Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 27, 1975 · Page 55
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July 27, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 55

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, July 27, 1975
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GAZETTE-MAIL Lying Should Pose Risk If an American citizen lies to the FBI during interrogation, he can be charged under federal law with a crime. Never mind that this law is probably unconstitutional, it's nevertheless a law enacted once upon a time by Congress. But no law on federal statute books prohibits a president of the United States from telling whoppers to the people who have awarded him the highest honor that it is in their power to confer upon a fellow citizen. President Johnson lied, and had to Weigh Corrosive Effect State Sen. President William T. Brotherton is right, of course, when he contends that the law should deal more harshly with a public servant who is bribed than with the private businessman who bribes him. ; It is a point we often have made, and we regret that editorials dealing with the John Kelly case left a contrary impression. Our observations were intended as a reminder that bribery requires two or more participants, and that too often in the past only one-sided justice has been obtained. It is our fear that the businessman side of illegal businessman-politician transactions is assumed to be outside the purview of the law. It is the crooked politician, however, who betrays a public trust, and the betrayal of a public trust, in our view, is a crime which should be counted in addition to the charge when sentenc- - ing time comes round. Brotherton wouldn't want his comment to be interpreted as an excuse for businessmen who bribe politicians. Obviously he'believes both should be subject to punishment, and so do we. But we concur completely with Brotherton's thought that the politician, in a bribery case, merits the harsher punishment because his crime ravels the fabric of government. Without the trust of the people, government is ineffective and subject to threat of dissolution. These are thoughts which occur to us with some bitterness when judges decree that the humiliation accompanying exposure is sufficient punishment for crooks in government. We couldn't disagree more vehemently. Humiliation is by no means sufficient punishment, considering the corrosive effect of official misconduct on the public's attitude toward government. know he was lying, when describing to Congress and to the people what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin. His utterly inaccurate resume of events led to passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in House and Senate, which resolution he and his successor referred to often to justify the U.S. presence in Vietnam. Years later House and Senate repealed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, abundant proof that the events that supposedly warranted its passage were fiction. Rotten as was the Johnson falsehood record, Richard Nixon's was worse. Nixon wins hands down lying- est chief executive in American history on strength of his Watergate performance alone. The last year and half in office, each time Nixon showed up on the television screen he looked the camera straight on and lied flat out about his role in that criminal conspiracy. Except at the ballot box little can be done to hold presidents and other elected officials accountable for the lies they tell constituents. It wouldn't do for the elected official, every time he makes a speech or responds to questions, to put his hand in the air and swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Nonelected public officials, however, are in a different position. As- suredly they and employes of the executive shouldn't be allowed to lie to Congress. If a proposal put forth by the Center for Policy Research is adopted by Congress, executive branch officials would face minimum seven-year prison sentences were they convicted of lying to Congress. The center's recommended legislation covers a great deal more ground than current perjury statutes, applicable only to testimony given under oath. As spokesmen for the center have pointed out, the legislative branch is handicapped badly in carrying out its overview duties if members of the executive branch can get away with deliberately furnishing Congress erroneous data and misinformation. Seven years in prison is too harsh a mandatory sentence for such miscreants, especially considering how elected officials can lie and lie to constituents and suffer no penalty. But some punishment is in order: immediate dismissal, loss of the public's share of their federal pension, and surrender of the franchise for life, meaning they never again can occupy any government job anywhere in this country, ought to convince most executive branch employes that lying to Congress poses too great a risk. Good News Gone Bad Some moaths back we reported in this space some good news on the economic from. A housewife, we said, had advised us that after 20 years of oleomargarine her