Editorial-Opinion Page ThÂ« Public Intertst It Tht First Conctn Of Thu 4 Â· THWBDAY, MAY 23, T974 More Post Office Back-Scratching Missing: A Yard Sign. Or Two We could probably do without campaign yard signs if we had to. There's nothing wrong, of course, with a citizen advertising bis own political preference, nor in his suggesting similar exercise of wisdom on the part of his neighbors. It makes one wonder how relationships are getting along this campaign season, though, to see Fulbright signs in yards adjacent to Bumpers signs. If residential yard signs, however, are one thing, vacant lot signs are another. Hopefully those ardent advocates who have hammered up their favorite's likeness at odd spots around town will be good enough to remove them when the election is over. Cardboard signs are biodegradable, perhaps, but they are unsightly if left too long in the weather. And one other note about yard signs, which is the least pleasant of all to mention: the vandalism that immature partisanship sometimes produces. There are those in Â· Our Town, as well as across the state, who feel they are somehow making a contribution to the political process by stealing or destroying rival candidates' advertisements. This is an extension of the "dirty tricks" philosophy of campaign tactics, so lamentably evident in Watergate. As even the President's people are now conceding, though, dirty tricks are not the "American way" of staging a campaign, and have no place in an orderly consideration of candidates or issues. One liability of yard signs, it seems to us, is their inherent lack of value -- both in actual cost and in their ability to make substantive contribution to important matters of a campaign. They offer so tempting a target for mischief, in fact, that when several do disappear around one's neighborhood, the loss itself is too minor to bother with, even though one's moral outrage is considerable. John I. Smith For the most part, then, as we say -- we could do without them. Consumerism Arkansas Consumer Research, a state consumer advocacy organization, recently quizzed candidates for contested seats in the Legislature, on the subject of consumer- related legislation. Last year a bill to place consumer representatives on most of the state's two dozen occupational licensing and regulatory boards passed the Senate, but was knocked down in the House, 42-51, with 51 votes needed for adoption. The same proposition was put to this spring's Democratic candidates. Of the 79 involved in contested races, 39 responded, and all but two of these favored the proposition. According to ACR, this represents one switch of positions among the incumbents, and suggests possible favorable action on similar legislation in the next session of the General Assembly. On other issues, about a dozen in all, a majority of the respondents was consistently favorable to consumer-related reform. The closest thing to a standoff involves the issue of no-fault auto insurance, and so many variables and conflicting claims are involved in this issue that one shouldn't blame a legislator for being cautious prior to examination of specific legislation. Even on no-fault, however, the tally shows 18 in favor, and only six opposed. So the fortunes of consumerism, in upcoming General Assembly sessions, may be looking up. FOOTNOTE: Dr. Shelby Partain of Springdale was one of 40 who did not respond to the questionnaire. Area Farming By JOHN I. SMITH One of the most often asked questions around cattle barns and sales now is: when will prices get back right? Of course, the ones asking this question, or. asking some variation of it, are Â· thinl^ng of the good prices that were available for beef cattle last August. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its May 1974 issue of "Livestock and Meat Situation" has attempted to answer this question, and a summary, in essence, of that answer follows. A short review was given; that Is In January of this year, prices of the several grades of beef animals rose substantially (about 18 to 20 per cent over December prices), but, thereafter, a slow decline began. This optimism of January was premature. Too many factors were tending to pull down the prices. The feeders had tost a lot of money, and they began to bid low on our stocker and feeder cattle from the ranges. The buyers at the retail markets were holding back. The people ate 13 pounds less meat last year than they did in 1972, From Our Files; How Time Fliesl JO YEARS AGO The memory of Confederate soldiers who died more than 100 years ago will be saluted Sunday afternoon in services at the Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery, sponsored by the Southern Memorial Association and the Mildred Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the con- so V AGO Materials are being placed upon the site of the new Women's Gym at the University and \vork upon the building will begin as soon as the architect's plans have been approved. The old gym will be used as a (00 YEARS AGO T h e r e will be a called meeting of the Washington County council of Patrons of Husbandry at Farmington on the 6th day of June next for federacy. The House of Representatives yesterday passed an amendment aimed at keeping the FAA [light service station in operation for at least another 12 months. Rep. J. W. Trimbl* said today. library annex. Work on the new ten-apartment house of Mrs. A, H. Elliott-Wilkins on Arkansas Avenue, recently destroyed by fire, was started this morning. the transaction of important business. It is earnestly requested that every Grange in the county will be represented. M.P. Lake, acting master. They'll Do It Every Time BOSSO SlPOrAt /AAKES MIS INVITATION SOUND VS?