Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 3, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette July 3, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 3, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa $«!*»* (the Ctfclnr jRttpitU Editorial Page Wednesday, July 3, 1974 America in process of decline and fall? Confidentiality too far THERE ARE those who argue that even when a newsman has direct knowledge of a serious crime, the confidentiality of his sources should exempt him from disclosing any names in court if the process of justice takes the problem there. The principle is known as absolute privilege. Other newspapers, this one included, have argued that in certain critical conditions the need for justice overrides that ethic and should justify disclosure, under compulsion. The name for that approach is limited privilege. Against this background, consider the case of two court-appointed attorneys for the defendant in a murder trial at Lake Pleasant, N Y. Their client (the defendant) told them he had killed three other persons, including two young women (then missing) in addition to the young-man camper he had been accused of murdering. The lawyers kept this confidential. Even when the distraught father of one missing girl asked about the possibility of a connection, the lawyers kept it secret. Checking personally, they found the body of one missing girl. Still silence. Months passed. The two victims’ bodies were found accidentally by others. Still no speak-up by the lawyers. Finally, at his trial, the killer blurted out his knowledge of the other murders. It was then that the two defense attorneys finally revealed what they knew , too. All this followed from the principle of confidentiality in lawyer-client relationships. It fully honored New York state’s code of professional responsibility, which states: “A lawyer shall not knowingly reveal a confidence or secret of his client.” It brought praise from fellow lawyers and this from a law school dean: “The conduct of the lawyers is absolutely correct. If they had acted otherwise, it would be a serious violation of their professional responsibility.” Maybe so. But it is hard to reconcile that view of sacred confidentiality with whatever code of ethics has to do with plain human compassion, the protection of society and everybody’s need to see that fundamental justice gets done in the case of extremely bad crimes. A lawyer-client value overpowered all the rest. It is also hard to reconcile this performance in behalf of confidentiality with the equally ethical consideration that news-man-source relationships should also be inviolate — but can be broken when a higher sense of justice must be served. If newsmen have to compromise reluctantly sometimes, the lawyers ought to find a means of compromising too, at certain critical extremes, to serve the same high ideal of ultimate justice. Only a twisted-up. locked-in, out-of-balance value system can stand in the way. A less noisy BECAUSE they so aptly retail ‘‘the shot heard round the world,” fireworks are considered by some an indispensable part of the Independence day celebration as essential, some might say, as picnic outings, sizzling temperatures and knee-high corn. But more evidence pops up each year showing that firecrackers, skyrockets, Roman candles, Vesuvius fountains and most other mini-explosives are too risky to be counted as integral to any holiday. In addition to their brush- and forest-fire potential, fireworks are hazardous to users and watchers. The danger was vividly illustrated at Veterans Memorial stadium last Thursday, when a defective charge detonated all but a few of the whole show’s fireworks simultaneously. Luckily, no one was hurt. And that was a well-supervised display. Thus it seems safe to predict that when the Consumer Product Safety Commission holds hearingsLesser    set of wheels on a national fireworks ban later this year, the fireworks industry will be the only vigorous dissenter. Fearing loss of $30 million in retail sales yearly, that lobby insists that fireworks can be made nearly I OO-percent safe. (Presumably the action would not affect supervised displays.) The manufacture of harmproof fireworks of course should w in the industry a reprieve. Pending that dubious milestone, however, the government needn’t apologize for prohibiting the fireworks sales. Federal legislation alone can override the state legislatures which ignore hazards of fireworks. (Iowa has had a fireworks sales ban since 1938 It covers all fireworks except the relatively harmless sparklers, caps and “snakes ”) While some of the patriots among us may rue the passing of the spectacular, noisy Fourth of July, one doubts that the change will make the Sons of Liberty take to pinwheeling in their graves Gift horse inspectedBy Jim Fiebig tj^VIDENCE that came to light on the eve of Mr. Nixon’s Moscow \isit strongly supports the rumor that the President’s tax troubles have