The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 21, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Harry Flood Byrd told a gathering in Richmond that the Southerners revolting against the President's civil rights program should hold their fire but keep their powder dry, to bide their time until it could be known where the President's proposal was headed before engaging in revolt from the national party. He said that the South would not accept the proposals of the President but that there would be time, yet time enough, to determine action in the event the Southerners lost the fight against passage of such legislation.

The rebelling Southern Congressmen were to meet with five Southern Governors regarding a plan of cooperative action. The Governors included Gregg Cherry of North Carolina and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, plus the Governors of Texas, Arkansas, and Virginia. The Governors Conference, meeting in Wakulla Springs, Florida, on February 8, gave the Administration 40 days to withdraw the proposals. Of the Congressmen present at the previous day's meeting, only one, Bayard Clark, represented North Carolina. Mr. Clark, who had been in Congress since 1929, had recently announced that he would not seek re-election.

Progressive Party presidential candidate Henry Wallace ventured that no serious split was likely to occur within the Democratic Party from the rebellion of the Southerners.

The President arrived in Puerto Rico and visited with Governor Jesus Pinero, a recent appointee of the President, the first island-born governor. The President stated that he believed in self-determination for Puerto Rico and had so urged the Congress to allow.

Congressman Lawrence Smith of Wisconsin was proceeding with efforts to obtain acquiecence from General MacArthur in cooperation of his sought testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee with regard to the aid to China proposed by the President, despite the General's indication that he was preoccupied with political matters in China and with Japan, would prefer not to have to return to the U.S. at the present.

A joint Congressional economic committee, chaired by Senator Taft, intended to call representatives of the nation's leading steel companies to testify in hearings on the reasons for a general $5 per ton boost in steel prices.

It was anticipated that the House and Senate would vote the following week on the thirty-day provisional extension of rent control beyond the expiration date of February 29, pursuant to agreement of Republican leaders in both chambers. The Senate was expected to go ahead and vote also on an extension of controls for 14 months. The House version of the long-term bill was still going through hearings.

In Prague, President Eduard Benes refused to accept the resignations tendered by three anti-Communist members of the Cabinet of the coalition Government under Premier Klement Gottwald, a Communist. The intention of the resignations had been to force the Communists to agree to early elections, in protest of Premier Gottwald's stated intention to reshuffle the national and local governments, including the police force. The Premier sought authority from President Benes to name a cabinet without the three resigned members.

In Athens, Greece, twenty persons were executed after nine had been convicted February 17 by a military tribunal for killing a policeman and planning to assassinate Greek political leaders. The others were found guilty of being members of a Communist execution squad which had killed hundreds of civilians near Athens during the civil war of the post-Nazi occupation period in fall, 1944.

In Carlsbad, N.M., a four-year old boy was snatched from the family yard by an eagle as the boy's mother sought to free him, held by the head in the eagle's talons. She returned with pliers and pulled the talons from his head, rushing him then to a doctor. The boy's father, in the meantime, returned home, beat the eagle to death with a bed slat.

Well, that's a Federal offense. He'll have to serve time in prison for that. Listen here. We demand law and order. There was no basis for defense of others in that case. In fact, the death penalty may be in order for this obvious act of treason in furtherance of Commm-mmmm-mmmunism.

In Beulah, Mich., a woman was arrested carrying two suitcases filled with $4,000 in cash and ten bottles of whiskey, allegedly stolen from the uncle of her husband, from whom she sought escape for the fact of maintaining their Pennsylvania home filled with 45 dogs. The money was stolen in Florida. Her husband said she had a split personality, revealed by alcohol. He said that his wife had plenty of money in her bank accounts, derived from his successful limestone business, and that the dogs were maintained in kennels, that no more than ten at a time were ever in the house.

Everybody has ten dogs. What's the big deal? Maybe one, however, was a big Red Dog.

In New York, a building materials dealer, described during Senate hearings by Senator Joseph McCarthy as "one of the most vicious gray marketeers", was charged with grand theft after allegedly failing to deliver 40,000 feet of rock lath worth $1,575 to a lumber company in Winston-Salem. He had told the lumber company that he would return the money in a civil action but not under threat of a criminal complaint and, after informing of the number of the freight car on which the shipment was loaded, had even tendered a return of the money to the District Attorney's Office, which was rejected.

