The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 15, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Key West, the President surprisingly announced that the Treasury Department and Congressional staff experts were determining whether wartime excise taxes could be repealed. The President refused to comment on whether he still favored raising the income tax to make up for the budget deficit of some six billion dollars.

The President denied eliminating Navy Captain Arleigh Burke—to become chief of Naval operations under President Eisenhower—from the list of recommended promotions for his statements against military unification. He also said that he had not chosen a successor to David Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, or a successor to adviser Clark Clifford, both of whom had resigned to re-enter the private sector.

Philip Jessup, a top Administration adviser on the Far East and roving Ambassador to the Far East, was getting ready to depart on a mission for two months to survey the region to determine its susceptibility to Communism, starting in Japan with consultation with General MacArthur and then proceeding to other areas, winding up the tour in Bangkok in February, then proceeding to India and Pakistan before returning to the U.S. to report to the President and Secretary of State Acheson. He would develop a policy to thwart Communism in the region, including Indo-China and Burma. Part of the consideration would be the applicability of the President's "Point Four" program to aid underdeveloped nations through the private sector undertaking to provide technical support to develop agriculture and industry to raise the living standard in Southeast Asia and thereby eliminate the depressed conditions which promoted the development of Communism.

A report from the London Daily Mirror that Britain had acquired its own atom bomb confirmed the belief of scientists that the British scientists, knowing how to make the bombs after significantly advancing American research and development of it, would be the first of a foreign country to develop it. Speculation was that the British had acquired the bomb as much as two years earlier.

Representative Barrett O'Hara, a member of the House Banking Committee, predicted that the Congress in 1950 would end rent control. Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, and Alabama had voted to abandon rent control under the local option rule passed by Congress in 1949. Wisconsin had replaced Federal control with state control and the Alabama decontrol law would not go into effect until the following May.

A CIO spokesman told a subcommittee of the joint Congressional Economic Committee that the labor organization was appalled by rumors of pending steel price increases, as forecast by U.S. Steel president Benjamin Fairless the previous day, blaming the freight rate boost and the pension plan recently won by the United Steelworkers. Senator Joe O'Mahoney of Wyoming said that such an increase would, in the public interest, call for Congressional investigation regarding its propriety in light of industry profits.

In Greenwich, Conn., a conference of 45 leading Protestant churchmen from 14 denominations considered what effect unification of the Protestant churches would have on the individual denominations. The purpose was to draw up a viable plan for unity. One plan was to unify the denominations at national, regional, and diocesan levels, while allowing individual churches to remain separate.

Near Rotan, Tex., twelve or thirteen people, all Latin-American transient farm workers, had burned to death in a fire at a four-room boarding house on a farm. The house was heated by a wood stove made from an empty gasoline barrel.

In Sioux City, Iowa, workmen continued to search through debris for additional bodies in the aftermath of the explosion the previous day at the Swift & Co. packing plant office building, killing 16 persons and injuring nine others. Four other persons were missing and believed killed in the blast, thought to have been caused by escaping natural gas.

In Toledo, O., a house fire claimed the lives of five persons. The fire was caused by an overheated coal furnace.

Near Ocean Drive Beach, S.C., the nude body of a young married woman, badly bruised and scratched, was discovered along a lonely stretch of road. A search was underway by police for her husband, who reportedly had become involved in a fight with two unidentified men near a black church the previous night.

North Carolina Chief Justice Walter Stacy issued a stay of execution in a death penalty case so that the white defendant's lawyers could petition the U.S. Supreme Court for review. The defendant, convicted of a Wake County murder, would be executed the following May 19.

At least white people in North Carolina got appeals in death penalty cases in 1949.

In New York, the water shortage was so bad that the Army issued orders for soldiers attached to the Port of Embarkation in New York to let their beards grow, promising issuance of demerits for any soldier found with a smooth chin the following day. Showers at the Port had also been ordered closed for 24 hours.

Hold your nose when embarking.

On the editorial page, "Rent Control Decision" wonders why the City Council voted narrowly to abandon rent controls effective May 1, rather than simply waiting to make the decision at a later time, as it was not possible to know, as one dissenting Council member had argued, what housing conditions would prevail in Charlotte by spring.

It was to be hoped that the more sensible landlords would prevail upon the others not to engage in rent gouging when the controls were released.

It finds it gratifying at least that the discussion was held in public and not in executive session.

"The First 'Klan Incident'" finds that many residents of Charlotte were inclined to absolve the Klan of guilt in an incident in which a threatening note was tossed into the house of a Charlotte citizen on Sunday, days after announcement of the establishment of a Klavern in Charlotte, and despite the presence of seven robed, masked men at the scene, one of whom had tossed the note. They were labeled instead "pranksters", "fools" or "the alleged Kluxers".

The piece finds the incident to have been planned, not merely a spontaneous "prank". The incident was in line with the Klan tradition of first "feeling out" a city to determine the level of protest from such an incident.

The Police Chief had promised to investigate the matter and arrest the responsible persons.

