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Alton Telegraph Newspaper Archives May 31 1986, Page 5

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - May 31, 1986, Alton, Illinois Oped a Thi Telegraph saturday. May 31. 1986 his i in Quot Hie news Medio. J con Al ways be counted on in present both sides of an Issue in a professional manner. I will never be guilty of distorting the facts or letting my personal peeling Cloud the Story. Presenting Only one Side is it. Unethical and despicable. It amp it / xxx a we n 7 Ltd Tum l. I 3 9 full oratory Ual Croul Hunters inc. . Box a to Trey in. 62035 a lot at stake in Media Battle Washington at first Cia director William j. Casey threatened to employ a never used 36-year-old Law to prosecute newsmen who Tell what he does no to want told about which secrets accused spy Ronald w Pelton sold to the soviet Union. Now with Pelton on trial and the government revealing unprecedented secrets Casey and it. Gen. William e. Odom director of the National Security Agency have issued one of the strangest documents Ever submitted from the american government to a free press. They have a a cautioned reporters covering the trial against a a speculation and a reporting details beyond the information actually released at we could dismiss the threats against a a speculation As a joke or assume that Casey and Odom Are just a couple of patriots trying to protect America from Blabbermouth reporters. But a lot More serious stuff is involved. When a Hundred or so editors reporters and publishers know details about operation Ivy Bells in which . Submarines eavesdropped on soviet communications and when Pelton allegedly went to the soviet embassy to ring those a Ivy Bells a it is extremely unlikely that the soviets done to know those details and More. But lets move from that Issue and look at the dangers of having the Cia and Asa directors Teller a the Media How to cover a trial and warning the press not to the Baltimore jury May find that Pelton committed an egregiously a Cari Rowan traitorous act gravely endangering the Security of the United states. But would this not raise a question of someone a misfeasance or malfeasance in the Cia and in the Asa where Pelton was Given Access to vital secrets even though it was known that he was in financial distress who in the Media can ask the right questions about what seems to be a colossal Security mess if Casey and Odom can arrogate unto themselves the right to dictate what can or cannot be printed or broadcast the Young and the forgetful May Swallow the line that Casey and Odom Are Mere patriots but some of us remember a decade ago when the nation was outraged by revelations that the Cia was a sort of rogue elephant of the universe engaging in burglaries illegally intercepting and Reading the mail of thousands of americans conducting illegal drug testing for 27 years on unsuspecting human Guinea pigs plotting assassinations destabilizing governments financing coups wiretapping and surveying newsmen. Although forbidden to spy on american citizens the Cia set up operation chaos which by 1974 had compiled 13,000 surveillance files on americans. A Cia director crying a National Security could have chilled the press into remaining silent about operation chaos and other Cia excesses just As Casey is now trying to dictate silence about Ivy Bells. Some of us remember that Richard Nixon tried to use the Cia and a National Security to Block or frustrate an Fri investigation into the watergate break in. The Rockefeller commission appointed by president Ford said in 1975 that the Cia had engaged in activities that were a plainly unlawful and constituted improper invasions upon the rights of i repeat my View that in this mean and dangerous world the . Needs a Strong intelligence Agency. But a free people dare not return to that Era when Cia operatives ran amok in blatant disdain for the Law. We must not yield to Casey and Odom the Powers of pre censorship and Post publishing prosecution that they seek to assert in their Days of great personal embarrassment. I have always held that this nation has some secrets that the Public does not have a right to know. But top government officials who Are the worst self serving leaders must make a compelling Case when they have failed to control the flow of a a secrets to the press. They must use fact and logic to make their Case against publication or broadcast and not the tactics of intimidation that Casey seeks to employ with or without the approval of the White House. Covering the big event out along Godfrey Road sunday afternoon the Waters Sisters were ready for a crowd which did no to show. The girls a Becky to Maggie 12 Jenny 14 a had ice cold canned soda and lemonade for Sale. Their dad and mom Tom and Marty and a Cousin and neighbor Winnie Sievers were sitting