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September 20, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-09-20

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Page 4-Thursday, September 20, 1979-The Michigan Daily

One more time-let's hear it

Ninet y Years of Editorial Freedom

for

divestment

Vol. LXXXX, No. 13

News Phone: 764-0552

dialogue

Edited and managed by students at the University'of Michigan

Congress moves on energy

T HIS PAST SUMMER will be
remembered as the summer
America woke up to the energy crisis,
and Congress pretended that nothing
had happened. The "moral
equivalent of war" that President Car-
ter began waging back in April, 1977,
finally hit the masses. Feong gas lines,
skyrocketing gasoline prices, and a
nationwide panic spread like a plague,
affecting almost everyone.
During the months of frustration,
Congress sat back and just watched,
coming out of hibernation only to assail
Jimmy Carter and the OPEC nations.
As the president urged passage of a
gas rationing plan, Congress was ;able
to act as it was so divided by political
considerations and genuine
disagreements over who should get
what and how much.
But now after the August recess, a
joint House and Senate conference
committee has put aside factional
disputes and partisan maneuvering to
come up with an effective gas rationing
plan. The plan has not remained un-
scathed, but its amendments and
prolems are few, and should not hin-
der its power.
w In fact, the conditions imposed by
the politicians making up the com-
rimittee seem to give the plan an impor-
t6nt; dimension; it allows Congress to
Wrlock its implementation, but only if
there is such clear opposition to it. In
short, Congress can overrule the
president but it would take a two-thirds
majority by members of both
legislative bodies.
The plan for standby gas rationing
can be summed up easily. The president
would send Congress his plan, which
would go into effect automatically in 30
days unless both houses rejected it by
joint resolution. The president could
revive the plan by vetoing the
resolution, and it would take effect
uhiless both houses overrode his veto by
two-thirds majorities.
In addition, if a 30-day shortage of
motor fuel reaches 20 per cent of past
supplies, the president can order the
standby status to become operational,
but either house can block that action
by a resolution of disapproval.
If the fuel shortage is less than 20 per
cent, the president's order becomes ef-
fective only if both houses waive the
shortage requirement by joint
resolution.
In the battle between Congress and
the Carter administration, it seems
clear the White House has won. Only
under extreme circumstances and

heavy opposition will the president be
prohibited from imposing gas
rationing across the nation. This vic-
tory is just one step of Jimmy Carter's
energy plan which he revealed to the
nation in July during that dramatic
nationally-televised speech.
Carter now has the authority which
he called for all summer, and if the
energy crisis becomes just as severe in
the ensuing months-a highly likely
possibility-he can impose a plan to
partially alleviate the crisis. Carter is
not likely to call for its implementation
unless gasoline shortages begin to oc-
cur frequently, but if his judgement to
set the plan in motion is premature,
Congress can determine this and block
the president's action. A sort of check
and balance system has been
established, one likely to be influenced
by political considerations but also by
a sense of the urgency for the needs of
the average American.
If political gains or losses are part of
the plan, they can only be made by the
president. The latest congressional ac-
tion left out one important detail. The
conference committee does not specify
the details of how gasoline supplies
would be distributed among the states,
how many gallons a week an average
driver might receive or what excep-
tions there may be. Handing over these
decisions to the president will save the
country a lot of time and agonyfor the
only stumbling block to quick im-
plementation of a rationing plan would
be the endless congressional,
debate-guided by political
calculations-that would result in an
allocation plan that nobody could
agree on.
So now if any political considerations
come into play, it will only be the
president's ballgame.
Nobody believes the plan will mean
'the end of congressional participation
in the issue, but there will certainly be
a lot less if this plan is ratified by both
houses.
Congressional action on the gas
rationing plan is also encouraging
because it may serve as an omen for
future congressional participation in
the energy controversy, an issue that,
the legislature has thus far ignored.
And while a recent poll indicates
widespread public distaste for
Congress-even lower recordings than
given Jimmy Carter-more such com-
promises may raise that figure, and it
may raise America's chances of sur-
viving the energy war.

Once again, the Regents will talk South
Africa with the Washtenaw County Coalition
Against Apartheid (WCCAA) tomorrow
morning.
The formal occasion is a report on invest-
ments in the Regents' agenda from the Senate
Assembly Advisory Committee on Financial
Affairs, a student-faculty group. The more
likely cause for extended discussion will be
the WCCAA's insistence that the Regents
reexamine present policy with regard to
University holdings in private companies that
operate in South Africa and in banks that
make loans to its government.
Last April, two protesters were arrested
and the Regents ended up hiding from
agitation and anger in a closed session.
Whether anyone is arrested tomorrow and
whether the Regents end up out of sight are
both questions to be determined by the civility
of the dissenters disobedience and the
threshold of excitability around the Regents'
table.
BUT THERE'S no reason to believe that
tomorrow's discussion will rise any further
above the yes-you-will-no-we-won't level than
did the April and March meetings this year.
Since the early days of the divestiture
issue-when today's seniors were
sophomores-the Regents have said time and
again that full divestment would be a
mistake. It's better, they maintain, to leave
holdings in those companies which profess
progressive intentions and to encourage
reform as stockholders. Total withdrawal of
holdings, they are fond of saying, would be the
easy way out.
When they were called on to do so, the
Regents defend their position to the small but
persistent group of students and professors
who insist (some began insisting more than a
decade ago) that an institution with finan-
cial ties to the South African government's
cruel apartheid system of segregation and
white domination, is acting immorally.
THE WCCAA SNEERS at the Regents'
policy of requesting all companies in question
toadhere to the so-called Sullivan Principles.
Only a small fraction of the oppressed black
majority in South Africa would actually
benefit from such guidelines directly, they
say, and what's more, who's to say that GM is
serious about vague principles or governing
business dealings conducted so far from
Detroit and Ann Arbor?
The WCCAA often speaks as though there's
a submerged radical consciosness in the
typical student which a few more demon-
strations will awaken. It's members speak of
C.D. (civil disobedience), "strategy" and
"pressure" with determinism.
All the while, of course, an awful lot of
students have had no trouble ignoring the
questions raised by what seems to be
developing into a monthly ritual. Students
mostly consider University governance, in-
cluding anything that the Regents might han-
dle, as irrelevant to their lives. And South
African politics? Just an excuse for the fringe
element to hand out leaflets in the Fishbowl.
THAT'S SAD. Two-thirds of the Univer-
sity's common stock portfolio of $62,000,000 is
invested in corporations doing South African
business and that's not counting the bonds or
investments in banks which help out the South
African government. Whether one sides with
the Regents or the WCCAA-and there are
any number of other tenable positions-it is
an issue on which each member of the
University community has an interest.
Are the University's business affairs out-
side political and moral concerns? If not,
___ _L !_ L _ __ ft__L _X LL _ .Y 11.... ... _