Area newspapers, as printed on the page, had suggested giving the Klan the silent treatment, ignoring them, rather than providing free publicity. The News, it says, did not intend to do anything but condemn the Klan and it regarded informing the public of Klan activity as part of its responsibility, as the incident the prior Sunday.

It quotes from a Collier's piece from August regarding the Klan, that it was as dangerous to be complacent about the organization as about Communism, as the Klan was growing, not dying, and had flourished 25 years earlier in an atmosphere of indifference until it became a serious threat.

Trumpism and the know-nothing approach he would example promises a Klan-like renascence yet again, with impunity from a Justice Department led by a racist. If this dumbbell, reprobate "President-elect" were not trying deliberately to appeal to his racist base, why would he not be appointing a liberal or at least a moderate to administer Justice, to afford the "unity" he claims to want in the country, the more required by his having lost the popular vote, to dispel the notion prevalent in the campaign that he is a racist, rather than appointing a Deep South reactionary Senator with an allegedly racist past?

"A Tip for Truman" suggests that if the President's compulsory health insurance program failed passage by the Congress in 1950, another method of relief from rising medical costs could be employed by allowing deduction from taxable income of the cost of medical expenses. How about a tax credit instead, spread over time?

The present law only permitted deduction in the case where medical expenses exceeded five percent of adjusted gross income.

"Action on Oleo Law" finds that the action to repeal the discriminatory tax on margarine might yet become law in the next session of Congress, as Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas had made it the first order of business. The bill had passed the House several times over the years, including in the previous April, but had been buried every time previously in the Senate by the dairy bloc. Ohio, the sixth largest dairy state, had abolished regulations on margarine preventing its pre-coloring, the ninth state to do so in two years, suggesting the popular trend.

Two pieces, one from the Asheville Citizen and the other from the Raleigh News & Observer, as noted in the piece above, take issue with the Durham Herald for sending a reporter to interview the Grand Dragon of the new Carolinas Klans, Thomas Hamilton, assert that the best way to approach the Klan was to give it the silent treatment and not provide free publicity, even when done while severely criticizing it. Doing so only exposed it further to the many dupes who were willing to pay $10 to become members, thus lining the pockets of the grand dragons and kleagles.

A piece from the Salisbury Post, titled "Off the Beam", finds Christmas celebrations to be offensive to good taste and incompatible with the spiritual significance of the season, producing a strain to the population greater than the strain of war for the comparable period. It finds the commercialization of the season to be blasphemy, "the most damaging and dangerous of all American mechanizations."

Drew Pearson discusses the public feud between Federal Reserve Board vice-chairman Marriner Eccles and Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, Mr. Eccles favoring hiking of the interest rate on Government bonds so that banks and other large purchasers of the bonds would not be encouraged to sell them, and thereby curb inflationary trends of late. Mr. Snyder objected that to do so would cause complaint from farmers and other groups who would have to pay higher interest rates on loans, which would follow the raising of bond interest rates. He contended that inflation originated in Congress, that appropriations without taxes to balance the budget produced such trends. He argued that low interest rates on bonds produced savings to the taxpayers and helped to balance the budget. Mr. Eccles claimed that the low interest rates cost the taxpayers more in the long-run through inflation, that the prevailing low interest rates caused dumping of the bonds, which the Federal Reserve then had the obligation under law to purchase, further increasing national bank reserves, against which more inflationary money was issued.

The Navy had developed the world's most powerful airplane engine, which would outperform Russia's fastest jet.

Pan Am had previously depended on GOP Senator Owen Brewster of Maine and a Republican committeeman from Connecticut for its lobbying effort in Congress, but since the 1948 election, had switched its emphasis to the lone Democrat on its lobbying payroll and soon hoped to obtain the services of Clark Clifford, the Presidential adviser and principal speech writer who would soon leave the White House for the private sector.

He notes that Pan Am had received Civil Aeronautics Board approval for an air route to Rome to carry Holy Year pilgrims. He wonders whether Pan Am would surrender the route, normally traveled only by TWA, at the end of the Holy Year.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss further the new approach to control of atomic energy being suggested by the advisory committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, urging the Government to hold a bilateral conference with Russia, heretofore resisted by the U.S. in deference to the U.N., and propose a ban on atomic weapons with international inspections backed by an intelligence agency, as well as gradual general disarmament.

The matter now rested in the hands of Secretary of State Acheson who would make a recommendation to the President. He would have to consider whether such a bilateral conference would result in Russia seeking to divide up the world with the U.S., would convey both to Russia and the Western allies that the U.S. was uncertain and unreliable, and whether there was a danger that the existing defense plans would be disorganized by looking anew at atomic policy. The third danger was the hardest to overcome as the Defense Department appeared increasingly, with the economy measures being undertaken in defense, to rely on the atomic bomb as a new Maginot Line to compensate for reduced defenses otherwise. And it was difficult to talk of reduction of arms and banning of the bomb under such conditions.

To Western Europe's security, the U.S. offered, through the bomb, assurance of destruction of Russia's major industrial centers.

