Wednesday, June 5, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 5, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Winston Churchill told Commons that the Soviet Union was courting another world war with its policies of domination in Eastern Europe. The former Prime Minister warned: "Not only has a curtain descended from the Baltic to the Adriatic, but behind it is a broad band of territory containing nearly one-third of the population of Europe, apart from Russia." He contended that the Soviets were deliberately irritating the United States by resisting the invitations of Secretary of State Byrnes, the 25-year four-power oversight pact with respect to Germany and submission of treaties for final determination by the General Assembly of the U.N. or the 21-nation world peace conference set soon to start in Paris. Mr. Churchill also expressed his agreement with the British hands-off policy with respect to Franco's Spain, "one of the least aggressive of the nations of Europe". He further agreed with the British Government position of internationalization of the port of Trieste.

Prime Minister Clement Attlee expressed similar thoughts on Russia, saying that it was deliberately seeking to apply hyper-technical meanings to the Potsdam agreement, implying that it sought to limit the agreement's application wherever it was favorable to Soviet interests of expansionism. He urged trying to get the Russians to understand the ways of Western democracy, suggesting that the Russian people were living in a "dark forest" and did not understand "the sunlight, the wind and the air of the free democracies."

In Italy, the monarchy had been declared defeated in the election results from Sunday. King Umberto and Queen Maria Jose would be leaving the country on Saturday. In the election of the Constituent Assembly to form a new republic, the moderate Christian Democrats led the voting and the Socialists came in second, the Communists, third.

In Chicago, a devastating fire at the La Salle Hotel on The Loop caused the deaths of 58 people and injured 200 more. At least ten people leaped to their deaths from upper floors of the 22-story structure and fire spread from the lower floors through elevator shafts, causing choking smoke to billow upward to reach people as high as the 16th floor. Most of the deaths occurred from smoke inhalation on the third through sixth floors. Panic, according to firemen, had also caused many deaths, with the elevators and stairways full of smoke, leaving only windows and fire escapes as means to exit the building. The fire erupted at 12:35 a.m., preceded by three loud explosions which apparently occurred within one of the elevator shafts. Some 850 patrons escaped the structure without injury.

The origin of the fire was later pinpointed as being behind the walls of the cocktail lounge, but the precise reason for the conflagration was never discovered. The La Salle Hotel, opened in 1909, was rebuilt and reopened in July, 1947, and served Chicago until its closing and razing in 1976.

As 1946 proved a particularly bad year for fires in the country, efforts were made, as described in January, 1947 in Life, to locate the causes and eliminate the hazards.

Government estimates of the impact of a maritime strike, set to begin June 15, indicated that sugar would be in shortage within days of the start of the strike, while within two months, other materials such as tin, copper, lead, and burlap would be in short supply, necessitating restrictions. Coffee would also run low within a few weeks and fresh tropical fruit, except for foreign imports, would be cut off within two days.

Meanwhile, the maritime unions continued to try to resolve the strike, but expressed hope that if it occurred, they would receive international support to make the strike effective.

Representative Adolph Sabath of Illinois, chairman of the House Rules Committee, counseled President Truman to veto the Case labor restriction bill, saying that it would not curtail strikes or aid industry, but could create even more trouble than presently being experienced in the country. He returned from the meeting with the President saying that he had been given no clue as to how the chief executive would decide the issue.

The Senate the day before had passed the part of the draft extension bill which permitted drafting of 18 and 19-year olds, but had not yet voted on the one-year extension provision. Currently, the temporary extension of May 15 was set to expire June 30. Senator W. Chapman Revercomb of West Virginia urged a draft holiday and did not want Americans being sent to war with Spain, termed "absurd" Senator Claude Pepper's warnings of the day before that Spain posed a threat to peace in Europe.

In Bad Nauheim, Germany, another soldier, the third so far convicted, was fined $60 for his role in beating four American soldiers in the brig at Lichfield prison in England. The court martial did not impose any confinement as it had on the two other soldiers, one having received three years and the other, six months. The three each claimed to have received orders from a lieutenant to administer the beatings.

