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July 15, 1970 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1970-07-15

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

420 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Edited and managed by students of the
University of Michigan
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exress the individual
opinions of the author. This must be noted in al reprints.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 1970 News Phone: 764-0552
No reform is better
than a bad reform
THE UNITED STATES Senate is about to take final
action on the Bayh Amendment to abolish the Elec-
toral College as the method used in electing the Presi-
dent. A year and a half ago it appeared likely that the
amendment would pass the Senate. Today its passage is
questionable, and it is not difficult to see why.
Under the Bayh Amendment the individual who re-
ceived the most votes would be elected President, assum-
ing he received more than forty per cent of the votes
cast. If no candidate received forty per cent of the votes,
a run-off would be held between the top two vote getters.
The proposed reform can be attacked from two differ-
ent perspectives. One rightly, the other with less certain-
ty.
Some have attacked the measure because they believe
the larger states would have less influence under the new
system. Under the Electoral College system, where all
of a state's votes go to one candidate regardless of the
size of his victory in the state, mathematicians have
calculated that the voter in California or New York has
two and a half times the voting power of a person who
lives in a smaller state.
They justify maintaining the imbalance in Presidential
elections by noting that the House of Representatives is
unbalanced in the opposite direction, because of the
constitutional provision which gives at least one repre-
sentative to every state.
' SPERSIONS, HOWEVER, may be cast on the validity
of this criticism. The Senate often appears to have
a big state bent, which can be said to nullify the advant-
ages gained by smaller states in the House. The loss of
power possessed by minority groups due to an abandon-
ing of the Electoral College, could be cancelled out by
the influence of Southern blacks, a minority without
much power under the Electoral College, would be en-
hanced through the adoption of the Bayh Amendment.
Finally it is difficult not to concede that a direct election
scheme would be much more egalitarian than the current
means of electing the President.
Criticism can also be directed at the Bayh Amend-
ment on the question of whether it is the answer to the
country's fears that the continuation of the Electoral
College could produce a constitutional crisis. Any plan
which replaces the Electoral College should provide for
the election of Presidents with a broad mandate as well
as an orderly election campaign. It is doubtful that adop-
tion of the Bayh Amendment would provide these
improvements.
4 LMOST CERTAINLY the adoption of the direct elec-
tion of the President would lead to a proliferation of
candidates. It would have been much easier to facilitate
a Eugene McCarthy fourth party movement in 1968
under a direct election system. More serious defects of
the Bayh Amendment include the fact that with the
large number of precincts in the country a close election
result could be changed through the change of one vote
a precinct and it is quite likely that each precinct would
contain at least this much of an error. Another problem
would involve the possibility that a candidate who would
carry large majorities in one or two states, but trail in
the other forty eight states, could manage to win the
election. Certainly such a victor would be unable to com-
mand the respect of the electorate.
Obviously any system which can produce minority
Presidents as the Electoral College did in 1824, 1876, and
1888 must be reformed, especially when one considers that
the electors who cast the ballots are not bound by any law
to vote for the candidate to whom he is pledged. How-

ever, the country should not adopt just any new method
simply because it is a change. It is indeed likely that no
reform at all is better than an ill-considered reform.
-P. ROBERT HERTZ

cinema
Stay away from best sellers

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS QUESTION

Federal courts

hear

MVY

Lt'

By DONALD KUBIT
A personal philosophy of mine
has been to stay away from best
selling novels and movies based
on best selling novels. The reason
being that if a piece of literature
can satisfy that many people, it
more often than not will not sat-
isfy me. After seeing the movie
versions of Airport and The Ha-
waiians, my philosophy has not
been shaken, and I remain grate-
ful to my conscience for avoiding
the books.
The Hawaiians, based on James
Michener's epic novel, is one of
those glittering chapters out of
history. It is the sequel to Hawaii
which only told about the first
half of Michener's book. By now,
Hawaii has already been populat-
ed and we see how white foreign-
ers have raked the land and taken
advantage of the people who in-
habit it. The white man's eternal
quest for progress leaves no color
unscathed as Orientals are used
for slave labor and although there
is an absence of chains, it is fairly
obvious that the white m a n is
reaping all the benefits. Even a
vain attempt by the Hawaiians to
reclaim their rightful property is
dismissed by the threat of a white
man's revolution.
The Hawaiians is a sorry tri-
bute to white suprem4cy. As a
movie it is nothing short of le-
thargic. The acting is non-exis-
tent. Charlton Heston, as a rough
and tumble captain, and Geral-
dine Chaplin, as his mentally dis-
turbed wife, simply have nothing
to work with. And two times noth-
ing is still nothing.
The story covers over fifty years
of time and the only thing the di-
rector did right was to tint his ac-
tors hair so they looked older.
There aren't many films around
in which I can't find at least one
thing good about, but The Hawai-
ians is one offthose big production
freaks that offers absolutely noth-
ing.
Airport has been in town for
two months now, and people keep
coming. I expect people want to
see how the movie compares with

