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January 07, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-07

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~4er tawat
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Army spying: Symptom of a larger disease

) Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

Electoral college:
A reic of the past

+t TUESDAY President Nixon criticized
Congress for not acting on a number
of important proposals. "This Congress
will be remembered and remarked upon
in history, not so much for what it did
but for what it failed to do," the Presi-
dent said.
While the same comment might apply
to Nixon's leadership (or lack of it), the
chief executive was correct in assailing
Congress for failing to bring to a vote
such important legislation as a constitu-
tional amendment to change procedures
for electing the President.
Sen. Birch Bayh of Indiana along with
a number of other senators and repre-
sentatives led a valiant effort to get Con-
gress to approve a proposal f o r direct
popular election of the President. T h e
measure passed the House but a filibuster
by a minority of the members of the Sen-
ate prevented a vote on Bayh's proposed
amendment in the upper chamber.
One of the first priorities of the new
Congress, when it convenes at the end of
this month, should be electoral reform.
The present electoral college system is
outmoded, unfair, undemocratic and dan-
Under it the voters in each state select
electors equal to the number of senators
and representatives the state is entitled
Ito jn Congress. The electors meet in their
state capitals and elect a President, the
H O u s e of Representatives making the
choice If no candidate receives a major-
THIS SYSTEM is outmoded because the
writers of the Constitution did not en-
visage the rise of political parties. In-
stead of knowledgable electors choosing
Editorial Staff
Editorial Director Managing Editor
JIM NEUBACHER A. Editorial Page Edtor
ROB BIER......... ..... Associate Managing Editor
LAURIE HARRIS .. . . Arts Editor
JUDY KAHN Personnel Director
DANIEL ZWERDLING....... .. Magazine Editor
ROBERT CONROW ..... .... .. Books Editor
JIM JUDKIS........... Photography Editor
Chaney, Steve Koppman, Pat Mahoney. Rick Perloff.
NIGHT EDIORS: Jim Beattie, Dave Chudwin, Steve
Koppman, Robert Kraftowitz, Larry Lempert, Lynn
DAY EDITORS: Rose Berstein, Mark Dillen, S a r a
Fitzgerald. Art Lerner, Jim McFerson, Jonathan
Miller, Hannah Morrison. Bob Schreiner, W. E.
Chaney, Steve Koppman, Pat Mahoney, Rick
COPY EDITORS: Tammy Jacobs, Hester Pulling, Carla
Anita Crone, Linda Dreeben, Alan Lenhoff, Mike
McCarthy, Zack Schiller, John Shamraj. Geri Sprung,
Kristin Ringstrom Gene Robinson, Chuck Wilbur.
Edward Zimmerman.
Sports Staff
ERIC SIEGEL, Sports Editor
PAT ATKINS. Executive Sports Editor
PHIL HERTZ .. Associate Sports Editor
LEE KIRK.................Associate Sports Editor
BILL DINNER .. Contributing Sports Editor
SPORTS NIGHT EDITORS: William Alterman, Jared
E. Clark, Richard Cornfeld, Terri Fouchey .James
Kevra, Elliot Legow, Morton Noveck, Alan Shack-
Business Staff
IAN G. WRIGHT. Business Manager
Administrative Adv. Mgr. Sales Manager
VIDA GOLDSTEIN . . . ............. Staff Coordinator
MARK WALP'ISH.....................Personnel
AMY COHEN...................Finance Manager

among the best men of the country for
President they have become mere robots,
automatically voting for the candidate of
their party.
The electoral college method is unfair
because by tradition all the electoral
votes of a state are given to the candi-
date who receives a plurality of the pop-
ular vote in the state.
The result of this unit rule is that votes
of thousands of citizens who cast theft
ballots for the minority candidate in a
state are not included in the final tally
for President, effectively disenfranchis-
ing them.
The present system is undemocratic in
that it weighs t h e votes of people in
smaller states more heavily than those
in larger ones because each state is giv-
en two added electoral votes to corres-
pond to the two senators each state is en-
titled to. For example, one of California's
electoral votes is equivalent to more than
five times as many popular votes as one
of Alaska's.
EVEN WORSE, the electoral college al-
lows a candidate with fewer votes
than his opponent to win the Presidency.
This occurred in 1824 when Adams "de-
feated" Jackson, in 1876 when Hayes
"beat" Tilden and in 1888 when Harrison
was "elected" rather than Cleveland.
The electoral college system thus per-
verts the election process, making it even
more difficult to get a President who is
democratically elected by and responsive
to the people.
Direct popular election of the Presi-
dent is the only proposed change of the
system insuring that every vote cast by
a citizen goes to the candidate of their
choice, every vote counts equally and the
candidate who receives a plurality wins.
The plan, as presented in Bayh's Sen-
ate Joint Resolution 1, provides that ev-
ery citizen vote directly for President and
Vice President and the candidates who
have the most votes win as long as they
receive 40 per cent of the popular vote.
If no candidates receive 40 per cent of
the total vote a runoff would take place
between the top two contenders. The 40
per cent provision was added to make
sure the winning candidate would have
an adequate mandate from the people to
govern. I
The runoff situation would occur rare-
ly, if ever, because only once in Ameri-
can history, in 1860 when Lincoln ran,
has a President received less than 40 per
cent of the ;popular vote. And French ex-
perience with a Presidential runoff has
demonstrated this feature could w o r k
well if required.
WHILE OTHER PLANS presented to re-
form the electoral college solve some
difficulties of the system, direct popular
election is the one proposal that is sim-
ple, fair and democratic.
For a democracy to work the people
must have faith not only in the leaders
that govern them but also in the process
by which these leaders are selected. The
Congress should take quick, affirmative
action when it convenes to scrap the an-
tiquated electoral college and replace it
with direct popular election of the Presi-

