The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on August 29, 1975 · Page 4
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August 29, 1975

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 4

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Friday, August 29, 1975
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OPINION FrL Aug. 29, 1979 &K Heg jHoincg Bccjifltcr DAVID KRUIDENIER, Piwtfmf and ft/W^er KENNETH MACDONALD, fflifor MICHAEL GARTNER. Empire fitfiMr LAUREN SOTH, Editorial Pnge &itor J. ROBERT HUDSON, Director of Market ing LOUIS H. NORRIS, ft/.im«M Manager An Independent Newspaper THE REGISTER'S EDITORIALS Shortsighted on energy Many Americans probably would agree with President Ford that self-sufficiency in energy is a practical idea— so the U.S. won't be dependent on foreigners. But it is a game that more than one can play, and Canada has decided to play it at the expense of the United States. v This was confirmed by the Canadian minister of energy, mines and resources, Donald MacDonald. His statement that Canada intends to phase out its exports of oil and gas to the United States was made in the presence of Ford while the two were dedicating a power dam in Montana. U.S.-Canadian oil trade has been a good example of the benefits of cooperation on energy. Canada, unlike the U.S., could be self-sufficient in oil if pipelines from its western oil fields were extended to all of the populous eastern provinces. Canada has been selling about half of its production, a million barrels a day, for use in the U.S. West and Midwest, and using the proceeds to buy overseas oil for its own east. But Canadians have long been concerned about U.S. "exploitation" of their natural resources. Canada's oil reserves are large, but most of them are locked up in the Athabasca tar sands, which have not yet yielded to feasible exploitation. Known reserves of liquid oil would last less than 15 years at the present rate of use. Minister MacDonald called the new policy one of "enlightened self-interest." President Ford agreed with MacDonald that "each nation must ultimately cope with its own energy needs" and said Canada's move makes it even more essential for the U.S. to "get cracking" on a self-sufficiency program. But the President added that the U.S., Canada and the 14 other members of the International Energy Agency should "work together to solve the energy problem." That is a more promising approach in the long run than autarky. Most countries cannot be self- sufficient. For those that can, the main benefit from closing national borders to imports of "easy" energy — oil — would be the consequent spur to the development of "difficult" energy — solar, nuclear, oil gas from coal, and other forms requiring costly research and changes in construction methods, transportation and living styles. But trade on the basis of comparative cost advantage is the most economical way to develop and use energy resources, just as it is for grain or manufactured goods. It is a retreat from America's basic free-trade policy to pursue "self- sufficiency" in energy at extremely high cost. Special-interest money The Federal Election Commission has been asked to provide guidance on how far corporations can go in raising political campaign funds for their favorite candidates. The advice was sought by Sun Oil Co., which wants to set up a political action committee called Sun Pac to accept voluntary contributions. The voluntary contribution has been the staple of labor union and trade group fund-raising because federal laws barred unions and corporations from using their own funds for political causes. The 1974 campaign law permits the continued formation of special political funds, provided that no union or corporate monies go into them. The United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) have had meetings in different parts of the country to urge businessmen to set up political committees. A chamber executive estimated that 100 corporations have formed committees and many more plan to do so. The NAM has distributed 10,000 copies of a booklet entitled "Political Participation." The election commission must decide whether a corporation can solicit contributions from employes who would have no voice in deciding how the campaign chest would be divided among candidates. Another question: Would stockholders and the public generally be eligible to donate to corporation committees? Perhaps the most important question centers on the possible use of corporate funds to cover the administrative expenses of a political action committee. If the commission approves, a corporation might use large amounts of its own funds for direct mail solicitation of political contributions that would be distributed among candidates favored by company executives. The political committees are restricted to giving no more than $5,000 to a single candidate. But that limit may not pose a handicap to either corporate or union committees. Suppose 10 oil company executives give $25,000 apiece to the firm's political committee: Their contributions could provide $5,000 for each of 50 congressmen. If 