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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 19, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Page A ^'HrrALD-ZeiTUNG ^" Sunday, January 19, 2003Forum Contact Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland, 625-9144 ext. 220 Nkw Braunfels Herald-Zeitung 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. Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Gary E. Maitland, Managing Editor (830) 625-9144 Other views V $ IX s n I Houston Chronicle on Texas clean air legislation: l" Clean air is not the sexiest subject the Legislature will be taking up this session, but it is every bit as important as the higher-profile issues of school . „ finance, insurance coverage and medical malprac-'v tice. Cutting various types of emissions in Texas so 1 that the air we breathe meets federal mandates by 2007 will require legislators to find at least an extra $100 million or so to fund the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan. When we talk about clear air, we’re not just talking about clearer views and fresher smells, about mornings that hint of lemon-fresh bars of soap. We’re talking about better health for everybody who breathes, and that’s every Texan in the state. Almost two-thirds of Texans live in nonattainment zones, meaning two out of three Texans (men and women, children and the elderly) are breathing air that is unhealthy for them, air that will literally shorten lives. "There are arguments over various aspects of the state’s clean-air plan. There is even a provision that will permit a midcourse correction next year, when more scientific research on the causes and treatment of air pollution has been completed. Let’s not continue to argue over the plan or try to take it apart piece of piece. ... We cannot wait to get started on doing what we can to clean up our air. The Legislature, facing a multibillion-dollar shortfall, will have some tough economic choices to make. Failing to fund clean-air programs, however, is not an option. The clock is ticking on when the state must come into compliance The easy part, planning and talking, is over. Clean air doesn’t come without a cost. Neither does dirty air. Today In History- By The Associated Press On Jan. 19, 1853, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “ll Tro-vatore" (perhaps best known for its “Anvil Chorus”) premiered in Rome. • On this date: • In 1736, James Watt, in-; ventor of the steam engine, ; was born in Scotland. ; In 1807, Robert E. Lee, ; the commander-in-chief of ; the Confederate armies, ; was born in Stratford, Va. \ In 1809, author Edgar \ Allan Poe was bom in Boston. ; In 1861, Georgia seceded ‘ from the Union. ; In 1944, the federal gov-; eminent relinquished control of the nation’s railroads Policy following settlement of a wage dispute. In 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India. In 1981, the United States and Iran signed an agreement paving the way for the release of 52 Americans held hostage for more than 14 months. Five years ago: During a ceremony in Atlanta commemorating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Vice President Gore announced that the Clinton * administration would propose increasing spending on civil rights by $86 million. The Herald-Zeitung encourages the submission of letters. letters must be 250 words or fewer, and the Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. An address and telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor c/othe Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 606-3413 e-mail: [email protected] Accept tax scraps, but do so under protest Any tax cut without an equivalent spending cut is a con job. Whatever money the tax cut provides will have to be paid back with interest. The government doesn’t grow money on trees. What it spends it has to get by taxing us or by borrowing from that great fraud, the Federal Reserve System. President George W. Bush, the alleged conservative, has gone from a government surplus to a government deficit and intends to go right on creating an ever-larger annual deficit while at the same time making no effort whatsoever to reduce the national debt. In the long run, this is economically injurious. Apparently, he intends to go down the same path as Lyndon Johnson and have his guns as well as his butter — and put it all on the cuff for future generations to pay. Bad economics. Worse morality. All of the above also applies to the Democratic alternative. The intellectual sterility of both of our major parties is appalling. They can’t get past simple bribery by their respective spe-cial-interest groups. Somebody ought to tell all of them that an economy whose main problem is excess capacity will not perk up by handing out piddling amounts of cash to consumers who are up to their ears in debt from having already bought far more than they need of just about every adult toy you can think of. There are better ways to stimulate economic activity. One is to reverse this free-trade business — another example of fraud. Free trade simply Write’Em President George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, D.C. 20500 U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Dallas Room 284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 8023 Vantage Drive, Charley Reese means corporations off-shoring their manufacturing to cheap-labor countries, eliminating American jobs in the process. A good, stiff, punitive tariff on any product formerly made in the United States and now produced elsewhere would cure that problem. Another way would be to go ahead and socialize health care completely. This might sound strange for a conservative, but the fact is we have socialized medicine for the elderly and the indigent, and the struggling middle class has to pay for the care of those two groups, as well as its own. It is politically impossible to salvage free-enterprise medicine. Therefore, the government ought to go ahead and include the middle class in the socialized system. Of course, the only way to make that work is to socialize the doctors, too. You can’t have a system of socialized health care and millionaire doctors at the same time. In human affairs, there are some things that cannot be undone. Medicare and Medicaid killed the free-enter-prise health care system, and right now we all have to carry around its very expensive corpse. The govern ment should just set the fee schedules and hand everybody a health-insur-ance card, then adjust