Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 3, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Monday, 3, IJHTOKIALS Flaws in the system That a cashless society is the prospect for the future is a matter hardly worth arguing about. Cashless transactions are already routine and with the computeriz- ing of the banking industry to such an ex- tent that one can have not only mortgage payments but also charitable donations deducted regularly from his account by computer, it can be said that to a large degree the cashless society is at hand. This being the case, legislation propos- ed by the federal consumer and cor- porate affairs minister to correct abuses by credit card companies should com- mand considerable backing. However, this should not lull the consumer into thinking that his interests are being fully protected. Without debating the dangers of deper- sonalizing relationships involving finan- cial responsibilities, there still remain hazards for the consumer which are not readily amenable to legislative correc- tion. In the intricate programming necessary for a cashless society, if there are any oversights and if present ex- perience is any guide, then these over- sights are going to be at the expense of the consumer because his interests are not paramount in the programming mechanism. For instance, A has a checking account in a branch office of a major bank. It is the kind of account which enables him to deposit money in any branch of the bank for transfer to his home account. For the sake of convenience, he deposits a large sum at the downtown main office on a Tuesday. He then writes a cheque for that amount the same day, consigned to a local merchant. The merchant deposits the cheque at the end of the day in his own bank, a different company. The cheque goes by courier to the Calgary data centre of the merchant's bank and is processed and dated that same day, still Tuesday! When A receives his monthly state- ment he discovers that he has been charged for an overdraft because his ac- count was debited for the amount of the cheque as of Tuesday but was credited with his deposit as of Wednesday, the his branch received the deposit notice, presumably by mail. This is a flaw in the system which could be cor- rected easily at the home branch by back dating the deposit in the same manner in which the cheque was back-dated in the account when it came through. The fact remains that in the system as it stands, some banks talk to each other by computer but do their in house business by mail. In another instance, B had his chequing account transferred from a branch bank to its downtown office. For the sake of convenience he did so at the end of the year. He put his following month's pay cheque into the new account but his mortgage payment, which was deducted automatically from his account by computer, was addressed against the old account and he was charged for an overdraft. Again, it was either a flaw in the system or inefficient office work. In either case, it was the consumer who paid. These seem like small errors but they should be a source of concern because they are omens of thing to come, and they involve the world of financial transactions with which a surprisingly large number of people feel unable to cope and may therefore be victimized unwittingly and unintentionally. In the case of A, a complaint was lodged with the home branch and the overdraft erased. However, it was implied that A should have known his account would be debited by computer but credited by mail. B paid his overdraft, disliking the inconvenience of complaining. In neither case was there a likelihood that the system would be changed. If a cashless society is allowed to evolve without the vigilant scrutiny of the consumer, it is a foregone conclusion that injustices in programming will be at his expense. Letters Gun control legislation "To tell you the truth I'd forgotten about all the running and jumping I thought of the Olympics as a lottery." The friends of Israel By James Reston, New York Times commentator RUSSELL BAKER Opiate of the ruling classes NEW YORK Henry Kissinger telephones in the night. He is exhausted from shuffling Chinese, Cypriots, Arabs, Senators, Pakistanis, reporters, and now he has an overpowering urge to unwind oh a little Viet- nam. "Don't touch it, Henry. You know what it does to you." "Just a little bit can't, hurt me, can he asks. He has been off it now for more than two years, has kicked the habit. Now, surely, he is entitled to just a little bit of Vietnam. "Not one drop, Henry. One drop leads to two and two leads to soldiers, and before you know it you're seeing light at the end of the tunnel." He says he already sees light at the end of the tunnel. It is a had sign. "How much have you had, "Nothing, nothing at he insists. "Stay right where you are, and whatever you do don't touch that elephant grass. I'll round up some other members of Vietnamics Anonymous and we'll come over and watch 'Casablanca' with you until the urge passes over." When we arrive the state department is in a mess. The detente is lying on the floor with a bad crack in it and there is a small fire in the trash can. It appears as if somebody has been burning an embassy. Henry himself is tilting badly toward Turkey. "You've been on the Vietnam again, Henry. You promised you wouldn't touch it. But you did." "What are we nagging me he asks. "So I did slip a little. So what? It was just a little. I can handle it." "How much, "Just a few hundred million dollars he says. He would like to see the day when Henry Kissinger couldn't handle a trifl- ing few hundred million dollars worth of Viet- nam. We manoeuvred him to the television set, get him seated and turn on "Casablanca." "Here's looking at you, Bogart is saying to Bergman. "A great somebody says. Henry says it is a good line, but not in a class with his own line, "Peace is at hand." "That is also a great line, Henry." Henry rises. He wants the