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April 10, 1990 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-10

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, April 10, 1990

Qit 3tril gan aily
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109


763 0379
764 0552
747 2814


764 0552
747 3336
747 4630

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other cartoons
signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
*Workers, voters deserve praise for fair campaign


bly elections are over and they seem to
have gone without any major compli-
cations. After the travesty of last term,
this is a welcome accomplishment.
Regardless of the outcome of the
elections, all candidates, parties, and
voters should be pleased with the cam-
paign. 45 percent more students voted
in this election than in last spring's
presidential election and someschools
even set records for voter turnout.
Election Director Rebecca Gebes, the
assistant election directors and the en-
tire staff of poll workers and vote
counters deserve praise and well-
earned commendations for ensuring
fair voting procedures and flawless
counting, even with a greater-than-

expected turnout.
In addition, the 6,500 voters who
participated suggest that student apathy
is declining. More and more students
are realizing the importance of MSA as
a representative body of the students
and understand that the Assembly is
important enough to take the time to
elect its members.
Hopefully, the new President and
members of the Assembly will address
the students' concerns and get more
students involved and interested in
MSA's work. Also, students should
keep a close eye on the performance of
their representatives and work to in-
crease voter turnout in elections to




/V~,,C9 u


Elephants remember, Republicans forget

The Contras stillfight; oppose new aid package

negotiations in Nicaragua, Contra
activity - said to be nominal by the
State Department and the international
press - has increased to the point of
civil war.
Between January 1 and March 10 of
this year, increased Contra activity has
been responsible for 78 skirmishes and
54 civilian casualties in Nicaragua, ac-
cording to Barricada International (3/
The Contras are attacking once
peaceful towns such as Yalf, a small
town close to the Honduran border. On
March 23, 100 Contras invaded this
village, ambushing a Sandinista army
truck killing 12 soldiers and wounding
8 civilians, including an eight year old
boy. Sandinista Military, however, has
been ordered not to fire unless under
direct Contra attack.
The current accords call for the dis-
banding of Contra bases in Honduras,
which the international press reports to
be nearly empty. However, this says
little for the situation in the Nicaraguan
countryside and mountains, which has
become unacceptable. During the last
week, all the Contras have in fact left
Honduras and infiltrated the Estelf Re-
gion, and are preparing a "show of
force" around the Chamorro inaugura-
There are now several thousand Con-
tras arriving by the truckload in the
once-peaceful region, who, according
to Estelf resident Jos6 Lobo, are
equipped with new guns, uniforms,
boots, backpacks and infrared scopes.
So far, this "show of force" has in-
cluded shutting down the Pan-Ameri-
can highway to the north and south of
Estelf, which is about 4 hours north of
Managua by bus, and occupying the
small mountain town of La Trinidad,
about 20 minutes to the south of Esteli.
This has effectively put the town of
Estelf in a state of siege, and although
as of Saturday the Contras had not
opened fire in the streets of Estelf, sev-
eral battles have been waged in Yalf
and La Trinidad.
There may be several reasons for this
strategy. First as a "Show of Force," it
may be an effort to gain visible hege-
mony in the vying for power that has
taken place in the past month. How-
ever, the Contras may have invaded the
town dearest to the revolution and best
fortified - in military terms -- to pro-