family had begun to eat butter because the difference in oleo and butter prices had become insignificant. Alas we must report the story in full today. The same housewife has switched her family back to oleo and is buying less of it than she did before. Both oleo and butter prices have risen since her first joyous announcement. Let's Have True Record During debate on the floor of the United States Senate seldom does the distinguished senior senator from South Carolina arise to rebut the distinguished senior senator from North Carolina by calling him a senile clot, a poltroon, and a clear and presentdan- ger to the nation's clean air effort each time he ascends a platform to make a speech. On occasion, however, the impossible occurs. Insulting exchanges are swapped in Congress between the exalted. But the historian of a century hence won't learn of such unusual and unseemly eruptions from the Congressional Record -- the one place most people logically would assume an accurate account of what was said in each branch of the Congress would be published. Neither the Congressional Record of the Senate nor the Congressional Record of the House of Representatives is a true record. Members of both bodies are permitted to censor and alter their remarks, and were the hypothetical example cited in our initial paragraph actually to happen, the senator from South Carolina, it is certain, would revise his comments -sanitize them completely - before allowing them to be printed in the Record. Last year publication of these compendiums of fiction, fact, and fancy cost taxpayers nearly $12 million. Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., speaking for what we believe is the majority of Americans across the land, argues: "If we are going to spend that kind of money, the result should at least be a document which is useful and accurate." To achieve this goal, he and eight other senators are sponsoring legislation to limit changes of remarks uttered on House and Senate floor to correction of grammar alone. Similar legislation is being introduced in the House by Rep. William A. Steiger, R- Wisc., with 51 cosponsors. The bill deserves support of all congressmen concerned about a truthful record of what is said during conduct of legislative business. This paper urges West Virginia's congressional delegation to give this bill its unanimous support. 'We HAD to raise prices again. Do you realize how much some of those foreign politicians cost?' Richard L. Strout Jenkin L. Jones The Genes Nightmare Stakes High in Panama WASHINGTON - A well-aimed hand grenade could put a lock of the Panama Canal out of commission for a month; a blast at the Gatun Dam that emptied the Gatun Lake would disable the canal for two years till rainfall refilled the big artificial reservoir. We are playing for those stakes, and stakes a lot higher, in the current climax of our 11-year treaty negotiations with Panama which few Americans know anything about and in which President Ford and Henry Kissinger are overwhelmingly right, and the obstructionists and chauvinists in Congress are overwhelmingly wrong. More serious than possible temporary interruption of the canal is the possibility that we are heading toward a Vietnam guerilla war situation in the Western Hemisphere, -- right on our back porch, so to speak, -- which will put the sentiment of the world against us, solidify Latin America and, in the long run, profit nobody but Communists. The United States has no more reason to try to retain colonial status over the canal zone "in perpetuity", in the words of Teddy Roosevelt's 1903 treaty, than does Portugal over Angola and Mozambique which she has wisely relinquished. Colonialism is on the way out all over the world and this applies to the United States, as it recently found out in Vietnam. (C) Los Angeles Times If you like scare stories, the one about the killer bees isn't bad. According to wire service reports they are already as far north as Guyana on the north coast of South America, and they're moving this way at about 200 miles a year. Nineteen years ago a genetics professor in Sao Paolo, Brazil, wondered if a cross between an aggressive African bee that gives lots of honey and a sweet-tempered Brazilian bee wouldn't combine the virtues of both. He got a monster. Then one day someone mistakenly removed a screen and 26 queens escaped. So the killers have been spreading out -- neurotic hybrids which are apparently driven insane by- loud noises, black clothing and the smell of alcohol. They are said to cluster madly on the throats of victims each bee stinging as often as 60 times in a minute. The concentration of venom brings on fast and fatal shock, and at least 200 persons, it is claimed, have died already. Alfred Hitchcock will doubtless come up with a movie on the subject, probably before the bees get here. THEN THERE'S THE aerosol scare. The idea that a few squirts of fluorocarbon gas from containers holding hair spray. deodorants or foam lather could have any effect on this vast ocean of atmosphere in which we live seems ludicrous. But 14 government agencies now say- that t!