Harold Ickes, in his column, discusses what would later become known as the "Peter Principle", that is the routine practice of "kicking upstairs" bureaucratic incompetents to enable them to reach their highest level of incompetence. He cites the example of John B. Hutson who had started in the Department of Agriculture, eventually becoming Undersecretary.

In May, 1941, he was appointed president of the Government-run Commodities Credit Corporation, in which capacity he had overseen a period of extreme graft, involving bribes and leaks to provide unfair advantage to certain people in the grain business. One employee was sentenced to prison and three others were fired. Two were found to have prior criminal records. The facts did not necessarily mean that Mr. Hutson had knowledge of the corruption, but nevertheless it had occurred on his watch, implying some inefficiency of oversight.

It was subsequent to this position, in June, 1945, that he became Undersecretary of Agriculture after serving as a deputy under James Byrnes in the Office of War Mobilization from late 1944. Mr. Hutson was not the personal choice of new Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson but the Secretary's own appointment appeared tacitly conditioned on acceptance of Mr. Hutson in the role.

Mr Hutson, as acting Secretary, then had proceeded to remove certain price controls while Mr. Anderson was abroad. These controls were on burley tobacco, which happened to be a chief product of Mr. Hutson's home state of Kentucky.

Eventually, Mr. Hutson was kicked upstairs to become an Assistant Secretary-General to the United Nations, despite preference for someone else in the position by Secretary-General Trygve Lie of Norway. The United States was given authority over the appointment, making Mr. Hutson effectively the ranking Assistant Secretary-General, possessing great power and influence, while increasing his annual pay from $10,000 to an effective salary, including expenses, of $30,000.

Mr. Ickes suggests that numerous persons in the Government were far better qualified than Mr. Hutson for such an important position affecting international relations and that if the kick upstairs was to be used, it ought be reserved for less important roles—but, ultimately, the Peter Principle had its way.

On the inside front page, Tom Fesperman relates of the "52-20 Club", that is $20 per week for 52 weeks, "rocking chair" money, being provided veterans in Charlotte, with the $20 per week being given to 2,000 veterans until they could locate work.

If you wish to read that, go to the library.

On the editorial page, "Greensboro Joins the Chorus" indicates that the Greensboro-High Point Airport Authority would be in Washington to join Charlotte, and likely Raleigh, in seeking before the Civil Aeronautics Board changes in the Eastern Airline passenger service to provide more available seats to Boston, New York, Atlanta, and New Orleans.

It will probably all work out, at least for awhile, until the airlines will later start eating one another and hiring, in the wake of that feasting, a bunch of otherwise unemployable and psychopathically rude jackanapes to populate the ticket counters and security posts, people who had not learned to tie their shoelaces, having it in more for "Yuppies" traveling alone, thus vulnerable to the predator, than for maintaining any semblance of public relations or security, leading on to...

You know the rest. You experience the result now every time you fly. To fly now, one has to enter a prison setting for the duration.

Next time, we recommend, strongly, not having people arrested who are simply trying to warn you of major problems with your operations, and warning in very mild, strictly verbal, ways, whether it be anent the airlines or any other entity beset by signals of autocratic fascism creeping in, and then tragedies such as occurred in 2001 might not. As soon as the corporation implements policies to hide and chill the complaints of the aggravated aggregate of customers, that corporation will quickly find, in the worst sort of way, the truth about its autocratic, despotic operations.

But then, the dummies who create these autocratic modalities, such as those who were around prior to September, 2001, never are able to put two plus two together too well in the first place, are only interested in the quick-hit buck generated through any manner of inveiglement or illegality of which they can possibly conceive, targeting anyone who dares utter, with articulation, a line underscoring the disparity between their actual service and their lying corporate advertising campaigns—another example of the Peter Principle at work, though, in this instance, having its application to corporations rather than bureaucracies.

"The Two Historic Decisions" comments on a pair of important Supreme Court decisions handed down the previous Monday: Morgan v. Virginia, 328 US 373, outlawing segregation on interstate busses based on variations in state laws creating an undue burden on interstate commerce as busses passed borders of states, ten of which requiring segregation in motor transport while 18 others outlawed it, overriding therefore any Tenth Amendment states' rights interest in local police powers; and the unanimous decision in Pennekamp v. Florida, 328 US 321, reversing a contempt citation upheld by Florida courts against the Miami Herald for editorial criticism of a local judge.

