The Charlotte News

Friday, May 6, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, German police continued to enforce the Soviet blockade with gunfire, six days before the scheduled May 12 lifting of the blockade as agreed by the four powers the previous day. An automobile raced through the border checkpoint into the American zone and was fired upon as it went. West Berlin police said that they had been unable to determine whether the driver was wounded or where he went after escaping the Soviet sector.

A German news agency reported that a truck driver running the blockade was wounded by the German police, but that report had not been confirmed by the Western sector police.

The official Soviet Army newspaper stated in editorials that the Soviets would demand at the May 23 meeting of the four-power Council of Foreign Ministers that Germany be excluded from the Council of Europe formed by the Western European nations and from NATO, that the plan to have the six Western nations, including the Benelux countries, control the Ruhr be scrapped and that Russia's interest in the industrial region be recognized, that major German policies adopted by the Big Three without Russian concurrence, including establishment of the West German federal republic, be scrapped, that a government for all of Germany be established continuing the measures of the "people's democracy" of the Soviet zone, and that a peace treaty be concluded embodying the foregoing points and providing for the end of military occupation of Germany within a year.

Gut luck.

In China, the Communist forces appeared to be moving from proximal southwest and northwest areas toward Shanghai, the southwest force being held and the northwest force beaten back. The Communists pushed deeper into Central and Southeast China but with little fighting indicated on the two fronts, one in Fukien Province opposite Formosa, island fortress of the Nationalists. The fighting in the vicinity of Shanghai broke a lull which began when the Communists had bypassed Shanghai and taken Hangchow to the southwest, leaving Shanghai isolated by land routes. Meanwhile, the economic crisis in Shanghai worsened, with the municipal government abolishing the cost of living index which had been used for three years to determine the level of wages.

The State Department urged to the 11-nation Far Eastern Commission that Japan should be given greater direction of its own international affairs, in trade promotion, citizenship and property issues, cultural relations, and technical and scientific arrangements and exchanges. The Commission, meanwhile, endorsed General MacArthur's program to shift ownership of farmlands from the big landlords to the small farmers.

Former Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that failure to ratify NATO would damage the country's prestige throughout the world and encourage Russia.

Former Ambassador to Germany at the start of World War I, James Gerard, told the Committee that failure to ratify would lead to war with Russia within a year.

In Geneva, Switzerland, the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe said that ERP and various national trade policies of European countries were hastening disintegration of Europe's economy. The Commission included iron curtain countries.

The Veterans Administration ordered 8,000 of its employees dismissed, as it was closing 42 offices in 23 states to meet budgetary restrictions imposed for the coming fiscal year. The cuts would not affect hospitals and medical care. The Charlotte V.A. office would not be impacted.

In Detroit, the Ford Motor Company's River Rouge plant was locked after a walkout by its 65,000 workers the previous day at noon regarding a speedup of the assembly line, the first major strike at Ford since 1941. The plant normally produced 5,400 cars and trucks per day. Only G.M. exceeded that output. Automotive News stated that if the strike lasted as long as two weeks, exhausting stock, Ford would be knocked out of the market. Ford of Canada said that it would have to close within three or four days and lay off 10,000 men.

The Communications Workers of America, the largest telephone workers union, voted to join the CIO.

In New York, at the trial of the eleven top American Communist Party leaders on violations of the Smith Act, an FBI informant witness testifying for the Government said on defense cross-examination that a female Communist instructor in St. Louis during 1945-46 had said that the atom bomb would be used on workers if capitalism were threatened. She allegedly also urged fighting for Socialism as it would never be won at the ballot box, that the President had the Army to keep the workers down.

Sound familiar from right-wing talk radio today?

In Portland, England, a two-engined British cargo plane apparently blew up and crashed into the English Channel, killing all seven persons aboard.

In Girardville, Pa., the four trapped miners 600 feet below ground in an anthracite coal mine were discovered dead after 48 hours of attempted rescue.

In Clemson, S.C., a 40-year old mother had drowned herself and two sons, ages 4 and 10, in Isaqueena Lake five miles from town the previous night. The older boy had just had his birthday the same day. The woman had been ill for three months and had begun to lose her sanity in the process.

In Milton of Campsie, Scotland, the daughter of the late Baronet of Glorat said that she would welcome her cousin from the United States, an undertaker in Indianapolis, who was the rightful heir to her father's title. She denied reports that she intended to contest the line of descent established by Debrett's peerage.

In Paris, Count Maurice Maeterlinck, famed Belgian author of The Blue Bird, adapted for film, died at age 86.

On page 10-A, radio and television critic John Crosby tells of a new tv production of Macbeth, a Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse presentation which had aired May 1, directed by Garry Simpson and starring Walter Hampden and Joyce Redman, with Leo G. Carroll and Walter Abel, and, in smaller roles, Ralph Bellamy as the porter, Sydney Blackmer as Ross, and John Carradine as one of the murderers. As this production, not to be confused with the 1948 Orson Welles film version, and Mr. Crosby's review of it are nowhere to be found, and thus we know not whether it be foul, fair or merely of the filthy airwaves, we defer to a 1954 review of a subsequent tv production of Macbeth, which at the time he deemed the best of at least three which had appeared in the new medium.