voke a serious battle before the change
of power and to destroy the possibility
of a peaceful transition.
This second option has plausibility
on several counts. The Estelf region is
the most heavily fortified region in
Nicaragua, a zone which the Contras
could not simply "walk into." An of-
fensive could not happen without prior
planning - either by dissatisfied Con-
tra leaders or by the CIA, the traditional
Contra advisors. Second, Estelf's sta-
tus as the political and symbolic heart
of the Sandinista revolution (It is the
town current president Daniel Ortega is
planning to live in after the transition)
would make Estelf a prime target for a
symbolic attack or for a vengeful mas-
In the event of a shooting war, the
State Department could use escalation
as a smoke screen behind which they
could send in the Marines, claiming
Sandinista aggression and refusal to
hand over power. It is also unaccept-
able that the Contras continue to receive
funding as a repatriating, exhausted
force, when in reality, they are the
single force responsible for destabiliza-
tion in Central America
Congress will vote on a bill next
week which will supply $300 million
in aid to Nicaragua. Thirty-two million
of the aid package will be set aside for
the "repatriation" of the Contra rebels
inside Nicaragua. It is important that
the money appropriated to peaceful
demobilization go through channels
already prescribed by the Central
American presidents.
It is clear, however, that the Bush
administration would like to have con-
trol over the channels used for the dis-
tribution of the $32 million. Currently
the bill states the channels shall be the
Organization of American States and
the United Nations, but this part of the
bill will be inevitably challenged by the
Bush administration, which would like
to channel the money through U.S. or-
ganizations, namely the CIA. This
would give the Contras no concrete
motivation to demobilize, and further
destabilize the peace process by making
the Contras answerable only to the the
CIA, which has no history of exercis-
ing control in Contra actions. A reck-
less Contra force, even confined to
reservations, would continue to hamper
the peace process in Central America.
+E CieSoN J%4(S0W
t -r
:I lt

By Donald N. Unger
The elephant, we all know, is the sym-
bol of the Republican Party. And the ele-
phant, we have been told, never forgets.
How ironic. Republican politicians, it
would seem, never remember. This has be-
come such a commonplace that we rarely
even comment on it anymore. Without
granting complete absolution to the
Democrats, it should be noted that the most
flagrantly corrupt presidents the Republic
has ever known, have been Republicans:
Grant, Harding, Nixon, and Reagan. All ran
administrations in which official miscon-
duct, ethical conflict, and disregard and dis-
dain for the laws of the country were the
rule rather than the exception.
Grant was a drunk; Harding was a fool;
Nixon's escapades are well known; Rea-
gan s legacy has been winding its way
through the courts and the Congress of late;
The HUD scandal, the Savings and Loan
Crisis, the Iran-Contra Affair, the ongoing
scandals in Defense Contracts, to name but
a few. And these latter two presidents have
brought to modern times a defense, recently
deployed again by Ronald Reagan, in video-
Unger is a Rackham graduate student.

taped testimony for the most recent Iran-
Contra trial, that of former National Secu-
rity Advisor John Poindexter, which is cur-
rently in the hands of the jury. Should we
call it the Nixon Defense or should we call
it Alzheimer's Disease?
In the late 1970's, when he spent a lot
of time on Saturday Night Live, comedian
Steve Martin did a routine about how to
avoid paying taxes. Just don't pay them, he
advised. And when the government comes
to ask you about this omission? Two
words, Martin said. A simple response. No
guilt. No problems.
I forgot.
When Martin said this it was comedy.
When Nixon - and his band of merry
men - said this it was innovative.
By now, Reagan's most recent use of
this ploy amounts to the exercise of a tradi-
Poindexter, and most of the other Iran-
Contra defendants, have taken another tack:
The Nuremberg Defense. They say they
were just following orders. Funny how that
line has been rehabilitated. When the Ger-
mans used it to explain their actions during
the war, we scoffed at such callous and cyn-
ical attempts to evade responsibility. Now
we swallow this answer without a second

First Reagan said he didn't know about
the arms for hostages deal that routed the
profits to the Contras.
Then he said he did know - in fact,
that he had come up with the plan himself,
Now he says he doesn't remember.
The question has been asked before but
bears asking again: How can someone like
that be fit to hold public office? If he did
know about these things he's a criminal; if
he really didn't know what was going on in.
his own administration, he's a fool.
And where are the honorable people on
the Right, while all of this is going on?
Are their heads just as firmly in the sand?
Apparently so.
It would be refreshing to hear a Repub-
lican elected official, present or former,
simply tell us the truth.
"I knew what I was doing. I knew it was
illegal. I felt it had to be done. And I'mO
willing to face the consequences," that's
what I'd like to hear.
Would I sympathize with this position?
No more than I sympathize with the Nazis,
who felt that genocide was a reasonable and
necessary thing. Still, there would be
something at least consistent and straight-
forward about such a response, a refreshing
change of pace.