At least he was only gray in the Senator's eyes, and not Red, yet. As soon as he finds out, however, that the man was selling some of that red spruce, matters may be different and the man may wind up being executed for trees, son.

Dick Young tells of the Fire Department in Charlotte informing of the need for two new stations and 200 additional fire alarm boxes to provide for the newly annexed territory effective January 1.

Tom Fesperman tells of the Memorial Hospital being in danger of losing a large part of its staff and facilities because of financial trouble deriving from care of charity patients. The hospital was considering an endowment proposal.

The City Council had received numerous requests from citizens for the change of bus routes, including that of the No. 9 Eastover bus to enable better access to the Mint Museum of Art and to dead men, generally. The Council was considering the proposed changes, which then had to be approved by the State Utilities Commission.

The woman's pages tell of the following week being "Sew and Save Week"—which is more utilitarian than "Sew and Sow Week". You will want to take advantage of that and obtain your lesson in sewing and layout of sewing patterns. Be sure to bring your pins and pinking shears that you might pink the newspaper. But don't let them call you a reactionary only for doing your patriotic duty.

On the editorial page, "Truman and the Floogie Bird" remarks on the President suggesting his reactionary critics as resembling the floogie bird, a wooden toy which flew backwards so that it could see where it had been. The piece thinks the advice might remind of the Mugwump, which sits on the fence with its mug on one side and its wump on the other. For the President could not fit the standard that he championed in his Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner speech, that of "progressive liberalism". He was too well established as a product of the Pendergast political machine and conservative Missouri politics.

Too many remembered his dismantling of the New Deal in 1945-46, eliminating New Dealers from his Administration while bringing in old Missouri cronies as advisers, in most cases ultra-conservatives. The President's crusade for civil rights was only an effort to counter the drive of Henry Wallace.

For a time, his bipartisan foreign policy, the proposal of the Marshall Plan and the establishment the previous summer in Rio of the Western Hemispheric Security Zone, had shown him as a leader of merit, and his popularity in consequence had risen in the public opinion polls.

It suggests that by November, however, his popularity would likely sink were he not to change course and stop trying to be all things to all people.

The editorial appears to be another in the column's recent editorials finding the civil rights proposals of the President to be objectionable as unnecessary, that the South could tend its own garden and would only react bitterly to Federal interference in "states' rights". But the plain fact was that much of the region, especially the Deep South, was incapable of doing so. The mess taking place since the war had proved it, and as close to home as Greenville, S.C., Monroe, Ga., and Jackson, N.C., where lynchings, or in the latter case, an attempted lynching avoided only by escape of the intended victim, had taken place without justice being accorded the known culprits. Added to that poor record were the efforts in South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi to circumvent the Allwright Supreme Court decision of April, 1944, requiring that primary elections be open to all citizens in accordance with the right to vote afforded by the Fifteenth Amendment, by imposing a test, ironic in its premises, whereby a person had to satisfy the subjective determination of a registrar of voters that sufficient knowledge of the Constitution was possessed to enable voting.

Living among this racist mess had caused some editorialists obviously to become accustomed to the foul odor produced, much as the legend has it that a frog becomes slowly accustomed to boiling water when the heat is turned up gradually.

And despite what any idiot at Wicked-pedia, trying to feign super-hipness, may contend, a "floogie bird", per the President's expressed explanation, was only a wooden toy, which, in turn, innocently derived from the name of the 1938 jazz number, made popular again in 1945, obviously referencing a swing dance, not any disease, you dirty-bird Moron. Heaven on high only knows what your garbage-pail, right-wing mind might conjure as the "true and hip" meaning of the Twist and the Watusi. You reflect only your own mentality with such gleanings, Stupid. What matter might it make whether some idiotic casual listener to the tune may have, in fact, so thought its meaning, applying an elementary-school mentality to the matter, even in 1938? Does that make it true to its original intent in context, Flunkie?

