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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 12, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Ford's debut: fine candor, scary naivete Editorial Page Tuesday, November 12, 1974 U.S. Food Role: Apocalyptic? Soothsayers predicting a debacle at the World Food Conference in Rome have seen little to contradict expectations. President Ford pledged support, Secretary of State Kissinger of- fered an upbeat keynote address with emphasis on global grain reserves and, Agriculture Secretary Butz labeled international control of stockpiles inefficient in allaying widespread famine. Butz, a free market idealogue if ever there was one, is viewed by pessimists as a Food Conference spoiler. "He and our (U.S.) lack of policy may well wreck the observed Columnist Richard Strout in the Nov. 2 New Republic. Others warn of cata- strophic consequences if leadership does not come from the United States, which, they remind, controls grain supplies much as the Arabs control oil. The fate of millions in famine-ravaged Africa, Asia and Latin America depends on mercy missions from developed nations. Intriguingly, the food crisis and the ominous threat beyond align with predictions catalogued in the popular, evangelistic 1970 book, "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey. Thesis of that work is that the countdown toward events foretold in scripture and summarized enigmatically in the Apocalypse seemingly has begun. The rebirth of, Israel, the threat of holocaust in the Mideast, an increase in natural catastrophes realization of these once improbable occurrences and others give currency to the belief that the vision of biblical prophets indeed may have been 20-20. What makes Lindsey's theme relevant to the U.N.-sponsored World Food Conference is this: Unfolding of the disastrous famine in the past two years occurred AFTER publication of the "The Late Great Planet Curiously though, the United States' position as a leader at the food conference is anomalous to the prophecies. Not even the most liberal interpretation of scripture foresees a power such as the United States playing a part in apocalyptic events. Significantly, the rise of Russia in opposition to Israel, the threat of Red China and the coalition of Western European counties (Common Market) all are foretold.' Riding along with the Apocarypse-nosv theory, one thus is prompted to ask: Is the United States riding for a fall into rela- tive impotence in world affairs? The thought is hardly outlandish even considering this country's military might and concomitant influence in foreign policy shap- ing. As recently as 60 years ago this country had not yet become a foremost power. Indeed, it seems conceivable that a century or so hence, the U.S. might not figure largely in the global scheme of things. Yet the theory propounded in "Late Great Planet sees doomsday pressures reaching flashpoint during the same generation (40 years) of the rebirth of Israel Under strict interpretation (which Lind- sey insists upon) that leaves just 14 years for the United States to topple .from power. Not even Jimmy the Greek could cite the odds on that long shot. So, to theorize in empathy with author Lindsey, one looks for happenings which could speed up that degeneration. Failure to grapple realistically with global food shortages could be just such a catalyst. This is not to subscribe to the belief that the day of reckoning is now upon us. Nor is the idea to heap all responsibility on the United Slates. Not even the most altruistic food programs will work if the world's population growth is not curbed. But the onrush of seismic events (such as famine) and the need for epochal decisions certainly invite speculation. The spread of hunger and the potential of man to revolt before starving indeed could reshape the world map. One needn't buy the beliefs of Hal Lindsey to appreciate the menace of hungry men. John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" spread the message in- delibly 40 years ago. Exit elf-sacrifice Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. In this year of orbiting inflation, burgeoning famine and surging unemployment Santa's survival indeed is good news. The bad news is that old St. Nick's elves allegedly have formed a un- ion the United Brotherhood of Elves, Dwarfs and Gnomes, UFO-ZIP. As a result, those traditional- ly beneficent little fellows no longer will toil around the clock in the finest elfin tradition, ask- ing nothing in return except Mrs. Claus' tasty gnome cooking. Not only do they insist on a cushy, high-paying week (plus time and a elves absolutely refuse to repair shoes an as- signment denounced as denigrat- ing through stereotype. Worse still, elf union hard- liners insist that Christmas, one of 15 paid holidays, be observed at the North Pole on the fourth Monday of each December. On top of that, they want their own birthdays (another