It suggests that the great majority of white Southerners would react adversely to the Morgan case. Governor Chauncey Sparks of Alabama had stated that it would "provide fertilizer for the Ku Klux Klan".

But it was significant for providing an inroad to the separate-but-equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson—which, for its being decided on a different basis from the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause, was not legally invoked or overruled in the Morgan decision, despite the fact that Plessy had actually originated out of an arrest pursuant to a Louisiana statute providing for separate rail cars for blacks and whites. Morgan simply side-stepped Plessy under the Commerce Clause theory, trumping the Tenth Amendment states' rights doctrine.

Since the Commerce Clause theory would not be available in either intrastate commerce, local busses, for instance, or in locally administered schools, Plessy finally had to be overruled completely on the sociological basis that, in practice, there was no separate-but-equal school system set up during the 58-year tenure of the doctrine. The roundabout method of tying Federal funding of schools to integration was not politically workable because of the blockage of such efforts by Southern Democrats of the time, indeed causing Southern states to be leery of any Federal funding of the public schools for fear that such strings might follow.

The Commerce Clause would be used by the Kennedy Administration successfully as the rationale for the Federal legislation banning discrimination in service in public facilities operating in interstate commerce, motels, hotels, restaurants, lunch counters, theaters and the like, under what would become the 1964 Civil Rights Act, promulgated by President Kennedy 17 years and one week hence, nearly fifty years ago, signed into law by President Johnson on July 2, 1964.

Attorney General Robert Kennedy, a major force behind the bill, would, of course, be fatally shot on this date in Los Angeles, 22 years hence, following announcement of the successful results of the 1968 California primary, two months after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, the deaths of both leaders leaving behind an ever deepening divide in the land, racially and economically, pro-war versus anti-war, often also couched between young and old, though perhaps in that regard overstated—but a divide nevertheless, and one which would only become deeper and more bitter as time went along into the Nixon years.

The piece suggests that, once the rhetoric had died down on both sides of the issue, racial prejudice, so deeply ingrained, would persist, regardless of seating arrangements on busses.

While true to an extent, it is also true that, generationally, prejudices between the races, which of course may be mutual, pass with greater contact had in socially equal situations. Those schoolchildren who attended schools from the 1960's onward in the South which were racially integrated had a much greater appreciation for equality among the races than did their parents who had witnessed blacks almost exclusively in subservient roles, at least as interfacing with the white community.

Then came the anti-bussing campaign, coupled with white flight and increased private schooling, which created a functional return in some areas to segregation—which, in many areas of the country outside the South and outside the inner cities, was never eliminated in the first place, as the legal focus had stressed the South.

During the previous thirty years or so, society has been in a transitional phase, stepping forward and then stepping backward, trying to adjust itself, after nearly two hundred years, since the Founding, of institutionalized segregation. Parts of it have repeated the serious mistakes of the terrible Reconstruction era on the South; parts of it have gone smoothly. Until all neighborhoods in the country are fairly integrated, which also entails economic integration, the society will not have full and complete integration, though its worst aspects are passing.

But, we stress again, the path to better relations on a human level cannot be enjoyed by seeking to humiliate others publicly or to tarnish their reputations, temporarily or permanently, for merely making statements, no matter how racially or ethnically loaded. If they be public representatives acting in the capacity when such statements are made, then their constituents need to know who they are and what they represent. We are speaking, however, of private citizens.

There are three ways to handle someone who wants to say bad things about you: ignore it as the product of either frustration or stupidity, laugh about it, or seek to have a discussion with the individual, one on one, in a mature manner, about the indignity, trying to find out the source of the soreness. If it passes genuinely to the realm of defamation of character such that damage is done, then civil action, as a last resort, is also always available. But there is no other viable alternative if the goal, as it ought be, is genuinely to promote a better society. Trying to have a person fired for uttering a racial epithet is just as narrow-minded as the utterance of the epithet in a racist manner, usually done in this age in some degree of frustration, not necessarily out of a genuine and abiding sense of racism.