On the editorial page, "Statement of Principle" discusses the 200-million dollar rural road bond referendum and the 25 million dollar school construction bond referendum, both set for election on June 4. The editorial states that the newspaper was torn on both issues between better roads and schools, both worthy projects, and a return to deficit financing. It says that it would present in the future both sides of the argument on both referenda and regardless of the outcome, would accept the result as an expression of the people's wisdom, whether in agreement or not with the positions to be staked out by the newspaper.

"The Waynick Appointment" finds Capus Waynick of North Carolina deserving of the post as Ambassador to Nicaragua, even if the appointment was achieved through Mr. Waynick's party ties and because he had not been appointed to the Senate seat to replace recently deceased J. Melville Broughton.

Recently, it appeared that Mr. Waynick's ardor for the program of Governor Scott was waning and his appointment as Ambassador would allow Governor Scott to appoint someone as chairman of the state Democratic committee who was more committed to the program. It also eliminated Mr. Waynick as a contender in the 1950 election against Senator Clyde Hoey.

It ventures that as long as vacancies continued to occur in important state positions, permitting the new Governor to appoint successors, there was no reason to believe that the Governor's program would not have a relatively easy time of it.

"New Power Pattern" quotes a piece from the Christian Science Monitor which stated that one of the results of the Democratic victory the previous November was that there was a new thrust behind public power projects, the latest being a reversal of the previous House action and approval of the Johnsonville, Tenn., steam plant project by the new Congress. More than fifty Republican members who had voted against it had been defeated. So it was approved by a margin of two to one in the current House. The new plant would bolster power production of the TVA system and go much further than the original TVA. If it worked, then other such power projects would be built by the Government, such as in the Columbia River Valley and Missouri Valley.

The people apparently did not object to the extension of Federal control in this area. The piece finds it an unhappy result in most instances involving spending of Federal money.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Carrying Our Own Ball", tells of the North Carolina Economy Advocate out of Statesville, dedicated to economy in government and reduction of public debt, being without a masthead to tell of its proprietorship. The Advocate was quoted often in relation to the rural road bond referendum of Governor Scott, approved by the Legislature.

There was a requirement under Federal law that propagandists identify themselves on circulated handbills and the 1947 Assembly had adopted a law requiring similar registration. Whether covered or not by these laws, it suggests, the Advocate and all other parties to the political controversy ought state their identities.

Does that include the author of unsigned editorials every day in every major and minor newspaper since the beginning of a free press? Or is that idle curiosity the result of the HUAC atmosphere which was still pervading the country? Perhaps the publishers of the Advocate wanted it to be weighed on the strength of its arguments rather than on the cult of personality. Ever hear of Publius?

Drew Pearson, in Jacksonville, Ala., seeks to find out what was going on outside of Washington and imparts his findings. He found at Jacksonville State Teachers College an international house which had brought students from France and sent local students to France in exchange. The project was financed locally and the house itself was built from local contractor contributions.

He believes that thousands of people across the country were similarly motivated for people-to-people interaction, in the vein of the Friendship Train and Merci Train to and from France since late 1947.

Still, there remained the problem of penetrating the iron curtain. War still threatened with the Soviets, despite lifting of the Berlin blockade, as long as the Politburo was in control without restraint from the Russian people and the press. He believes that inviting a thousand Russian students to the country would make a start on cracking this barrier. Almost every Russian who had visited the country was astounded by what they found in terms of freedom and wealth after saturation with the Russian propaganda to the contrary.

But, he posits, the Politburo would likely never allow Russian students to come to the U.S. If, however, the Voice of America publicly broadcast the invitation, pressure might be placed on the Kremlin to allow it to take place. Turning down the invitation would adversely impact the Soviets not only with their people but with other Eastern European countries.

He concludes by saying that he had gotten sidetracked from his initial mission to examine the South, but promises a return to the topic in another column.

Joseph Alsop tells of Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer being demonstrably against the Fair Deal. Dr. Edwin Nourse, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder were decidedly lukewarm in their attitude toward it. All three favored withdrawal of the pending bill to allow the President standby wage, price, and allocation controls, as well as provisional Government takeover of industrial plants in major industries, as steel, in the event of lack of voluntary compliance with production quotas. The bill's defenders probably would concede that with economic improvement, wage and price controls were unnecessary.

The President would likely be asked to add spot public works to the bill, as needed in areas with high unemployment.

The budget sent to Congress contained a 900-million dollar deficit and he had asked Congress to raise taxes, mainly on corporations, by four billion dollars to compensate for it and debt retirement. But since that time, more had been added, the new farm program, an increase by Congress in the budget, an increase in veterans' benefits, and the military aid for NATO members of Western Europe, adding in total about 2.3 billion dollars to the budget. And, estimated tax revenue was considered to be a billion dollars too high.

Mr. Alsop concludes that in light of these facts, it was time to construct a national economic policy through serious reflection and discussion instead of via guesswork and politics.

