Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 16, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette July 16, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 16, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Ufo* (twilit RnjiirtA DjtjcWe Editorial Page Defiance wonder: a Nixon orchestration? Tuesday, July 16, 1974 Washboard crossings Taxpayers win put up with a lot, an Omaha city council member, Robert Cunningham, said recently, “but there are basically two things they want from their tax dollars: Those are good garbage pickup and smooth streets to drive on.” That slight exaggeration brought to mind a problem nettling Cedar Rapidians this summer. Garbage pickup is efficient, as always, and the street maintenance program is rolling along smoothly. But railroad crossings, over which the city has little control, seem rougher this summer than in many a year. Correspondingly, complaint calls to city hall have been numerous. The Fourth street SE tracks at Seventh and Eighth avenues threaten to rip loose the tail-pipe or muffler of any vehicle crossing at more than IO miles per hour. The First street SW tracks near the Penick & Ford plant could serve as a test run for auto tire ad-men. Most of the northeast quadrant crossings are washboard rough, with the Oakland and Center Point road gauntlet taking the booby prize, as usual. Disappointingly, not a railroad company repair crew is to be seen. And how goes the city’s annual effort to jog railroads into patching up slightly flawed crossings and reconstructing heavily-damaged ones? Richard Phillips, city public improvements commissioner, said letters are being sent to each railroad but the outlook is none too promising. A spokesman for the Rock Island told Phillips, for example, that the city should not expect work crews this summer or fall. Which raises the question: If unusually rough crossings go unrepaired this year, what will they be like in 1975? City public works crews handle routine patching, but the city has neither the time nor the money for major repairs. The city also offers to lend railroads equipment and workers for crossing improvements. Beyond those helpful alternatives, however, the city is powerless to act. The situation re-illustrates Iowa’s need for a law giving cities leverage in bringing about railroad crossing improvements. In light of the legislature’s failure to take such a proposal seriously, the newly-created department of transportation should put this one on its agenda for early action. Insight from high view LATELY a couple of Soviet spacemen have taken their turns in the cosmonaut circuit, orbiting the earth in still another test of human skill in the advancement of man’s knowledge. Soon they will return to pretty much the same obscurity that has enfolded many U.S. astronauts after taken-for-granted returns from the same great adventure. Vanished fame may be the lot of even those Americans who set the 84-day space-endurance record recently in Skylab 4 (Carr, Pogue and Gibson). But one of them, Ed Gibson, said some things about the journey that deserve to be absorbed, and long remembered even if he isn’t. Quoting from remarks attributed to Gibson, solar physics specialist and Ph.D., in a New York Times magazine piece June 30: Every time I had a few minutes free and every evening after we finished work, I’d head for the windows, usually with a camera. It was endlessly fascinating. And there was one thing that came to me, as a result of looking at the earth like that . . . You see, here on earth, we are so accustomed to looking at the earth on maps. And maps always have lines drawn on them that divide one part of the earth from another. Even globes have lines drawn on them. But when you get up there you SEE, even though you knew it intellectually, that there are no lines that divide one part of the earth from any other part. It s all one. You sit up there and you think, “Why should the people on this plot of ground be shooting at the people on that plot of ground?” It’s so obvious that there aren’t that many differences, that it’s all the same earth When I tell people about that feeling, they always say “How nice,” but it doesn’t go in deep with them. But I really believe that the space trips HAVE made a difference in the way people think of this earth. I think that the pictures taken of earth front space have had a subtle, maybe unconscious effect on the way people think of this planet, helping them to understand that it all really is one world. Consciously as well as otherwise, for people speaking many other tongues than ours, Ed Gibson’s thought should make the rounds and help to guide us all to better new designs for what goes on across the phantom lines down here.Isn't it the truth? By Carl Riblet, jr. The adventures now known as the Watergate, ITT, the dairy lobby, the Ells-berg ripoff that failed, the tapes and the stonewall have all combined to t iiphasize the three faces in politics — the face of victory, the face of defeat and the red face. ‘His face is the worst thing about him. ” — William Shakespeare InterOceon Press SyndicoteExorcising demon rum By Mary Costello ii \ NIGHT of good drinking is worth i\ a year’s thinking,” wrote Charles Cotton, a little-remembered English poet of the 17th Century. It’s