practically erased his personal fortune. The wire services reported last Wednesday, June 28, that the President s gift to Communist party chief Leonid Brezhnev was (you'd better sit down) a Chevrolet. So what s the matter with a Chevrolet, you ask Absolutely nothing. Except that well, a Chevrolet is not a Cadillac or a Lincoln Continental And a Cadillac andInsights With a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and with a fraud I try to be a fraud and a half Otto von Bismarck Lincoln Continental were what Mr. Nixon presented to the same Soviet leader in 1972 While a Chevrolet on a platter is more than anyone deserves — especially a communist — I imagine it was embarrassing to Mr Nixon when he broke the news to the Cadillac-spoiled Brezhnev: “Mr Brezhnev, if you’ll look out the window, you'll see a little something from Pat and me parked at the curb “Oh. Mr. Nixon!" Brezhnev shouts bussing the President on both cheeks “Not another Cadillac or Lincoln Continental! You're too good. sir “Ah. no, Mr Brezhnev I bought vou a little something different this time A product that is close to the hearts ol America's middle class Not to mention Dinah Shore." “A new limousine, perhaps'* Brezhnev smiles, putting his hands over his eyes and walking to the window “A Thunderbird, a four door Buick with power brakes and a built-in tape deck'* Brezhnev uncovers his eyes “Where in hell is it? he demands “There’s nothing out there but a Chevy' “I know." Mr Nixon says, putting his head between his hands “I know Genera* f-ealurev CorporationBy Roscoe Drummond WASHINGTON — A frightening and ominous question must be asked of America and Americans iii this year A D. 1974. It has to be asked — and has to be answered faithfully and honestly. It is surely lurking unformed in the minds of many, needing to be* put into words: Are we as a people and as a nation on the brink of the decline and fall of the United States of America? Are we witnessing and participating in the same kind of inner moral and political decay which brought an end to the Roman Empire? First in a series lf so. w hat are we going to do about it'.’ I had not seen our plight so dark a.-* to raise such a deep and disturbing question until I read the epilogue to “America’’ by Alistair Cooke, an author who cherishes his adopted country and who writes with tender but candid perception These are his words: “What is fiercely in dispute between the communist and noncommunist nations today is the quality and staying power of American civilization Every other country scorns American materialism while striving in every big and little way to match it Envy obviously has something to do with it. But there is a true basis for this debate: It is whether America is in its ascendant or its decline. "I think I recognize here several of the symptoms that Edward Gibbon maintained were signs of the decline of Rome and which arose not from external enemies but from inside the country itself." Is America in its ascendant or its decline? It is not too ominous to ask it because by the asking we can then — and not until then — begin to see and do whatever is necessary to reverse the downward slide. It doesn’t have to happen, but it will not be averted by closing our eyes or our minds to the many things which have gone awry. What are the visible signs of the decline of the United States which were in part the contributing causes of the decline of Rome? • A disregard of law by those elected to uphold the law. • The acceptance of many in and out of government that the end justifies the means. • The pervasive practice of deceit and hypocrisy in government, in business, in unions, in religion and elsewhere in society. • A perilous decline in the credibility of nearly every category of national leadership, including politicians, the press and the church. • A rising desire of people to live off the state on welfare subsidies and business subsidies • A moral blackout toward vulgarity, violence and public indecency. • An inordinate love of show and luxury. • A moral torpor toward money corruption in politics and political corruption in government. • A beginning of doubt in many that the national government, with Watergate the latest example, has the moral authority to govern effectively. The presidency-weakened and congress lethargic. Clare Boothe Luce puts it this way: “Watergate is the great liberal illusion that we can have public virtue without private morality . . . When the moral consensus, based on religion, collapses among the people, it is not surprising that it also collapses at the top We must keep in mind that civilizations whose peoples rejected voluntary discipline found that discipline forced upon them — the abuse of liberty ending in the loss of liberty. This is why Amaury de Riencourt’s warning in his remarkable book, “The Coming Caesars”, published in 1957, is pertinent. He contended that unbridled growth of presidential power would bring Caesarism on a scale unknown