Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 27, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD February 27, 1974 Nixon's safeguard President Nixon's statement to his press conference that a president can be impeached only for a criminal offence is an arguable thesis. Perhaps he even hopes so, since an argument over this point may put off his day of reckoning indefinitely. His statement disagrees with a staff report prepared by House judiciary committee lawyers, which is expected to precipitate a fight within the committee between Democrats and Republicans over the matter of impeachment. If the lines are drawn on a partisan basis and the struggle is messy, some observers think that Nixon may wind up being tried only in the court of public opinion, which, for all practical purposes, means the fall Congressional elections. Unfortunately, at least for the victims, he will be tried in absentia and those who will suffer will be Republicans running for office under the cloud of Watergate, which has already proved to be a stormcloud. All seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of those in the Senate will be contested. It is embarrassing to hear a president of a great nation make such a statement under such circumstances. It is painfully obvious that he considers it safe ground, but it carries with it the unspoken admission that, if the scope of impeachment were to be widened, he could be considered impeachable on grounds of committing offences against the constitution and undermining the integrity of his office. If the president holds office successfully on this point, there will be a certain ironic justice at work. For Nixon has not changed in office. He is the man he has always been, the man who was twice elected to the highest office in the U.S. by voters who now seem to feel betrayed. If anything betrayed them it was their own perceptions. Nixon has always been a man of views simplistic to the point of paranoia and a sense of moral obligation so limited as to seem non-existent. He has always been a man to whom power was an end in itself and a man to whom the end has always justified the means. The main difference between him and his subordinates who are in prison or under indictment may well turn out to be that he is a better master than they of the technique of toeing the line between offences which can be proved to be criminal and those which cannot. Meantime, Southern Albertans who take an interest in U.S. politics should watch Montana's western district Congressional race, for which the primaries will be held in June. The post is currently held by a Republican but western Montana was a Democratic stronghold for many years and the effects of Watergate may return it to them once more. Neutralizing a term The flaunting of homosexuality by gay liberationists is something many people probably find offensive. Perhaps now that the American Psychiatric Association no longer considers it a mental disorder there will be a subsidence in the number of proclamations about the glory of homosexuality. Once the cause of freeing homosexuals from harassment and discrimination had been taken up it was almost inevitable that it would attract the exhibitionists and be colored with excesses. That, after all, has seemed to be the way to achieve social objectives in recent times. Private attitudes toward homosexuals may not have changed too much but there has been a vast change in recent years in the public position. Punitive laws regarding homosexual behavior have largely been struck from the books and discrimination in employment practices has generally been declared illegal. With the action of the American Psychiatric Association the battle may be over for those who have been fighting for a better deal for homosexuals. At the base of all opposition to homosexuality is the notion that it is abnormal. If it can be made to stick that it isn't, then in time the homosexual's difference will not be marked and the reason for over- compensatory flaunting of it will be non- existent. Some psychiatrists are not happy with the decision to virtually "normalize" homosexuality. But since not much has ever been accomplished in inducing a change in the condition it may be that they will have to yield to the pressure to allow the term to acquire a merely neutral descriptive connotation. Why not, when the condition does not seem to be incompatible with a relatively happy, effective life? as Dr. Robert Spitzer, one of the chief proponents of the change in the APA stand towards homosexuality, argues. ART BUCHWALD Good news and bad news WASHINGTON In his recent speech in Huntsville, Ala., on "Honor America Day" President Nixon said, "In the nation's capita1 there is a tendency for partisanship to take over from statesmanship. In the nation's capital sometimes there is a tendency in the reporting of the news I do not say this critically, it's simply a fact of life that bad news is news and good news is not news." I couldn't agree with the president more. But in fairness to the people reporting the news, the problem is not one of reporting bad news or good news but of knowing what is good news as opposed to bad news. When you work in Washington it's difficult to distinguish the difference, and what may sound like bad news to President Nixon is actually good news to somebody else. For example, there was a special election in Grand Rapids, Mich., for Vice-president Gerry Ford's congressional seat and for the first time in 64 years a Democrat won. Now this was obviously