«re is "Legitimate concern""-- ;invi this tin}? amount of gas could weaken the ozone layer and subject human beings to increased hazard from skin cancer. Fact, or just more of this environmentalist scare stuff? Anyway, I use old-fashioned shaving cream. For a long time man has been intrigued with the thought that he might outsmart himself. And for a long time this thought was pure vanity. Until only yesterday we were children of nature. We worshiped the sun and the moon and volcano gods and storm gods because we didn't understand these things. We gathered the best seeds we could find, but we didn't know how to cross-pollinate for better seeds. We were pretty much locked in our environments. STILL, WE INVENTED the legend of Faust, woven around a real 16th century- German necromancer, to warn ourselves that damnation might be the end of a quest for total knowledge. The tale of the sorcerer's apprentice and the runaway brooms carried the same moral, and so did Mary- Shelley's Frankenstein. Until a finger-snap ago this was all dream dust. Yet as the industrial age gathered momentum and the skies darkened, the rivers soured and the soot gathered we slowly became aware of mixed blessings. We began to talk fondly of the "simple life." Thoreau abhored the snorting, spark-showering railroad trains on the other side of Walden Pond, although he rode them into Boston. The atom bomb really jolted us. Quick world destruction didn't happen as Phillip Wylie feared it would, but we all live*n an evil shadow. How naive Alfred Nobel was when he hoped that his dynamite and guncotton would be so terrible that man would give up war! But we are on the threshold of astonishments that will make the atom bomb look tame. We are beginning to monkey with the processes of life itself. This brings us back to the killer bees and perhaps to Dr. Frankenstein's monster. *· LAST YEAR 11 Amercan molecular biologists signed a petition calling for a world moratorium on genetic engineering until we can get a better idea where some of these marvels are leading. Dr. Wayne M. Becker, University of Wisconsin botanist, writes: "In the past two years means have been discovered which make it possible to move genes between species by splicing a piece of DNA isolated from one kind of organism onto the DNA from another kind of organism . . . "If a bacterial species which is a normal harmless inhabitant of the human intestine were suddenly to acquire the ability to make some sort of potent poison, the effect couid be an epidemic which would run like wildfire through the human population, especially if such bacteria had been endowed with genes conferring resistance to antibiotics." Suppose the cousin of the man who inadvertently let out the killer bees accidentally tips over a deadly test Uibe and licks his fingers. Go to bed. kiddies. Dr. Frankenstein will be in to give you a goodnight kiss as soon as he whips out that little job^n his laboratory. HERE ARE A COUPLE of recent comments about Panama to put it in context: Alejandro Orfila, secretary general, Organization of American States last week, "It is the most important issue that we have in America today." Henry Kissinger, speaking in Minneapolis said that there is the possibility of "a kind of nationalistic, guerilla type of operation tiiat we have not seen before in the Western Hemisphere." As to the fragility of the canal, a defense group of the Interocean.^c Canal Study Commission in 1970 specifically noted the "vulnerability of the present canal" to the attack of a relatively unsophisticated weapon, and warned that the Gatun Lake which feeds the canal might be emptied for a possible two years by a simple breach of the dam. President Ford heads for Helsinki. Congress heads for vacation, and assorted time bombs -- Panama, the energy crisis, and eight and a half million unemployed -- tick quietly at home in the calm summer of 1975, not making much news but perfectly audible if your ear is atuned. As to Panama we seem to be heading toward a confrontation: After 11 years of inter- mittant treaty negotiation the Ford administration is just about ready to send to the Senate an instrument that will modernize our relations, but before it is even presented Congress has struck it two blows, in the Senate Southern chauvinist Strom Thurmond. R-S.C.. offers a resolution., that already has the necessary one- third-plus-one votes, to defeat a treaty, and in the House, members approve a rider to an appropriation bill 246 to 164 declaring that no funds "shall be used for purposes of negotiating the surrender or Fanny Seller's Affairs of State column will return next Sunday. relinquishment of any U.S. rights in the Panama Canal Zone." Tension steadily mounts in Panama. Populist strong man Gen. Omar Torrijos, sympathetic to the U.S., keeps volatile students in check but it is agreed that if he desired he could turn on violence like a faucet. There were riots in 1964 with 24 deaths and temporary severance of diplomatic relations. In a recent speech Ellsworth Bunker, U.S. negotiator of the proposed new treaty, warned Americans solemnly that "the canal is vulnerable