opportunity to deliver it again, he says, heading for the central highlands by way of the ancient im- perial city of Hue. "Play it, Bogart is saying as we stop Henry short of the Tonkin Gulf. Henry says he can play it. He will send in some reconnaissance planes in the opening bars, then add an arpeggio of advisers and stuff General Thieu's piano with a surprise packet containing another million. "You know what I want to Bpgart is saying. "Play it." Henry begins to sing the old favorites, "We have turned the corner" and "Bring back that coonskin to me." We congratulate him on his memory, and Henry says he loves the old diplomatic tunes best of all. He cannot understand why people prefer seeing 'Casablanca" over and over to seeing reruns of Vietnam. He is drowned out by a rousing perfor- mance of "La Marseillaise" led by Paul Henreid. -Henry says it reminds him of the Paris peace talks. One of the best things about Vietnam was the Paris peace talks. "Paris peace talks were all right for somebody says, "but what I liked were the captured enemy documents they used to com- pose at the American embassy at Saigon to prove whatever the administration wanted to believe." We have all turned away from the televi- sion now and are drifting towards the Mekong Delta. Somebody else says he always liked the way the body count showed that the entire population of Indochina had been killed, compelling the Americans to send more troops to Stymie new offensives ex- pected right after the monsoons. I remark that my favorite scene is the one in which Maxwell Taylor, or Clark Clifford, or Robert McNamara makes a flying inspec- tion tour and reports that we will be out of the woods by Christmas of 1984. Henry says "Casablanca" would be im- proved if Conrad Veidt had a scene in which he has Bogart s saloon bombed and then ex- plains that he had to destroy Bogart in order to save him. We all agree. Heartily. Henry looks at us in that cunning way of his and, then, deciding that times are ripe for a change of policy, un- locks his desk drawer, takes out some elephant grass and offers it around. We all nibble on it. "A few days of surgical bombing in Hanoi could bring the Com- munists to the negotiating somebody muses. "Surgical somebody else asks. "Why not bomb 'em back to the stone Henry says we shouldn't go so fast. It shows a lack of diplomatic know-how. He throws a few hundred million dollars toward the famous iron triangle, where it promptly vanishes. We all empty our wallets and throw more. It is like old times. On the television set Bogart is holding a gun on Conrad Veidt. He looks as if he would rather turn it on us, but there is nothing he can do about it. Like us, he is imprisoned in an old script. Henry Kissinger is going back to the Middle East again amidst a plague of propagan- da. The Arab extremists are blaming him for threatening war. The Israeli extremists are muttering that maybe he's going to sell them out, but oddly both sides dor.'t seem to know what they'd do without him. This time his mission will be complicated by several un- fortunate statements. First there was Kissinger's own remark about the possibility of using force in the event of "some actual strangulation of the industrial world." Then, going well beyond this vague statement the magazine, Commentary, printed (by the American Jewish an article by Robert W. Tucker in its January issue, advocating the breaking of the oil cartel by seizing the Arabian oil fields along the Persian Gulf. The propaganda war has been escalating ever since. Barbara W. Tuchman, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history, argues in this week's, Newsweek, that Israeli concessions to the Arab states, which Kissinger recommends, are what she calls a form of futile appeasement. "The feeling she says, "that if only the Jews of Israel would go away, and the Jews of America would stop supporting them, the oil problem and the threat of war would vanish. "There follows a rising de- mand upon .Israel for concessions: a return of the Mitla and Giddi Passes and Sinai oil fields to Egypt, the Golan Heights to Syria, Jerusalem to satisfy King Faisal, the West Bank to the PLO. "After Barbara Tuchman asks sarcastically, "why not give up sovereignty altogether, and share a democratic state with Yasir Arafat? The rule of human behavior here is that yielding to an enemy's demands does not satisfy them but, by ex- hibiting a position of weakness, augments them. It does not terminate hostility but excites it. The Zionist organization of America, in a full-page ad in the New York Times of Jan. 30, takes much the same line: it argues against the Kissinger "step-by-step" ef- forts to reach a compromise settlement, and ends as follows: "We appeal to President Ford, to the Congress of the United States, and to the peo- ple of America, not to submit to perfidious counsel and treacherous advice to foresake Israel, a loyal friend and ally. "Appeasement of the Soviet Arab axis will "not bring peace, but more war: Appeasement of the Soviet Arab axis will not bring the price of oil to its pre-1973 level. Only a strong and secure Israel, in alliance with the United States, can prevent new-wars and bring peace and economic stability to the world." Fortunately there are calmer voices in the American Jewish community. I. F. Stone, writing in the Feb. 6 issue of the New York Review of Books, criticizes the hardliners and particular- ly Tucker's article in com- mentary. Stone says, "could be more dangerous for American unity, for the future of the American Jewish com- munity, and for Israel itself, than to have it look as if Jewish influence were trying to get the U.S. into war with the Arabs, and to take their richest resource, from them. "The questio'n of Israel already occupies a dispropor- tionately large role in American politics. At a time when the U.S. army has an ex- cessively high ratio of the black poor, U.S. embroilment in a Middle East war has a far greater potential