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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 16, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — HERALD-ZEITUNG — Thursday, March 16, 2000Opinions Forum Letters jgk, NKW RH^UNI HLSHerald-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 Margaret Edmonson, Managing Editor Rayanne Carmines, News Editor www.herald-zeitung.comOther Views By the Associated Press La Vanguardia of Barcelona, Spain, on the cloning of five piglets: Imitation of life in the laboratory has not stopped progressing since the beginning of the 1970s when it was found that genes could be modified. And the latest advance has been the announcement by the British finn that it has cloned five piglets with a view towards fabricating pigs whose organs and cells might be used in human transplants. The cloning ... does not resolve the moral questions raised. But it adds a new factor that may help resolve a serious problem for humanity ... This would constitute a hope-filled step forward in eliminating suffering. The technical obstacles looked to have been overcome. But this does not obviate the necessity for extreme control to be taken and transparency of scientific developments ensured, otherwise, human suffering would not be eliminated but rather multiplied. Frankfurter Rundschau of Germany, on U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s visit to Vietnam: William Cohen’s visit in Vietnam had from the first day the predicate ‘historical.’ Twenty-five years after the end of the war, the U.S. Secretary of Defense is the first member of a Washington government to visit the former war opponent. From the standpoint of the timing there is even talk of a partnership, but this word is not in relation to big policy. It has to do with the search for missing US. soldiers, humanitarian aid, tropical medicine cooperation and perhaps a future military cooperation in these areas. For a first contact after a quarter of a century one can also not expect more. Certainly the Vietnamese leadership secretly hoped for a word of apology, in that during this war in addition to 58,000 U.S. soldiers, 3 million Vietnamese lost their lives; in that the chemical warfare (defoliation of the jungle with ‘Agent Orange’) broad stretches of landscape were poisoned; in that after the French primarily the American’s Indochina war continues to burden the living conditions of the 80 million Vietnamese. Vietnam’s government will ask about reparations for the aftereffects of the use of Agent Orange. They will not yet get an answer. Even when five years ago a predecessor of Cohen, Robert S. McNamara, formulated a written apology — the United States is struggling with itself to overcome a land war in Asia, that it began and in the end lost. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Thursday, March 16, the 76th day of 2000. There are 290 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On March 16, 1850, “The Scarlet Letter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel about adultery, revenge and redemption in Puritan Massachusetts, was first published. On this date: In 1751, James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was bom in Port Conway, Va. In 1802, Congress authorized the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. In 1836, the Republic of Texas approved a constitution. In 1894, the opera “Thais,” composed by Jules Massenet, premiered in Paris. In 1915, the Federal Trade Commission was organized. In 1935, Adolf Hitler scrapped the Treaty of Versailles. In 1945, during World War II, the Pacific island of Iwo Jima was declared secured by the Allies. In 1968, during the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre was carried out by U.S. troops under the command of Lt. William L. Calley Jr. In 1978, Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by left-wing urban guerrillas, who later murdered him. 2004: Trying to slow states’ rush to the front By Walter R. Mears AP Special Correspondent WASHINGTON (AP) — While Al Gore and George W. Bush campaign for the White House, the Democratic and Republican parties both are looking at changes in the presidential primary system to keep future nominations from being settled so swiftly that voters lose interest. Indeed, keeping them interested is the challenge now facing the vice president and the Texas governor after both beat challengers in coast-to-coast primaries last week, before capturing on Tuesday night the delegate majorities that will make them the nominees. Bush said voters may go into a period of political hibernation in the months ahead, but he and Gore can’t afford a campaign standstill in the longest head-on contest for the White House. The front-loaded primary and caucus schedule, which got that way as states moved up their primaries in order to gain influence in the campaign, enabled the 2000 nominees to clinch delegate victories earlier than previous candidates, except unopposed presidents seeking renomination. Six states voted in the no-contest campaign Tuesday, bringing to 28 the number of states awarding delegates in one party or both in just eight days, since the Democrats resumed voting. Until the first Tuesday in March, only Iowa and New Hampshire were allowed to start selecting Democratic delegates. Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Oklahoma helped Bush and Gore clinch the nominations Tuesday night, in voting that reflected an attempt dating from 1988 to have the South vote on the same day so as to strengthen its regional hand. Three of the states that were part of that combination have since moved up a week, andWalter MEARS Florida party leaders already are talking about doing so in 2004 so that their primary won’t be, as one said, irrelevant. Gore swept the March 7 primaries, ending Bill Bradley’s challenge. Bush won the major Republican contests that day, and John McCain dropped his campaign. So a week later was too late to do anything but ratify the outcomes. Before this campaign started, the Republican and Democratic national committees began weighing the nomination process for the next one, with panels considering whether to seek a more measured pace for the 2004 primary calendar and beyond. Even if they decide to try, history and political reality put the odds against them. There’s been talk of change for more than 20 years, perhaps to a system of regional primaries, which is one of the options now. But the obstacles that always have blocked changes in the primary process are still there. Both parties would have to sign off on the