bad news for the president, but it was good news for the Democrats. Had the press not reported this, they wouldn't know if they were suppressing good news or bad news. Another example of the cloudy issue of good news and bad news is former Vice-President Agnew's Secret Service detail. When the press played up the fact that Mr. Agnew still had Secret Service protection and had taken a flock of them to Palm Springs to stay with Frank Sinatra, this was bad news for the administration. But when the stories forced the White House to take the Secret Service away from Mr. Agnew, this was good news for the American taxpayer. Had the press not printed the bad news, there would have never been any good news to follow up with. The Agnew case proved that the revelation of bad news can have a good effect Every day the Washington press corps wrestles with some great moral dilemma. Take case of the Watergate tapes. When the president decided to turn over the nine tapes to the special prosecutor that was good news. But when he discovered that two of nine did not exist, that was bad news. In this case the president had a right to be angry. Instead of talking about the seven he turned over to the special prosecutor, the press made an issue of the two that were missing. Then to complicate matters it was discovered that 18% minutes of one tape had been erased. This was bad news. But what the media failed to report was the good news which was that except for the gap. the rest of the tape was clear as a bell. Even administration officials have a hard time sorting out good news from bad news. Recently Roy Ash, the head of the office of management and budget, said the energy crisis was only temporary and would soon be over. This was good news, and for once the media revealed it. Then William Simon, the energy czar, spoke out and said Ash didn't know what the hell he was talking about and that the energy crisis would be with us for a long time to come. This was bad news, and it really hurt the press to reveal it so soon after Ash's good news. I think what the president was talking about was the Washington press corps' reluctance to print good news about him. A perfect illustration is that recent polls revealed that the American people held Congress in lower esteem than the president of the United Stales by five percentage points. Unfortunately, though, the president at the time of the poll was held in high esteem by only 26 per cent of the people. So you could either say this was good news for the president or bad news for the country. It would be most helpful for people in Washington if (he government could set tip guidelines for us so we could know what good news is. The Kremlin does this for the press in the Soviet Union and it works like a dream. Not exactly the truth By DOUR Walker Elspeih was bent over the kitchen sink washing her hair when Keith came into the room Motioning toward his mother's protruding backsicte I observed that it made ai. inviting target. To my surprise, and his mother's distress, Keilh promptly walked over and administered a whack. This, enough, elicited a vigorous protest from the victim. said the young man, showing a remarkable disdain for literal truUi, "Dad tokJ me to do it." "Speech from the throne same old stuff." Latin American problems By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator MEXICO CITY To a lengthening list of triumphs, Henry Kissinger has added here in Mexico City the initiation of what he has rightly called a "new dialogue" with Latin America. His three-day meeting with 24 foreign ministers was unique in the annals of hemispheric gatherings for the absence of florid rhetoric. Thanks to the candor, outworn problems were shrunk to their appropriately trivial dimensions and more important difficulties emerged. But the light of truth also made it plain that the differences between the United States and Latin America run far deeper than most of us have imagined. The Latins themselves deserve a good deal of the credit for banishing the cha- cha-chacum bullfight atmosphere which usually predominates at inter- American meetings. They served up an agenda from which there were absent such highly loaded words as liberty, democracy, freedom and justice. In the opening session, the Latin American spokesman, Foreign Minister Alfredo Vasquez Carrizosa of Colombia, remarked that "the era of conference rhetoric is over for Latin America." A long-standing dispute with Mexico over the salinity of the Colorado River was settled. An agreement was reached with Peru whereby the United States accepted nationalization of seven American firms in return for an overall compensation package. Principles for a settlement of the bitter fight with Panama were also blocked out. Most important of all, the poison was drained from the Cuban issue. Dr. Kissinger acceded to a request by Argentina that American automobile companies located in that country ship cars and trucks to Cuba. The American agreement is only a one-time waiver in the total economic blockade of Cuba, which Washington has tried to impose over the whole hemisphere for the past decade. But one waiver leads to the next. And those South American countries prepared to put the United States on trial for its Cuban policy Peru, Panama, Argentina, Mexico and the English- speaking nations of the Caribbean were mollified. With the symbolic issues of the past thus deflated, the truly serious issues of the present came to the surface. In one way or another, they all involved the impact and very