for social disruption, class and racial, than the recent Vietnam war. The energy crisis and the depression, inflation and joblessness are sufficiently destabilizing in our society without an injection of anti- Semitic paranoia Finally, short of war, the present propaganda by the ex- tremists on both sides is not likely to help Kissinger's forthcoming mission. The out- look for a settlement is bleak enough even if Israel agrees to the limited withdrawals Kissinger wants. The talk of war, however vague, and of holding territory which even the Israeli government seems willing to give up, merely make the situation even worse than it already is. Recent articles in the newspapers regarding legisla- tion to make firearms veritably impossible to possess by the citizenry prompted me to express my concern, as a gun lover, over the dictatorial implications of this high handed and stupid legislation. The public is being led to believe that the guns are responsible for the murders. Therefore no guns, no murders. Baloney! When some maniac shoots someone it is the man behind the gun who is "triggering" the ac- tion. The gun itself is an inert object until fired The point is, if someone decides to kill; the weapon, be it a knife, gun, scythe, rock, club, wire, sock or fists, makes little difference. The gun happens to be cleaner in some cases where an axe or knife would be more messy. The. job will likely be done regardless. As I said it is idiocy and warped emotionalism to blame the gun. There are several cases reported each month in the magazine, American Rifleman, where armed citizens have brought the justice to would be robbers and This would not be possible without guns in the hands of the ordinary man. Of course if politicians can round up the guns the gangsters can perform their henious acts unmolested, save for the interference of a few police who. are usually not there until it is too late. Politicians should be train- ing people in the use of firearms and encourage the common man to help wipe out crime. I recall a case in Los Angeles a few years ago where thugs drew knives on a man with an automatic. They ordered him to give them his wallet. He told them he would be glad to oblige and pretending to reach for his wallet fired his gun through his pocket killing two and wounding the other two. He did the right thing and I am sure prevented more crimes. Our government would have charged him with murder and lauded the poor robbers. Cars in Canada kill nearly people per year and wound Ten times as many as guns. The drunks keep driving. There is little complaint. Cars are not out- lawed. If there was real concern for the safety of people, cars would be built safe, as would roads. Drunks and incompetents would not be driving. Fire detecting devices would be in all homes. Politicians are not really concerned but if they can get all the guns it will be easier to control the population when communism takes over as Stalin found when he murdered Ukranians to get their guns. After that they were easier to dictate to. I grew up in a community where firearms were a part of gaining a living.' We hunted for sport and meat. No one has ever been murdered there by a gun, to my knowledge. Perhaps crime prevention should come through educational programs geared to the necessity of being law abiding, a better social en- vironment for the young and the return of the lash and death penalty. GUN LOVER Raymond Inflationary prices Kissinger's war without end By Anthony Lewis, New York Times commentator I believe Canada is one of the greatest countries in the world. I am proud to be living here in spite of the inflationary prices with which we contend to the best of our ability, even the outrageous prices demanded for eggs and then we hear where millions of eggs were destroyed in order to keep the prices up. How do we know that milk and other foodstuffs are not getting the same treatment? I believe this did apply to fruit in British Columbia some years ago when apples were destroyed and lots of children on the prairies were not getting them except at ridiculous prices, which their parents could not afford. I often wonder why some type of legislation could not be passed to rectify this or at least improve the situation. It seems the only legislation our high priced help is interested in passing is that which will increase their salaries and ex- pense accounts, or trans- portation costs and exorbitant freight rates. All this in the face of the next newscast which depicts greater chaos or even starvation in other countries. It makes us realize that we are still fortunate. But why let our great nation deteriorate? These facts could be considered between holidays and the building of other pleasurable projects. I am just a pensioner on a fixed income who can not vote myself a raise (sour grapes but I do not like to think of myself as a second- class citizen and I do like an egg for breakfast once in a while. Lethbridge ROBERT L. JOBE Shorty and shorty By Doug Walker Now that Keith and Paul have stretched up nearly to my six foot height the two remain- ing females in our household, Elspeth and Judi, have acquired a sensitivity to their diminutiveness. They arc constantly dis- puting each other's claim to be the taller. One day when Elspeth went to the closet where the games are kept and found she couldn't reach the one she wanted she called for help saying, "Somebody taller than I am put the Yahtzee up there." "I said Judi, scoring nicely in oneup- manship." BOSTON A few months after the Vietnam peace agreement was signed in January, 1973, a friend of Henry Kissinger's said how wrong he thought it was that American planes were still bombing Cambodia. .Don't worry, Kissinger told him: in 90 days there will be a settle- ment in Cambodia, and you will understand how right our policy has been. Such confident claims on In- dochina have been a regular thing with Kissinger. When he went to Washington in 1989, he told friends to