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Cedar Rapids Gazette: Wednesday, July 3, 1974 - Page 6

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 3, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                America in process of decline and fall? Editorial Page 3, Confidentiality too for rpHERE ARE those who argue A 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 cer- tain 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, con- sider the case of two court-ap- pointed attorneys for the defen- dant 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 prin- ciple 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 abso- lutely correct. If they had acted otherwise, it would be a serious violation of their professional res- ponsibility." Maybe so. But it is hard to reconcile that view of sacred con- fidentiality 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 con- fidentiality 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 crit- ical 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 Fourth? T3ECAUSE they so aptly recall 13 "the shot heard round the 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 hearings Lesser set of wheels on a national fireworks ban later this year, the fireworks industry will be the only vigorous .dis- senter. Fearing loss of million in retail sales yearly, that lobby insists that fireworks can be made nearly 100-percent safe. (Pre- sumably the action would not af- fect supervised displays.) The manufacture of harmproof fireworks of course should win 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 slate 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 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 inspected By Jim Fiebig TpVIDENCE that came to light on the eve of Mr. Nixon's Moscow visit strongly supports the rumor that the President's tax troubles have practically erased his persona] fortune. The wire services reported last Wed- nesday, June 26, that the President's gift to Communist party chief Leonid Brezh- ncv was (you'd better sit down) a Chevrolet. Sn what's the matter with a Chevrolet, you ask. Absolutely nothing. Except thai, well, a Chevrolet is not a Cadillac or a Lincoln Continental. And a Cadillac arid Insights Wilh a gentleman I am a gentleman and a half, and a fraud I fry lo 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 em- barrassing to Mr. Nixon when he broke Ihe news to the Cadillac-spoiled Brezh- nev: "Mr. Brezhnev, if you'll look oul the window, you'll see a little something from Pal and me parked at the curb." "Oh. Mr. Brezhnev shouts, bussing the President on both cheeks. "Not another Cadillac or Lincoln Con- tinental: You're too good, sir." "Ah. no. Mr. Brezhnev I bought you a little something different this time. A product that is close to the hearts of America's middle class. Not lo mention Dinah Shore." "A new limousine, Brezh- nev smiles, pulling his hands over his eyes and walking to the window. "A Thunderbird. a four-door Buick with power brakes and a built-in lape deck'.'" Brezhnev uncovers his eyes. "Where in hell is he demands "There's nolhing out there but a "I know." Mr. Nixon says, pulling his head between Ins hands. "I know." By Roscoe Drummond WASHINGTON A frightening and ominous question must be asked of America and Americans in this year A U has to be asked and has to be answered faithfully ami 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 Ihe decline and fall of the United Slates of America'' Are we witnessing and participating in the same kind of inner moral and polit- ical decay which brought an end In the Human Empire'.' First in a series If so. what are we going to do about it" 1 had not seen our plight so dark as 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 na- tions 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 main- tained were signs of the decline of Rome and which arose nol from external enemies but from inside the country it- self." Is America in its ascendant or its decline? It is nol loo 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. II doesn't have lo happen, bul it will not lie averted by closing our eves 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 pari the contributing causes of the decline of Rome'.' A disregard of law by those elected lo uphold the law. The acceptance nf many :n anil uu! nf government that the end justifies Ihe means. The pervasive practice of deceit and hypocrisy in government, in business, in unions, in religion and elsewhere in society. A perilous decline in Ihe credibility nf nearly every category of national leadership, including politicians, the press and the church. A rising desire of people lo live off Ihe slate on welfare subsidies and business subsidies. A moral blackout toward vulgarity, violence and public indecency. An inordinate love of show and lux- ury. 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 hi govern effectively. The presidency- weakened and congress lethargic. Clare Boothe Luce puts it Ihis 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 thai it also collapses at the top." We musl keep in mind thai civiliza- tions 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 Kiem-ourl's wariliiig in iu> ii-maikalm- "Tin- Coming published in 1957, pertinent. He contended that unbridled growth of presidential power would bring Caesarism on a scale unknown since the Rinnan Empire He defined Caesarism as Ihe slow, often unconscious development that ends in a surrender of a free people lo an autocratic master. This brings us back lo that harrow ing question Is America's decline irreversi- ble" "As I see it." writes Cooke, "in iln> a land (if !hc idealism and Hie blandest cynicism Ihe race is one bdween Us decadence and its vitality." (Next: How Ihe race is going between our fountry s decadence and its vitality.) The sower Main consoling hope: the courts Polarizing capital: confused, depressed By James Reston WASHINGTON The capital is loi- tering along these days in an at- mosphere of fatigue, restlessness, frus- tration and recrimination. It is not com- posing its differences but polarizing its politics and skirmishing ineffectively