probably a good thing that Cotton never met Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard, the 19th Century American reformer and patron saint of tho Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Founded in 1874, the WCTU was part of the temperance movement which had emerged earlier in the century as a reaction against the excesses of drinking on the frontier and in the cities The WCTU is still going strong, despite such setbacks ss the repeal of Prohibition in the United States, the increasing consumption of alcohol around the world, and a failure to attract younger people to the cause The jrgamzation estimates it has over a half million members in 70 countries. A number of them will attend an eight-day WCTU congress to be held in Trondheim, Norway, beginning on July 22. The theme of the conference is “Love in Action.” One of the organizers of the meeting told Editorial Research Reports that people respond better to the call for abstinence when it is presented with compassion' The congress will stress the need for education on the dangers of alcohol, a theme that Frances Willard and her successors have been emphasizing for a century. A look at the statistics underlines those dangers. About 7 percent of the adult population — nine million Americans — are alcoholics or problem drinkers. Abuse of alcoholic beverages costs society more than $25 billion annually, is responsible for 50 percent of all traffic fatalities, accounts for one-third of all suicides and plays some part in half of the 5.5 million yearly arrests. A recent study also found that heavy drinking increases the risk of mouth and throat cancer. Particularly alarming has been the sharp increase in teenage drinking There are now an estimated 450,000 alcoholics in the country under 21 years old, and the number is increasing as young people turn away from hard drugs and marijuana and begin drinking. Morris E. Chafetz, director of the National Institute on Alcoholic Abuse and Alcoholism, believes that part of the problem is that alcohol is considered almost as American as apple pie “Nonalcoholic drugs are somehow foreign and frightening, because their use, except as medicine, is not yet accepted as part of the mainstream of American culture. Alcohol, on the other hand, is so common a drug that we tend to ignore it — and its victims — as we have done for far too long.” Editorial Research Reports By William Safire WASHINGTON — If you were worried about the outcome of the supreme court’s deliberations about your case; if survival in office were your goal; and if you had a good instinct for the manipulation of the media — what would you do to get ready to turn a lemon into lemonade? First, you would tell your press spokesmen to start playing a game called "rule-out roulette” — refusing to rule out the possibility of your defying the supreme court, pointedly declining to reiterate assurances given last year that you would abide by a ‘ definitive’’ decision of the high court. Second, you would direct your lawyer to nourish speculation about the possibility of your defiance by declining to tell the justices you are seeking a supreme court “decision,” saying only you wanted their “guidance and judgment” — which you could, if you wished, ignore. Third, you would pass the word to every member of your official family not to give any off-the-record or deep-background hints to anyone that you might accede to the court’s demands, thereby fueling the rumors that it was your plan to defy the court and go down with separation-of-power flags flying. Now why on earth would you want the jungle drums beating out that message of likely defiance if you were worried about the outcome of the case0 Wouldn’t that be getting people angry in advance? Of course. Editorial writers would gobble up the bait, direly warning that if you dare to defy the court, that in itself would be an impeachable offense. They would focus attention where you want it — not on the court’s coming decision, but beyond — on your reaction to the court’s decision. In this way, you would subtly shift the focus of public concern away from “which way will the court decide?” to “what will the President do if the court decides against him?” You would thus regain some command of the situation Meanwhile, the torrents of abuse that are heaped upon you in the leaks and voluminous reports of congressional committees are vitiated by the imminence of the court decision and your reaction to it. Congressional-presidential confrontation is old news; the possibility of a clash between judicial and executive branches is fresh news. W hat happens when the court decides? If the decision surprises everyone and ir favorable to you, or at least not unfavorable, well and good. If the decision directs you to turn over the additional tapes, then the suspense you have built up would begin to pay off. The decision would not stand alone, a powerful support for the forces of impeachment; it would stand as the prelude to your own decision, as all eyes turn to you. If you defy, you would deserve to be impeached, most people would say, not realizing the obverse of their judgment: William Safire People's forumPolice aid denied To the Editor: I feel the citizens of Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas will