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February 03, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-02-03

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Page 4-Friday, February 3, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Eighty-Eight Years of Editorial Freedom
* 420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 103
News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Remember the VA nurses

I T WOULD BE convenient to forget
the Veteran's Hospital murder case,
now that the two former VA nurses,
Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez,
have been cleared of all criminal
chaiges. It would be a relief to put the
two-and-one-half-year ordeal out of our
minds once and for all. It would be easy
to smile thoughtfully and say, "justice
has been served."
But justice has not been served.
Justice never had a chance in the VA
Had it not been for the levelheaded-
ness of U.S. Attorney in Detroit James
Robinson - who studied the documents
and improprieties surrounding the en-
tire VA murder case and decided the
evidence against the nurses was weak
and circumstantial - the injustice
would no doubt have continued.
Even from the moment the FBI was
called in to investigate the VA murder
in August 1975 - one month after the
mysterious breathing failures began at
the Ann Arbor'hospital - the case was
doomed. The FBI and attorneys for the
prosecution, feeling pressured to arrive
at some type of conclusion in their in-
vestigations, focused their sights on the
two nurses. The investigators harassed
people, discarded testimony which
might have hurt their case, and created
the general atmosphere of a witchhunt.
Even when defense attorneys were
able to uncover enough evidence of im-
proprieties by the prosecution to em-
barrass then-U.S. Attorney in Detroit
Philip Van Dam, nothing really
resulted from the discovery.
At the trial, prosecution had the ner-
ve to tell jurors they would be deciding
the case on the basis of circumstantial
evidence instead of hard facts. And the
attorneys lived upto their promise in a
most impress manner. Defense at-
torneys prote-svigorously, to both
the jury and the judge - but to no im-
mediate avail.
As Robinson pointed out in his deci-
sion to drop all charges against Narciso
and Perez, the government never even
established a clear motive for the nur-
ses to commit the poisonings. The

prosecution never addressed the
glaring question of why two people with
no prior criminal leanings would sud-
denly take on such anarchic activities.
T HE TRIAL never proved the de-
fendents were guilty, as is sup-
posed to be the aim in American jus-
tice. The event only proved how badly
the prosecution wanted to saddle some-
body with the VA murders - Narciso
and Perez were simply under the har-
That the government has finally
admitted their case against the two
nurses was- deeply rooted in hearsay
and gross misconduct on the part of in-
vestigators does not undo the trauma
which the defendents and their families
have had to endure - and have yet to
endure in the future.
The VA case has been followed by
news organizations nationwide. What
hospital would hire nurses even remote-
ly associated with such an incident?
The nursing careers of Narciso and
Perez effectively ended, what else will
the two women do? Will the former de-
fendents ever be able to escape the or-
deal which has already occupied two-
and-one-half years of their lives?
And what of the wrongdoings by
members of the prosecuting team and
FBI? Will forgetting and forgiving
eliminate the chance that such unjusti-
fied and overzealous acts will happen
The happy ending here is that de-
spite such miscarriage of justice, and
despite all the odds against winning
their freedom, Narciso and Perez are
now free women. It is a denouement
worth celebrating,
But the real ending here, that which
overshados all, is a sad one. After
two-and-one-half years worth of inves-
tigations, and trials, the deaths of 11
people at the VA Hospital remain still a
mystery, and the murderer - if there
ever was one - remains at large.
The ordeal may be over for Narciso
and Perez, but for this country's system
of justice, the trial should just be be-

