The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 15, 1998 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, May 15, 1998
Page 12
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B2 J=RIDAY. MAY 15, 1998 THE SALINA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® Quote of the day "No elected official really knows how to strike that balance. Tliere are only people who liave lived through an attempt to strike that balance." state Rep. Kent Glasscock R-Manhattan, on the conflict between environmental protection and economic development. By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal To market^ to market THE ISSUE Inspecting imported food THEARGUMBVT Hold the world — and us — to our standards A merica, our farmers and food processors never tire of telling us, has the safest food supply in the world. And we do. We also, at one time, made the best cars in the world, the best steel, shoes and any electronic gizmo worth buying. When foreign imports started taking over all the industries that Americans used to dominate, we sprang into action — and into denial. Instead of recognizing that Detroit was making lemons, Pittsburgh was making rust and American tycoons were making the decision to ship production overseas, we whined about how those nasty Japanese dared to make stuff the world wanted to buy. Now farmers are facing the same problem, an influx of food produced in other nations into the markets, and the mouths, of American consumers. But, unlike their fellows in the auto and steel industries, American farmers may have a point when they claim their new and often cheap competition is not as good as the home-grown, variety. The hook here is a report from the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, that found the federal inspection of foreign foodstuffs to be woefully inadequate in the face of the ever-rising quantity of imports. The GAO could not say that any of the foreign food was dangerous, or at least more dangerous than domestic produce. But that was hardly a vote of confidence. If we don't inspect the imported food — and we don't — we cannot say whether it is dangerous or not. The Food and Drug Administration especially is not looking at the fruits and vegetables that enter our nation before they enter our bodies. Congress had not given it the authority to inspect those shipments in their county of origin, authority the Agriculture Department does have to check foreign sources of meat and poultry. Congress should give that authority — and the budget to properly carry it out. American agribusiness, of course, should get behind this effort. But it will do no good to pick on imports alone. International trade agreements, and basic common sense, require that we hold our own agricultural products to the same standards as those we import. We need to, er, beef up the powers and staffs of food inspectors, equip them with the most modern means of inspection and label everything so that consumers can make intelligent choices. American farmers and processors must show that they can meet and beat any competitor in a fair fight. And the relevant agencies must make sure that the fight is, indeed, fair. LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL We don't have the right to kill babies This is in response to Dan England's column in the May 6 Salina Journal. When will enough be enough? What I am referring to is all this on having rights to kill the little babies. Mr. England, who in the world do you think breathed life into your nostrils? I do believe the last time I read the Bible, it was our Heavenly Father and from what I can remember He is the only one who has the right (as you call it) to give us our life and, by gosh, He is the only one that can take it away. I only hope and pray that you will come to your senses and understand that you cannot reason a murder, no matter how it is performed. And yes, abortion is murder! No matter how you look at it or choose to reason it, we are talking about a tiny little human being, a tiny little soul that grows up into an adult, just like you or me or anyone else for that matter. And just because this tiny little soul might be an inconvenience for you does not give you the right or anyone else to kill it. Yes, I said kill it. Don't hand me the excuse about your million and one reasons about this choice stuff. 1 am sorry, but the choice was made earlier when man and woman got together. Let's stand up and take some responsibility for our actions and quit making excuses for them. It really doesn't matter whether the head is not born yet or not. The act of abortion, itself is still murder, period. Someday, Mr. England, when you stand before our Heavenly Father on Judgment Day, I ask you, What will your excuse be then? — SUSAN BLACKSHERE Salina P.O. Box 740, Salina, KS 67402 Huge national debt is not Reagan's fault Your May 9 opinion blaming President Reagan for deficit spending and running up the national debt inadvertently or conveniently left out a few facts. First, deficit spending had already occurred under Carter and other presidents, so Reagan didn't start it. Also, under all eight years of Reagan's two terms, he had a spend-happy