"The South Takes Its Stand" finds the Southern revolt articulated by about 50 Democratic Congressmen of eleven Southern states, including North Carolina, to be a shot over the bow of President Truman, announcing in calm terms the seriousness of the Southern revolt should he continue to embrace the civil rights program he had proposed on Groundhog Day—perhaps not without intentional symbolic suggestion on his part.

The piece again promotes states' rights as a legitimate and articulate concept, opposing Federal "interference" with local matters, implying a kind of geographical notion of distribution of government influence, consistent with that championed by the Southern reactionaries. And it expresses hope that the movement of Southern Congressmen, in cooperation with the Southern Governors who had met February 9 near Tallahassee, would develop into a phenomenon going beyond the campaign of 1948, to establish a permanent organization to provide the region a "better definition of its aims, a clearer picture of its problems and more co-operative action in the progressive development of the South."

It would indeed provide definition of the South's aims and a clearer picture of its problems, at least mentally. And, as always, when we reference "the South", we mean not to include all parts, all places, or all of its inhabitants. We speak of it in the same manner the editorial does in this instance, that reactionary part of the South, still rebelling against anything more modern than antebellum life, which, in the conventional Twentieth Century view of it, manifested out of ten-gallon romance novels and moompicters made from them, never existed anywhere, not even on Tara.

To what degree the piece is playing devil's advocate to obtain the ear of the devils, that they might be led to some slow recognition of that basic reality, is subject to question, and certainly the fact is within the realm of possibility. Any opinion ventured must also always be filtered through the idea that more than one editorialist was at work at The News, made obvious by conflicting opinions day to day on various topics, civil rights being one.

That concept of states' rights is founded on the Tenth Amendment and only applies to those rights not possessed by the Federal Government or the people, usually termed the "police powers", to look after the health, morals, safety and welfare of the people, hence the criminal codes and protective parts of the civil codes in all of the states. The Supremacy Clause, however, gives the Federal Government the right to enforce, through the Congress and the Executive Branch, all Federal laws and rights under the Constitution, including the abrogation of any state law which conflicts with any individual rights and liberties inherently or expressly recognized by the Constitution, the latter duty falling primarily, in absence of a Federal statute as in civil rights cases, to the Federal judicial branch.

States have never had the right to take away individual liberties at will or to pass laws in derogation of Federal laws and the rights of the people inherent in the Constitution and those specifically enumerated, including the rights of due process and equal protection of the laws extended to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified after the Civil War—save in the happenstance of political convenience amid Southern social hysteria and superstitious fears where Supreme Courts through time, and lower Federal courts, such as in the robber-baron era of the latter Nineteenth Century, abdicated their proper responsibility.

States' rights, therefore, is a concept often misunderstood, with that misconstruction being deliberately promulgated and maintained, for the sake of political appeal to crackerism, by Southern politicians of those earlier times, many of whom, as Strom Thurmond and, later, George Wallace, were lawyers and should have known better. The effort was to massage and confirm the mistaken conceptualization that states' rights coexist on an equal plane with Federal rights and that, therefore, it is merely a contest of wills as to which force wins in a given context—the Federals in Washington City or the States and Locals down heya a-fightin' the civil woa like grandpa done.

But that was never so, except in Cloud-Cuckoo Land where the birds won.

We might also add that when we say "the South" in this context, we include reactionaries from wherever they may come in the United States, whether from New York or California or points in between. The mentality is identified with a region only because of its origin and concentration through time in that region but is by no means confined to it, especially so in the highly mobile century last endured.

The main point to keep in mind is that "states' rights" is a concept in the Constitution having nothing to do with geographical boundaries per se. The Federal Government, in one form or another, exists in all places of the country, not co-existent with state and local governments but supreme thereto whenever there is a conflict in interpretation of law regarding individual rights and liberties or conflicts between states, among other things. And you cannot get rid of it without leaving the country. If one wishes to be rid of it, then that individual should exit on the nearest plane, boat, mule or elephant, realizing the subversive nature of the stance, not the patriotism which such individuals ascribe fancifully to themselves. That patriotism only consists of allegiance to a fascist mentality by which its adherents salute a flag which appears as the American flag but is in fact not so for its basis not being understood historically or, even in a rudimentary sense, legally. It is akin to trying to divine meaning from a book on an historical subject of which little is understood previously by looking only at the pictures.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Taft-Hartley Test Case", remarks on the test case of Philip Murray and CIO to the part of Taft-Hartley imposing criminal sanctions to ban political activity by labor organizations. The case arose from CIO endorsement in a union newspaper of a Baltimore County Congressional candidate the previous summer.

