The Hutchinson News from Hutchinson, Kansas on October 4, 1971 · Page 16
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The Hutchinson News from Hutchinson, Kansas · Page 16

Hutchinson, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, October 4, 1971
Page 16
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The Failures of Nixon, and Others Public Morality Lost In Our Political Swamps M//THVRAWAL flditorlal Prophetic Cartoon Tom Darcy's prizewinning editorial cartoon, "Withdrawal," first appeared in Newsday and on The News editorial page 10 months ago. We reprint it today because it is now clear that Darcy's graphic statement was as prophetic as it was forceful. As Newsday explains: "The troops are coming home, and the planes are flying north. Officially, strategic bombing of North Vietnam has been halted, but American planes daily fly over North Vietnam on photoKreconnaisance missions. Attacks on these plans inevitably provoke "protective reaction" strikes against the north. In the last two weeks one of these attacks involved the dropping of planeloads of bombs during an eight-hour raid. There have been 62 "protective reactions" last month alone. In addition, hardly a day passes without B-52 sorties in South Vietnam, Laos or Cam'bodia. "Thus, the war winds down. Or does it?" The Numbers Game The El Dorado Times heaves a sigh of despair and disbelief at attendance figures for the State Fair. The Times cites the total crowd figure this year at 605,000, against 591,000 for 1970, with a final Sunday figure of an "estimated 110,000." "It's hard for some of us to believe," The Times says. "Is there not some other way to count the attendance of those who go to the Fair than the 'estimated* guess? We think in these days of computer accuracy, any event that takes a stab at guessing the number of folks attending may be badly kidding itself and the public as well." It's a problem, Rolla., and one The News has been pondering for 60 years. In the early days of Tent City, it was relatively simple. You started with the tents which dotted the Fair's northwest quarter, multiplied their number by two, and then added the population of Hutchinson. You thus came up with a daily attendance of 40,000 to 70,000, depending on the weather. With the advent of campers, and the proliferation of the automobile, a new system had to be devised. You can get more people into campers and autos than into a tent, particularly a pup tent. So, officials started multiplying everything by four. A Fair Secretary 30 years a go noted that many autos were parking outside the grounds, that some people actually were walking to the Fair, and others arrived by bus. So he took the audited daily paid attendance, running 30,000 or so, and doubled it to account for the exhibitors, season ticket holders, and freeloaders, such as politicians and newspaper editors. Other systems have been devised, including the common one of counting all the legs going by on the Pike, and dividing by two. One year, the count was taken from a blimp, where it was determined there were five times as many people on the grounds as in the grandstand, which seats 12,000. The News had its own solution this year. In our exhibit building, we offered free ice water, in paper cups. One day, we gave away 10,000 paper cups. We figured that we were doing about one-tenth of the Fair's paper cup business (including the beer stand), so the attendance was 100,000. Those are some of the ways the- numbers game is played here, Rolla. How in the world could a computer possibly compete with science like that? 19th Century Hangovers Northwest Kansas may be short on people, but it's long on government. A recent study of 18 counties in mat quadrant revealed one unit of local government for each 207 per- That's an overdose. It also is unnecessary, with today's mobility and communications. The most obvious proliferation is in townships, with 295 for the 18 counties. Why a township at all? The pattern is hardly confined to Northwest Kansas. The state has at least twice as many counties as it needs. We have reduced the number of school districts, but many of them still could be consolidated. The reason these old governmental vestiges hang on is because the local people want them, or think they do, and fear loss of local control with any consolidation, or elimination. It's their privilege. But it is paradoxical that many of those defending these archaic governmental units are the strongest complainers about property taxes. And one reason they pay so much tax is that we have so much government. A NEW REFORM ERA By WILLIAM V. SHANNON (C) Now York Times News Service WASHINGTON — "To be a healthy nation, a strong nation, we need also restore the health of our government institutions," President Nixon told Congress the other day. In support of this contention, Nixon reiterated his call for reorganization of the executive departments, federal-state revenue sharing, and welfare reform. But the crisis of confidence in the nation's institutions, which was discussed in a previous article, is far wider and more profound. It encompasses the presidency itself, Congress, the courts, the military and civil bureaucracies, and state and municipal governments. No single leader can resolve this crisis by himself. Yet the President is a critical figure