Democrat-controlled House, and four years of a Democrat-controlled Senate. It is true that Reagan spent more on defense, but to get it he promised the liberal Tip O'Neill major spending for social programs. During Reagan's 'tenure the economy grew fast and recovered from the Carter malaise years of 18 percent interest rates and massive inflation. Democrats despise Reagan because he proved that cutting taxes would free companies and individuals to invest more and produce more and they would actually pay more tax dollars because they grossed more money overall. The current capital gains tax cut in 1997 also proves this theory. Tax dollars are now coming in at record levels from the sale of stocks and other capital items because people are now selling more since the tax rate was lowered. They are not "fined" the higher capital gains tax rate of the previous years. They don't sit on their gains but instead sell. This gives the government more tax dollars, because they tax every transaction. — RANDY LOHMANN Lincoln T DIDN'T OM.L.TUE PKESlDCrtT THAT fs/AM£ 7*HE UA/EDlTETD TRANSCRIPT", WM\CV\ To Ri^ASE, *S /WE AT 7UE V JOURNAL It is Tailgunner Dan vs. Tricky Bill Burton and Clinton both think they will get away with what their predecessors did not I n a political war in which all sides insult our intelligence at every turn, there's no longer any hope of finding a hero. Our only choice is to pick our poison. The menu features presidential stonewalling and congressional thuggery: Bill Clinton explicit- * ly donned the mantle of Richard Nixon while his most noisy current antagonist, Dan Burton, expertly conjured the sleaze of Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn. The race to the bottom doesn't get any lower than this. Of course Clinton sought to reassure us that there was no historical parallel between his and Nixon's invocations of executive privilege to stop their aides from testifying about possible White House wrongdoing — but he did so with an arrogance that could only be called Nixonesque. "I would also remind you that the facts are quite different in this case," the president said as he refused to remind us just what those exculpatory facts are. I would think the facts are different in this way. Nixon tried to turn executive privilege into a divine right to cover up unparalleled criminal abuses of presidential power. If Clinton also has a cover-up in mind, it's to hide T UNCOMMON SENSE FRANK RICH Tlie New York Times perjury and other crimes related to a sexual affair that surfaced in a civil suit a judge has already dismissed. Monicagate, if proved, isn't pretty, but it's not remotely Watergate and is unlikely to trigger impeachment. Yet by playing the ultimate stonewalling trump card of executive privilege, Clinton has mocked the rule of law in the shameless manner of the least law-abiding president of our history. The McCarthy-and-Cohn deja vu prompted by Burton, the committee chairman allegedly pursuing the most serious charges against the administration (those of campaign finance abuse), is equally uncanny, topping even Ken Starr's creative achievements in witch-hunting. The unmasking of Burton on "Meet the Press" last weekend was almost a verbatim rerun of the Army-McCarthy hearings. In the prototype of 1954, Joe McCarthy's chief counsel, Roy Cohn, was exposed as a liar on national television when it turned out that a piece of supposedly crucial evidence he had brandished earlier, a photograph showing Army Pvt. David Schine and the secretary of the Army, Robert Stevens, was in fact doctored; another man whose presence reversed Conn's interpretation of the photo had been cropped out by some mysterious hand. In the 1998 replay, Burton was similarly caught on TV having doctored evidence he had brandished only days earlier — in this case tapes of Webster Hubbell talking to his wife in prison. When NBC's Tim Russert played full excerpts from the tapes, we learned that crucial sentences seeming to vindicate the Clin- tons' version of events had been mysteriously edited out. Like his predecessor, the belligerent Burton denied all knowledge of how such tampering could have happened. As the cropped photo was pinned by Cohn on careless underlings in 1954, so a Burton subordinate, his investigator David Bossie, was the designated scapegoat this week. Burton echoes his historical ah-' tecedents as well in his paranoid conspiracy^ theories (he enacted Vincent Foster's "murder" with a gun and "a head-like object" in his own backyard), his crude name-calling and his. hypocritical urge to smear others with a, "crime" of which he is guilty himself. Much as Roy Cohn, a closeted homosexual, set out to expose and persecute homosexuals in government, so Burton last fall insinuated that the White House had edited tapes (of its fund-raising coffees) in the same manner that his Hubbell tapes actually were. The Army-McCarthy hearings undid Joe;.. McCarthy, who was censured later in 1954. In 1974, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected Nixon's claim to executive privilege in his criminal case. Yet their present-day stand-ins^ are undeterred. Burton is still snarling and is. for the moment still defended (in