New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 29, 1980, New Braunfels, Texas
Wednesday, Oct. 29,1980
Claude Scruggs, Publisher George Runge, EditorJack AndersonAbscam victims need friends in House
The ABSCAM trials, which will resume shortly after Election Day, have already established the FBI’s phony Arab caper as the bluest and most controversial—congressional scandal iii history.
Two members of Congress Reps. Michael “Ozzie" Myers, D-Pa., and John Jenrette, D-S.C.—have already been convicted. Four others have been indicted and are awaiting trial. In addition, another congressman and a senator have been implicated iii the ABSCAM operation, but not indicted
The evidence provided by hidden FBI cameras proved persuasive to the first two ABSCAM juries. Whether the FBI’s debatable tactics will stand up on appeal remains to be settled.
But while their courtroom fate is in the hands of judges and juries, there is one arena where well-tended friendships can be vital to congressmen caught iii the FBI’s trap. If, despite their soiled status, they manage to win re-election,
it is their House colleagues who will decide whether they shall be allowed to retain their seats in the event of conviction.
Myers couldn’t persuade his fellow representatives to let him stay in the House during the appeal process; he may make out better if his constituents vote to send him back next week. Meanwhile, another Pennsylvania Democrat, Rep. Raymond l^ederer, may already have offended some of the colleagues whose support he’ll need if his ABSCAM trial turns out badly next January.
Lederer’s case is not as blatant as some, but the videotape evidence is still damaging. The still-secret tapes show Lederer accepting $50,000 from undercover agents after promising to help their fictitious Arab client with his supposed immigration problems. “I’m no Boy Scout,’’ Lederer quipped to the G-men as he took the swag.
The indictment charges that lA'derer
later split the money with a middleman, a Philadelphia city councilman and the mayor of Camden, keeping at least $5,000 for his share. The congressman listed the sum on his financial disclosure form as a “consulting fee.”
I,ast month, Lederer's attorney had subpoenas issued for 14 members of Congress to testify at the upcoming trial. But according to reliable sources, the process server assigned to distribute the summonses got carried away by the spirit of ABSCAM and conducted his own modest “sting.”
The process server showed up at the office of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Kodino, D-N.J., claiming to be a relative of Lederer. Out of courtesy to a collogued kin, Hodino came out of his office to meet the man— and was slapped with a subpoena instead.
Rodino was reportedly furious at this uncalled-for subterfuge, and let Lederer know it. So, I am told, did several other
congressmen who were served in the same sneaky fashion. Shortly, afterwards, most of the subpoenas were withdrawn.
Lederer acknowledged to my associate Gary Cohn that his attorney had subpoenaed several House members to testify as defense witnesses, but insisted they were all served in a “legal, upright, straightforward” manner.
Sitting ducks: Earlier this month I reported that unarmed American reconnaissance planes have been menaced at least seven times in recent months by trigger-happy Libyan jet pilots in international air space over the Mediterranean.
Now I’ve learned that Air Force commanders on the scene have been trying to convince the Pentagon brass hats—in vain, so far—that the lives of American airmen are being risked needlessly on these RC-135 missions.
The operational commanders contend that there’s no reason to risk a shootout
in the 200-mile air space claimed by Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The intelligence information they point out, could be adequately — and safely—collected by submarines and high-flying supersonic spy planes.
But the swivel-chair generals have turned a deaf ear to these commonsense entreaties. Meanwhile, the commanders who assign the RC-135 missions consider them so dangerous that they avoid putting married men in the 14-man crews whenever possible.
Don’t make waves... please!: A
supervisor in the Geological Survey’s conservation division was hit with a discrimination complaint, which was upheld by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. Not to worry, his bosses told him, the finding wouldn’t hurt his career.
But the supervisor thought he had been accused unjustly, and filed a counter-complaint. That's when his troubles began. He was told he would get
no more promotions, and was given menial tasks to perform.