/SOCIAL" / Â£ HENRY\ U)NCÂ« WITH ME TOXYATI ^ THÂ£ CLUS? ' HE USK TOE OCCASION TO BAWL THE Wtt Off HS UNP6RUN- and are expected again to eat less this year than in 1972. The inventory of all cattle in the United States has been rising for years and will reach a critical stage within a year or two. No great rise in prices can take place when so many cattle are available for marketing. While the cut-down on the number of mother cows has begun, it has not yet caught up with the number of young heifers being brought into the herds. . HOWEVER, IN time, this movement will catch up with the number of young heifers being brought into the herds and will eventually exceed it. No great rise in prices' of the various classes of beef can be expected in such periods. This r e p o r t predicted a further decline in the prices of cattle by the fall of 1974. and a possible heavier decline within a couple of years when the farms have entirely too many cattle. However, a temporary seasonable rise in prices could occur this summer. What can the Northwest Arkansas cattle farmers (those who produce feeder and stocker cattle from grass) do about this situation? Of course, the standard answer has always been: Become more efficient, produce cattle cheaper on better ferti lized and otherwise better cared for pastures, and keep down expenses. However, the above referred to report gives another answer which f have also heard at the sales barns. One well informed cattleman and buyer stated lo me. "This is the first time in history that 800 pound steers and calves have brought as much per pound as those weighting only 400 pounds." A close observation showed that he was about right. This above mentioned report showed that the feeders were cutting down on the length of their feeding period and on their costly feed bill by buying more large ones, not 300-400 pound size. Also that many farmers were by-passing the feeders and selling well conditioned 800 pound calves, and that many of them were going directly to the slaughter houses. As long as 800 pound a n i m a l s sell as well as 400 pound calves, the farmers might as well put on that poundage with grass and milk and get the money for it. .. .A MULTITUDE OF future developments can change this situation. A severe drouth can drive too m a n y cattle to market and break it severely. Of course, we don't want that occurrence. A war can drive prices up, but we do not want that situation. Some people suggest that the government should stop t h e imports of cattle and beef. But our exports of beef and animal products have been on an equal increase, and the killing of imports also kills exports. At least a thousand economists believe that the killing of imports with high tarriffs also killed our exports and helped bring on the last great depression. Let the farmers solve this problem in their own way. We still have a profitable market, at least a living market, for the producers of range calves and steers. Just continue to produce the heavy calves as we have done in the past. By JACK ANDERSON WASHINGTON -- As part of our continuing investigation of the Postal Service, we have uncovered a secret, back- scratching relationship between postal authorities and the giant Ernst and Ernst accounting f i r m . The firm was second highest of eight bidders for the lucra- tice postal auditing contract in 1971. Yet Assistant Postmaster General James Hargrove, now retired, ignored six lower .bidders and overrode the recommendations o f the professional staff to give the contract to Ernst and Ernst. Not long afterwards, liar- grove instructed the accounting firm over the telephone to recruit two top postal executives. The firm billed the postal service $20.000 for recruiting assistant Postmaster General Richard F. Gould and financial officer John R. Bowen. Now the same two men who were hired by Ernst and Ernst are in a position to repay the favor. For they help oversee the firm's auditing of the mail system. Indeed, Gould has repeatedly urged the Postal Service to renew the firm's contract without bothering to seek other bids and Bowen has certified the contract each time it has been renewed. In 1972, for example, Gould wrote a memo, intended for the eyes only of his supervisors, The Washington Merry-Go-Round rceonnmciiding: "From our point of view, we think it is undesirable to enter into solicitation of bids again... "It is our opinion that Ernst and Ernst has developed considerable understanding of many of our problems, We see no point to repeating the learning process and ask for your approval as we continue to work out an extension of the Ernst and Ernst contract." Again in 1973, Gould sought another renewal of the Ernst and Ernst contract without competitive bidding. He didn't even want to bother with the formality of acquiring a financial statement from the firm. Reports one internal memo: "On December 19, 1973. (Assistant Postmaster General Robert) McCutcheon called and advised that Mr. GcuJd had raised the question of the necessity of obtaining financial statements of Ernst and Ernst, as he had been requested, in connection with the renewal of the contract for accounting services." McCutcheon agreed it wouldn't be necessary. The Ernst and Ernst contract reached $460,000 in 1973. Perhaps out of gratitude, the c o m p a n y' s employes contributed 588.000 to President Nixon's re-election campaign. This fascinating fact was found on the While House list of secret contributors which the President's personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, kept. FOOTNOTE: An Ernst and Ernst spokesman denied that the Nixon contribution had anything to do with the firm's postal contracts. He confirmed that the firm received $20,000 for recruiting Gould and Bowen but rejected an inference that they showed their gratitude thereafter by seeking to renew the company's contract, A Postal Service spokesman denied that the recruiting of Gould and Bowen was done under the table. He pointed out that the two employes do not have final authority over the Ernst and Ernst contract. He denied, therefore, that they had a conflict of interest. ANOTHER ZIEGLERISM: White House falsehoods, like chickens, come home to roost. On February 7, 1973, we reported bluntly: "The word has gone out from the White House to 'nail 1 Jack Anderson and the Washington Post. This language was used, according to the sources who heard it, bv President Nixon's crewcut chief of staff H. R. Haldeman...." The President, we added, has "We Want Everything Public Except The Evidence" State Of Affairs Russia's Vietnam By CLAYTON FRJTCHEY WASHINGTON -- If it weren't for the paranoid American experience in Southeast Asia, particularly vis-a-vis Vietnam, it would be difficult to understand how Russia could puruse an equally stupid, irrational and profitless policy in the Middle East, particularly vis-a-vis Egypt. The United States could at least claim it was honor bound not to pull out of Vietnam, but the Soviets have been free of any such obligation to Egypt since President Anwar Sadat ordered Russian military forces out of his country in 1972. Even though Sadat keeps on rejecting and scorning the Soviets, they keep on hanging around. If only President Nguyen Van Thieu had ordered U.S. troops out of South Vietnam five or six years ago and refused additional American arms. How easy it would have been to go, for then there would have been no question of our "cutting and running" and no question of our betraying supposedly "sacred commitments." George Ball, the undersecretary of slate for former President Lyndon Johnson and one of the few Doves in that Administration, used to say, only half-jokingly. that the best way to get the United States out of Vienam was another U.S.-sponsored coup with the new leader c o m m i t t e d t o demanding Amp-iran withdrawal. EXCEPT F O R A C T U A L casualties, the Soviet investment in the Middle East over the last two decades has been as immense and pointless as the U.S. investment in Indochina. After the expenditure of untold b i l l i o n s in aid and arms, neither superpower has anything to show f 0 r its respective efforts excej* humiliation and loss of prestige. The Nixon Administration, unfortunately, is still asking Congress for more billions in military and economic aid to South Vietnam, but then, also unfortunately, President Thieu is still assiduously cultivating us. P r e s i d e n t Sadat, on the other h a n d. not only has ejected the R u s si a n m i l i t a r y from h i s country but f i n d s a new excuse lo insult Moscow almost daily. And still the Soviets more or less turn the other cheek. With ups and downs, it's been going on like that since 1955. when the U.S. break with former President Gamal Alxlel Nasser gave Moscow what it deemed was a golden opportunity to gain a foothold in the M'iddle East as Hie first step toward taking over or dominating the region. After 19 years of vain effort, t h a t dream is more distant than ever. Moscow put $1 billion into the famous Aswan Dam after the United States backed out. It supported the Egyptians antl other Arabs in three l o s i n g wars against Israel. Tt supplied countless billions in -modern arms, as well as the experts to train the Arab forces. Yet what is there to show for it? Today Russia doesn't even enjoy the exclusive Egyptian port facilities that it counted on for its Mediterranean fleet. Moreover, when the Suez C a n a l is reopened, there is little prospect of Russia enjoying any special privileges. Meanwhije, the Soviet foreign minister. Andrei Oromyko. spends his time calling on such. minor Mideast countries as Syria and Iraq in an effort lo mend fences and keep up the facade of some kind of Russian presence in the area. This could delay a Middle East peace settlement, but it is not going to restore to Russia the position H had in 1Â»72, when it was calling the shots in E g y p t and had hopes of Soviet hegemony in the whole area. LOOKING BACK, it is clear that Moscow's ambitions in the Middle East were as unrealistic as Washington's in Asia. Russia's brand of communism is even less acceptable to the Moslem countries t h a n it is to the Christian Democratic world. Even under Nasser, the Communists made little or no political headway in Egypt. To .Saudi Arabia, the richest of tile oil nations, and to I r a n , the strongest militarily, communism is poison. Hence, the Persian Gulf offers few opportunities for Russia in the foreseeable future. The Pentagon, however, will no doubt continue its scare stories of the Russian Mediterranean fleet taking over the Indian Ocean any day now. Bevnnr! the astronomical cost of America's intervention in Indochina and Russia's in the Middle East, there are the dangerous confrontations Ihese ventures have triggered between the tsvo superpowers, ft was not so very long ago that U.S. planes were bombing and mining the harbor of Haiphon?, and hitting Russian ships in the process. And last fall Mr. Nixon reported that Russia was so close to intervening in the Arab- Israeli war wi'h its own troops that he sounded a worldwide alert to U.S. forces. Today, American