The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 22, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that near Tel Aviv, Israeli troops battled against Irgun troops along the beaches with about 40 persons killed or injured, as civil war threatened. The fighting erupted over the attempt of Irgun members to land an LST at Natanya, 18 miles north of Tel Aviv, loaded with 600 tons of arms for defense of Jerusalem, a violation of the four-week truce, causing the Israeli regular forces to open fire to prevent the violation after Irgun troops began firing to effect the landing. The landing craft, after catching fire, was taken into custody by the Israelis and grounded near U.N. headquarters. Irgun forces surrendered but Irgun threatened a "blood battle between Jews" unless the attacks on Irgun troops ceased. Irgun had been fighting with the regular Israeli Army during the conflict with the Arabs prior to the temporary truce.

In Berlin, high Russian officials met with Western officials in the Allied Control Council for the first time in three months, regarding a plan for currency reform and East-West trade continuity in the four sectors of Germany. The Russians had been refusing to meet since March 20. Britain and France had devalued currency over the weekend to curb inflation in the black market. The Russians claimed that marks, worthless in the Western sectors, were arriving in Berlin, with the design of wrecking the economy by the purchase of goods in the city by American and British officers, reports denied by the Americans and British. The Russians wanted only their new currency circulated in Berlin.

In Kozane, Greece, the 15th Division of the Second Army of Greece had cut off a guerrilla escape route into Albania in the area of Mount Grammos, between the Aliakmon and Sarandaporos Rivers, southwest of Nestion. The Second, Eighth, and Tenth Divisions entered the fighting, and the Ninth Division was moving up from Konitsa apparently to try to seal off the Albanian border.

In New York, more than 200 Protestant clergymen protested the draft legislation just passed by the Congress, urging young men not to register for it, the first peacetime draft in the country's history. Signers included Dr. Edwin McNeill Poteat of Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, son of the former president of Furman and nephew to William Louis Poteat, deceased president of Wake Forest College.

In Washington, a conscientious objector chained himself to a banister in the White House to protest the draft. The Secret Service released him and took him to their headquarters for questioning. He had recently been released from Federal prison after a three-year term for draft evasion during the war.

The Federal District Court authorized payment of $100 per month to certain retired coal miners from the UMW welfare and pension fund, pursuant to a May settlement, held up by a lawsuit claiming that the settlement was illegal. The same Judge made the ruling who had previously held John L. Lewis in contempt on two occasions, the previous April and in 1947, for violating orders to end strikes.

The Republican convention in Philadelphia heard rousing speeches against the Democrats, but there was still no clear indication of which candidate ultimately would have the majority for the nomination. The Dewey, Taft, and Stassen camps showed no signs of budging and the delegates committed to favorite son candidates were waiting to see what would happen with the three leaders.

The platform committee completed its work, pledging internationalism and foreign aid with due regard to the country's economic welfare, consistent with the policy formulated in Congress by Senator Vandenberg, elimination of the unilateral Big Five veto on the Security Council at the U.N. on matters involving peaceful settlement of disputes, support of Israel with economic aid, a potent military and a civil rights program, consisting of an anti-lynching law, a ban of the poll tax and a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission. The 2,400 word document was the shortest platform in party history.

This night, former President Herbert Hoover would address the delegates following a speech by Speaker Joe Martin. After those and other speeches, the names of candidates would be placed in nomination.

North Carolina delegates to the convention believed that only Governor Stassen had the organization to throw his delegates to Senator Vandenberg or another dark horse to break a convention deadlock between Governor Dewey and Senator Taft.

In Concord, N.C., four juveniles, ages 14 to 16, were bound over by a Federal Magistrate for trial in Federal District Court on mail theft, consisting of $44,000 worth of checks. They had cashed eight of the checks for several hundred dollars and taken a trip on the proceeds to Myrtle Beach, Salisbury, and Charlotte.

In Myrtle Beach, theater owners of the Carolinas concluded a two-day convention.

We hope that they saw a lot of good movies.

On the editorial page, "It's the Soviet Razzle-Dazzle" finds it difficult to keep up with the Soviet peace offensive, the war of nerves in Germany, Communist advances in Asia and Communist penetration into Latin America, all at the same time. It appeared that the Russians were working for an end to the cold war while also seeking to extend their sphere of influence.

While tension had lessened in Greece, it remained high generally throughout Europe because of the East-West conflict over Germany. In Berlin, the Soviets were using the dual strategies of provocation and conciliation, creating confusion as to their intent. The recent inspection of rail traffic into Berlin was signal of a campaign to oust the West from the city. Yet, the Russians offered the pretext of keeping German marks, not traded in the Western zones, from entering the city where they could be exchanged, to prevent ruination of the economy.

