Saturday, June 24, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 24, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of British motor torpedo boats having prevented during the night an attempted escape by the Germans from Cherbourg, sinking two and damaging three of seven merchant ships.

The Army meanwhile moved to within 2,000 yards of the port, driving to the railroad southeast of Octeville, itself southwest of Cherbourg. Twelve hundred German prisoners had been captured during the previous 24 hours. The Germans now were in a do or die situation with their officers literally said to be holding guns at their backs forcing them to fight or be killed. Fighting proceeded pillbox by pillbox, preceded by Allied artillery fire in each case.

The earlier reports of Wednesday that the Americans had reached to within 1,500 yards of the harbor at Cherbourg appeared to have been either erroneous or pertained only to patrols.

On the eastern part of the front, the British had knocked out twenty of thirty-five German tanks in a day-long battle east of the Orne River, one of the greatest defeats thus far for the Germans since D-Day. The British consolidated their hold on Ste. Honoring La Chardonnerette, four miles southeast of Caen, won at 5:00 a.m. the previous day. The Germans fell back to Caverville.

American bombers again attacked both the Cherbourg Peninsula, losing no planes, as the American troops were forced to withdraw some distance to accommodate the operations.

The RAF flew nighttime raids 250 miles south of Normandy and at Saintes, north of Bordeaux, at Limoges, as well as attacking Pas-de-Calais.

More V-1's hit England during the night, coming in larger groups than previously, though more sporadic.

In Italy, the Fifth Army, against strong resistance, took Roccastrada on Highway 73, while another column advanced further toward Follonica on Highway 1. The Germans were making a strong stand against the Eighth Army in Central Italy, east and west of Lake Trasimeno. The Germans had regained Chiusi, nine miles southwest of Lake Trasimeno. Along the west coast, the Eighth Army was driving toward Camerino and Macerata.

The French, fighting east of the American lines, had reached a point north of Castiglione DíOrcia, seventeen miles west of Chiusi.

On the Adriatic front, the Eighth Army had captured San Elpedro.

In Russia, the Red Army had moved to within 75 miles of the Latvian border, as they fought through swollen streams and mud northwest of Vitebsk, advancing toward Polotsk, 32 miles away, appearing to outflank in the process Vitebsk.

A follow-up report on the Naval engagement in the Pacific, east of the Philippines, indicated that a 28,000-ton carrier of the Shokaku class had probably been sunk on Sunday, in addition to the reported 19-ton carrier sunk Monday with the other 13 ships sent to the bottom.

Congress recessed for five weeks so that members could attend the Republican Convention of the following week and the Democratic Convention beginning July 19, both taking place in Chicago.

Wendell Willkie refused to endorse statements made publicly by Russell Davenport, his campaign coordinator in 1940, indicating that he intended not to support the Republican nominee if he should turn out to be Thomas Dewey.

Tornadoes plowing through western Pennsylvania and West Virginia had killed 133 people.

On the editorial page, "Doughboy" takes note of a Senate bill to provide infantrymen a $5 bonus after the war if they were entitled to wear the expert infantryman badge and $10 if they wore the combat infantryman badge. After all of the many debates at the start of the war as to whether to stress production of the new miracle weapons of war, the airplane, the tank, the anti-tank guns, the battlewagons, finally it all had come back around to a recognition that the war would finally be won or lost, as with all previous wars, by the guts and tenacity of the infantrymen grinding out turf yard by yard against the enemy.

"The Choice" posits as entirely appropriate Nebraska Senator Wherry's reflection back to a statement by Secretary of State Cordell Hull from November 1, 1938. Secretary Hull had then set forth two alternative paths for the world to follow, as it stood at what he perceived then to be the crossroads: one was the path of increasing armament and self-defense at the cost of decreasing liberty until a disastrous world war resulted; the other was the pursuit of peaceful ends to avoid war through establishment of international law and the means to enforce it.

The statement, says the editorial, still proved applicable and the proper choice was obviously the latter road.

"Deadlock" reports of a decision by one Chester Lake, a field representative for the Rural Electrification Administration, to undertake a fast until such time as politics was eliminated from the agency and its ideal goal of insuring the farmers' welfare restored.