same plan to make it work. Or Congress would have to step in where it has been wary of treading, and enact a law creating a presidential primary framework, over the certain protests of the states. Both parties have tried before, and the Democrats did set rules on when a state can vote, with penalties to enforce them. They let Iowa and New Hampshire go first, and require that the rest of their delegates be awarded between the first Tuesday in March and the second Tuesday in June. Republicans tried to discourage primary leapfrogging by offering a IO percent delegate bonus to reward states that would wait. That didn’t work because extra delegates are no lure when they won’t be chosen until the contest is over. So to change the system, the Republicans would have to tell their state parties what to do, which goes against their grain. “That’s a big philosophical hurdle in our party,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson. But he added that it should be confronted. “I think change is badly needed,” Nicholson said in an interview. “If we don’t change it, we’re headed inexorably to a national primary day, and I think that would be bad.” Without change, he said smaller and later states will have neither influence nor an incentive to turn out voters. “It’s just going to continue to get worse until we do something,” Nicholson said. “The goal has got to be voter participation,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew. “Not just a rigid system that tries to spread things out.” Andrew said timing isn’t the only issue. He said the Democrats took a major step to open the process by barring winner-take-all primaries and awarding delegates in proportion to the popular vote. Had the Republicans done so, he said McCain would still be competing. Nicholson said the GOP committee studying the primary system is looking at that question. But ending winner-take-all rules is another matter. In New York, where Bush won the primary last week, Gov. George Pataki is now proposing to change to a winner-take-all GOP primary in 2004. (EDITOR S NOTE: Walter R. Mears has reported on Washington and national politics for The Associated Press for more than 35 years.)Illegal campaign fund-raising old news to Clinton legacy For once I agree with President Clinton's defenders. From career Clinton apologist Lanny Davis to White House spokesman Joe Lockhart, they are right in calling “old news” the latest revelations that Al Gore was deeply involved in possibly illegal fund-raising activities during the 1996 reelection campaign. It is old news. It’s the same old trail of sleaze that has characterized “the most ethical administration in history” — Clinton’s words — from the beginning. The New York Times editorial page is starting to resemble “right-wing” radio and the derided (among liberals) Wall Street Journal. The Journal has cataloged and critiqued this administration’s multiplied legal and moral lapses, which now encompass several volumes of purchasable material. Consider the language from the New York Times’ lead editorial this past Saturday as it commented on several memos by Charles LaBella, Attorney General Janet Reno’s personal choice toCal Thomas head the department’s investigation into campaign finance abuses by Clinton- Gore. The memos are not small potatoes, but “extraordinary,” said the Times, and suggest “the lengths to which Janet Reno and her top aides went to protect Vice President Al Gore and of her dedication to protecting the Democratic Party interests from start to finish.” What a statement from a newspaper that twice editorially endorsed Clinton-Gore and regularly attacked Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr for his efforts to get to the bottom of epidemic wrongdoing and lawbreaking in this administration. But there’s more: “Given her record, it is unlikely that these revelations will now shame her into appointing another strong prosecutor to reinvigorate her department’s languishing campaign finance investigation.” What kind of record might that be? It is clear from reading excerpts of the edited memos obtained and published by the Los Angeles Times that what appears to have been a widespread conspiracy and cover-up among top administration off icials warranted an investigation to determine whether criminal activity had occurred. One former task-force attorney wrote of the “unprecedented hostility” directed at the task force by senior Justice officials. LaBella charged that Reno's top advisors engaged in “intellectually dishonest” double standards by first endorsing independent counsels to investigate Cabinet-level officials, but then opposing them for similar or stronger cases involving senior White House figures. Defenders of Clinton- Gore use the same double standard when they defend Reno, citing the number of independent counsels she did name, which they say proves her integrity against charges of malfeasance in refusing to name independent counsels to investigate Clinton-Gore when evidence showed they may have violated the law. LaBella accused senior Justice officials of engaging in “gamesmanship” and legal “contortions” to avoid an inquiry of the highest-ups. Don’t forget that FBI Director Louis Freeh agreed with LaBella and told Reno that the law legally obligated her to name an independent counsel to investigate Clinton-Gore. Gore’s main asset has been his ability to remain above the fray, acknowledging “mistakes” from which he’s “learned” but denying he played dialing for dollars inside the White House. The memos say there might be pictures that allegedly show him not playing the piano in this whore White House but “upstairs” where the real action was going on. We already know many of the solicitations were illegal because millions of dollars were returned to the donors when the source of the tainted campaign cash became known. But it was after the election — when the purpose for which the money had been raised had been achieved. Besides, the public didn’t seem to care. It was raking in money from the stock market and an improved economy. Congress will investigate, but it is unclear whether it will be able to overcome the stonewalling, the flight of witnesses and the selective amnesia of those who do appear. It will be faced with an experienced collection of serial liars, cover-up artists and political flimflam-mers who have kept this most unethical of administrations in office with the help of some of the very same press that now wants us to believe they knew thest guys were crooks all along. (Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.) ;