holiday) ob- served on Mondays, too the reasoning there being that if Christ's birthday is switched to prolong weekends, why not their own? Despite Santa's labor woes, however, the transglobe sleigh ride this year still is scheduled for Dec. 24-25. Unless, of course, the Teamsters solidify a reported pact with the reindeer. One worrisome clause there (not Santa's, to be sure) calls for no navigation on foggy eves Ru- dolph or no. extinct? By Jim Fiebig Once upon a time, an employer felt it was his right to freely hire and fire whomever he pleased simply because, well, because he was the employer. Oddly enough, it was a pretty equita- ble system. Since most employers are first and foremost concerned with mak- ing a profit, any employe who helped him attain that goal was relatively safe in his job. No matter what color he was or what church he attended. It is no longer once upon a lime. Now, in order to achieve what Ihe gov- ernment considers proper minority rep- resentation (just enough women, just enough blacks, just enough Irishmen and so many employers are often forced to hire the least qualified ap- plicant. Which is simply another form of discrimination. What's worse, employers are finding it progressively more difficult to fire people who aren't hacking it. Nowadays, a person unwilling to admit he was let go for incompetence and lhat covers practically everyone can and often does find a way to bring his employer before some board, commission or agency. If you're a woman, you can holler sex discrimination. If you're a white male over 40, you might make a case for age discrimination. If you're a black, an In- dian or a Mexican-American, you can claim prejudice. Whatever your beef, whatever your actual level of job efficiency, you can find someone eager to come down on your former employer with both feel. The danger in all this, of course, is lhat in the future lewcr and fewer Americans may be willing In take on the headaches of running Iheir own busi- nesses. Thai would sure solve Ihe employe problem. By James Reston WASHINGTON President Ford, coming to the end of his first 100 days in the White House, is besieged by prob- lems at home and abroad, but personal- ly he seems relaxed, confident, and even amiably chipper. You have to wonder why. In his first 100 days, unemployment has increased in America lo 5.5 million, or li percent of the total work force; automobile sales are down 15 percent from a year ago; the cost of living keeps creeping up; the GNP dropped 2.9 percent in the third quarter of 1974; the balance of payments deficit exceeds billion a month; and the Republican party, despite Ford's exertions, was clobbered in the No- vember elections. Meanwhile, Henry Kissinger is back from an 18-day, 17-country, trip with nothing but bad news to report from the Middle East; the Chinese arc suddenly proposing to negotiate a non- aggression treaty with the Soviets; the Yugoslavs, just as surprisingly, are proclaiming their common lies to Moscow; and from Ireland and Portugal lo Japan, which is quite a distance, the noncommunist world is struggling with inflation, strikes, and political insta- bility. Still Ford acts just Ihe same as Jerry Ford, the old congressman from Grand Rapids, Mich. He recognizes all the problems and grapples with them in his own way, but he doesn't agonize over them. He listens to the II o'clock news at night, and says he sleeps soundly until or the next morning, then gels up anil pedals his exercycle and does some fancy push-ups lo strengthen his legs for skiing, reads Ihe New York Times, and (he Washington Post, and the official news summary of other papers, and then goes to work. The contrast between this and the Nixon White House is startling. The Ford White House is now almost as open and casual as a congressman's office. No show or pretense or fake dignity. He takes the telephone calls from Capitol Hill. His White House staff is respectful but unintimidated, frank, and even blunt. In short, the old upstairs- downstairs division of the Nixon days is gone. Ford is not only available, but al- most recklessly candid, and Washing- ton, accustomed to calculated deceit in the White House, doesn't know how In adjust to his free and easy ways. There is no order or logic to his appealing candor. He is natural and spontaneous. One day he gives an on- the-record interview to the Associated Press on his private plane. Next day, he agrees lo do a hundred-days interview with Harry Reasoner for ABC, or talk on the record with UP1 or somebody else. But for everybody he sees and makes happy by talking frankly, he infuriates, in this savagely competitive news busi- ness, all Ihe olher people who were left out. Yet Ihis doesn't seem to worry him. After 25 years on Capitol Hill, he just keeps on doing what comes naturally, and accepts the consequences. The consequences of his open candor, however, are mixed. Everybody who meets him likes him personally, but many wonder about his