Marquis Childs tells of criticism mounting of Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan for his proposed new program of subsidies to farmers for perishable produce to make up the difference between lowered market prices for consumers and a "fair price" for farmers as determined by a formula. The program would not affect non-perishable produce as tobacco and cotton.

"Not since the New Deal have so many dead cats and overripe tomatoes been aimed at one target." Many of the critics believed that Mr. Brannan was either seeking the farm vote or deliberately undermining free enterprise. Mr. Childs views the criticism as unfair, however, because the Secretary was in a difficult spot, with wheat production doubling consumer need for the coming year and hogs at nearly support level, having fallen in price by nearly 50 percent during the prior year, potentially triggering the need for Government purchase. Even if Thomas Dewey had been elected President, he suggests, his Agriculture Secretary would be under similar pressure to devise a plan to meet these exigencies.

Improved farming techniques and insecticides enabled doubled production of corn and potatoes. Government potato support the previous year had cost an estimated 225 million dollars, with most of the potatoes having to be destroyed because of the high cost of getting them to hungry people overseas.

Most farm organizations did not like the agricultural plan but Mr. Brannan believed that individual farmers would support it. Senator George Aiken had asked where subsidy would end if a basic living was guaranteed to farmers. But the critics, suggests Mr. Childs, ought be able to answer the question without relying on the pat answer of allowing supply and demand to run its course, the same answer provided during the laissez-faire years of the 1920's which led ultimately to the Depression.

Three prize-winning poems are presented by the newspaper from the North Carolina Poetry Society. You may read the poems, titled "Taj Mahal", "The Trade Mark", and "This Cloud", as serious poems do not lend themselves to summary.

A letter from former News columnist C. A. Paul tells of his wife having made a complaint against an unethical lawyer to the North Carolina State Bar, Inc., and first being told that the complaint had to be drafted on their form, then that the complainant would have to pay for the investigation and appear for any hearing at her own expense.

After this experience, he suggests that the first object of the 1951 General Assembly ought be abolition of the State Bar, Inc.

A letter writer questions who was responsible for maintenance of the Clarence Kuester Memorial at Freedom Park, which he finds in shabby appearance, not befitting the man it honored.

And, May 6, 2016 is the 51st day that the American people and their democracy have been held hostage by the unconstitutional and unprecedented refusal of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Charles Grassley, to hold hearings on the President's nomination to the Supreme Court of an eminently well-qualified jurist, Judge Merrick Garland.

We reiterate that Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, among others, issued Supreme Court nominations in presidential election years, in some cases when they were running and in others when they were not, in the case of President Adams, even after his defeat in the general election of 1800. And in each case the nominations were heard and confirmed. Never before in the history of the country has any Senate stood above the Constitution and refused even to hold hearings on a Supreme Court nomination. Only once, in 1968, has any Senate refused to allow a nomination to come to a vote, that of Justice Abe Fortas being elevated to Chief Justice upon the retirement of Chief Justice Earl Warren in June of that year. And that shabby spectacle of filibuster by some Republicans and Southern Democrats, on the basis of disagreement with the high court's and the Johnson Administration's stances on civil rights legislation, was led by Strom Thurmond, one of the most notorious racists to sit in the Senate during modern times.

The current spectacle is a disgrace. The Republicans in the Senate are plainly afraid that if they hold hearings, the fairness of the American people would overwhelmingly demand confirmation of Judge Garland, even if there will always be political opposition to any nomination. It hardly suggests an effort to have the "people decide the issue" by plebiscite—contrary to the Constitution in any event—when the Senate will not hold hearings to allow the people to hear who the current nominee is, on the premise, according to non-lawyer Grassley, that there is no need for a hearing because the outcome is a foregone conclusion. By Grassley's Law, we throw out the right to trial and hearing in the country and meet in a little selectmen's partisan circle down at the courthouse and decide unilaterally, sans rules and procedures, what will take place. That does not hearken of letting the "people" decide anything.

Will the American people simply stand by blithely and allow this disgrace to occur? Has our democracy, especially given the outrageous spectacle of the Republican presidential race through the last year, become a joke not only here but also abroad?

The far right likes to talk about America having lost its "greatness" because of liberal policies. But the truth is that the loss of dignity in the country and loss of apparent ardor to do anything much about it, if that is what has occurred, has been at the hands of one and only one part of the country, the reactionary right, with its emotional catcalls and threats of fists to anyone daring protest.

Such it was in pre-Nazi Germany, where the Nazis, also, as with our rightists, blamed everything with which they disagreed and every bogey which they could conjure on the left, labeling it "communist" and "socialist". And they, too, had a leadership with limited intelligence and a predominant following with limited education, appealing to rambling, incoherent emotion, not fact, not sensible, reasoned articulation of ideas, to attack those with whom they disagreed.

Well, you decide. But, from our vantage point, 1968 appears on us once again, and we know what happened then which transformed American life for the worse for the ensuing 25 years. It is a little quieter, subtler, this time, but all the earmarks are there, replete with studied brainwashing techniques, of the same attempted right wing coup.

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