in Lawn chairs. With less than half an hour before a hands across America a it appeared there would be few participants at this Point. A i done to know How this things going to go a said Tom who had taken a break from mowing the Lawn. A a in be got to get this grass Godfrey Road was your scribes reporting assignment for the big event. I put a bicycle in the family Van thinking the bicycle would be a lot better than walking when i got stuck or slowed in traffic. The bicycle was not needed after stopping at a service station to air one of the bicycle tires i drove to Godfrey Road by Way of Pierce Lane and Winter Lane. Turning right onto Godfrey Road some people wearing hands to shirts were in front of the Godfrey Auto body shop. The time was 1 10 . Sarah Perkins a professor at Principia College had just arrived after checking in at Monticello Plaza. A they told Martha they think they will cover this segment a she said. Martha was Perkins sister visiting with a Friend Leslie Riester from Ann Arbor Mich. A we planned our visit to coincide with this a Martha Perkins said on up the Road there were the Waters family at 6701 Godfrey Road across from the Airport Road a it Quot at Godfrey Road eight people at the Jehle Alfalfa Queen farm and four people at hoods. Out 67-111 toward Brighton there was congestion near the Godfrey Speedway. I turned do. Schumacher Ficu Tiff Fultor around and headed Back to Monticello Plaza checked with a a hands Volunteer Brenda Kennedy and phoned in my information to weekend editor Walt Sharp at 1 50 ., it was apparent there would be More gaps than people in stretches Between Monticello Plaza and the Speedway. At 2 ., volunteers were unwinding a ribbon from the Orrill bus firm toward the intersection of 67-111 and route 267. There were approximately 50 people in the Vicinity of the intersection including several members of Faith lutheran Church. Among them was pastor Hugh Fitz. Back toward Monticello Plaza though there were More unhandled spaces than people until about Godfrey school mrs. Waters and her daughters and some neighbors managed a a hands across Airport Road a she remarked later this week As mrs. Waters said it was a very difficult Quot to imagine being linked with people across the nation or even a few blocks Down the Road. And it was a disappointing afternoon for the Waters Sisters. A we Only had two sales a Becky said. A a we re trying to drink All the soda i think the lemonade Sall a a a tuesdays Telegraph was a special Effort because of a a hands and the annual memorial Day Parade in upper Alton. Many Telegraph staffers and correspondents worked sunday to cover Dan Dipiazzo who has covered the event since it was announced was stationed in downtown Alton where he did not Lack for participants. Reporter intern Imirie Mccrea was in Brighton and librarian Julie Stuckey covered Shipman ande Yakstis went to the mini line at Wood River township Hospital. Weekend editor Walt Sharp who planned the coverage manned the City desk at the newsroom relaying information to the associated press in Chicago. Even though the Telegraph did not publish on this Holiday monday we provided information for other a members the a is a cooperative part of our charter is sharing news with other a members. Much of the a coverage came from reporters covering the Story for their newspapers and readers and also tossing information along to a staffers in bureaus across the country. For photo coverage we had six photographers working on the Story Buss Smith John badman. Scott cousins Steve Kennedy Ron Hempel and Bob Graul the photographers work especially was evident in tuesdays paper perhaps our Best Ever Effort for a Post Holiday Issue at least in terms of local news and photos. We published a total of 18 a a hands photos in tuesday editions. On Page a-12, readers in Alton and Godfrey saw three photos from the Alton and Godfrey segments and readers in earlier editions had some different photos from Carlinville and Brighton on tuesday we also published eight Scott cousins Parade photos plus a news photo from a traffic Accident. That a a total of 27 local new photos. There were also 16 photos in family and a half dozen obituary photos plus a couple of a laser photos still other local photos from a a hands were used on wednesday pages. Why Reagan joined hands Washington Nea the memory of hands across America is already beginning to fade but the unfortunate precedent it established is Likely to have a lingering a and detrimental a Impact on Public policy. The attempt to form a human Chain across the nation did no to accidentally fall into a trap constructed by president Reagan. Instead it enthusiastically plunged in. At Best insensitive and at worst hostile to the plight of the country a underclass Reagan has never disguised his belief that the Federal government