Cedar Rapids Gazette, October 29, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette October 29, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - October 29, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Tuesday, October 29, 1974Fault found with Sirica’s trial-handling Petty politics The    wheels of President Ford’s plane had hardly cleared the ground, after his visit to Iowa last Thursday, before Democratic State Chairman Tom Whitney asked for equal time to answer {he Chief Executive on several radio and television stations. The President made two appearances in Des Moines, one before the public with an address delivered from the east statehouse steps and the other at a Republican fund-raising luncheon in West Des Moines. The public address was billed in advance as “nonpartisan.” But Whitney took exception to much of what the President had to say there, contending that it was of partisan nature. His request for equal time was based on that premise. He also called on Iowa Republicans to reimburse the state for any expenses incurred in making preparations for the President’s public address on statehouse grounds. Republican State Chairman John McDonald replied that he was “surprised” at Whitney’s request and accused him of using “cry-baby tactics.” “It sounds rather petty,” McDonald concluded. He’s right. President Ford’s statehouse address was no more partisan than the one delivered by Lyndon Johnson on the west side of the statehouse during his presidency. The Republicans kicked up no fuss by asking for equal time then. Whitney didn't stop with his “equal time” claim. He also wants the Republican state central committee to reimburse the state for the expense of preparing the east statehouse steps for Ford’s appearance. Again, this is petty politics. If a mistake was made here, however, it was by the Republicans responsible for billing the President’s statehouse address as “nonpartisan.” Rather, it should have been promoted simply as a presidential appearance. Everybody likes to see the President, regardless of who he is or which party he belongs to. Iowa Democrats surely have more substantive issues to make political hay with than this one. Consciences still safe Knocking out an ordinance attempt by Virginia. Minn., to bar abortions in city hospitals except to save a mother’s life, the supreme court last week reinforced its earlier decision leaving the yes or no choice in abortions mainly up to women and their doctors. The action also reinforced the case against a legislative “conscience clause” to guarantee' that no one has to participate in abortions involuntarily An appeals court had ruled that a publicly supported hospital had no right to stop two doctors from performing wanted abortions for their patients even though a city ordinance had set up barriers. This was not a case of forcing any medical person to perform an abortion against one’s will, the court emphasized Nor did the decision require private or church-supported hospitals to permit abortions they oppose. The supreme court’s appeal-disnussal upheld that entire judgment of the lower court. Thus it reaffirmed that there is no compulsion on anyone’s part — patient or medical person — to engage in the abortion process against one’s will This underscored again the needlessness of writing into law — as unproductive efforts launched in Iowa last session sought to do — explicit exemption from unwilling involvement in abortion procedures on the part of hospital personnel or nonpublic hospitals themselves. These guarantees remain unnecessary because nothing in the law or out of it requires anyone to take part in abortions counter to conscience or personal feeling. When the matter started coming to a head in Iowa last April, spokesmen for the Iowa Hospital Assn. said it had received no word of anybody’s being pressured to participate involuntarily. The governor reported getting no complaints of persons having to participate against their will. No complaints about it had gone, either. to the Iowa Civil Liberties Cnicin. No courts anywhere along the line have coerced the unwilling. No laws here or elsewhere force or even threaten what the conscience-clausers seek protection from. The motives in promoting opt-out legislation thus come into question when the problem they purport to face is nonexistent. ( itizens and legislators honestly concerned about freedom of choice and personal integrity should take a close look at the smoke before responding to the fire calls. Command nonperformance A time to shut up By Jim Fiebig The author of a syndicated comic strip successful!), pulled a stunt the other day that has probably occurred to, and been rejected by every newspaper columnist in history The cartoonist > regular panel wa> vacant except for the-a* fiords "I couldn’t think of arr.tfling to put here today There s a lesson lur till of us in tin* tart that he got away vs it f. it One of tin* greatest sources of human troubles — in both careers and personal relationships — is our ego-habif of attempting to perform 'Alien we're absolutely unprepared lust berinse someone experts lls to I remember being a