troops are out of Vietnam and, hopefully, the time may soon come when they are gone from other Asian trouble spots as well. If President Sadat is not assassinated or overthrown, it appears Moscow will have permanently lott Middle East, which should notably reduce the danger of a superpower clash in what has been a cronically explosive area. (C) 1974, Los Aitfein Time* Bible Verse "And be ye kind one tÂ» . anot.ier, tenderhearted , forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 He who fails to forgive has * poor memory. Forgive as you have been forgiven - freely and finally. been "heard, in reference to the Washington Post, to explode angrily: 'We've got to take car* of those people'." This story brought an anguished response from the President's spokesman, Ron Ziegler, who insisted it was "wrong, wrong, wrong!" The White House transcripts now show who was "wrong, wrong, wrong!" An exchange, which the White House deleted from the transcripts, has now come to light. This quotes the President as telling Haldeman and John Dean on September 15. 1972: "Main thing is the (Washington) Post is going to have damnable problems out of this one." As added evidence of the President's vindictiveness, the transcripts show he also instructed Dean: "I want the most comprehensive notes on all those who tried to do us in.... We have not used I he Bureau (the FBI) and we have not used the Justice Department but things are going to change now." At another juncture, trm President snorted: "Well, one hell of a lot of people don't give one damn about this issue of suppression of the press, et cetera...." Less than four months later, four challenges suddenly were filed against the Washington Post's TV stations in Jacksonville and Miami, Fla. And my associate Les Whitten was arrested on the street by eight FBI agents who had been expecting me. His notes were ripped out of his h a n d s while he was covering a story for this column and he was clapped in jail. A grand jury subsequently refused to indict him. for any crime and Ihe Justice Department was compelled to drop all charges. Air Costs: Up, Up And ...Awayyy! WASHINGTON (ERR) - As the summer travel season approaches, the nation's airlines are bracing themselves for bad financial news. The carriers already have been hard hit by rising fuel costs and forced cutbacks in flight schedules. Now they fear that higher air fares, together with the higher cost of nearly everything else, will lead to sharply reduced passenger Iraffic. Airlines flying international routes are especially concerned. So far this year, about 18 per cent fewer passports have been issued thai at the same point in 1973. This would seem to indicate that fewer persons are planning overseas vacations this year. Would-be travelers to Europe arc disturbed not only by fare increases but also by reports that prices on the continent are as much as 20 per cent higher than last Bummer. TRANS WORLD AIRLINES and Pan American World Airways, competitors on the busy North Atlantic route, have sent out an SOS to the federal government. They asked for and received permission from the Civil Aeronautics Board to negotiate consolidation of their tran=-A'lnntic servi'"?. "Without bold, new steps by Pan Am and TWA to restructure and consolidate thfT Ii'.vis-Atlantic rer- vices." Pan American told the CAB, "both airlines, will incur nvs'ev lofves so I a r g e as to under-cut their basic financial position and force discontinuance of vital international services." Th9 'wo carriers already have suffered substantial losses. For the first q u a r t e r of 1974, Pan Am reported a deficit of $10.5 million. TWA was even worse off -- it reported a loss of $62.6 million. But relief may not he forthcoming any time soon. Although the CAB holds regulatory jurisdiction over airline economic issues, it has been undercut by the Justice Department and ths White House. Justice Department officials have said emphatically that they will lolcrala neither consolidation nor subsidies as solutions [o the carriers' financial problems. And presi- t- -i -Â·Â·Â·* n c -.,-. ji Khmii'an told the board chairmen of Pan Am and TWA that the White House intended to look lo the Transportation Department, not the CAB, for guidance in international airline regulation. The administration's action "represents a sharp break in U.S. international commercial aviation policy." a reporter for Aviation Week Space Technology noted. "The President is authorized to approve or dis- a p p r o v e (CAB) decisions relating to foreign air transportation. But this power normally is applied only when foreign relations or diplomatic issues enter the picture." FINDING A workable solution won't be easy. Michael B. Rothfeld. an associate editor of Fortune, wrote: "Considering the range of difficulties that nave long plagued the industry, it is remarkable that any airline makes money. Passenger and freight traffic fluctuates widely, according to the hour of Uie day, day of the week, the season, and the cyclical swings in the nation's economy. Yet airlines must maintain enough facilities to serve 'heir markets during peak periods." There is room for cost-cutting in such areas as on-boarrl meals, beverages, and other amenities. But eliminating frills will do little to help the airlines meet their huge new fuel bills. The total bill for the industry is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 1SP74, or twice as much as last year. The difficulties confronting the airlines, the government, and air passengers clearly are immense and growing.
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