Monday, February 18, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, February 18, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, no sooner than the steel strike was settled and G.M. breathing notes of optimism toward the same end, the National Federation of Telephone Workers recommended that its 250,000 members go on strike for a demand of a minimum wage of 65 cents per hour and return to a 40-hour week, with a wage increase of $10 per week.

Meanwhile, negotiations between G.M. and UAW had hit a snag over the weekend regarding a portion of the old contract which provided for promotions and transfers on the basis of seniority when all other qualitative factors regarding the employee were equal. The UAW wanted preservation of the clause and G.M. resisted it. Once settled, it was believed that the remaining penny difference between G.M.'s wage offer and the demand of UAW could be resolved—that difference, after all, amounting to all of 40 cents per week, about $20 per year, albeit enough for a couple of cloth coats for the wife from Ivey's in Charlotte, on a good sale anyway.

Chester Bowles, newly appointed Economic Stabilizer, urged to Congress the President's wage-price formula as a hedge against inflation. He stressed that it would not mean higher prices throughout the economy. He cited the fact that adjustments to the post-war wage demands had already been made in many industries without measurable impact on prices. In many industries, such as apparel, the cost of labor was a relatively small portion of the wholesale cost to the manufacturer of production.

Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, chair of the Senate Republican Steering Committee, stated that three of President Truman's recent nominations had caused indignation among the American people. He was concerned primarily with "court jester" George Allen, nominated to be chair of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. He also found fault with the nominations of Ed Pauley and James Vardaman. Uniformly, his objections were posited on the lack of qualifications by each man for the job to which he had been appointed.

In Lancaster, Pa., a general AFL strike had been called, affecting three industrial plants and six trucking firms, plus the Conestoga Transportation Co.

Pope Pius XII formally elevated 32 eminent prelates to the position of Cardinal. Five were American; most of the others were also non-Italian. The College of Cardinals was thus expanded to number 69.

Chancellor Robert Hutchins of the University of Chicago told Congress that universal military training would be useless as a preparation for war, terming the proposition "absurd". He favored expanded expenditures for education in the nuclear age as a means to avoid war. He found it "insane" to base plans for peace on preparations of overwhelming military strength.

"We blast and betray the only hope we have."

He called for an end to the "silly, un-American sabre-rattling", that there was no way to beat the atomic bomb, that, instead, America had to beat war. He believed that survivors of an atomic attack would not need military training but scientific, industrial preparation, perhaps as plumbers and electricians.

Hal Boyle reports from New Delhi that India had lost more people from starvation during the war than both America and Britain had lost in battle. Hunger was now the dominant force motivating anti-British sentiment among the masses, a fifth of the world's population.

Mohandas K. Gandhi proposed a new representative Indian Government as a means of alleviating the famine; Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was calling for rebellion against political and social conditions, vowing that those who died of starvation would be avenged. Nehru stated bluntly that the people would not allow a repeat of the black market conditions which led to the 1943 famine in Bengal or permitting some to feast while the masses experienced famine. The death toll in that famine, according Nehru, had been 3.5 million people, although a British engineer to whom Mr. Boyle spoke placed the figure at about a million.

British Viceroy, Lord Wavell, was planning to confer with Gandhi, seeking his cooperation, but he would need make the unprecedented gesture of traveling to Gandhi, as the latter had refused such a meeting based on his own ill health.

British officials believed that Gandhi's suggestions could be accomplished with little change from that already indicated by Lord Wavell the previous September as being acceptable.

Food shortages in India would become more acute during the summer months.

Actor Jimmy Stewart stated that he was not interested in running for Governor of Pennsylvania, his native state, after a Philadelphia County Commissioner sought permission to submit his name as a candidate. He had too many movie commitments.

You see the result every Christmas—ad nauseam.

Blame Marcus Goodrich, and his sister Frances and her husband, Albert Hackett.

Two San Francisco youths, who had put to sea on a freighter bound for Chile, died from a rite of initiation upon crossing the equator. Both youths, along with other members of the crew, were given large doses of salt peter and water.

The presidential yacht Sequoia, having run aground at Buoy 211 off Florida, where it was stranded for over 30 hours, was freed. The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, John L. Sullivan, was aboard at the time, heading from Ft. Lauderdale back to Washington.

The Sequoia subsequently became the scene of several momentous events.

A photograph appears of "Mopey Dick", a 30-foot white whale captured, "very dead—and very smelly", off an Alameda Aircraft Base pier in San Francisco Bay. Mopey had proved a nuisance during the war by defying submarine nets in the Bay and entering without prior permission, against all logic and efforts to the contrary by the Navy. Mopey had been seen in the Bay for the previous two weeks. How he met his demise is not catalogued for posterity.

We have a feeling, however, that, in truth, the Leviathan of Legend still very much lives and haunts us still.

We shall ask Captain Ahap, next when we run into him. He still owes us for the last haul aboard the Pequip, in consequence of which, off our dutiful sweat, he raked in millions, parting with not a cent for tribute.

