Wednesday, July 10, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 10, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a B-17 carrying Army, Navy, and Coast Guard personnel home from Gander, Newfoundland, had crashed near Holyoke, Mass., striking Mount Tom at around 10:20 p.m. the previous night, killing all 25 aboard. The plane had been scheduled to land nearby at 8:30 and was seen by one observer circling above the town for an hour, while others stated that it flew low over the town and then crashed into the mountain, erupting in flames.

At the four-power foreign ministers conference in Paris, the United States indicated its willingness to extend the proposed disarmament and occupation treaty regarding Germany from 25 to 40 years in response to the Russian complaint that the 25-year term was inadequate as not insuring against rearmament by Germany.

The Russians remained the only delegation which had not approved of a four-power commission to be sent into each of the four occupation zones to inspect and insure disarmament and demilitarization.

General Mark Clark, head of American occupation forces in Austria, announced instructions from the President that the United States would not recognize any form of forced or coerced transfer of property to the Russians within the Russian zone of Austria. Russia had announced its intention to take control of a large share of Austria's industrial equipment, which was within the Russian sector. The 1943 London foreign ministers conference had provided for non-recognition of such transfers accomplished by force or coercion, a principle reaffirmed at Potsdam.

General Eisenhower stated that he could foresee no possibility of reducing Army manpower below the level of 800,000 men in the ensuing 15 to 20 years. He envisioned a peacetime force of 400,000 for the regular Army and another 400,000 for the Army Air Forces. The goal of a million-man Army by July 1, 1947 would be gradually reduced to meet this final necessary standing force.

Debate in the House on the British loan was sparsely attended by members, sending a bad signal to the White House that the loan might not pass when it came to a vote, expected by Saturday.

Undersecretary of War Kenneth Royall sent a letter to the Senate War Investigating Committee, informing that the Government had spent a million dollars too much on war contracts with respect to the Batavia Metal Products Company, and that the sum was probably not recoverable because of the poor financial condition of the company. The company had, however, agreed to repay the sum over a period of 16 months. It had not been determined, however, whether the Government would accept the offer as acceptance might make prosecution of the company more difficult.

Newspapers conducting a nationwide survey of prices after the first week without OPA found prices generally holding steady, while meat and dairy products had risen. Rents had risen generally about 15 percent, though the picture was confused, as some rents were raised steeply and others not at all.

The Department of Agriculture reported that meat production was up 24 percent during the previous week but still 38 percent below that of a year earlier. No figures were available, however, for plants not under Federal inspection where it was presumed production would be higher. Prices were expected to settle at 15 to 20 percent higher if OPA controls were not restored.

The Senate voted not to restore controls on cottonseed and soy beans in the OPA extension bill. The body was next to consider whether to decontrol dairy products. The day before, the Senate had approved the Wherry amendment to take price controls off meat, poultry, and eggs, an amendment carried by 31 Republicans and 18 Southern Democrats. In opposition were 25 Democrats.

Sidney Hillman, 59, head of the CIO PAC during the campaign of 1944, had died in New York. Mr. Hillman was an immigrant as a boy and started out as a garment cutter before achieving his power in CIO. He had become controversial during the election and the object of the derisive Republican chant, "Clear everything with Sidney," suggesting Democratic kowtowing to the PAC. The Republicans had claimed that the origin of the phrase came from FDR telling DNC chairman Robert Hannegan to "clear everything with Sidney" in advance of the 1944 Democratic convention in Chicago. The Democrats denied the claim.

Harold Ickes discusses a proposal by HUAC that Congress revise the income tax laws to eliminate deductions for business expenses associated with advertising "subversive propaganda" or "ideological theories" which had no relation to the product or service being advertised.

While appearing fair on its face, the ban was so broad as to encompass many harmless activities, especially given the track record of the Wood-Rankin Committee. The witch-hunters on the committee could make the phrases mean whatever they wanted. The array of non-profit organizations in the country would be put at risk of losing the ability to advertise. HUAC was not in a position to be judge of what constituted subversive advertising.