ought to drastically reduce its assistance to those so indigent that they cannot meet their own needs. Instead he has argued More Aid to the physically and mentally handicapped the destitute elderly and others who desperately need help ought to be provided by organized charities and other non government efforts. The compassion and generosity of the people who contributed to those efforts last year provided almost $80 billion for the nations philanthropic organizations a but assisting the poor requires far More resources than those Robert waiters private organizations can command. Government traditionally has been the mechanism through which caring people have helped the less fortunate a but Reagan has persistently sought to undermine that arrangement. The a safety net he claimed to have constructed Early in his tenure to Aid the a truly needy was not really an attempt to assist the poor. Instead it was an Effort to placate the politically Active recipients of government benefits distributed primarily to Middle income people to the extent that the a safety net provided some modest assistance to the dispossessed it now is shredded and tattered a but the president does no to seem to care. Item attorney general Edwin Meese a longtime Reagan confidant suggests that some people patronize soup kitchens Only because a the food is Reagan believes hunger is caused Only by a a Lack of knowledge on the part of the destitute about where to obtain food. Against that background the Well intentioned but politically naive organizers of hands across America arrived on the scene to proclaim that hunger and homelessness could somehow be ameliorated if not obliterated in one spasm of transcontinental hand holding. A Triumph of form Over substance the project had a Cardinal goal of constructing an unbroken Chain of people from coast to coast All of whom would incidentally donate $10 to $25 to the poor. That Effort to make that Chain failed As did the projects feeble attempt at a consciousness Reagan who has never displayed any particular interest in the plight of the poor presumably joined the line when he belatedly realized that hands across America reinforced his commitment to strip the government of most of its responsibility for the dispossessed. Lawyers1 fault finding system gives us the worst of both worlds a a t a a a % i. I it a r la. Ii. Limit i Springfield a contrary to a line in the recent Gridiron show of the Illinois legislative correspondents association a tort Reform is not an Effort to bake better pastries. It is the hottest Issue in this Springs Illinois general Assembly session which is otherwise occupied with essentially Trival matters. According to my official Large Type edition a dictionary of Law a a tort As opposed to a torte is a a civil wrong. A wrong done by one person to another and not arising from a tortfeasor it follows is a one guilty of a tort and a a a tortious act is american insurance companies and their allies or dupes depending on your Point of View in other business and local government sectors Are now loudly beating the Drums of a tort too Many companies and government entities Are being slapped by juries with excessively High verdicts or Are pushed into agreeing to High settlements after lawsuits labelled them tortfeasor they say. The immediate a a crisis firing the current tort Reform drive Are the hefty Premium increases and cancellations of liability insurance Over the past 12-16 months. The crisis is certainly a legitimate one and literally a life or death matter for some Small business firms. The purported link Between insurance costs and the tort system May be less legitimate. The insurance Industry keeps blaming High premiums on a tort or civil court system run amok and the business firms they Are insuring seem to largely accept Dennis Mcmurray Tili Ltd aph Capitol Corr Spon it of it this As gospel. Specific statistics linking insurance rates and tort judgments or settlements Are far less conclusive however with the champions of the current tort system quickly pointing to other states where a a reforms were enacted earlier and liability insurance rates still went through the roof this past year. The principal opponent of tort changes in the Illinois legislative Arena the Illinois trial lawyers association and its allies in labor unions and consumer groups generally make the Bottom line argument that if you can to conclusively show they will directly lower insurance costs Why change anything. They repeatedly contend the changes sought by the insurance Industry and business Are harmful to the poor victims who they say Benefit from the present system. Neither Side is talking about the kind of More sweeping a tort Reform advocated by former University of Illinois Law professor Jeffrey of Connell once a practising trial lawyer himself. In a 1979 Book