an a dozen [ronts 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 unac- ceptable 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 im- pulse 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 tin- 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 vin- dictive hanging jury determined "destroy" the President. This is a hold and even reckless stra- tegy. Ken Clawson, the White House communications chief, attacks Chairman Rodinn of the judiciary committee so savagely that even the President's lawyer goes tn Rodino's defense. Meanwhile. Dean Hiirch. the lalcM public relations recruit in the While House, not unly attacks the judiciary committee majority as a "partisan lynch mob" hut suggests that the Democratic "hierarchy" meaning Speaker Carl Albert and Majority Leader Tip O'Neill of Massachusetts, are leading this con- spiracy to "get the President." This would lie funny if it were not MI tragic. In partisan terms, the Democrats have everything to gain by keeping the President in office through the 1976 elec- tion. They ran against Hoover and the depression for 40 years, with considera- ble success. Their chances of running against Nixon and Watergate in 7fi and thereafter may be their unly hope of regaining power, considering their own divisions and confusions. Mill I hey have nothing In gain poli- tically by getting rid of In fact they arc deeply worried about having In run against ['resident l''ord, with F.llinl Idchardson or Sen. Kdward Hrooke. bolli 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 at- tention from the problems of inflation, prices, jobs, interest rales, 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 and he will deal with them. The President's opponents say he has lost the confidence of the country anil will never be able to deal with them. Therefore, he should resign or be im- peached and convicted 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 con- viction; worried about supporting the President, and thus tolerating the at- mosphere and crimes of his administra- tion. In this situation, the courts are the consolation and hope of Washington these days. They have their rules and their principles, and they are moving in their steady way through the evidence, back to the Constitution. Here, the capital seems to feel, there is still the long line of tradition and law, uninfluenced by poli- tical tactics, newspaper leaks, or propaganda tricks. Bargains by air The ur.ity of the nation, the problems of Watergate, impeachment, inflation, jobs, unemployment, and particularly trust itUhe 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, hut in the end by the courts. U.S. touring timely James Reston People's forum Objection By Mary Costello IN THE MID-1960S, the Johnson ad- ministration launched a campaign to persuade Americans to "See America First" instead of trekking to Europe and spending U. 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 London' For many Americans, these European cities now seem considerably less ap- pealing 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. The 22-to-45 day. round-trip excursion fart from Washington to London, the lowest rate available, is during the summer months almost higher than last year. In addition, the cost of I am not a radical, and 1 am tired of sitting by. not voicing my opinion as an individual, and seeing our great country abused and misrepresented. There is going to be a depression, but a revolution will follow, and Ihis may be what is needed to awaken the sleeping bears. food and lodging in Britain and Western Europe has skyrocketed. Europe now offers few bargains for price-conscious American shoppers. Thus, seeing America fir. t 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 which 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 adver- tises it as the Look-Ahead Plan, and United dubs it the Lay-Away Fare. To qualify for the discount fare, a per- son must make reservations at least 90 days in advance, leave a non refunda- ble deposit at that time, and pay the rest of the fare at least 45 days before depar- ture. The traveler specifies 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. To the Kditnr llavi Have you noticed the laws that been passed in Ihc last several years, such as wiretapping and the no-knock law? Police are getting the power lo search anyone at any lime without showing probable cause, violin- ing the Fourth Amendment This is creating police slates, where a cilixcn can be bugged, have his door kicked in be searched while mil Sunday riding with his family, etc. But the pur- poses of Ihcse laws are only a friinl lead- ing to a day when Ihis wonderful country will be run as China is. Yel Ihe people are afraid In voice objections, and if a group does, it is labeled radical and plotted againsl by the government. Half-gospel To the Editor: In answer to a couple of Idlers taking a Christian stand against Cornell college lor Ihc firing last month of a former employe who confessed Jesus as Lord, don't be loo hard on Ihe college. Many of our so-called Christian churches are mil Idling their paslors preach anything that makes Iliein uncomforlable. For iiislance, many churches will pray for Ihe sick bill few will make a praclicc of healing by Ihe laying on of humls nf elders or by annulling wilh oil and other methods mentioned in Ihe Bible. Many churches will chase mil anyone who would even suggest that Ihey should command (lemons to leave someone, but Ihe Bible says we are supposed lo do it. I've seen many "good" Christians condemn mothers who asked people on Ihe streets if Ihey know Jesus, though Ihe 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 Ihe Bible tells those preachers thiil if Ihey refuse to warn Ihe wicked their blood is on their hands (Ads In olhcr words. Ihe so-called saved ones had heller gel started instead of condemning others. The college at Ml. Vermin is wrong I'ut oul Ihe preachers who preach false gospel and the heathens in the college might have a chance. Not many churches are preaching Ihe full gospel, most only about half Martin M5 Tlnrlidh sired drive SF.   

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