10 oil companies did the same thing, the 50 congressmen would each get $50,000 in lawful contributions from the oil industry. From its national and state Committees on Political Education (COPE), the AFL-CIO could generate up to $255,000 for a favorite candidate. Considering the number of unions and their state and regional divisions, labor's financial impact on the 1976 political campaign could equal and possibly exceed the $950,000 reportedly supplied in 1972. The new campaign law has not dried up the special-interest coffers. Instead, . by allowing the formation of special political funding groups, the law has given incentive to corporations, unions, trade associations and professional groups to confer financial rewards on politicians. This is a loophole that needs to be blocked, either by restrictive rules set by the Federal Election Commission or by amendments passed by Congress. The rush to take advantage of the loophole shows that special interest groups are still operating on the assumption that the way to a politician's heart is through his pocket. Rights struggle in Russia "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information through any media and regardless of frontiers." So said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted without dissent by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Some of its principles were embodied in a binding Covenant in 1966 and accepted by the Soviet Union in 1973. But does Moscow mean it? The Soviet government goes to great lengths to suppress "samizdat" (self- publishing by typing or niultigraphing manuscripts unauthorized by the Soviet authorities who control all publication). A special target is the Chronicle of Current Events put out in samizdat by members of the Soviet Human Rights * Movement to chronicle victories and defeats of human rights in the Soviet Union. Mostly, the Chronicle is filled with defeats. Amnesty International recently published in London an English translation of numbers 28 to 31 of the Chronicle, which came out in Russia between December, 1972, and May, 1974, after an interval when so many of the chroniclers had been arrested that publication was suspended. The Chronicle records criminal charges against a named Soviet citizen for "enticing minors into religion"; for writing a petition to the Communist Party Central Committee; tor an appeal to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet; for criticizing the functioning of a school (the critic was a school psychologist); for carrying on volunteer Lithuanian regional studies; for possessing a copy of the Hebrew alphabet; for possessing Agatha Christie stories; for putting flow- ers on the statue of a long-dead grand duke. The Chronicle is full of names and details of persons sent to mental hospitals for dissenting views: they must be crazy not to voice the official line. One person was declared mentally ill but criminally. responsible. Another was diagnosed as having a paranoid disturbance characterized by ideas of reformism. A 1972 Soviet law permits authorities to warn a citizen if what he says or writes or reads "verges on criminality." The warning is put in his record, and if he persists, he is in double trouble: for defying the warning and for breaking the law. The Chronicle has many details of illegal treatment of Soviet Jews who made public protests when denied exit visas; of Crimean Tatars punished for trying to find homes and jobs in the Crimea, their old homeland from which they were expelled in 1944. In 1956 they were exonerated of the 1944 charges of disloyalty, but they were harassed when they acted exonerated. The Helsinki agreement of 1975 contains new statements of intent by the Soviet Union and others to grant human freedoms, but there is no sign yet that these statements will be honored any better than the 1973 ones. Yet things a^e vastly different from Stalin's time. Dissenters are still imprisoned or railroaded to mental hospitals, but not all dissenters. Few if any are now killed. Some emigration is permitted now, and determined dissenters take the liberties they have on paper, calling on the authorities to follow their own laws and pledges. The Soviet government is under continuous gentle pressure to live up to its high-sounding promises of rights lor all. Challenging powej* of corporations By I. PHILIP SIPSER © if;>, Niw YM* Tinn In February, 1912, the House of Representatives authorized a subcommittee of its Committee on Banking_anl_Currejicy_ to inquire into the concentration of financial resources and power in the United States. The Pujo committee, chaired by Congressman Arsene Pujo of Louisiana, found: "In recent years concentration of control of the banking resources and consequently of-credit-by- tne-group-to- which we will refer has grown apace in the City of New York [and this] is defended by some witnesses and regretted by others, but acknowledged by all to be a fact—" The committee further found that control of money and credit by these banking resources enabled them to participate in determining business policies of insurance companies, railroads, producing and trading