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November 03, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-11-03

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4

OPINION

I, foge 4

Monday, November 3, 1986

The Michigan Daily

A

4

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

A

revolution

that works

Vol. XCVII, No. 43

420 Maynard St.
Ann ArborMI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
, -I All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

- -Dean"
,THE BEST CANDIDATE to
represent the Second
Congressional District is
Democratic challenger and
:University economics graduate
student Dean Baker. Baker is
running against incumbent Carl
Pursell (R-Mich).
Rarely is an incumbent defeated;
in Pursell's case, however, re-
election is not justified. Pursell has
been in office 10 years and can
point to only two main areas of
'accomplishment: trying to reduce
the federal budget deficit and acting
as an advocate for the
Midwest-specifically, working on
opening up the St. Lawrence
Seaway to larger ships. Pursell
also argues that his seniority makes
him more effective than Baker
would be.
Pursell's actual record indicates
ineffectiveness. His opposition to
the budget deficit is not particularly
controversial; not only has he failed
to reduce the deficit, but he has not
established himself in a leadership
role in his efforts to do so. It is
disturbing that in 10 years of
service there is no record of his
offering significant suggestions or
dissenting opinion in committee.
Despite Pursell's support for
President Reagan's military
buildup, his efforts have not led to
more defense money for Michigan.
Rather than increase support
being sent to the district, Pursell, in
5 his zest for deficit reduction, has
' actually cut it. As Baker has
pointed out, Social Security, farm
jsubsidies, and student loans are
just a few of the programs which
Pursell says he supports but can't
spare the money for. In effect,
Pursell uses public concern about
the deficit to justify cutting social
Fprograms while supporting
astronomical growth in the military
"budget.
The military build-up has been
so quick, that each year the
jentagon fails to spend the money
allotted to it. Gramm-Rudman
Cdisguises real cuts in previously cut
asocial programs with imaginary
scuts in a military which is growing
fat a rate that the Pentagon can't
~handle.
Baker would find money for
,'social programs in the bloated
f.defense budget which Pursell has
,consistently favored. Baker would
;fight the budget deficit not by
**cutting those most in need, but by
,cutting loopholes for those best
4able to pay. As an economist,
-Baker has the expertise to respond
-effectively to the deficit.
Pursell has moved increasingly
.farther from moderation to the
0:Right. Though he initially spoke
:out against the MX missile, he is
know a staunch supporter of it. In
'1986, he voted against an
amendment that would have
:reduced spending on the Strategic
Defense Initiative ("Star Wars")

E.research by $2 billion. And
although his stand against chemical

B aker

By Sue VanHattum
The wars in Central America, in
which the United States plays a
substantial role, have been completely
misrepresented by the Reagan
administration. Their "disinformation"
has been a major source for most media
reports on the area. The national Pledge
of Resistance, which provides
information on events in Central
America, has put together a campaign at
the local level - called Stop the Lies
About Central America - to counter this
misinformation, which is active through
200 local affiliates across the United
States. In this area, the campaign has
taken the form of a project to educate the
local media (and through them the public)
on this issue and its importance in this
election.
We took special notice, therefore, of
James Lin's letter to the Daily ("Balance
of power justifies Contra aid," 10/30/86)
in support of aiding the Contras (and
chiding the Daily for its alleged lack of,
"objectivity"). It is full of the lies, half-
truths, and spurious arguments we are
working so hard to expose. He claims to
"understand the complexities of
international relations," yet bases most of
his argument on the false notion of a
Soviet threat in the region. This attitude
relegates the hopes and struggles of
millions of Latin Americans to a footnote
in a constant U.S.-Soviet struggle for
world domination. (Lin: "Nicaragua, El
Salvador,.... have become theaters for
U.S.-Soviet proxy fighting.") I lived and
worked in Nicaragua for two months this
summer, and know well the pride
Nicaraguans feel at finally, for the first
time in their history, being in control of
their own government. They are not
Soviet proxies, and would find this
attitude an insult to their newfound
dignity.
This notion of a Soviet (or Cuban or
Nicaraguan) threat in the region is a
widespread misconception based on the
naive idea that the whole world is made
VanHattum, a computer instructor at
Washtenaw Community College,
taught computer classes in Nicaragua
this summer.