The piece expresses hope that Mr. Lake would desist from his Gandhiesque venture, lest he wind up dead. For he would inevitably not see his goal effected, so endemic to the processes of government bureaucracy generally were these notions of politics and political patronage.

Moreover, it hopes that the movement would not prove infecting of Congress, impacting adversely thereby more pressing matters of international import.

"A Creed" praises the award to the Anderson, S.C., Daily Mail and Independent from the National Editorial Association for greatest newspaper community service. The piece finds the statement of the newspapers' publisher in accepting the award to be especially noteworthy, that the newspapers had placed "duty to serve humanity" above all motive for profit. It was a creed, offers the editorial, to be followed by all newspapers.

John A. Moroso, III, relates a couple of stories from the Navy in Britain. He tells of a new captain, too eager to obey orders to get underway immediately, ordering full throttle ahead, only to realize that the ship was still moored by its lines. He then ordered full speed astern, promptly backing into another ship, at which point the captainís frustrated inquiry became whether the ship possessed a neutral gear.

Dorothy Thompson discusses an article by Stefan D. Possony, writing in the Review of Politics, a quarterly journal published by Notre Dame, arguing that neither multilateral nor unilateral disarmament was a preferable condition after the war.

Since no one favored multilateral disarmament, Ms. Thompson confines herself to the question of unilateral disarmament and its consequences which would follow should the path be pursued with respect to Germany. She agrees with the article that to do so would create a dangerous condition in Europe, whereby surrounding countries, especially Russia, would be tempted to exert aggression against Germany, that complete disarmament would thus work as a nuisance to the rest of Europe. The way to peace, she argues, would be through mutual security effected for all nations.

Marquis Childs examines the Democratic focus on Thomas Dewey, putative nominee of the Republicans for the presidency, and finds the central issue to be his faithfulness to pledges. He had assured the voters of New York during his 1942 campaign for Governor that he would fulfill his four-year term and not run for any other office in the meantime. He also eschewed the idea of a party draft as being unlikely. His having turned the reins of government in Albany for the time being over to his lieutenant governor had also prompted questions of the lieutenant governor's fitness for the job.

Mr. Childs predicts that, meanwhile, the Democrats would proceed by party chair Bob Hannegan informing the President, after Dewey's nomination, that the convention was prepared to draft him for a fourth term, and that the President, in the national interest, would then accede to his party's demands, that process being to avoid the spectacle of a convention draft which had appeared as phony in 1940.

Drew Pearson looks at Governor Dewey's determination to become educated in matters military and on foreign affairs. He had spoken recently with a Navy Commander, Walter Ebert, who favored better cooperation between the Army and Navy, that the rivalry had undercut efficiency in operations. Governor Dewey then called up Henry Luce to arrange an interview for publication in Time.

In his effort to become knowledgeable of foreign affairs, the Governor had read widely on matters but apparently not widely enough. For at a luncheon, seated beside the Brazilian consul, he made the glaring error of referring to Brazil as a Spanish-speaking country, not realizing that Brazil prided itself on being the only Latin American country to speak Portuguese. Then, while that stumble was passed over by the consul, Governor Dewey compounded his error by suggesting that Brazil in the future, by its being surrounded by Spanish neighbors, would be assimilated. Brazilians had for 400 years stubbornly defended their culture, and being by far the largest country in physical geography in Latin America, larger than the United States, it was not planning to be changed by its neighbors.

Finally, Mr. Pearson observes that the upcoming primary in North Dakota, pitting longtime Senator Gerald P. Nye, an embattled isolationist, against Congressman Usher Burdick, would be seen as a test for isolationism. But, in earlier days, Senator Nye had been a brash young fighter for such worthy causes as exposing the munitions manufacturers' efforts to foment war to feather their own nests, the Electric Boat Company for selling submarine patents to Japan as early as 1912, and other companies who had sold military secrets to potential enemies. He had even introduced legislation to lift the embargo on weapons to Spain, which would have aided the Loyalists in their resistance to Franco and the Insurgents, but received no support from the Roosevelt Administration.

Senator Nye's story, says Mr. Pearson, was one repeated often in Congress, of a Senator who had come with energy and good intentions but stayed too long and got too used to the perquisites of office, forgetting the constituents back home and what ordinary life was like.