policies. He defends everything he has done; his eco- nomic policy, his pardon of Nixon, his aggressive campaigning in the election, his support of the old Nixon cabinet, etc. Maybe, he says, he could have "sold" his economic program better, but the Democrats have not come up with a reasonable alternative. Maybe he adds, the Republicans lost the election, but now the Democrats have lo step out front and lake equal responsibility for Ihe next two years. Maybe the American people are eating too much and ought lo share their food with the hungry peoples of Ihe world, but why do Ihe nalions al the Rome Food Conference condemn the James Reston United Slates for being greedy when they didn't condemn the nil producing countries for gouging the world? With his candor, Ford gives Ihe impression that the recession, the infla- tion, the problems of the Western world, Ihe desperation of the hungry world, the slruggles of the Middle East, and the negotiations over atomic arms, trade, food, and Ihe prices of raw materials are awkward but temporary dilemmas that could be solved with patience and common sense. And maybe this is his problem. Not since Jke have we had a more decent man in the While House, or anybody so open and relaxed. But by his candor, he gives the impression that we are not liv- ing in a revolutionary age, and don't have to make fundamenlal changes in Ihe lives of families and nations, but thai we must merely be patient and sensibjc and all will go back to the old affluent days and be well in the end. It is a lovely dream, and he is an honest, decent and refreshing man, but Washington wonders. Nixon concealed the problems of the modern world, and prelended he could deal with them. Ford does not conceal the problems but exposes them, and also exposes himself, with the uttermost candor. But he sug- gests no answers, and even those who wish him well, are troubled by his limit- ed vision of his problems. New vorfc Times Service Warning sirens for conservatives GOP By James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON A Week after the election, conservatives still are picking their way through the smoking ruins. The palpable fact is that we got clob- bered but the clobbering, as such, is not the most disturbing aspect of the vote. If the clobbering were all that mat- tered, one could go along with President Ford's cheery observation that the GOP has come back from disaster before. On the historical record, a loss of 45 seats in the house is not a fatal blow. The Republicans lost 9fi scats in the swing of 1874, 85 in 1890, 57 in 1010, 75 in 1922, 101 in 1932, 75 .in 1048, and 47 in 1958. The Democrats have survived their own matching ups and downs. Last week's numbers, in themselves, are not so bad. Far more depressing, in the conserv- ative view, is the substantive prospect for the 94th congress. Labels and numbers are not so important. Issues are important. Given a lopsided majori- ty of liberals, regardless of party label, the next congress reasonably may be expected to pass bills that would (1) provide for national health insurance (2) nullify state right-to-work laws, (3) vastly increase costs of public welfare, (4) make dangerous cuts in outlays for national defense, and (5) create a Con- sumer Protection Agency with sweeping powers of intervention in the work of other government agencies. Every congressional observer could add a dozen titles to that list. The "Byrd which permits us to buy vitally needed chrome from Rhodesia, may now be repealed. In the name of tax reform, incentives for the accumulation of capital may well be de- stroyed. National no-fault insurance lies ahead. Industry could be saddled with further unrealistic burdens for envi- ronmental improvement. The old conservative coalition may be mustered in congress now and then some of Ford's vetoes will be sus- tained but let us face it: Liberals will lie running the show. Why did it happen? The standard explanations have to do with Watergate, HE HAD A MANDATE FROM THE People's forum CalMdll substitutes To the Editor: Discussing the killing of young calves, my husband and I felt there must he other ways to help. Hnw about activities like these on the part of fellow callle raisers and 1. Offer calves for sale at auctions at their birth price. 2. Offer another to anyone wanting one to butcher for the table. 3. Sell nr trade livestock for eventual- ly mixing breeds. 4. Claim the giveaways as donations that should therefore be tax-deductible. 