[N THE WAKE of John O'Brien's
terrifying revelations about
army surveillance of over 800 ci-
vilians in Illinois, including such
elected officials as Senator Adlai
Stevenson and Congressman Ab-
ner Mikva, a political outrage is
building over what appears to be
a dangerous fissure in the consti-
tutional foundation that protects
our personal freedoms.
O'Brien, a former military in-
telligence agent, said he was a
"domestic spy for the army", and
detailed his involvement in a sur-
veillance operation that had tar-
geted not only public officials but
also such men as Rev. Jesse
Jackson, a leader in the Chicago
black community and Op ration
Breadbasket director; Rev. Francis
Lawlor, leader of Chicago South-
west Side anti-integration b l o c k
clubs; W. Clement Stone, insur-
ance tycoon, and Henry De Zutter
and Morton Krondracke, report-
ers for the Chicago Daily N e w s
and Chicago Sun-Times respec-
According to O'Brien, his spying
activities involved "collection of
information pertaining to indivi-
duals and organizations decreed
by the Army to be subversive in
nature." This list included people
who were outspoken against the
war or who are critical of govern-
mental policies either foreign or
domestic. As public officials, law-
yers. journalists, philanthropists,
or just private citizens, these peo-
ple agitated for change.
O'Brien and the American Civil
Liberties Union filed suit in Chi-
cago seeking to stop the Army's
domestic surveillance, but Tues-
day. U.S. District Court J u d g e
Richard B. Austin dismissed their
request. Austin said there was no
likelihood of a U.S. military take-
over or the possibility that any
constitutional liberties had been
violated. He referred to the court
hearing, which relied heavily on
O'Brien's testimony, as a "Com-
edy of Errors" and "Much Ado
About Nothing."
O'Brien still has some support.
Eloquent voices in both houses of
Congress have responded to
O'Brien's allegations by condemn-
ing the tactic of sying on civil-
ians employed by the military.



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ment has responded. President
Nixon and Secretary of Defense
Laird have denounced the army's
domestic spying. Laird has order-
ed a comprehensive investigation
by Feb.s1 of military intelligence
But this "in-house review" will
be little more than bureaucratic
housecleaning, and cannot possi-
bly be as convincing to critics of
the military as a public congres-
sional investigation, even if the
DOD investigation were to ex-
pose the entire situation.
What is needed is a far reach-
ing review designed not only to
reveal those responsible for t h e
invidious growth of military sur-
veillance. but also to insure that
future generations of Americans
will not witness a similar violation
of constitutional freedoms. Sus-
picion and mistrust of government
cannot be tolerated in a free so-
But even the total exposure of
army spying on civilians cannot
be enough if we fail to under-
stand the context of the times
which produced such a situation.
Increasingly, the A m e r i c a n
public has come to accept the re-
striction of its personal liberties
as a "necessary" evil to our pro-
gressive, technological society.
Vague notions about the massive
and intricate workings of gov-
ernment are cited as reasons for
accepting what amounts to "limi-
tations" in freedom. Government
agencies assume that they alone
have full information, and there-
fore only these agencies canmake
proper decisions.
THE MILITARY in particular
has become so clandestine in its
operations that even itsnhighest
ranking officials, including t h e
President, who is designated con-
stitutionally as its commander-in-
chief; are unaware of what it is
doing in all sectors. The cumber-
some machinery of the military.
which consumes the "lion's share"
of our budget and is so instru-
mental at present in the unfold-
ing of our foreign policy, must be
brought under the strong ari
steady oversight of both the Con-
gress and the executive branch of
civilian government.
Senator Ervin and Congress-
man Mikva in the Congress are
spearheading drives to thoroughly
investigate army spying and be-
lay the suspicions brought on by
the most recent flurry of allega-
tions. But the challenge of pro-
tecting Americans against t h e
constitutional violations inherent
in army snooping must be accept-
ed by the whole of civilian gov-
ernment. It must begin immed-
iately to make inroads into both
the problem itself and the condi-
tions which produced it. All of
the terrifying implications of spy-
ing - the intimidation of elect-
ed officials; the encouragement
of mutual distrust between citi-
zens; the spectre of an army "in
business for itself", an army
which scorns the electoral process
and constitutional safeguards
and in general. the restriction of
the free flow of ideas in a demo-
cratic society must be purged from
American society.