to sabotage and terroristic acts" and that "adherence to the status quo would more likely lead to the canal's closure and loss." Teddy Roosevelt "took" the canal in 1903 when he sent gunboats to support Panama's revolt from Colombia and presented a treaty a few days later. Secretary of state wrote a senator, "We shall have a treaty very satisfactory, vastly advantageous to the United States, and we must confess, not so advantageous to Panama." A quick Senate ratification Hay wrote pri-. vately again, "You and I know very well how many points are in the treaty to which many patriotic Panamanians would object." PRESIDENT EISENHOWER and every president since then has favored modernizing this treaty of which Ambassador Bunker said publicly, "No nation, including ours, would accept today a treaty which permits exercise of rights as if sovereign on a foreign land in perpetuity." It provides a zone 10-miles wide through the center of Panama, into which, if one of the 2 million citizens steps, he is at once out of tropical slums into a tidy verandahed mid- dle-income North American community, with seven golf courses, speaking a language he doesn't understand, buying goods at commisariats cheaper than in the United States, and subjecting him to foreign laws, police and courts. Panama got into the 1964 election when Lyndon Johnson defended conciliation and Goldwater said.Uncle Sam was being treated as a' "spineless pushover." Against mounting conservative opposition Kissinger went to Panama in 1974 and signed an e i g h t - p o i n t p r e l i m i n a r y "agreement in principle." Whether President Ford will hold out against hawks in his party remains to be seen. GOP hardliners declare, like Sen. Thurmond,."The canal zone is both the territory and property of the United States. We paid for it and it is ours --. in perpetuity." By contrast Ambassador Bunker says, "We have never claimed sovereignty over the Canal Zone.. .we are the only country in the world exercising extraterritoriality on the soil of another country." He urges partnership. Actually the importance of the canal to U.S. defense is in question. The U.S. paid $10 million to Panama at the start, and the Canal cost a third of a billion dollars. It proved enormously valuable in sending heavy supplies to Vietnam in the war. But a recent analysis of traffic calls it "convenient," and "useful" rather than "vital". Big U.S. war craft can't get through nor can large tankers; in 1970 about 1,300 commercial vessels were afloat or building too large for the canal locks, and 1,750 that couldn't transit full- laden because of draft limitation. Nobody knows the mood of America on this issue. Nobody knows how far the Senate hawks would go; they seem to have grown angrier since defeat in Vietnam. As for Panama the tinder only waits for a spark.. Letters to the Editor Clarification Asked On Drug Costs Story Sunday Gazette-Mail Charleston, West Virginia Page 2E Vol. 20, to. 4 July 27, 1975 Editor: I would like to register a complaint and ask that you print a clarification on the front page concerning an article appearing in the Current Affairs Section, July 20, edition of your paper. The title of the article is. "Drive to Reduce Drug Costs Killed by AMA. Pharmacists. Documents Say." As you read the piece, you will find that no organizations representing community pharmacy are mentioned. The Pharmaceutical Manufacturer's Assn. is just that, it speaks only for the interests of the major pharmaceutical houses. An organization which does speak for many community pharmacists is the American Pharmaceutical Assn. This body has enthusiastically supported and fought for many reforms which would benefit the patient and upgrade the practice of pharmacy making the pharmacist a more effective member of the health care team. Some of the recent issues the (association) has studied or endorsed are maximum allowable cost: a HEW plan designed to reduce the cost of drugs on Medicare-Medicaid: repeal of antisubstilution laws and in conjunction with the FDA a study of drug bioequivalency. It has been found that a number of drugs froy different manufacturers of the sartre drug. which pass current FDA regulations, do not produce equal levels of the drug in the ' body. This could lead to under or overdos- age both of which are detrimental to the patient. Edward F. McKenna, Student. West Virginia University School of Pharmacy. 846 Sherwood Rd.. City Who to Idolize? Editor: I for one am tired of people's opinions in the paper who try to discredit Elvis Presley in our eyes. Sure, we idolize Elvis. He's the greatest singer in the world, and believe me. he worked for it. They say we're stupid for idolizing him. but let me just tell all these self-righteous people something. Unlike Muhammed Ali (whom I really like) Elvis served his term in the Army and didn't get special treatment. Who do they want us to idolize, the political leaders of our country? Well, no thanks. I'd much rather stick with someone I know to be kind, honest and generous--my idol Elvis. Cathy Leake V A? Craigsville. W. Va.

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