The Germans might well question the Western objection to these moves, especially as the West had recently agreed to the establishment of a separate Western provisional government, albeit at the same time inviting Russia to join the Eastern zone in that compact. The Russians might welcome the division of Germany as a diversion in the cold war. Indeed, the Soviet policy may have been subtly aiming toward this end, so to occupy the West in Germany as to cause inattention in other areas so that ultimately a settlement might be effected which would be beneficial to Russia. The German situation also permitted Russia to ease its pressure on other geographical points, to the same end.

"Burma Looks to the Kremlin" finds Burma, led by Marxist Premier Thakin Nu, gravitating toward Russia and away from Britain, until recent times, its colonial overlord. The Soviets had also made inroads in Malaya and Siam. It was especially troubling because no Russian troops had served in the China-Burma-India theater of operations during the war as liberating allies. Only the British and Americans had so performed.

The Burmese situation conveyed the notion that American aid and military advisers could not, alone, win the cold war for democracy. Russia was winning in Burma only with an ideology, because the West had failed to convince the Burmese that they could do better by themselves by joining the Western democracies. Burma stood therefore as an example of how not to conduct the cold war.

"Martial Tone in GOP Keynote" finds the main themes of Governor Dwight Green's keynote address and Clare Boothe Luce's convention speech to be Republicanism versus Communism, with no mention of peace on earth and good will among men. The emphasis in the battle against Communism was use of force. Governor Green slighted the U.N. and rejected all compromise. He favored a strong defense and a draft. The rhetoric gave pause to consider how long the Republicans, if they achieved total power, would be content to fight the cold war on a plane of diplomacy and rebuilding of war-broken economies.

Mr. Green had undercut the bipartisan foreign policy supported by his own party, led by Senator Vandenberg. The Republicans had equal responsibility for the policy's failings thus far. But Mr. Green wanted to trace the problem back to FDR's supposed appeasement of Stalin at Yalta in February, 1945 and at Tehran in November, 1943. But the record showed that the problems arose after repudiation of the Roosevelt policy, with the Truman Administration following a middle course between appeasement and war. The Republican keynote address appeared to favor moving the balance decisively toward war.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until 1943, tells of being accused by certain authorities in Central America of being misinformed, after having warned in a column three weeks earlier of brewing trouble in the Caribbean. But the fact remained that the Soviets were using time-worn tactics to infiltrate Latin America, but with greater effect than in the past. A breakdown of constitutional process in the Caribbean was taking place at a time when unity in the Americas was necessary for collective security against the threat of Soviet expansion.

The recent coup in Costa Rica had been brought about by both Communists and active former Nazi agents within the Government, deported by the U.S. at the end of the war from stateside detention camps. Some of the Latin American governments were supporting the new Figueres regime.

The Guatemalan Foreign Minister had protested against Mr. Welles's previous column, saying that the interest of his Government in Costa Rica's new regime was not unusual, as it involved a neighbor in Central America. While Mr. Welles agrees in one sense, he questions the type of "interest" Guatemala had. For most of the munitions used in the coup came from Guatemala.

He finds the Guatemalan interference with a sovereign neighbor to be destabilizing of inter-American cooperation, accentuated by other signs of deterioration of relations in the Caribbean, corrosive of the recently formed OAS.

Encouragement of agricultural diversification, industrialization, and raising of the standard of living was the only policy conducive to progress in the region. And to achieve it required the cooperation of the U.S.

Drew Pearson, in Philadelphia, tells of the Republican Party always having courted the notion of breaking the solid South, but having nevertheless traditionally treated the Southern delegations with insouciance when it came to nominating a presidential candidate, trading them back and forth as pawns. In 1928, Herbert Hoover's literal purchase of some Southern delegates was so bad as to trigger a Senate investigation. Testimony showed that in at least two instances, Southern black delegates had been paid over $2,000 apiece to vote for Mr. Hoover. One of those delegates was still active and was for Senator Taft in 1948. Mr. Taft had given the delegate's son a job in the Senate post office.

Governor Dewey controlled a nearly equal part of the Southern delegations and so a furious battle was being waged for Southern support as the delegations might determine the nominee.

He reprints some leaves from the notebook of Senator Taft's managers on how to handle particular delegates to attract their support.

Joseph and Stewart Alsop, in Philadelphia, tell of the Republican convention, with the internationalists of the Vandenberg wing pitted against the isolationists. A victory by the latter wing, nominating Senator Taft, Speaker Joe Martin or even Senator John W. Bricker, was not out of the question.

There was also still present idle talk of drafting General Eisenhower.