since the Roman Empire. He defined Caesarism as the slow, often unconscious development that ends in a surrender of a free people to an autocratic master This brings us back to that harrowing question Is America's decline irreversible” “As I see it." writes Cooke, “in this country — a land of the most persistent idealism and the blandest cynicism — the race is one between its decadence and its vitality (Next: How the race is going between our country $ decadence and its vitality.) l.o* Armpit**. Tim*** Syndic The sower Main consoling hope: the courts Polarizing capital: confused, depressed By James Reston WASHINGTON — The capital is loitering along these days in an atmosphere of fatigue, restlessness, frustration and recrimination. It is not composing its differences but polarizing its politics and skirmishing ineffectively on a dozen fronts at the same time. The main thing is that it is not getting on with its work The second quarter of the year economically was better than the first quarter’s oil-embargo slump, but the inflation is almost eliminating growth, keeping unemployment at unacceptable levels, distorting business decisions, eroding our balance-of-payments position, penalizing the old, the poor and the middle class, and threatening the confidence and social cohesion of the nation. A few months ago, the reforming impulse was strong in Washington The evidence for impeachment of the President, for drastic changes in the financing of political campaigns, for emergency measures to deal with the shortage of housing, jobs and credit, was very strong. But lately, the momentum has been lost in the endless tangles of Watergate and the President s dramatic journeys overseas For the moment, the White House has the initiative. The President is in the Soviet Union and on the television His attorney is defending him before the house judiciary committee, and his staff is mounting a campaign to discredit the Democrats and portray them as a vindictive hanging jury determined to “destroy" the President. This is a bold and even reckless strategy Ken ( law.son. the White House communications chief, attacks Chairman Rodino of the judiciary committee so savagely that even the President s lawyer goes to Rodino’s defense Meanwhile, Dean Burch, the latest public relations recruit in the White House, not only attacks the judiciary committee majority as a “partisan lynch mob but suggests that the Democratic “hierarchy” — meaning Speaker Carl Albert and Majority Leader Tip O'Neill of Massachusetts, are leading this con ^piracy to “get the President ” rills would lie funny if It were not so tragic In partisan terms, tin* Democrats have everything to gain by keeping the President in office through the 1978 election. They ran against Hoover and the depression for 40 years, with considerable success Their chances of running against Nixon and Watergate in '70 and thereafter may be their only hope of regaining power, considering their own divisions and confusions But they have nothing to gain politically by getting rid of Nixon In fact they are deeply worried about having to run against President Ford, with Elliot Richardson or Sen Edward Brooke, both of Massachusetts, as his vice president These tactical struggles and propaganda battles, however, are dominating the mind of the capital, dominating the news, and diverting attention from the problems of inflation, prices, jobs, interest rates, housing and all the other internal questions. Both sides in the impeachment inquiry agree on this point, but reach different conclusions. The President's men say. “Get off his back," and he will deal with them The President’s opponents say he has lost the confidence of the country and will never be able to deal with them Therefore, he should resign or be impeached and conv icted so that we can get on with the nation’s business Along these lines, the argument goes on and the capital is sad and depressed Anybody who thinks that the President s supporters or even his opponents are finding any satisfaction in this tragic struggle doesn t know the mood or mind of this city. It feels confused and trapped, startled by the evidence for impeachment, but frightened by the consequences of conviction; worried about supporting the President, arid thus tolerating the atmosphere and crimes of his administration In this situation, the courts are the consolation and hope of W ashington these days. They have their rules and their principles, and they are moving in their steady way through the evidence, hack to the Constitution Here, the capital seems to feel, there is still the long line of tradition and law. uninfluenced by political tactics, newspaper leaks, or propaganda tricksBargains by air The unity of the nation the problems of Watergate, impeachment, inflation, jobs. unemployment, and particularly trust in the American system ot government is probably not going to be settled by the struggling and confused men in the White House, the congress and