By Brian Blanchard
time when the campus seems to be becoming
more of a vocational school and less a center
for debate and learning.
IN THE MEANTIME, the Regents can
speak gravely of modernation and caution,
making every chant and upheld fist appear
emotional and uncalled for. And the WCCAA
can strategize and C.D. from the comfortable
position of extremism, making every effort of
compromise from the Regents appear reac-
tionary and evil.
The revised report from the student-faculty
SACFA, for example, essentially would give

the Regents' current policy more for-
ce-requiring that the Regents publicly vote
on all stockholder questions that touch on
positions the University has taken; forbid in-
vestments in banks which make loans to
the South African government, no matter how
progressive the purpose of the specific loan
might appear, and; form a committee com-
posed equally of faculty members, students,
alumni and administrators to interpret the
frequently vague policy set by the Regents.
It would define the University's positionr
more clearly, without making the grand
gesture.
It's not the sort of report either side would
probably want to call its own.
Brian Blanchard is the Daily's University
editor.

A blow to Camp David

T HE ISRAELI CABINET this week
chose to celebrate the first an-
niversary of the Camp David accords
by issuing a ruling that unmistakeably
runs counter to the spirit, if not the let-.
ter, of that treaty signed at the White
House.
By rescinding the 12-year-old statute
prohibiting individual Israelis and
Israeli companies from purchasing
private property on the West Bank and
Gaza strip regions, the government of
Menachem Begin has paved the way
for a rash of new, privately-funded
Jewish settlements in the occupied
territories. The existence of Israeli set-
tlements in the territory formerly un-
der Jordanian control already makes a
political solution to the territorial
debate very unlikely, and this latest
ruling-raising the specter of a per-
manent Israeli' presence in the
area-flies directly in the face of the
Camp David pledge to leave the "final
status" of the West Bank open to

control over the occupied regions and
thus undermine the conception of
Camp David.
What's more, the Israeli government
ruling - coming only days before next
week's round of autonomy talks - is
not likely to be seen as a sign that Mr.
Begin negotiates in good faith. Any
move, like that cabinet ruling, which
further exacerbates tension between
the parties involved is in no uncertain
terms an obstacle to the peace process
and an impediment to any progress
next week's Palestinian autonomy taks
could have ever hoped to bring.
The Begin government's settlement
policy makes it apparent that, despite
Camp David and any understandings
reached, Israel hopes to impose a fait
accompli on the West Bank and Gaza
by dotting them with settlements in
advance of the autonomy negotiations
for the return of the occupied territory.
In short, Israel picked a strange way
to mark the anniversary of the Camp
1*----I

EDITORIAL STAFF
Sue Warner..................................... ................ EDITOR-IN-CIIIEF
Richard Berke.Julie Rovner. ...............................MANAGING EDITORS
Michael Arkush, Keith Richburg ...........................EDITORIAL DIRECTORS
Brian Blanchard.... .....................................UNIVERSITY EDITOR
Judy Rakowsky ................... ............................CITY EDITOR
Shelley Wolson.. ......................................PERSONNEL. DIRECTOR
Amy Saltzman...................................... ... ...... FEATURES ED)ITOR
Leonard Bernstein ............................... ............... SPECIAL PROJEcTs
R.J. Smith, Eric Zorn........................................... ARTS.EDITORS
Owen Gleiberman, Elizabeth Slowik ....... ....................MAGAZINE EDITORS
STAFF WRITERS-Sara Anspach, Julie Brown. Richard Blanchard. Mitch Cantor, Stefany
Cooperman. Amy Diamond, Marianne Egri, Julie Engebrecht. Mary Faranski, Joyce
F rieden. Greg Gallopoulos, John Goyer, Patricia Hlagen, Marion llalberg. Alison Hirschel,
Steve Hook, Elisa Isaacson, Paula Lashinsky, Marty L~evine, Adrienne Lyons. Tom Mirga.
Mark Parrent, Beth Persky, Beth Rosenberg, William Thompson. Charles Thomson, Howard
Wit. ,Jeff Wolff, Tim Yagle.
- Letters

0

To the Daily:
On Tuesday, September 18 the Daily
printed a right side that I authoredun-
der the headline "Cuba still defending
developing nations." The article's focus
was to counteract much of the state
department and media attacks on the
Cuban revolution over the past three
weeks.
The article was one of the few pieces
written from the Chn's nersnective

The effect of this cartoon on the same
page as my contribution is one of
preventing a fair hearing for the Cuban
revolution. With articles attacking
Cuba appearing daily in the press,
there seem to be many opportunities to
print this "art.'.' However, this "coin-
cidence" has occurred.
Perhaps the editorial directors were
not even conscious of their "gaffe," as I

I

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