If the Democrats were to nominate the President and the Republicans an isolationist, then the election of an isolationist could occur. General Eisenhower had remained silent when the White House asked him to remove himself from consideration by the Democrats after Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., announced that he favored him for the Democratic nomination in April. The reasoning at the time was that, with the Italian elections pending on April 18, an appearance of unity was necessary to present to the world. The Alsops posit that the General remained quiet, however, because he believed that removing himself from consideration would cause the Republicans to nominate an isolationist, imperiling the continued viability of ERP in such an administration.

The President had less than 250 firmly committed delegates going into the Democratic convention. Several delegations outside the South, as Minnesota, had refused to commit to him. Several delegations were going to abstain if General Eisenhower's name would be placed in nomination with any assurance of his acceptance. The only circumstance which might prompt him to accept would be the Republican nomination of an isolationist. For then the Democratic pressure would be enormous for him to take the nomination. His acceptance under such conditions would, they venture, become a fifty-fifty proposition.

Probably going to be Taft versus Eisenhower. Place your bets.

Doris Fleeson, in Philadelphia, also looks at the GOP convention, finds that the Taft and Dewey efforts to obtain delegates had tied the favorite son delegations that much tighter. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, and Indiana, among others, were eyeing each other with growing suspicion rather than being suggestive of a bandwagon mentality in one direction. Some of the favorite son delegates were considering bolting to Governor Dewey.

The keynote speaker, Governor Green of Illinois, and former Congresswoman Luce had held the attention of the convention before television cameras, in the first political convention ever to be so broadcast—albeit capable of being received in very few homes. Governor Green hoped that he might garner the vice-presidential nomination and, with that in mind, had carefully charted a moderate course, acceptable to Senator Vandenberg while also not offensive to conservatives.

Col. Bertie McCormick of the Chicago Tribune favored a Taft-Stassen ticket, which had stilled the movement for Governor Green in the second spot.

Ms. Luce gave a better speech than the keynote, attacking Democrats and New Dealers, Henry Wallace and Communism, without much differentiation between the latter. She implied that these dark forces, in combination, were condemning unborn children to death in a nuclear holocaust.

"The gentlewoman from Connecticut always has managed to make other women look as if they hadn't quite finished dressing and she did not let down her public in that department store either."

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its support of the Kids' Kampaign.

A Quote of the Day: "Often when a reporter puts a question to a politician and he replies, 'No comment', his real meaning is that he is suffering from a shortage of ideas." —Charleston News and Courier

Now that South Carolina appears poised finally to emerge from the Nineteenth Century and remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of its State Capitol, it can undertake the decisive step which would finally help to stem this routine massacre we endure as a nation about every six months or so, the banning of sale of handguns and possession of one outside the home, under penalty of a felony carrying a potential sentence of 25 years in prison for mere possession. Zero tolerance of handguns and assault weapons is the only way to stop the continuing parade of Wild West gun violence in the 21st Century. The facts are a disgrace to any democracy, to any developed nation, indeed, even to the Wild West, which at least had its countervailing vigilante and instant hanging justice to deal with the gun nuts in their midst.

Handguns and assault weapons are not going to protect you or your family from an intruder or armed violence in public. The assailant always has the advantage because he or she has planned the violence deliberately to catch the victim or victims off guard. The only way to protect yourself and your family, if you care at all about them, is to stop playing a movie hero or heroine like an idiot, get rid of the guns that you may own and do not ever purchase one. As we know, the individual who killed the elementary school children in Connecticut in December, 2012 surreptitiously obtained the gun at home from his mother who had bought it for her protection, before he killed her with it.

Handguns and assault weapons of any type have one purpose, to kill or seriously injure human beings. They are not for hunting, and all that baloney goes by the boards when it comes to this sort of firearm. They are for ignorant fools who do not think and, sooner or later, will become the instruments of their own destruction. Pop stars and fools on talk shows be damned when they advocate guns under the pretext of the Second Amendment, which, obviously, they have never bothered to read or consider. If you want handguns or assault weapons, move to Latin America where you can have a field day, until someone with more firepower takes a pot shot at you and blows your head "clean off", just like in the movies.

We are fed up with gun violence. Almost every day we are asked by the media to be in mourning for some unknown American we never met. That is an absurdity. It is diminishing of the national spirit and ultimately, by repetition, desensitizes human beings to one another, rendering tragedy nearly a perverse joke in the very frequency the tragic scene is repeated. Get rid of the handguns and assault weapons.

Talk of tougher gun registration laws is useless. We have had gun laws in the country, in one form or another, since 1968, in the wake of the two assassinations of that year. The only way to end the epidemic of gun violence is to ban handguns from sale or possession outside the home and institute a complete ban on assault weapons, with mandatory prison sentences for violation.