Sen. Sam Ervin (D-NC) has, for
the past five years, collected con-
vincing evidence on police a n d
military surveillance. He said the
Illinois incident of army spying
only reinforces his belief that this
country is becoming "a police
Ervin heads the Senate Subcom-
mittee on Constitutional Rights,
and will chair public hearings next
month aimed at investigating all
secret files on citizens held by
government agencies - files to
which the individual in question
has no access. This, Ervin told
the New York Times, constitutes

an abrogation of constitutionally
protected liberties and leads to-
ward the Orwellian "Big-Brother",
state. The army's surveillance of
civilians is only a part of a larg-
er picture, he said.
In the House of Representa-
tives, Congressman Abner Mikva,
one of the civilians who O'Brien
said was spied on by the Army,
has brought to his colleagues' at-
tention the diie threat to a demo-
cratic society posed by army sur-
veillance of civilians. In a special
interview with The Daily, Mikva
said that "clearly the military has
been running away from us since


World War II, and for this rea-
son, the recent incidents of army
surveillance cast grave doubt on
the actual power of the civilian
government to control the mili-
Mikva fears the nightmarish
possibility of the "army running
itself" can become a reality.
"Army spying may actually con-
vince a small handful of military
personnel that their information
gives them the power and the
right to control civilian govern-
ment," he said.
"The persons responsible for
this usurpation of civil liberties
must be rooted out," he added,
"and safeguards installed against
such a situation arising in the
Mikva said he hopes that t h e
thorough investigation by t h e
House of Rtpresentatives that he
proposes will reveal that the Illi-
nois incident was an "operation
within an operation" reflecting
"the actions of a small group of
military officers drunk with power
and resources."
For Mikva, Army surveillance of
civilians is a symptom of a larg-
er, more basic underlying di-
sease-"swollen budgets and un-
limited resources for the mili-
AS A RESULT of pressure from
legislators like Mikva and Ervin,
and the allegations by O'Brien,
the executive branch of govern-


Letters to The Daily

Court appeal
To the Daily:
THE UPCOMING appeal to the
Michigan Supreme Court of t h e
case of three U-M graduate stu-
dents who were denied the right
to vote in Ann Arbor is an ex-
tremely important one. Two ad-
ditional aspects of the case need
to be emphasized:
First, the case is being hand-
led by Mr. Arthur Carpenter, a
local attorney who has already won
two landmark decisions in the
Supreme Court, the most recent
of which required Michigan pub-
lic schools to provide free text-
books to all pupils.
Second, Mr. Carpenter has pro
vided free legal services in carry-
ing the case through the courts so
far, and has offered to continue to
do so; however, the mechanics of
carrying an appeal to the Supreme
Court are very expensive and in-
volve costs other than legal fees of
approximately a thousand dollars.
Unless this money can be raised
by voluntary contributions, the
case cannot be continued.
AN AD HOC committee h a s
been formed to solicit funds so
that this important case may be
continued. Anyone who would like
to contribute money or help with
the committee is urged to contact
one of the undersigned.
-Jerry De Grieck, '72
-Walt Scheider
1016 Woodbridge
-Jerry Rees
521 Scio Church Road
Jan. 6

Bookstore fee
To the Daily:
EARLIER THIS term I wrote
the Board for the Student Book-
store concerning the $5 student
bookstore assessment. So far, the
only reply I have received is a
hold credit notice. Is it standard
practice on this university to ig-
nore everyone except blacks and
The questions I raised then are
still valid andsarerrepeated here
in hopes that the board may de-
cide to reply to them.
First, as I understand it, the
decision to levy $5 fee on each
student was made by a vote of the
student body several semesters ago.
It seems to me that the assess-
ment should have been collected
during the same semester in which
the vote was taken. This would
'ave placed the assessment square-
ly on the shouldersnof the persons
who authorized it, not on those of
us who arrived here this semester.
assessment is supposed to be re-
fundable, the initiative for obtain-
ing the refund is left entirely to
the individual student and he is
eligible for the refund only after
withdrawing from the University.
This means that it will be two,
three, four or more years before
most of us will be eligible and, in
the case of an entering freshman
who plans to eventually do grad-
uate studies here, it could be eight
years before he becomes eligible
for a refund. Does the board really
expect students to remember sev-
eral years hence that they are due
a refund?

