The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 10, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that all commodities began to decrease in price, causing the stock market to slide between $1 and $3. Livestock, cotton, and butter prices were down, along with wheat, oats, grain and corn as in the previous week. Retail prices on meat were a little lower in markets, along with flour, lard, sugar, and bread.

A leading economist told the Bankers Association that a price readjustment would be painful but not necessarily serious, and that the sooner inflation ended, the better.

The chief Federal labor conciliator stated that the Government could not permit a shutdown in the spring of the soft coal industry. The operators were objecting to the statement as giving John L. Lewis an upper hand in negotiations should he call a strike in April.

In Chicago, Senator Robert Taft charged that the President was doing everything he could to prevent prices from dropping while championing a program to control inflation. He said that Agriculture Secretary Clinton Anderson had announced the Government purchase of 50 million bushels of wheat to keep prices up.

White House press secretary Charles G. Ross denied that First Daughter Margaret Truman was about to become engaged to a publisher's son. He was being candid and accurate.

Dr. Henry Noble MacCracken, general secretary of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and former president of Vassar College, believed that the South was further along toward achieving equality than it was generally thought to be. He believed that several decisions of Southern judges and various meetings he had attended in association with visits by the Freedom Train substantiated his claim. He believed that derogatory words should be removed from circulation as bad money and substituted by such terms as "goodwill" and "brotherhood".

But, we do not seek to destroy other people's lives or even harm them for uttering a word or phrase which is insulting or with which we might disagree. That is the antithesis of democracy and smacks of fascism. Instead, we debate. Nor do we take our cues from tv personalities in assessing what constitutes free speech. The television sells products through sponsors. That form of commercially determined speech has nothing to do with the free marketplace of ideas and to apply its standards informally is to be corrosive of the First Amendment. Short of defamation and actual physical threats, we say, we think, we write what we damn well please in the United States. That is what separates us from most of the rest of the world. Repressing speech, especially unpopular or "offensive" speech, is an invitation to violence somewhere down the line, the destruction of brotherhood and goodwill.

Actions speak far louder than words uttered either negatively or positively on a given subject. And it is more often than not the case that fashions of speech are misinterpreted as to intended meaning and usage in a particular context. It is not the hearer's or reader's peculiar sensitivities with which we are concerned but rather the actual intended meaning of the person uttering the speech, should we wish to engage in criticism of it. That requires either reasonable, quiet interaction to determine or simply ignoring of the utterance. Only an immature fool becomes upset to the point of taking action based on words, especially when uttered in private. Everyone, from time to time, endures personal insult.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, a slum tenement fire killed seven persons and injured another.

In St. Johns, Newfoundland, twenty or more people died in a fire which swept through a retirement home.

In Los Angeles, actress Jacklyn Lynn, who had been in the "Our Gang" comedies as a child, was seeking annulment of her marriage on the ground that her husband was incapable of showing affection toward her. He had sought divorce on the ground that she was having an affair with drama coach Ben Bard. Ms. Lynn passed away in May, 2014.

Temperatures across the country were below seasonal average except in southern Florida where it was 80 degrees. Southern states, beset with snow, sleet, and rain, received the worst of the winter weather. The coldest areas were in the Northeast and through the Central States. Snow fell heavily in Arkansas, Tennessee and the Carolinas, as well as across Alabama and in parts of Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and Virginia.

Charlotte was digging out from the previous day's snow of 6.9 inches, with the temperature expected to reach a low of 15 this date as more sleet and snow was on the way the following day. Air and bus transportation had been severely diminished by the weather. Roads were slick but not extremely dangerous. City and County schools were closed.

Tom Fesperman relates anecdotal information on the effects of the snow. Dick Young tells of the efforts to dig out city streets and sidewalks.

The News brings to shoppers Wednesday morning bargains. Be sure and make note and get there early tomorrow. Based on the photograph and forecast, you might wish to bring a sled.

On the editorial page, "Pauley, Graham, and Thomas" discusses the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee investigation into the commodities trading of Edwin Pauley and Brig. General Wallace Graham, the President's personal physician, to determine whether they used inside information obtained while in Government service in their speculating. The piece advocates investigation into the ostensibly more egregious trading practices of Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, enduring 15 years.