Undaunted, he pursued his countercomplaint and filed six grievance memos. Finally, agency higher-ups rescinded their threat, promised him a chance at promotion and even offered a letter of recommendation—if only he’d withdraw his counter-complaints. He refused, and the harassment, he says, continues.
Expertise pays: Some retired federal poohbahs don’t fade away, they become “experts.” Like consultants, officially designated experts take on special jobs that civil servants supposedly can’t handle. Thomas F. Williams III, for example, retired recently as the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief flack. Now he’s back in his old office, getting $191.72 a day doing part-time what he use to do full-time as a civil servant. It’s supposed to be temporary, but there are no plans to replace him.
Like Lidja Rudelitsch, who ably analyzed Carter’s record iii a recent contribution to the Mailbag, I too am “angered, sickened, and disgusted "
Among the several political placards neatly displayed in my yard, the one in support of Reagan and Bush was removed from the wooden stake and reduced to small pieces during the night. This cowardly act of vandalism not only involves trespassing on my property, but it also violates my rights as an American citizen the right to freedom of speech—since I consider the placement of these placards iii my yard as one means of voicing my support for these candidates.
These acts of destruction on private property have occurred frequently in Comal County during the past few weeks. They should incense every decent and law-abiding citizen as much as they have me.
The run-away inflation which is every American’s heritage from the Carter administration may not leave those who
would still support these men enough money to print and display signs of then-own. But this does not give them the right to trespass on the property of others who have been more provident in behalf of their political candidates.
I would admonish those who would support the Carter administration and those who remain undecided at this point to consider the caliber of those w ho perpetrate these acts of vandalism and assess their effectiveness as political “bedfellows."
Respectfully, Mary louise Koch
I feel the article against the “Moral Majority” with the awful picture of Jesus on it was in poor taste. I am ashamed that someone would show such disrespect to the lord. I hopi* New Braunfels will never have an article like this printed again.
Sincerely, Amy Barry
A political bestiary
Syndromes are like mice anil cockroaches. They are able to live in any environment habitable by man—below sea level or at high altitudes, in arid land or iii moist and rainy areas, iii cold or heat, or space ships or New York City buses.
Some Syndromes are distinguished by moods: the Optimistic Syndrome and the Pessimistic Syndrome. Others are distinguished by the place in which they are found. Two Syndromes have been noted in the White House the Oval Office Syndrome, which stems to survive changes of administration, and the Situation Room Syndrome, which President Carter brought w ith hun Porn his submarine service.
Whereas the Oval Office Syndrome is reasonably quiet and unex-citable, the Situation Room Syndrome is noisy and hyperactive, although not as agitated as the Crisis Syndrome, which is not unknown to the White House
The Syndrome is a relatively simple animal, lf broken up it is likely to regenerate quickly into another Syndrome. Thus a quiet Oval Office Syndrome can become a Situation Room Syndrome and even a Crisis Syndrome.
Both hard-shelled aud soft-shelled Syndromes have been identified. These interesting crustaceans are like alligators: they have brains that are smaller than their cranial cavities. Thus, if a Syndrome becomes overbearing, the best thing to do is to flip it on its back, causing the brain to strike the top of the cranial cavity, knocking out the Syndrome. While the Syndrome is temporarily unconscious, the person being victimized by it can either escape or look for a friendlier Syndrome.
VJHeN YOO SAID A MCCARTHY eNDORse
MNT,,,I THOUGHT VOO MOAN! JOG /
John D. Lofton Jr.
Military readiness lacking, despite reports to contrary
From the book A POLITICAL BESTIARY by Eugene McCarthy and James Kilpatrick Text copyright 1978 by Op Ed Inc Illustrations copyright 1978 by Jett MacNelly Reprinted by permission ot the publisher McGraw Hill Book Also available in paper back (rom Avon Books
For some strange reason, every time I hear Jimmy Carter or one of his top aides telling us about what terrific shape our armed forces are in, I think of the ABC Wide World of Sports promotional ad showing that poor wretch carw heelmg off the end of a ski jump.
