Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 17, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette July 17, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 17, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa <£hr Cebine llupicU {DttjfHt Editorial Page No crime-war loss in no-knock knockout Wednesday, July 17, 1974 Campaign compatibles ON THE WHOLE, the senate Watergate committee’s outline for a campaign overhaul contains some useful changes that should help avoid another breakdown like the one that brought on what has happened. There was one bad lapse. A committee majority ruled out public financing as part of the answer for campaign fund reform. The key to that decision seemingly was this, as stated in the summary: “Thomas Jefferson believed ‘to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.’ The committee’s opposition is based like Jefferson’s upon the fundamental need to protect the voluntary right of individual citizens to express themselves politically as guaranteed by the First Amendment.” No one in his right mind disagrees with Jefferson’s contention. The trouble is, it doesn’t fit. A person’s voluntary campaign contribution to a party does not put him in agreement with every word uttered by every campaigner, every word in the platform or every piece of advertising issued by the party. Many people strongly disagree with narrow parts of all that, yet give their money to support the whole. The same would hold for tax-financed campaign activities. What givers are supporting is a process, not a doctrine: ways of doing things and broad points of view, not opinions they abhor and disbelieve — unless what they detest is the democratic election system itself. Involuntarily, the American taxpayer contributes money to support and maintain congress, out of which flow countless comments and beliefs that many lake severe exception to. Tax-support and sometimes disbelief run parallel concerning the Pres ident’s office, too. None of this commits a person’s taxes to anathema, to tyranny or sin. Neither would a system sending taxes to a general arrangement paying for political campaigns that lead to public elections for running the U.S. government. In separate comments as a Watergate committeeman, Tennessee’s Senator Baker saw public financing as a source of dangers equal to the big-money wrongs that private contributions brought to light through Watergate. An arm of government responsible for allocating campaign funds, he theorized, could abuse that power just as the administration did in other ways to the benefit of one party or candidate preferred over others. That is not an all-decisive risk. Mechanisms to assure immunity from dirty tricks and partisan manipulation can be built in. If they should fail, new reforms another day can always come along. Advantages in giving this a try outweigh the possibilities for new abuse. In a dissent from the committee majority’s view, Senators Inouye of Hawaii and Montoya of New Mexico took the line that public financing is workable in combination with the older private giving: “. . . Any candidate or party which receives public funds should be required to manifest significant public support. A system of matching private contributions with public money, such as provided in S. 3044, meets this requirement. It also maintains the element of individual initiative that is so essential to the democratic process.” They are right. As further action toward campaign reform unfolds in congress, the most promising approach is one that blends a careful shot of public funding with new halters on the gone-wrong older way that proved the need. Gift-game evaluated PRESIDENT NIXON’S im-pulse-gift to Egyptian President Sadat of a $2 million navy helicopter (reports suggest it might cost up to $10 million to replace the unit) has properly inspired a good hard look at that sort of thing. Wisconsin’s Senator Proxmire wants a full accounting of the nature and the cost of presidential generosity along this line at least back through the Kennedy years. There are two considerations that need balancing as points of public policy on this. One is that the interpersonal relationship in head-of-state dealings often does have value and importance as an element of statecraft: National interrelationships involving the good of millions of people sometimes follow closely from these ties, and the value of a tangible gift can be exceeded greatly by the value of mumm mmwhat flows from that to the nation of the giver. The other is that even though some real good comes out of these material amenities, there are limits on how far a democracy’s head of state can go with his largesse and still keep the respect of his people, who actually pay for the gifts he hands out. A monarch with great personal wealth confronts one situation on this score, and a President elected by and from the public faces a much different one. Quite possibly a $2-10 million stroke of unplanned generosity exceeds those limits. In any event, the detailed accounting sought by Senator Proxmire is a good way to start