because he is the only official chosen by the whole people. A way out of the crisis can begin to be found only if there is a president who can focus the nation's moral energies by a politics of idealism and creative consiliation. That has not occurred during Nixon's presidency. Low Support Like President Johnson before him, Nix­ on has squandered much of his political credit in Vietnam. As he frequently points out, he is gradually eliminating the war as a political issue. But after nearly three additional years of combat, 15,000 American deaths, the Cambodian invasion, and the Kent State episode, he has taken so long to do it that he did not benefit from the tolerance which the public extends to every new President. As a result, his base of support is no wider in the fall of 1971 than it was in the fall of 1968. By the Haynsworth and Carswell nominations, Nixon damaged the Presidency as well as the Supreme Court. We was seen to be playing regional politics with appointments on which the ordinary citizen had a right to expect him to be high-minded and disinterested. A successful presidency involves a dialogue between President and people. Candor is the first requirement of a dialogue. Without it, there can be no mutual trust. The dialogue has to be on a regular and frequent basis. Otherwise, there is no resonance. Utterly Secret How to Bankrupt Foes With Own Spy System Baker By RUSSELL BAKER iC) New York Times New* Service WASHINTON — After the British accused the Russians the other day of supporting 105 spies in their embassy in London a telephone call was made to one of the Russian spies in the embassy here in Washington. His name is Boris. He said, yes, he could get out for a rendezvous, provided it produced a secret document which he could send to Moscow to justify his expense account. The U.S. government is very helpful about things like this. "Here," said a deputy to a deputy assistant at the Pentagon, and he cut a short news story out of the afternoon paper. —it was about an automobile striking a cow near Frederick, Md. — and stamped it "Very Secret." Boris, rendezvousing under a bench in Lafayette Park, which had been bugged by the F.B.I., accepted the newspaper clipping without enthusiasm. "Can't you at least get the C.I.A. to give you some fake blueprints to give me?" he asked. "You don't even take me seriously enough to want to mislead me anymore." Nonsense, Boris. The U.S. government regards you as one of the most key Russian spies operating in Washington this fall." "You Americans!" Boris said. "Never willing to level with a guy." It seemed an obvious truth not worth denying. It was time for a change of subject. "Boris, is it really true that your side had a hundred and five spies in the London embassy alone?" Whose Bug? Boris hesitated before answering, and pointed to the bug which was attached to the park bench. "Is this the F.B.I.'s bug," he asked, "or one of ours?" A quick examination disclosed the great seal of the United States imprinted on the wire. "Good," he said, clearing his throat. "A himderd and five," he said. "You think that 's a lot? You think a hundred and five spies is enough to do the job we're up against in these western countries?" "Don't you know even what's happening in your own country?" He went on, speaking with emotion. "The volume of secret papers has increased by a factor of 50 or 60 in the past 10 years. The more secret papers you Western Front have, the more spies we need to get hold of them." The difficulty. Boris explained, speaking very clearly and distinctly into the bug, so that the F.B.I, would hear every word, was that it had become a symbol of status in Washington for men to have secret papers in their possession. He thought this had started with Professor Henry Kissinger, Boris said. He had read somewhere, perhaps in a top secret story printed in a newspaper column of Washington society news that Professor Kissinger never attended a party without bringing along a briefcase ostentatiously filled with highly classified papers. Papers Win Girls Boris said that he had, in fact, attended a party, in one of the seedier salons of Georgetown, at which a public-relations officer from the Department of Commerce tried to win a blonde away from a clerk in the Bureau of Obsolete Deeds by flashing a fat roll of papers labeled "extremely secret." The clerk had promptly crushed this gambit by producing out of his jacket sleeve a roll of papers stamped "excessively secret." The demand for secret papers among government officials, Boris said, had become so intense that status-hungry officials were plastering the classification stamp on every paper that came to hand. Among purloined U.S. secret documents which had turned up lately on has own desk. Boris went on, were a luncheon check for two cheesebnrgers and a beer, a laundry list for five shirts and a 1964 copy of Playboy. "The more paper you stamp secret," Boris ' shouted into the bug, "the more spies we need to get our hands on it, study it, puzzle out its significance and forward it on to Moscow." . Having made his point to the F.B.I., he hurried off to a cocktail party where he expected a minor official from! the Washington Monument staff to appear with a sheaf of menus, classified "unusually secret," from the National Art Gallery cafeteria. "The Russians