the press, but in the end bv the courts. Se* York Ttm#* Service U.S. touring timelyJames Reston People 's forumObjection To the Editor Have you noticed the laws that have been passed in the last several years, such as legalized wiretapping and the no knock law” Police are getting the power to search anyone at any time without showing probable cause, violating the Fourth Amendment This is creating police states, where a citizen can be bugged, have his door kicked in In* searched while out Sunday riding with his family, etc. But the1 purposes of these laws are only a front leading to a day when this wonderful country will be run as China is Yet the people arc* afraid lo voice objections, ami if a group does, it is labeled radical arid plotted against by the* governmentBy Mary Costello IN THE MID-1980S, the Johnson administration launched a campaign to persuade Americans to “See America First" instead of trekking to Europe and spending I S dollars there Travelers responded to the government's appeal by-booking a record number of transatlantic flights Who. they complained, wanted to plod around dull old America when. for a little more money, one could shop in Athens, stroll through the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, dine in Barcelona, museum-hop in Florence and sightsee in Lindon? For many Americans, these European cities now seem considerably less appealing than they did a decade ago The reasons why Europe has lost some of its allure have less to do with reawakened interest in the United States than with the increasingly high cost of foreign travel. File 22-to-45 day. round-trip excursion fare from Washington to London, the lowest rate available, is 1445 during the summer months — almost SHN) higher than last year. In addition, the cost of I am not a radical, and I am tired of sitting by, not voicing my opinion as an individual, arid seeing our great country abused and misrepresented There is going to In* a depression, but a revolution will follow, and this may be* what is needed to awaken the sleeping bears. Hon Ely AnamosaHalf-gospel To the Editor In answer to a couple of li tters taking a Christian stand against Cornell college for the firing last month of a former employe who confessed Jesus as Lord. don’t tx* too hard on the college Many of our so-c alled Christian churches arc* licit letting their pastors preach anything that makes them uncomfortable. For instance, many churches will pray for the sick toil few will make a practice of healing by the* laying on of hands of elders or by anointing with ml and other food and lodging in Britain and Western Europe has skyrocketed Europe now offers few bargains for price-conscious American shoppers. Thus, seeing America first now seems the sensible, thrifty thing to do And the nation s airlines hope to make domestic travel almost irresistible through a “buy now, fly later” arrangement under whic h travelers can save up to 411 percent of the cost of flying from coast to coast TWA and Northwest Airlines call the plan Demand Scheduling. American advertises it as the Look-Ahead Plan, and United dubs it the Lay-Away Fare. To qualify for the discount fare, a person must make reservations at least 98 days in advance, leave a $21) nonrefunda-ble deposit at that time, and pay the rest of the fare at least 45 days before departure, The traveler specific's the date on which he wishes to fly and the airline designates the flight available on that day. Despite these requirements and despite the possible inconveniences they entail all four airlines offering the plan report heavy booking for the months ahead feditono* R»>»ortli Reoort* methods mentioned in the Billie Many churches will chase* out anyone who would even suggest that they should command demons to leave someone, hut the Bible says we are supposed to do it I vc* seen many “good” Christians condemn mothers who asked people on the streets if they know Jesus, though the Bible says go into the highways and byways and preach the good news about Jesus I ve even been condemned by preachers for telling strangers about Jesus, but the Bible* tells those preachers that if they refuse to warn the wicked their blood is on their hands (Acts 28:25-31, Ezekiel 3 1H) In other words, the so-called saved ones had better get startl'd instead of condemning others, I he college* at Mi. Vernon is wrong Put out the* preachers who preach false gospel and the heathens in the* college might have a chance Not many churches are preaching the full gospel, most only about half Jess Martin •Ha Thirtieth street drive SE ;

  • Alistair Cooke
  • Amaury De Riencourt
  • Carl Albert
  • Clare Boothe Luce
  • Dean Burch
  • Edward Gibbon
  • Elliot Richardson
  • Hon Ely
  • James Reston
  • Jess Martin
  • Jim Fiebig
  • Leonid Brezhnev
  • Mary Costello
  • Roscoe Drummond
  • Sen Edward Brooke

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: July 3, 1974

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