finding out. After the dimensions of the matter take on better focus, what to do about it will be easier to figure out then too. Blanks filledStory line By Jim Fiebig THE WALL STREET .Journal reports that Crown Publishing Co is considering a second edition of “The Nothing Book” The denim-bound $3 volume, consisting of 160 blank pages, already has sales exceeding 25,000 copies My question is. how will Hollywood — which will surely buy the film rights to “The Nothing Book” — handle the screenplay? Let s look in as the studio head and his top director discuss the transrormation of 160 blank pages into a full-length feature film: “Frankly, Cecil.” the director is saying, “I think we should be IOO percent faithful to the story line.” “No, we can’t expert an audience to sit looking at a blank screen for 90 minutes. Car human interest, wt . pot just show a young man on a park bench? VS«• ‘ 11 have him change facial expressions, wipe his nose, feed the pigeons — that sort of thing ” “Try this on, Cecil. About halfway through the film, a beautiful young girl walks into the shot and sits down beside him. They don’t speak, but a strong mutual attraction will be evident “It would be unnatural for them to sit together for 45 minutes without speaking I envision a dialogue in which the man explains he’s a shell-shocked war veteran considering suicide because his w ife ran off with a door-to-door avocado salesman while he was overseas.” “I’m getting the feel of it, Cecil She’s suicidal, too, but talks him out of killing himself by suggesting they start living for each other. They leave the park bench and we follow them through a whirlwind courtship that ends with their marriage in the lounge of a 747 en route to Paris.’’ “Dynamite! But can we still call it The Nothing Book ?” “Of course not. We ll call it Between the Lines .” General Feature* Corporation By Tom Wicker NKW YORK — About midway through the decade of the '60s, the fear of crime began to emerge as a powerful American political issue. Crime in the streets, the drug problem, urban rioting, increasing violence —■ all gave Americans good reason to be disturbed And to make their feelings known. But as happens all too often, their political leaders flocked to exploit the political issue without doing anything useful about the basic problem. Thus, the United States senate, in a seizure of ill-considered zeal to prove itself a hard-nosed crime fighter, passed in 1970 laws that authorized federal narcotics agents and District of Columbia policemen to get “no-knock entry” warrants, if a judge could bo persuaded that such a warrant was necessary to prevent the destruction of evidence. Armed with such warrants, the agents or the I) C. police could break into a house or an apartment with no warning to its inhabitants. In 1973, numerous news stories appeared about innocent families — the Giglottos and the Askews, then of Collinsville, III., were the best examples — being terrorized and their houses damaged by agents bursting in to search for nonexistent drugs. A survey by the New York Times disclosed that “scores of agents, in their zeal to crush illicit drug trafficking have mistakenly broken into the homes and apartments of dozens of innocent families, terrorizing the occupants and heavily damaging property.” There had even been deaths — a Norfolk. Va., woman shot and killed a patrolman who was trying to enter her apartment looking for heroin (there was none), and narcotics agents killed a man fleeing from a no-knock raid in California He didn’t have any drugs, either. Earlier this year, the federal agents responsible for the Collinsville raid were acquitted of criminal charges. But the unfavorable public notice no-knock entry had acquired did not go for nothing. The drug enforcement agency, for example, began requiring its agents to wear blue jackets and caps, with an armpatch, when conducting a raid, this at least gave those raided some suggestion that those knocking down their doors were officers and not thugs or madmen. Agents wanting to conduct a no-knock Tom Wicker raid now have to get authorization from the drug enforcement agency’s headquarters in Washington. They have to convince their own superiors as well as a judge. The training of agents is said to have been strengthened, in hopes of avoiding troublesome incidents. Senators Sam Ervin of North Carolina and Charles Percy of Illinois joined to push a bill through congress enabling victims of such outrages as the Collinsville raid to sue the federal government directly for damages — providing the possibility of redress for such victims, and putting both agents and their supervisors on notice to take more care in planning and staging raids. But all these were no more than limited steps to cope with what was fundamentally a bad idea Useful as each may have been in itself, none of them eliminated the bad idea — any more than no-knock entry coped with crime. In the federal city of Washington, D C., for example, although specifically authorized to do so, the police have not sought no-knock warrants since October. 