corporations as well as public utilities. Coming on the eve of Woodrow Wilson's assumption of the presidency, the Pujo committee report supported Wilson's contention that corporate power would be greater than the power of the government. "Have we come to a time," asked Wilson, "when the president of the United States or any man who wishes to be the president must doff his cap in the presence of this high finance and say: 'You are our inevitable master, but we will see how we can make the best of it?' " Bank assets Two decades later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt noted that "our economic life was dominated by some 600-odd corporations who controlled two-thirds of American industry," and expressed his fear that further concentration of corporate power would lead to "economic oligarchy." More recently, in May, 1975, the AFL- CIO called for a comprehensive investigation by Congress of the role of the big corporations "including the interlocking relationships between giant corporations and banks, and the effects of all this on prices, income distribution, the United States position in the world economy and the country's economic institutions." The AFL-CIO charged that the 50 biggest .banks control more than one-half of all bank assets and hold controlling stock in more than 5,200 companies; that the top 119 manufacturing corporations held more than one-half of all assets and get more than.half of all profits in manufacturing; and that the 500 biggest U.S. corporations now hold more than two-thirds of all business income. Similarly last June, a subcommittee of the American Bar Association reached a consensus that there was a need to provide new controls to curb wrongdoing by corporate management. It is not without interest that some 200 of the most powerful corporations in the country recently refused to divulge the names of 30 of their largest stockholders to Sena tor: Lee Metcalf's (Dem., Mont.) Committee' on Government Operations. And this leads one to speculate whether in fact Franklin D. Roosevelt's concern that American industry might ultimately be controlled by a hundred men is any longer in the realm of mere prophecy. Illegal conduct Clearly a full-scale investigation by a joint committee of the House and Senate (rather than a piecemeal and fragmented investigation by various committees of Congress) is an imperative. Such a committee could, among other things, inquire into the charges made in the AFL-CIO statement; a Federal Trade Commission statement that consumers have been bilked out of $80 billion to #00 billion in total purchases of $900 billion; Senator Metcalf's assertion that power companies control one- eighth of this—country's industrial wealth; Ralph Nader's allegation that corporate tax payments declined from 33.6 per cent in 1944 to 14.6 per cent in 1974; Richard J. Barnet's and Ronald E. Muller's contention in the book "Global Reach" that multinational corporations are the major cause;for .the decline of the United States trade position and for the loss of jobs; and charges in the press and other news media that multinational corporations have engaged in bribery and other illegal conduct in undermining democratic procedures domestically and abroad. The American people are entitled to know the sources, both personal and institutional, of corporate economic and political power and the effect of such power on their lives and livelihoods. I. Philip Sipser is a New York trade- union lawyer. "I've already got enough problems with my right win?. Rocky." /j Rocky in the South: ghosts of '64 stirred By DAVID S. BRODER Wtthlngton P»it Ntwi Sirviet WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N,C. - This' seaside'resort is a conti-, nent away from Sanjj Francisco. And this past' weekend's meeting here o f Republican state, chairmen from a dozen, Southern states came; more than 11 years af- 4 ter the 1964 Republican convention in the Cow Palace, where Barry Goldwater's victory broke the Eastern Establishment's grip on the GOP. But the ghosts of San Francisco were lively and loud at this gathering. At the center of this past week's drama are the symbols of the opposing forces which collided so violently in San Francisco 11 years ago — Ronald Reagan and Nelson A. Rockefeller. Reagan, whose first national political exposure came as an eloquent television campaigner for Goldwater, is being pressed by his backers to make a formal declaration of his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. At the same time, Vice-President Rockefeller is in the South. He is trying to persuade skeptical Republican conservatives that he no longer deserves the boos and epithets they directed at him during that never-to-be-forgotten demonstration at the Cow Palace, when he shouted his defiance at the Goldwater delegates who were about, they believed, to consign him and all he represented to the ash heap of history. Cordial ties For Gerald Ford, the pragmatic man- in-the-middle trying desperately to straddle the divisions within his minority party, the focus of attention this week on Rockefeller and Reagan is anything but welcome. Ford has