public, at, least) by his boss, Newt Gingrich, as "a decent man trying to get to the truth." No less incred-' ibly, Clinton may yet appeal a judge's dismissal this week of his invocation of executive privilege, inviting a Nixon-like Waterloo in the Supreme Court. Have these men forgotten history? Hardly/ But such is their cynicism that they assume" most Americans have, and such is their hubris that they believe they will get away with what' their predecessors did not. Is John Ashcroft another Jimmy Carter? Moral Missouri senator may be just what America needs to clean up after Bill Clinton V IRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Former presidential candidate and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson has an interesting theory about the next presidential election. "Bill Clinton may be setting up a Republican Jimmy Carter — somebody who talks about honesty, decency, morality and spiritual values," he told me. "Such a person would find a warm reception in the American electorate." Robertson said, "If the Republican Party would give its nomination to (Missouri Republican Sen.) John Ashcroft, he'd win the presidency." Robertson believes the nation's prosperity clouds the public's concern about our moral direction, and especially that of children. That's why in almost every statement President Clinton makes, he refers to "our children" or "the children." Robertson believes the public would respond to an "I'll never lie to you" Jimmy Carter-type messenger if his message is something he practices as well as preaches. "I firmly believe that an honest man with a great deal of moral integrity, (who is) quite intelligent, very experienced and who carries CAL THOMAS Los Angeles Times Syndicate within himself Midwest, heartland-of-America values, would do very, very well all over the country," said Robertson. Ashcroft, who is a minister's son and has written a book about the values instilled in him by his late father, was the commencement speaker at Robertson's Regent University. He seemed to be road-testing campaign themes. Moral utterances are tricky. You have to speak about them in ways that don't make the listener think you are "holier" than they are, and at the same time you can't be a hypocrite. Ashcroft's commencement address had a little politics in it and some concern about drug use among the young, but it mostly addressed the importance of developing good character and virtue. "Choices have consequences," he said. He quoted sociologist James Q. Wilson: "Drug use is wrong because it is immoral, and it is immoral because it enslaves the mind and destroys the soul." An appeal to an unchanging standard by which morality and immorality, right and wrong, are measured is not always the first thing one notices in contemporary political discourse. Not many can deliver such a message without inviting an investigation of their own moral shortcomings. Like Jimmy Carter, Ashcroft appears to have the right message at the right time. Preaching such a message to "a wicked and adulterous generation," as one ancient writer said of his contemporaries, requires a delicate balance. The baby boomers like to feel guilty, but they don't want to feel shame. If Ashcroft can get them to "repent" without taking DOONESBURY responsibility for the moral chaos they helped unleash in the '60s, he might win considerable support. Ashcroft seemed to be putting politics in its proper place when he told the graduates: "The most important thing we can ever aspire to be is good parents. And the most important thing we can ever aspire to do is transmit to our own children the values our parents gave to us. We know that to be true. Now much of America is finding it to be true as well ...." He cited,a recent poll of teen-agers that found parents were their most important role model. Could such a finding help reshape how parents work and think when it comes to the quantity time required to rear successful children? ' . In a recent interview, Ashcroft told me that we now stigmatize what we once affirmed and we affirm what we once stigmatized. He knows that laws alone cannot redeem a society mesmerized by materialism and only sometimes interested in character and moral development. But he believes that political leaders can help refocus public attention. That seems to be what Pat Robertson was getting at when he said, "In the last election, surveys I saw taken of voters after they left the polls showed a vast majority did not like Clinton, but they said, 'You Republicans gave us no. alternatives ....' Had Republicans nominated a vigorous, attractive individual, he could have beaten Clinton." Like Jimmy Carter in 1976 who, afte.r Richard Nixon, gave voters a chance to cleanse themselves? Like John Ashcroft in 2000? The times may be different, but the unease over the nation's moral direction is the same. By G.B. TRUDEAU see WHAT I'M ASKING HBR£ ? TKfOFLAWS ORAR&iT we? THIS I5NT ABOUT SOAP OP5KA! TI£9BeHIHPCLOSBP POOFS THAT ARE NO0OPY$BU$IN£8&! ITS NOT ABOUT 6RANPIOSrrY, P5CEIT ANPS&f-P&WJC- TIW15&5,TAKU*3 INSAN& WSK5 THAT HUW ONLY YOUR NOTABOUTTHAT/ ^Ifej HBCANT TOUCH/ME. HONBYT

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