Cedar Rapids Gazette, August 6, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette August 6, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 6, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Tuesday, August 6, 1®74 Wheat fiasco WHEN SENATE investigators wrapped up their probe of the Russian vvheat-sale bungle recently, who should appear in the cast but the redoubtable Henry Kissinger. It was Henry’s advice, way back in January and February of 1972, that triggered the mistake-ridden transaction, according to the investigations subcommittee's 67-page report. Kissinger, then the President’s national security adviser, wrote: “The department of agriculture, in cooperation with other interested agencies, should take the lead in developing for the President’s consideration a position and negotiating scenario for handling the issue of grain sales to USSR Now that obeisance to Kissinger has slacked off a bit, there may be a temptation to lump the secretary among agriculture department officials who blundered into the fiasco. Columnist Paul Scott swung the tar-brush perilously close last week with this observation: “Senate probers' final report . . . should be must reading for members of the senate foreign relations committee probing the activities of Secretary of State Kissinger." To hear Scott tell of it, one would think the wheat sale to Russia was fraught with bungling from the beginning. But at the stage that Kissinger studied the proposal and commended it to the department of agriculture, the general idea was a winner: firming up amicable trade relations with an ideological foe. The foolishly large volume of grain shipped, the overly generous line of credit and all other errors have been traced to two officials in the agriculture department’s export marketing service. Blaming Kissinger for the disastrous outcome is like censuring Indian affairs advisers for Et. Col. George A. Custer’s solo campaign against the Cheyenne and Sioux a century ago. Significantly. Kissinger did not appear as a principal in “the Great American grain robbery” when the able General Accounting Office completed its investigation 15 months ago. His newly-alleged involvement and the magnification of same suggest that revisionist history is being written earlier than ever.Negotiable? WITH impeachment by the house now regarded a sure thing, the Washington rumor mill is recycling the Nixon-may-resign scenario. One stumbling block on that path out, naturally, is the possibility of criminal prosecution once Mr. Nixon’s status changes from sitting President to sitting duck. Presumably the President could make a deal to avoid such embarrassment, but one wonders to whom he would turn for negotiations. Probably not the attorney general. Definitely not Judge Sirica. Perhaps the historic task would fall to a special plea bargainer, appointed by you-know-who. Certainty is what counts Did YOU KNOW that in England your chances of going to prison, if convicted of a crime, are IO times greater than in the United States? That fact interested Columnist Sydney Harris to the point that he determined to find out why. What he discovered should attract the attention of every lawmaker, prosecutor and judge in the United States. First, he learned that when a person is sentenced to a prison term for a serious crime in the U.S., it is for a longer period of time than in England, even though his chances of being sent to prison are IO times less. “It is not the degree of punishment that is determinative,” Harris concluded, “but the certainty of punishment ... It is swiftness and sureness of punishment that deters criminality, not length or harshness." That is the logical reason People’s forumPrice blur To the Editor By this time almost everyone Hun come across the newest computer wrinkle — those* little strips of varying widths on packages and other items on the supermarket shelves. They are to lie used in computers charging us for our groceries, with the actual price being listed only on the shelf The store will feed into the computer the* price that the* various stripes re*pre*se*nt, and the computer will tabulate the total at the* checkout counter Beautiful, except how does a consumer know he is being charged correct Iv } What is to prevent a store* from putting one* price on the* shelf and feeding another into the* computer, either by mistake or even intentionally? For years we have cheeked our supermarket tapes against our purchases after we got home. Once in a while we have found mistakes. However, with this new gimmick, the only way we will be able to check our total will be to run the cart back through the store and confirm each price. How ridiculous I wish to take this means of notifying any store considering installing such a system in this area that I intend to fight this latest ‘‘machine lovers" fantasy. I England’s crime rate also is lower than that of the United States. The deterrence of knowing that you’ll get a long sentence in the U.S., when weighed against the possibility that you may not even have to go to jail, is far less than the deterrence of knowing, as the Englishman must, that it's virtually certain you’ll go to jail if caught and convicted. “There is little respect