Samuel Grafton addresses the courting by the Republicans of Wendell Willkie, as a test case to determine whether the party could accommodate a moderate-liberal voice, or whether it would break out in a "strawberry rash". It needed to be able not only to accept strawberries, but eggs, watermelons, and pickles, as well, says Mr. Grafton.

Mr. Willkie had polled 22 million votes in 1940, more than any other Republican candidate in history, and presumably could provide much needed support from among independents, especially in urban areas where the Republicans were weakest. If he were able through his endorsement of Thomas Dewey to provide only two million of the votes he had received in 1940, it might conceivably make the difference among the states.

But attracting his endorsement had to be accomplished by true assimilation of his ideas into the party and the candidacy of its nominee.

More strawberries, eggs, watermelons, and pickles for the Republicans.

We trust that they would not be consumed all in one meal lest there be considerable heartburn resulting.

And, Dorman Smith must have had his crystal ball this day in operation, tuned on the dial to 67 years down the road.

Given the editorial of June 16, "Discrepancy", treating with a wave of the hand, not even a raised eyebrow, an apparent campaign finance regulation violation by successful gubernatorial candidate Gregg Cherry in failing apparently to disclose all expenses of the campaign as required by law, we were musing about the indictment against former Senator John Edwards.

The charges seem to be somewhat confused in the minds of the press and thus, in all likelihood, in the minds of the public. We keep reading and hearing, for instance, that he has been indicted for "false statements", juxtaposed to the notion of false statements made in the tv interviews about sex. No one may be charged with a crime for "false statements" unless those statements either are the means by which criminal fraud is accomplished, are perjurious, that is to say are both material and stated in the context of a legal proceeding, or are made pursuant to some other duty of disclosure required by law. False statements made in tv interviews are not criminally actionable.

The indictment contains six counts: the first is an allegation of conspiracy to receive individual campaign contributions in excess of the legal limits and to conceal from the John Edwards for President Committee the fact and nature of these payments, causing the filing by the Committee of false campaign finance disclosure statements; the second through fifth counts are the direct allegations of campaign finance limit violations, that payments in excess of $25,000 in the aggregate were made by persons "C", a political supporter in 2004, and "D", finance chairman of the campaign for the 2008 election cycle, to each of "A", the campaign aide, Andrew Young, and "B", the woman of the affair, Rielle Hunter, all for the benefit of the campaign, one count each relating to payments made by "C" and "D" for each year, 2007 and 2008; the sixth count alleges false campaign finance statements in that these payments alleged under counts two through five were not included in the required Federal disclosures. The latter is the sole basis for "false statements".

Thus, it should be borne in mind that lying about sex is not the object of this indictment, as is starting to be believed by those who make judgments based on stupid people on the networks who listen to their own heads rattle from parts of their anatomy which do not show but are apparent everyday. If any dumb blonde on tv suggests differently, then that person is lying and, by their own standards, ought be indicted to be taught a lesson, if nothing else.

If every candidate whoever told a lie in a political campaign were indicted, there would, we posit, be few left outside the jails. The last President would be in jail ten times over. Be careful, therefore, what you wish for, Mr. and Ms. Republican.

Nor is the case about "hush money", as suggested by the dolts and dissemblers of the media. The money paid to Ms. Hunter, even if "hush money", is not criminal, any more than settling a lawsuit before the lawsuit is filed would be deemed criminal. To call that hush money is to equate with criminality the action of every lawyer who has ever handled a civil suit for a defendant and settled it, by the fact of arranging in conspiratorial fashion with his or her client to pay money to the potential plaintiff and, by the fact of routine clauses in settlement agreements insuring confidentiality of the terms, paying "hush money". To call that criminal is ludicrous, of course. Indict every lawyer who has ever represented a defendant in a civil case if it is. We have not, and therefore you may exclude us.

Moreover, by the indictment, $175,000 of the $200,000 allegedly disbursed by person "D", the campaign finance chairman, was distributed to both Mr. Young, person "A", and to Ms. Hunter, person "B", to pay for travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and an apartment in San Diego. The indictment alleges this money to have been payments to maintain both Mr. Young and Ms. Hunter in a locale away from the media. That reasoning is so fallacious as to be laughable. Is San Diego not accessible to the American media? Mr. Young and Ms. Hunter should rather have been secreted away in a little shack somewhere in the forests around Lizard Lick, or deep in the rain forests of Brazil, if they were to be shielded in some manner from the media. To say the least, such allegations bespeak provinciality, if not downright stupidity on the part of the drafters of this interesting piece of literature.