sjnrtator at a business meeting where several company toggles were tackling a marketing problem that had to be solved it the firm was to survive After each person save the president had carefully presented bls vows it was apparent the problem needed a lot more study Hut then one of the underlings — dripping with feigned admiration — turned to the president and asked. ‘AN bat’s tin* answer, sir-' Ile should have replied. "I don’t have anything to put here today I ll have to go away and think about it We ll have to hold a lot more meetings before we decide.” Hut he’d I wen asked to perform, and he couldn’t resist the temptation His ll I-conceived solution, delivered with a forcefulness and assurance he couldn't have felt. was quickly adopted by all present One year later, the company went under Sometimes when we remain silent people suspect us of ignorance Hut that’s better than speaking up and eon firming it Genercit Features Corooratio« Jim Fiebig kir > » \ WH' XA It's everyone's rights that take a beating By William Safire * WASHINGTON — The man who appointed himself to be judge of the Watergate trial announced from the bench recently that he was “not trying to try this ease on strict rules of evidence.”    * According to John Sirica, the reason why the normal rules of the criminal courtroom will not apply is that he wants to expose the “full story” of Watergate For those simpletons who could not grasp Ins purpose, he spelled it out: “T,K,U,T,H.” The purpose of this celebrated trial, according to the judge, is only incidentally to determine the guilt or innocence of the* five defendants: The basic purpose is to bring to light the truth Most people will applaud that goal; most people do not understand the* purpose of the criminal courts The one purpose, and under our system the* only purpose, of bringing a defendant to trial is to determine whether or not the evidenc e proves that a specific individual committed the* specific crime with which he has been charged. That is why we have strict rules of evidence. Those rules must be strict to protect the individual against the power of government. To use the criminal court system for any other purpose than the trial of defendants for the particular charge is to pervert that system Judge Sirica, like Sen Sam Krvin before him, evidently believes that it is more important to find out the truth than to send a few nun to jail Accordingly, he is conduction his Nuremherg-on-the-Potomac trial in a way designed (a) to expose villainy in the highest places, (bi to convict the defendants, and (c) to guarantee that the appeals courts will overturn the convictions. William Safire counsel is not the primary concern of lins misguidedly patriotic man on the bench, because he envisions a tradeoff: The nation will benefit from the full truth exposed in the trial court, and the defendants will get their protection and their freedom in the appeals courts Everyone will find out what really happened and nobody will go to jail, as justice steps aside for truth On this theory, the ends justify the means By means of a temporary abuse of the criminal justice system, the ends of the national interest in truth are served. And since the abuse will soon he set right in the* expected reversals on appeal, what is the harm in loosening up the rules of evidence? The harm is incalculable. The first crime of Watergate was the corruption of political power in the campaign process. The second crime was the corruption of government power in the coverup The third crime of Watergate is the corruption of the criminal justice system in the prosecution of the first two crimes. All three crimes, all three corruptions of power, have been and are being committed in the names of high-sounding goals — at first, political victory; then, personal loyalty; now, the public's right to know. But they are all forms of the same corruption The crime being committed now — using the criminal courtroom for a purpose different from trying the defendant — is as indefensible as any because now we are supposed to be highly sensitive to the abuse of power. in years to come, as our children study the aberrations of these times, the classic horror story will be the way Watergate tainted nearly everyone connected with it, finally including the man who originally cracked the ease. Those are not the rights of a handful of villains that are being ripped away in a good cause and to the delight of the public, those are your rights and mine, and there is no getting them hack when we set the precedent for giving them away. The criminal courts should never be used to vent our spleen, to get our enemies. to right political wrongs, nor even to lay the awful truth before the curious public eye — but only used for justice, the specific justice demanded in the* Constitution, or as somebody should spell out to the adulated man who has east himself in a role higher than iudge: "J.U,S,T,I,(\E.” New York Time;, Service Needed reminder: Nixon not on trial By Tom Wicker «    I NKW YORK — Judge John J. Sirica is presiding over the second Watergate trial he did so much to bring about. A little silence is now in