find it interesting to learn about some requirements of the Cedar Rapids police department. On July 8, shortly after midnight I got off work in downtown Cedar Rapids. After driving my car a short distance I discovered I had a flat tire. I found myself in quite a spot, because surprisingly only part of the jack was in my car. I decided the wisest thing to do was to walk to a phone and call for help. Since it was so late I called the police department, supposing they were not only protecting us but were helpful. I was told very frankly that it would be some time before any police car would be in my area. Then the officer informed me that if they did come, they would not be allowed to use their jack on my car. There evidently is a city ordinance against allowing a city taxpayer to use any equipment from a city policeman. I find it hard to believe such a requirement actually exists. However, this is what I was told. Finally I had to call a friend out of bed to help me. They tell women that if an incident such as this happens, wait in the car for a policeman to assist. What good would that do? How can we teach our children to have that if you do not defy, you would not deserve to be impeached. Public opinion would be perfectly set up for your next move. Assuming that there is no bloodstained dagger with presidential fingerprints on it in the tapes now being demanded — assuming that they contain more of those damaging but inconclusive statements to which the public is now inured — you would announce a prime-time telecast of your response, the suspense about which you have carefully built up with the unwitting help of your most vitriolic critics. “My fellow Americans,’’ you would begin, “as the careers of those great dissenters, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis, have shown, the majority of the supreme court is not always right. I believe that future generations, in the perspective of history, will come to agree with the eloquent dissent of Justice Soandso ...” (Quote here from one dissent of the decision against you. if there is one.) Save the whale Then you would relieve the suspense which you have manufactured with a gracious, even pious, acknowledgment of the supremacy of the supreme court in disputes between other branches and even within one branch. In so doing you may weaken the presidency, but not so much as if you were to make a successful impeachment possible. “I am a man of the law.” you would assert bravely. “I accept the decision of the supreme court. I will make these tape transcripts public, along with 126 additional conversations that may be of interest. Lid us see if this satisfies the special prosecutor and the judiciary committee — or if, as I suspect, they keep coining back for more in their strategy of ‘delay, defame, destroy’ ...” Public reaction would switch from a brief, stern “he’d better not defy the court” to a relieved “the President did the right thing, and if these tapes don’t prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then the impeachment crowd has no right to keep harassing him. ” And so you would have made lemonade out of an especially sour lemon. It would not bi* like winning a victory, but it would avert disaster, and there is some satisfaction in using your media opposition as a tool in building the suspense for your riposte. That would be my plan, if I were worried. What would you do, if you were worried? New York Times Service jJI&OfiRpVT respect for police departments and tell them they are their friends when this sort of thing happens? Does it happen every day? I certainly hope not. Do we need to review some of the laws? Mrs Duane Johnson 1127 Eighth street NWInterference To the Editor: For those who enjoy the Municipal band concerts in Bever and other city parks, it is unfortunate that a steady stream of motorcycles and cars has to pass by the bandstand throughout the concert. With overflow crowds such as Bever had Sunday night (July 7), many people had to sit across the street from the bandstand where they were treated to the vroom-vToom of motorcycles intermingled with “Stars and Stripes Forever”. We realize people must come and go from the park during the concerts, but would it be possible to close off the entrance by the bandstand an hour and a half for, if nothing else, respect to the fine artists in the Cedar Rapids Municipal band? D. C. Van Metre 2207 Grande avenue SEFraudulent To the Editor: Tsk, tsk. Now I see by your July ll issue that some abortion clinics in New York are not only willing to abort pregnant women, but nonpregnant women; and, on the basis of a urine test — even a man (For a $150 fee. of course.) And who said we couldn’t get carried away with this abortion thing? Tsk, tsk. Shirley Ruedy 2428 Fourth avenue SE Courts decisive, even with no smoking gun' Clearer light on obstruction of justice By James Reston WASHINGTON — The conviction of John Ehrlichman for conspiracy and perjury in the case of Daniel Ells-berg’s psychiatrist — though it will be appealed — is regarded here as highly significant for two main reasons. First, it rested in part on the principle that an official is responsible for the acts of his subordinates if he approved a “covert” plan that led to illegal acts, even if he did not approve of specific acts