This society has taken a zero-tolerance attitude toward drugs and impaired operation of automobiles for the last 35 years, with stiff sentences and confiscation of property for violation. Why have we not done so with respect to handguns and assault weapons?

You cannot kill several people at once with a knife or blunt instrument. And knives, other than dirks and daggers already made unlawful, and blunt instruments of various kinds have utilitarian purposes, are not intended as weapons. There is no utility to a handgun or an assault weapon. The only persons with any business with these instruments of death are law enforcement officers and active duty military personnel, i.e., the "well-regulated militia", as the Founders meant the phrase.

The simple answer as to why we have not banned these useless death devices is the N.R.A. and its lobby, welding palms of politicians, interested only in perpetuating their own political hides, with filthy lucre in the form of campaign donations. To hell with that and to hell with their crocodile tears every time one of these tragedies occurs. We recommend voting any politician out of office if he or she dares to advocate "gun rights" and does not advocate an absolute ban on handguns and assault weapons.

Guns of any type have no recognized utility in the 21st Century, have not since the 19th Century. We are not, and have not been since before 1900, a hunter-gatherer society, not even in the remotest regions of the country. Supermarkets abound.

Those who advocate gun ownership have blood on their hands and are aiders and abettors to the type of mass violence which took place this past week in Charleston. Those who so publicly and adamantly advocate "gun rights" ought be prosecuted for aiding and abetting such gun violence.

Don't talk self-righteously about racism and the Confederate flag if you advocate guns. That is to avoid the ultimate issue and dwell on ephemera concocted, in this instance, by the man-boy who did the violence. Racists target specific individuals for perceived specific acts, as in lynching, do not usually engage in indiscriminate violence of this type. By dwelling on these self-promoted aspects of the individual's persona, he is glorified in his own self-immersed image, carefully created and scripted recently for public consumption after the fact. A racist persona and the Confederate flag were just the self-brainwashing excuses, by way of indirection away from himself, of a young individual who had obviously lost touch with all reality, had lost all meaning in life, who was seeking ultimately only to kill himself, and resorted to the rationale which nearly all of the mass killers do, to provide themselves with the inescapable excuse, by killing first others, to overcome finally the survival instinct and commit suicide. In this instance, the man-boy failed in his ultimate "mission", to kill himself. As a witness recounted, he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger but was out of bullets, having exhausted them on his nine victims.

Ironically, a person who might have helped him find the self-worth he needed to reverse his downward spiral in life, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who had invited him into the prayer circle an hour before he opened fire, wound up one of those nine victims.

The man-boy with the gun appears to have been living out a movie of some description, one in which he was the vainglorious character set to eliminate himself in some twisted final act of self-martyrdom, of self-immolation, while leaving one witness alive to tell the story. In the end, racist verbiage in his "manifesto" and racist comments at the scene were merely part of his recently adopted escape vehicle, a persona, a myth he created deliberately, a role as in a movie—but obviously not one which he had lived, by all accounts of those close to him, including that of his close black friend. Racism does not develop in a period of six months out of the ether. When it becomes violent, it is evident as a driving animus for a long period of time, a way of life, as with the Klan.

This note, however, is not about the man-boy per se, but rather regards the need for absolute bans of handguns and assault weapons and getting over the Wild West mentality, which, in actuality, was never as violent as present-day America, was primarily about pioneering and establishing new lives in the West apart from Eastern conventions of the day. The rest is largely Hollywood fable for mass entertainment. The gunfighters were notorious because they were few and far between, as were the towns, as were the people, adrift in a sea of prairies.

So, South Carolina, do something now which will be lasting, bold and creative for the memory of the nine innocent people who lost their earthly lives in peaceful worship last week in Charleston at the historic church on ground where, in 1820, a slave rebellion took place. Pass the toughest, meanest gun law the United States has ever seen. Begin to free us thereby from the tyranny and shackles of the gun. The potential of gun violence in any public place attacks everyone's sense of well-being and renders all of us subconsciously suspicious of nearly everyone else, while subtly chilling free speech and interchange of ideas in the process, certainly chilling of active, intelligent debate. Set the example in the state where the last fatal legal gun duel in the country was fought, July 5, 1880, and do thereby a true service to the nation. The rest will follow that example.

We read that Walmart, in the wake of the Charleston tragedy, has decided to stop carrying all representations of the Confederate flag. Why not, Walmart, do something much more honoring of these dead and ban from your store shelves, once and for all, in all your stores this time, the instruments which took their lives, guns and ammunition?

It is not interesting or funny to be a character who stepped out of the Wild West, replete with guns. That is for the movies, an edited, scripted entertainment and escape, where the "dead" get up and live for another role in another movie. It is patently stupid in reality to try to live it. How many actors and actresses have ever acted out those movie roles in reality and shot up the place?

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