order from the bench. Some may say in mitigation of his prosecutorial conduct of the first Watergate* trial that without such an effort the ease never would have been unravelled, a special prosecutor never would have been appointed, the whole chain of events leading to Nixon’s resignation never would have been set off That may be true, although conjectural, hut what is to In* said of the judge’s remarkable conduct of the second trial now under way? Out of the presence of the jury, he c hose to lecture John Mitchell, a defend- Tom Wicker ant, to the* effect that Mitchell, then attorney general, could have prevented the* whole Watergate case from occurring. This was tantamount to a statement that Mitchell was a part of the conspiracy and is therefore guilty as charged Whether this is grounds for mistrial remains to he* seen hut it can give* no one much confidence* in Sirica’s impartiality; and if that confidence is lack mg, how can there be confidence in the even-handedness of his rulings ’ In the presence of the jury, Sirica then made remarks tending plainly to suggest that defense attorneys had done a “pretty good job" in making John Dean out to be a liar A later admonition to the jury that this had not constituted an opinion about the witness can hardly undo the potential damage to the prosecution. But Sirica had already disclosed in court and to the jury that he was “not trying to try this case on strut rules of evidence" hut intended instead to get the full truth of Watergate; he even spelled out the word truth, to drive home his point. It that was a reference to Nixon’s role, Sirica ought to know that Nixon already has been pardoned and cannot Im* tried for that role, that the purpose* of the present trial is only to determine the* guilt or innocence of the five defendants. and that establishing the “T R U T H" of Watergate is not the business of a criminal court or a zealous judge. New York Times Service People’s forum Caring for people To the Editor “Walk a mile in his shoes ’’ If only we* could, it would enlighten our hearts and In* a road to understanding and compassion, telling us the path we take should Im* to care for our brothers and sisters My office files hold many typewritten pages, sent to me. as an administrator of a nursing home, by employes of our government, the state departments of soc ial services, health and public safety “Real people” staff those* departments. They are just. kind and loving. They love and are loved. I am a “real” person too. We all are. and that is what this is all about. Those page's tell me how to care boother “real people," our patients, in their declining years. The government wants to insure the taxpayer that folks on government assistance get the service tieing paid for by us all Because of the zeal of those who govern welfare programs for the elderly. we* find that facilities able to meet the requirements cannot or will not accept these people. Those that are willing. because* it is their way of life. arc* forced to close the door to them. We have reac hed no less than a c risis condition in our county and across our state Linn county people are being sent miles away from family, friends, clergy and surroundings so vital to their peace and comfort because some place, somewhere, has a bed for a welfare patient ( alls come to me daily from other fac ilities, asking that we take a welfare patient off their hands because* a “private pay" is waiting to lie admitted The story continues Another facility asks that they move. A hospital says the patient will In* discharges! tomorrow. or the person is failing and cannot he cared for at home Most of us will not Im* able to save enough for that future dale we ail have with the* need for care in old age as a ' private pay” This is no time for apathy It is tune to ask questions It is time to turn from idealism to realism The time calls for solutions sn that we may face our aging not iii fear but with assurance that we will not Im- rejected in our time of need For anyone who has intentions to grow old, this would be a worthy cause to give one s time to now Friederike “Rickey " Boldt I TIO First avenue NW is for you Brutality’ To the Fditor Concerning the “incident” at the Roose velt hotel Oc t. 24, I am appalled at some of the statements by the pollee as to what took place The police department’s credibility has diminished In the eyes of the pickets and with laboring people The department found it necessary to call an all-out riot for these 75 pickets. of whom about half were women and children. If attacked by a person in street clothes, you would Im* less than normal if you didn t react. A husband wouldn't he normal if he didn t come to aid of his wife who, in his eyes, is being attacked. The husband's then In*mg restrained by Im dice and gains the* help of other pickets. who iii turn arc* attacked by pollee; where <1cm*s it end** I had reservations as I read about what happened at Kent State, but as Thursday evening unfolded the possibilities appeared at Cedar Rapids' doorstep A man with hands cuffed behind his hac k being assaulted to the police ear and also inside it; a woman's arm