President Carter recently
presented his tax package to the
Congress, and opposing forces
have already begun to prepare
themselves for what may be
another long and drawn out
struggle between the executive
and the legislature.
The main point of contention is
Mr. Carter's proposal for a $25
billion tax cut, and congressmen
who can't agree on how ap-
propriate that figure actually is
have lost no time in exchanging
views. Well, $25 billion is a nice
round figure, but its not quite
round enough, and Congress
would do well to send it back to
the White House with just a bit
more meat on it.
WHEN MR. Carter first prop-
sed the tax cut, his intention was
one of offsetting new tax in-
creases that will go into effect
this year, as well as giving the
economy an added boost. Mr.
Carter acknowledged that,
presented alone, those tax hikes
would have an adverse effect on
business growth, but if coupled
.with substantial tax reductions
the net effect would be a spur to
private investment.
Unfortunately, while Mr. Car-
ter's intentions may be good, his
figures are not, and the $25 billion
cut will serveonly to balance this
year's revenue raising increases.
Foremost among these, is, of
2ourse, the rise in social security
..taxes, a hike which entitles the
government to an added $12
billion share of annual business
payrolls. On top of that social
security bite is Mr. Carter's other
tax program-the one everybody
has been calling an energy

bill-and if that ever overcomes
congressional haggling it will ac-
count for another $6 billion in in-
creased revenues. Finally, there
is the effect of inflation, lifting
people into higher tax brackets.

Tax cuts and
crazy math
By Rod Kosann

think otherwise, such investmen-
t is where the future is. and any
increased tax benefits which
Congess might allocate should
give special attention to that sec-
tor of the economy responsible

Unfortunately, while Mr.. Car-
ter's intention may be good, his fig-
ures are not.

most well meaning social service
proposals. The N.A.A.C.P. adop-
ted this line of reasoning when its
director recently stated, "gover-
nment policy ought to do what it
can to stimulate the private sec-
tor. Our main thrust is to make
certain government policy does
just that.
The implications of a tax cut
that doesn't go quite far enough
are becoming both politically and
economically apparent' to both
parties in Congress. House
Speaker Tip O'Neill noted that a
$30 billion tax cut might be in or-
der just to keep the, economy
humming, but added, "we don't
intend to go out of here giving the
Republicans an issue that we
were a high tax Congress." At the
same time House Minority leader
John Rhodes is proposing a $51
billion tax cut, probably figuring
that a $40 billion compromise
would suit the economy just fine.
The political storm which is
brewing over the President's
proposal attests to the' far
reaching impact it will have.
Should Congress balk at in-
creasing Mr. Carter's $25 billion
figure, they will be assuring the
country of a bout with economic
sluggishness in the not so distant
future. And as those
congressmen are painfully
aware, a sluggish economy
makes for sluggish voters.
Rod Kosann is a frequent
contributor to the Daily's
Editorial page.

Estimates of the cost of this hid-
den tax rise are running as high
as $18 billion for 1978-79.'
FROM THIS point on the math
isn't exactly tricky, and it
becomes evident that a tax cut of
approximately $40 billion would
do more for the cause of in-
creased growth in the -private
sector than the figure presently
being comtemplated. If that
higher cut were implemented it
would not only cancel out the new
tax burdens, but would leave a
good deal of room for investment
as well. As much as the detrac-
tors of business would like to

for boosting production.
The idea of a substantial tax
cut has been faulted by many for
diverting funds from "badly
needed" social welfare
programs. Soon after Mr. Carter'
made his proposal he was scored
by the Urban League's Vernon
Jordan for thatevery reason.
However, a large tax cut is a
badly needed step in the direction
of providing jobs not through the
public sector, but through the
private one. The, increased
growth it would promote would
raise both employment and in-
come, effects that are more
beneficial in the long run than the

-More than one 'political whore'