the book and friends tell me they
are quite similar - both dread-
ful.
The movie is a R o s s Hunter
production and Hunter is a firm
believer in 1950's films. He fills
the cast with "name" actors, finds
a script writer who has afternoon
television experience, and uses
the exact same lighting in every
scene. Some people call these mo-
vies "extravaganzas," when ac-
tually they are nothing morethan
expensively filmed movie maga-
zines.
Airport doesn't have a m a i n
story merely umpteen sub-plots. I
won't even begin to name them
all, but there's a little bit of ev-
erything neatly connected so that
in the end all the loose ends are
nicely tucked away.

Save for outstanding comedy
performances by Helen Hayes and
George Fkennedy, Airport is a film
only your mother would love.
It is easy to understand why
this film is so popular, because it
has all that glitter and glamour
made famous in the early days of
Hollywood. And even though the
trend is changing, there are still
enough people around who sup-
port it.
It may interest you to know
that there are plans to run a tele-
vision series based on Airport and
that just goes to show you where
this type of film belongs.
If you were one of the fortun-
ate and somehow haven't s e e n
either of these films yet, applaud
yourself, you definitely know what
to steer clear of.

By The Associated Press
Federal judges in two separate courts
have been confronted with the question
of whether the Army has a constitutional
right to court-martial two sergeants
charged in the alleged My Lai massacre.
U.S. District Court Judge Jack Roberts
in Austin, Tex., took under consideration
yesterday a plea to stop the court-martial
of S. Sgt. David Mitchell, 30, of St. Fran-
cisville, La., who Js charged with two
counts of assault with intent to murder in
a March 16, 1969 attack by American
troops on the South Vietnamese hamlet
known at My Lai 4.
Meanwhile in Atlanta, a three-judge
federal panel convenes today to consider
the legality of a court-martial against
Sgt. Esequiel Torres, 22, of Brownsville,
Tex., who is charged with the murder of
four civilians, including one by hanging,
and attempted murder of three others in
the May Lai attack. Torres has denied
the charges.

Lawyers for Mitchell have asked Judge
Roberts for a temporary restraining order
against Mitchell's court-martial at Ft.
Hood, Tex. A pretrial hearing in the
court-martial is set for July 21.
The Army already has been enjoined
by U.S. District Court Judge Albert J.
Henderson from trying Torres until the
three-judge panel decides the constitu-
tionality of the proceedings against him.
,Another petition for an injunction
against a trial was filed in U.S. District
Court on Monday in Atlanta by Army
Spec. 4 Robert W. T'Souvas, 21, of San
Josa, Calif., but that has not yet been as-
signed a hearing date. T'Souvas has
denied the two counts of premeditated
murder lodged against him.
Judge Henderson issued the temporary
injunction in the Torres case despite gov-
ernment complaints that it would cause
every person being court-martialed for
anything in Southeast Asia to seek civil
stays.

The case "strikes at the very heart of
military justice," Henderson said. Hen-
derson will be joined on the panel by 5th
Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Griffin
Bell and U.S. District Judge Sidney O.
Smith Jr.
Torres' civilian attorney, Charles L.
Weltner, contends that Torres' constitu-
tional rights have been violated in at least
15 instailces and challenges the basic
jurisdiction of a military court-martial
in a case involving the death of foreign
nationals on hostile soil when the nation
is not involved in a declared war.
Top Army and Central Intelligence
Agency officials have been asked to testi-
fy by deposition about the highly secret
Operation Phoenix at the hearing.
Weltner said he planned to take the
depositions to show that it was the policy
of the Army to murdercivilians in "free-
fire zones" such as My Lai, and that the
purpose of Operation Phoenix was the
destruction of human life.

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"Haven't we met eyeball-to-eyeball before?
... Was it Berlin? ... Havana?''