the tax rate to pay for it. The working middle class is already paying a health care tax but is receiving no benefit from it. The difference would still leave working families more of their own money for discretionary spending. Private health-insurance companies could just sell life insurance or go out of business. They’ve all become too expensive anyway. Finally, a constitutional amendment that forbids the U.S. armed forces from engaging in hostilities for any reason other than defense of the United States would save enormous amounts of money. The same amendment should forbid, with the exception of the Navy, the deployment of any members of the armed forces outside U.S. borders unless there is a declaration of war by Congress. We could then bring our soldiers home from the far-flung corners of the earth and tell the rest of the world that they are on their own — we’ve gone out of the world policeman/soeial-worker business. Of course, none of this will happen until we elect a better class of politicians. In the meantime, you might as well accept whatever scrap the politicians throw you in the way of tax cuts, though at least do it under protest. (Charley Reese is a syndicated columnist.) Suite 460 San Antonio, TX 78230 (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio Room 2231 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-4236 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210)821-5024 Governor Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin, TX 78711 (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 Texas State Representative Cartel Casteel, R-New Braunfels How to contact in Austin: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 463-5896 e-mail address: carter.casteel © house. state. tx. us Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 826-7800 Fax: (210) 826-0571 How to contact in Austin: (512)463-0125 Fax: (512) 463-7794 E-mail address: Jeff. Wentworth @ senate.state. tx.usTake to the streets to show opposition to war "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. ”— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. AUSTIN — Normally, making the case for peace over war requires the brain of a gnat. “Jaw, jaw,” said Winston Churchill, “is better than war, war.” There’s not much historical evidence that war does anyone any good: some rare cases of “just war” under St. Augustine’s definition. Mostly war (A) kills a lot of people, causing hard feelings; (B) doesn’t solve anything; (C) has hideous unintended consequences that often lead to more war. Avoid war if at all possible is the first rule of statesmanship. Conservatives are fond of pointing out there are problems in this world can’t be solved by throwing money at them. There are even more that can’t be solved by dropping bombs on them. We are in such a strange position here, preparing to attack a country that has neither attacked us nor threatened to attack us. President Bush calls his new doctrine “pre-emptive war,” but pre- Molly Ivins emptive war is what Israel did in 1967, with the Egyptian army massing on its borders. They attacked first under clear threat. John Ikenberry, professor of international relations at Georgetown University, told The Washington Post that this administration has embarked on something “quite extraordinary in American history, a preventive war, and the threshold for justification should be extraordinarily high.” Try to wrap your mind around the concept of preventive war. We tried having a war to end wars (didn’t work); now we’re having a war to prevent war? I am perfectly well aware there is a case to be made for taking out Saddam Hussein — you can make it on humanitarian grounds alone. The question is whether it’s riskier to leave him alone or take him out. The oldest of all Texas dicta is, “Leave the rattlesnake alone.” Those of us who spend time outdoors here not infrequently encounter snakes and sometimes have to kill them. But the rule is: You don’t bother the snake, snake won’t bother you. Saddam Hussein is 68 years old and slipping. I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, “Horrible three-way civil war?” And as George W. Bush himself once said, “Unrest in the Middle East causes unrest throughout the region.” Let me point out what we have already lost: enormous amounts of goodwill and esteem all over the world. We are the saber-rattlers here; we are the aggressors, and the world knows it. The indifference of this administration to the opinions of the rest of the world is astonishing. After 9-11, we threw away more goodwill and sympathy than you can imagine by switching from the hunt for Al Qaeda to this ancillary (if that) mission to get rid of Saddam Hussein. There is no evidence connecting Iraq to Al Qaeda. As Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio said in a recent speech: “Iraq has not committed any act of aggression against the United States. Iraq was not responsible for 9-11. Iraq was not responsible for the anthrax attack on our nation. The United Nations has yet to establish that Iraq has useable weapons of mass destruction. There is no intelligence that Iraq has the ability to strike at the United States. According to the CIA, Iraq has no intention to attack America, but will defend itself if attacked. “Why, then, is our nation prepared to send 300,000 of our young men and women into house-to-house combat in the streets of Baghdad and Basra? Why is our nation prepared to spend $200 billion or more of our hard-earned tax dollars for the destruction of Iraq?” Richard Ferle, chair of the Pentagon’s Defense Advisory Board, is a leading member of the small attack-Iraq-no-matter-what claque that is relentlessly pushing this war. He said bluntly last week in Britain that it makes no difference whether the U.N. weapons inspectors find anything or not. Great, we’re ready to go to war on no evidence. This war is not inevitable, and the person who can stop it is you. Monday is Dr. King’s holiday. People all over the country will be rallying and marching in his honor, celebrating not only his eloquent opposition to racism and poverty, but his equally passionate protests against militarism. You get more than a vote in this country. You get to speak up. Write, phone, fax and e-mail your representative, senators and the White House. Vote in the streets. Do it. “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy, of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. ”— Dr. King (Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist.) ;