5. Contact the home-county welfare agencies for someone immediately (or otherwise) needing food. Help our own people first. Provide young boys the opportuni- ty In become a 4-11 member by helping their parents afford a calf for a pro.jed, or have one given to them. 7. l'se the want ads. The "Fur Sale" columns could also read "For Yvonne F, Townscnd Fast Ainana Civil warrior? To the Editor: My great-grandfather. ,Iohn Merrill Wood, was a western Xew Yorker all of his life. Born here, he farmed in the area and (lied here in However, during the gold rush days of the 1850s. he traveled to the Pike's Peak area. On his way back here in IRfil, he slopped in Waterloo. Iowa, long enough lo gel married and then to join company of the Iowa Volunteer Infantry during the Civil war. Ho served three years in the western army, chasing General Price through Missouri, etc. Now to the point 1 am looking for a copy of the Civil War Regimental History of his unit. I would like to borrow or buy a copy to more fully appreciate his ser- vice to his country. Could any of yonr readers help me with my quest'.' Kdward Hess Argonno drive Kenmore. N. Y. 14217 Pheasant hours To the Editor: Tile Inwa ronsorv aliou ciimmissinn was when it set this fall's pheasant season shooting hours from sunrise lo sunset. The sunrise opening, coupled uith the return lo standard tune, means thai during I hi! early part of the season when hunting pressure is the greatest, shooting hours will begin approximately one hour earlier lhan was Ilic rase with I lie old K ii'flnck opening. The adverse effects of this change are: (1) It will further strain farmer-sports- man relations, since landowners are not going to appreciate hunters knocking at the door at seeking permission to hunt. (2) It will significantly increase the hunting pressure on birds which frequently languish in road ditches when more suitable cover is no longer availa- ble, as is the case in some parts of the state. It will increase "road hunt- long considered the least sporting means of hunting. Hopefully the commission will correct this mistake next year and return lo a more restrictive season. In the mean- lime. Iowa's true sportsmen should not accept the new liberalized shooting hours Insights I would rather ioo tho Untied Slotos respected limn loved by other nations. Henry Cabot lodge the Nixon pardon, and the state of the economy, but these explanations over- look a deeper cause. The Republican party, as a national political party, con- sistently is failing to provide a construc- tive conservative alternative to the lib- eralism with which the Democratic party now is so well identified. This failure is all the more remarka- ble when one gives account to the public opinion polls. Every time the Gallup or Harris pollsters study political atti- tudes, they find far more "conserva- tives" than "liberals" within the elec- torate. Granted, the labels are only general- ly and not precisely understood. Even so, the ideological predisposition is there and it is not being served by small voter turnouts. The two-party system has contribut- ed immensely to the stability of Amer- ican institutions. To abandon that system in favor of the chaotic conditions one observes in Italy, France, and in Portugal would be utter fully. Yet lo defend the system is not lo defend its present operation. Nowhere is it divine- ly decreed thai the Republican parly, as it now is disorganized, must forever lie one of our two major instruments of political action. A commitment to ideals is far more important than a commitment to party. The GOP's trouble is not merely thai its image is stained by corruption, or that it is unfairly saddled with blame for our economic distress; the larger trouble is thai Ihe parly no longer is strongly 'identified with any particular ideas. The party is not unprincipled; in the popular view, it is nonprincipleri. II is small wonder lhat the Democrats have become Ihe first parly in congress and in slale government across Ihe country. The time may be at hand not for (he formation of a new third party, but for the emergence of a new second party in- stead. Washington Slor Svndlcole but take to Ihe fields on Saturday at a self-imposed 8 a.m. Donald Freeman, President Inwa Division, Izaak Walton League Waverly Hughes' help To the Editor: Candlelighters, parents of children afflicled by cancer, would like lo ex- press ils appreciation for Ihe role played by Sen. Harold E. Hughes, your senator, in continuing the government's research war on cancer. Senator Hughes is a member of the senate health subcommittee which helped draft recently enacted legislation extending the national cancer act of 1971. That act began an expanded fed- eral cancer research effort. The new legislation will be important in seeking ways to provide better diagnosis and trcalment and, hopefully, evenlual cures for cancer. The legisla- tion authorizes million for National Cancer Institute research for the next Ihree years. Il removes the limit of 15 on the number of comprehensive cancer cenlers throughout the nation. It re- quires the NCI director to develop nutri- tional programs relating lo cancer and authorizes him lo conduct programs to disscminale new research knowledge to doctors and the public. We are grateful for Ihe work on this legislation by the subcommittee. Kichard Sullivan, president The Candlelighters Washington, C.
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