9. *1

Letters to the Editor

More than cliches
To the Editor:
I WOULD LIKE to respond to
the Robert Bernard letter which
commented upon Miss Cohodas'
"Two Years With A. Dubcek - or
The Making of an Unperson"
(Daily, July 10). To begin with, I
resent the deceit and confusion
created by Bernard's use and ac-
tually misuse of cliches such as
"counterrevolution," "dismantl-
ing thne 'socialst-econom,'
4"abolishing egalitarianism" etc.
To discuss only o n e example
from the above: in what possible
sense of the word was Dubcek go-
ing to make Czechoslovakia less
egalitarian? And furthermore, 'in
what sense was Czechoslovakia al-
ready egalitarian, as is implied,
when as in all Soviet and satellite
countries, Party members are pre-
eminent and make up, as Djilas
described it, "The New Class."
It is absurd to chide Dubcek for
denying "political freedom." It
was of course he who was trying
to gain more freedom for all peo-
ple in Czechoslovakia. Secondly,
it is logical to extend "political
freedom" only to those who would
do so to you. Lastly, it is perfid-
ious to accuse Dubcek of not
granting political freedom to some
while applauding the revoking of
his and many other's political
freedom by the Soviets.-
AS FOR BERNARD'S last com-
ment that Dubcek should return
to being a machinist I would like
to say that were I as misinformed
and misguided as I believe Ber-
nard to be then I would not be so
arrogant. Bernard's letter re-
fleets t h e frequently typical
Western radical w h o though
aware of ills in the west, primarily
because he can observe them first
hand, is totally ignorant of the
state of affairs in Eastern Eur-
ope. Perhaps Bernard would do
well to. this once follow the sug-

gestions of our right wingers and
go and live in East Europe for a
while and actually experience
what is going on. Hopefully af-
terwards, Bernard would have
more than just cliches to throw
around.
-Bohan Wytwycky
Ann Arbor, Mich.
July 14
No understanding
To the Editor:
YET ANOTHER government
has resigned in Italy: "the usual
story" many commentators have
observed. The trouble with most
American reporters and commen-
tators is that they do not make
any effort to help the public un-
derstand the cause of the Italian
political instability; so that it is
only too natural for many people
to explain it in terms of the Latin
temperament, the rigidity of cer-
tain ideological convictions, and,
in general, the unruly character
of the Italians. Stereotype and
myth are as good substitutes for
informed political reporting and
analysis as can be found. So, why
not resort to them?
Still, the explanation is rather
simple: in Italy governments fall,
or, m o r e often, resign because
they are in the contradictory po-
sition of being publicly commit-
ted to a reform program which is
earnestly opposed by some influ-
ential right wing factions in the
governmental coalition itself.
THE DEVOTION OF the var-
ious governments to long needed
social changes has never gone be-
yond much lip service; the real
commitment has been to delay-
ing and stopping the reforms as
much as possible. The slowness of
the parliamentary and bureau-
cratic machine lends itself very
well to this purpose, but it is not
always enough, and sometimes

needs to be supplemented by some
other means: so, every now and
then, the Prime Minister resigns-
often to succeed himself after
some weeks of discussions.
There is a method in this ap-
parent madness, since, if things
wvent otherwise, it would become
apparent that the right wing of
the Christian Democrats and some
other, American paid, "socialist"
fringes are strongly against the
government's program - while
the Communists are for it,
The meaning of the much fear-
ed "collaboration with the Com-
munists" is that the Communists,
without claiming to participate in
the coalition, would vote for any
mildly progressive law, as they
have done in the past, on those
rare occasions in which such laws
have b e e n discussed in Parlia-
ment.
AND THE MEANING of - the
formula "delimitation of the ma-
jority," on which the right wing
factions, indegenous and partic-
ularly American paid, insist so
much, is that whenever there is
any danger of having a law pass-
ed with the crucial vote of the
Communists (who would make up
for their defection) the govern-
ment should resign, or find some
convenient way of "falling." Italy,
however, is growing, and not only
in economic terms, but also in so-
cial and political awareness, as
witnessed by t h e - double trend
emerging in the trade-unions, to-
wards unification on the one hand
and towards greater independence
from the political parties - both
the Christian Democrats and the
Communists - on the other.
The country will not accept to
be kept in such c an absurd
straight-jacket for long.

Banquets, parties and meetings, for 25 to 250, are easily
handled by our experienced staff. And, our well-lighted,
excellently equipped audiovisual facilities are
always at your disposal

CAF
Ili'

'pus

NIGHT EDITOR: NADINE COHODAS
Summer Editorial Staff
ALEXA CANADY.............................. ...... Co-Editor
MARTIN HIRSCHMAN ....................... o-Editor
SHARON WEINER............... ......Summer Supplement Editor
SARA KRULWICH..................... ...y ... ....Photo Editor
LEE KIRK ...........................Summer Sports Staff
NIGHT EDITORS: Rob Bier, Nadine Cohodas, Erica Hoff
ASSISTANT NIGHT EDITORS: Bill Alterman, Lindsay Cbaney, Phil

I

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FINEST
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-Giacomo Costa, grad,
-Victor Mesalles, grad.
July 14

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