The Subcommittee had voted on partisan lines against clearing Mr. Pauley and General Graham and the cases would go to the full committee for further determination. The piece favors permanent retirement from the Government for both men.

It further opines that if the evidence adduced by Drew Pearson against Senator Thomas turned out to be true, that he had benefited from his floor speeches on both silver and cotton trading, accomplished since 1933 through surrogates, then he should be impeached.

The editorial's use of the term "impeached" is misapplied in the case of members of the Senate or House. Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution provides only for expulsion of members by each respective chamber on a vote of two-thirds of the membership. Impeachment is reserved for the President, Vice-President, and "civil officers", the latter meaning executive branch appointees or judicial branch appointees. It does not apply to the legislative branch.

Impeachment, as a function of its procedures set forth in the Constitution, would make no sense in the context of Senators and Congressmen, as impeachment cases may be initiated only in the House and are tried exclusively by the Senate. As applied to House members, impeachment would always thus tend to favor the House as a club unto itself and set the rest of the Government at its political mercy, upsetting the balance carefully crafted by the Founders to avoid the prospect of despotism exerted by one branch of the Government. To change the Constitution to allow one chamber to initiate impeachment proceedings against members of the other chamber and then be tried in the non-originating chamber would have the same effect.

Ultimately, these procedures are rarely used for the very reason that they trump the expressed will of the people in the most recent election and should be resorted to therefore only in the most egregious of circumstances, where gross abuse of power has occurred, threatening the balance of power under the Constitution, or thorough corruption has been demonstrated, of a nature not subject to resolution by an election. The case of President Nixon provides a good example where impeachment was the correct and only expedient solution to the problem. The case of President Clinton presents example of the opposite end of the spectrum, where political motives obviously carried the day among a politically powerful minority in the country, "conservative" hate-mongers, who have been around in the Republic since its Founding. They were once called Loyalists or Tories. In the case of President Clinton, they were a coalition of the type of Republicans who had long wanted vengeance for what they perceived as the forced resignation of President Nixon for his role in the cover-up of a "third-rate burglary" committed by lower-rung members of his Administration and his mere "poor judgment" in its aftermath, the moral rightists who champion morals as long as applied only against thou of the other side, and the country-clubbers who thought that the Republican Party owned the Presidency, literally, could buy it at will, and that the Democrats were radicals who had somehow cheated the system to get a Democrat twice elected for the first time since FDR.

"Ike Eisenhower and Truman" tells of John S. Knight, publisher of The Detroit Free Press, having stated that he would not be surprised if General Eisenhower endorsed the President in the fall. The piece finds it unlikely of occurrence, however, as General Eisenhower had let the draft movement proceed in his name for six months before closing it off. He thus had many friends obviously in the GOP and would not wish to alienate them by such an endorsement. Nor would he jeopardize his own statement of intention to remain out of politics by backtracking to enter the political fray in any way.

It suggests that the country would need the General in 1952 and that meanwhile he had a great task to perform as president of Columbia University. (The piece actually references the date 1954, which, unless it expected the General to run for the Senate, an unlikely prospect, was simply a misprint.)

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "Poor Robin and the Americans", finds the shortage of fuel oil and natural gas to have been a function of cheap prices, making it appealing to consumers and business as a replacement for coal, and the uncertainties of supplies during strike periods by the UMW. The blizzards of the winter had compounded the issue, clogging transportation lines and production capability. Added to those factors was the need to supply Europe.

The country, it concludes, had fallen victim to its own optimism rather than fearing the worst and preparing for it.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of State Marshall having told the Jaycees that the first order of business for ERP would not so much be delivery of aid as to supply the tools necessary to enable the people of the 16 recipient nations to rebuild their economies themselves. It would be up to them to do the work. He recalled showing the film "State Fair" to a Chinese delegation in 1946 and finding that they were amazed at the respective levels of American production and recreation. Chinese farmers had to work all the time just to be self-sustaining. He thought that the principal mission of ERP was thus to help them raise their standards.

Some of the Jaycees suggested an exchange program between farmers. Secretary Marshall supported the idea.

