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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
News of Mason County, WA
April 15, 1971     Shelton Mason County Journal
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April 15, 1971

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"'Let us give the people of America a chance, a bigger voice in deciding for themselves those questions that so greatly affect their lives." President Richard Nixon in his State of the Union message on January 22. "I am certain a Gallup poll would show that the great majority of the people would want to pull out of Vietnam. But a Gailup poll would also show that a great majority of the people would want to pull three or more divisions out of Europe. And it would also show that a great majority of the people would cut our defense budget. Polls are not the answer." President Nixon to New York Times reporter on March 10. Okay, Great White Father, we give up - what is the answer? Whip out your celebrated yellow pad and write it like it is, baby. Quit heating around the bush and make it crystal clear that the desires of the great majority of the people are not particularly important when decisions are to be made. The important consideration is the opinion of advisers who have been isolated in the White House for two years. The advisers who suggested you watch a football game on television while 250,000 citizens were outside your door trying to tell you that something was rotten in Southeast Asia. The experts who advised you to invade a sovereign nation and call it an "incursion". The thinkers who have assured you that the strength of the United States is determined by the number of foreigners we can kill, count and throw on a statistical pile. The intellectuals who contend that the way to enhance this imtion's prestige is for the president of the most powerful country on earth to appear on television and whine, "we will not be humiliated." The masterminds who induced you to take the muzzle and leash off your Vice President and send him forth to divide the people with demagogic appeals to prejudice and fear, while at the same time you were suggesting that Americans lower their voices. Tell us the answer, Mr. President. Tell us about the strategists who advised you to release a convicted murder from the stockade to satisfy the screeched demands of the simian followers of George Wallace and Lester Maddox. Enlighten us about the big thinkers who perfected Vietnamization, that superb plan which is designed to change "Onward Christian Soldiers" to "Onward Christian Pilots, Helicopter Crewmen, and Protective Encirclement Troops, Accompanied By The Looters And Rapers of Thieu And Ky." n how the word-manipulators have provided you with statements that substitute success for failure, peace for war, democracy for despotism, honor for infamy, salvation for destruction, patriotism for corruption, leadership for demagoguery, hope for despair, and excellence for mediocrity. Don't hold back, Big Daddy; let it all hang out. Tell us what your kitchen-cabinet mentalities have advised you to do now that it is no longer possible to play one element of our society against another where your conduct of the war in Vietnam is concerned. By ROBERT C. CUMMINGS With one exception, Gov. Dan Evans' reorganization bills seem to be dying on the vine in this Legislature. The exception is the measure to establish a Department of Transportation and give the Governor control over the highways program. That measure has been passed by the House with the help of 26 Democrats, and stands the best chance it ever has had of passing the Senate. But most of his other measures in this field haven't moved. Those which have moved still are a long way from final passage. Included are bills to establish a Department of Justice, a Department of Natural Resources and Recreation, a Department of Finance and Business Regulation, a measure giving him authority to reorganize agencies under his jurisdiction by executive order, and a bill to expand the Department of Revenue. The latter measure has _ progressed farther than the others and still has some chance of passage. Par For The Course But if Governor Evans gets his Department of Transportation he will be more than content. One reorganization bill at a time was the most he could get out of any legislative session until the 1970 special, when he got both his Department of Social and tlealth Services and the Department of Ecology. The Department of Transportation has been his top priority reorganization bill in every session. He will be happy to settle for that in this session if he can get it. Taxes Never Die All this talk about cutoff dates for each house to consider its own bills has given some of the uninitiated a false sense of security regarding tax bills. The fact that none of the various tax bills lying around haven't moved doesn't mean a thing. Cutoff dates never apply to y- "Everything will turn out okay." revenue measures, nor to appropriation bills. It is true that some bills are being held up because sponsors haven't been able yet to muster enough votes to pass them. These include the measures boosting the taxes on liquor and cigarettes, and the bill extending the retail sales tax to gasoline sales. But there isn't any hurry to pass the liquor and cigarette bills until the size of the budget is known. The sales tax on gasoline isn't popular, but it is tied to the "jobs now" program, so when that package is pieced together, it probably will be enacted. Another For the Ballot Now that the proposed constitutional amendment to permit the state to lean its credit to private industry has passed the Senate, it appears another amendment will be on the next general election ballot. Two already have been certified, SJR 1, lowering the constitutional ceiling on property taxes, and SJR 5, removing the constitutional ban on gambling. The credit amendment, SJR 22, had its troubles in the Senate, being voted down decisively on the first