up of "us" and "them." Much of the world
is truly non-aligned, seeing both of the
superpowers as forces that must be
reckoned with, and balanced against each
other when possible. Lin, and other
apologists for U.S. foreign policy, allege
Soviet intervention in Central America,
but: the United States has military bases
there - the Soviet Union does not; the
United States conducts regular and
extensive war games there- the Soviet
Union does not; the United States has
used military force there 33 times in this
century - the Soviet Union never has.
Lin alleges "Nicaraguan arms
shipments to rebels in El Salvador." But
David MacMichael, a former analyst for
the CIA whose job was to prove exactly
that, said: "There has not been a verified
report of arms moving from Nicaragua to
El Salvador since April, 1981 . . . The
adminstration and the CIA have
systematically misrepresented Nicaraguan
involvement in the supply of arms to
Salvadoran guerrillas to justify U.S.
efforts to overthrow the Nicaraguan
government." (New York Times,
6/11/84)
It seems that the current
administration fabricates "facts" whenever
that is convenient. Wayne Smith, of the
State Department's Cuba section, on a
major Administration White Paper on the
Soviet threat: "Some of the documents
turned out to be forgeries. Others were of
such vague origin as to be worthless.
None of the documents linked the
U.S.S.R. to the supply of guerrilla forces
in El Salvador or demonstrated that the
violence there was a case of external
aggression rather than an internal
conflict."(Foriegn Policy, Fall,1982)
Lin mentions Soviet aid and Cuban
advisors in Nicaragua.aBut aidand
volunteer assistance have come. in from
all over the world to help this poor
country in its ambitious health and
education projects, and to help it survive
the war being waged by the United States
through the Contras. While in Nicaragua,
I met volunteer brigades from Spain,
Holland, and the United States (among
others) who were building health care
facilities and housing projects. No one in
Nicaragua wants to see these

improvements destroyed by the Contras;
it's no surprise then that Nicaragua signed
arms agreements with France (for
airplanes) and Holland (for equipment to
protect the harbor at Bluefields). These
countries backed out under severe pressure
from the United States, and so most of
Nicaragua's defense is supplied by the
Soviets.
The revolutions that have happened in
Central America are home-grown - the
will of the people - as ours was in
1776. The Cubans and Nicaraguans have
turned to the Soviets only after the United
States began to wage war on their
countries. The turn toward socialism in
these countries is prompted by their,
understanding that an economic system
based on capitalism benefits U.S.
corporations while hindering their own
development. None of these countries has
uncritically adopted the whole Soviet
system; they have taken parts of each
system (60 percent of the Nicaraguan
economy is in private hands), attempting
to create an economic system that will be
right for them.
The most substantial aid Nicaragua
gives to the rebels in El Salvador isby
being a model. Salvadorans see that a
repressive government can be
overthrown, that the people can create a
government in their own interests, and
that it can survive. In countries
thoughout Latin America -people are
imprisoned, tortured, and killed for
peacefully standing up for their rights.
Nicaragua gives them hope. Just as the
United States revolution inspired the
French revolution (for Liberty, Equality,
and Fraternity), so the Nicaraguan
revolution ("Patria Libre o Morrir") may
inspire others.
. That Nicaragua represents a Soviet
threat in Central America is only one of
many misconceptions in Lin's letter; the
others include confusions over which
governments in Central America are
democratic, and which abuse human
rights. For more information on Pledge
of Resistance or the Stop the Lies
campaign, call 747-9850 or LASC, 665-
8438.