tried to maintain the cordiality of the personal relationships with Southern Republicans that he enjoyed as House minority leader. But he has not adopted the "Southern strategy" as practiced either by Goldwater or Richard Nixon. That strategy let the Southerners have the final say on certain national policies and appointments^ of crucial symbolic importance to them — in areas of law enforcement, national defense and racial integration. Instead, Ford has picked Rockefeller as his Vice-President, Princeton progressive Donald Rumsfeld as his chief of staff and Edward Levi as his attorney general. Other establishment figures run defense and foreign policy and most of the other Cabinet departments. The only significant symbolic appointment that has been given to the Goldwater wing is that of former Georgia congressman and Secretary of the Army Howard H. (Bo) Callaway as chairman of the President's campaign committee. Callaway's first and most important objective is to dissuade Reagan from running against Ford in next spring's primaries. And the Southern chairmen are the key to that decision — for without the support of the South, Reagan has no hope of dethroning the President. Callaway underlined his appeal with a not-too-subtle warning: If the South breaks to Reagan, Ford can well win renomination with the convention votes of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and the other-states~that have continued to resist the conservatives' victory in the Cow Palace. Then the South will be back in its old role as outcast and beggar. The Callaway appeal was effective enough to enlist private pledges of support for the President from most chairmen present. Some were even persuaded to tell Reagan directly that they hope he doesn't run. Civil war? But the Dixie chairmen's enthusiasm for the President is limited and their tolerance for Rockefeller as his running mate is next to invisible. Callaway argues that there are no "philosophical differences" between Reagan and Ford worth waging a renewal of the Republican civil war. But his fellow Georgian, state chairman Mack Mattingly, said he is more concerned about the seeming philosophical agreement between_Ford and Rockefeller. "I assume that if he picked him, it must be because he agreed with him — and that's something I hope is not the case." So there is a calculated risk for Ford in,having Rockefeller touring the South this week, meeting Republican leaders in Alabama and South Carolina, at the same moment that Reagan is hearing his top organizers, Senator Paul Laxalt (Rep., Nev.) and John Sears, plead with him for an early announcement of candidacy. The only reason for Reagan to run — aside from whatever personal ambition he may harbor — is to demonstrate again that those who won title to the Republican party in the Cow Palace in 1964 do not have to yield it back in 1976. That might not seem reason enough. But to some people, the echoes of 1964 still roar. Urges removal of barriers to energy production Craig — Montreal Gazelti (Rolhco) "Of course, there are optional extras on this little job." By ERWIN D. CANHAM Chriitlin Scienct Monitor Ntws Strvici ASPEN, COLO. Here, not so many miles from President Ford's vacation spot at Vail, I have spent most of a week in a session on "Alternative National Strategies for Energy Development." The sessions were private. I was not here as a newspaperman. Two well-informed members of the House of Representatives were present, as were officials from the executive department. Everybody agrees on the need to avoid waste and to conserve in the use of energy. But everybody also agrees that, even assuming sensational conservation measures, the need for increased energy in the American economy will be great unless the nation is to face economic and social disaster. To meet new energy needs, there must be spectacular increases in the production of energy from coal and nuclear sources. Natural gas is fast running down, petroleum will before many decades, sources such as solar or geothermal or fusion or other unconventional means are still many decades off on any significant scale. To keep reliance on imported oil to a minimum, present obstacles to increased use of ccal and nuclear power must be removed. In the case of coal, increased production is blocked by economic and environmental reasons. Production has even slipped in the last couple of years. Coal producers have simply not been able to get the capital to increase production. That is where the proposal presented to President Ford at Vail for a quasi- public corporation channeling as much as $100 billion into loans for energy development is very much of the essence. To some degree, the crux of the whole energy problem is capital to finance the work that needs to be done. Much of the money, however, is needed by public utilities which stand ready and able to expand and cannot raise the capital on their own credit today. The same goes for the coal companies. The present rate-making system for public utilities does not provide the increased rates (there would have to be sensational increases) in order to provide borrowing power in