Moreover, readers understood that opinions expressed in the context of advertising were simply the expression of opinions. Mr. Ickes regards editorial opinion in columns and in the news as not always being understood as such by readers. Ultimately, however, it was up to editors and readers, not to Congress, to discriminate regarding the expressions of opinions in print.

Query whether the real problem at the heart of all efforts at formal, legalized censorship is, not the desire to protect the public from someone's subjectively determined "subversive" expression, but rather to suppress or at least chill the dissemination of opinion antithetical to the opinions held tenaciously by the censoring interests, in the case of the Wood-Rankin Committee, opinions which were deemed opposed to anything "American" by tradition, which, to Mr. Rankin and Mr. Wood, especially Mr. Rankin, included as a prime ingredient segregation and all its demeaning mental and physical manifestations, ultimately designed to protect political interests which had achieved their political power through organized, de facto suppression of expression of opinion back home, both in terms of the rhetorical machinations employed to achieve victory through the supportive electorate and the machinery of exclusion of opposing voters who might seek to contest that ruling order by the most American of institutions in the abstract, the democratic will of the ballot box, their opinions having been deemed shaped too much by "subversive" expressions, the more articulate and reasonable the expression, the more subversive to be deemed, censorship finally only to protect an economic system founded on obscurantism and thus in need of perpetuation and rationalization by obscurantism to preserve those who had achieved power through it.

And, as a corollary, even without formal censorship, is not a major issue always the effort of those same ruling orders, with the same interests in mind by design as would the formal censors, to discourage the complete understanding of opinions being expressed, to attempt to dull the pates of the readers or listeners who would take the time to read or listen to them, to try to understand them at their base not through probing of the personalities articulating the expressions but by a better understanding of the ideas being expressed through comparison of concepts and reasoned, objective weighing of competing arguments, an effort made by the ruling orders through emotional appeals to induce dismissal of those opinions out of hand as empty rhetoric, the passing driver in need of getting from one place to another at faster pace, to do or die, not to reason why, or as emanating from a source unworthy of belief, deliberately seeking, by focusing rapt attention on individual words or phrases, rather than the systemic basis for the ideas being expressed, to confuse the reader or listener to render the opinion as being quite different from that which was intended, even diametrically opposed to it, to stultify thinking, to relegate ascription of the opinion thus to contrarian interests bent on subversive change of the ruling orders, without just and fair consideration of the ideas within and underlying the expression, thus protecting the ruling orders from perceived threat?

It should be noted parenthetically that, as pointed out by Drew Pearson on June 24, the column of Mr. Ickes critical of Nevada Senator Pat McCarran's peculiar opposition to the Government's attempt to establish Federal rights in tidal oil lands to the exclusion of the states, had not been printed by the reactionary Washington Star in May, a good example perhaps of an attempt at use of an editor's power to censor publication of opinion regarding an economic issue, one underlain by the omnipresent tension, present since the Founding, between states' rights and a strong central Government, tension embodied within the Constitution itself via the Tenth Amendment, with that tension being resolved always by the Supremacy Clause insofar as the enactment of laws by Congress or issuance of executive orders by the President which are both not contrary to the Constitution and within each branch's respective enumerated powers.

Mr. Ickes had reiterated the criticism of Senator McCarran in his column of Monday. Whether that one also was refused publication by the Star has not thus far been told.

The population of the United States stood at 140 million as of January 1, 1946, an increase of 6.6 percent since 1940. The birth rate had declined somewhat since 1943, albeit not to pre-war levels, after a precipitous rise in the early years of the war.

On the editorial page, "The Impasse in Housing" tells of the estimate that by the end of 1946 some six million families would be doubled up in single-family dwellings while an additional ten million would be housed in substandard structures.

In Charlotte, only 82 new dwellings had been completed during the first six months of the year.

The problem was not new, as prior to the war a fifth of the population was ill-housed. The New Deal had focused attention on this problem and President Truman the previous fall had pledged to continue that focus.