for law in the U.S.,” Harris reasons, “because the law itself does not line up to its commitments; its end is not justice but convenience, accommodation, a good-looking record for the district attorney, and a bargaining-away of rights that makes it easier to commit more wrongs.” In other words, we’re barking up the wrong tree when we call for harsher amd stiffer penalties. What we should be calling for is certainty of punishment, which the English have proved reduces the amount of crime. B also urge anyone else who feels he has the right to know what he is paying for his groceries to contact any consumer group he knows and also to write his state legislator urging adoption of a bill requiring the price to Im* shown on every item in arabic numerals, not computer stripes Perhaps this not-too-bnght idea can Im* squelched before it even gets started Otherwise, we can all resign ourselves to just trusting the store, with no wav of checking out our own purchases Richard I Mills I MIMI Blake bon lev ard SFDictatorship’ To the Editor Americans are faced with tile most critical decision in the nation's history All have taken for granted that each of the three branches of government es-tablished by the Constitution had the ability and strength to maintain its position All have felt that a Democratic congress arid a Republican Executive would balance each other's strengths None have ever suspected that one might try to destroy the other However, now our nation is faced with a Democratic congress which has been infiltrated by persons whose ultimate goal is very dangerous to our form of government and who are determined to destroy our constitutuional government by working within the system. They haveBy Tom Tiede WVSHINGTON — ll L Mencken once said that for every human problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong So it is with the current rumble in Washington about beating inflation by joining it Senate Majority beader Mike Mansfield. for example, has introduced hasty legislation which would require that most C S. workers be given annual cost-of-living salary increases At first hearing, it sounds good. The second or third echo, however, resembles the wartime shipboard cliche: “When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.' Perhaps at this time, actually, even circle runners do some good in emphasizing the disease of inflation But Mansfield’s proposal is itself flibberdyflop. Basically, the idea is economic defeatism. W hat it would do. if accepted, would have people cower before inflation thus insuring the hitter s continued supremacy lf everybody — there are some IMI million in the nation’s work force — could by law keep up with inflation. there would be little incentive for anyone to fight against it Prices and salaries would merrily rise in conjunction until eggs began costing Sa apiece. TY sets would go on sale for S24.9119 and families earning under $500,000 a year would Im* eligible for food stamps Eventually, of course, the system would collapse. Perhaps because there would not be enough printing presses to make currency Admittedly, the opposite to Mansfield s idea is also punishing. But presumably. based on history, not for so long. The opposite idea rests in the theory that inflation should hurt, that consumers should feel pain, that shopping should Im* a trip through the lash line. That way the Closh of loyalties forces silence Ford on a tightrope:‘Still unspoiled’By James Reston WASHINGTON — Almost everybody talks these days about the problems of tin* Nixons, but just for a change, consider the problems of the Fords — the vice-president and his family Ford is spending most of his time traveling, praying and listening. lie s traveling to keep out of the impeachment politics here and hold his party together out in the country. He's praying either to get out of the presidency or be up to it if he ha-' to take over And he’s listening because he can't avoid it. All his old buddies on Capitol Hill are giving him advice, most of it contradictory He's being urged by some to lobby against the impeachment of the President on Capitol Hill I It* ’n being urged Ie others to shut up and get lost until ttrial is over, and by still others to start picking a new vice-president and cabinet. The big guy just smiles and nods You can't interview him because the most relevant question's about what kind of administration Ik* would have are precisely the topics he can’t discuss without seeming to be disloyal to the President. Some things about him. however, are fairly clear He is the same open, unskilled character He is calm and fatalistic about his place in the current drama •is if he were an accidental player in figured a wav to destroy the executive branch through the impeachment process. Their efforts an* being supported by the press and TY which have publicized every guess, every maybe, every possibility. and every person who would make a statement criticizing the Executive to convince the public of his wrongdoing T hey have taken poll after poll to check on the success of their efforts; but they have given no facts supporting ( rime or misdemeanors by Mr Nixon Many statesmen, both Democratic and Republican, have told the public that