of burglary under that plan Second, it sustained Judge Gerhard Gesell’s principle that even good motives do not justify illegal acts. "An individual cannot escape criminal liability simply because he sincerely but incorrectly believes that his acts are justified in the name of patriotism, of national sec urity ...” Gesell told the jury These two points bear directly on the question of what a government official may or may not do and, if sustained, are likely to make White House aides much more cautious in the future about authorizing dubious practices regardless of their motives And they bear indirectly on the continuing impeachment inquiry in the case of President Nixon Here a distinction has to be made between the Ehrlichman case and the Nixon case. Ehrlichman approved in writing a “covert operation” to examine Dr. Fielding s files on Ellsberg’s psychiatric record, provided that operation was “not traceable.” There is no such evidence that President Nixon did the same. Nevertheless, the judiciary committee’s transcript of a March 22, 1973, conversation between the President and John Mitchell does suggest evidence that the President did know about the coverup of illegal acts, did not “take c&re that the laws are faithfully executed,” but conspired to, and did. obstruct justice by suggesting that his aides avoid telling the truth. In that conversation, the President, according to the judiciary committee’s transcript of the tapes, suggested a flexible policy of giving some information to the senate Watergate committee “in order to get on with the coverup plan.” Later in the same conversation, in a long Nixon-Mitchell exchange, which the President personally directed should be cut out of the transcripts he made public on April 30, Nixon is quoted as saying (skipping his barnyard language): “I want you all to stonewall it, let them (his suspected aides) plead the Fifth Amendment. cover up or anything else, if it ll save the plan, that’s the whole thing ” James Reston In short, the President, according to this passage, clearly knew in general about the coverup, which was an obstruction of justice and. if tolerated by the President, a violation of his oath to “take care that the laws are faithfully executed.” If Ehrlichman’s conviction is sustained on the basis of his general approval of a “covert operation.” then the President is in even deeper trouble as being a party to a specific crime. The psychological effect of the Ehrlichman conviction on the judiciary committee and the members of the house and senate is probably more important than anything else. The President and his lawyer are saying that to impeach and convict, you have to find clear evidence that Nixon personally, and intentionally, committed a high crime, prove him unequivocally to bt* a crook, or to use the vivid but offensive common phrase, “find the smoking gun” in his hands. In the Ehrlichman case, the judge and jury said something far less than this could In* a crime: “You didn’t have to catch Ehrlichman rifling Dr. Fielding’s files in order to convict him. Or even prove that he said, ‘ Go burgle his office and get the files ’ ’’ Even if he thought it was O K. to mount a “covert operation” just so it wasn’t “traceable,” Gesell said that was enough to convict Key figures in the house judiciary committee, like Rep Thomas Railsback (K IU.) have been edging toward the argument that the test of impeachment is not one of finding the “smoking gun” but the wider test of general knowledge of crime, and now the conviction of Ehrlichman has greatly strengthened his position In their slow and steady way, the courts are becoming the decisive factor in this controversy, and the conviction of Ehrlichman is only an example of their power. Within a week or two, before the judiciary committee votes whether to bring in articles of impeachment, the supreme court will decide whether the President has to hand over the rest of the tapes and evidence. That will be the critical moment for all three branches of government — judicial, executive and legislative The first question lies with the members of the supreme court, and it is an ironic accident of history that while they were considering their decision, former Chief Justice Earl Warren died, and the members of the court marched to the solemn music in the Washington cathedral, and they listened to the appeals for justice and unity in the Republic, and former Justices Abe For-tas arid Arthur Goldberg were with them, and one wondered what they thought. Later we will hear from Chief Justice Burger, as we heard from Judge Gesell in the Ehrlichman case, and in the end of this tragedy, the courts are likely to be decisive on what the congress does Ne* York Time* Service ;

  • Arthur Goldberg
  • Carl Riblet
  • Charles Cotton
  • Duane Johnson
  • Earl Warren
  • Ed Gibson
  • Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard
  • Frances Willard
  • Gerhard Gesell
  • James Reston
  • John Ehrlichman
  • John Mitchell
  • Louis Brandeis
  • Mary Costello
  • Morris E. Chafetz
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Richard Phillips
  • Robert Cunningham
  • Shirley Ruedy
  • Thomas Railsback
  • William Safire

Share Page

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: July 16, 1974

RealCheck