There had been antagonism between private builders and the Federal Public Housing Administration which dealt with the lower fifth of the population, generally unprofitable for builders. Thus there was no need for conflict, especially since the 15 million new post-war units needed were more than enough to keep all private contractors and FPHA busy for the ensuing decade. Yet, the builders complained that the agency was stockpiling materials and thus preventing builders from undertaking construction. While true to an extent, the end of OPA would likely increase building costs until private construction of low-cost housing would not be practicable.

FPHA was thus necessary to meet the needs of veterans, as private builders would never be able to build adequate affordable housing, at a cost of $5,000 or $25 in rent. Unless private builders accepted this fact and cooperated in building low-cost housing, a Federal program dwarfing the present structure would inevitably have to be implemented.

"It's a Pretty Fix, Indeed" again discusses, as the day before, the retention in jail of a material witness in the Stacks case until the appeal of the case could be heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court, on the chance that the conviction for homicide might be reversed and the witness required again to testify. The witness had been in custody for two months on a $5,000 appearance bond, held without benefit of counsel.

The Solicitor explained that he had information that the witness was going to leave the jurisdiction and thus had asked the court to place him in custody.

It was a pretty fix if the Supreme Court did not reverse and the county would have held for about six months a prisoner against whom there was no charge.

The piece suggests that the witness's testimony had large gaps, indicative of untruthfulness, but no perjury charge had been brought against him.

Police records showed that the witness had entered custody voluntarily after threats had been made against him, but if so, it questions why the Solicitor had insisted on the appearance bond.

It reiterates the suggestion of the previous day that the Grand Jury look into the matter.

If this man was truly being held against his will, some attorney should have stepped forward and provided him with a well-tailored petition for writ of habeas corpus, free of charge. But fear of informal sanction by peers can be a powerful factor to dissuade proper and just action.

We have to remark that a story which comes this date out of Boston suggests the need for that City's Grand Jury to probe the City's seeming insistence to disregard the Constitutional rights of individual citizens, compounding the considerable infringement of Fourth Amendment rights in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing in April. Now, it seems that the gendarmerie of Boston took to following the nephew of the long deceased convicted Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo, to obtain a DNA sample for comparison to the DNA of the only victim in the case for whom DNA samples survive, that of Mary Sullivan, murdered in 1964. Mr. DeSalvo confessed to eleven murders, but many have questioned through the years the accuracy of his confession, which he later recanted, and whether the confession was true as to all of the murders, even if he did commit one or more of them. So, on the sole theory of bringing "closure" for the family of Ms. Sullivan, the police undertook to violate the rights of a completely innocent person, the nephew of Mr. DeSalvo, collecting DNA without the nephew's consent. Whether consent was even sought has not been indicated in the reports, but it is irrelevant.

It is a profound waste of police resources to invest a team of fugitive hunters, as these officers are described, with duties of looking for connections between a long ago confessed and convicted individual, dead since 1973, and a murder victim from 49 years ago, a case considered closed since 1967. No justice is served. No broad public interest is served.

Indeed, the fruits of this inquiry produced only a probable match, now requiring exhumation of the remains of Mr. DeSalvo to resolve the "mystery" of that to which Mr. DeSalvo confessed nearly a half century ago.

And yet, with the blessings of the District Attorney, the Boston police violated the dignity and rights and privacy of someone who has no connection to the case, may not have been born at the time, solely because he happens to be a relative of the convicted killer. It is an absurdity and a disgrace to this country beyond belief. The nephew ought sue the police and the City of Boston for stalking him without cause, for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and for invasion of his privacy.

Technically, under the law, abandoned property, as was the water bottle discarded by the nephew which the police collected, is considered no longer belonging to any person's possession or claim and so is available to anyone who happens upon it. To that extent, there was no infringement of the law. But, when the common law re abandoned property was devised, even fingerprinting was not in use, let alone DNA analysis, a science of matching which is only about twenty years old, and, we venture, much more fraught with scientific difficulty in finding positive matches than in determining conclusively the absence of a match. That aside, the problem is in the police following an innocent citizen without probable cause, with the intent of collecting from that person evidence in a long closed case. Even if in a live case, it would be sending to damnation the Fourth Amendment, through the unseemly notions of circumventing the need for probable cause via convenient loopholes in the law arising by virtue of technology outpacing the law, loopholes which ought be closed decisively by legislation before such practices are used in live cases to collect DNA evidence of someone remote from any scintilla of suspicion in a case and yet subject to being followed, harassed, or pressured by police officers, instructed by the district attorney, into providing non-testimonial evidence, either unwittingly and involuntarily or even via coerced consent, thereby legally vitiating any consent under ordinary Fourth Amendment rules.