1970, and Chief Jerry V. Wilson has said he would not object to repeal of the law. There is some reason to believe, in fact, that no-knock entry was mostly a public relations product of the Nixon administration, aided and abetted by members of congress of both parties, all of whom wanted quick catchword legislation to suggest that they were People's forumSort-out resisted seniority even though I have more time in the garage at the post office than the other people who are there yet, other than the foreman and one garageman. Also it was stated that if one works nights he receives IO percent night differential and 25 percent for Sunday work. This is true, but if the regular work week is nights and one goes on vacation he only receives the day pay. not the night differential. If a day guy goes on vacation he receives his full pay. Is this discrimination of the night worker and Sunday worker? To the Editor: Today (July 12) I did my weekly grocery shopping at a large supermarket and I was very disgusted when I left. I have been shopping at this supermarket for many years and going through the same routine each week, but today was different. When I approached the checkout counter, the cashier told me to sort my own groceries; nonedible things were to be put on the counter first and then the food products last. I suppose this is due to the food-tax thing, but since I am the customer and paying high prices for my groceries, I think the cashier should earn her money. # I refused to sort my groceries, so the cashier just let the food stack up and didn’t run her conveyor belt. I stood my ground and finally she gave in, in a very snippy way. If this shopping situation continues, I will take my business elsewhere. Mrs. Thomas E. Meeker IIH Tenth avenue. HiawathaPostal shakeup To the Editor: I have read the statement that was published in The Gazette July 15 by Postmaster Seda: “No one lost his job ” I am one of those people who has lost his job, as I have been a mechanic for all my working life and now I am a clerk sorting mail after working as a mechanic for the post office for over 14 years. If that isn t losing one’s job, what is? Yes, we retain our former salary — for two years, which was omitted in his statement. Also I have lost my seniority through no fault of my own. After working for th** sam** employer, I don’t see how this is possible I don’t believe there is another place where one loses his seniority when still employed with the ' same employer. I have lost not only my job but my‘American' as counterpart to ‘Common’ After one spends this kind of time with one employer and is nearing 50, where can one find another job9 Kenneth M Reed 4008 Vine avenue SESad news To the Editor: We are writing in regard to a recent drowning in this area. During the river dragging a reporter from WMT-TV arrived and took movie film of the scene. ‘I have an unemployment problem, too!' dealing with crime “No-knock" nicely served the purpose Now the senate — again led by the Er-vin-Percy combination — has voted to repeal no-knock altogether, both for the D. C. police and federal narcotics agents Nor was this a close decision — 63 to 31 for repeal — which is reassuring evidence that mankind does occasionally learn from its errors and follies. The house may not yet be ready to abandon no-knoek, but the massive switch in the senate — even Percy voted for no-knock in 1970 — should be enough to maintain the repeal in a senate-house conference. Meanwhile, the senate might begin the re-examination of some other dangerous measures once pictured to the public as vital in the fight against crime. “Preventive detention” in the District of Columbia is one example, and legitimated wiretapping is another. The first has proved useless and the latter may not produce enough anticrime results to be worth its frequent and inevitable abuses As Charles Percy put it in the debate on repealing no-knock entry, “short-cut methods when dealing with basic constitutional rights” can become “an invitation for official lawlessness.” New York Times Service The parents of the child who drowned asked the reporter to leave and not take the films, and when they received no response from her, proceeded to ask a law officer present to stop this. The reporter continued taking her films. That evening and the following they were televised, along with the scene of removing the victim from the water and onto a stretcher. We feel it is very wrong that the news media may televise films of a family’s agony when it is spec ifically against their wishes, What has happened to an individual's right to privacy? . Surely there are many happy events happening daily to be filmed and televised rather than a tragedy like this that the family requested not even be filmed, must less televised? Dr. and Mrs. Gary Dundee Center Point Mr and Mrs Bill Goodman Center Point Mr. and Mrs. Daryl Rachuy Jesup (Editor's note: When on event of interest to the public is occurring in public — especially with public personnel or facilities involved — the privacy rights that apply in private situations