being twisted behind her, inflicting pain; a man being grabbed by the* hair from behind and thrown to the sidewalk. his head bashed repeatedly against the* sidewalk; a nightstick gashing a guy on the* back of the he*uel — these* are some of the* brutalities obse*rve*d being done by pollee* < omnilssioner Steinbeek said his police* die! riot eiverreact Ile* alsei said no uniforme*d officers were* there From the time the* gathering started, at 7 p.m., four officers were at the* entrance at all times and five* seplael ears in the* First avenue- block of the* Roosevelt (riot plain clothes officers). After 9 15 there we*re squad cars everywhere* you looked lf this actiein is ne»t overreacting on the* part of the peilice, I'm lied sure what would Im* laical 497 wishes the police would react in such a manner when pickets report items lM*mg dropped em them from the upper furors of the* hotel ane! parking ramp, such as liars of soap, pop beatles, oil cans and spit We* weepier, test, why these* incidents are disregarded Seam* members of the ped lee force are respected and a credit to the force The same* activities were taking place from 7 to 9 p m. There was no need for brutality earlier, and there was an error in judgment to use brutality at all Pat Marshall 31120 Circle drive NE Most popular To the Editor Despite the number of letters attacking Mike Blemin. it is hard for me to add up the assassinated character with the Mike Hlouin we* know. If Senator Blouin lies. cheats, distorts facts and in six years in Des Moines didn’t do a thing for his constituents rn Dubuque, ifs a wonder that the people of Dubuque re-elected him Yet, he is at a disadvantage in the Linn county area, since he has not lM*en our senator, and so the constituents who know him best may not Im* writing letters in The Cedar Rapids Gazette, hut they thought enough of him to re-elect hun several tunes. In Dubuque. Mike Blouin is one of the most popular political figures to come along in a long time. Ile is immensely jMtpulur and re-s|M*c led by that whole county because of his personal code of morality, this and an incredible political and personal candor with everyone he meets, whic h is probably why we haven’t seen a whole stream of slaps hac k at his opponent in the last several weeks Mike has my support Mrs Robert Miller boti Memorial drive SF Apathetic To the Editor. Recently (Oct. 21) I called the Democratic headquarters in Cedar Rapids for help in registering to vote. Because of schcMil and a job commitment after school, it is almost impossible to register during the day. The first time I callid they said they would come and register me by Thursday. I called again on Wednesday because I had received no word from them. This time they said yes, they would be* there Thursday night at a ^ specific time. Again no word or no show I called the Republicans on Thursday, and after describing my plight, they told me just to come down and they would help me. This was really no help to me at all. In this day and age they (the candidates) complain of voter apathy. How can we, the people, vote if no one cares if we are registered or not’’ Doug Dvr land Route I, Cedar Rapids Complaint's timing To the* Editor: I find it extremely unfair that James Hennessey charged the Cedar Rapids Women’s Caucus (National Organization for Women) with playing jMilitus in filing their discrimination complaint (luring his re-election campaign As an aestive member of that group, I would like to set the record straight: Mr Hen-ne*sse*v himself decided the timing of that statement NO W. chapters consider compliance with present laws forbidding discrimination a top priority. When an employer publicly announces that he* or she is breaking these* laws, any NOW chapter anywhere will. of course, file* charges The Cedar Rapids Woburn s Caucus is known nationally as an extremely dedicated and efficient chapter Our group would file those charges before an election, after an election, on Yoni Kippur. Christmas eve — any time* it is necessary. Mr He*nne*sse*y might better ask himself why he* chose* to announce during his campaign that he was breaking the state and federal laws protending women, races, and other minorities. Our NOW chapter was simply performing its routine duty I am* R < lancey I93H (bande avenue SE LETTERS The Gazette s editorial page welcom readers opinions, subject to the guidelines: length limit 400 words On# letter per writer every 30 day* All may be condensed and edited without chang* meaning. None published anonymously Writer * telephone number (not printed) shot follow name, address and readable handwrit! signature to help authenticate Contents deol more with issues and events than p tonalities No poetry 4 i ;

  • Doug Dvr
  • Jim Fiebig
  • John Dean
  • John J. Sirica
  • John Mcdonald
  • John Mitchell
  • John Sirica
  • Lyndon Johnson
  • Mike Blemin
  • Mike Blouin
  • Mike Hlouin
  • Pat Marshall
  • Robert Miller
  • Sen Sam Krvin
  • Tom Whitney
  • Tom Wicker
  • William Safire
  • Yoni Kippur

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: October 29, 1974

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