In criminal investigations, one can target a suspect and get a warrant to investigate him. But this deductive approach is a limited instrument in fighting terror. An inductive approach, in which one gathers a mass of evidence and looks for patterns, is far more useful. But, if the Democrats are to be heeded, it will no longer be possible. Bye-bye, bridge. ;