Consider the implications of this novel, seemingly innocent little situation, and you ought be scared to action to arrest it before it works to take away your rights.

Boston, you need help. You have lost your collective minds and crossed the finish line into Fascism, looking for publicity rather than respecting our Constitution. Every citizen of the nation has a stake in seeing such conduct eradicated, whether they reside in Boston or elsewhere. For, as Boston, or any other city, goes in highly publicized cases, so might other cities and burgs and villages by example, until finally, one morning, we wake up with a SWAT team in our living room because our great-great-great grandfather, of whom we never even heard, may have killed someone in 1830 and the Police need the evidence from our DNA. We are not being facetious. It is not only possible, but probable in such a climate wherein our Constitution becomes little more than a joke worthy of a smirk and: "Who cares? It old." What forty years ago and more were understood as jokes and irony in novels and films regarding the world of the future, with everything neatly computerized and categorized, adjudicated by mindless automatons, nearly becoming machines, is fast becoming a grim reality, not at all a joke or irony. That which the Nazis sought to do but lacked the ability to bring to fruition for want of technological means is now quite possible technologically.

The question thus becomes whether collectively we shall succumb to such tendencies and be enslaved by the brave new world and its claimed catharsis of the technological fix or whether we shall govern it with leadership and responsibility as educated women and men in a civilized democracy which leads and educates rather than kowtows to the will of the uneducable, those who believe in only the Second Amendment, to the exclusion, by force, of all the rest.

Look around you and wake up.

In 1964, had a police department anywhere in the country followed around a relative of a person convicted in 1918 for a 1915 murder, to collect from that relative, in Sherlock Holmes manner, some purported evidence to ascertain once and for all the connection between the long dead convicted, confessed murderer and the murder, that police chief, that district attorney who authorized it, would be so derided as to resign in infamy and shame. They would have been the butt of every comedian's social satire from coast to coast, and rightly so. How lightly we now regard our rights won in blood by those who preceded us, giving them away in exchange for thrill-a-minute tabloid journalism and both its stimulus and consequence, tabloid "law enforcement".

"The Degeneration of Democracy" finds the apparent willing compliance by Americans with necessitous queuing to obtain the goods which had been scarce during the war and were now becoming available was a sure sign of the decay of American democracy. For Americans had never been anything but defiant and impatient, especially when it came to standing in lines.

A New York department store had advertised that it would accept no phone or mail orders for its new goods, but consumers could arrive on the fifth floor and stand in line to purchase them.

"If there is a buyers' strike, let it begin here. There is no time to lose. The world, we are convinced, will end not with a bang, not with a whimper, but when all its inhabitants are finally standing, patient and dull-eyed, in line."

Drew Pearson tells of the resignation of Navy chaplains, formerly in combat, because they were not receiving the best commands and were being transferred to unimportant posts. The chaplains in Japan who had sought to abate prostitution in Tokyo had been chastised for doing so and were transferred, prompting other resignations.

He next tells of the crackdown by House Speaker Sam Rayburn on insertion into the Congressional Record of material which amounted to political advertising such that it could then be forwarded under franking privileges to voters at Government expense. Jim Farley had established the practice in his campaign to stop Senator James Mead from becoming Governor of New York.

He next imparts of Senator O'Daniel's son evicting a veteran, who had just returned from the Pacific. The veteran had first complimented a rent increase of only $5, until told by Mr. O'Daniel that the veteran's rent would be increased by $32.50, 33 percent. To that, the veteran objected and began an argument which resulted in his receipt of his eviction notice, despite the fact that the veteran's family had the longest tenancy in the building.