attempt. But after a vote for reconsideration was won, and the measure was held on the calendar for nearly two weeks, the Governor picked up a couple of votes and the Democratic floor found two more to assure the necessary two-thirds majority. The measure isn't expected to have that much trouble in the House. Environmental Smog Governor Evans' governmental reorganization bills aren't the only measures in trouble. Several of his environmental bills appear to be lost in the smog of smoke-filled legislative committee rooms. They haven't been suffocated completely. They could be said to be breathing, but breath. Included are request measures disclosure act, protection act, management, na preservation and :' control bill. Some of these moving, but original way to go. In fact, hasn't passed at could be in serious ~ There are so every committee that scores can't in the shuffle. the chances diminishes One of the committee is a request of the Council, which Governor's Council. Most of the the legislation an amateur Jones, a phot~ housewife serving in the "third house The council, J would consist of 20: would be cha] monumental task. population responsibility different factors, influencing the state; legislation growth; the economic conse~ The council required to area of populat including distribution based Social values and The council serve without p'ay, reimbursed for would have full-time staff, employed within office. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiil, Founded I886 by Grant C. Angle.~; Mailing Address: Box 430, Shelton, Wa. 98584 Published at Shelton, Mason County, Washir weekly, except two issues during week of Than Entered as Second-Class Matter at the Post Office, Member of National Editorial Member of Washington Newspaper Publishers' SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $5.00 per year in in advance -- Outside Mason County EDITOR AND PUBLISHER IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll What's the answer when the great majority of the young, the old, the middle-aged, the black, the white, the poor, the rich, the intelligent, the dull, Republicans and Democrats, want the United States to pull out of Vietnam? Give this one some extra thought, Mr. President. Don't accept your advisers' first suggestion - saturation bombing of North America may not necessarily be the best answer. J There will be no charge for the following information. We offer it, with our good wishes, to members of the John Birch Society and other concerned citizens who have become bored with their fight against sex education, sensitivity training, driver education, recess, and other controversial school matters. A letter to the editor published in "Your Public Schools," a publication of the State Department of Public Instruction, broached a scandalous subject of which we had hitherto been unaware. "Dear Sirs," it began, "For a number of years I have been concerned about the seemingly large number of students in our schools who write with the left hand. It seems unbelievable that in such a highly cultured land as ours, such an off-step is allowed to continue. "When I attended grade school in Finland 70 years ago, there was not one student left-handed, and it is not allowed there now. Naturally I was somewhat amazed when I found so many left-hand writers here. But then what else can you expect, when mothers cannot tell which is right hand. Maybe we should establish a system whereby a child's right hand is marked before he or she leaves hospital. "By the way, could you possibly have a record of how many left-handed students we have in our schools in this state percentagewise. My estimate is 5 per cent. "A citizen, Raymond." Our estimate is closer to 6 per cent, and we hope some group will take up the fight against southpaws before it reaches a staggering 6% per cent. BY SENATOR WALTER F. MONDALE No right was more valued by the drafters of our Constitution than the individual's right to be let alone, the right to the privacy of his thoughts, beliefs, opinions and emotions. No right is more in danger today. The invasion of privacy in the United States has reached frightening proportions. Snooping, spying, prying and the gathering of information in various other ways has become - with the help of "bugs," wiretaps, computers and similarly sophisticated equipment - a science widely practiced in both government and private sectors. The scope of activity covers everything from blatantly illegal wiretapping to the subtle invasions of questionnaires and census taking. Despite legal safeguards against private wiretapping and bugging, the level of eavesdropping has increased. No one is immune from the invasion and fear of it. A recent survey by The Washington Post, for instance, revealed that a quarter of the prominent Washingtonians polled suspected or believed their telephones had been tapped or their offices bugged. Of the 193 Congressmen who replied, 58 expressed the belief, as did six of 28 Senators. Thanks to the vigilance of newspapers and journalists across the country, we constantly receive warnings of the prevalence of both illegal and questionable surveillance. It was the news media, for example, which learned that Senator Adlai Stevenson III had been watched by U. S. Army intelligence agents, and that six Army agents were present when I addressed a rally of Macalester College students in October 1969. I happen to feel that surveillance by the Army of lawful, civilian political activity is unconstitutional; but I would be happy to mail them my speeches. Wiretapping and personal surveillance represent only two examples of more serious intrusions citizens must suffer. But there also is a subtle invasion about which little has been said - one that poses a threat potentially as dangerous as illegal eavesdropping. This subtle invasion centers around the proliferation of personal information and the ability to retrieve and gather that information with the electronic speech that computers provide. Somewhere, somehow