The first legal question in the John Edwards case is whether the payments made, amounting to $925,000, the bulk of which, totaling $725,000, were made by "C", a wealthy woman who, by the indictment, offered to pay any form of personal expenses of John Edwards, as campaign contributions or were simply payments, similar to an out of court settlement of a lawsuit, made on behalf of John Edwards personally and would have been made regardless of the campaign. The indictment itself, and the laws on which it is based, so distinguish and except such payments from the ambit of campaign finance regulations.

Answer that first question in the negative, that the payments were not for the campaign, and John Edwards is not guilty on any of the six counts, all being premised on that single notion, that the payments were contributions to the campaign, in excess of the legal limits for individual campaign contributions.

We shall not presuppose the evidence at this juncture to assess how one goes about determining the answer to that question. The indictment contains some hints, hints which to our mind cut either way. It appears that "C" was intending to help John Edwards because of friendship. But, whether or not she expected political favors should he be elected remains for now, until the evidence might be marshaled, in the realm of speculation. The prosecution, we venture, has an uphill climb to show beyond a reasonable doubt, as must be the case for conviction, that these payments were made for the purpose of contributions to the campaign as distinct from personal gifts on behalf of John Edwards made out of friendship to him, despite the large sum of money expended. Questions of "C"'s net worth versus $725,000, her personal relationship with Senator Edwards, etc., may be questions answered or not by the evidence, once marshaled on each side. It is in that category of evidence on which may turn the ultimate determination of the answer to this critical question of whether the funds were campaign contributions or personal gifts provided to a third person on behalf of Senator Edwards.

As to the contributions made by "D", the finance chair of the campaign, it is not clear from the indictment from where these contributions totaling $200,000 ultimately derived, whether from a personal account or other private sources similar to "C" or whether from the campaign treasury, certainly problematic if so, but not dispositive of the matter, as knowledge of Senator Edwards of the disbursements would still have to be shown.

It is important to the sanctity of our society--run amok with trash tabloid news, the initial source of this tawdry story, none of our business, and a story we did not wish to hear from the National Enquirer or any other tawdry media outlet which subsequently dealt with it over the years since it first surfaced in the fall of 2007--to bear in mind that this criminal case against Senator Edwards has absolutely nothing to do with sex, lying about sex, or hush money being paid to cover up an extramarital affair, a child born out of wedlock, etc., etc.

That is so, notwithstanding the indictment's statement of purpose of the conspiracy being that it sought to cover up the fact of the extramarital affair because of Senator Edwardsís alleged campaign theme of standing for family values. That statement appears as surplussage in the indictment and not a necessary component of proof of the conspiracy count. Motive for crime is never an essential element of any offense, though evidence of it may be introduced by the prosecution to try to strengthen its case. That and politics are the only conceivable reasons for that statement in the indictment. But, it also serves substantially to cloud and confuse the gravamen of the charges, that these payments were reportable campaign contributions. That is the whole of the question posed by the charges, whether they were or were not campaign contributions, subject to the limits and reporting requirements.

Moreover, we do not recall Senator Edwards, any more so than any other candidate for high office, making family values an issue in the campaign. During the debates, for instance, he admitted to having smoked marijuana in college. That is not considered a family value in the traditional sense of the notion. He was not, as we recall it, among the pious right who hold up as sacrosanct the so-called "family values" issues, the flag, pro-life, pro-death penalty, etc., etc. (Some, we believe, would brand anyone over the age of consent not married as being unworthy to exist.) Indeed, he was a populist candidate, appealing to the center, but not on a "family values" platform in the sense that the rightwing of North Carolina and most other states hold out the case. It is why the "family values" adherents, for the most part, despised the candidacy of John Kerry and John Edwards in 2004 and the candidacy of John Edwards in 2008. For years, in North Carolina, long before the affair in question, the very mention of the name John Edwards among such people brought immediate negative reaction. "Oh, you mean Senator Gone?" It is why the likes of Rush Lamebrain called him the "Breck girl". John Edwards was not a "family values" candidate, contrary to the indictmentís manufactured statement of purpose.