Some attorneys believed it might even be extended to prohibit endorsements of candidates by newspapers, pursuant to the Corrupt Practices Act banning such political activity by corporations.

The piece believes the provision violated free speech and thus that the test case of Mr. Murray would be salutary.

Drew Pearson tells of a move to shift the investigation of grain speculation from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Expenditures Committee for the purpose of preventing the shutdown of the investigation of Senator Elmer Thomas and his cotton and grain speculation through surrogates aided by his manipulation of prices through floor speeches since 1933. Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland was behind the effort to block the investigation. Senator Homer Ferguson, chairman of the subcommittee investigating the matter, remained adamant in the face of direct challenge by Senator Tydings. But Senator Tydings and other members of the Committee had been able to block $20,000 in appropriations for the subcommittee's work. In consequence, Senator Styles Bridges, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, was seeking to transfer the investigation to the Expenditures Committee, chaired by Senator George Aiken of Vermont.

J. Edgar Hoover had not found much disloyalty in his investigation of Government employees. Only 399 of 418,000 employees investigated had been found to have any hint of suspicious records. And in only eight cases had any actual disloyalty been shown. Twenty-five employees resigned during the investigation. The amount of actual disloyalty thus was minuscule.

Congressman Forrest Harness of Indiana had accused the Army of continuing to spend money, in violation of the law, for propaganda in favor of Universal Military Training, despite a report of the House Expenditures Committee the previous summer, critical of the Army for spending $50,000 of public money for such lobbying. Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall, who rose to the position from Undersecretary the previous July, claimed no knowledge of the lobbying effort. Mr. Pearson posits that in the position of Undersecretary, he should have possessed such knowledge.

Senator James Eastland of Mississippi and Congressman John Rankin of that state had organized a Southern boycott of the President's reception for Congressmen, based on the civil rights proposal.

A committee in New York was being organized in favor of the program. Its invitations had been extended to persons from entertainment, Irving Berlin and Bing Crosby, education, Harvard president Dr. James Conant, the publisher of Look, Mike Cowles, Bernard Baruch, Herbert Bayard Swope, General "Wild Bill" Donovan, Sumner Welles, John D. Rockefeller, and others.

General MacArthur had been cabling Washington nearly every week urging that America either abandon Korea or adopt a firm policy.

Congressman Wright Patman of Texas had introduced a bill to provide for Federal Government employees to learn through internships the workings of government.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop suggest a remarkable Administration policy behind the "singularly fraudulent" program proposed by the President to Congress to extend for one year 570 million dollars of aid to the Chiang Government in China to promote economic stability. Behind the proposal lay hidden the fact that it would take quite a lot more money over time to secure the Chiang Government and that the U.S. had neither the money nor the will to do the job. If the job were not completed, the Chinese Communists inevitably would take control of China.

They posit that the aid requested was tantamount to "Operation Rathole", despite strict conditions being attached to the commodities in which form the aid would be provided.

Most advisers, with the exception of General Wedemeyer, had not come to grips with past mistakes in the region, as the opening of the Burma Road, which gave away East China, undermined the Nationalist Government, and became worthless as a military highway within two weeks after it was opened. The role of the U.S. in the Chiang Government was so ineptly handled that twice anti-American elements were allowed to triumph.

The major aid provided China thus far consisted of 700 million dollars worth of Army surplus material, deemed not worth bringing home, and providing of transportation to the Chinese armies to Manchuria, not the billions some contended had been wasted.