To The Daily:
Your editorial of January 25,
unsigned and presumably pre-
senting a consensus, demon-
strates the serious defects of the
press when they relay interviews
without the required preparation
or critical eye. The subject of the
editorial was President Carter's
firing of the U.S. Attorney in Phil-
adelphia. The Daily related that
firing to the dismissal of Philip
Van Dam from the same position,
in Detroit. And the source of this
supposed similarity was none
other than Mr. Van Dam who is
quoted as concluding that Jimmy
Carter is a "political whore."
Why couldn't the Daily have
asked Van Dam of his own quali-
fications and "whorishness"?
Didn't at least one editor know
that when Mr. Van Dam was ap-
pointed U.S. Attorney in Detroit,
at the insistance of Michigan Sen-
ator Robert Griffin, that his only
claim to the position was his job
with the Senator as a legislative
assistant. He had little trial or
other legal experience. Did any-
one ask him about the politics in-
volved in his own appointment?
Didn't one of you ask about Mr.
Van Dam's (competent?) hand-
ling of the VA nurses trial?
Many U.S. Attorneys receive
political appointments and have
risen to their positions and per-
formed outstanding service to the
public.' Many have nMt. If the

Daily devotes its editorial efforts
to such a subject, it should pro-
vide the reader with informative
opinion. Not the opinion of some-
one who captured your attention
b because he was fired from his
own political plum and now cries
foul and dares call someone else
a "political whore."
How much a "political whore"
was the Philadelphia Attorney?
Why shouldn't the President re-
place such appointees? I wonder
what political appointment Mr.
Van Dam is now seeking?
Michael A. Lewis
cars andbodies
To The Daily:
There'is an existing situation
on East University that is always
dangerous, always frustrating
and usually tolerated by the peo-
ple that use East U. East U. is
regarded differently by the dif-
ferent groups that make use of it.
One group assumes it is a street
where cars have the right of way;
another group assumes it is an
extension of the sidewalks to be
used in the same manner with the
walkers having the right of way.
The situation intensifies at the
corner of East and South U.
where the potential for bodily
damage is very high. No where
else in the world have I seen so
many people walk out into a
street without looking at all for
traffic coming and going. It

would seem such behavior as-
sumes that East U. is not an ave-
nue for vehicles but an avenue for
people only. That is a very
dangerous assumption.
I see so much hostility on the
part of the walkers and the dri-
vers toward each other that it is
hard to believe no one has been
more seriously injured. Both
groups assume they have the
right of way and can bey highly
belligerent if their right are
threatened by an oncoming car or
a person or persons crossing the
street in disregard of any possi-
ble oncoming cars.
All of these happenings occur
daily and are bad enough but
when you add the ingredient of
deep snow and ice to the road and
the possibility of someone really
getting seriously injured is esca-
lated. Don't people understand
that a car cannot stop on ice and
snow the same way it can on a
dry road - even if a car is going
very, very slow and you have to
hit the, brakes - hitting the

brakes on ice and snow can cause
a car to slide violently and pos-
sibly fishtail into another car or
worse still into some people walk-
ing across the street behind the
car. Another factor that has to be
considered is that if a car doesn't
keep going down a street covered
with deep snow and ice, the car
will become stuck - if the car
loses its momentum - forget it,
you are stuck and you can just
hope some of those people that
walked in front of you causing
you to stop, will come to your
I'm sure this letter will do little
to alleviate the situation. I'm
sure it will continue. I have n
idea what will help people"under-
stand the seriousness of the mat-
ter - does someone have to b
killed before we recognize the
need for change in ourselves an
in others? The walkers and th
drivers should both be able to us
this space - and use it withou
competing for it in such a danger
ous manner.
- Dorothy R. Melnyczuk

Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con-
sensus opinion of the Daily's editorial board. All other editorials,
as well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub-
mit them.
. . . . . .. . ..- .: .'.'::..:.:':: : :: : ::.::': : --.:'.':.:.....~:: o 25 : 4 :: 5 : :: : : :U E :: 5 : :: : : :: : : :: : :

Submissions to the Daily's Editorial page
should be typed and triple spaced. They wil
be returned to the author only if a request is
made to do so. Publication is based on con-
ciseness, clarity of thought and writing an
overall appeal.