The piece next focuses on the Miami Herald case, which it considers a landmark decision in preserving civil liberties, as it eliminated any vestige of judicial immunity from journalistic criticism on penalty of contempt. The Court had stated that even journalistic inaccuracy was no ground for muzzling the press.

Justice Frank Murphy stated in concurrence:

Were we to sanction the judgment rendered by the court below we would be approving, in effect, an unwarranted restriction upon the freedom of the press. That freedom covers something more than the right to approve and condone insofar as the judiciary and the judicial process are concerned. It also includes the right to criticize and disparage, even though the terms be vitriolic, scurrilous or erroneous. To talk of a clear and present danger arising out of such criticism is idle unless the criticism makes it impossible in a very real sense for a court to carry on the administration of justice. That situation is not even remotely present in this case.

Judges should be foremost in their vigilance to protect the freedom of others to rebuke and castigate the bench and in their refusal to be influenced by unfair or misinformed censure. Otherwise freedom may rest upon the precarious base of judicial sensitiveness and caprice. And a chain reaction may be set up, resulting in countless restrictions and limitations upon liberty.

It concludes that most Southerners would agree that the decision was in the highest tradition of the Court.

"Perhaps our great-grandchildren will pass a similar verdict on the other broad decision handed down on the same afternoon."

The piece neglects to realize that the Pennekamp case did have a predecessor, Bridges v. State of California, 314 U.S. 252, which, for its being decided December 8, 1941, was buried in the morass of events which had transpired the previous day, and so was understandably lost in the shuffle.

The Miami case involved political cartoons and editorialization publicly holding the court up to ridicule for dismissing rape charges, which were later made the subject of a Grand Jury indictment and thus reinstituted. The cartoons and editorials tended to impugn the integrity of the judge for dismissing the cases based on political connections of the defendants. The rule of Bridges, mandating that before freedom of the press can be abridged, a "clear and present danger" to the administration of justice must be present, was deemed not violated by the Herald.

"The Passing of the Purple" comments on the decision in Italy to reject the monarchy, which it regards as a footnote to World War I, which had marked the passing from the scene of the Hohenzollerns, Hapsburgs, and Romanoffs. The other major thrones which had survived that period did so only as wards of democratic or totalitarian regimes. Even Hirohito had ruled only titularly, at the behest of the military—or, so it was thought at this stage.

In fact, as more became known of Hirohito's role in the war councils of Japan and of Japanese history and culture, that statement was rendered dubious. It became fairly clear that without the imprimatur of Hirohito, millions of Japanese would not have proceeded to war, would have rather died by the sword of their own generals than defy the Nirvana-endowed wisdom of the Emperor. When the Emperor told the people to stop fighting the war in August, 1945, most of them obeyed his command.

The remaining thrones of Britain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway were only symbolic and ceremonial, for the sake of continuity with the past. These monarchies were tolerated as living museum pieces by their countries.

The common man needed presently, it says, to fear only the tyranny of the masses, not royalty; "the danger is in the mind of the little man in the greasy raincoat who sits in the next seat on the bus dreaming twisted dreams of accomplishing in his lifetime all that the monarchs gained, and lost, in the slow passage of generations."

And here we thought he was busy in California running for Congress at this time. Must have been in North Carolina seeking endorsements from old royalist law professors.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Perhaps a White Herring?" finds, per the usual pre-war stance, that the House Un-American Activities Committee of Messrs. John Wood of Georgia and John Rankin of Mississippi had not given any indication of being willing to investigate recent Klan activity in the South. Representative Gerald W. Landis had indicated that complaints about the Klan had been received by the committee and investigators were being sent south to look into it.

"Goodness gracious, anything can happen in this topsy-turvy universe of ours."

But it wonders about the turn because HUAC had made a practice of not considering anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and alien-baiting as anything but pro-American sentiments, just as the Klan proclaimed.

"It must be that vicious rumor-mongers have been whispering sly charges that the Klan has abandoned its bigotry. Or is it merely that the committee considers the Klan a convenient white herring to drag across the trail of its regular red-baiting?"

