New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 4, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
4 ■ Herald-Zeitung ■ Thursday, May 4,1995
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ET o r a
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“Journalists usually have a different perspective on the world.... Most journalists never had a real job.”
— James Gentry, journalism dean, 1994
E D I
I T O R I
NASA budget cutters keep finding new ways to trim excess funding
The Johnson Space Center is Houston’s pride and joy.
Located on the southeast side of town in the Clear Lake area, near Galveston Bay, JSC is a tourist attraction for the community as well as the major employer in that region.
If folks in Clear Lake don’t work for NASA, they’re probably employed by one of the hundreds of contractors that are located all ground the sprawling JSC site.
Besides the economic good fortune associated with the center, it has also brought a prestige to the city on the bayou that had been lacking before.
But in these days of budget cutting, NASA has found itself on the chopping block more than its fair share of the time. Or so I thought.
NASA has just announced it has stopped construction of a factory in Mississippi that would have produced rocket-motor nozzles.
This would not have raised much attention until it was mentioned that the factory would “duplicate a capability we already have in Utah .and would increase our costs significantly," a NASA official said Tuesday.
Many Texans agonize with NASA as more and more funding is removed from the proposed space station.
It’s easy to wonder how effective and safe a space station can be if the final product is a mere shadow of what was originally envisioned.
But budget cutters in Congress that many have labeled as anti-NASA are proving to be right on the mark.
That factory NASA has scrapped—the one that would have duplicated a capability they already possessed—will save the agency (and you and me) between $450 million and $500 million.
While agency officials are hailing their move as another Herculean effort to save money and save the space station, it should make Congress delve even deeper to see what else may be “duplicated” at NASA.
The space program has brought untold benefits to the U.S. over the past 30 years. Much of the technology we enjoy today can be attributed to space research.
But NASA can no longer be the spoiled child of federal agencies. It can’t get what it wants when it wants it without proving the worth of the request.
(Today's editorial was written by Managing Editor Doug Loveday.)
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Welcome to the world of paranoid delusions — where Bill and Hillary Clinton are communist conspirators, where rogue government agents are just waiting for an excuse to kick in your door and murder your family, where a huge network of conspirators is plotting to form one World Socialist Government.
In short, welcome to the world of the Comal County Constitutional Militia.
I visited it for a couple of hours Tuesday night, and I don’t want to go back. They live in a scary world, full of enemies plotting the destruction of society.
As I sat among dozens of militia members I found myself agreeing with much of what they said. I agreed when they decried erosion of fourth amendment rights against illegal search and seizure and an Administration proposal to allow warrantless searches of public housing. I nodded when they criticized asset forfeiture laws that allow the government to confiscate your home, cash and property without ever charging you with a criminal offense. I nodded when they noted with horror a secret plot to rewrite the U.S. Constitution — wait a minute — dial’s where they lost me.
The most interesting and enlightening comments about the militia members came not in the discussion during the meeting, but in conversations before and after the meeting. “Us angry white males are taking over.” “Clinton is so full of #%A& he stinks.” “I heard on WOAI that the FBI knew about the bombing five days in advance, but no one else will report it”
Of course, they would suspect this kind of column from me, since I read in their newsletter that com
munists have plotted to take over the editorial writing function at newspapers across the United States.
I also read that David Rockefeller has developed a plan to form one world government. Apparently he is cooperating with a worldwide network of socialists who have infiltrated all segments of society. Well comrades, I mean neighbors, I really doubt it.
Also in the April newsletter is the shocking revelation that the collapse of the Soviet Union was all a sham designed to lull the West into disarming. Now that we have cut our military spending, the Russians are ready to spring the trap and conquer the world.
The list of conspiracies goes on and on. One pamphlet, designed for distribution to law enforcement personnel, states that the government “is making preparations for a general warrantless search of every site in the United States, using military and law enforcement personnel, to confiscate all firearms and shoot anyone who resists.”
The United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is a favorite target, called “armed terrorists,” or “jackbooted government thugs.”
One pamphlet describes police officers as “the government’s hired thugs - bullies with badges who use the omnipotence of the state as their ticket to brutality and repression.”
“Your views are now mainstream,” one speaker told the militia members Tuesday night.
Reality check folks.
Most Texans do not believe that David Rockefeller is trying to take over the world, that a secret group is rewriting the Constitution, or that this editorial is being written by one of the “tens or hundreds of thousands” of Russian spies that have infiltrated the United States.
The same speaker reiterate allegations that the government may have set off the bomb in Oklahoma
City to justify repression of the militia movement. A member said that he read such a comment made by another militia leader but he found it pretty far fetched.