there is no evidence or facts proving ( rime or misdemeanors on the part of the inn! her I ie tv Now let s take a today s labor situation look at some large inevitable script beyond his control. He is an open and spontaneous man, accustomed to party talk, and this leads him into some confusion from time to time between his loyalty to his President and his loyalty to his new role as President-in-waiting. But as President Nixon’s troubles have leepened and Ford s responsibilities have increased, the vice-president has become more canny He avoids specifics .md personalities but talks a good deal about the longing in the country for peace and reconciliation lit* also talks about tin* need for teamwork and openness in Washington. He notes that he ran an open shop in congress, sharing responsibility with his colleagues and keeping in close touch with the opposition leaders whom he still regards as his friends. But it is not clear that he would try to put together a really outstanding ministry of exceptional talents or a bipartisan cabinet and government of reconciliation lh* ''hies away from fancy talk bkt* that He describes himself as conservative in financial matters, a moderate on social questions, and a strong supporter of Secretary of State Kissinger’s pragmatism in foreign affairs. lf he does have to take over. much will depend on his choice of a vice-president President to warrant impeachment. In the hearing on TY. circumstantial evidence was discussed as a possible basis for impeachment. If the people of the t inted States allow a Democratic congress to impeach their President on circumstantial evidence, they will have destroyed the executive branch of government; they will have made a Democratic dictatorship possible Our Constitution is in jeopardy. I suggest that l>oth the people and the politicians alike back up and take a broader view of the problem. I suggest consideration of tin* long-view results of such a political im|M*achment backed by an encouraging press Do think again Do \merieans want to impeach their President? Do Americans want a Democratic dictatorship? Hildred Meyer DundeeComforting’ To the Editor An Aug I news broadcast told of the incident at the Duane Arnold Energy ( enter near Palo. A systems failure < a used over -I.non gallons of cooling water to spill into the Cedar river. I was particularly amused (in a tragic sort of way > when the spokesman for IE made the statement that the water was “not very** radioactive Ile went on to say that there is “nothing to worry about " Nothing to worry about — how comforting IE quickly put down opposition to nuclear power Im*fore licensing of the and tilt* role he assigns to that man The guess here is that it will be either Nelson Rockefeller or Elliot Richardson, but that is only a guess. Here again he is getting widely divergent advice In a time of political upheaval, he is tieing told, steadiness is the main thing: The fewer the changes the better This was what President Johnson did after the murder of John FA Kennedy. “Let us continue." he said, and kept tin* entire Kennedy cabinet into the second Johnson term. In contrast, after the death of Franklin Roosevelt, President Truman changed most of the cabinet within six months, and even some members of the present Nixon cabinet argue that if Nixon is convicted, Ford should make a clean sweep of the whole Nixon cabinet, except Kissinger. Ford, however, will not allow himself to be drawn into discussion of these points He turns the conversation to questions such as the new problems before his family. They are plain folks in a difficult situation. He has just switched jobs They live. and have lived for manx years, in a plain house on a plain street in Alexandria. Va., but in the new job as vicepresident. he is now regarded as a national treasure, so the Secret Service has moved into his garage and protects him plant in Palo Time and time again we were told that the system was practically failsafe Here we are on Aug I only a short time after the plant began operations and we've had our first accident Oh well, I suppose I shouldn't complain — after all. the Iowa Electric spokesman said “it probably won t happen again " We ll need more than IE public relations comforting US lf a natural disaster incurs such as a tornado with the nuclear energy center in its path. But don’t mind me — I’m just another one of those hy peractive “environmentalists,” Frank Parrino I 11 1 Second avenue SE Badgered To the Editor I think that it s just too bad because ADC mothers cannot be left alone by others, unless they ask others for help I’m speaking for others also I’m on ADC, yes, but I have had others that aren't on ADC or supporting themselves ask for food, money, and Dm always trying to have others leave me alone I iii thankful to be on ADC, because of these other |M*ople who bother me. make me unable to keep my health, to take care of myself and get a (ob I also hope someday these rich people think of the concern for others. I ve even had to put signs on my door.Mrs Pat Dav is ( entral City night and day. and watches over his kids on dates Recognizing that this may he a little awkward, the government has now provided Ford with a new official residence