That collateral issue of motive aside, the second major legal question in this matter which has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution is that Senator Edwards personally knew of the payments in question, as the statute, 2 USC 441(f), requires that the candidate received the excessive contributions "knowingly". If he did not, and they were simply arranged by campaign aides seeking to protect the Senator, then, despite the hypothetical answer to the first question being that they were campaign finance contributions, he is nevertheless not guilty, even though the persons responsible for the disbursements would be subject to the accusations.

The third question, which we pose, though in all likelihood it will not be deemed relevant under the rules of evidence in the case, is how does someone like Richard M. Nixon go to his grave without ever being indicted for manifold criminal offenses he plainly committed, including obstruction of justice for which he was impeached, and, in so doing, nearly destroy the country, while John Edwards, his political career already in ruins, suffers indictment for a matter which, whatever the case may be, did not involve interference with the public trust. He did not take bribes, for instance, as did Spiro Agnew.

One may respond that the money was paid to keep Ms. Hunter happy and quiet, and, assuming that to be the case in the first instance, and assuming he knew of it and did nothing to stop it or even encouraged it, the money therefore, being in furtherance of his political career, to keep the story out of the yellow press, should be regarded as a political campaign contribution regardless of subjective intent or claim of subjective intent by the contributors. Thus, he is guilty on all six counts, assuming the facts as indicated to be true. The amount of the money itself takes it out of the realm of speculation as to whether it was a campaign contribution or personal gift made on the Senator's behalf.

In rejoinder, we say again: it is not illegal to settle a lawsuit before it is filed. The law even encourages doing so, if at all possible, to keep matters from overburdening an already overburdened court system. That is not hush money, though the money is paid with a motive of keeping matters quiet to protect the defendant's reputation. It is done everyday and any defendant's lawyer, whether of an individual or corporation, who claims that such is not the case is a bloody liar. Indeed, it is appropriate in many states, including California, to settle criminal charges under what is known as a "civil compromise", approved by the prosecutor after the criminal charges have been filed, with the victim's consent.

What Richard Nixon and his pals did, by contrast, was to arrange for hush money, a million dollars in 1972, to be paid to burglars caught inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters, to inhibit actively an investigation by the FBI. He also sought direct intervention by the Director of the CIA to head off the FBI investigation on the premise that it would otherwise divulge the "Bay of Pigs thing".

Please explain that differentiation and distinction to the Blonde. Hush money paid to obstruct justice by inhibiting an investigation into any criminal matter is plainly illegal, an interference with a criminal investigation. Money paid to someone to keep them quiet about a matter which is not itself at all illegal but merely embarrassing, or even to settle a potential lawsuit, is not illegal. Consensual sex between adults, extramarital sex = not illegal. Breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters = illegal.

To moralize and suggest that Senator Edwards should not have had the affair and moreover should not have lied about the affair is to ignore the preliminary question: should the country preoccupy itself with such matters, residing in the private lives of political candidates? That is especially the case when the yellow press does not delve into the private matters of all politicians equally.

Since 1994, the rumor has circulated around Winston-Salem that Senator Richard Burr used to pull down his pants in front of little children in the Buena Vista neighborhood, the same neighborhood where he grew up. Having been as a child a victim of such conduct on one occasion, in that same neighborhood by coincidence, though not perpetrated by Richard Burr, we would find that behavior, even perpetrated by a teenager, even as a "prank", to be far more disturbing in terms of character assessment of an individual than an extramarital affair, even as an adult. "Mooning" little children when a teenager is not laughable in our book. In some jurisdictions and under some circumstances, it would get the person placed in a juvenile home. It is a manifestation of sexual perversion, or betrays youthful tendency to substance abuse, usually alcohol, even though considered by many as a prank. That might be relevant to the opinions of many voters to assess Senator Burr's judgment.

Indecent exposure or lewd acts on a minor are criminal. Yet, no one has ever seen fit to ferret out the sources of this rumor and determine its truth or falsity. Indeed, it is simply regarded as a sub rosa joke told among Democrats. But if we need to know of Senator Edwards's bedroom practices, we need also to know what Senator Burr did when a teenager. Where are the investigative tabloids on that one? How about it, National Enquirer? Did Senator Burr expose himself when a teenager? Or, are the reporters who write this trash so guilty of similar misconduct, or worse, in their youth that they would nervously titter and giggle at the suggestion?