“I wish I could say it was pretty far fetched,” the speaker said. He said that the militia movement is pressing for justice in the wake of the fire that killed the Branch Davidians at Mount Carmel, and that as a result of that pressure, several high government officials could be charged with treason. So it would make sense that the government would bomb that building and blame it on the militia movement, he said.
“I hope and pray these speculations are not fact, because if they are, we face a far scarier situation than any of us suspected,” he said.
Scarier than hundreds of thousands of communist conspirators in our country planting the seeds of our destruction? My, my, that is scary.
That is what struck me most, the fear and cynicism the militia members felt. I always considered myself cynical and mistrusting of government, but I was way out of my league with these folks. And the fear. They are genuinely scared that the government is their mortal enemy and will surely kill or enslave them if they let their guard down.
Ann Utterback, commander of the local militia, may have made the most intelligent statement of the night when she was discussing the need for the militia to form a sister group that “can’t be demonized by the media.”
She said: ’This spiral of paranoia keeps growing and growing and growing. And it is all based on fear.”
(Roger Croteau is the Herald-Zeitung’s city editor. Special instructions to communist infiltrators: Circle the third letter of every other sentence, read backwards and decode using standard procedure to receive your next instructions.)
Majority want stronger terrorism measures
NEW YORK (AP) — A majority of Americans want the government to try to prevent more Oklahoma City-style terrorism even if it means intruding on sflme people’s rights and privacy, according to an Associated Press poll.
Fifty-four percent put public security ahead of people’s civil liberties. Among the rest of respondents, there is a split between 21 percent who say treading on rights and privacy is unacceptable and 19 percent who say it is fruitless because the government can’t stop determined terrorists.
Many surveys have found Americans skeptical of the federal government’s effectiveness and resentful of its reach. But the 1,009 adults polled Friday through Tuesday give wide-
Today In History
By The Associated Press
Today is Thursday, May 4, the 124th day of 1995. There are 241 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
Twenty-five years ago, on May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on a crowd of anti-war protesters at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.
On this date:
In 1626, Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island.
In 1776, Rhode Island declared its
spread support to broader government powers for domestic security investigations:
— 58 percent support government power to quickly expel any foreigner suspected of planning terrorism, even a person who committed no crime.
This proposal by President Clinton has bipartisan support in Congress, but civil rights groups such as the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee say immigrants who are falsely accused could be unjustly deported.
— 63 percent favor FBI power to infiltrate and spy on organizations in this country that the government
freedom from England, two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
In 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago, a labor demonstration for an eight-hour work day turned into a riot when a bomb exploded.
In 1916, responding to a demand from President Wilson, Germany agreed to limit its submarine warfare, thereby averting a diplomatic break with Washington.
In 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded.
In 1932, mobster Al Capone, convicted of income-tax evasion, entered the federal penitentiary in Atlanta.
In 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea,
thinks might be planning terrorism, even if the groups has not committed any crimes.
Attorney General Janet Reno supports current guidelines allowing undercover operations only when there is strong evidence a crime is about to be committed. Looser restrictions on surveillance could give the FBI a better chance to head off bombings.
Civil libertarians fear a return to the days when FBI files were kept on the political views and personal habits of thousands of people.
— 65 percent support the power to search for and seize weapons from groups that might be planning terrorism, even if the groups have not committed any crimes. Support rises to
the first naval clash fought entirely with carrier aircraft, began during World War II.
In 1945,50 years ago, during World War II, German forces in the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany agreed to surrender.
In 1946, a two-day riot at Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay ended, the violence having claimed the lives of five people.
In 1961, a group of “Freedom Riders” left Washington for New Orleans to challenge racial segregation in interstate buses and bus terminals.
In 1980, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, died three days before his 88th birthday.
In 1989, fired White House aide
72 percent among two categories, women and Democrats.
The Second Amendment right to bear arms and the Fourth Amendment prohibition of search and seizure without probable cause guarantee that any broadening of these government powers will be hard fought.
The telephone poll was conducted by ICR Survey Research Group of Media, Pa., part of AUS Consultants. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Sixty-one percent think the year ahead holds more terror like the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, while 30 percent don’t expect a repeat. Nine percent don’t know or won’t say.
Oliver North was convicted of shredding documents and two other crimes and acquitted of nine other charges stemming from the Iran-Contra affair. (However, the three convictions were overturned on appeal.)
Ten years ago: Western leaders wrapped up a summit in Bonn by urging a “substantial reduction” in barriers to free trade. Spend a Buck won the 115th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Five years ago: The South African government and the African National Congress concluded historic talks in Cape Town with a joint statement agreeing on a “common commitment toward the resolution of the existing climate of violence.”