Under such a plan, there would have to be a more balanced approach to defense than the U.S. was now undertaking. Such an effort, they urge, should be made in any event, citing the recommendations of Dr. Vannevar Bush in Modern Arms and Free Men, that reliance on atomic weapons was soon likely to become obsolete. Ground-to-air missiles were in development and the Russians were developing their conventional defenses, with the whole state geared toward that end, resulting in potential Russian bombing targets being protected by air warning nets and jet fighters within two to three years. Meanwhile, no comparable air defense was being established for Western Europe.

So the commitment made by the U.S. to defense of Western Europe, if not revised, could become one it could not fulfill. The situation, they conclude, was "dangerous and pernicious."

Marquis Childs tells of Federal Security Administration head Oscar Ewing being in Britain to discuss their health insurance program, laboring under the belief that it could be adaptable to the U.S.

But, he suggests, the nations were too different at the time for the British plan to work in the U.S. Britain had 30 years of experience with free medicine for those unable to afford it and thus had an administrative body in place for same, and British doctors had become accustomed to the concept. The U.S. was many times larger and more diverse in population than Britain, and so different plans for medical care might have to be implemented between states. The standards of local administration in Britain also were more conscientious than in the U.S. as had been shown in the often politicized local administration of American relief programs. So the Americans who wanted the British system, as well as those who attacked it, were generally off the beam as the system simply did not fit well the conditions prevailing at the time in the U.S.

But most people in the country agreed that health care needed to be revised, with some help, at least, by the government. Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois had stated that the approach did not need to be all or nothing, for or against the President's compulsory health insurance program. He proposed instead a plan to cover all medical costs above $150 per year for a family.

Mr. Childs suggests that some such reasonable approach needed to be found for the danger of imposing a bad plan not suitable to the country would be that all public health would be discredited.

Incidentally, with the advent of Medicare and Medicaid under President Johnson in 1965, the first of his objections, and possibly the third, disappeared after a period of a few decades since its implementation, giving time for the administrative kinks to be ironed out and for doctors to become inured to the process of providing some medical care to the aged and indigent while being compensated by the Government instead of the patient.

The major problem, then and in advance of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, was the financial devastation wreaked on individuals and families by the costs of catastrophic health care, whether by disease or accident, and the rising costs of insurance plus denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act was never offered as a panacea, a straw man set up by the perpetually duped and self-interested critics of it who wish to say, "See?" It was a compromise plan from its inception, a start in the right direction, but the Republican Congresses since 2011 have not sought improvement, only to make political hay with the idiots they represent by seeking to abolish "Obamacare", a symbol rather than a fact. No one in their right mind, save those who make money from the medical care or insurance industries, really wants to do away with a system designed to lower medical and insurance costs.

But here's a hint: The most dedicated Trumpies want to abolish everything in the universe and start over. They are dissatisfied, most of all, with themselves. Thus, Armageddon seems like a viable alternative.

Elect this trash if you will, electors, but always remember that in doing so, you are violating and ignoring the will and collective wisdom of the people provided at the polling booths on election day, by a 2.8 million vote plurality, a 2.1 percent margin for former Secretary of State Clinton. You have a choice on Monday, December 19, 2016, to make history by holding a genuine revolution, a people's revolution, not a trumped-up one for the Rich, to end, in fact, control by the elite, the elected, "Washington", special interests, and the rest. Cast your vote for the national popular vote winner, and you will surely not regret serving the will of the people, fully 53.9 percent of whom voted for someone other than the Republican nominee, a loser of the majority will therefore by 7.8 percent. The people will then hold President-elect Clinton to her promises and only the Republican Congress will thwart realization of those promises.

It will be a much more salutary situation for the country than having four years of division and disrespect of a non-elected executive branch appointed of the Rich, by the Rich and thus for the Rich. We cannot survive long as a nation ruled by the minority, moneyed special interests.

The country has changed demographically over the years. There can be no going back. There can be no making "America Great Again", as if there is something desperately wrong with America as it is. The country must always improve or falter in complacency, the way of Rome, always overcome growing pains, readjustments which will naturally occur with changing times, irrespective of administrations or Congresses. But disserving the American people's popular will in any democracy is dangerous, especially when, if done Monday, it will be the second time in a mere 16 years, the first time any such thing has happened in the United States since 1876 and 1888, bad times for graft and the economy, but at least partially excusable as the country was still emerging from the darkness of the Civil War and readjustment afterward. No such excuse may be provided today.

We are the United States, not the Confederation of States.

What does it say to the world except that America has lost its way when the supposedly leading democracy of the world would have a President for eight of the 20 years between 2001 and 2021 who was elected not by even a plurality of the people but only by a majority of 538 electors—and in 2016, with the decided help, urged from the stump by the Republican nominee, of the dictatorial regime presently in control of Russia?

Robert C. Ruark, in Los Angeles, speculates on the unresolved legal issue as to who owned the airways, the airlines, the Federal Government, the states, or God. He does not wish to be arrested for receiving an alcoholic beverage on a flight over Oklahoma where it was banned. He thus wants the jurisdiction precisely defined. He believes that the air was free and did not belong to any state.

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