The outer space satellite war has begun
By John Markoff

When Energy Secretary James
Schlesinger told a congressional com-
mittee last week that there was little
the U.S. could do about nuclear-
powered Soviet spy satellites like
Cosmos 954, he contended, "We have no
way, I think, of effectively monitoring
- what may be aboard these vehicles."
But the U.S. has for some time been
desperately trying to learn how-as
part of an arcane intelligence war being
fought in space by Soviet and American
spy agencies.
"SECRET-SENTRY" satellites like
Cosmos 954-which supply military in-
telligence gleaned from high-powered
cameras, radar, infrared sensors and
radio "ferrets"-have become potential
targets of anti-satellite development
projects carried out by both American
and Soviet scientists.
Both the U.S. and the USSR are spen-
ding millions of dollars each year to
develop the capability to monitor, cap-
ture and even destroy enemy satellites
such as the illfated Cosmos 954 which
tumbled out of orbit and spread nuclear
debris over Canada's Northwest
Territories on January 24.
Space defense spending, according to
the U.S. Defense Department, will
iumn from MA millinn in fisca 1!17R In

have advanced anti-satellite warfare
programs in the works. The Soviet
program is so far advanced that two
years ago they were able to blind, an
American spy satellite-at least tem-
porarily-by "illuminating" it five
times with a powerful laser beam.
American leaders are worried dbout
the new Russian anti-satellite because
the U.S. has come to rely on satellite-
supplied information to "verify" Soviet
compliance with the Strategic Arms
Limitation Agreements. Hundreds of
American and Soviet secret sentries
back a continuous stream of intelligen-
ce information about the military ac-
tivities of the other side.
NOW, HOWEVER, this intelligence,
which provides instant confirmation of
troop movements as well as the
deployment and firing of ICBM
missiles, is threatened by develop-
ments taking place in space-based
laser guns and particle beams-high-
energy beams of sub-atomic particles.
A classified Pentagon report made
public last March revealed that the
Pentagon had advised Congress it is
working on a secret anti-satellite
program to develop an interceptor
within the next five years.
Dr. Richard Garwin, a former Defen-

in a nuclear warhead.
THE DEFNSE Department is also
developing the capability to capture
satellites in space. The space shuttle,
scheduled to become operational in
'1980, will have "revival" capability.
The space shuttle is designed to ferry
astronauts and space experiments back
and forth between space and earth.
A spokesman for the Air Force Space
and Missile System Organization in El
Segundo, Ca., said in an interview that
the shuttle would experiment with the
retrieval of an orbiting American
satellite during its first six flights. "It
would be nice if you had the capability
to run around and pluck up all these
dead things that might be a safety
hazard or radiation hazard," he stated.
American and Russian spy satellites
now gather intelligence with extremely
powerful cameras capable of resolving
from outer space features as small as
the headlines of newspapers. American
Big Bird reconnaissance satellites now
process photographs on board and then
transmit data to earth, which are then
reconstituted by computer.
OTHER American satellites now
provide early warning of Soviet missile
launches, police the U.S.-Soviet nuclear

satellite tests-using weapons known as
"satellite killers"-beginning in 1963
and 1964. The American test projects
were originally code-named "Early
Spring" and "SAINT."
U.S. INTEREST in anti-satellite war-
fare dropped during the mid-'60's, but
picked up again when the Russians
began conducting their own satellite
killer tests.
U.S. intelligence sources report that
tht Soviets began conducting anti-
satellite tests in 1968. Most of the
Soviet tests have been accomplished by
launching a target satellite and then at-
tempting to destroy it ,with a satellite
Since late 1975, however, intelligence
sources have been reporting that the
Soviets are experimenting with laser-
and particle-beam satellite killers.
Cosnos 954 was one of a pair of
satellites used by the Soviets to track
the movements of the American Navy
with spaceborn radar.
At the end of their missions, these
Soviet ocean surveillance satellites are
designed to be broken into three major
segments; the nuclear fission reactor
that powers the satellites is then sup-
posed to be boosted into an 800 mile-
high ciruiar nrhit In nuiure for cen-

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