a the lawsuit lottery a of Connell makes a compelling Case that the tort system in this country in practice is irrational inconsistent and most importantly does not Benefit most of the victims it purports to Champion. The subtitle on the books a cover is a Only the lawyers win followed by a most people get nothing. A few get too of Connell is critical of the Way lawyers on both sides handle lawsuits. While he admits some personal admiration for the skill of the top personal injury lawyers he decries their Reliance on theatrics appealing to jurors emotions rather than facts and the travelling professional a a expert witnesses who Are Little More than whores. He is equally critical of defense lawyers who delay and Stonewall rather than comply with Basic discovery requests and Settle legitimate claims. The performance of juries in civil cases also comes under Sharp scrutiny by of Connell who notes the preference of plaintiffs lawyers for jurors who Are As ignorant and uneducated As possible at the same time they Are asked to weigh increasingly technical and Complex evidence. Of Connell Points out that civil jury trials have disappeared almost everywhere else in the world and quotes a University of Chicago expert on juries that 98 percent of All civil jury trials in the world take place in the . In a More sweeping attack on the adversary system two years earlier Anne Strick in her Book a injustice for ally even More vehemently debunked the myth that jurors Are a a impartial triers of fact. Rather she notes in most civil cases the jurors in their verdicts Are not required or even allowed to comment on the facts presented to them or what reasons they have for relating the awards they make to the evidence. This practice of the Blind a general verdict is also what gives the greatest credence to the random a a lottery aspect of the tort system. A what testimony what exhibits what judicial instructions have been remembered considered and employed in decision what principles were used what facts lie incorporated in the judgment All remains in the general verdict forever unknown a Strick notes. Of Connell cites numerous examples of cases where in similar factual circumstances some defendants reaped huge Windfall awards while others got Little or nothing. But of Connell is no apologist for the insurance Industry either. He derides As self serving Many of the specific procedural changes currently being sought by the Industry in the Guise of Reform and raps it for not encouraging manufacturers to concern themselves with safety he concludes the inherent problem in the tort system from the victims standpoint is there be a finding of fault or wrong doing by a party. Of Connell is probably Best known As the a a father of the a no fault Auto insurance Law which has been adopted in some states but not in Illinois where it was successfully torpedoed by the trial lawyers lobbying in the Early 1970s. In his 1979 Book of Connell argues the real tort Reform that is needed is an elective or optional a no fault insurance system for All types of liability claims not just in Auto accidents. The insurance would pay you directly for the costs associated with injuries regardless of who was at fault and in turn the insurance company would still have the right to pursue your claim in the courts against the other party a insurance company. Of Connell argues this would result in victims getting More guaranteed and prompter actual compensation for their damages than the haphazard a lawsuit lottery does now and that insurance companies would More Likely Settle out of court saving the huge Legal fees. New zealand of Connell Points out has actually gone beyond this and abolished tort claims in civil cases. In that nation you can to sue but you can collect for actual damages from a government run insurance system instead of Connell concedes the adversarial system is probably too deep rooted in the . And new zealand despite the same English common Law tradition is More socialistic than the . For it to disappear completely. Neither the insurance companies or the lawyers Are Likely to embrace a a no fault system either. The insurance companies now make Money by investing funds they set aside to pay future claims while winning Long delays through the court system. Lawyers who eat up the majority of the resources that go into the tort system in both procedural and compensation costs would be significantly Cut off at the trough a what ought to be Clear however is that the present system of lawyers fault finding gives us the worst of both worlds soaring premiums and scanty benefits a and is doomed to fall. Indeed the Only surprising thing is that this outmoded Way of dealing with accidents should have lasted so Long into the 20th Century a of Connell concludes

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