no longer do. Neither participants nor public authorities have any power to prevent news coverage so long as coverage does not interfere with what is going on. In case of conflict, the news outlets decision is whether general interest in the event overrides someone's personal desire for no coverage )LETTERS The Gazettes editorial page welcomes readers' opinions, subject to these guidelines; length limit 400 words One letter per writer every 30 days All may be condensed and edited without changing meaning None published anonymously Writer s telephone number (not printed) should follow name, address and readable handwritten signature to help authenticate Contents deal more with issues and events thor personalities. No poetry New conservative cause off and fumingBy James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON — George Murphy vw called a press conference the other day, but almost nobody came. This was a pity, because the former California senator is a good man, and he was engaged in launc hing a worthy venture. The old hoofer’s purpose was to announce the formation of “American Cause.” Though he wouldn’t say so directly, American Cause obviously is intended to function as a conservative counter-force to the liberals’ Common Cause It is a consummation, as a certain Scandinavian used to say, devoutly to Im* wished I rider the leadership of John Gardner, (ommon Cause has become one of the best-heeled and most effective lobbies in town There was a time when Americans for Democratic Ac tion served as front-runner for liberal propositions. When ADA ran out of wind, Common Cause picked up the torch Now Common Cause is hustling from here to California on everything from consumer protection to the federal financing of elections. If I voice admiral nm I i «.n, i I wish Gardner’s outfit were on our side Respectable American conservatism could use* 330 JNS) contributors pitching in $6 million a year Our side has nothing like that. If you listen for ’he voice of American conservatism, you will hear the urbane accents of Natl <4/1 a I Review and the homespun strictures of Human Events. You will hear a few columnists and a few newspapers, notably the Wall Street Journal, but in terms of organizational voices, you will hear very little Barry Goldwater’s fledgling Free Society Assn. crashed before it ever flew Americans for Constitutional Action is inactive. The American Conservative Union has done some first-rate things — its attack on the President’s family assistance plan was a masterful job — but ACU has become so identified with Ronald Reagan that it lacks a broad base Out on the* extreme edges of right field are Liberty Libby and the John Birch Society, whose suicidal practice is to drown their sensible positions in great baths of hogwash Thai’s;    ii Will Murphy’s American Cause get off the ground9 It hurts to say this, but I doubt it. Conservatives are a funny breed. Politically and ideologically, they are loners. They tend to peer through their microscopes darkly, seeing one issue at a time: gun control, right to work, fluoridation, racial balance busing, arms limitation, pornography. Thus blinkered, they cannot be distracted by issues on either side I once knew a rich southern gentleman, now dead, who proposed to put up $50,INK) to found a conservative organization. There was this hitch The organization’s sole purpose would tie to prove that the Nth Amendment never had been ratified In launching American Cause, Murphy is tackling this natural perversity of the James J. Kilpatrick American right Liberals have no such problems. They have a splendid motto: United we stand Ours is different: Divided we fall Once Murphy moves beyond the pa tty-cake issues and plunges into areas of passionate disagreement, he is likely to shatter his constituency before he ever gets it glued together. Yet the effort is worth a try Murphy’s prospectus rings all the old nostalgic chimes. American ( aune* would promote a firm belief in the Constitution, free speech, free practice of religious worship, a responsible and trusted free press, the free enterprise system, the profit incentive, the right of private ownership of property, the maintenance of peace and safety in our communities, and the guarantee of national security from all enemies.” These are admirable goals, broadly appealing, but they ate fuzzy around the edges lf American Cause is to compete with Common Cause in the arena of ideas, it will have to sharpen its aim and focus on specific targets The unavoida hie risk is that some of Murphy’s conservative prima donnas, offended at the neglect of their solo projects, will then stalk off the stage and go home ;

  • Bill Goodman
  • Charles Percy
  • Daryl Rachuy Jesup
  • Gary Dundee
  • George Murphy
  • James J. Kilpatrick
  • Jerry V. Wilson
  • Jim Fiebig
  • John Gardner
  • Kenneth M Reed
  • Sam Ervin
  • Thomas E. Meeker
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Tom Wicker

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: July 17, 1974

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