But nevertheless, the present policy on China was susceptible of defense as the Communists in the North might not be able to hold the entire country once obtained. What was indefensible was the presentation of the U.S. policy to the public and the concealment of the inherent risks involved in the venture. Those risks included the provision of aid to the Chinese Communists by Russia, the need for prevention of Japanese trade with the China coast, and the notion that the U.S. would either need permanently to subsidize Japan or see it, of necessity, join the Soviet-Asiatic sphere. The risks added up to the potential of war in the Far East within a few years.

In fact, based on the domino theory, two wars would erupt in the region in the coming years, albeit contained within geographic boundaries rather than erupting into world war.

In hindsight, one might say that allowing China to fall to the Communists, as it would in 1949, was without consequence in the long haul, that allowing all of Vietnam to become communized was likewise without consequence, and, so, in all probability, would have been the case in Korea, without that war and maintenance of the 38th parallel since.

But hindsight is always 20-20, and the course of time has yet to be told to completion. May we hope that it will not be.

Yet, should the world, or any country within it, cynically determine that without war there can be no population and class control, no heroes provided to whom the people might look for inspiration to indulge in the next war and the next a generation hence, to afford some concrete meaning to the humdrum of daily existence in life's mill, then time and times are lost, not to bravery, but redundant self-fulfilling prophecy and its damnation of all, in a nuclear age, freighted with the inexorable consequence of being without return, no matter the end of the Cold War.

Samuel Grafton tells of being button-holed more than once, following the Bronx special election in which Leo Isacson, the American Labor Party candidate, had surprisingly won, and being asked whether America was going Communist. Many appeared fearful that revolution was in the air, that a flood was about to sweep the Bronx and the nation.

Bronx political boss Ed Flynn blamed the Communists and voter apathy of non-Communists for the loss. But rather the results showed that Boss Flynn and the Democratic Party were weak. The country could not endure jettisoning price control to the point that consumers could not afford basic necessities without higher wages, then pass Taft-Hartley to restrict unions, and also flood the country with war talk without a reaction somewhere within the electorate. Without that reaction, the country would appear as Germany, not America.

The people objected to the problems dropped in their laps postwar and, while there were other factors at work such as Palestine and the fact that it had involved a special interim election to fill a seat of a deceased Congressman, the Bronx demonstrated that premise.

The crisis of both major parties was one of smugness. The President had done little more than make sincere statements against high prices and Taft-Hartley, but had not gone further. That the Communists supported the ALP was of no moment to the people, any more than the support given the opposition by Mrs. Roosevelt and Mayor William O'Dwyer. They were interested in the candidates as individuals and their stances, rather than labels.

Moreover, the glee expressed by Republicans at seeing the Democrats in such disarray was opera bouffe, a triumph in myopia.

A letter writer thinks that the Marshall Plan would have no chance of success as long as the Truman Doctrine, providing military aid to Greece and Turkey, remained extant.

Parenthetically, he appears to misinterpret the meaning of the doctrine as being "on the statute books". There was no statute per se enacting the Truman Doctrine, merely the legislation appropriating the 400 million dollars in spring 1947 to the two countries. Properly, he means the concept of the Truman Doctrine, lending military aid to countries to thwart Soviet expansion, as opposed purely to the type of aid contemplated by the Marshall Plan, for self-determined rebuilding of the economies of the recipient nations, utilizing their own resources to the extent available to supplement the aid, even if the ultimate goal, as applied to the 16 Western European nations who signed onto the Plan, was essentially the same in terms of preventing Communism from gaining any inroads. It was also true that as originally conceived, the Soviet-bloc nations were offered the aid and declined it, though a few, as Czechoslovakia, had wanted to accept it, until pressured by Moscow not to do so.

He favors bringing Russia into the circle of recipient nations and that to do so would first require renouncing the Truman Doctrine. Without explaining how or why, he thinks the Marshall Plan aid to be appropriated could thus be reduced to two billion dollars.

You could as easily say $1.53. Fill 'er up and be done with it. Off you go down the road.

A letter writer from New York tells of the high taxes paid by each individual, provides a detailed table showing that of $1,900 in earnings, $824 went to taxes of all types, including the "hidden taxes" added by business to the cost of items to compensate for the taxes on business and raw materials.

He wants less or more of something, not being entirely clear as to what of what.


Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.