It's more than $25 Don't attack music

To the Daily:
I was in the Church Street computer
center the night of the city elections when
the election results regarding Proposal B
were announced. I heard a guy walking
near my station respond "Hey, it's only
$25." How wrong he was.
It's not just $25. It's a loss of personal
freedoms. It's a criminal record. It's up to
$500 and 90 days in jail. And if you think
it won't happen to you, just talk to any-
one who has ever been outside the city
limits of Ann Arbor. Almost everyone
knows of someone who has served jail
time for mere possession of marijuana.
Now it can and will happen here in Ann
Arbor as well.
To those of you who did not bother to
vote, or who never bothered to change
your registration from your parents' ad-
dress to your Ann Arbor address, you have
foregone the right to voice your opinion
on issues that directly affect you. Think
about how much time you have spent this
year in your parents' town in comparison
to the time you've spent in Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor is where you live. And it is
under Ann Arbor's laws that you will be
sentenced if caught with marijuana in your
When you find yourself in court facing
charges of possession, remember your apa-
thy on election day. What? You say it
probably won't matter to you when you
pay your $25 fine out of your parents'
wallet? You're probably right. But the
second or third time it happens and you
find yourself sleeping in the Washtenaw
County Jail, you'll remember with nos-
talgia the days of the $5 pot law, and your
election day apathy.
You chose to forego your right to vote
on the laws of the city you live in. Be-
cause of that Ann Arbor, once a national
leader in sweeping liberal reforms, is mov-
ing backward while the rest of the nation
mnvc. fnrwr,,rAl o,.nl nnri..A vaiv

To the Daily:
I was glad to see Peter Shapiro's letter
defending the Velvet Underground against
Forrest Green's mindless bashing, but
after reading it, I was disappointed that he
could not resist indulging in some bashing
of his own.
The Velvet's music can well stand on
its own; Shapiro's vicious attack on the
Art-Rock movement was totally unneces-
sary. Genesis, Yes, and other Art-Rockers
produced some of the most creative music
in the history of rock.
To write their music off as
"pretentiously weird" is to ignore the
beautifully complex structure of the mu-
sic, and the original, poetic lyrics that are
rich in imagery and reach a level of pro-
found meaning that few musical styles
have had before or since.
While this music may not be appealing
to some people, Shapiro was wrong to
dismiss the musical visions of these
artists as pointless masturbation, regard-
less of how he personally feels about it.

ing there, it traps them and prevents them
from escaping unharmed. Since the appli-
cations were begun, the Humane Society
has rescued and tried to save many small
birds, including small owls, purple
finches, and pigeons. If the birds can fall
to the ground they are mangled and covered
with the tar-like material, left to be further
mutilated by predators or the weather.
Last Spring, the Humane Society asked
the Ann Arbor City Council to modify the
building ordinance with a 45 degree ledge
requirement. The Council did not even
bother to answer this fine group. At least
a repelling substance other than the ineffi-
cient and cruel tar-like substance could cer-
tainly be found if it were considered "too
costly" to replace the current ledges. It is
disgusting that building owners and legis-
lators will not expend a little energy to
create a saner atmosphere. Instead, nature
lovers and other decent people spend hours
attempting the cleaning and healing or
each animal, assuming it survives. A lot
can be said about an individual or organi
zation's humanity after observing how he
she, or it treats animals. The inhumane1

Adam Gara giola
first-year Residential
College student

Jennifer Zaft
Rackham graduate student


Inhumanity to birds
To the Daily:
The inhumanity displayed at the Exxon
Valdez oil spill in Alaska upset me. the
needless suffering of the wildlife tore at
most heats. Recently I discovered similar
senselessness close to home.
I halted outside the University Tower
Apartments on South University Drive. A
mangled pigeon lay at my feet, covered
with a black substance, aware of his pain
but helpless. He was unable to move as
his wings and feet were torn up. The Hu-
mane Society of Huron Valley picked the
bird up from my house a few hours later.



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