Indeed, given recent revelations regarding Mr. Weiner, perhaps a standard question for each candidate in the next presidential debate should be: Have you ever mooned anyone or otherwise exposed yourself in a public forum?

Certainly, the Republican candidates at the next debate must be asked the relevant question: Have you had extramarital affairs?

That way the answers are on record and should something surface later, then the wolves of the press, we fully expect, will do their duty and chase these terrible malefactors from office.

Or do the peccadilloes and the claim of lying about them merely apply primarily only to liberals, with conservatives having to do something really bad, overtly criminal of the moment, like toe-tapping in the neighboring bathroom stall, before anyone raises much of an eyebrow?

We do not think Senator Edwards should have been indicted. Any more than we think that Senator Burr ought be investigated for something which may or may not have occurred when a teenager, even though we do in fact find it disturbing if it occurred, every bit as much as the conduct of Senator Edwards as an adult. The ultimate basis for the indictment of Senator Edwards is the fact of the extramarital affair, the wide publicity given the case, embarrassing to the State of North Carolina, and the other various emotions surrounding it, fueled by the political enemies of Senator Edwards, of whom there are many, especially in North Carolina, and fueled by many of his former supporters who feel personally embarrassed by having to put up with the taunts from the Helms People, the Neanderthalics of the State, those who engage typically on about a third-grade reading level.

We were disappointed in what we read this past week in an article addressing the scuttlebutt afoot around Chapel Hill, our favorite town in the world, which appeared thoroughly to have disowned Senator Edwards in the most unthinking, emotive, and disingenuous way imaginable. Shame on you, Chapel Hillians of that stripe, for not sitting down and seriously analyzing the facts and understanding the whole of the matter in a better and different light than the superficial gloss gleaned from tabloid media and drawing your judgments from it.

We did not do that even with Richard Nixon, though we did not care for the man before Watergate, long before Watergate. We thought about Watergate, we listened, we read extensively, and formed our own conclusions based solely on the facts adduced in evidence and the law to be applied to them. Watergate was not a matter of private conduct without impact on the public but for its being made public. So it is with sexual affairs. If Watergate had been about the President cussing on White House tapes, we would have laughed at the accusers, not the President. Watergate, indeed, was simply a sidelight to a serious overall problem of the Nixon Administration, the ingrained belief that they were above the laws of the land.

Bill Maher, we note, wonders aloud, with good reason, why Newt Gingrich, having engaged in much the same underlying conduct in the 1980's as Senator Edwards, gets to run for president without any mention of that tawdry past, while Senator Edwards has his reputation ruined and winds up before the criminal bar of justice. The Blonde, no doubt, would respond, intellectually dishonest as usual, if there be much grain of intellect upon which the qualitative judgment of "honesty" or "dishonesty" may be posited, that persons acting on behalf of Mr. Gingrich did not pay money to the other woman during the midst of a campaign such that appearances were that it might amount to individual campaign contributions in excess of the limits imposed by law.

Yet, as indicated, that is not the issue finally. It is a matter of whether the payments were campaign contributions, whether the object of the law, to prevent individuals from literally purchasing personal influence over the decisions of public office holders, was violated. If someone bought a $900,000 house for Senator Edwards--as Ronald Reagan's supporters purchased an expensive home in Bel Air, California, for him after his presidency--then obviously there is a problem, just as there was with the Reagans' 2.5 million dollar house, irrespective of the fact that it came after the presidency? Ronald Reagan was not poor at the end of his presidency. Promises fulfilled after the fact for favors are the same thing as payments in advance. Do not attempt to confuse the issue by indicating that the Reagans repaid the money. The house was accepted. Who is to say that John Edwards did not intend to repay his friend who provided the money for the benefit of Ms. Hunter?

We do not suggest that there was anything necessarily wrong with the transaction in the case of the Reagan house. Wealthy friends bought him a 2.5 million dollar home in 1989. But certainly Ronald Reagan should have been indicted for it if John Edwards is now subject to indictment. The same law applied to both situations. They are exactly and precisely, insofar as the law is concerned, the same. Do you see?