And, this being President's Day, if you are thinking, "Oh yeah, I get it," you really don't, because, per our usual refrain, we did not read ahead—even if we did see a good part of it all as it happened, on tv, and read about it a little, too.

On the editorial page, "Greetings, Dove" finds the controversy regarding the proposed site for the United Nations in the Greenwich-Stamford areas of Connecticut and Westchester, New York, to have aroused old nationalist, isolationist sentiments, such as that expressed by the New York Daily News, suggesting that the site be located in Argentina, Mexico or anywhere else except the United States for it being evident that the U.N. wanted to be close to the seat of American commerce.

This outcry appeared common among isolationists. It had prompted a member of the U.N. site selection committee to ask whether the editorial was a joke.

The piece suggests that the delegates become familiar with the sentiment because, though shared by only a minority of Americans, it nevertheless had a following and would be the largest problem facing them in proceeding toward assurance of world peace into the future.

"Brotherhood Week" reports that the National Conference of Christians and Jews had set aside the week to celebrate brotherhood, "to remind Americans that a man's standing in the community has no relation to the shape of his nose." President Truman had issued an official proclamation regarding the week.

It suggests that a good reason for the necessity of such a week in a land of liberty and recognized freedom had shown itself, Q.E.D., in the letter to The News of January 19, that which readers had dubbed the "American-Type Smile" letter. One correspondent had sided with the author, writing that many servicemen also believed Hitler had been correct and justified in his campaign to eliminate Jews.

But thirty other letters had uniformly condemned the ATS letter, leading the editors therefore to be tempted to write it off as the product of a small minority. Yet, given the horrors which Jews had faced during the war in Europe, they did not dare do so. Brotherhood Week was a time for calling to the attention of the public the persistence of such attitudes.

"It's Ridiculous" finds absurd the fact that Columbia, S.C., now had 104 purveyors of whisky, one for every 862 inhabitants, including women and children, compared to 19 in Spartanburg and 27 in Greenville.

The situation was nearly as ridiculous, it posits, as having no liquor stores for the 151,000 inhabitants of Mecklenburg.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Why Not Smithism?" comments on the ostracism by the American Communist Party of its former leader, Earl Browder. It wonders what he would do in response, whether to form a splinter party or become a Democrat or Republican.

Now that the Communists had taken up the "anti-Browderism" cry, the piece cautions that others of his stripe might take heed, lest that individual, too, become associated eponymously with "Smithism or Jonesism which will damn him forever".

Drew Pearson tells of a conference between Governor Mon Wallgren of Washington and his old friend, the President, regarding the increase of price ceilings on lumber to increase production for housing. He also wanted two light metal plants sold to Henry Kaiser so that he might produce aluminum for automobiles and prefabricated housing.

The President had told Governor Wallgren that he would need work out the problem with Chester Bowles.

Mr. Pearson next informs that Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson had been instrumental in digging out the Teapot Dome scandal of the Harding Administration while a reporter for the Albuquerque Journal. The publisher of the paper had instigated the investigation to get at the forestry and public lands policy of the Administration, under which ranchers were being granted grazing rights for their cattle on Government land at absurdly low prices. Since the Department of Interior had control over the rights, Secretary Albert Fall became the object of scrutiny, Mr. Fall then owning a large ranch in Three Rivers, N.M.

Eventually, Deep Cowboy came into town in Albuquerque and gave Mr. Anderson the hoedown on the ranching operations of Secretary Fall. D.C. happened to mention that the Secretary, who had assumed the position only a few months earlier, had just purchased a stallion worth $25,000, presumably Thoroughbred. Mr. Anderson recalled that he had been informed a few months previously by a visitor to the ranch that the Secretary lived modestly.

Eventually, the Chicago Tribune, after Mr. Anderson clued them to the story, uncovered that the stallion was a gift from publisher Edwin McLean. But Mr. Anderson was not satisfied and looked further to find that the stallion came to Mr. Fall partially prepaid by a racing stable in New Jersey owned by Harry Sinclair. The information was then relayed to Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana who initiated the official Teapot Dome investigation.

The rest was history.

Finally he reports that just before the death earlier in the month of Harry Hopkins from complications from stomach cancer, several key Republicans of the Congress had sought to have the former key adviser to President Roosevelt called before the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor to testify regarding his having funneled 200 planes slated for Oahu to Great Britain just prior to December 7, 1941. California Representative Bertrand Gearhart of the committee, however, believed it smacked too much of partisan politics and refused the request.

Marquis Childs reports that amid doubts of ultimate approval, Congress was expected to begin hearings during the week on the proposed 3.75 billion dollar loan to Great Britain. Assistant Secretary of State Will Clayton and Secretary of Treasury Fred Vinson were to be the first witnesses to testify in favor of the loan and were expected to make a good case for it.

While the loan had problems associated with it, the need for it could not have been etched more clearly than by the nationalist speech of Josef Stalin the previous week, in which he never spoke of world cooperation but rather only of Russian pride and determination to defeat capitalism. Thus it was more important than ever to cooperate with Britain. Failure meant failure of Bretton Woods, and economic nationalism with all the attendant risks of a repeat of conditions prevailing in the world after World War I, leading inexorably to the establishment of the Nazis and Fascists.