are begging for mercy," the F.B.I, man observed later. "Maybe — just maybe, mind you — if we keep stamping, we can use their spy payroll to bankrupt them." All this, incidentally, is "utterly secret." Writer Deplores Irving Treatment In a column headed "Innocent of Battery" The News recently reported Truman Irving's innocence regarding charges of misdemeanor battery stemming from a June 3 incident. My only regret was that The News failed to give as impressive coverage of his innocence as they did of the charges filed against him in June. Of course the fact then that a "respectable" member of the Mayor's Forum had been charged with criminal assault was a juicier piece. Perhaps The News should now let ring the piercing truth that whites may find less appetizing: Truman Irving Innocent of Racist Charges. Whites who pounced on Truman's supposed guilt last June should ask themselves a couple of questions: Why were the charges changed from assault to misdemeanor battery? Would you believe white people had lied? Why did you so readily assume Truman to be the guilty party? Truman is innocent. He always was. But he is out much time. Much worry. Much money. His distrust of whites is increased — unless some white who cares does something to counter the racism that took its toll on Truman's life. - TERRY D. WOODBURY, 205 Loetscher PI. A-l Princeton, N.J. Looking Backward Ten Years Ago in 1961 The Ford Motor Co. was struck for the first time since Henry Ford recognized the union 20 years ago. One hundred twenty thousand men .were out. The Jack Paar star on TV was fading. Hutchinson BPW was celebrating the organization's 42nd birthday. Pearl Leighty, former woman's editor of the News, was a charter member in 1919. Twenty-five Years Ago in 1946 HNAS turned over municipal airport to the city. Harry Kanatzar shot the medal score of 79 at the senior golfers tourney. Jim Vandaveer, Hutchinson, had an 81. Fifty Years Ago in 1921 American Legion was holding its reunion here. Members greeted each other with "Hello, Al". The phrase is no longer used. Gen. Wilder Metcalfe was ejected commander. The world series started and the News was megaphoning the play by play from its Sherman street balcony. Howard Waller, manager of the Red Rose dance club, was named manager of the, National Guard's dance hall at the Winter Garden. But Nixon has chosen to emulate the remote, imperial style of the late Gen. Charles de Gaulle. That may be suitable for a country with Bonapartist traditions, but it is a curious mode for the United States. Although the Kennedy administration tried to "manage the news" and the Johnson administration found its way to "credibility gap," both of those regimes were as open as town meetings compared to the present administration with its absence of presidential news conferences, its overt hostility to much of the press, and its passion for secrecy. Other Failures Yet if JVixon has failed to restore the presidency as a center of effective, convincing leadership, other institutions hardly come off any better. Congressmen seem unaware that many citizens see the House and Senate as places where far too many men arrive poor and leave 20 or 30 years later with a lot more than their pension. Lyndon Johnson with his radio and television franchises set a bad example in this regard, and he is not unique. Until Congress clears up flagrant conflicts of inter­ ne vieiv from here est and drastically reforms the law on campaign spending, a greasy smog of money will linger over the capital. At least half the state governments are not fit to participate in any federal revenue-sharing plan because they lack adequate budget and accounting systems and have poorly-paid, politically intimidated civil services. To pour money into these governments is like pouring water into a sewer — it can never be traced. At every level of government and in almost every corner of our common life, there is need for a regeneration of public morality and a rededication to social justice such as swept the nation in the progressive era during the first decade and a half of this century. New organizations like John Gardner's Common Cause and Ralph Nader's Public Citizen and the emergence of public interest law firms and citizen environment groups are evidence that such a movement may be forming and gathering force. When it finds political expression and leadership at different levels, the renewal of the nation's institutions of government will begin. by s,a. 'Who Owns America?' The President shook hands up in Alaska last week with the man he fired as Secretary of Interior, Wally Hickel, thereby demonstrating what Good Sports they are. But if Mr. Nixon has read Mr. Hickel's new book, "Who Owns America?" it is likely the handshake had all the warmth of an Eskimo nose-rub. The President should read it. So should a hundred million other Americans with concern for the day after tomorrow. FOR OPENERS, an abstract of Hickel's thoughts was published in the Oct. 2 Saturday Review. That's a quick way to get the message. "How will we leave America?" Hickel asks. "Will the heritage our generation leaves behind be an exhausted earth and a hu- v 4 man who is degraded? \V "Will the rugged individualism on which we have s.a. prided ourselves result in collective destruction? "Not if we have a truly national proach