moderate their criticism because the war would be over in months. Anyone with eyes to see must perceive by now that Kissinger's policy produces, indeed requires, war without end in Vietnam and Cam- bodia. That is because he in- ,sists on the maintenance of governments that can never stand by themselves that can only be kept going by perpetual war fed by American aid. The war cannot end unless and until the United States stops trying to impose its political solution and lets the indigenous forces arrive at theirs. Kissinger would rather have war than an indigenous settlement because the latter would show the futility, the cynical brutality, of what he has been doing all these years in Indochina. Americans have of course been expressing false con- fidence about Indochina for years. But some of the earlier, leaders were doubtless deceiving themselves. The interesting question is not why Henry Kissinger says what he does about Indochina but why anyone goes on believing him. It is now 10 years since Americans went into combat in Vietnam, five since we invaded Cambodia. Can Kissinger really persuade still another Congress that more American weapons and more war will bring peace to Indochina? Unfortunately, the possibili- ty cannot be excluded. Members of Congress, like journalists, are subject to the particular contamination .of Washington; the need to be to be on the in- side. Kissinger is a genius at playing with Washington egos, at implying that if his listeners knew what he did... Nor is Kissinger past invok- ing some new drama to move Congress; a latter-day Tonkin Gulf incident. With American planes flying reconnaissance missions over Vietnam again, it is not hard to imagine one being brought down and Kissinger gravely calling for a U.S. response. To forestall that possibility Congress should how make clear that reconnaissance flights come within the legal prohibition on any American combat role in, over or adjacent to Indochina. The new Congress will be critically tested by its ability to see through the old fictions on Indochina. The first of those is the claim that one more massive dose of American aid will enable our client governments to stand on their own. Aid has totalled billion since the 1973 truce alone; does anyone think self- reliance is at hand, any more than peace? Then there is the argument that Communist regimes in Saigon and Phnom Penh would harsh. We do not make wars against totalitarianism elsewhere in Moscow, say, or Santiago. Is it possible that Americans would have chosen to "save" the Indochinese from com- munism if we had known originally that 'he price would be unending death and destruction? Do we yet un- derstand what the human beings there suffer? An American in Cambodia wrote me recently of his dif- ficulty in living with the horror that American intervention has brought to that once-beautiful country. American officials, he wrote, always say it would be "im- moral" to wind down military aid when in truth "the only morality is to end the war." He continued: "It occurs to me sometimes at night, with the images of the day keeping me awake the maimed bodies in the over-flowing hospitals, the beggars, the military funerals that Henry Kissinger has never met a real Cambodian. He has flown into Phnom Penh a few times to stay a few hours for talks at the presidential palace with Lon Nol and his corrupt claque. He has never gone down a road or visited a hospital. "In these moments I ask myself whether Kissinger would be able to make policy the same way if he actually allowed himself to see what was happening in Cambodia. But perhaps this is simply a private romantic delusion." Yes, it is a delusion. Henry Kissinger could see any number of maimed human beings without re-examining his premises w losing a minute's sleep. It is quite clear that he would rather have Cambodia a salt plain than let the war end on terms that would expose to all the monstrous- futility of his policy. Photographer distracts This is in support of the letter written by Del Valle regarding The Herald review of Mario Escudero's concert by Pat Orchard, (The Herald, Jan. (Actually, I felt the review was so absurd I decid- ed not to answer it with a letter I do have another complaint in connection with the article, however. Anyone who was at this fine concert found themselves slightly distracted by a photographer creeping around the place, clicking away with his little camera, during the performance! (The Herald This is blatant disrespect for both the performer and his instrument. The guitar is an exceedingly quiet instrument and any movement or noise distracts from it. I felt Mr. Escudero showed a great deal of patience in not having the man thrown out! In future concerts I hope any photographers have the decency to wait till after the I'm sure the artist would be willing to sit for a picture. DALE KETCHESON Lethbridge Garbage pickup lax I feel that something should be done about the garbage pickup. The garbage men are supposed to pick up our gar- bage on certain days, but they don't. The garbage men who read this will probably say, so we missed a couple of days, what's the big deal? Well, in those few days the garbage is liable to blow all over the place. The other day I went outside to shovel and sweep the sidewalks and there were kleenex, boxes, wrappings, and all sorts of garbage lying around. I suggest the garbage men dump the garbage barrels as well! People should try to put lids on their garbage cans, because that would help to keep the lawns clean too. I hope that my letter will have helped to keep Lethbridge cleaner. KATHY JOEVENAZZO Lethbridge The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S. Lelhbrid'ge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and Publisher! Second Class Mall Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON. H. PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. DORAM General .Manager ROY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"