Marquis Childs tells of the compromise constructed between OPA head Paul Porter and Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley which had passed the Banking Committee and would be narrowly acceptable in all likelihood to the President. If the bill passed in its present form, a second veto would seriously undermine the power of Senator Barkley and render worse the split in the Democratic Party.

The bill retained some of the worst aspects which had prompted Economic Stabilizer Chester Bowles to resign: division of price control authority between Agriculture and OPA; abolition of incentives for production of low-cost clothing; allowance of pre-war discounts to retailers of automobiles and appliances; and creation of a three-man independent board with veto power over both Agriculture and OPA. But it eliminated the worst aspects of the Taft amendment providing for a complicated cost-plus formula to determine prices.

With food prices up 15 to 30 percent in the first days after the expiration of OPA, the consumer was hoping for a return to controls, and labor was discussing the need for a revision of contracts as the new prices would wipe out the gains of the recent strikes.

Food production was at an all-time high, but the foes of control wanted new incentives to encourage production. The National Association of Manufacturers suggested that consumers not buy and thus avoid the high prices; but that would be impossible on such necessities as milk for children.

He concludes that the consumer should not soon forget that NAM had advertised enticingly of butter and roast beef becoming again available with controls removed. But first one had to be able to afford to buy it.

Peter Edson discusses pending legislation in the area of scientific research. A compromise bill in the Senate, co-sponsored by Senators Warren Magnuson of Washington and Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, had passed in the Senate. It provided, among other things, for research in the social sciences, that 25 percent of the Government funds appropriated for research would be apportioned among the states and spent in land-grant and tax-supported institutions. It also provided that patents developed by the Government would be retained and made freely available to anyone able to use them.

When the bill got to the House, it underwent revision under the sponsorship of Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, cutting out these latter three provisions. The opposition to the public patents provision was stimulated by the large private Eastern colleges which wanted to retain the patents from their own research, funded as they were by large endowments. The National Association of Manufacturers likewise opposed public ownership of patents.

The Mills bill was supported by Dr. Vannevar Bush, head of the Office of Scientific Research & Development, whose report had originally stimulated interest in Congress in developing the legislation.

A letter is reprinted from Wesermunde, Germany, from a German named Hans, who had befriended before the war a Charlotte couple. They had not spoken during the war and Hans reached out for the first time in seven years to his old friends to tell them of his life after the war in Germany. He had fought in the war for Germany, as had his friend, Herbert, for the United States. Hans had been a dedicated Nazi before the war, but now repudiated Hitler and the Nazis as having destroyed Germany. The conditions he describes were abject and debased, crime rampant in the streets and food, plus every other type of goods, barely available.

He contends that during the war, the Nazi propaganda machine was so efficient that the Germans did not know of the concentration camps or that millions had been sent from occupied countries to be enslaved. Now, the populace, he complains, was being forced to pay for crimes of which they had not been aware while taking place.

Hans had recently been reunited with his wife and had plans to complete his pre-war education at a German university, after which he might move to South America.

A letter writer proposes that North Carolina speeders be given a sentence of 30 to 60 days with a governor on their car to prevent it from accelerating over 45 miles per hour. If that did not work to form better driving habits, then suspension of the driver's license or compulsory education was in order. Or the salt mines.

The idea is workable up to a point, that being that residential speed limits, under which many accidents and speeding tickets occur, are usually under 45 mph. Setting the governor lower would make it dangerous to drive on secondary roads, and, even in 1946, roads were plentiful with 55 mph speed limits, making the slow-poke at 45 subject to causing as many accidents as his lower speed might prevent, especially by inducing drivers to pass him.

Sorry, you will have to think of a better solution than that, though in a computer age with GPS tracking, a governor governed by the speed limit of a given locale is quite possible. And, of course, it would have to be made a misdemeanor for driving beyond the scope of a restricted license to be caught driving a vehicle without the governor. But, in so doing, we suppose, the offender would be less likely to speed even if in an ungoverned vehicle, for fear of being caught and assessed the billion dollar fine—a method of bringing down the national debt very quickly.

But then there would be a whole new lot of people on welfare...

And, as we know, in South Carolina, governor onboard or not, the vehicle could continue to speed down the highway.

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