to government." Strange talk, coming from an ex-Kansan who for years symbolized the rugged individualist and who, before he became personally and politically involved as Interior Secretary, was regarded as a patsy for oil and timber interests. ap- HICKEL touches on several major problems in this brief magazine piece. One is the scandal perpetrated by Congressmen in authorizing a national park — such as the Point Reyes National Seashore or the Cape Cod Seashore — and then not providing funds, or any financing. The result is a rape of the public, as private interests gobble up nearby lands and increase costs 50 to 100 times. Another is the tragic waste and loss in the practice of "clearcutting" timber Other Editors lands, stripping them bare, instead of using "selective cutting." A third point is our folly in neglect of the railroad system, leading to our worst air pollution problem and creating such environmental nightmares as the Alaska oil pipeline. An adequate rail system would overcome, or at least hold in check, much of our pollution. HICKEL HAS several solutions. One key is the growing principle that "polluters cannot avoid the issue of environmental responsibility. The additional cost to protect the environment must now and forever be included in the cost of any item." His major argument is that this is a national problem, and that "only national government can give back such things as clean rivers, unpolluted air, and a free spirit in the inner man ... At stake is the living of life, and this is not a narrow or regional thing." That's easy to grasp. A decision in Hutchinson on what to do with municipal sewage and how to dispose of trash has impact beyond Hutchinson. What any local industry, city or state government does to the environment, eventually affects what Hickel says is the "community called the United States." IN ESSENCE, Hickel's plea is to the individual, including the rugged individual. "In dealing with the environment," he argues, "a man should bs free to turn out a product for sale, but his freedom ends when his factory pollutes the air, contaminates the waterways, desecrates beauty, or harms those around him . . . "Man's ultimate survival is at stake." Saturday Review calls the Hickel piece "The Making of a Conservationist." Let's hope this plea helps make millions more Americans conservationists. If not, we won't have millions more Americans. Protectors of Freedoms (Following contains excerpts from some informal dinner remarks made by John S. Knight to a civic dinner in Charlotte, N.C., reprinted in The Detroit Free Press.—Ed.) The current complaint about newspapers goes something like this: "All you do is print the bad news ;.why can't we have more good news?" To this charge, I would make reply that if editors printed only the bland and sanitized versions of the news our critics say they want, who would read us? As for "good news" and "bad news," we publish a goodly ration of the former which somehow goes largely unnoticed by critical readers who enjoy instructing the editor. Beyond that, the newspaper is rightly the conscience of the community—ferreting out wrongdoing and incompetence in public affairs while building constructively through well reasoned and "plain talk" commentary. We likewise honor the opinions of our readers, listen to what they have to say and endeavor, if possible, to redress their grievances. What really must concern the editors of today is how well they are able to distinguish between the important and the unimportant news. Equally compelling is the ability to interpret the news fairly, accurately and perceptively. As you ladies and gentlemen know so well, the name of lite game in Washington and in every state and local community is to raise serious doubts about the credibility of the press. In large part, the aspersions cast upon us by the vice president and other disgruntled public officials are calculated to make us unbelievable to the general public. We should, I think, accept such criticism philosophically while endeavoring to set the record straight at all times. An editor, who must or should take vigorous editorial positions on the great issues of the day, is not meant to be loved. If he seeks affection and popularity, he should be in public relations. Newspapermen who formulate policy must base their conclusions upon the facts at hand. The unvarnished truth is frequently unpleasant reading since it so often differs from the reader's preconceived notions of what the truth should be. At times, I fear, elements of communication — popularly known as the press media — provide through their own lack of commitment and perception some inexcusable transgressions upon he code of truth and accuracy. In these instances, criticism is certainly merited and can not be dismissed with lofty disdain from the ivory tower. In our newspapers, we do more than endure the shafts and arrows of our critics. Critical comment is carefully evaluated as to its veracity, pertinence and justification. It overcomes smugness, helps keep us alert. The press — both print and electronic— is not without fault, but in its relentless pursuit of the truth it sands today as the best protector of your precious freedom. t Page 4 — The K»| Hutchinton News Monday, October 4,1171

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