In recent weeks. Carter has said that this country “can meet every challenge put before us.” The president’s deputy assistant for national security affairs, David Aaron, says our defense posture is “adequate.” Defense Secretary Harold Brown told a Texas Audience that our forces “are ready to go til war—if need be—and we are creasmgly able to sustain our fora combat.’’ And, not to be outdoiu Secretary of Suite Edmund Muskie in a speech at Notre Dame that -plainly, any notion that we are neglecting our tiefense posture is absurd.’’ Notre Dame, for those who may lave forgotten, is the place where, three years ago, President Carter putted the country on the back for having overcome its “inordinate fear of communism.
Well, Muskie is almost correct. What is absurd is any notion that we are NOT neglecting our defense posture. In fact, it is almost impossible to pick up the daily paper or watch TV and not read or hear about another report providing further evidence of the decline in the state of our military preparedness, Ol
efforts to cover up this sorry and dangerous situation.
Here is a random sampling of such reports:
—In early summer, in open testimony before a House Armed Services subcommittee, Army Chief of Staff Gen. EC. Meyer declared: “We have a hollow Army right now. I don’t believe the current budget responds to the Army’s needs for the 1980.” When asked if the Carter defense budget was adequate, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Barrows said: “In a word, no." Air Force Chief of Staff I^ewis Allen said: “Increased defense spending is required to meet the increased danger.” And, speaking for the chief of naval operations, Adm. James Watkins observed that the 1981 Carter Pentagon budget “fell short of Navy requirements.”
—I^ast month, The .VVu York Times ran a massive seven-part series examining America’s military readiness. The paper, not exactly a Reagan-for-president house organ, editorialized that what their articles revealed was that “even with defense budgets now passing $150 billion a year, large parts of the armed forces are not ready to fight. And those that are ready lack what is needed to fight very long. If the war in the Persian Gulf required Americans to intervene, the Pentagon would plead that it can’t.” Said the Ti rn es:
“Pilots, technicians and weapons specialists are in short supply in virtually all the services. Planes are grounded for lack of maintenance. Ships are undermanned. The Army even lacks the .45 caliber ammo it needs to familiarize trainees with machine guns. Six of ten combat divisions that the Army keeps in the U.S. were not ready for combat last December. A third, maybe two-thirds, of the Air Force’s tactical aircraft are not ‘mission capable’ on any day.”
—A huge 640-page study by senior library of Congress defense specialist John Collins, titled “U.S.-Soviet Military Balance: Concepts and
Capabilities 1960-1980,” has concluded that the present U.S. military force is too small to meet all the worldwide commitments that are officially considered vital to U.S. security. Collins’ analysis also found that although the United States has a technological superiority, it has not used this capability to maintain a qualitative edge in weaponry over the Soviets.
—In its annual survey of world military strength, the highly respected London International Institute for Strategic Studies reports that the Soviet Union and its satellites have seized a commanding lead over the United States and its allies in both nuclear and conventional weapons. The institue says: “Not until NATO begins to deploy
dew long-range (missile) systems in about 1983-84 can any substantial increase in its capability be expected.” —According to a confidential fleet readiness report dated the middle of last month, only six of the Navy’s 13 aircraft carriers were rated combat-ready. Concerning the readiness of U.S. submarines, Navy Undersecretary Robert Murray has told a Senate subcommittee that the situation is “of enormous concern” and “a crisis is upon us.” Commenting on the Navy’s failure to meet its enlisted or officer manning quotas, the Navy’s director of military personnel and training, Rear Adm. James Hogg, notes:
“We can’t afford to have the submarines manned at less than their wartime requirement because we have to assure that they are going to be combat-ready for an immediate problem and for sustained combat operations.”
Considering all of this, it comes as no surprise that Defense Secretary Brown, according to an interal Army memorandum, has ordered the Army to stop being so “negative” and to revise the way its readiness statistics are presented so the results are more positive.”
Nice try, Mr. Secretary. But juggling the statistics won’t solve what ails us militarily. There simply is no substitute for doing what is necessary, and that is spending a lot more money on defense.