often the unthinking impact of the United States on the economic and social development of South America. More specifically, the South Americans want higher prices and steadier markets for their raw materials, more credits on easier terms for their industrial development and private investment which keeps technology and jobs in Latin America rather than just skimming off the profits and sending them abroad. Dr. Kissinger came forward with a number of practical suggestions for setting up institutions designed to foster hemispheric co-operation in these fields. He wanted to lend the weight of the United States government to get a better deal for South America in trade, the transfer of technology and the behavior of big companies. To the Latin Americans that was good but not nearly good enough. President Luis Echeverria of Mexico specifically repudiated the notion that co-operation within the hemisphere was adequate. "Latin he said, "should not confine itself to the inertia of its hemispheric relations which often prolong ancient servitudes." He seemed to be saying that Latin America should join forces with poor countries all over the world to make the richer countries pay for industrial development, plus the cleansing of the environment and the exploration of the seabeds for the use of all countries. So what has emerged so far from the "new dialogue" promoted by Dr. Kissinger is a true appreciation of how far apart the United States is from the other countries of this hemisphere. The bridging of the gap lies in basic changes not, as President Echeverria pointed out, in "anecdotes or good intentions." Irish coalition under attack By Kevin Myers, London Observer commentator BELFAST Northern Ireland goes to the polls February 28 in an atmosphere of tension and violence to vote on an issue entirely unrelated to those which led to the British Conservative government's decision to call a general election. It has nothing to do with prices, wage control or alleged trades union extremism. It is quite simple: do the Northern Ireland people approve of the system of power-sharing now in operation for almost two months and of the proposed Council of Ireland? The most substantial opposition to that form of government has come from the Protestant Right Wing, which opposes both power- sharing with the Social Democratic and Labor party, a mainly Catholic group whose expressed aim is the ultimate unification of Ireland, and the Council of Ireland, which many Protestants see as a sly mechanism for their slow engulfment into a 32-county Irish Republic. So strong is this fear that the Unionist Party, whose former leader Brian Faulkner was instrumental in the formation of the present power-sharing government at the joint British-Irish talks at Sunningdale last year, has now officially come il against the new government. Mr. Faulkner, the chief minister, still has the loyalty of many Unionists in the Northern Ireland Assembly, but his successor as Unionist party leader, Mr. Harry West, has joined up with the Reverend Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and Mr. William Craig's Vanguard Unionists. These three parties have collaborated for the election under the umbrella of the United Ulster Unionist Council, and between them they will contest all 12 Northern Ireland seats in the Westminster Parliament. Their demand is simple: the abandonment of the Northern Ireland executive and the Council of Ireland, and renegotiation with the British government for the reformation of government in the province. For the three government parties, the Faulkner Unionists, the SDLP and the small Alliance party, the situation is painfully difficult. They have been in power only two months, hardly time for the benefit of their coalition to be apparent to a suspicious electorate. Certainly, there has been little progress on the road to peace, with already 30 people being killed in acts of violence this year. The Faulkner Unionists are contesting six seats, and they are the first to admit their chances of success are slight. "We're Dill in a limb." said one Unionist Assemblyman. "Our options have been closed, and so we Have to tramp around the hustings defending institutions that are only half formed." For Loyalists vote- gathering is essential. They maintain that Sunningdale does not have widespread support throughout the community, and if they gather even a third of the vote, equivalent to the size of the Catholic population opposed to the old single-party Unionist government, then the present political arrangements are legally unacceptable. In some 48 candidates, including 12 SDLP men, are fighting (he election, and few of them will be pursuing the issues which are so heatedly debated in Britain. And unlike Britain, the outcome will not be decisive. If the Loyalists do well, then the executive parties will claim it is stil! too early for people to have given a final verdict on their government. If they do badly and gather say, only one quar- ter of Uie votes, it will hardly deflate them and might well give a pretext to Protestant paramilitary organizations to go on the offensive. Finally, there is the curious possibility that if the Loyalists succeed in gaining a majority of seats and the British parties come close to deadlock, parliamentary government in Westminster will be dependent on the vote of a half dozen men from who are barely conversant with, let alone interested in, the problems which beset the British people Letters Fanning fires of hate Views on Solzhenitsyn, articles by