on Massachusetts avenue just up the hill from the British embassy. It is an imposing white wooden structure with porches as long as a bowling alley, ’'surrounded by grounds that could encompass a nine-hole golf course, and tin* whole thing could easily be maintained if the congress would inst bring back slavery Like most husbands. Ford is absent during the moving and leaving these details to his wife. While he's on the road, Nhe is getting rid of the former tenant's modern furniture and picking out different rugs and drapes to fit the Victorian background. Maybe this takes her mind off the political convulsion in their lives, but before she ever gets the new place in shape, she may have to move again Sometimes she must w ish her guy hadn t been so successful or lucky.Connelly case: Leaks bring potential washoutBy Rowland Evans and Robert Novak WASHINGTON — Special prosecutor lieon Jaworski’s office handled the • Ik scandal indictment of John B. Con-.»11 v with extraordinary security precautions in an effort to mitigate the previous flood of anti-Connally publicity which will seriously handicap efforts to convict him Total secrecy was maintained on th** indictment. It was typed not by secretaries but by high-ranking officials on the prosecution force Jaworski, who has excused himself from the ease liecause of idd Texas association xx it Ii (onnally, was not informed that the indictment was coming. Even after the indictment was announced, Jaworski’s aides refused to discuss the case It may be too late Edward Bennett Williams, fumed defense lawyer representing < clinally. intends to argin* that his client’s interests were damaged by the deluge of publicity preceding (onnally s indictment for bribery and perjury. Jaworski’s lawyers regard that publicity as disgraceful, hut they were not at fault The leaks probably came from attorneys for erstwhile (Onnally associate Jake Jacobsen Iii fact, the special prosecution force has privately scolded Jacobsen's lawyers for highly unethical conduct The publicity was an obvious attempt to win total immunity for Jacobsen iii return tor damaging testimony against (Onnally —* in effect, plea bargaining via Hic media It did not succeed Mthough Jacobsen s testimony against ( onnally is expected to Im* critical, he was indicted for bribery along with (Onnally Publisher * ((cill Syndicate Surest inflation cure may be the whip public s screams, demands and election votes would be directed at the political and business policies which bring inflation about. Thus the worker who loses f> percent in real annual earnings (as tin* average man did last year) is less likely to buy a new car at unreasonable prices or allow his government to budget foolishly. In turn, ideally, the chastised business and political communities would be more likely to practice fiscal restraint and inflation, la-la, would once again be conquered by sacrifice and justice. Well, perhaps the opposite idea is wishful thinking. But at least it’s not so outright impossible as Mansfield s proposal Even now, with only limited numbers of Americans tied to automatic cost-of-living increases, the I S tax payer is awesomely indebted lo the fu lure The National Taxpayers I * ti ion a small, private gripe group, estimates that th** nation s current liability index (the amount of taxes it will cost to support the lifetime of the population today) in $4,477,IKM),IHM),1)00 - that’s trillions of dollars “This amount alone,' says an NTL spokesman, “is economic cancer in that we won t know we're sick until we drop dead. To raise it more is simple suicide. " Even Mansfield’s own men on the joint economies committee feel the senator’s liability-raising proposal is unwise Says one: “There are two ways to stop inflation. Increase supplies or decrease demand Mansfield’s bill doesn’t address itself to either. His Idea is to help the workingman, but you can’t do it by destroying the value of money." No doubt, truth known. Mansfield realizes this. And in fact his wage adjustment act of 1974 is not, as he says. “offered as a panacea, tint only as a base from which some other thinking can develop and, perhaps, some cures for inflation found In other words, in a nation where the prime interest rate has risen 37 percent since March and the stock market falls IOO points in a month, some movement, any movement, must bi* started toward better times In this respect all ideas are good ideas in that they focus attention on solutions rather than excuses. Mansfield s bill may lit* second-rate, his natural wisdom affected in this case, but his design for these times — emergency action — is desperately necessary. In the land of the blind, even the one-eved man sees something. Newspaper Enterprise Assn ;

  • Edward Bennett Williams
  • Elliot Richardson
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • George A. Custer
  • Henry Kissinger
  • Hildred Meyer
  • Jake Jacobsen
  • James Reston
  • John B. Con
  • Mike Mansfield
  • Mimi Blake
  • Mthough Jacobsen
  • Nelson Rockefeller
  • Pat Dav
  • Paul Scott
  • Robert Novak
  • Rowland Evans
  • Sydney Harris

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: August 6, 1974

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