conventional ways. The other major barrier to meeting energy needs in the next decade is environmental, most specifically the time delays caused by requirements for impact study, and public fears for nuclear safety. I am totally convinced that nuclear production of energy must and can be greatly increased, and I am persuaded that dangers to the safety of the individual or group are. in the words of Repre- s e n t a t i v e Mike McCormick (Dem., Wash.), the best-trained natural scientist in Congress, about as great as are the dangers of being struck by a meteor. So, for the rest of this century, we will need coal and nuclear power, and help from all the lesser sources and conservation measures we can achieve. LITTERS Congressional pay hike vote To the Editor: The House of Representatives, on July 30. approved an annual cost-of-living pay adjustment for Congress and other top-level government officials except the President. Representative Ed Mefc- vinsky (Dem., la.) voted "yes". His vote sparked heated protests from much of the public ... who considered Readers are Invited to submit letter* for publication to the Open Forum Editor, Des Monies Register, Dei Molnet, la. M9M. Complete names and addresses are required. The editor w* serves the right to shorten letters. Letters will not be returned. Mezvinsky's vote paradoxical with a statement made by him last spring in which he stated he opposed any increase in congressional salaries. . . . I wrote an oTnlanafinn him requesting 4He replied:] "I voted for that pay adjustment because I am convinced that it is necessary to attract and retain qualified and experienced people for executive and judicial positions. I regret, however, that the bill included members of Congress. "I believe that all salary changes for upper-level federal employes should-be enacted by recorded vote. I do not believe, however, that a salary increase involving the Congress ought to take effect during the term in which it is approved. "It has long been a practice in Iowa — and is, in fact, part of the state constitution — that legislators can*t j( raise their pay for the term In which the increase was voted! In line with that principle and based upon my convictions, I am returning the cost-of-living increase I will receive during this term to the United States Treasury». . . _ Victoria J. Pelffer, Rt. 2, Keota, la. 52248. 'Can't blame schools 9 for immorality To the Editor: I am compelled to reply to the comment of Milton Smith of Oelwein-[Aug. 22 letter] that "our public educational system is woefully deficient in teaching honorable character to the student bodies. 1.." The molding of a child's moral character begins long before he enters school. It does no good to present the concepts of honesty and integrity to a child in school if he goes home to an environment where cheating, lying and stealing are everyday occurrences. And it does little good to teach the concepts of honesty, integrity and moral character to school government classes in light of the examples set by many public officials and business executives. The breakdown of morality in this country does not lie with the public school system. ... — Mrs. Cecil McGinnis, 923 Grant St., Murray, la. 50174. Educational rolep of parents, teachers To the Editor: It gagged me just a bit to read the recent letter from Oelwein which criticized public schools as "woefully deficient in teaching honorable character to the student bodies as do the Army, Navy and Air Force at their schools of higher learning." I am not a parent or a teacher. But it has always peeved me when people expect students to be taught such virtues as character, discipline and patriotism in public schools. The role of a public school should be to enlighten our youth about math, language, government, science, etc., with any side benefits gained through sports or other trivia considered a bonus. Parents have the responsibility to teach their children to be honest, punctual, well-behaved and patriotic. This task should not be thrown into the laps of our teachers. — Dan Bied, 102 Holiday Terrace, West Burlington, la. 52655. Private ownership of guns defended To the Editor: .. . Many believe that the right of private ownership of guns is expendable to control crime, but to do this would be little different than Indira Gandhi's suspension of freedom of the press in order to maintain law and order. . . . When the private citizen is denied guns, only the police and the military have guns, a truly sobering thought. I am particularly concerned that many liberals have strangely sided against private gun ownership. In reality, liberals have more to lose than conservatives. . . . In the end the stolen gun, the smuggled gun will always be available. Only the private citizen loses, especially the less wealthy who cannot afford security guards to protect their homes and business. Unfortunately, gun control is an exercise in futility, providing an illusion of action while we continue to lose valuable time in combating crime. — Paul E. Johnson, 1713 Winona Lane, Council Bluffs, la. 51501. r

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