the intimate details of our lives are spelled out - and, more often than not, Page 4 - Shelton-Mason County Journal - Thursday, April 15, 1971 these details have been computerized. The Senate Administrative Practices Sub-committee has estimated that our names appear in various government files 2.8 billion times and our Social Security number 1.5 billion times. Add to this the personal information contained on drivers' licenses, hunting licenses, credit ratings, census forms, questionnaires and polls, medical histories, psychiatric histories, police records in the files of private detective agencies.., and it becomes clear that there is an over-abundance of information about the people of this nation. Most data, of course, is collected for legitimate and socially beneficial purposes. Yet the fact remains that it is being collected with little or no protection for the individual citizen and insufficient reflection on long-term consequences. The threat to privacy comes neither from information nor the computers ability to gather it quickly and "construct" a man using data collected from various sources. The threat comes, rather, from men - from the motives of political executives, from the ingenuity of managers and the carelessness of technicians. And that threat exists whether data is placed in metal file drawers, storage drums or electronic computers. Just last month, three of the nation's largest private detective agencies were fined $5,000 each by the Manhattan Supreme Court for selling confidential information from the police files to credit firms. Instances were unpertinent information has been used to deny a man credit, or take his job, or terminate his insurance, or even to blackmail him, are all too common. There also are numerous cases where men have shown a penchant for perverting information with the assistance of dubious questionnaires and computers. One flagrant example concerns efforts by the Defense Department to monitor the thoughts, habits and personal lives of the people who work for it. According to the Senate Constitutional Rights Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (D-N.C.), the Defense Department used a questionnaire to determine the politicalattitudes of civil servants. Employees were "urged" to respond to the questionnaire by personnel officers, who hold a life-death power over their jobs, and the results were put on computers. The implications of this activity are both obvious and frightening. Another questionable activity involves a computerized data bank the Army keeps on the political activities of civilians. The existence of this data bank has been established without doubt, although its exact whereabouts have been unclear since Fort Holabird in Maryland was closed down. It raises serious constitutional questions. Dozens of other federal agencies also maintain computerized data banks, and they frequently exchange information among themselves, as well as with state and local governments. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, SELLS COMPUTERIZED TAPES to state and local governments. Although many data banks serve necessary purposes, they also pose potential threats to privacy because they can be fed subjective, unevaluated data. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare reportedly used its computerized files to maintain a blacklist of scientists. This Department also supports "people study" data banks such as one for the surveillance of migrant children. The Secret Service has a computer on professional gate crashers and people who write to or make embarrassing comments about high government officials. Its guidelines are loosely drawn and, I'm afraid, more people qualify for inclusion under them than should. Even U. S. Senators, I guess, have made occasional remarks that could be considered embarrassing to other high government officials. SOlutions to the computer problem are not easy to come by. A legitimate need exists for data collection, and yet we must protect the individual's rights to privacy. Since it would be foolish to stop all data collection, I suggest that we must build dams to control the flow. The federal government should take the lead in this effort, providing guidelines to serve as models for state and local governments and for privat~ industry. We can start by enacting legislation written by Senator Ervin to protect the rights of civilian employees of the executive branch. Among other things, his bill prohibits indiscriminate requirements that employees submit to questioning about'their religion, personal relationships or sexual attitudes through interviews, psychological tests or polygraphs. This measure has passed the significant margins, but was House committees. No one law can control the society by computer technologY. will be needed, perhaps even regulatory agency to contr communication - surveillance has suggested this four-step problem, and I agree: First. Technical and must be built into com engineers, this is possible and the should be encouraged to develop Second. There must be run the machines. In addition, and personnel rules must organizations, businesses and computers. Third. To assure due controls over computer input of the most basic threats posed the exchange of information a a' among companies, information purpose should not be used for tight conditions attached and of the individual. Fourth. Some system must the individual a chance to susceptible to derogatory drawbacks of our highly society is that a man's past is should have a chance to expunge t Fortunately, many people industry itself recognize these encouraging to know they are thought to ways of building into computers. Whether government and be wise enough to act quickly But one thing is very clear: of the new technology, unleSS wisdom and the need for banks, unless we resist attemptS1 and regulations that disregard freedom and privacyy.., we right to be let alone. To give up this right much. For I agree with Mr. called it "the most right most valued by