Many had responded to Mr. Pearson's urging in December that relatives of those in Europe write letters to their kith and kin explaining actual conditions in the U.S to counter Soviet propaganda. The campaign was proving so effective that the Communist newspapers were seeking to stop the barrage of mail. Some two million letters had been written just to Italy. It was also important, he urges, to write to Eastern European countries.

The House Ways & Means Committee wanted an explanation for the portion of the tax bill relating to married couples, written in such byzantine language as not to be readily discernible by members of the Committee.

During hearings before the Joint Housing Committee investigating speculation in commodities, one alleged grain marketeer had been offered a deal by Senator Joseph McCarthy, that if he agreed to withdraw from the grain market, the Committee would not turn its information over to the district attorney. The witness mulled the offer a bit, but decided it to be not enough assurance against prosecution.

Samuel Grafton indicates that the drop in some commodities prices the previous week, to the contrary of being greeted as water in a desert, were being analyzed by many columnists and observers with skepticism. He suggests that the reason was that the country had become wedded to inflation, that many saw the downward trend in prices to hearken unemployment and loss of value of inventory, that many of the people who had spoken against inflation actually desired it. Consequently, there were warnings that prices would not fall very much as a result of the "natural processes" which the advocates of removing controls had predicted.

He thinks it would not be surprising for the Republican Midwest to drop its opposition to the Marshall Plan so that it could begin to utilize surplus food as exports.

The liberals also had a changed environment with which to contend, no longer in need of economic controls, rather confronted with the task of finding a means to pay the cost of deflation and how to spread it across the economy in a fair manner. There were no brakes on the way up the inflation spiral and he questions whether it would be likewise on the way down. Such controls, he suggests, ought be applied if only to avoid the feeling of "being shaken violently up and down, like a doll in the teeth of a terrier."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the new National Security Council had as its first task the preparation of an American policy for Palestine. The President was regretful of having reached decisions on Palestine through his own decision-making and it was likely therefore that he would take the advice of the NSC on the issue.

When the British would leave Palestine around May 15, it was anticipated that a bloodbath would ensue, with as many as a thousand casualties per day. Once it started, there would be two alternative, non-intervention being the first, with the probability that the Arabs eventually would break the defenses of the Jews and at very least destroy the economic progress achieved. The Jews would likely be driven from eastern Galilee and the Negreb, as well being surrounded in the coastal strip around Tel Aviv. The second alternative would be intervention by the U.S., as the U.N. had stated that it could not recruit a small-nation force of sufficient size and training to have any deterrent effect.

Oil in the Middle East was a prime consideration in determining policy for the region, as America and Western Europe both needed access to the vast reserves.

But if America were to send troops to Palestine, a holy war would result and the loss of the oil resources would be likely, pushing the nations then to the eve of World War III as the Russians would not remain aloof from such a conflict.

But, to their credit, the American policy-makers were more concerned about the reasons for not sending troops than they were with obtaining the oil.

It was doubtful whether the Congress would approve any exertion of military effort in Palestine, even in combination with a U.N. force. The anti-Semitism in the country would raise its head in such event and it was a prime reason why it was as unlikely that the Government would opt for military intervention as it was that it would take a hands-off attitude.

A letter writer, irked at the letters incessantly appearing from P.C. Burkholder, failed Republican candidate for Congress in 1946 who intended to run again in 1948, asks whether the newspaper had to publish his letters.

The editors respond that while it was a good question, they preferred that readers use their own editing pencils.

A letter writer favors Southern Republicans organizing to assure that the Republicans would nominate a candidate acceptable to the South, as the Democrats' expression of preference for segregation and a strong central Government were contrary to the views of most Southerners. He believes that the Democrats of the South ought demand a running mate for President Truman who was a Jeffersonian. He also thinks it a foregone conclusion that the President would lose in November—despite the polls indicating the converse at this point, showing him running close only to Governor Dewey, but still ahead by two or three points.

A letter thanks the newspaper for returning Buz Sawyer to the comics page.

A letter writer responds to a letter of February 5 which said that blacks were content with present conditions in the South. He says that the letter writer was speaking only for himself in so saying. As a veteran of the war in the Pacific, he questions whether denying blacks jobs, forcing attendance at inferior schools, denying rights to vote in some states, and allowing in some areas lynching to occur with impunity represented the principles for which Americans fought in the war.

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