Drew Pearson discusses the good job being accomplished in foreign relations by Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan. He had recently stated that the country was getting along pretty well now that it had a "Republican foreign policy". When asked what he meant, he referred to his "now somewhat famous" speech of January, 1945. It was believed that Mr. Vandenberg might be the 1948 Republican nominee for the presidency.

He next relates that the deterioration in relations with the Soviets was underscored by the fact that one of their most ardent former supporters in the State Department, Dean Acheson, had now turned against them. He had earlier proposed to Secretary of State Byrnes a course of moderation toward the Soviets, that they would, if given room, capitulate. Now he referred to the Soviet as being as a "sneak thief down the street trying door latches".

Next, he tells of stabs being delivered against President Truman's labor-draft proposal by CIO president Philip Murray in a secret meeting within the organization with several Senators. He accused management of having been the recalcitrant party which caused the G.M. and steel strikes by not going along with the President's fact-finding board recommendations which the CIO unions had readily embraced. Yet, the President was now seeking to punish all of labor without any sanction against management. He eschewed a suggestion of a six-month no-strike pledge while reconversion was taking place as impossible for CIO to provide.

Finally, Mr. Pearson states that if President Truman accepted the advice of old friends and made former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles the U.S. delegate to the U.N., it would rectify the wrong committed in August, 1943 when Mr. Welles was forced out of his position by a clash with Secretary Cordell Hull, who had issued an ultimatum to FDR that either Mr. Welles would have to go or he would resign.

It would also renew a policy tabled for three years which Mr. Welles had advocated and which FDR had accepted, writing the peace with all nations included, not just the Big Five of the Security Council. Secretary Byrnes had advocated the policy, turning over the final determination of the peace treaties to the 21-nation conference set to convene soon in Paris rather than have the Big Four write them, a policy to which the Soviets registered objection.

Mr. Welles had wanted to write the treaties during the war while the Russians still had their backs to the wall at Stalingrad and the British were still hunkering down. He also had advanced the belief that the smaller nations would be the best allies in establishing a permanent peace as they had the most to lose in a war.

But then Cordell Hull went to Moscow in the fall of 1943 to lay the groundwork for the Big Three meeting at Tehran in November, and the policy of determination by the major powers was set in place, not to have been significantly altered since that time, with the Russians being especially resistant to relinquishing power to embrace the smaller nations—in some respects quite understandable as the smaller nations of Eastern Europe had ultimately been the flashpoints igniting both of the World Wars.

Mr. Pearson concludes, "Tragic fact is that the peace of the world suffers while men in high places gradually gain experience."

The Peter Principle again at work.

Marquis Childs discusses the veto decisions coming for President Truman, not only with respect to the Case labor bill presently being considered by him, but also an extension bill for OPA, containing numerous limitations of the power of the agency. The Banking & Currency Committee had voted amendments to strip away on June 30 controls on meat, livestock, poultry, and milk, a vote just reaffirmed the day before.

The effect would be not only to eliminate virtually all price controls, but also to channel grain into the feeding of livestock for quick profit in even greater proportion than it was at present, with feeding to keep livestock off the market in anticipation of higher prices, thus, under either scenario, keeping grain out of the hands of starving Europeans—as succinctly displayed by Herblock the day before and on April 19.

The only cure for the dilemma was a year-long extension on price control, to forestall the anticipatory hoarding of livestock and grain to feed them, or removal of price controls on grain which would immediately have an inflationary impact throughout the economy.

Economic Stabilizer Chester Bowles favored veto of the bill. But without approval of it, the President would be left with no OPA at all after June 30, leaving only emergency concurrent action by both houses to extend its life. The President, he suggests, could deliver a message calling the present bill a farce and that it would be better to let the agency die than to have it continue at taxpayer expense as a sham operation, a risk politically. But the risk of veto would frighten presidential adviser John W. Snyder, always cautious.