I wonder if the board didn't de-
liberately plan to extort $150,000
from the student body. I believe
that the $5 assessment should be
refunded automatically to e a c h
student when he leaves the Uni-
versity or at the end of two years,
whichever comes first.
ALSO, ALTHOUGH the board
prefers to call the $5 an assess-
ment, it is really a loan from each
individual student to the student
bookstore. I was under the im-
pression that it was normal prac-
tice to pay interest on a business
loan but apparently the book-
store does not intend to do that.
Furthermore, I wonder if it
might not be considered an unfair
business practice to use an interest
free loan extorted from the stu-
dent body to gain an advantage
over your competitor.
FINALLY, I would like to clear
up a point concerning the sale of
textbooks. I wish to know if the
bookstore is going to carry text-
books for graduate courses which
may attract only ten to 15 stu-
dents each semester as well as
books for the more popular under-
graduate courses.
Since the $5 assessment is being
applied indiscriminately to every
student, I would like to propose
that the student bookstore commit
itself to stocking textbooks for
every course offered by the Uni-
versity. If you feel that this is not
practical, then I believe that any
person who cannot obtain books
for at least half of his courses at
the student bookstore should have
his $5 assessment refunded im-
-Richard E. Crowell
To the Daily:
attack North Vietnam to free
prisoners of war. A country that
has murdered millions to s a v e
face does not act out of a gut
feeling f o r people. The United
States took this action to t e s t
whether public opinion will toler-
ate a full-scale invasion of North
Vietnam. The purpose of such an
invasion is to subvert the Vietna-
mese Revolution the most success-
ful people's revolution in A s i a.
This invasion can only be stopped
by a nationwide outcry on the
scale of last spring's Cambodia re-
It is no accident t h a t Nixon
acted just before Thanksgiving
vacation, hoping that turkey and
suburbia would de-energize the
movement. This cannot be allow-


Palm Springs: Lots
of style, no content
THEY WEREN'T dreaming of a white Christmas-as though that
kind of weather would've been possible in a desert resort.
Despite a series of unusually chilly, overcast days, the good life
continued in Palm Spring, Calif. There were more stars on the ground
-what with Red Skelton, Elvis Presley, Sinatra Jr., Liberace etc. -
than could be seen on a clear desert night. Their aura illumined the
town in many ways - including the six banks and twenty-three country
The most prominent holiday display could be seen at Liberace's
home, a Spanish-style ranch which cost a million dollars to restore.
There was a bevy of lights and glittery Santas at every angle but the
crowning glory was a life-sized portrait of the artist-with a vest that
lit up at night. "He must've paid G.E. plenty to install extra power
for this," one native chuckled.
Behind the lights, tropical shrubbery and model-city streets is a
sense of unreality. There are no slums in Palm Springs and virtually no
blacks-except the few hundred clustered at the city limits. Indians are
the richest people around, because every other square mile in the area
belongs to them; according to federal law, anyone who wishes to use
their land must pay rent. The air is always pure and fragrant, the
vista awe-inspiring. As one tourist said, "Here I look up the street and
see mountains. At home all I see is A&P."
THIS IS THE playground of the rich and famous, built on the
backs of the American lower class. Those who have spent their lives
accumulating fortunes by stepping on others come here to retire.
In the little time left, they are frantically trying to regain youth
and health. Their search is both sad and amusing. Picture a middle-aged
woman struggling to ride a bicycle. For people like her, over-sized tri-
cycles with baskets have been developed. Men in their sixties can be
seen on the tennis courts: oh the wonder of pot bellies and wrinkles
worKing together to whack that ball! Their wives, hairdos impeccable,
gossip on the sidelines. Golf is the biggest sport here, but even that has
been emasculated. The caddy is no more. Instead electric carts are used
to speed up the game.
The most common method of beautifying the body is to adorn the
exterior. The streets are lined with clothing and jewelry shops filled
with the latest, most extravagant styles. Between them are the res-
taurants and ice cream parlors, the other alternative. Many residents
elect both. The result: flabby women in exquisite attire intended for
their grand-daughters.
A SECOND PROBLEM is where to show it all off. Except for
the movies and clubs, the town closes down by 10:00 p.m. So the few
places open are packed with well-dressed people. At night, the odd
rminae maro " iri pn ith v c~ vri'k As onena tive compolained.


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