It was a crude red herring to suggest, as many would, that the loan would aid Britain in developing socialism. British socialism was entirely different from the form practiced in Russia, where the State controlled the entire means of production and with it the liberties of the individual. Britain jealously protected individual rights.

Congress therefore faced a heavy responsibility.

An excerpt from the Congressional Record, entered by Representative Robert Doughton of North Carolina, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, contains a response of former North Carolina Governor and now chairman of the Advisory Board on War Mobilization and Reconversion, O. Max Gardner, to Edwin Gill, Commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Revenue, regarding the effect on inflation of income tax collections.

Governor Gardner favored price control continuing along with rationing, to prevent the type of inflation in boom times following for eighteen months World War I, leading eventually to the Depression. Wage-price adjustments would need be accomplished by the Government to maintain a stable economy in such an environment of release of wartime pent-up demand for consumer goods. Prices would need to be increased to meet increased costs of labor, until demand and supply were equalized.

But he also favored encouraging full production and allowing the natural forces of the marketplace to work to curb prices by competition. Even during war, there had been inflation from black markets. So it was disturbing that suddenly, there was a concern over inflation in peacetime. Prices therefore should be increased moderately to compensate for higher wages and higher materials costs.

A letter writer responds to the "American-Type Smile" letter, saying that he was acquainted with the author and wished to say that he had been employed for six years by an all-Jewish firm in the author's hometown of Bessemer City and was never treated better. He held his boss and "all the rest of the boys in the highest regard".

Obviously brainwashed by the Zionists and their Communist conspiracy to make you, too, a Jew.

Another letter writer wants further information on the book mentioned in relation to centella asiatica in an editorial of February 4, albeit not because of his interest in that particular plant but rather in all plants and shrubs of the Southeast. The editors comply.

Don't blame us. It was not our fault that we were compelled to spend our first five years on the planet next to one of those swamps, full of snakes and other beasties of the jungle.

Another letter writer tells of a report from the North Carolina Mental Hygiene Society regarding the feeble-minded parents of eight children, the father of whom had died of syphilis while in Dix Hill. Sterilization of such cases had been recommended, and, adds the writer, "assuredly it may have it's [sic] merits." He proposes, however, that a less drastic measure would be to "lock the stable before the horse is stolen", that is remove liquor, beer, and wine from the market, as it was associated with contracting such venereal diseases.

The editors curtly reply: "Speaking of stable-locking, hasn't the primary source of syphilis been outlawed for a good many centuries?"

Well aren't we smart?

Bertram Benedict comments that the resignation of Harold Ickes as Secretary of Interior for his perceiving that President Truman had questioned his credibility regarding the offer of a bribe of a $300,000 campaign contribution in 1944 in exchange for the Government dropping its claims on offshore oil reserves in which Mr. Pauley held a personal stake, had revived the phrase "kitchen cabinet", first adopted in the Administration of Andrew Jackson, "Old Hickory" of the Hermitage, to refer to his close cronies who were unofficial advisers.

The term had, too, been applied to the advisers of Presidents John Tyler, successor to William Henry Harrison who died early in his term—the beginning of the so-called curse of Tecumseh regarding Presidents elected in the zero-year, occurring bidecennially—Andrew Johnson, successor to President Lincoln, the former narrowly escaping impeachment by a single vote in the Senate, and others.

During the Harding years, official members of the Cabinet brought the Administration into disrepute regarding Teapot Dome. Under the sub-heading "Harding's Boys", Mr. Benedict relates that Secretary of Interior Albert Fall, Attorney General Harry Daugherty, and Veterans' Administrator Charles Forbes were all involved in the graft, Secretary Fall and Mr. Forbes eventually going to prison for taking bribes on leases of Federal oil reserves at Teapot Dome, Elk Hills, and Buena Vista. The scandal followed after persuasion by Mr. Fall of the Navy to turn over the leasing authority to Interior. Mr. Daugherty, who had tacitly, if not expressly, authorized the transfer, escaped jail by the skin of his teeth, after a jury hung 11 to 1 for conviction for likewise receiving bribes. He had destroyed his financial records.

"As for President Harding's companions at cards, in drinking parties, and on vacation trips, Professor Allan Nevins writes charitably that they were 'among the least intellectual of the Senators and more irresponsible members of Washington society.'"

The plain implication was to serve notice to President Truman that his choice of companions as advisers and nominees, namely Ed Pauley, were threatening to drag the Administration into a morass of allegations of misconduct, and that he had better change horses, or at least poker and bourbon companions, lest he follow the dark travail of President Harding, who, on August 2, 1923, met an untimely demise in San Francisco at the Palace Hotel and thus escaped via a funeral procession probable impeachment.

Happy President's Day.

We note that prior to 1971, during President's Nixon's first term, pursuant to President Johnson having signed into law on June 28, 1968 the official change from Washington's Birthday, formerly celebrated as a Federal holiday on February 22, there was no "President's Day" on the third Monday in February.

That's a joke.

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