Chester Bowles was convinced that food prices would jump 20 percent almost immediately with the removal of price controls, and by 40 or 50 percent, up to three times that percentage, within a year. Marriner Eccles, chairman of the Federal Reserve, had called the estimates of Mr. Bowles conservative, stating that abolition of controls would trigger further strikes for higher wages to keep pace with inflation. Moreover, the hoarding of goods by manufacturers in anticipation of higher prices, once released into the marketplace where cost of living had soared nearly overnight, with the consumer having little or no capability of buying luxury items, refrigerators, other appliances, cars, radios, etc., would lead to a depressed economy.

Mr. Childs concludes that the consumer would have one small satisfaction, the knowledge that it had been the lobbying groups spending millions on advertising against continued price controls which had triggered the economic decline in the country.

Samuel Grafton, still in Los Angeles, had spent a hot day tagging along with a volunteer precinct worker ringing doorbells of potential voters. Precinct workers worked retail, he suggests, while preachers, columnists, and leading independent citizens worked wholesale in the political arena, that is influencing public opinion.

Parenthetically, we make note of a pet peeve in hearing people for decades make the brash and headless statement, "All politicians are corrupt." A politician is anyone involved in leading political opinion, which, at base, is concerned with molding interpersonal relations, for better or worse. While usually the term refers to the citizenry and its government, or sum of it as the body politic, it may also refer more generally to any interpersonal relations. Thus, Mr. Grafton is quite correct in implying that, not only columnists, but also preachers, teachers, and any other person in society advocating a particular viewpoint on any subject is involved in politics. So, next time you hear someone make the bald, cynical statement about politicians being corrupt, the obvious retort is: "Does that include you and that statement?" For the speaker is inevitably venturing an opinion involved in politics and thus is, strictly speaking, a politician of the moment. But we are most usually more polite in ordinary parlance and suffer the thusly demonstrated vacuous stupidity of the speaker with gritted teeth.

Mr. Grafton's friend garnered two votes, he was certain, in one house, those of a widow and her son, recently returned from the service. His friend was ingratiating and the visit was pleasant as his friend gave the reasons for voting for Emmet Lavery, a playwright and independent running for the Democratic nomination for the district's House seat. The widow had stated that she would not vote for him if he was a drinker and wanted to know if he would fight against booze. Mr. Grafton's friend convinced the woman that Mr. Lavery admired New Orleans, her hometown and so they left with all being copasetic.

Another man down the street getting a suntan on his back porch was at first uninterested in the political talk, until he noticed on the campaign literature that James Roosevelt was a member of Mr. Lavery's advisory board. He then stated his readiness to vote for him.

In the end, Mr. Grafton realized from the tour that the most important thing for such a precinct worker was to become familiar with voters by name, such that on a second and third visit there was instant familiarity, ameliorating the anonymity of an impersonal age.

A letter from a regular writer remarks on the cancellation by Liberty Magazine of its contract with Fiorello La Guardia, lately head of UNRRA, former Mayor of New York, probably from pressure exerted by advertisers of the broadcasts. The writer wants to know the facts behind the cancellation, whether it was because of statements made by Mr. La Guardia, and if so, what. It might have been, he continues, lack of audience, but it appeared otherwise. Rather, it was likely his questioning why veterans should be charged 4 percent and more for loans when the Government guaranteed 90 to 95 percent of the veteran's loan under the G.I. Bill.

He adds that he had just learned that Mr. La Guardia would continue his broadcasts without the sponsorship of Liberty.

The editors respond: "Ah, what patience and fortitude."

A letter from the president of the American Hospital Association recommends passage by the Congress of the Hospital Survey and Construction Act, Senate Bill 191, and urges readers to write in favor of it to their Senators and Representatives. The bill provided for a survey of hospital beds in each community to determine needs and then to provide for those needs, with Federal matching funds to the states for construction of hospitals.

A letter remarks on a photograph on the society page of the newspaper showing a bride and her groom, listed as a private first class when he wore, plainly, the chevron of a sergeant on his sleeve. He says that even he was not so dumb to fail to recognize that the man was a sergeant, not a private.

The editors remark that the chevron had been spotted in the picture but the bride had insisted that her groom was a PFC, and so, as far as they were concerned, "he's a PFC no matter if he happens to be wearing [Marine Corps Commandant] General Vandegrift's blouse."

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.