Congressional candidate Dean Baker
weapons has been consistent,
Pursell's changing votes on key
issues is disappointing.
Baker's personal involvement
transcends local peace actions to
world politics. As he has
demonstrated in the Second
District, Baker sympathizes with
the farmers and the poor in,
Nicaragua. He argues against
American taxpayers' money
supporting the Contras, who attack
food production and farming
cooperatives while fighting to'
overthrow a popularly elected
government.
Pursell's unfamiliarity with
Central American issues has led
him to put his faith in the Reagan
administration. Now Pursell argues
that a $100 million aid package for
the Contras is necessary to combat
what he describes as the militarily
aggressive and domestically
repressive Sandinista government.
In fact, as Baker says, the Contras,
not the Sandinistas, are the ones to
worry about.
The arguments against Baker
have been that he is a single-issue
candidate without the experience to
be a Congressman. In reality,
Baker has campaigned on a wide
variety of issues and articulately
and persuasively refuted Pursell's
positions. Baker may be young-
aged 28-but his understanding of
the issues and the needs of the
district is far more advanced than
Pursell's.
While Baker has run an issue-
oriented campaign emphasizing
direct contact with the voters
through door-to-door canvassing,
Pursell has responded by attacking
Baker's endorsement by the
Democratic Socialists of America.
That the DSA typically endorses
progressive Democrats is
overlooked. Such tactics reflect an
intolerant attitude, one that is
incongruous with the free flow of
ideas and information which are at
the heart of democracy and the
University community.
Though Baker has been clear
about his stands throughout the
campaign despite cheap shots
directed against him, Pursell's
perspective remains unclear. Some
call him a moderate, others a
conservative. Perhaps the best label
would be ineffective.

- m

Wasserman

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LETTERS-

Baker
To the Daily:
Its getting a little thick
around here. The Baker-Pursell
contest has afforded a limited
group of radical statists extra-
ordinary access to the politics
of the Second Congressional
District. Normally, these
radicals are restricted to the
Diag or Rackham Student
Government where they can be
effectively ignored. But now,
the distortions propagated by
this faction need to be
addressed.
Baker (Second District
Democratic challenger) claims
that Pursell (R-Second District)
does not represent the wishes
of this district. This is a
fascinating charge leveled
against a multi-term
incumbent. What makes this
charge even more interesting is
that less than one year ago
Baker's cohorts did not know
exactly where Jackson is or
how to get to Plymouth.
Dean Baker does not
know the industry in the
district, the history of the
district or the people that
inhabit this district. That
Rlo.lr.r.wnii a. -v.nnrnn. a +1.

campaign
begin revitalizing a community
in which I grew up.
Baker has indicted Pursell for
consistently cutting education
and social programs for the
benefit of military spending.
Baker's attacks are outright
distortions. As it turns out, he
was talking primarily about
Pursell's vote in favor of the
Graham-Rudman-Hollings
deficit reduction bill, the effect
of which is on all government
spending , including the
military. Baker will then
continue, in the same debate or
interview, that Pursell's votes
caused a burdensome deficit.
He can't have it both ways!
Baker can either denounce the
deficit and recognize a
congressman's good-faith
efforts to alleviate it, or he can
be in favor of deficits and admit
so.
Baker insists that the people
of this district support his
views when he speaks to them.
This should surprise no one.
After all, he has promised
federal money to anyone who
can breathe. He has promised
increased Social Security
Sn af ite -nrra r a a

distorts issues

since he won't be given the
opportunity to vote for
substantial reductions in the
military budget. It is thus
obvious why, although they do
not admit it in public, Baker's
campaigners haven't heard of a
tax increase they don't like. It
is the only way out for them.
Short of that, lets hear no more
talk of deficit spending from
Baker.
Baker claims that "all our
best experts" think SDI is
forever technologically
infeasible. This incredible
statement, if true, would
indicate a unanimity in the
physical and social sciences
unheard of in history. While
the relative merits of SDI are
open to discussion, merely
agreeing to Soviet demands for
cancellation of SDI is
indicative of the entire Baker
platform which seems in favor
of acceding unilaterally to five-
year old Soviet negotiating
positions. I don't agree with
the Reagan administration
arms-buildup any more than
Baker. But I hope that our
legislators will pursue policies
for our armed forces that

Never mind that foreign
investments in this country
reflect our strengths and that
the debt is denominated in our
currency. He will try to solve
the trade deficit with domestic
content legislation; although,
how making Americans buy
poorer products at higher prices
will solve our trade problems I
will never figure out. He may
have taught Econ 201, but he
wasn't listening. And who is
running a smear campaign
anyway? Pursell may have
called Baker a socialist, but
Baker started it by calling
Pursell a baby-killer.
I'd much rather see a political
contest in which the opponents
regard each other as honorable
men who disagree on
reasonable grounds. But theE
Baker campaign has been
demagogic and conducted
without honor or honesty. But
after all, these are tricks of the
trade of all carpet-baggers. I
think the best reason to voa
for Pursell is to send a message
to those who think that the rest
of our district is a bunch of
yokels that need to be led by
.... .1 -

1, 1 -

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