But, perhaps an even better question would be why the Senator is indicted when the Supreme Court spare majority, each of the five of whom was appointed by either Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or George W. Bush, last year held unconstitutional as violating free speech the prohibitions on corporate-paid political advertising contained in McCain-Feingold. If that law violates free speech, then why does not every single campaign spending limit, including those in the 1971 laws at issue regarding individual contributions, far less likely than corporate spending to interfere with the political process via manipulation? What is the difference, at base, practically, aside from legalisms, between speaking corporately through a political advertisement and speaking individually through a campaign contribution?

So it is alright now, says the Supreme Court, for groups, unions and corporations, to contribute whatever they please to sponsor political ads in a campaign, but individuals are limited still to direct contributions of $2,000 to individual candidates and $25,000 to party committees not associated with particular candidates? And that despite the fact that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $2,000 in 1971 was worth the same as $11,000 in 2011, that $25,000 in 1971 is worth today $61,000. If you are not an employee of a corporation or a member of a union or political action group, you might as well go jump in the lake with your money, in terms of direct contributions. But, under the laws as they exist after the Supreme Court finished eviscerating McCain-Feingold, you could give $900,000 to a corporation with the string attached that it use the money to broadcast a political advertisement for John Edwards. Do you see?

Yet, John Edwards is under indictment for violation of Federal election laws for his campaign staff having arranged to provide funds primarily from one individual to pay for another individual's travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and an apartment in San Diego. The other individual did nothing criminally wrong, did not break into the Republican headquarters, for instance. She had a baby.

In the final analysis, mights and maybes are sufficient for indictments, but beyond a reasonable doubt is a far higher standard of proof, that which must be sustained for there to be a criminal conviction. From what we have read thus far, the prosecution has its work cut out for it to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the money paid was a campaign contribution and not a third party's effort to help a friend, either in keeping Ms. Hunter happy or as a means of legitimate settlement of a potential lawsuit for support of an illegitimate child, and, regardless of that, the additional required proof that the Senator knew of the fact of the payments.

Tawdry assumptions re moral rectitude, if anywhere, belong in church, not in the courts. Senator Edwards has publicly admitted that he did wrong morally in having the affair.

It is another reason why we have separation of church and state. For, to posit the courts as moral arbiters, beyond merely determiners of violations of the written law, is to say that the unwritten law holds sway. So, if you catch your spouse in the act, why, you pull out your gun, given you by the Right of the country under the Second Amendment, and you shoot your spouse in the head in a fit of pique, all with impunity, at least in Texas? Right? Do you see?

For if the law is not written, any part of it, then the rest of it we may make as we please also. Including shooting the judge we donít like or the lawyer we don't like or the person on the street whose hair we don't like. And that sort of thinking leads finally, down the road, to death in the streets of Dallas, with moral issues merely posed as convenient rationale for exacting a punishment inflicted in fact on the basis of political disagreement, always exacerbated to the level even of violence when gyneolatry or racial issues or states' rights issues, bound up ultimately in race, are emotively determined by didactics devoid of dialectic.

And, furthermore, Senator Edwards was seen to betray his home state on the always preeminent matter, tobacco--a cardinal sin in the minds of many in North Carolina, worthy of the death penalty if it might be inflicted.

They sell poison to the masses. They kill to earn their livings. Then they go to church on Sunday, pray to their totemic gods for forgiveness of their manifold sins and, when obviously not forgiven, they turn to casting lots on whomever they might blame for their state of disgrace and troubled consciences, unable to escape that haunting feeling that maybe they did create all the cancer around their lives, all those hospital facilities which proliferate now in Winston-Salem as the primary employer in the city. It is an old, old scenario, from which still too many have not grown to understand, and by that understanding, thoroughly disavow.

We state again to our home state a cardinal principle which too much of its populace has for too long collectively forsaken in the worst kind of hypocritical way: Judge not, that ye be not judged.

--Well, I disagree. I just don't like the man's ha'r. He ought to go to jail for it. Why don't he have a ha'rcut like a normal person? You know?

Incidentally, we had not seen this little story or the one following it, on the Top Knot Come Down sermon, when we wrote the above note. We interpret the coincidence to mean that Senator Ervin, or at least our long deceased grandma who used to do a lot of canning and jarring, might have agreed with us.

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