various writers in The Herald, (Feb. was interesting. I could find no fault with what was said, but there was so much ief t unsaid. There is no question, I believe, about the truth contained in Solzhenitsyn's book, the Gulag Archipelago. He was a prisoner in Stalin's prison camps and is well qua- lified to write about them. He won the Nobel prize in literature for his book so. it must be a work of considerable literary and historical value. But why all the fuss at this time? There has been no secret about Stalin's cruelty either inside or outside the Soviet Union. Khruschev condemned him publicly for these crimes, had his body removed from the Kremlin, and Beria, chief of the secret police, was tried and executed for his part in these terrible crimes. Why do we get only a one- sided story as if cruelty comes only from behind the Iron Curtain? Have we forgotten about Suharto's extermination of Indonesian Communists? Hitler's notorious concentration camps? South Vietnam's tiger cages? The repressive rule of Greece's generals? The military jun- ta's imprisonment and execution of political refugees in Chile? Or the terrible injustices in Southern Africa? All these crimes should be a thing of the past but there seems to be a movement at this time to undo the work for detent and to rid us forever of the terrible scourge of war. Why do we have this ideological warfare between the right and the left? I have been a farmer all my life and I know that if anyone tried to socialize our land the farmers would set up such a noise that never before has been heard in Canada. Private enterprise has been good for us. However, it may be that collectivism is best for some other countries. As much as I admire Solzhenitsyn's courageous stand for freedom of expression, please do not fan the fires of hate as the results could be disasterous. I am sure it will be agreed that for the majority of the Soviet people the political system in use today is far superior to the tyranny under the czars. ART MATSON Lethbridge New Magrath bylaws Are the people of Magrath willing to have their rights infringed upon? The bylaws which the town council has decided upon have not been voted on by the people Some of the older residents of Magrath would undoubtedly have trouble raising the amount of (for development of but are in dire need of the services. This is also true of the younger couples just starting out. We feel as taxpayers that the setting of the bond (for the purposes of moving a house into town) does not give young couples a chance to get ahead, especially with the specifications (of CMHC) to be met within one year. These proposed bylaws will retard the growth of Magrath. The last bylaw (removal of livestock from town limits, with the exception of one horse with a permit) will take away several people's livelihood. But if one person's livestock is to be removed, it all should be removed. Also a time limit should be set Are the people of Magrath going to let the town council enforce communistic rule? CONCERNED CITIZENS Magrath Talent in Lethbridge I should like to add a note to the two recent letters regarding Mrs. Pat Orchard's musical criticisms. I came to Lethbridge after a lifetime in London, England, attending some of the finest professional concerts, and reading the criticisms. Coming to Lethbridge I knew it would not be possible to find concerts of the same calibre but I am amazed at the quality of the local talent and the efforts being made to raise the standards still higher. Having read Mrs. Orchard's criticisms I feel she does a great dis-service to Lethbridge in that they are always negative and on the surface it would appear that either she had some grudge against sp.ne group or has not the qualifications to give a fair criticism, often she is not even correct. Out of town artists will not want to come to Lethbridge and local talent will lose confidence (though I sincerely hope it doesn't) and I suggest that Mrs. Orchard try to find good points in future or gives up musical criticism. JULIETTE LACEY Lethbridge Best explanation yet As an unlettered disciple of Velikovsky since his theory was first reviewed in Harpers Magazine, I am elated that The Herald and Doug Walker takes issue with the good doctor's reconstruction of history. Apparently, without studying Ages in Chaos or Earth in Upheaval, plus collaborating articles that add credence to Velikovsky's thesis. It is heartening that the scientific community has in the last few years re- evaluated his works and now endeavor to prove or disprove the theories by research in the respective fields and not by emotional castigation of a serious student lettered in many fields. As a minor student of comparative religions, I have to consider it the height of absurdity Walker's declaring that Velikovsky's whole line of argument is absurd from his consensus of dating by biblical scholars. When the theologians and Bible scholars agree on anything other than that the Nile was a river in Egypt, then and now, religion will lose its validity. Velikovsky' has .taken nothing from religion nor do I think he intended to. He and many of us must recognize that the story of Exodus is allegorical history of that period that needs explanation and he has provided the best explanation now extant. REX J. REYNOLDS Sweetgrass. Montana crary As store del ivo, Mr Jo niakr vivursoll incon- The Lethbridge Herald SMTttiSt S 1.ETHBRIDGE MERAtO CO LTD and Publishers Second Class Mall Registration No 001? 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